Patched: the new Counter-Strike: Source
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.
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.
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.
"Kill the entire opposing team without any members of your team dying."
"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.
Full patch notes below, or online at CS:S' updates page.
- 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
- Added the following cvars to allow players to customize their scoreboards.
- 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.
- 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.