Patched: the new Counter-Strike: Source

Evan Lahti at

cs main menu screen

Valve released its first major update to Counter-Strike: Source in almost four years today. The patch is live and playable to Steam users, and includes a heap of UI improvements, engine updates, and 144 achievements. A full list of changes, and my take on the major updates, within.

The update is a modest modernizing of Counter-Strike: Source. Valve has integrated some of its existing tech and design seen in other Source engine shooters (like Team Fortress) into its most-popular multiplayer game. That includes: bloom-tastic high-dynamic range lighting, a redesigned scoreboard, a killcam that spotlights who killed you after you die, multicore rendering, a domination and revenge system (net four kills of the same player, and you're dominating them), persistent stat-tracking and a buffet of 144 achievements.

Damn, I'm good.

The most original enhancement is a small one: end-of-round trivia. At the end of each round, an MVP is highlighted, but there's also a note about an interesting action taken by a player during that round--kill someone with a grenade after dying or rack up a pile of damage while using nightvision, and you might be mentioned. This is a small counter against how symmetrical rounds of CS:S can feel--running the same bomb route on de_dust hour after hour can be tedious, and having a tiny factoid at the end is a welcome, albeit token, change.

One improvement not mentioned in the patch notes is a minor tweak to the radar: when you're dead, it now displays player names dynamically.

You've probably earned all of these in the past six years.

The set of achievements are disappointingly straightforward: most of them are map- or weapon-specific milestones like accruing 200 kills with a Desert Eagle, or earning $50,000,000 in cash. There's a handful of difficult ones--I think these three will be the hardest to nab.

Clean Sweep
"Kill the entire opposing team without any members of your team dying."

Variety Hour
"Get kills with five different guns in a round."

The Immovable Object
"Kill an enemy player who has just killed 10 of your teammates in a single round."

It's tempting to see the patch as housecleaning that precedes additional content for CS:S--it is, after all, consistently one of the most-played games on Steam, often doubling or tripling the peak players of Team Fortress 2. I'd speculate that it's merely a long-overdue gift to CS:S players for their years of support: Valve contracted the creators of Defense Grid, of all things (Hidden Path Entertainment), to help produce the update, so it doesn't seem like there's a dedicated team within Valve that's working on Counter-Strike at this time.

Stars indicate each player's number of MVPs earned.

Full patch notes below, or online at CS:S' updates page.

General

  • 144 achievements added
  • New lifetime player stats and summary screens
  • New match player stats and summary screens
  • New end of round display with MVP and interesting fact about a player
  • Updated scoreboard with new icons, visual style, MVP stars, and avatar pictures
  • New cinematic death camera
  • New domination and revenge system
  • Added avatar icons to voice chat, scoreboard, and end of round display
  • Incorporated many source engine updates
  • Disallowed the use of arbitrary command strings for the message of the day screen. Now only a specific list of commands is allowed.
  • Addressed issue in which AWPs and Scouts sometimes did not make the zooming sound.
  • cvar mat_showlowresimage is now a cheat command.
  • Many development console commands which would crash the server removed.
  • Updated source engine addresses many issues:
  • Better flashlight effect
  • Better HDR behavior
  • Multicore rendering support
  • Added sv_disablefreezecam cvar to turn off the freezecam on a server.
  • Added sv_nonemesis cvar to turn off domination/revenge on a server.
  • Added sv_nomvp cvar to turn off MVP stars on a server.
  • Added sv_nostats cvar to turn off stats on a server.
  • Removed -tickrate command line option and defaulted tick rate to 66 rather than 33. This addressed a number of issues, including:
  • Tick rate affecting how fast doors open / close
  • Tick rate causing players hitting the ground to stutter
  • Tick rate affecting the firing mechanisms of certain guns

 
UI

  • Added the following cvars to allow players to customize their scoreboards.
  • cl_scoreboard_ct_color_red
  • cl_scoreboard_ct_color_green
  • cl_scoreboard_ct_color_blue
  • cl_scoreboard_t_color_red
  • cl_scoreboard_t_color_green
  • cl_scoreboard_t_color_blue
  • cl_scoreboard_dead_color_red
  • cl_scoreboard_dead_color_green
  • cl_scoreboard_dead_color_blue
  • Changed the screen that appears when the message of the day fails to load to display proper error text.
  • Made the CT silhouette for the auto-select option in the Choose a Class screen smaller and corrected its aspect ratio.
  • Addressed a problem that occasionally caused characters to be colored incorrectly on the Change a Class screen.

 
Gameplay

  • Made ladders easier to climb. Added cvars sv_ladder_dampen and sv_ladder_angle.
  • Fixed issue that awarded three points when the bomb explodes after the round ends by elimination criteria instead.
  • Fixed issue in which you weren’t given credit for grenade damage if you fired a weapon at someone then hit them with a grenade (in that order). Also fixed problem in which grenading a player and then killing them with another weapon showed as ‘*** in 1’ on console.
  • There’s now a priority order for displaying win conditions when multiple win conditions are set.
  • If timelimit exists and is not 0, then show timelimit.
  • If timelimit does not exist, show maxrounds if not 0.
  • If both timelimit and maxrounds are 0, show winlimit.
  • If timelimit, maxrounds, and winlimit are all 0, show nothing.
  • Added a cvar to ignore win conditions: mp_ignore_round_win_conditions.