Counter-Strike

Image by DoctorRed2000 on DeviantArt

For the last few days, Valve has been teasing the release of a revamped version of venerated Counter-Strike map Dust 2, and yesterday they spilled the full beans on the new facelift. Valve's been refreshing old Counter-Strike maps for a while now, in an attempt to keep CS:GO looking as modern as possible, but messing with Dust 2 is a bit more of a risky proposition than modifying less-played maps like Train.

The more beloved a map is, the larger the potential backlash will be. Dust 2 has been a staple of competitive play for over 15 years, and was far and away the most played map in the game until its removal from the active map pool back in February. 

It's not surprising, then, that Valve's rework is so conservative. While all the assets have been replaced with higher-res, higher-poly ones, achieving the goal of bringing the map in line with modern graphical expectations, changes to the way the map plays are modest. 

The biggest change is to the visual clarity, which has been improved across the map. Most of the dark or busy looking areas that allowed players to blend in with their surroundings have been illuminated: the tunnels leading to B are much brighter thanks to a new open ceiling, and a lot of the crates throughout the map have been draped in white cloth to better contrast with player models. Bombsite A benefits from the deletion of the busy-looking doors at the back of A long, and some cleanup of the wall decoration along catwalk. These are bound to be uncontroversial changes, and are in line with what Valve has been doing with the other map facelifts.

There’s also been some common sense cleanup work that probably should’ve happened years ago. Stuff like widening the window from CT spawn into B site, and simplifying the scaffolding near CT-side mid doors, feels like pretty basic quality-of-life improvements that will prevent newer players from getting stuck on weird geometry or having their shots glance off of random pipes.

What impact will these changes have?

In the coming weeks we’ll get a better idea of the full ramifications of this update. A couple things to keep an eye on will be whether the new single car on A long (which replaces a pair of cars that were at odd angles in the map’s previous version) will actually be useful as cover now, and whether the increase in room to maneuver behind B site’s car will increase its viability as a hold point for CTs.

It s a healthy overhaul that makes some modest but interesting changes without reinventing the wheel.

There are also some subtle changes that may not even be intentional, and may or may not have a substantial impact on gameplay. Foremost among these is a problem we’ve seen already on some of the other modernized maps, but doesn’t seem to have caused enough of a ruckus to attract Valve’s notice: almost every previously-flat surface is now slightly bumpy (presumably for visual fidelity reasons), which affects the way grenades bounce off of floors and walls. Given how big of a deal smoke and flash placement is in CS, this may prove to be problematic in the long term, as it’s going to reduce the accuracy with which banked grenades can be placed.

Also on the topic of small, maybe-unintentional changes, the spawn locations have shifted slightly. A helpful redditor has pointed out after exploring the map that counter-terrorists can now get to their side of A long a full two seconds before terrorists can get to theirs, which may impact which corners CT players choose to hold, and which angles T players choose to peek from. Again, these are the kind of changes that will require some time to shake out, and we won’t know the full effect of this stuff until the competitive meta has fully adapted, which may take even longer than usual given there's a decade-plus of habits to unlearn.

But Valve seems to have struck a good balance with this update. It’s a healthy overhaul that makes some modest but interesting changes without reinventing the wheel. From a purely visual perspective, the new Dust 2 is beautiful, and undeniably an upgrade from the previous iteration. The terrorists have also gotten new higher-fidelity player models as part of the deal, and they’re a big improvement over the dated look of the existing models. (Puzzlingly, the CT models have not gotten the same treatment thus far.)

There are of course a host of bugs related to the new geometry, allowing for all manner of unintentional boost spots and weird clipping, but this has always been the case with these big map refreshes, and generally they get fixed in a fairly timely manner. Once these issues are addressed, we should expect to see Dust 2 re-added to the Active Duty map pool (possibly at the expense of Cobblestone) and the tournament circuit will quickly demonstrate what effect, if any, the update will have on the way Counter-Strike’s most iconic map is played.

Counter-Strike - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Though Half-Life [official site] is almost nineteen years old and its sanctioned fan remake Black Mesa is nearing completion, Valve have launched a wee patch for their pretty okay or whatever vintage FPS. The patch fixes a few crashes and exploits, and hit other Half-Life engine games too, such as classic Counter-Strike. Given how much of modern PC games history connects to Half-Life and its mod scene, I’m glad Valve are still tinkering a little. Earlier this year, they finally got Half-Life an uncensored release in Germany too. … [visit site to read more]

Counter-Strike: Condition Zero - alfred
We have updated the public release of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero.

Changes in this update are:
  • Fixed crash when entering certain malformed strings into the game console. Thanks to Marshal Webb from BackConnect, Inc for reporting this.
  • Fixed crash when loading a specially crafted malformed BSP file. Thanks to Grant Hernandez (@Digital_Cold) for reporting this.
  • Fixed malformed SAV files allowing arbitrary files to be written into the game folder. Thanks to Vsevolod Saj for reporting this.
  • Fixed a crash when quickly changing weapons that are consumable. Thanks to Sam Vanheer for reporting this.
  • Fixed crash when setting custom decals
Ricochet - alfred
We have updated the public release of Ricochet.

Changes in this update are:
  • Fixed crash when entering certain malformed strings into the game console. Thanks to Marshal Webb from BackConnect, Inc for reporting this.
  • Fixed crash when loading a specially crafted malformed BSP file. Thanks to Grant Hernandez (@Digital_Cold) for reporting this.
  • Fixed malformed SAV files allowing arbitrary files to be written into the game folder. Thanks to Vsevolod Saj for reporting this.
  • Fixed a crash when quickly changing weapons that are consumable. Thanks to Sam Vanheer for reporting this.
  • Fixed crash when setting custom decals
Deathmatch Classic - alfred
We have updated the public release of Deathmatch Classic.

Changes in this update are:
  • Fixed crash when entering certain malformed strings into the game console. Thanks to Marshal Webb from BackConnect, Inc for reporting this.
  • Fixed crash when loading a specially crafted malformed BSP file. Thanks to Grant Hernandez (@Digital_Cold) for reporting this.
  • Fixed malformed SAV files allowing arbitrary files to be written into the game folder. Thanks to Vsevolod Saj for reporting this.
  • Fixed a crash when quickly changing weapons that are consumable. Thanks to Sam Vanheer for reporting this.
  • Fixed crash when setting custom decals
Day of Defeat - alfred
We have updated the public release of Day of Defeat.

Changes in this update are:
  • Fixed crash when entering certain malformed strings into the game console. Thanks to Marshal Webb from BackConnect, Inc for reporting this.
  • Fixed crash when loading a specially crafted malformed BSP file. Thanks to Grant Hernandez (@Digital_Cold) for reporting this.
  • Fixed malformed SAV files allowing arbitrary files to be written into the game folder. Thanks to Vsevolod Saj for reporting this.
  • Fixed a crash when quickly changing weapons that are consumable. Thanks to Sam Vanheer for reporting this.
  • Fixed crash when setting custom decals
Counter-Strike - alfred
Counter-Strike 1.6 update released


We have updated the public release of Counter-Strike 1.6.

Changes in this update are:
  • Fixed crash when entering certain malformed strings into the game console. Thanks to Marshal Webb from BackConnect, Inc for reporting this.
  • Fixed crash when loading a specially crafted malformed BSP file. Thanks to Grant Hernandez (@Digital_Cold) for reporting this.
  • Fixed malformed SAV files allowing arbitrary files to be written into the game folder. Thanks to Vsevolod Saj for reporting this.
  • Fixed a crash when quickly changing weapons that are consumable. Thanks to Sam Vanheer for reporting this.
  • Fixed crash when setting custom decals
  • Make sure the Close button has keyboard focus when you see the disconnection dialog
  • Disable showing of popup html windows
  • Made the play command obey speak_enabled cvar
  • Fixed being unable to pickup a primary weapon if you had an ammox box object previously stip you of items
  • Fixed room type not being updated on map change/connect
  • Fixed out of date information showing in the scoreboard after level change or changing servers
  • Fixed the specator UI to not show a placeholder name when initially shown
  • Fixed sprays not loading from the correct path causing them not to update
  • Fixed the Condition Zero tours ui to display the tour number correctly when you have more than 9 entries
  • Fixed crash if you issued a changelevel command on a local server while certain UI elements were visible
Counter-Strike: Source - Valve
Updates for Counter-Strike: Source, Day of Defeat: Source, Half-Life Deathmatch: Source, Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, and the Source SDK 2013 Base have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when you restart the game. The major changes include:

  • Fixed being unable to start any map in single-player mode
Counter-Strike: Source - Valve
Updates for Counter-Strike: Source, Day of Defeat: Source, Half-Life Deathmatch: Source, Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, and the Source SDK 2013 Base have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when you restart the game. The major changes include:

  • Improved Steam Voice support
    • Removed sv_use_steam_voice convar. Steam voice is now selected via "sv_voicecodec steam"
    • Fixed demos not properly recording Steam Voice status, resulting in potential corrupt voice in demos with differing default settings
    • Will now use the native Steam Voice sampling rate, instead of clamping to 11kHz
    • Improved compatibility with Steam client beta
  • Added CELT audio codec currently in use in TF2 and CS:GO
    • Server operators may enable use of this codec via "sv_voicecodec vaudio_celt"
    • Steam voice remains the default voice codec in all SDK2013 games
  • Updated spec_player command to match recent improvements in TF2
    • Now accepts partial player names, Steam IDs, etc.
  • Fixed security issue reported by Amat Cama via GeekPwn
  • Fixed security issues reported by Justin Taft from One Up Security, LLC
  • Updated engine with recent stability and bug fixes from TF2
  • Updated handling of game language setting to match Team Fortress 2 behavior:
    • Steam per-game language setting is now properly honored and syncs with the in-game setting
    • In-game UI language now honors above language setting, rather than improperly using the Steam client's UI language setting
      • Users wishing to have separate UI and audio languages may pass -audiolanguage on the command line
  • Updated the localization files
  • [DoD:S] Updated custom loading error dialog to include numerous tweaks and fixes that have previously been applied to the base version
Day of Defeat - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

Infamy! Infamy! They ve all got it infamy! is one of the best jokes of all time. It is also what I screamed as I was repeatedly gunned down in World War II shooter Day of Infamy [official site] while playing the early access version.

Fans of murdering me from afar with a scoped rifle will rejoice that the game has just now busted out into a proper release, fully baked and ready to storm some beaches. You can see what kind of terrible conflict you can create in the trailer below. … [visit site to read more]

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