Play as infected in Left 4 Dead single player

The multiplayer world of gaming can be a pretty harsh place when you’re new to the scene. You’ll constantly be yelled at if you don’t do the right thing or if you make a mistake. You’ll be called a newb and nobody will want you on their team. With a game like Left 4 Dead, where teamwork is paramount, you’ll need to hone your skills so your team can count on you.

Luckily, Left 4 Dead has a single player mode that allows you to practice fighting off the zombie horde with three other AI controlled players that won’t ridicule you. Bill may say you smell like a sewer or Francis may say he wouldn’t mind leaving you to die, but they certainly won’t call you a newb.

That’s all well and good for practicing as the survivors, but what about the infected? The very first time you play versus mode as the infected, you notice right away that it is radically different. The game world is viewed with a brown hue, you start off in a strange state called spawn mode, your methods of attack are obviously very different from the survivors, and you can see where the survivors are at all times.

If you are intimidated about all this like I was at first, you’ll be happy to know that it is possible to play as the infected in single player mode.

Left 4 Dead scoreboard showing single player infected

Unfortunately this isn’t a mode that is built into the game so you’ll have to use some console commands to get it working properly. Open your game options and head to the keyboard/mouse settings to enable the developer console.

Left 4 Dead keyboard/mouse options

By default, the key to open the console is the back tick key, which is found to the left of the 1 key on most US keyboards. Start a single player game, open the developer console, and type in the following commands:

sv_cheats 1
director_no_human_zombies 0
sb_all_bot_team 1
jointeam 3

You now have a playground to experiment with the four different special infected against four AI controlled survivors. Learn the special infected’s strengths, their weaknesses, and where the good hiding spots are located. If you plan on practicing a lot, you certainly aren’t going to want to type in those console commands every single time you play. Fortunately, you don’t have to.

Open your favorite text editor and open the file autoexec.cfg which can be found in your Steam installation folder in SteamApps\common\left 4 dead\left4dead\cfg. If you don’t see this file, you will need to create it. Insert the following lines:

alias "sp_versus" "sv_cheats 1; director_force_versus_start; director_no_human_zombies 0; sb_all_bot_team 1;"
bind "f4" "sp_versus" // enable single player versus mode
bind "f5" "jointeam 2" // join survivors team
bind "f6" "jointeam 3" // join infected team

With the above configuration, you can press F4 to begin versus mode and F6 to join the infected team. But wait, there’s more! If you have played versus mode before, you know that the tank typically only spawns once per level, sometimes not at all, and the person that gets chosen to play as the tank is random. Since you’re the only infected on the team, you will always be the tank! If you chose the final chapter for any movie, you will get to play as the tank twice or maybe even thrice!

Left 4 Dead: You will become the tank

Also, because you can select any chapter to start from, you can keep playing the finales over and over again. This is a great way to practice with the tank and to completely dominate the survivors. If you try this yourself, you may notice that the AI controlled survivors won’t begin the finale, which is where our previous configuration comes in. Press F5 to switch to the survivors team and start the finale, then press F6 to go back to the infected team.

There are a few things I want to leave you with:

  • The difficulty you chose will be inverted as infected. Expert mode will be easier for you and Easy mode will be more difficult.
  • The delay for the smoker tongue is much longer when you miss than it is in versus mode.
  • You may find that sometimes the safe room door cannot be opened. If this happens, make sure you are on the infected team and wait for about 30 seconds. The door will open automatically.
  • You can play any campaign, not just the two currently available in versus mode! You can learn the Dead Air and Death Toll campaigns before the Survival Pack comes out on April 29th!
  • The maps you are playing on are single player maps and are not properly balanced for versus mode. There will be differences between these maps and those specifically designed for versus mode.
  • You will not see the arrow indicators for areas you can climb as the infected, but it is still possible to climb those areas regardless, provided you know where they are.

Have fun and practice pouncing, pulling, puking and pummeling!

Update! The alias shown here does not work as of the Survival Pack update. Read the Survival Pack update post for additional info and the new alias.