Home Technology Counter-Strike 2 is already a blast – and lays the groundwork for years to come

Counter-Strike 2 is already a blast – and lays the groundwork for years to come

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I’m excited. I’ve been playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for 11 years since its 2012 release, and the curiosity of the LAN party has made it my favorite game I’ve literally immersed myself in for thousands of hours. Test your hardware or test your mettle with online matchmaking. I’m joining his 1.5 million concurrent players online. Even when you’re not playing, we follow the thrilling competitive scene that rewards participants with millions of dollars in prize money each year. A shooting series that was born in 1999 as Half-Life mod.

The game has been in constant development and evolution for years, but developer Valve has been quiet for the last few years. A new operation, Counter-Strike’s Battle of His Path transition has not been released, and the once frequent weapon balance adjustments have been discontinued. And updates of any kind have been slow to crawl, as Valve has been secretly working on a new Counter-Strike: Counter-Strike 2 since Half-Life Alyx released in his 2020. Limited testI’m having a lot of fun with it, despite the technical blunders that are common with pre-release software.

We’ll take a closer look at Counter-Strike 2’s technical changes in a Digital Foundry analysis soon, but at its core, it’s based on DirectX 9 and sourced from the old source engine first released in 2012. 2 and the latest Vulkan is what the game is doing away with. Graphics API. Source 2 was released for Dota 2 in 2015, and an enhanced version came to Half Life Alyx in 2020, so it’s not exactly new, but it’s a rebuild of a decade-plus-old game on a new engine. It is clear that considerable development efforts have been made to

Simple gameplay from Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test showing a competitive 5v5 game in Dust 2.

With this new foundation in place, the path should be clear for future upgrades and improvements.Counter-Strike 2 is set to launch this summer with enough new features to justify the new numbers. The three major ticket items are Dynamic Volume Smoke Grenade, can realistically fill spaces and use shots or grenades to temporarily close gaps.A new lighting model combined with Upgraded assets such as maps, Weapons and Agents to improve graphical fidelity.and “Tickless” network model This trades the old rigid 64-tick update rate for an update rate that moves microseconds after firing, grenade throwing, or firing. Other elements like the user interface and blood splatter were also reworked, making CS2 feel like a fresher, more modern game, with a 2023 release date and a pack of alternative shooters like Valorant, Fortnite and Warzone 2. Suitable for roster.

CS2 is currently available as an exclusive test for a small number of active Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players, with only one map (previously de_dust2) and two game modes (Deathmatch and Competitive) available. Dust 2 is a very typical Counter-Strike map, so it’s a good choice. It’s also one of the simplest maps Valve has to offer, as it’s set to only receive lighting updates, rather than physically-based material upgrades or complete rework. at this early stage.

The game’s interface has been overhauled with a focus on upgraded visuals, but usability has also been improved. A particular highlight is the graphical menus that provide live feedback on changing settings.

I’ve played about six head-to-head matches and the same number of DM rounds, and it’s already clear that the new features upgrade the game in a meaningful way. It has game-changing effects and offers play and counterplay scenarios when players use them tactically to unexpectedly reveal enemy players. I can feel it. If you miss it, it’s your fault, not the weirdness that you blame on the server or other people’s connections. Unexpectedly, it moves a little worse. Jumps and bunny hops can be tricky to pull off, but at least the act of throwing a grenade at the top of a jump or crashing someone’s head with his Desert Eagle always feels perfect.

There are also many subtle quality of life changes. I can see my feet The minimap shows where on the map the voice can be heard. Enemies can now ragdoll on top of each other instead of clipping each other. Taking a bullet produces a directional blood effect, which is a clue to the shooter’s location. The Molotov Cocktail creates a giant pink-orange flame when thrown and uses the same realistic fluid simulation shader as Half-Life Alyx. Sounds have been reworked with more pronounced environmental effects. Also, when you equip a grenade in practice mode, you’ll see a picture-in-picture view of exactly where the grenade would land if thrown. It’s all great, and at least he feels like the result of three years of ideas and experimentation combined.

Counter-Strike 2 also looks great with Dust 2, a map that only receives a new lighting model rather than a complete overhaul as other maps are planned.

The only real issue I encountered was technical. Even in the mere few days I’ve had access, the game has broken down in some really weird ways. Also, the keyboard, headset, and mouse are completely non-functional and require a full system reboot to restore. Performance is also iffy – you get around 200-400 fps at 4K max settings. This sounds good even with his top-end RTX 4090 GPU and Core i7 12700K CPU, but dropping the settings to the lowest option doesn’t help. Performance will be severely degraded. That said, it’s still early days and Valve has plenty of time to improve framerates and fix bugs.

The changes already in place are impressive, but I’m most excited about the changes yet to come. The feature is now more difficult to implement due to its calcified code base, a decade-old change built on the old graphics API. CS2 should have cleaned up that grit, and that could mean Valve is free to generate meaningful changes at a much faster rate. New maps, new weapons, new game modes, new graphics features. There is a universe of possibilities out there.

The new Responsive Smoke Grenade offers the most obvious gameplay changes. Bullets can make a small hole in the edge of the smoke (left), but frag grenades push it farther than that (middle). I also like the practice mode grenade window (right) that shows you exactly where the smoke will land.

And for all the changes we’ve seen so far, CS2 very much retains the essence of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and it’s right. No need to make major changes to your game. Instead, it focuses on adding fun tweaks to the formula. It could have come one by one in regular game updates if the Source 1 engine at the heart of the game allowed it, but it didn’t. , apparently, instead, Valve needed him to stomp three years behind the scenes to rebuild the foundations of Counter-Strike.

It’s instructive to contrast the methodical, iterative thinking behind Counter-Strike 2 with the thinking that’s responsible for Battlefield 2042. Battlefield 2042 flopped at launch because it deviated from the classic Battlefield formula in pursuit of features that were heavily featured in other games, such as named agents. Opt for weapon loadouts and more player counts than ever for class-based combat, unique maps, and more meaningful progression. Most of these changes have since been reversed, justifying feedback from external playtesters as of the open beta.

However, Valve didn’t magically arrive at the right solution. Global Offensive is actually he’s 2042 moment, a new and brilliant game aimed at a wider audience (console players)!–launched with minimal uptake. Until Valve converted 1.6’s critical mass and source holdover, it needed to focus on its dedicated PC player base, fix issues, and make improvements. Now that we’ve learned that lesson and have the time and space to iterate and experiment, Counter-Strike 2 is definitely on a promising trajectory.

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