The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team just published a blog update detailing how future sets of beta keys for the game will be sent out. Key recipients will be selected from a pool of people that've completed a survey. The survey is a simple template intended to judge your CS savviness, combined with an automated peek at your hardware. Copy this into a Windows Explorer address bar to open Steam and start the survey: steam://takesurvey/2/
Being absolutely honest about your skill, as I have above, is probably in your interest. "Over the coming months we will make selections from the survey participants. Sometimes we might add experienced players, other times new players. Sometimes 1.6 players, sometimes CSS players, sometimes people who have played neither."
"If you don’t fill it out, you won’t be getting a key," reads the post. Of course, Valve also states that active, current CS:GO players can expect to receive keys to gift to their friends through Steam.
The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive beta has sprung into action after a quiet couple of months. Last week the CS:GO website updated with the announcement of the addition of "more maps, more weapons, and most importantly more players." A massive patch added three new maps, Inferno, Train and Nuke and the weapon selection has been expanded with the addition of the Nova shotgun, Bizon and MP7 SMGs.
7,000 beta invites were also set out last week, with another 2000 planned for today. Valve say that they're sending out invites to active Counter-Strike community members, and are running contests on big CS sites like Gamebanana. "We will also have a survey up in the coming weeks that can help you get your name on the list for a key," they say.
The new Counter-Strike blog also mentions Valve's plans to balance the game based on feedback from top CS pros. Their main focus at the moment is on weapon recoil, which is essential to the feel of Counter-Strike's finely balanced guns.
"Recoil is tricky. It isn’t just math. It’s also about feel and one of the defining parts of Counter-Strike," say Valve in the latest blog post. "A few weeks back we had pro player Salvatore “Volcano” Garozzo by our offices and one of his biggest pieces of feedback he gave us was about recoil. It was still too hard to control."
Valve have adjusted weapon recoil twice in the last week, bringing it down and then asking players for their opinions each time. "During this Beta, community feedback is really important to us," they explain. "Counter-Strike has been around for 12 years and has been played by over 25 million players. We want to make sure to capture all of that experience and knowledge as we make Counter-Strike: Global Offensive the best version of Counter-Strike."
Updates to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Beta have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when your Steam client is restarted. The major changes include:
Game Design Issues: - Changed QUICKMATCH default to competitive de_dust2. - Added new maps to local match options: de_inferno, de_train, and de_nuke. - Added new weapons: Nova shotgun, Bizon and MP7 SMGs. - Created a CT-specific version of the Molotov: the incendiary grenade. - Reworked starting cash and bonuses in Casual mode. - Made kill cash awards weapon-specific: AWP pays out $50/kill ($25 in Casual Mode). CQB weapons pay out $900 ($450). The rest pay out the usual $300 ($150). - Limited total number of grenades that can be carried at one time to three, each of a different type. - Adjusted stamina penalties for jumping. It should be easier now to jump up to multiple objects in a row without getting exhausted. - Changed weapon recoil cycle to be controlled by a recoil index which is incremented on each shot. - Reduced movement penalty greatly when players are hit by friendly fire in casual mode. - Implemented skill-based matchmaking system.
Map Issues: - Reduced dust particle effects on de_dust and de_dust2. Initial dust fades out after about 20 seconds. - Updated the nav mesh on de_Dust to improve bot pathing. - Corrected the problem with the bomb being plantable below the ledge on bombsite B in de_dust. - Fixed multiple issues with players being able to get to positions that should be inaccessable or non-visible in de_dust and de_dust2. - Fixed problem with black lines appearing around helicopter in de_dust when helicopter is shot. - Fixed several aesthetic issues and reported exploits on de_dust2.
Stat/Achievement Issues: - Fixed a problem with the fun facts that could cause a claim of more than 100% accuracy for players. - Fixed a bug that allowed players to earn the 'Lost and F0wned' medal while controlling a bot. - Added FCVAR_CHEAT flag to the bot_kill command so it can't be used to earn medals - Updated some medal icons and descriptions to reflect criteria for getting them better. - Made players who controlled bots during a round ineligible for fun facts.
UI Issues: - Fixed classic crosshair not showing up in first-person spectator mode. - Fixed a bug that could cause chat spam when a player changes his/her name. - Redesigned and repositioned the win panel to allow greater visibility of the game. - Hid voice status and weapon panel when HUD is hidden. - Added option in game settings that, when active, closes the buy menu upon purchase of an item. - Redesigned the buy menu. - Moved player team ID from crosshair to player. - Expanded the chat window, making it easier to keep track of chat history. - Changed the UI font for greater legibility. - Made the chat lines behave like a Windows edit control. - Added a scoreboard icon that indicates when a player is in the process of switching teams. - Made music respond to volume slider. - Made chat box disappear after ENTER is pressed. - Fixed the 'pop' visible when the main menu appears when playing in 4:3 or 16:10 aspect ratios. - Added COUCH and DESKTOP play distance options that control hud_scaling and viewmodel_fov convars. - Fixed problem with not being able to switch from windowed to full screen mode. - Removed crosshair spreading behavior when wielding the knife, grenades, or bomb. - Made scoreboard title display correctly above scoreboard in standard def. - Redesigned front-end screens, layouts, and scoreboard to reflect new look for CS:GO. - Improved the messaging for when money is awarded or subtracted. HUD now shows additions and subtractions more clearly, and money events are also reported in chat. - Fixed menus to render correctly in resolutions greater than 1920x1200. - Fixed a bug in which the scoreboard could occasionally disappear. - Added player avatars to the choose team screen. - Fixed problem with UI tint resetting after the choose team screen was opened via the pause menu during a game. - Fixed EDIT and CLEAR buttons on the settings screen sometimes not appearing correctly. - Fixed bug in settings with the acceleration amount slider not resetting correctly when defaults are restored. - Fixed incorrect audio feedback when mousing over empty rows in the settings screens. - Fixed bug that could occur when binding keys in the settings screens, making it impossible to navigate away from the currently active field. - Made the EDIT MIC option in the settings snap to the correct area of the controls screen. - Fixed a case in which throwing a grenade or dropping a weapon and picking up another failed to display the new weapon on the inventory section of the HUD. - Disabled left and right toggles on spectator UI when there's no one left to spectate. - Added a separate icon for the CT-specific knife in the weapon select and death notification text. - Fixed a bug in which remote players controlling a bot were showing up alive again on the mini-scoreboard instead of showing the bot as alive. - Restricted team chat to team members only. - Fixed some problems with the REBUY command that could result in purchasing items other than what you had purchased in the previous round.
Other issues: - Fixed problem with two different pieces of music playing at the same time over the choose team screen after completion of a match. - Added three new mixgroups to handle different weapon sound types. - Restricted the round end warning music cue to playing only when a bomb has not yet been planted. If it's currently playing, it will stop once the bomb has been planted. - Added new music cues for domination and revenge. - Fixed series of bugs in which the wrong weapon was seen during a reload or weapon switch, resulting in odd-looking weapon poses. - Fixed problem with camera stopping inside of players' heads during freeze cam. - Fixed a bug that could cause the spectator camera to be placed halfway through the floor occasionally. - Fixed excessive console spew. - Fixed a crash that could happen when selecting a team without Steam running. - Fixed hang on black screen when players attempt to connect to servers that forbid connection. - Fixed crash that could happen while changing the video settings. - Fixed blurry shadows on players who are walking or running. - Fixed blood so it doesn't show brightly through the fog. - Fixed the visors showing through smoke. - Reduced issues with smoke grenade and fire volumes being visible through thin floors. - Fixed some of the problems with weapons penetrating character geometry in third person. - Addressed an issue which caused bots to shoot over players' heads often. The bots will likely feel more difficult now. - Fixed aliasing artifacts caused by not using centroid sampling when MSAA is enabled. Some players may need to update their video card drivers in order to see the change. - Fixed a bug that caused a player to show as alive briefly after being killed while controlling a bot.
We've dug into Valve's sorta-sequel Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to try and gather some data on the only question we (and probably you, too) care about—what's different? Within, we compare map segments, weapon animations and audio, smoke grenade opacity, bomb planting time, and other elements from all PC versions of Counter-Strike.
Tell us what other aspects of CS you'd like to see scrutinized, and we'll get crackin' on them.
Are you on it? Have you shot many men? Does it still feel like Counter-Strike? The starting gun has gone off, head-shotting a terrorist twenty metres away and signalling the launch of the Global Offensive closed beta. COUNTER-TERRORISTS WIN.
There's a video of the closed beta above, from Evil Avatar. It looks like Counter-Strike, it sounds like Counter-Strike, but does it taste like Counter-Strike? We won't know until we've jumped in and licked the sand on Dust. Valve have said that they'll gradually send out new beta invites until the closed beta is essentially an open beta, so don't worry if you're not in this round of testing.
Details are slowly emerging on Counter-Strike Global Offensive’s closed beta, which is due to start on 30 November. You'll need a key to join in, and it will initially consist of two maps: the ever-popular Dust, and, er, Dust2. “Can't wait to see people getting to play the changes in Dust,” said csgo_dev’s Twitter feed.
It’s very much a closed beta, though. To be in with a chance of playing you’ll need to have grabbed a key from PAX Prime or the Eurogamer Expo. There are likely to be beta key giveaways on certain popular gaming sites in the near future, too.
Don’t panic if you haven’t got a key. This initial closed beta is merely to nip any problems in the bud, and the testing period “will start small and grow until eventually everyone is in,” according to the Twitter feed. The Counter-Strike Global Offensive team are very open to feedback, too. “Everything. Everything is open to change in the beta,” they said.
This preview originally appeared in PC Gamer UK issue 233.
Since shortly after its first beta release back in 1999, this tactical, team-based Half-Life mod has dominated the competitive firstperson shooter scene, while countless hours of community yelling have made it a tight, balanced experience. A brief foray onto consoles in 2003 failed to expand the audience away from its PC home, so why are Valve attempting to create what they’re calling the ‘definitive’ version of a game that people like just fine as it is?
“We had been looking to create an XBLA version of Counter-Strike: Source as a sort of nostalgia thing,” explains Chet Faliszek, whose role on the game is loosely defined as ‘writer’. “But pretty quickly we began to realise how much we liked the game and it grew to something bigger.”
The team have decided to make some changes to the tried and tested formula. Classic maps such as Dust have been tweaked and, while other stalwarts such as Inferno and Nuke will return, they’re joined by new maps designed specifically for the Arsenal modes. The new modes are based on the popular Counter-Strike: Source mod Gun Game, in which players start with a pistol and earn a new weapon with each consecutive kill. Many of these new environments are said to be inspired by other titles in the Valve canon, though they’re holding back specifics.
The graphics have also undergone an overhaul, though they could hardly be described as beautiful so much as robustly functional. Eight new weapons have been added too. These pack tactical characteristics, as well as additional firepower. For example, the Molotov cocktail is intended as much for blocking off areas of the map as causing damage to enemies. Meanwhile, the Zeus is a oneuse, Taser-style weapon that costs an eyewatering $1,000 of your load-out bank.
Playing it though, it’s very much the Counter-Strike you’ll be familiar with, and Faliszek is keen to emphasise that the experience hasn’t been compromised through its shared appearance on consoles. “This is absolutely a PC experience,” he says. “One of the rules we had is that it’s going to be Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike. There is no auto-aim; it’s absolutely a game of skill. PC players will still be able to mod the game, host dedicated servers and all of the things that have made Counter-Strike such an enduring experience.”
Indeed, Valve looked carefully at what the community were doing in Counter- Strike and borrowed traits, including shorter round times and even entire match modes. Counter-Strike has always grown up in public, shaped by the rallying calls of the people who love it the most. While Valve are claiming CS:GO will be the definitive version, it’s still the community that will decide its future.
The Global Offensive closed beta was to kick off with 10,000 participants this month, but CVG report that Valve have pushed it back a while after criticism from the pro players they have testing the game.
"They gave us a lot of feedback on things we should get in the game before we release it, otherwise we're going to be getting a lot of bug reports or a lot of feedback and it would just be redundant," said Valve's Chet Faliszeck.
"The closed beta will gradually expand to include more and more players, until "by the end of it, everyone will be playing the game. It will be the released game that you're playing and then at some point we'll say, 'OK we're going to officially release it.'"
"We have no mandate from anybody of when we have to ship this. So we're more than happy to just keep working on this until it's ready to ship."
That means we probably shouldn't expect the full release any time soon, but there are already pro competitions popping up. Check out one hour of professional battling from the Intel Extreme Masters.
PC Gamer Digital Episode 5 is now available for download on Steam, and it's all about some of the most beloved PC classics ever made: Diablo, Tribes, and Counter-Strike. But we're not just slurping up a big bowl of nostalgia soup - all of these landmark PC series are charging back to the front lines of gaming, and Episode 5 is full of exclusive interactive content (and a bit of nostalgia soup) on each, including a tour of every character class in the Diablo III beta, an exclusive 360-degree tour of one of Tribes: Ascend's expansive landscapes, and an interactive comparison of the famous de_dust in Counter-Strike: Source and the upcoming Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
And Episode 5 doesn't end there - it may be our biggest yet, so now is an especially superb time to find out how PC Gamer itself has built on its classic roots by downloading the free PC Gamer Digital base application and checking it out. We'll see you there!
Here's more on what you'll find in Episode 5...
PCG Plays: Diablo III Editors Dan Stapleton and Tyler Wilde jump into the Diablo III beta for a click-happy go at each of its five unique character classes: Witch Doctor, Wizard, Barbarian, Demon Hunter, and Monk. See which were Dan and Tyler's favorites, and get prepared for your first run when the game releases early next year.
Tribes: Ascend - GameView Interactive Preview Survey the upcoming free-to-play shooter Tribes: Ascend in a self-guided, interactive tour of one of its expansive maps, and get a strategic head start before the beta launches!
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - The Remaking of Dust See the reimagining of Counter-Strike's most iconic map in our interactive comparison of CS: Source and Global Offensive, with commentary from PC Gamer Senior Editor Evan Lahti.
Art of the Shooter - Interactive Gallery Discover the artwork which became the foundation for some of most celebrated PC shooters ever made, with insights from the artists and developers themselves. Inspect every detail, or sit back and soak it all in - it's up to you!
World of Warcraft Protip: Critter Achievements Learn how to snag three World of Warcraft Achievements with ease! It all depends on how much malice you harbor for small animals.