Here's the good news: Tactical Intervention, the free-to-play FPS from Counter-Strike co-creator Minh Le, is launching on March 28th. It will be preceded by an open beta starting March 14th, and a closed beta kicking off this coming Monday. The bad news is that, until they find a European publisher, the game will only be launching in the US. Booooooo. If only there was a way to pretend to be from another country on the internet - but alas, no such thing exists. Rappel beneath the break for further game details (the word 'rappel' was a devastatingly subtle clue).
As I hoped, CS:GO’s appearance on Steam Workshop eased the map drought irking Global Offensive players since launch. About 700 Defusal, Hostage Rescue, Deathmatch, Arms Race, and other maps now populate Steam Workshop, and all are available for easy download (and auto-updating) through Steam. I’ve played a bunch of them with our community over the past week.
In a first for the company, Valve let go an unspecified number of employees across multiple teams including hardware and Android development, according to a report by Gamasutra.
The Steam pages for Valve classics Half-Life and Counter-Strike have been updated with small, penguin-shaped icons. No, they aren't unsubtle emblems of a secret flightless waterfowl cabal, but they do signify newly added Linux support for both FPS games as part of Valve's compatibility push.
More people—maybe twice as many—seem to be playing the original version of Counter-Strike than Global Offensive. Look here. Why hasn't CS:GO inherited its elders' popularity? I'd blame the map drought GO has experienced. New official maps have been hard to come by since the game launched in August, and the fresh ones introduced by GO were restricted to Demolition and Arms Race modes.
Far Cry 3's included level editor provides all the tools and textures necessary for crafting unique multiplayer maps, but one tinkerer has instead taken to recreating some very familiar locales with uncanny accuracy. As reported by MP1st, user ShadowZack has shared a series of maps fashioned after popular arenas from Battlefield, Call of Duty, and Counter-Strike.
Lambent Stew's free, web-based Steam Time Analysis tool laid bare my backlog of shame by breaking down time spent (or not spent) on each of my library's games like some sort of cold, ruthless PowerPoint presentation. The breadth of information provided is quite impressive. Over email, Stew told us the new build includes a few new features that further visualize users' habits.
At least, that's probably the sort of nomenclature you'd reap from public servers after applying the skills picked up from Team Dynamic marksman Keven "AZK" Larivière for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's one-hit wonder AWP sniper rifle. As part of Valve's Pro Tip video series, Larivière spills the bullets on the best uses of a sniper's superior oversight, when each of the two zoom levels come most in handy, and how shooting the legs off a careless opponent equates to a high-caliber "tsk-tsk."
An excitable post on the Counter-Strike blog announces that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will be free to everyone from today through until Sunday to celebrate the climax of the Electronic Sports World Cup.
"This weekend? CS:GO is free. Download it. Play it. Love it. It’s free. Who knows, we might even put it on sale if you want to keep playing after this weekend," say Valve. They've recently updated their spectator tools with GOTV, an in-game service that should let you check out the pro action happening in Paris this weekend. If you're suitably inspired, you can start climbing the ranks and taking on CS regulars.
Nailing down the range of possibilities afforded by modding's creativity yawns past the comprehension of us mere mortals. Yet, for a platform housing exploding horses, rug-cutting Combine, and the nesting-doll appeal of Minecraft's game-in-a-game sandbox, the PC keeps its lot of closed environments precipitated by developers and publishers as a means for balanced gameplay or brand protection. In an interview with True PC Gaming, Black Mesa Project Lead Carlos Montero flatly stated such a hindrance for mod growth "doesn't make sense."
For Valve's employees, working at one of the most secretive development studios around constitutes a once-in-a-respawn experience. The leakage of Valve's employee handbook earlier this year colorfully outlined a flat management structure culturing a counterintuitive emphasis on peer-driven independence. Speaking to Seattle Interactive Conference attendees yesterday (as reported by GeekWire), Valve Product Designer Greg Coomer said the same free-form philosophy governing the company's work ethic also factors into firing someone.
Valve updated Counter-Strike: Global Offensive today with two additional maps and a refit of the Classic Competitive matchmaking system. Vertigo, a classic Defusal map, returns with a Source facelift to its multi-leveled mayhem and shadowy camping nest corners, while Monastery chills things out with an Arms Race among the snowy promenades of a windswept temple.
Wow. Like any sport, the scores of grizzled and trained gaming teams competing in tournaments and championships offer chances for spectacular upset victories and displays of superhuman prowess. Here's a tip: If you ever see a player named "Noppo" during your Counter-Strike 1.6 sessions, flee. Confused? Check out this video of the deciding match for the Asia e-Sports Cup featuring Noppo's team myRevenge and a hilarious disregard for vision-obscuring walls. More details inside.
Epic Games frontman Cliff Bleszinski conducted a crowdsourced interview with Reddit over the weekend in the popular "Ask Me Anything" subreddit. A number of noteworthy responses cropped up regarding Bleszinski's thoughts on revisiting older IPs, modding's explosive popularity, and (though very definitely not announcing this) an open-world reboot of Unreal, among other answers. Check out a few choice quotes inside.
I’ve determined that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is from another dimension. It’s a game that doesn’t need to exist. PC gamers (thousands of them, according to SteamGraph) are perfectly served by Counter-Strike: Source and CS 1.6, content with the decade-something of tuning and attention those games have received.
But here’s GO: full of doppelganger Desert Eagles and de_dust déjà vu, quantum-leaping from some parallel timeline whose game industry briefly intersected with ours. Playing it is like running into a college crush at the supermarket. You immediately notice differences. Oh, you’re married? Your hair looks different. But that experience of reconnecting is pleasant—they’re mostly still the person you admired during geology.
The déjà vu flows strong through the beta of Webzen's free-to-play multiplayer FPS Arctic Combat. Not because of its familiar modern setting or armory, nor from hearing soldiers shout "reloading!" 20 times per second. No, the cause mostly lies with one particular map, Sand Storm, which is a very close replica of Counter-Strike's de_dust2.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is out in just six hours, giving us the chance to jump into a buffed and polished rendition of a classic, which is nice. A beta patch arrived yesterday adding a zombie model that will be used in the Zombie mod, which will be playable with CS:GO later today. It also added a weapons course, which provides basic training in CS:GO's guns and gadgets.
The patch also cleans up the UI a bit and fixes a few bugs. Check out the patch notes and the cinematic trailer Valve released at Gamescom last week below.
On the eve of Valve hitting go on Counter-Strike: GO, I thought it'd be useful to revisit why the once-mod continues to have its hooks in so many of us. Just like true love or a really outstanding taco, explaining what makes Counter-Strike good can be inexplicably tough to put into words. Go on, try. "It's, uh...tense? The guns feel nice. ...Teamwork?" Told you.
Read on for some notes on why I think Counter-Strike continues to be a classic. We'll have a CS:GO review up later this week.