Here's what the original Counter-Strike's best map looks like, 20 years later

As arguably Counter-Strike's best map, Dust2 has been remade and remixed countless times in those decades—not least by Valve, whose latest rendition looks generations ahead of that dusty orange original. But over the last few months, one mapper has been busy updating the iconic map within the constraints of the original Counter-Strike.

The end result is Dust 2020, a map so stunning it defies the limitations of the game's ageing engine.

Created by artist Daniil Lebedev, Dust2 2020 doesn't just update the original map—it expands it, adding entirely new routes and a verticality that never existed before. A tour from YouTuber 3Kliksphilip shows off these new paths, but also dives into some of the technical feats Lebedev has accomplished with the severely limited engine.

Dust 2 2020

(Image credit: Valve, Daniil Lebedev)

It's frankly staggering what the mapper has managed to pull off. In lieu of even the simplest reflections, Lebedev has used clever layered textures to give the domed roofs a certain shine. Shadows are pre-baked into textures, and techniques used to gloss over Half-Life's monsters are repurposed to create oil puddles.

Bridges creak under strain and canopies tear open when dropped through. Hell, I wouldn't be shocked if the single car at Long-A had more polygons than a typical launch Counter-Strike map. It's a complete transformation that may annoy some Dust2 purists, but it's damned impressive to walk around.

Granted, all these improvements come at a cost. You'll need a beefy 128MB of RAM to run the map. But it gives the iconic map a real sense of place it never had before—a grander, denser space that nevertheless retains that familiar Dust2 feeling.

At the very least, it's a fair bit more impressive than Valve's own anniversary offering, which let CS:GO players run about on the original map in the new engine. Dust2 2020 is available to download over on GameBanana.

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.