Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>

Not Global Offensive. Not Source. I’m talking the original Counter-Strike. The Half-Life mod; the game that was more popular than its online competitors combined; the game that in many ways pioneered both games as services and games as playable alphas; the game that spawned two follow-ups but which even right now, as I’m writing this, has 20,211 concurrent players through Steam.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

Early Access games are here to stay, but is that cause for concern or celebration? We gathered to discuss whether early access benefits developers or players in its current state, and how we’d make it better. Along the way, we discussed the best alpha examples, paying for unfinished games, our love of regularly updated mods, Minecraft and the untapped potential of digital stores.>

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Emily Richardson)

In Pop Flash, a series of insights into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive [official site], Emily Richardson looks past the amazing clutches and crushing defeats to understand the culture and meta of Valve s everlasting competitive FPS.>

This week, I ll be discussing abuse and toxic behaviour in the CS:GO community. Before we get to it, let me reiterate that I am madly in love with Counter-Strike. It s simply one of the best team games out there. This piece, however, is meant to highlight one important issue that I think we can overcome.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Every highly-specific hobby you can imagine has a dedicated home on YouTube. Backyard metallurgy46-minute marathon Kinder Egg openingsChildren in suits evaluating junk food. YouTuber ZaziNombies makes Lego game guns, and he's pieced together everything from the Scout's Force-A-Nature to a whole series of zappers from Destiny.

Joining that armory this week is Counter-Strike's iconic long gun: the AWP. ZaziNombies used about 1100 Lego pieces to put together a four-foot-long facsimile, including a convincing reconstruction of the AWP's optics that's mostly tires. You can tell he's done this before. The color is more mint than the AWP's classic olive drab, the plastic rounds seem smaller than the .338 Lapua that AWPs allegedly shoot, and the trivia ZaziNombies rattles off is clearly from a Wiki, but otherwise the resemblance is striking.

PC Gamer

TRIGGERNOMETRY

We write about FPSes each week in Triggernometry, a mixture of tips, design criticism, and a celebration of virtual marksmanship.

There isn t enough poetry being written about guns. Not literal limericks or sonnets (that would be creepy), but words that dig into and capture what makes one game s AK-47 more fun than another s.

Weapon feel continues to be the nebulous catch-all for the nuances that make guns fun. Most of the reviews of shooters I read offer the same praise: guns feel great or feel really powerful. If the writer s being generous, they ll use a word like punchy to describe an SMG. I ve been guilty of this too during my six-year term at PC Gamer.

Months of work goes into designing, animating, and balancing the things that put the S in FPS, so maybe we should take a moment to talk about what makes a good gun good.

I think the visual design of weapons matters far less than we think it does. There s a tendency, probably because they re planted right in front of our perspective at all times, to think of guns as a collection of aesthetics: firing and reload animations, SFX, screen shake, particle effects, and the death animations they produce. Those things make a gun, right? So if those things are good, surely we have an interesting and fun video game weapon, right?

No. Consider the AWP: it s olive green, it s bland, and its simple animations are more run-of-the-mill than Rambo. The only aesthetically remarkable thing about the most revered, iconic, and infamous sniper rifle in a video game is that it s a bit loud. And yet thousand-comment debates erupt when Valve tweaks the way the AWP s scope works. Why?

A gun s look and sound are part of its personality, sure. But if you ask me, great video game weapons have meaningful, interconnected relationships with other game elements. Those elements differ from game to game, of course. In CS case, the appeal of the AWP is born from the fact that CS is an FPS with body-part-specific damage modeling and no respawns. In that context, it s the only gun that grants an instant kill if you tag someone above the waist.

That feeling of possibility is fun within the strict rules of CS movement: if you can hit it, you can kill it… but you also can t be moving too much when you fire. With that power comes responsibility, too. Killed players surrender their equipped weapon in CS, and stolen AWPs not only save your team $4750 but act as a kind of trophy. This is doubly the case in CS:GO, where a player s custom AWP skin reminds all spectators which irresponsible player allowed their AWP to fall into enemy hands. Buying an AWP, then, to some extent, announces to the rest of the server: I think I m a good enough shot to protect this valuable asset from the other team.

All of this makes the AWP a weapon with abundant meaning. Even its shortcomings (slow rate of fire, difficult to use in close quarters) are a source of fun: the noscope is a revered skillshot.

In Tribes case, its weapons shake hands with its player movement really well, arguably the quality that defines it as an FPS. Again, like the AWP, the Spinfusor isn't visually extraordinary: it fires discs at a medium speed, and its animations and SFX are pretty modest. But the Spinfusor is the perfect fit, the perfect baseline weapon in a game where your targets are typically skiing along the ground at high speed. Its splash damage leaves room for error and its relatively slow travel time creates an exciting feeling of uncertainty as you admire your shot. Like throwing up a three-pointer in basketball, you get to experience that arc of Will it go in? It might not go in. It went in! as the disc travels toward its target.

The Fusion Mortar creates the same sort of feeling while operating as a parabolic siege weapon. The design of the weapons actually encourages you to spend as much time as possible in the air: the threat they pose encourages you to master movement to have the best chance of staying alive. In each of these examples, the weapons strengthen the meaning and significance of core systems like movement, damage modeling, or weapon purchasing.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

If I close my eyes and think of childhood memories and the spaces that contain them, my mind might touch upon a bedroom, a school playground or a muddy playing field, but it might just as easily come to rest upon Q2DM1, Q3DM17 or de_prodigy. The angles and textures and travel times of certain multiplayer maps are seared into my brain through repetition, their tiny details lacquered by the tension of triumph and defeat.

But I like that they’re more than just memories. I don’t find much time to play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but it’s a wonderful thing and Valve have been doing great work in gradually reviving and revitalizing maps from older versions of the game. They’ve done just that today to de_train, an old favourite, and if you’ve ever played Counter-Strike it’s worth watching the video below and reading the post on the Counter-Strike blog which explains the changes.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

A recent study by the PEW Internet Project exposed the blindingly obvious hypocrisy of most people’s attitudes towards online services. We don’t want our privacy compromised, we don’t think big companies can be trusted with our data, and the power of corporations like Google makes us uncomfortable. But despite all these deeply-held and very serious fears, billions of people still use the products involved. So too with DLC in all forms. We bitch and moan, mock the price on twitter, talk about how far games have fallen and then pony up the dough when nobody’s looking. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s new Operation Vanguard is what we’ve let ourselves in for. >

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Every Monday in Triggernometry*, Evan writes about FPSes.

Aiming is one of Counter-Strike s central skills. Good aim can get you out of a bad situation, like a mistimed rush or a weapon disadvantage. Even if you ve been playing CS for a decade, I m willing to bet that, like me, you ve got some bad aiming habits.

I ll go first: I m awful with the AK at long range, and I struggle to get kills with the P250 on eco rounds. I ll probably get better with those guns as I keep putting hours into CS:GO s competitive matchmaking, but bad habits are easy to lose sight of in the middle of a match, when you re caught up in the emotion of the situation. CS:GO also hides a ton of its nuances—especially the bullet spray patterns of its weapons.

Aim maps have a way of immediately illuminating what you ve been doing wrong. Through repetition and drilling, they can teach you a lot about your own bad (and good) aiming behaviors. These are my three favorites.

How to play custom CS:GO maps locally:

  • Subscribe to maps on Steam Workshop
  • Launch CS:GO
  • Click Play > Offline with bots
  • Click Workshop, search for the map you subscribed to
  • Select the map, select No bots

training aim csgo 2

download

This is CS:GO s best drill map, and it has a ton of customizability. You can tweak it to test almost anything you need to work on, from long-range AWPing to short-range spraying against targets that take multiple hits to break. I particularly like the sliding test, which lets you set up static or pop-up targets along different axes, letting you practice the rhythm of strafing, stopping, and shooting outside of a live environment. I also get a lot out of the Burst Training, which tracks how many of your shots connect on a full spray.

Training: Bot Aim V4b

download

You can work on any weapon on this map, but I ve found it to be best for building pistol skills. It loads a number of bots into a narrow corridor and has a few toggleable obstacles—crates and a pair of doors—that you can bring into the setting to make it feel more practical. Bots can be set to return fire or not. The god mode setting is really helpful if you want to focus on training one weapon for a sustained period.

aim botz

download

This rifles-and-pistols map is the best one I ve found for working on killing enemies who are moving laterally. The bot movements are a little unnatural (you can also set them to move faster than players can in-game, as in the GIF above), but you can set them to mirror different ADAD patterns (alternating left and right strafing), which can be a particularly tough maneuver to counter. There s a good amount of setting customization, too, including boxes and uneven ground. You can also toggle on impact visualization, which will produce a wireframe of the bot hit that lingers in the environment.

*[Hats off to Reiniat, who suggested that we call this column "Triggernometry" instead of its original, inferior label "Shooterology." If you're listening, get in touch with me in the comments below to collect a prize that I have not yet determined. —Evan]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Philippa Warr)

Mmm whatcha say? Mmm that you only meant well? Course you did.

And in “Well this is a nice idea but it would involve me not playing Jason Derulo on repeat while headshotting Ben so you can count me out” news: there are now Counter-Strike: Global Offensive music kits.

What that means is when you have a music kit equipped it replaces the in-game music with music from your kit. That covers *deep breath* the main menu, round start, round end, bomb planting, bomb warning, round won, round lost, round end warning and death camera bits of a match. For extra RUB-IT-IN-YOUR-FACE-ness there’s also a special MVP anthem which plays to everyone when you’re MVP.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Some people complain there are too many zombies in video games. Well, you know what? There are. That's why you need to kill them. The newest undead invasion is hitting the Counter-Strike universe, with Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies releasing on Steam today. It's free-to-play too, so getting involved in the extermination won't cost you a cent.

For anyone who took part in the open beta, Nexon has released a list of new bug fixes and improvements to coincide with the official release. These include important design changes including the ability to craft and disassemble certain items without using Points, through to cosmetic changes like the length of chat messages, prettier colour coding and more. 

The game currently boasts 50 maps, over 20 game modes including both PvP and PvE, and more guns than Nexon's previous effort Counter-Strike Online. Most interesting is the crafting system, which allows players to change the appearance and statistics of weapons. Nexon is also promising to continue adding new content for the game, so if you hate zombies, or love them, you should be set for a while. 

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