How to install a custom campaign on a Left 4 Dead dedicated server

Valve recently updated Left 4 Dead third-party support, providing players with more user-friendly methods of playing custom campaigns. Most people will be satisfied with hosting or joining local servers (i.e. games hosted on players’ home computers), but some players will be interested in playing custom campaigns on dedicated servers.

This brief guide will only cover campaigns packaged in the .VPK format. For technical information on .VPK files, read the VPK article on the Valve Developer Community wiki.

This tutorial is designed for server admins with remote access to their servers. Server admins with local access will need to make slight adjustments to the instructions.

Server-side Installation

  1. Download the campaign. For this tutorial, I’ll use Detour Ahead.
  2. Extract the downloaded archive file to any directory on your hard drive. In the case of Detour Ahead, the archive file name is
  3. Open a FTP client. I use and recommend FileZilla.
  4. Log in to your game server via FTP.
  5. Upload the custom campaign .VPK file from your computer to your dedicated server’s left4dead/addons directory. Click here for a screenshot of the FileZilla user interface for this step.
  6. Upload your addonlist.txt from your local Left 4 Dead install (default directory is C:Program FilesSteamsteamappscommonleft 4 deadleft4dead) to your dedicated server.
  7. Restart your server.
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Wii Fit, Day 7

My wife and I purchased a notebook computer from Best Buy in Feb. 2009. (No, the title of this post wasn’t a typo or an incorrect paste; this is relevant.) One year, 3 months, and 10 (yes, ten) phone calls to Reward Zone support later, I finally received the long overdue Reward Zone certificates last month (May). Since I am currently unemployed and since most items of interest at Best Buy cost significantly more than the total value of the certificates, I had decided to watch sale bills until something inexpensive struck my fancy.

I had also been eyeing Wii Fit for a few months, but the $90 price point delayed the purchase. (You can probably guess where this is going.) After confirming that Wii Fit was not on sale at any reseller, either online or B&M (brick and mortar), my wife and I decided to purchase the exergaming megahit.

We brought the Wii Fit bundle, complete with Balance Board, home last Friday. I read the manual and set up the Balance Board later the same night; my wife and I started our Wii Fit journey the next day.

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Recommended viewing: Natsume Yuujinchou

As stated in previous posts, I like to watch anime series currently airing in Japan as soon as fansub groups subtitle and release episodes. On rare occasions, I let an awesome series slip through the cracks and return to it later by chance or recommendation. (Dennou Coil is the best example of this type of temporary oversight.)

The purpose of my preamble is to explain why it’s taken me this long to watch the second episode of Natsume Yuujinchou, which I did today. Here’s a short summary of the series as provided by Anime News Network:

Natsume Takashi has the ability to see spirits, which he has long kept secret. However, once he inherits a strange book that belonged to his deceased grandmother, Reiko, he discovers the reason why spirits surround him. Containing the names of these spirits, a binding contract was formed between the spirits and the owner of the book. Now, Natsume is determined to free the spirits and dissolve the contracts. With the help of a spirit cat, his days are filled trying to return the names to these spirits.

There are few subjects that hold my attention as powerfully as mythology and folklore, so chances were already good that I would watch and enjoy this series. Natsume Yuujinchou does not disappoint, basing its plot on themes found throughout Asian folklore. For example: Knowing a being’s true name gives a person power over that being. (On a side note, the same is true in Egyptian mythology, as explained in a myth where Isis tricks Re into revealing his secret name.)

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Do Want: Magical Drop sequel on Nintendo DS

I was set to write this long, drawn-out rant about how perfectly the Magical Drop series of puzzle games would translate to the touchscreen controls of the Nintendo DS, when I discovered that Craig Grannell of Revert to Saved had beat me to it with his article Ripe for remake: Magical Drop III. Posted last July, the article explains why the time is ripe for another Magical Drop game.

It seems G-mode, current holder of the Magical Drop series licensing rights, agreed and released a Magical Drop game for Android phones on May 15. It’s unclear whether or not G-mode plans to develop and release further titles in the series as their web site reports the company is actively seeking to “license out Data East’s properties” (Magical Drop and NES classic Bad Dudes included).

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