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Installing Skins and Maps

A Tutorial for Left 4 Dead 2

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This is a simple tutorial to explain how to install and enable/disable addons in Left 4 Dead 2. It's written to help people that are unfamiliar with game modding. *Contents:* - Before Starting - Installing an Addon - Enabling/Disabling Addons - Conflicts between Addons - Uninstalling an Addon - Too Long; Didn't Read (short explanation) If you prefer a shorter explanation skip to the last section. # Before Starting Currently the majority of mods are distributed in compressed archives, either .ZIP, .RAR, or .7z. To open these files you'll need [7Zip](http://www.7-zip.org/), [WinRAR](http://www.rarlab.com/) or similar software. 7Zip is completely free so I would recommend that one. Inside these compressed archive files you'll find the addon files in VPK format. A VPK file is just a package that contains all the files that the addon uses, including models, textures, sounds, etc. # Installing an Addon First of all close Left 4 Dead 2 if it's already running. 1. Download the Skin or Map you want, open the downloaded file and look for the VPK addon files. 2. Most times you will find just one VPK file, but sometimes you have several options, like different colors skin, optional sounds, etc. If that's the case check the mod's description or readme files to decide which files you want to install. 3. Extract the VPK files to the Left 4 Dead 2 addons folder usually located here: `C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\left 4 dead 2\left4dead2\addons\`. That's it! Once the VPK files are extracted in the folder mentioned in step 3 your mods are installed. Now you need to check that they work... *Consistent naming tip:* It's also worth mentioning that the first time you install a mod you can rename the file (as long as you keep the .vpk extension). Renaming addon files won't prevent them from working, and you can do it to keep them organized. You can use a common and descriptive naming convention to know what they are. For example if you have installed a Skin that replaces the **Desert Eagle** pistol with a **Colt 357 Revolver**, you can name the file something like `weap_deagle_colt-357-revolver.vpk`. That way by seing the file name you can easily see it's a weapon skin, what original weapon it replaces, etc. Many Skins in GameBanana already follow this naming convention. *Note #1:* Renaming addons you have installed previously won't break them either, but the game will detect them as new and enable them even if they were disabled in the menu. *Note #2:* VPK addons can be installed by double clicking them too, but I would not recomend this since sometimes it can install them incorrectly. That's why i recommend copying the file manually to the addons folder. # Enabling/Disabling Addons Once you have installed an addon and want to check that it works, start the game and in the Main menu click on Extras, then click on Addons. The Addons menu (pictured at the top of this tutorial) shows all the mods installed and allows you to enable and disable them at will. # Conflicts between Addons If two or more addons are conflicting between each other because they are editing the same files, they will be highlighted in red. If this happens you should choose which ones to keep and which ones to disable until all conflicts are cleared and no addons are highlighted in red. Sometimes you can get two unrelated addons to conflict with each other, for example if they edit any files that are shared between the two, like sounds or HUD. Having conflicting addons enabled won't break the game and you can play without paying attention to them, but it's always a good idea to try to clear them to keep your enabled addons organized. # Uninstalling an Addon If you don't like an addon and want to get rid of it completely, just go to you addons folder and delete the file. You don't need to disable from the menu first or anything like that. # Too Long; Didn't Read (short explanation) L4D addons come packaged in VPK files. You can install them by copying them to `...\Steam\steamapps\common\left 4 dead 2\left4dead2\addons\`. Once installed, check the Addons menu in the game. Any conflicting mods (mods editing the same weapon for example) will be highlighted in red, you can disable some of them until you have only the ones you want to use.
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  • smgamermat77 avatar
    smgamermat77 Joined 5y ago
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    Fun fact - this doesn't seem to work as simple anymore.

    Whenever I try to place the vpk directly in the addons folder (keep in mind I DO have some vpk's in the workshop folder too, but those are not conflicting with the one I have directly in the addons folder).

    When I go to launch L4D2, the game immediately halts and gives the error: Unknown version for (vpk folder name directly in addons folder).

    Since the Steam Workshop has no idea what that VPK is or where it came from, it just halts my game entirely because it cannot determine what version, id number, or other properties the file should contain in order to be an official vpk as part of the workshop folder.

    What this DOES mean, though, is that L4D2 is correctly recognizing that there is in fact a "valid" vpk file directly in the addons folder and L4D2 is attempting to utilize it, however because of the unknown version or id number, it just fails to continue to launch for a stupid reason.

    Any suggestions on what I can do to fix this error?

    EDIT: I have tried to manually place a search path to a "custom" folder I created inside the addons folder, but no such luck was made with that - either I wrote it wrong or the game refused to even check that spot.
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    Posted by WhoseLineSoldier

    One thing that confuses me: do you need the sound.cache file? (I've seen the tutorial on how to create one) If so, where do you need to install it?
    I'm not sure about it, I'd suggest this tutorial though. You don't need to install the sound.cache file, if you follow that tutorial it will create it for you on the folder you specify, which will depends on the sound path I think.

    Check this excerpt from the linked tutorial:

    Example

    If a custom sound file is found at left 4 dead 2/left4dead2/addons/customsoundaddon/sound/ambient/testsound.wav:

    • Build sound.cache with snd_buildsoundcachefordirectory ../left4dead2/addons/customsoundaddon.
    • As a custom search path: add Game left4dead2/addons/customsoundaddon
    • As an addon: After building sound.cache, create customsoundaddon.vpk dragging the customsoundaddon folder to a shortcut of vpk.exe.
    • Test testsound.wav in-game, play ambient/testsound
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    WhoseLineSoldier Joined 6y ago
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    One thing that confuses me: do you need the sound.cache file? (I've seen the tutorial on how to create one) If so, where do you need to install it?
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    > **Posted by Doktor Haus** > The only thing I might add is to clear up the misconception about double-clicking addons to install them. Thanks, I've added that in a note under the Installing Addons section.
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    Very clear and concise; I can't fault it. The only thing I might add is to clear up the misconception about double-clicking addons to install them.
    • Thanks x 1
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