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Kotaku

From Pro Gamer to Pro...Poker Player?It's a question proper athletes face all the time. What do you do when you hang up the cleats/boots? Well, if you're Griffin "Flush_Entity" Benger, former pro Counter-Strike player, you make the move from video games to online poker.



Which sounds a little random, seeing as one involves furious mousework and fast reflexes while the other relies on cool heads and a honed bullshit reflex, but apparently it's a natural progression.



"I used to be a professional gamer", Benger tells PokerListings. "I played Counter-Strike for a living, so I transitioned into poker because it has a lot of the same skills, mostly being able to sit in front of a computer for long periods of time."



"But it's a pretty natural transition and a lot of people were doing it. Once I got into poker I became really obsessed with it. It's really one of those games where there's always room to get better, and that was one of the problems with Counter-Strike, I got to a point where I couldn't really get much better."



That...actually makes sense. I mean, I'm sure the fact there's a ton more money in poker helps, but the ceiling's got to be a lot higher for getting to the top of the food chain.



Counter-Strike Champ Griffin Benger Wins Millions at Online Poker [PokerListings]


Kotaku





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"Surfing" is a strange little quirk that's long been available in the Counter-Strike series. Those wondering if it'll make the jump to the latest version, Counter-Strike: GO, yes, it has made the jump.



Player MitchellS has ported venerable CS map surf_greatriver_remix to Global Offensive, and has made it playable for those in the beta. You can see it in action in the video above.



"Surfing" dramatically changes the way you play the game. Join a surfing server and the corridor shooter you're used to playing disappears, replaced with something much faster and chaotic.



Port of the classic "surf_greatriver_remix" to Global Offensive [Game Banana, thanks Moskeeto!]


PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Valve employee handbook leaks, read it here">valve employee big



The Internet is often a place for things that don't belong on it. Things like a 56-page internal manual written for the people that work at the most private gaming company in the world.



Yep, you can read that now. What appears to be Valve's 2012 Employee Handbook has crept onto the web, and it's just as insightful to read as that incredible blog by Michael Abrash from last week.



It's a rare, detailed self-description of the company that includes mantras like "We are all stewards of our long-term relationship with our customers," policies like "Nobody has ever been fired at Valve for making a mistake. It wouldn't make sense for us to operate that way," and expressions of Valve's independence that include "Fortunately, we don’t have to make growth decisions based on any external pressures—only our own business goals."



Click inside to see the handbook.



The document is also filled with custom illustrations. And at least one Half-Life 3 logo. Sections of special interest include the entries:

"What is Valve not good at?" (p. 52)

"How does Valve decide what to work on?" (p. 13)

"But what if we ALL screw up?" (p. 23)





The handbook (PDF) was originally found here. A bottom-page watermark claims "handbook courtesy Valve." Well, duh. I've uploaded a copy to our server that you can read here.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Lewie Procter)

Despite having originally released all the way back in the year 2,000 Anno Domini, CounterStrike is still – still! – the number one game being played on Steam right now. That’s not even taking into account CounterStrike Source. It’s an astonishing achievement, and CounterStrike’s continued popularity is reason enough to pay attention to the new game from co-creator, Minh Le. That new game is Tactical Intervention, and it’s a project he quit his job at Valve to pursue. I sat down for a chat with him, and this is what ensued:> (more…)

Kotaku





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Scoring a knife kill in a first-person shooter is the ultimate insult to your victim. It's one of the most satisfying kills, too.



But it's not always easy to pull off, as this Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player finds out. He looks to be basically on the camera-focused player's shoulders, so close to getting that glorious knife kill.



Unfortunately for the knifer, YouTube user (and victim) Rustsandstuffs manages to turn around just in time to spray-and-pray the hell out of him before he can make the knife swipe. His terrified wails as a result to the close call are hilarious, and even more hilarious in the proceeding slow-motion version.



Knife surprise! [Reddit]



Kotaku

Here's What 6.5 Million Video Game Bullets Look LikeValve has been keeping track of the people currently playing the beta for Counter Strike: Global Offensive. Not just who's winning and who's losing, but really interesting stuff, like where everyone is standing when they pull the trigger.



The result of that kind of data-tracking is this glorious map (of de_train), showing exactly where players were when they decided to up and shoot somebody. As you can see, some spots are relatively tranquil. Others, well, they're battlegrounds. Or, to be more correct, since this is tracking where people were standing, campsites.



The Science of CS:GO [Valve, via PC Gamer]






Kotaku

Valve And Nexon Partner for Counter-Strike Online 2Publishers Nexon and Valve will collaborate to bring the shooter Counter-Strike Online 2 to Asian territories, they said today.



In a press release explaining very little about how this will be different than older Counter-Strike games, the publishers write:




Counter-Strike Online 2 will offer enhanced graphics, more realistic gameplay and powerful impact sensations powered by an enhanced version of the Source engine. The game will also feature various game modes enhancing its original game experience with new and improved environments, weapons, equipment customization and more.




The game will be published in Japan, Korea, China and other areas in Southeast Asia, Nexon said. We've asked for clarification on how this will be different than the first Counter-Strike Online and whether it will be connected to Valve's upcoming Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.


PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gets Arms Race mode and Aztec">Counter-Strike Global Offensive 3



The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive beta keeps getting bigger. The latest patch has added a new Arms Race mode playable on Shoots and Baggage. In Arms Race, every player starts with the same weapon, and gains a new one with every kill. The first player to get a kill with the final weapon, the knife, wins the round. Dead players respawn immediately and the round time is extended to give players time to murder their way through CS:GO's arsenal.



The patch adds a few new weapons, too, including the Scar 20, an auto-sniper for Counter-Terrorists, the G3SG1, an automatic sniper rifle for Terrorists, and the Zeus x27, a one shot insta-kill taser available to both teams in casual mode.



If you're looking for something less wild, the classic Aztec has been added to the map rotations. Here are the patch notes in full from the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive site.



Maps:



Added Arms Race maps – Shoots and Baggage

Added Aztec to Classic maps



 

Gameplay:



Arsenal Arms Race game mode is a single extended round with instant respawn. All players start with the same weapon and get a new one each time they kill an enemy. The progression of unlocked weapons ends with the knife. The first player to get a kill with every weapon wins the match.

Added ‘Find A Game’ to the Play options menu screen. Find A Game allows you to join an online game of a specific type. This update offers Arsenal Arms Race and Classic Competitive game modes. The map cycle groups include:



Classic Maps

Arms Race Maps





 

Added new weapons:



Scar 20 – CT only auto-sniper.

G3SG1 – Terrorist only auto-sniper.

Zeus x27 – Casual Mode only weapon available to both teams.

 

Adjustments have been made to increase the base accuracy of all weapons.

 

Jump and land penalties have been decreased, and the rate of stamina gain has been increased.

 

Bot difficulty has been tuned.

 

HE grenade damage has been adjusted per pro feedback.



 

Models



Added two new player skins:



Phoenix Faction

GIGN





 

UI



Death notice order reversed.

Updated Italy mini map image.



 

Bug Fixes



Fixed a bug in the keyboard + mouse options screen where changes were resetting.

Fixed the consecutive loss bonus persisting through halftime. Solves the problem of teams receiving extra cash early in the second round of the match.

Fixed end match scoreboard saying it was a tie in Arsenal Mode.

Fixed a bug where penetrating shots were doing full damage after the penetration.

Fixed a bug where the desired distance required to defuse the bomb wasn’t being used.

Fix for the HUD alert panel coming up incorrectly.

Fixed for bots not being able to defuse bomb.

Fix for bug in Demolition mode where players would start the first round of the second half stuck in level geometry.

Fix for radio message font appearing quite large at higher resolutions.



 
Kotaku

Manila Counter-Strike Match Ends in Murder A round of Counter-Strike at an internet cafe in the Philippines capital of Manila turned deadly on Monday, when a member of the losing team was murdered after an argument over the payment of approximately seven dollars in winnings.



According to authorities the friendly wager of 300 pesos took a decidedly unfriendly turn, with a full-blown argument breaking out at the cafe over payment of the relatively meager sum. The dispute was eventually resolved, but one member of the winning team wasn't happy with the outcome, following losing team member Eric Cristobal to his home and stabbing him to death.



Police investigator Noel Ibanez said that Cristobal was not responsible for starting the argument; merely an unfortunate victim. Police took the suspect into custody yesterday.



Man murdered in video game row [City Press]


PC Gamer






As we head into the last weekend before the MLG Winter Championship in Columbus next weekend (and hot on the heels of the IEM tournament) a small group of players are gathered at Full Sail University in Orlando for the Red Bull LAN. It's one part mini-camp, with high-level StarCraft players working on ways to improve their game and get ready for upcoming competitions, and one part exhibition tournament. Quantic's Kim "SaSe" Hammar and Johan "NaNiwa" Lucchesi will be there, along with Evil Geniuses' Lee "Puma" Ho Joon and Park "JYP" Jin Young and a number of other strong competitors. Sean "Day" Plott and Marcus "DjWHEAT" Graham will be there as well. You can read more about the Red Bull Lan over at Team Liquid, where Day gets into a little more detail.



I've never seen one of these, and I'm really interested in the "training camp" aspect of the Red Bull LAN. As I've watched more competitive gaming, what I find most impressive is the mental endurance and resilience on display at the highest levels of play. Playing brilliantly in a match is one thing, but having to sustain that over the course of a weekend and dozens of matches is another. I'm hoping the coverage coming out of the Red Bull LAN gets into that a bit.



Oh, and if you have some time to kill, why not watch the SC2 final from IEM last week, between MC and Puma, posted at the top.



NaNiwa Leaves the Penalty Box







Speaking of NaNiwa, the GSL gave him a Code S seed for the start of Season 2. Code S is the highest level of GSL competition, and it represents a second chance for the Protoss player.



NaNiwa was effectively dropped from Code S after throwing a match against one of his rivals, NesTea, at the 2011 Blizzard Cup. With both players eliminated from championship contention, NaNiwa ended the match by rushing his probes into NesTea's base, basically refusing to play. The GSL saw his conduct as disrespectful and contrary to the spirit of the sport, and dropped him from consideration for a Code 2 spot for Season 1. Now NaNiwa appears once again to be back in the GSL's good graces for Season 2.



Tough Love for CS:GO



Earlier this week, Tomi “lurppis” Kovanen, the former captain of the Evil Geniuses Counter-Strike team, had some harsh words about the current state of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Evan interviewed him to find out more about what bothers him about CS:GO.



It's a good write-up, and the whole incident neatly captures the challenge Valve faces as it attempt to reinvent a competitive shooter with a long history.



Kovanen made one remark that explains the stakes for CS:GO and the pro community. “I believe in eSports. And if there are a lot of people who enjoy the game like I have enjoyed CS 1.6 over the years, good for them. I’m sure there were people who disliked 1.6, yet it has played a big part in how the last seven years of my life, so I’d hope other people get to experience something similar in their lives. I hope it will be successful, but with the way the game currently is and how I believe it will end up without listening to us, I don’t think it can be successful. I wouldn’t be surprised if it got picked up for one or two years at most, and then FPS games got dropped out as a whole because of lack of CS:GO popularity. The ironic thing is all the pros would wanna help to try to make it a decent game because they all know there would be more money, more tournaments, and so on if it was a good game and everyone switched.”



Speaking of Counter-Strike, this would be a good time to watch the Final between ESC and Na`Vi from the IEM tournament last week.







As always, this is by no means comprehensive, and be sure to call out highlights from the week in the comments below. Any other events happening in the next week that you're excited about?
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