Counter-Strike

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Why a CS:GO sale hurts CS:GO

Evan Lahti at

I want more people to play CS:GO. With caveats made for its flaws (64-tick servers, uninspiring stat tracking, the modest number of official maps, and imperfect cheat detection), CS:GO is the best competitive FPS on PC today. Until Evolve or Rainbow Six Siege come around, I expect that to continue uncontested.

But for the veteran player, someone who’s thrown hundreds of hours at that competitive mode, a CS:GO Steam sale like today’s—$7.49 / £5.99 until Friday—isn’t a happy event. It’s a harbinger of hackers and competition-souring “smurf” accounts.


The best Steam Summer Sale deals: Day 7

PC Gamer at

We've now been living and breathing the Steam Summer Sale for a week, losing sleep for every flash sale, antsy with anticipation every time the new deals tick over. We're feverish from the savings, but it would be madness to stop saving now. Today's deals fuel our appetite for strategy, shooting, and launching valiant little green men into space on absurdly oversized rockets.


The most expensive CS:GO weapon skins

Christopher Livingston at

In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the only thing more important than accuracy is style, and nothing says style like "I've spent hundreds of dollars on slightly differently-colored skins for imaginary guns." After scouring Steam Marketplace for hours we've assembled the most expensive skins and what you might expect to pay—based on recent average prices, not crazy sales spikes—for each type of weapon in CS:GO. You'll no longer have to settle for just making holes in your enemies. Now you can make an impression!

Despite some of the crazy prices in this list, these aren't necessarily the most expensive skins ever sold in CS:GO. There's an estimated 1 percent chance of getting a knife drop from a weapon case, and an even lower chance of that knife being Factory New quality with a StatTrak counter attached. Skins like that are so rare that they're often not on the market. No permanent record exists for all items, so this is a reflection of the CS:GO market as it exists today.


See CS:GO with everything cranked up: 4320x2560 on LPC

Evan Lahti at

Source is certainly showing some wrinkles in comparison to, say, UE4, but CS:GO remains the premier competitive shooter on PC today. Even after a decade half of history with the franchise, we still love the look and feel of its classic maps and their modern iterations: Mirage's A bombsite, Inferno's "banana" path, or Dust 2's dim tunnel.


Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player gets headshots with a wheel controller

Emanuel Maiberg at

There are a number of small ways you can humiliate your opponents in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. A classic move is to knife your enemy even when it would be wiser to shoot him with a silencer, just because you can. It’s a way of saying you’re confident enough you can take him to have a little fun with it, like challenging someone to a fight with one hand tied behind your back. Yesterday, the folks at GameMuscleVideos took this idea to an extreme degree by playing CS:GO with a wheel controller.


Hacks! An investigation into aimbot dealers, wallhack users, and the million-dollar business of video game cheating

Emanuel Maiberg at

Zero is a customer service representative for one of the biggest video game cheat providers in the world. To him, at first, I was just another customer. He told me that the site earns approximately $1.25 million a year, which is how it can afford customer service representatives like him to answer questions over TeamSpeak. His estimate is based on the number of paying users online at any given time, the majority of whom, like me, paid for cheats for one game at $10.95 a month. Some pay more for a premium package with cheats for multiple games.

As long as there have been video games, there have been cheaters. For competitive games like Counter-Strike, battling cheaters is an eternal, Sisyphean task. In February, Reddit raised concerns about lines of code in Valve-Anti Cheat (VAC), used for Counter-Strike and dozens of other games on Steam, that looked into users’ DNS cache. In a statement, Gabe Newell admitted that Valve doesn't like talking about VAC because “it creates more opportunities for cheaters to attack the system." But since online surveillance has been a damning issue lately, he made an exception.

Newell explained that there are paid cheat providers that confirm players paid for their product by requiring them to check in with a digital rights management (DRM) server, similar to the way Steam itself has to check in with a server at least once every two weeks. For a limited time, VAC was looking for a partial match to those (non-web) cheat DRM servers in users’ DNS cache.

I knew that cheats existed, but I was shocked that enough people paid for them to warrant DRM. I wanted to find out how the cheating business worked, so I became a cheater myself.


How Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's Overpass map evolved

Emanuel Maiberg at

The average player might not even notice the changes, but if you’ve put a couple hundred hours into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive the evolution of the Overpass map makes a world of difference. As Valve explains, it is the first completely new defuse map designed with competitive play in mind, and since its release in December 2013, it has been updated seven times based on feedback and data.


Building Crown, part three: collaborating with the Counter-Strike community

PC Gamer at

Building Crown is a three part series from mapmaker Shawn "FMPONE” Snelling and pro Counter-Strike player/mapmaker Sal "VOLCANO" Garozzo, revealing the inspiration and building process for their map Crown. Their goal with Crown is simple: build the best competitive Counter-Strike map ever. In part three, Snelling talks about iteration in map design and listening to community feedback to improve Crown.

Releasing de_crown has been a fascinating experience for Volcano and I. When we decided Crown was ready for broader community testing, we released the first public build with the same mixture of anxiety and excitement that always accompanies a new map release. Thankfully, the launch went smoothly! Crown received over 1000 favorites in its first week on the map workshop (the highest rated map on the workshop is over a year old, and has about 1500). Crown ranked within the top five maps of all time virtually overnight. Crown was also the most played map on AltPug’s community Matchmaking service during that time period, and the feedback we received there was generally positive.

The community was engaged, but Counter-Strike fans are used to playing high quality, nuanced maps with years of competitive polish. This is a high standard for any brand new map to compete with. Not all the news was positive. In public beta testing, several issues were identified which needed fixing, some of which—such as the addition of a new path—would require major surgery.

Building Crown, part two: layout design, textures, and the Hammer editor

PC Gamer at

Building Crown is a three part series from mapmaker Shawn "FMPONE” Snelling and pro Counter-Strike player/mapmaker Sal "VOLCANO" Garozzo, revealing the inspiration and building process for their upcoming map Crown. Their goal with Crown is simple: build the best competitive Counter-Strike map ever. In part two, Snelling breaks down Crown’s level design and the tools used to build map geometry and textures.

The first step in making a multiplayer map is creating a layout. But what is a layout? For level designers, a layout is the floor-plan of a level lurking in their brain, which they often draw out as a blueprint and then sculpt into a 3D “grey box” representation in-game. For everyday players, a layout is how they visualize a level’s available paths and make strategic decisions.

We spent nine months refining Crown’s layout into the final map it is today. And now Crown is ready for the public. It’s available today. You can download the map right now  on the Steam Workshop and play it in Counter-Strike: GO. Read on to learn how we built it.

Five awesome moments from the 2014 EMS One Katowice CS:GO Championship

Emanuel Maiberg at

Sometimes you have to watch the professionals at work to appreciate how brilliant a game is. After watching some of the highlights from this weekend’s 2014 EMS One Katowice Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Championship, I was reminded how tense and thrilling Counter-Strike can get. Here are some of the best moments from the event in Poland, from some of the best players in the world.


Building Crown, part one: the first look at the next big Counter-Strike: GO competitive map

PC Gamer at

Building Crown is a three part series from mapmaker Shawn "FMPONE” Snelling and pro Counter-Strike player/mapmaker Sal "VOLCANO" Garozzo, revealing the inspiration and building process for their upcoming map Crown. Their goal with Crown is simple: build the best competitive Counter-Strike map ever. In part one, Snelling dives into the inspiration for Crown's design and the essence of a great competitive map.

This is Crown: a new map for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive nine months in the making. After over 100 substantial revisions across those nine months, Crown is nearly finished. It was designed with two goals: to make CS:GO’s hardcore fans happy while disrupting GO’s stagnant competitive map pool. It’s inspired by classic maps like Dust2 and Inferno. But it’s built to be even better. Just as CS:GO is a new evolution for the Counter-Strike franchise, Crown is a map which seeks to learn from the best and build upon the principles that have kept Dust2 and Inferno in competitive play for more than a decade.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive launches new Operation containing eight fan favourite maps

Phil Savage at

Valve have released a new CS:GO 'Operation' pack, bringing unlimited official server access to a selection of community made maps. For Operation Phoenix, the maps were chosen by popular vote - and as such, round up some of the best battlegrounds featured in previous operations. Although, if you're anything like me, the quality is less important than the variety. When you're inevitably killed in the first few seconds of the round, it's important to have some nice level design to enjoy through the death camera.


Losing it: Why bad players keep trying with good games

PC Gamer at

Written by Matt Thrower

Fifteen years ago I thought myself the god of Unreal Tournament: an untouchable colossus of speed and firepower tearing through every difficulty level with consummate ease. So naturally, as soon as I got broadband I tried out for a high ranking clan. They wiped the floor with me, blowing my avatar asunder with the same insouciance I had playing against the bots and laughing as they fell before me.

It was the beginning of a long and illustrious career of being Very Bad Indeed at online games. Yet here I remain, regularly clocking hours on Left 4 Dead, Call of Duty, and DayZ and regularly left propping up the leaderboards.

I’m hardly alone. Public servers commonly have their fair share of deadbeats alongside the clan members and twitch kiddies who rule the maps. The gaming demographic increasingly includes middle-aged people with kids and mortgages who want to kick back in the evening and have some fun, but don’t have the free time to practice. And, predictably, the more experienced players slaughter them, time and time again. Why do we keep coming back for more pain?

Counter-Strike eSports documentary dares you to "Play Bravely"

Patrick Carlson at

If gaming can sometimes seem like a solitary experience, Spela Modigt // Play Bravely shows what happens when a group of players finds the chemistry and will to take the bad with the good and still succeed. The new documentary follows professional Counter-Strike: GO player Jonatan "Devilwalk" Lundberg and his Fnatic team as it attempts to win the Dreamhack Winter 2013 tournament.


How to configure Counter-Strike: GO for the maximum competitive advantage

PC Gamer at

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s surge in popularity over the past few months makes now a great time to join one of the most competitive multiplayer shooters on PC. This visual guide will teach you how to set up your game for the maximum competitive advantage. There’s no singular best practice, as a lot of configuration is personal preference, but there are tweaks you can make to graphics and network settings, keybindings, and more to help outplay the competition.


2013 in PC gaming: What was your finest gaming moment of 2013?

PC Gamer at

Before running away for a few days of competitive eating and cooperative gaming, Evan, Cory, and Tyler gathered to reflect on the most memorable victories, losses, and stories they virtually experienced in 2013. Watch the whole five-video series on the PC Gamer YouTube channel, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular content, gameplay footage, and conversations.


Steam Controller announced by Valve

Evan Lahti at

Rounding out its set of living room-centric announcements this week, Steam Controller has been revealed by Valve, a 16-button, haptic-driven gamepad that Valve says is hackable, includes a touch screen, will feature sharable configurations, and has the ambitious goal of “supporting all games in the Steam catalog.” No price was announced for the controller, and it doesn't appear to feature motion control.


CS: GO Arms Deal update adds more than 100 weapon skins, supports eSports

T.J. Hafer at

The Arms Deal Update for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is live, adding in a Team Fortress 2-style system of random drops, over 100 new weapon skins, two new stock weapons, and a purchasable item that helps fund competitive play.


CS:GO's Operation Payback generates over $150,000 for community map makers

Tom Sykes at

Operation Payback has paid out for Counter-Strike: GO's top mapmakers, who have earned a fantastic $150,000 between them. Payback, you'll remember, is Valve's attempt to 'pay back' the game's dedicated community by offering unlimited access to seven of its best user maps, and dedicated servers on which to play them, for a flat $5.99 fee. Considering the creators of those seven maps now have around $150,000 to share between them, I'd say it's proved rather successful.

The best shooters of all time

PC Gamer at

Before we knew what to name them, we called them “Doom clones.” id Software’s seminal work sparked a phenomenon when it began to circulate as shareware 20 years ago, and since then shooters have propagated through mods, experimentation, LAN parties, co-op, eSports, and big-budget masterpieces. Guns and enemies are their bread and butter, but we don’t think of our favorite shooters as outlets for simulated violence. We celebrate the way they test our minds and mouse reflexes, the personal stories they generate, the captivating worlds they’ve founded, and the social spaces they provide for lighthearted bonding or hardcore competition.