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Old 29th January 2012, 05:14 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Blog: Volcano & sapphiRe in Seattle for CS:GO


Heather "sapphiRe" Mumm on Fri, 01/27/2012 10:54PM




Several months ago, Counter-Strike legend Sal "Volcano" Garozzo was invited to the Intel Extreme Masters event in New York specifically to meet with with developers involved in the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive project. Given Sal's unique experience as a player that competed at the top level of Counter-Strike 1.6, Counter-Strike: Source and even a brief stint with Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, in addition to his experience in level design and programming, Sal hoped to provide valuable feedback as CS:GO evolved. Consequently, Sal was eager to get in contact with Valve to initiative the discussions.

Since his initial meeting with Valve in New York, Sal has remained actively engaged with the game's developers. Since CS:GO was announced, Valve made it publicly aware that competitive player feedback is encouraged and welcomed. Consequently, Sal saw it as an opportunity to provide weekly feedback throughout the closed beta phase. Sal made sure to get contact emails and continued to send his thoughts over to Valve after playing the beta every day for a month.

As a result of his efforts to relay feedback to the developer team, Sal was invited to Seattle to demonstrate some of his suggestions on-site and to provide additional recommendations for CS:GO.

I had also tagged along to the Intel Extreme Masters event and was able to get a first hand look at the game. Valve was kind enough to invite me along on the Seattle trip. Yesterday, Sal and I began our journey to the West Coast.



Found in the Valve lobby

Upon arriving at the Valve Headquarters, located east of Seattle in Bellevue, Sal and I felt we walked into nerd heaven. The Valve lobby was like a gaming museum, with figurines from Portal on display, custom Left 4 Dead and Half Life computer cases lining the room, and a montage to Aperture Laboratories and Gordon Freeman shown on the lobby's TV. Located in the center of the room was a giant Valve.

We met up with Chet Faliszek who escorted us up to the CS:GO floor of the building. For those unfamiliar, Chet is a writer for Valve. He has been responsible for creating the story for Half Life 2: Episode One & Episode Two, Portal 1 & 2, and Left 4 Dead. His resume speaks volumes.

Chet has been closely involved with the CS:GO project since its inception.

As two people that work in the cube-style, corporate world, Sal and I were amused by the even the most minor of elements within the Valve office. It is a very collaborative style layout, with very modern furnishings. The desks are all on wheels and the heights are adjustable. This allows employees to move their desks to other areas of the office with ease. Everyone has a minimum of two monitors, but most have three or four. A number of employees work standing up for part of the day, then lower the desk to sit for the remaining hours. Many employees use medicine balls for chairs, others use $1,000 Herman Miller Aeron chairs. Every employee's desk has some sort of Valve memorabilia on it, from a demoman figurine to a companion cube and even a blow-up P-body.

We were given a quick tour of the floor. Custom game character paintings lined the walls. A classroom was located just down the hall where 20 computers were set up for students that came into the office to learn various game-related topics. A private bathroom with a shower was nearby for those long nights or after a trip to the fitness center, located on another floor. The lunch room was equipped with a plentiful supply of snacks.

After our tour, we headed out to lunch. We were joined by a number of Chet's coworkers. One was Mike Belzer who we had met in New York as well. Mike also has a rich history as someone that worked at the Disney Animation Studios and contributed to a number of Pixar films. Previously, he was involved in animating Gumby and The Nightmare Before Christmas, among with other notable films. Now he's working on animation at Valve. The lunch trip also included several level designers, animator, architects, statisticians, and artists, among others. It felt mesmerizing to be surrounded by such talented people that are involved in the game that I've loved for so many years.



Following a fancy lunch, we headed back to Valve where Sal and I were given two computers to set-up on. We were eager to get our hands on an updated version of CS:GO, different from the one we've been playing for the past two months.

We were set-up with our temporary custom steam accounts (with thousands upon thousands of games!) thanks to Ido Magal. Ido is a lead on the CS:GO project. He has worked closely with a number of professional players, including Sal, during their time in New York.

Sal and I had come with a lengthy list of changes, suggestions and modifications we'd like to see based on our time in the closed beta. Sal also brought with him a list of the top three ideas from ten CS 1.6 & CS:S professionals. Some were absolute must haves, others were merely minor suggestions, and a few were some radical ideas (You can blame/thank da_bears if a "drugbust" mode gets implemented into CS:GO but I wouldn't count on that happening!). When designing a game for both competitive players and the masses, there is always going to be some conflict of interest in various decisions so while we didn't expect every suggestion to be implemented, we were very hopeful about a handful of ideas given the fact that Valve has been quite receptive to feedback thus far. More on that to come but just wanted to quickly note how impressed I was with how much data, both quantitative and qualitative, Valve has been collecting to analyze and utilize as the game evolves.

Immediately, we were able to at least cross off a few items from our list once we started, such as stamina related to boosting and an improvement to the scoreboard interface to allow for easier reading. We only had about 30 minutes to play since we were scheduled to head over to Hidden Path Entertainment for the remainder of the afternoon. Instead of going through our entire list of ideas, we were distracted by the desire to check out the CS:GO version of several classic maps.

We went into my personal favorite, de_inferno. There are two changes on the map that cut off angles and peeks that previously existed in CS:Source but didn't necessarily harm strategy. One change makes the map more like the CS 1.6 version. The gameplay should be nearly identical for CS:S players. For CS 1.6 players that are concerned about "clutter" in the CS:S version, de_inferno in CS:GO actually feels a bit more simplified. I couldn't find any dynamic props such as the barrel top in CS:S that gets kicked around in banana. The props that did exist were static. Overall, I would say the new version is a happy medium for both types of CS players.



Hidden Path Entertainment

At 3:00pm, our driver picked us up and took us a few miles away to Hidden Path Entertainment. HPE was contracted by Valve to work on CS:Source and now they've been kept on-board for CS:GO. We met up with Steve Kramer and Peter Freese. Steve is working on CS:GO gameplay and Peter is the programmer.

We brought along our checklist of ideas from both ourselves and other CS 1.6 & CS:S professionals. We entered into a nearly four hour long conversation about CS:GO, CS:S and even CS 1.6. Sal did most of the talking since he's the professional, but I chimed in every now and then.

It was an absolutely eye-opening experience. As someone whose programming knowledge is very basic, I was amazed to learn about all the technicalities of game design. Steve said one thing that really resonated with me.... His most powerful tool as a game designer is Microsoft Excel. Every part of the game really comes down to numbers, graphs and statistical models. Though Steve said one other thing that I'm sure every competitive player can appreciate. Even though every change is driven by numbers, "feel" is just as important. You can change a value that would numerically make sense, but does that feel right? That's where we come in. That's where you come in.

And that brought us into a discussion about player feedback. Everything comes down to a number and then testing that number to see how it feels.

One of my biggest pet peeves throughout the closed beta phase has been reading player feedback that sounds like this.

"I don't like it. It needs to be more like CS 1.6."
"I don't like it. It needs to be more like CS:S."

Well, what needs to be more like CS 1.6? The recoil? Ok. What about the recoil? Is it really the recoil that is "wrong"? Or is it because you're having trouble seeing bullet impacts so you're not able to control your recoil? Or is there a different issue at play?

I was able to dig into the numbers behind recoil. It is simply just a pattern in number format. Even in CS:GO. No different than CS 1.6 or CS:S. Maybe the pattern has changed, but it's still just a repeating pattern that needs to be learned. One recoil pattern was learned by CS players in 2000. Another pattern was learned by CS:S players in 2005. Is it the right pattern? That I'm not so sure about yet and I'm sure it will be debated by many. Does it feel right? That is another question to ask. My personal feeling is that it could be tightened up a bit but I'm sure everyone has their own wishes. What I am sure of is that feedback should be provided throughout the beta phase, both good and bad, from all participants regarding all elements of the game.

After discussing feedback with both Valve and HPE, they reinforced the importance of eloquently sharing feedback and I'd like to extend the same thoughts to you. Constructive feedback that is actionable is far superior to a list of ranting.

Valve and HPE were both thrilled to welcome feedback that is informed, realistic, constructive and actionable.

Hidden Path Entertainment's lobby

Anyways... back in the HPE office, we were shown several graphs on a markerboard to explain grenade damage, base inaccuracy, hitboxes and weapon animation not only in CS:GO but in other Counter-Strike games. Despite playing this game for 10+ years, I never put a number behind the strategies I use. But numbers exist. In a way, I had hoped everyone had this opportunity to dig into the details behind the game. It can only improve ones gameplay style to understand exactly how, for example, grenade damage is distributed. I was never more excited to get back to a computer and play CS than I was that day.

After a lengthy, but informative discussion of Counter-Strike, we took a quick tour around the HPE office. Once again, we were greeted by a very collaborative, relaxed atmosphere. One room had an entire wall full of professional artwork. The paintings were of Counter-Strike player models that didn't make the cut into the game. The refrigerator was custom made. It was named "The Defense Fridge", a play on "Defense Grid", one of HPE's most famous titles.

The lobby was lined with game boxes from all the shipped titles that involved HPE. We spent another thirty minutes talking to Steve. It was so refreshing to see how passionate he was about game design.

When I'm sitting at home behind my computer, it's hard to realize what truly goes into making this game I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours playing. I forget that there are passionate people over at Valve and HPE that practically pour their soul into it. It was around 7:30pm that evening. I, along with many, would have headed home by now after the work day. But the employees at Valve and HPE were still hard at work and it seemed like they were there by choice. I would imagine their work hours ended at least an hour ago, but none showed any signs of complaining. The usual office would have someone saying "Is it 5:00pm yet?" or "This has been a looooooong day." I never once witnessed that at Valve & HPE.

Blog: Day 2 at Valve


Heather "sapphiRe" Mumm on Sat, 01/28/2012 8:43PM



Our first day at the Valve headquarters was spent mostly being introduced to various people involved in the CS:GO project. The plan for Day 2 was to go through the list of painpoints and suggestions Sal had prepared, along with the list from other CS 1.6 & CS:S professionals.

We arrived at Valve around 11:00 AM. We weren't able to get into the beta right away because it was in the process of being updated. So instead, we headed into a conference room with several Valve employees to chat.



Sal had prepared eight pages of bulleted thoughts that we discussed over several hours. Those fearing Sal is "too nice" to share his discrepancies would surely be proven incorrect here if they were a fly on the wall. Valve had asked him outfront not to hold back any ideas or concerns which Sal had planned to do from the get-go regardless.

A condensed list of the items up for discussion included controlling recoil, footstep radius and volume, ambient noise, dust sprites and ambiance, HE grenade damage and armor penetration, AWP delay, grenade cooldown, HUD text & UI, competitive vs. casual mode differentiation, friendly fire damage, among other items. (Sal's entire list of suggestions will be withheld for a future blog that he will author.)

One note to point out is that this list was created prior to us playing the updates Valve had been applying to the development version of the beta so some didn't necessarily apply anymore as they had already been addressed.

Every idea we brought to the table was written down on a notepad by the developers. Some suggestions were met with immediate agreement and we were told they they were already on or will be added the "to do" list. Other ideas required some debate and compromise. Then there were more ideas that were put on the backburner as they required more data. As I had mentioned in my Day One blog, Valve collects massive amount of data, both quantitative (numbers) and qualitative (player feedback).

Anyone familiar with statistics will know that a larger sample size is generally optimal to improve your confidence index, hence assuring the decisions you are making are shared with the sample population. This is where we told the broader beta phase will come into play. The first beta allowed access to a very small population and was primarily focused on testing game stability. When the beta opens to a broader audience, that is where Valve will watch the numbers and watch the feedback to determine next steps. It was enormously interesting to learn about the entire process and dig through some of the numbers.


Valve really wasn't kidding when they made that tweet. They literally analyze every bullet fired and any possible metric you could gather from that data. At least for me, since I'm a qualitative and quantitative data analyst by trade, I was blown away by the entire process.

Since the closed beta was for monitoring stability rather than responding to feedback on a whim, it will be interesting to watch how both the quantitative and qualitative feedback collected through the broader beta phase will drive decision making for future updates. Learning Valve's entire process for collecting data and feedback, analyzing the results and creating a plan was incredibly interesting. It gave me a sense of hope to know so much thought goes into even the most minor of decisions and moreover, that the competitive communities feedback is heard and welcomed.

One of the many Microsoft buildings

Following our meeting in the conference room, we went back to our computers to check if the update was complete. Since we were still waiting on a few additional changes, we had decided it was a good time for lunch. Yet again, we were treated to a five-star steakhouse, located within one of the many Microsoft buildings. We were joined by Brian, one of Valve's many psychologists on staff. Yeah, that's right. A Psychologist. I was just as surprised. Brian's profile is not listed on the Valve website but to reference another employees bio, here is what a psychologist does at a gaming studio. "Applies both psychological knowledge and methodologies to game design. Essentially this means he gets to play with data, perform research, and act as an in-house consultant of sorts." Here is another quote from Valve's career page regarding their psychologist position. A psychologist "design(s) experiments to evaluate various gameplay hypotheses and design choices."

Even if Math or Psychology were never your favorite subjects, a Counter-Strike fan can still appreciate a discussion with Brian. This was one of our favorite parts of the trip. When Brian demonstrated how data can explain and predict human behavior in a video game, we were blown away. He showed us data and a hypothesis about strategy on a particular map. We explained how game play actually works in competitive play. The two were nearly perfectly aligned. Unfortunately, it isn't my place to go into the fine details but it was just another realization of how truly intelligent these people are.



After geeking out with numbers, Sal and I headed back to our desks, plugged in our gaming gear and got to work.

One of the things that drove us crazy in the beta that is currently being played is the loss of stamina when boosting. For example, try boosting players onto catwalk from CT spawn. It is enormously frustrating. This is because a player was losing stamina for jumping onto objects. That issue was thankfully resolved based on community feedback so boosting felt no different than in CS 1.6 and CS:S.

Another beta element that bothered me was the scoreboard UI. It was difficult to hit tab and quickly absorb information. I died one too many times with my scoreboard left up as I was trying to understand who had the bomb, who was alive and who was dead. That should be less of a problem with the new version. It still has a "money" column, which I hope remains a permanent change. A player's "score" is still there, which I think for competitive player isn't too useful, but at least in this new iteration, it's far enough away from a player's F ratio and money that it doesn't become overwhelming. The changes were a direct result of Volcano's feedback that he had emailed in prior to our meeting.

Volcano in the Valve lobby

Also, I started using the new crosshair rather than the legacy crosshair thanks to our discussion with HPE. Sal and I both immediately switched to the legacy crosshair in the beta because the extra bars felt distracting. After a lengthy discussion about how the additional bars show recoil based on weapon and based on player position (standing vs. crouching vs. running vs. walking), I promised to at least give it a try. After using the same crosshair for more than ten years, it took some getting used to but has allowed me better control in the game's current state. I'm glad to see that players have the choice of using either crosshair style based on preference. Allowing for the customization of various options is what I'd consider to be ideal to satisfy both the competitive and casual communities.

On our list of changes was a reworking of dust sprites, specifically on de_dust2. We didn't necessarily plan to insist they had to be removed, since we understand Valve wants to make a visual appealing game as well, but we had hoped dust sprites could be moved to areas where gun battles don't often happen. That was another change we could check off our list right away. This had already been changed based on feedback during the closed beta. For example, the middle area of de_dust2 was cleaned up. It was easier to see down middle from T-spawn, without dust sprites blurring vision. Some were removed entirely from the B bombsite as well and placed off to the side in the B halls. Overall, de_dust2 felt less "foggy" compared to the current version in CS:GO.



While running around on de_dust2, I had remembered an exploit that Westerman had found. I showed this to the developers. They demonstrated how to submit a bug report. The bug was then flagged to someone involved in the map team and a resolution was already in the works.

Heading into de_inferno, I found another area where a player could boost to see through a wall in banana. Bug report submitted. That took Sal and I on a bug-submitting journey.

CS:S players will be happy to know I submitted several bug reports for exploits that have been the bane of my existence as an ESEA-League administrator. Examples include throwing flashes through the cement encasing on the roof of de_nuke, seeing shadows cast on ceilings, through walls and through doors, among others.

TF2 posters lining the walls

One issue in CS:S (and on de_dust2 in CS:GO) that can be very frustrating is when players can peek through tiny cracks between stacks of boxes and barrels within the actual model. It's not necessarily the act of seeing through that is the problem because it isn't necessarily an exploit that a crack exists. However, the knowledge you gain as the peeker compared to the limited perspective the opponent has can cause some imbalance.

For example, in CS:GO, a CT-player in the A bombsite can peek down long A through a crack within a stack of boxes to see with near perfection. The terrorist would be able to see the light contrast if a player was strafing in and out of the crack, but a CT model staying perfectly still would be difficult to identify unless the terrorist player had an AWP.

As a result, Volcano fought vigorously for a solution to this problem. He proposed two solutions that could work. Either boxes and barrels be pushed closer together to disallow gaps or the gaps should be slightly increased so players on both sides can gain similar knowledge. Valve seemed very welcoming to this idea following Volcano's persistence.

In CS 1.6, only a handful of boxes have tiny gaps in them compared to CS:S, but those boxes can be spammed so the trade-off is more balanced. It has always been a painpoint in CS:S so we hoped issue would head in a positive direction as CS:GO evolves.

For the remainder of the day, we went through an extensive review of de_dust2, de_dust, de_inferno, de_nuke, de_train and de_aztec to find any exploits that need to be resolved.

Once again, the Valve employees were all working diligently (and quietly) at their desks until 7:30pm when we headed out the door.

I was hoping to play my ESEA playoff match from the Valve offices, but decided it was best to head back to my hotel so I don't distract those working around me with my mouse slamming and play calling throughout the match.

Instead, I hustled back to the hotel, fired up my laptop and phone tether and played my match with a glorious 150-300 ping and 30 FPS. It was a disappointing end to another insightful and enjoyable day. But at least I was able to outfrag Wizard ( not like that isn't a standard already ;-] )
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Old 13th February 2012, 09:03 AM   #32 (permalink)
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looks good i might give it ago........
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Old 18th February 2012, 02:22 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Feb 14th

CS:GO Beta Expansion Underway + Updated!


That’s right folks – the wait is now (partially) over. A few hours ago Valve updated the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive beta and launched the proper CS:GO beta (as opposed to the previous stress test). Notable features of the update include Dust2 now being the default map for matchmaking and the addition of popular maps Inferno, Nuke and Train to the custom match map selection. In addition to other numerous small changes and bugfixes, three new weapons – the Nova shotgun and the PP-Bizon and MP7 SMGs – have been added as well.
You can see the full changelist at the end of this post or by visiting the Steam News page. In addition to the large update, Valve updated the official CS:GO website over at Counter-Strike.net with a sexy new layout and a blog post detailing their plans for expansion of the beta, which begins now! The top 500 players of CS:GO have been given gift keys that they can give to a friend, and additionally the top 7000 most active players of previous versions of Counter-Strike (CS 1.6 and CS:Source) will be given free access to the CS:GO beta this week. Valve also has said that major community sites (presumably places like ESEA and HLTV) will be given keys to distribute on their own. We aren’t sure if we are on that list or not but once we know we’ll post more about it.
For everybody else, Valve will be releasing a short survey in coming weeks that players can fill out in order to be added to the list for getting a CS:GO beta key. We’ll let you know the moment that survey appears. For now here’s the full changelog for today’s CS:GO patch:
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 1920×1200.
- 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.
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Old 18th February 2012, 02:52 PM   #34 (permalink)
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CS:GO Facts


Q) How can I get into the beta?
A) Be active in the CS community. We are giving keys out to active players both in game and in the community. We will also have a survey up in the coming weeks that can help you get your name on the list for a key.


Q)How do I activate the console?
A) Activate the console in Help & Options -> Game Settings -> Enable developer console. This will then allow you to open the console using the tilde key ~.

Q)How do I open the server browser?
A) The current version of the beta does not support a server browser. This feature will be added later.

Q) Can I host my own dedicated server?
A) Not at this stage in the beta. The full version of CSGO will allow community run dedicated servers on both Windows and Linux.

Q) How do I start a local game?
A) Click Play -> Create Match -> Choose your map and game mode. To have other players connect to you they will need to know your IP address and use that to connect in the console with “connect youripaddress”. The full game will have a server browser that will let you easily start local games.

Q)Can I make maps for CSGO?
A) Yes, there will be a new SDK available after the full game has been released. During the beta you can start laying out your map ideas with the current Counter-Strike: Source SDK.

Q) How do I report a bug in the beta?
A) Please use our steam forums for now.

Q) How do I play competitively?
A) To start with, we only support lan competitive play. Matchmaking into competitive play will be enabled later in the beta.

Q) Why does my crosshair change size?
A) The crosshair consists of multiple parts. The most obvious section is the dot in the middle which is used for aiming. The traditional cross hatch moves as you move and provides rough accuracy. The brackets represent the weapon accuracy at all times including being stationary and firing.

Q) Why can I sometimes defuse the bomb faster than other times?
A) On the counter-terrorist side if you are carrying a defuse kit it will halve the defuse time. The defuse kit appears as a small pair of needle nose pliers in the lower right corner of your in-game UI.

Q)What are the minimum and/or suggested system specs?
A) While we are still developing the game these are in flux. The early stages of the beta will help us better set those suggestions.

Q) Why aren’t the characters solid?
A) In Casual mode players can pass through each other as their bodies are not solid. In Competitive mode the player’s bodies are solid and they cannot pass through each other. This also allows for player stacking in competitive mode.

Q) Will there be more weapons?
A) Yes, the current version of the beta has a limited selection of the weapons.

Q) Will there be more character models?
A) Yes, the current version of the beta has a limited number of character models.

Q) Will there be more modes?
A) Yes. We are currently only showing one

Q) When will the game ship?
A) You tell us. We are committed to staying in the beta period for as long as we need to create the best version of Counter-Strike.

Q) Will there be team match making?
A) Yes. We will be adding this feature later.

Q) Will there be a replay system?
A) Yes, we will be implementing this feature at a later date.

Q) What tools will there be for spectating?
A) The current version the beta has very limited tools for spectating a match. We will be improving those tools and features during the beta.

Q) How will CS:GO be available?
A) CS:GO will be available in download form from Steam, PSN, and XBLA. The beta is only available for PC players on Steam.

Q)How can I see my ping?
A) We will be adding a visual representation of ping later but for now if you go into the console and enter net_graph 1 and see your ping and FPS statistics.

Q)Are there any plans to open up games to more than 5v5?
A) Yes but the beta will continue to be 5v5 for a period.

Q)Will the text be localized?
A) Text localization will be updated as the beta progresses.

Q) Is the beta available on the Mac?
A) Currently the beta is PC only but we will have full Mac support at launch.
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Old 4th March 2012, 06:02 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Looks good, want a key D:
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Old 11th March 2012, 03:01 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Arsenal Mode

9 Mar 2012 -
Today we are releasing the first Arsenal: Demolition map into the beta. Along with the new mode and map, there are numerous bug fixes and graphical updates. The complete release notes can be found here.
Arsenal Demolition is a fast paced mix of bomb planting and gun progression. There are no buy menus, you start with a rifle and if you get a kill that round – you get a progressively weaker weapon in the next round.
After 5 rounds the sides switch and you do it again, for a total of 10 rounds.
This mode is based on the Gun Game mod. The traditional version of Gun Game will appear later in CS:GO as Arsenal: Arms Race.
Special thanks to the GG Team for all their help.
We are also adding 10,000 more players into the beta today.
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Old 15th March 2012, 04:03 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Whilst I dont disagree with alot that is said here I do know that they are no where near finished so take it as the pro giving Valve a warning more than the end result ... DeeP

14 Mar 2012
Pro Counter-Strike player slams CS:GO: “It’s not fun. It’s a terrible game right now.”

Valve, who continues to expand the beta for CS:GO before a release this summer, has been vocal about its cooperation with the eSports community. But Tomi “lurppis” Kovanen believes that message hasn’t been backed up by game design that’s conducive to a competitive game. In a thread on the official forums, Kovanen calls CS:GO “terrible” and “not by any means fun.” He adds: “That's what every top player thinks as far as I can tell.”

These aren’t the complaints of a forum wildman, they’re from someone who formerly led Evil Geniuses’ CS team, and who's earned $340,000 in (team) prize money playing CS since 2005. Why does Kovanen feel this way? I spoke with him to get more perspective on what he describes as a “handicapped” game.

In our interview, Kovanen, a CS 1.6 player, pointed to map changes, bad visibility, player movement, and recoil as aspects of design that he believes undermine CS:GO’s chances at being a good competitive game.

“I played CS:GO for three hours a night, four nights in a row for the CES Plantronics thing. And on day four I still couldn’t tell who was a CT or a T. So I just shot everyone at first to find out if they’re a teammate or an enemy,” Kovanen says of CS:GO’s “desaturated” lighting. “It feels almost black and white. It's really hard to see player models from textures or random objects in the map.”

Changes to map geometry and layout are another sour point for Kovanen. “De_train is the worst with two towers, the bomb train in the middle of outside, oversized trains, ladders on the sides of trains, most of trains removed in the inner site, et cetera. De_nuke has a lot of its best parts removed without backstairs to lower and back bombsite and short hall in lower. It all feels like they just really want to handicap the game by making it easier.” From Valve’s perspective, these map changes are probably in place to shake up tactics that’ve held up for more than a decade and accommodate new items and new game balance. Kovanen later added: “The game even has casual and competitive modes, I don’t understand why they cant make them vastly different if necessary, sort of like a built-in ProMod.”

Kovanen is also unhappy about weapon recoil. “Right now it feels like the recoil is just too strong,” he says. “It’s really hard to control (if even possible) and it feels like you could never spray at a spot, turn 90 degrees and still be accurate at another guy. You're basically stuck one-bulleting people or going for mindless sprays which might result in two people emptying their clips at one another with both people surviving. The bullet tracers are also really annoying and I don’t understand why they’re even in the game, It seems like another effect to make it more console-like; it’s just something more that will get in the way of seeing things clearly.”

Other figures in CS’ competitive community have been outspoken about CS:GO’s current weapon feedback. Former pro and now-caster Jimmy Whisenhunt believes that screen movement is the issue, not recoil.

CS:GO vs CS 1.6 - Is the recoil really wrong? - YouTube

I asked Kovanen what aspect of CS:GO he’d like to see changed most. “Player movement. Not only does that play a giant role in the game being fun, it adds a lot of skill to it as well. One of the things that makes CS:GO so frustrating to play is that the movement feels sluggish and slow and you don’t feel in perfect control of your character."

But Kovanen, who played on Team Europe in Valve’s first big CS:GO showmatch late last year, says all this criticism stems from wanting the game to succeed. “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.”

Valve continues to make changes to CS:GO leading up to the game's summer release.
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Old 15th March 2012, 04:12 PM   #38 (permalink)
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This is more promising to us PC players



Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to arrive this summer, cross platform play dropped


CS:GO should be with us come summer, according to Valve, giving us a bit of time to train our mouse hand muscles and hone our twitch headshot skills before inevitably suffering repetitive death at the hands of seasoned CS 1.6 pros on release. Those pros can't touch console bros, though. Valve's Chet Faliszeck yesterday told Joystiq cross-platform play is gone from CS:GO. Awww.

There's a good reason, though. "The beta has proved we want to update not just the beta, but the game itself post-launch frequently on the PC," Faliszeck told Joystiq, "To do that we need to separate the platforms so one doesn't hamstring the other. So for that, we have removed the idea of cross-platform play -- essentially make all platforms stronger by not mixing them."

Seems fair. It'll mean more updates for us PC players, most likely. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is currently in beta. You can complete a Steam survey for a chance to claim a spot ahead of release. Meanwhile, let me introduce you to some new CS:GO screenshots. I'm sure you'll get on like a house on fire.
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Old 24th March 2012, 03:37 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Movement

23 Mar 2012 -
Today’s update contains bug fixes, new weapons, new maps and a change to quick matching. You can find the complete notes here.
Last week we talked in general on how we handle community feedback. Today’s update is a good example of the end results. Today’s changelist is comprised of work we were doing, bug fixes, feedback from earlier weeks, and some recent feedback. While the community helped with feedback on a great deal of today’s changes, we are going to look at one piece in particular.
Movement.
Movement is a hard problem, there are many factors that come into play and both CS:1.6 and CS:S movement have very different feels.
The general feedback on CS:GO has been that the movement feels sluggish and constrained. In a private forum we run for pro-player feedback, pR. came in with some suggested values. We tried them and started a back and forth with him and J3Di. During this we nailed down what you have in today’s update. They were able to give details and suggestions on the general feedback.
Are these values final? Maybe? Maybe not? Maybe for now? We don’t know until more players try them and give us their feedback. This is how the process works and we appreciate all those players helping us get these right.
We are trying to get these values right for shipping our default servers. Anyone running their own servers will be able to adjust these numbers as they see fit for their communities. This will be the next stage in the beta where 3rd party server operators can start giving feedback on what they see working with different configurations and that will feedback will work its way back into the beta as well. We aren’t quite ready for that stage yet but we are working on it.


Parity

22 Mar 2012 -
Part of our process at Valve is to make predictions and then test them. So we try to eliminate as much irrelevant noise from the testing process as possible. For ballistics comparisons in CS:GO, we made firing range maps for all three versions: CS, CS:S, and CS:GO. We figure that the community might want to run their own and discuss their results. So we’re making them available here: CS, CSS, CSGO. Let us know how you’re testing.
Here are the results from a quick test to compare standing single AK47 shots at a distance of 3072. ( These screenshots were taken close to the targets after the test, not from the firing line. )



Hitboxes

20 Mar 2012 -

Some of the changes in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are visible and some are felt. All of the changes interplay with the others.
One change that people may have missed, and whose impact might be mis-attributed to other factors, is that the hitboxes in CS:GO are smaller. You can mouse-over the above image to see the differences.
In Counter-Strike: Source the generous hitboxes expanded on the character’s model. In CS:GO the hitboxes more accurately portray the character. A near miss? Is a miss.
How does this compare to Counter-Strike: 1.6? The actual hitboxes surrounding the characters in 1.6 are generous, like in CS:S, but the models are smaller, so they’re harder to hit. So this was one change where we wanted to split the difference between the two games. We use the more appealing larger model size but still force players to be more accurate.
Armed with this knowledge, does this change your opinion on weapon accuracy? Let us know.



Beta Status

16 Mar 2012 -
The beta so far has been great and being a great beta means it has been rocky. We have had crashes, we have had bugs, and we have had great feedback that has changed the game. All of that makes sense. This is a game in development, a development you are part of.
Since this is our first game together, we should explain a few things up front and show you how we incorporate feedback.
Some feedback we simply act on, others we will look at the cause of the problem, and some we will get more data on. No feedback is ignored.
For some feedback, we simply want to collect more data. How are the changes in money working? Let’s have people play and then analyze the changes.
Other bits are straight forward. Lengthen the rounds in Arsenal: Demolition. Sure, makes sense. You will see that change this week.
Other bug reports are simple and tucked away. There is a bug with the scoreboard. Yep. Thanks for reporting it. We now know it is there and will fix it, we just have more important bugs to fix first.
Some are like fog or weapons. They are ongoing. For example, we have again adjusted the fog level in all maps with this update. You also helped us identify a bug in the particle systems that we will update next week.
This week’s update includes de_dust2_se. You will be able to access it through the map command “map de_dust2_se” in the console. This is a version of Dust2 with the fog off, props removed, cables removed, and particle effects removed. It was created especially for pro-competitive play and leagues.
We are consuming the feedback. We are listening to all and acting on some.
Our Friday updates are not the sum of all our work. It is what we have ready and tested for that week.
We don’t post what is coming in two weeks because of your feedback and how we work. While some of the update is planned in advance to test a feature or change, for feedback you have raised we are more iterative. So if you asked us a few weeks ago about how we would solve a specific problem – we might have told you a different answer than what we shipped today.
Our process allows us to adapt and make changes along the way so we aren’t locked into to just one solution.
Thanks again for all the feedback; we do read it. If it is a discussion, we normally do not like to voice our opinion on the forums because it is much more interesting to see the community work through the problem. This is why we suggest posting bugs to the forums. The discussion and solutions always get better with more people looking at them.
Enjoy this week’s update which includes Italy and chickens.
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Old 25th March 2012, 08:09 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Movement

23 Mar 2012 -
Today’s update contains bug fixes, new weapons, new maps and a change to quick matching. You can find the complete notes here.
Last week we talked in general on how we handle community feedback. Today’s update is a good example of the end results. Today’s changelist is comprised of work we were doing, bug fixes, feedback from earlier weeks, and some recent feedback. While the community helped with feedback on a great deal of today’s changes, we are going to look at one piece in particular.
Movement.
Movement is a hard problem, there are many factors that come into play and both CS:1.6 and CS:S movement have very different feels.
The general feedback on CS:GO has been that the movement feels sluggish and constrained. In a private forum we run for pro-player feedback, pR. came in with some suggested values. We tried them and started a back and forth with him and J3Di. During this we nailed down what you have in today’s update. They were able to give details and suggestions on the general feedback.
Are these values final? Maybe? Maybe not? Maybe for now? We don’t know until more players try them and give us their feedback. This is how the process works and we appreciate all those players helping us get these right.
We are trying to get these values right for shipping our default servers. Anyone running their own servers will be able to adjust these numbers as they see fit for their communities. This will be the next stage in the beta where 3rd party server operators can start giving feedback on what they see working with different configurations and that will feedback will work its way back into the beta as well. We aren’t quite ready for that stage yet but we are working on it.


Parity

22 Mar 2012 -
Part of our process at Valve is to make predictions and then test them. So we try to eliminate as much irrelevant noise from the testing process as possible. For ballistics comparisons in CS:GO, we made firing range maps for all three versions: CS, CS:S, and CS:GO. We figure that the community might want to run their own and discuss their results. So we’re making them available here: CS, CSS, CSGO. Let us know how you’re testing.
Here are the results from a quick test to compare standing single AK47 shots at a distance of 3072. ( These screenshots were taken close to the targets after the test, not from the firing line. )



Hitboxes

20 Mar 2012 -

Some of the changes in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are visible and some are felt. All of the changes interplay with the others.
One change that people may have missed, and whose impact might be mis-attributed to other factors, is that the hitboxes in CS:GO are smaller. You can mouse-over the above image to see the differences.
In Counter-Strike: Source the generous hitboxes expanded on the character’s model. In CS:GO the hitboxes more accurately portray the character. A near miss? Is a miss.
How does this compare to Counter-Strike: 1.6? The actual hitboxes surrounding the characters in 1.6 are generous, like in CS:S, but the models are smaller, so they’re harder to hit. So this was one change where we wanted to split the difference between the two games. We use the more appealing larger model size but still force players to be more accurate.
Armed with this knowledge, does this change your opinion on weapon accuracy? Let us know.



Beta Status

16 Mar 2012 -
The beta so far has been great and being a great beta means it has been rocky. We have had crashes, we have had bugs, and we have had great feedback that has changed the game. All of that makes sense. This is a game in development, a development you are part of.
Since this is our first game together, we should explain a few things up front and show you how we incorporate feedback.
Some feedback we simply act on, others we will look at the cause of the problem, and some we will get more data on. No feedback is ignored.
For some feedback, we simply want to collect more data. How are the changes in money working? Let’s have people play and then analyze the changes.
Other bits are straight forward. Lengthen the rounds in Arsenal: Demolition. Sure, makes sense. You will see that change this week.
Other bug reports are simple and tucked away. There is a bug with the scoreboard. Yep. Thanks for reporting it. We now know it is there and will fix it, we just have more important bugs to fix first.
Some are like fog or weapons. They are ongoing. For example, we have again adjusted the fog level in all maps with this update. You also helped us identify a bug in the particle systems that we will update next week.
This week’s update includes de_dust2_se. You will be able to access it through the map command “map de_dust2_se” in the console. This is a version of Dust2 with the fog off, props removed, cables removed, and particle effects removed. It was created especially for pro-competitive play and leagues.
We are consuming the feedback. We are listening to all and acting on some.
Our Friday updates are not the sum of all our work. It is what we have ready and tested for that week.
We don’t post what is coming in two weeks because of your feedback and how we work. While some of the update is planned in advance to test a feature or change, for feedback you have raised we are more iterative. So if you asked us a few weeks ago about how we would solve a specific problem – we might have told you a different answer than what we shipped today.
Our process allows us to adapt and make changes along the way so we aren’t locked into to just one solution.
Thanks again for all the feedback; we do read it. If it is a discussion, we normally do not like to voice our opinion on the forums because it is much more interesting to see the community work through the problem. This is why we suggest posting bugs to the forums. The discussion and solutions always get better with more people looking at them.
Enjoy this week’s update which includes Italy and chickens.
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