Ingenious Counter-Strike players are exploiting Steam's new notes function to score noscopes

A CS:GO player uses a 50% opacity notepad with an asterisk in its centre as a makeshift crosshair.
(Image credit: reddeaded1 on Reddit / Valve)

Valve put out a beta client update for Steam yesterday that aims to significantly expand the usefulness of its overlay functionality. Users running the update are now just a Shift-Tab away from a redesigned layout, a refreshed screenshot manager, and, crucially, a new note-taking function, which lets you pin notes to the screen even while the overlay is minimised, and adjust their opacity so that you can still see the game behind them.

One assumes that Valve's intention with the tool was to let players jot down reminders and door codes and the like, but cunning CS:GO players have discovered another use for it. Spotted by TheGamer, Counter-Strike players have taken to sticking a period or asterisk in the notepad, centring it on their screen, and using it as an ad-hoc crosshair for ordinarily crosshair-less sniper rifles.

New Steam beta update lets you get a crosshair for snipers from r/GlobalOffensive

Players can achieve the effect if they "Pin a note to the new steam overlay, put an asterisk or something in it, and set the opacity to 50%," explained thread creator reddeaded1, letting them use sniper rifles in combat without dilly-dallying around looking down sights first, and racking up noscopes that will surely look very impressive in the killcam footage.

To be clear, people have been finding ways to add crosshairs to Counter-Strike's sniper rifles for ages—the Reddit replies mention everything from monitors with built-in crosshair functionality to drawing on your screen with dry-erase marker, which I don't recommend—and just having one doesn't guarantee you'll hit your enemies, since CS:GO's snipers are pretty inaccurate unscoped. 

But having a crosshair at all makes figuring out where your virtual gun is pointed a lot easier, even if it doesn't instantly convert it into an unstoppable hitscan deathray. Plus, I just find it very amusing that online FPS players are so hungry for an advantage they've immediately turned a notepad function that came out yesterday into a way to get an edge on their opponents. Good show, everyone, you are all terrifying.

I have to imagine Valve won't let this one stand for long. Even if there are plenty of ways to add in a sniper crosshair that the company can't detect, it's a pretty absurd look when your own client's functionality can be used to gain an unintended advantage in a game you made. So enjoy your notepad crosshairs while you can, guys, but don't throw out those dry-erase markers just yet.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.