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The Life and Mind of DamnBlackHeart
This is to help me stay actively writing. So expect to see rants, tips on writing, thoughts on subjects, me complaining of boredom, reviews, anime, movies, video games, conventions, tv shows and whatever life throws at me.
Left 4 Dead Fanfiction Ideas?
On the History Channel there’s a pilot for a tv show, Apocalypse Man (I totally recommend it) and after watching it, then playing Left 4 Dead 2, it has inspired some ideas and helpful information that writers may want to know for their story.

+ Cell phones will stop working. -- In many disaster events like 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and so on; one of the first pieces of infrastructure to suffer is the cellular network. When hundreds of thousands of people worldwide tried calling loved ones, the system becomes overloaded because it can not handle the massive and unexpected surge. It also makes calling for help extremely difficult for civilians. However, authorities and first responders use emergency communication devices such as walkie-talkies and radios. They help them to stay organize and to figure out where their help is needed.

So for your Left 4 Dead story it would be a little more realistic that cell phones would be useless. After all, if the survivors in L4D had working cell phones, would you not think that they would’ve used it to call for help? That’s why you only saw walkie-talkies and radios because those were the only things that could work in emergencies. So if your original character comes across one, they should keep it because it can be useful at some point to connect with other survivors or find help.

+ Traveling will be dangerous. -- Avoid cities (bigger population equals a lot of zombies) but it also has a lot of supplies. If there isn’t a zombie apocalypse than REALLY avoid the cities. Nearly every survivor will head there and remember, not every survivor will be friendly and will steal or even kill you for your supplies. It’s also best that you keep off the main highways, instead use back roads and the less travel routes like rail lines. The freeways will be jammed packed with abandon cars, trains and airports will be closed and bridges will be raised or blocked to limited people’s movement (as well as keep the infection contained). Don’t even bother swimming across the rivers to reach the other side, because the water will be contaminated; treatment plants will be shut down.

For the L4D characters, they focus on moving from safe house to safe house quickly and they avoid lingering in a place for too long. That’s because they don’t want to attract attention and the longer they wait around the higher the chance of being found by special infected. Even though the survivors didn't avoid cities and populated areas like hospitals, malls, and so on, they had good reason to go through them.

When disaster strikes, certain building are establish as emergency shelter which are churches, schools, malls, sometimes hospitals and lastly stadiums. It’s no surprise that the military used them as safe haven for survivors to go to when the infected spread. It’s also why when the survivors called for help, they were told to head to those areas in order to be evacuated. It’s also not a surprise that those safe havens fail because once an infected person turns or spreads the virus onto those not immune it would cause another outbreak.

+ Find cover before it’s night. -- You are most vulnerable when it’s dark because you won’t be able to see much. Using a flashlight, flares or any other light source while out in the open will mark you as a target. So when you find a place, check the whole building first to see that it’s clear, secure and secluded. If you’re thinking tactically, the best area to stay in a building is the second floor. You would be able to hear any intruders that enter and it’s close enough to the ground for you to make a quick escape. Also cover your tracks (if needed — for example, cover footprints or fingerprints on dusty floors, objects or dirt) because you don’t want to advertise where you are or where you've been, especially if you’re being followed by survivors with ill intent.

There’s not much to mention here since the survivors in L4D have safe houses or rooms. As long as someone keeps the metal doors closed, locked and barred then they’ll be safe from the infected. However, a safe room that has the door left opened could mean trouble. The last thing a survivor needs is to run into a safe room, thinking that they’re safe only to be attacked. It would be incredibly dumb for them to died just because they didn't check first. And even though they’re called safe rooms or houses, they may not always be safe.

I wouldn't be surprised if special infected try to find a way to get inside. Most will fail but others could succeed, for example wood does rot so be warily of buildings made of wood or use wood to barricade windows and doors — an infected could rip or break threw wooden planks on the window and will catch you when you’re most vulnerable.

Also, if you notice, the survivors tend to travel around the most during the day. Sometimes they have to do it at night but that’s because they have a good reason for doing so. If your character or the survivors in the game have to do something dangerous, make sure that they have a very good reason for doing so.

+ When gathering supplies be cautions. -- Look for houses or apartments that still have their windows intact and the doors locked. That’s a good sign that looters haven’t broken into it yet, so it’s ripe for the picking. But if you’re checking for supplies that they may have missed, assumed that you’re not alone and be alert. You don’t know whether a looter broken into the place five months ago, five weeks, five days or even five minutes ago. Also, basements tend to be a good place to find supplies because it’s where most tend to store non-perishable food and emergency kits.

We don’t see the survivors in L4D getting food or water but we can only assume that they do. So don’t forget to treat them like they’re real and not just fictional characters. They do need to rest (especially when they’re injured because there just so much that pills, adrenaline and medkits can do), to eat, to drink and to sleep.

+ Libraries are your best friend. -- No one will ever think to go there, not even looters. It’s the best place for you to get information, be it how to treat an infection, to know which plants are poisonous and so on. But more importantly you can find maps. There will be maps of the city, the town and even a map of the sewer. You’ll need maps because you won’t have GPS anymore to tell you where to go in order to reach your destination.

Luckily, the L4D survivors are able to find their way around because of the markings of where the next safe house is at. But it would probably be easier for them if they had a map. They would be able to find which route is the best to take or find an alternative route if the one they took is a dead end. I wouldn’t be surprise if they’ve gotten lost a few times.

+ Water bottles will be hard to find and will eventually run out. -- So you’ll have to resort to other methods to gain water. A good way is to collect rain water, boil it down to remove bacteria and then store it in a container or bottle to drink later.
In the L4D games, this is only the beginning of the outbreak, so the survivors would be able to find plenty of bottle water and non-perishable food lying around. That is if other survivors or looters haven’t picked clean of everything.

Anyway, even though bottled water has an expiration date, it doesn’t actually go bad. The dates are helpful to know because the flavor of the water will change over time as it absorbs chemicals from its packaging. The flavor will not necessarily be toxic, but it may be a noticeable taste. The ’plastic’ taste is not an indicator that the water is bad; absence of an unpleasant flavor, however, does not mean the water is free from contaminants.

While algae and bacteria will not grow in sealed bottled water, the situation changes once the seal has been broken. You should consume or discard water within two weeks after opening it. That also means that it would be wise for you to throw out the plastic bottle once it’s empty. It wouldn’t do you any good to refill it with water, instead go for the stainless steel bottles (or even reputable aluminum bottles) because they’re safer to use. With steel, you don’t have to worry about weird chemicals steeping into your water. In an apocalypse, you don’t have much of a choice in what you can use, but it’s important for you know why your water may taste funny after a while.

+ Build a hidden fire. -- The Dakota fire hole is your best option to avoid detection from enemies. The flames are hidden below ground, and the fire burns hotter, producing less smoke for enemy eyes. An underground fireplace is the absolute best tactical option, especially at night. If you’re indoors, you can even use concrete blocks or rocks to build a wall around the fire. This will hide the light from the distance and by placing a cardboard on top it will lessen the amount of smoke.
Fire is very useful - it helps a person to keep warm and dry, boiling water kills off bacteria, and it can cook or heat food. We don’t actually know if the L4D characters build a fire inside the safe houses. It could be assumed that they did, but they could have also roughed it. Both are possibilities.

But for your fanfic, it’s all up to you to decide. They may not have the resources to build a fire. Or if they do, maybe they don’t want to attract the infected attention? Maybe they thought it was an unnecessary risk and would only do so if it was an emergency?

They could have eaten canned food cold (though most don’t required to be heated - like venna sausages). They might have huddle together at night for warmth. And they certainly wouldn’t need to boil water if they found sealed water bottles. As for wet clothes, I can see them hanging them up to air dry and covering themselves with blankets (or finding other clothing to change into if there’s any around).

+ Naming Hunters, Smokers or whatever special infected that has for some reason spared a survivor or is actually protecting them.

Usually, when the survivor has establish that the infected is trustworthy and will be sticking around, the infected is given a name. After all, it’ll be confusing to know who the survivor is referring too when they’re screaming, “Hunter!”, “Smoker!” or “Witch!” every time. So it’ll be smart to give the infected a name, however it’s not always necessary. Many males (and even some females) tend to carry their wallets in their back pocket. So have your survivor check their pockets for any information about who the infected was. If there’s nothing then that’s a good opportunely to give them a name. Of course this may not apply to every infected, like those that wear very little clothing.

+ Don’t make the infected, especially the special infected look like carbon copies.

Be creative and give them some interesting clothing. It’s not really believable that everyone that turned into a special infected was in their underwear, in work out clothes or dressed casually. So don’t be afraid to add in some special infected that wear different things. For example, if your survivor is near a beach…why not have the infected in different summer outfits and swimsuits? Or maybe some particular infected were turned while they were dressed up for an important event (like prom, a wedding, a date, a funeral, or whatever else)? Maybe they were a patient at a hospital, so it would make sense to be wearing a hospital gown. Maybe they were a doctor, a nurse or a security guard…again be creative!

Note: At the moment I can’t think of anything else. Is there any other topics you want me to talk about or look into? If so, send me a message and I’ll add it on to this.

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