maps

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.

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.

Rising Storm mapping contest boasts $26,000 prize pool

Ben Kim at

GeoGuessr turns Google Street View into a game of investigative orienteering

Phil Savage at

It's Friday afternoon, which - if you're reading this in the right timezones - means it's time to kick back, let your work-rate slow to a crawl and enter Weekend Chill-Out Mode. At least, that's what's happened to the PC Gamer office, where the existence of GeoGuessr has sent us into a competitive flurry of locational sluething.


Headshot Hello Kitty in CS:GO's de_dolls

Omri Petitte at

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has a lot of custom maps. Seriously, browse its Steam Workshop page and see for yourself. We've talked about some of our favorites (all of which appear in our CS:GO sessions on our server), but a classic map layout we've yet to see a worthy update for is de_rats' bomb-defusal play in an oversized kitchen. DJ PC820 and TastySlopsicle's de_dolls_csgo is perhaps the best spiritual iteration we've spotted yet.


The best CS:GO custom maps

Evan Lahti at

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.


Why cs_office is an awesome map

Evan Lahti at

Through more than 12 years of Counter-Strike, I continue to play cs_office tirelessly. Here's why I consider it one of the best multiplayer maps ever.


Get more Counter-Strike maps in the CS:GO Maps Workshop

Evan Lahti at

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.


Minecraft update 1.6 will include maps. Live out cartographer fantasies

Owen Hill at

As specified on Notch's blog, Minecraft update 1.6 will mostly be about bug fixes. It will however include a very special addition - mapping. It's going to be fun. Honest. Read on to find out why.


Play your Civ 4 maps in Civ 5

Jaz McDougall at

You know what was cool about Left 4 Dead 2? You could play Left 4 Dead maps with it (you could also play it while still boycotting it, which was convenient). Turns out, that's also what's cool about Civilization 5 - all those maps of Faerun you were working on will import right into Firaxis' upcoming turn based megalomania sim.