Steam charts: it s the end of the world
Rock, Paper, Shotgun | Date: 16-10-2017 12:30:54

Wotcha gang. Your old chum Alice here for this week’s charts, as everyone else has been fired. Out of a cannon. Blown into a jillion little pieces. Hence the Apocalyptic yellow tone to the skies today. Hold your breath when outside, and hold your breath while we count down last week’s top ten of the top-selling games on Steam.

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  CS:GO's new Dust 2 map, reviewed
PC Gamer | Date: 13-10-2017 13:54:00

Image by DoctorRed2000 on DeviantArt

For the last few days, Valve has been teasing the release of a revamped version of venerated Counter-Strike map Dust 2, and yesterday they spilled the full beans on the new facelift. Valve's been refreshing old Counter-Strike maps for a while now, in an attempt to keep CS:GO looking as modern as possible, but messing with Dust 2 is a bit more of a risky proposition than modifying less-played maps like Train.

The more beloved a map is, the larger the potential backlash will be. Dust 2 has been a staple of competitive play for over 15 years, and was far and away the most played map in the game until its removal from the active map pool back in February. 

It's not surprising, then, that Valve's rework is so conservative. While all the assets have been replaced with higher-res, higher-poly ones, achieving the goal of bringing the map in line with modern graphical expectations, changes to the way the map plays are modest. 

The biggest change is to the visual clarity, which has been improved across the map. Most of the dark or busy looking areas that allowed players to blend in with their surroundings have been illuminated: the tunnels leading to B are much brighter thanks to a new open ceiling, and a lot of the crates throughout the map have been draped in white cloth to better contrast with player models. Bombsite A benefits from the deletion of the busy-looking doors at the back of A long, and some cleanup of the wall decoration along catwalk. These are bound to be uncontroversial changes, and are in line with what Valve has been doing with the other map facelifts.

There’s also been some common sense cleanup work that probably should’ve happened years ago. Stuff like widening the window from CT spawn into B site, and simplifying the scaffolding near CT-side mid doors, feels like pretty basic quality-of-life improvements that will prevent newer players from getting stuck on weird geometry or having their shots glance off of random pipes.

What impact will these changes have?

In the coming weeks we’ll get a better idea of the full ramifications of this update. A couple things to keep an eye on will be whether the new single car on A long (which replaces a pair of cars that were at odd angles in the map’s previous version) will actually be useful as cover now, and whether the increase in room to maneuver behind B site’s car will increase its viability as a hold point for CTs.

It s a healthy overhaul that makes some modest but interesting changes without reinventing the wheel.

There are also some subtle changes that may not even be intentional, and may or may not have a substantial impact on gameplay. Foremost among these is a problem we’ve seen already on some of the other modernized maps, but doesn’t seem to have caused enough of a ruckus to attract Valve’s notice: almost every previously-flat surface is now slightly bumpy (presumably for visual fidelity reasons), which affects the way grenades bounce off of floors and walls. Given how big of a deal smoke and flash placement is in CS, this may prove to be problematic in the long term, as it’s going to reduce the accuracy with which banked grenades can be placed.

Also on the topic of small, maybe-unintentional changes, the spawn locations have shifted slightly. A helpful redditor has pointed out after exploring the map that counter-terrorists can now get to their side of A long a full two seconds before terrorists can get to theirs, which may impact which corners CT players choose to hold, and which angles T players choose to peek from. Again, these are the kind of changes that will require some time to shake out, and we won’t know the full effect of this stuff until the competitive meta has fully adapted, which may take even longer than usual given there's a decade-plus of habits to unlearn.

But Valve seems to have struck a good balance with this update. It’s a healthy overhaul that makes some modest but interesting changes without reinventing the wheel. From a purely visual perspective, the new Dust 2 is beautiful, and undeniably an upgrade from the previous iteration. The terrorists have also gotten new higher-fidelity player models as part of the deal, and they’re a big improvement over the dated look of the existing models. (Puzzlingly, the CT models have not gotten the same treatment thus far.)

There are of course a host of bugs related to the new geometry, allowing for all manner of unintentional boost spots and weird clipping, but this has always been the case with these big map refreshes, and generally they get fixed in a fairly timely manner. Once these issues are addressed, we should expect to see Dust 2 re-added to the Active Duty map pool (possibly at the expense of Cobblestone) and the tournament circuit will quickly demonstrate what effect, if any, the update will have on the way Counter-Strike’s most iconic map is played.

  Valve unveils revamped Counter-Strike map Dust2 and opens it up for testing
PC Gamer | Date: 11-10-2017 09:32:14

On Monday Valve announced that it was overhauling Dust2, Counter-Strike's most iconic map, and now it has detailed all the changes, released images and opened the arena up for beta testing in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Most of the changes are visual—Valve has quadrupled the texture resolution and changed the art style, opting for a lighter colour palate and a more obvious North African feel, with signs for a Kasbah (basically a fortress), a bazaar and a hotel. Overall the map manages to feel a lot brighter but more decrepit, with weathered walls and crumbling pillars. I'm a big fan.

There's no major changes to the structure of the map, which I supposed is to be expected, but there are some important tweaks. The most noticeable one is at the B bomb site, where the raised area to the back corner has been lowered so it's level with the rest of the area, as you can see in the image below (old on the left, new on the right). The slider won't work here, but you can use it on Valve's blog post unveiling the changes to compare the two versions.

The broken down car on the site has been moved to make it easier to get behind, the famous 'window' looking down on the middle of the map has been widened, while the section of tunnels that approaches the bomb site has had parts of the roof smashed away so that more light floods in.

Bomb site A has changed less: Valve has removed some of the dark doorways and generally de-cluttered the area so there's less objects to get stuck on. Take a look:

At Mid, Valve has added a new shallow staircase, removed some alcoves and improved the lighting. The last change is to the T-side character models, which Valve hopes make them look like "hardened veterans" of CS.

You can test the map out in the game's beta branch—here's some instructions on how to opt in. Do you like what you see?

  Counter-Strike: Global Offensive revamping Dust2
Rock, Paper, Shotgun | Date: 10-10-2017 08:25:22

Counter-Strike’s De_dust2 is surely one of the most-reproduced levels in video games, remade and reinterpreted and parodied by fans across dozens of different games. Yet another one is coming our way soon, though this one is official. An “updated” and “refined” version of Dust2 is headed to the next test version of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive [official site], Valve announced last night, “coming soon.” Dust 2 was removed from the regular rotation back in February, though not from the game entirely. Valve aren’t quite ready to reveal the extent of changes but do share a teensy peek. (more…)

  Legendary CS:GO map Dust2 is getting an updated and refined version
PC Gamer | Date: 09-10-2017 21:27:29

If you've wondered where legendary Counter-Strike map Dust2 has been since it left competitive matchmaking in February, here's the answer: Valve has been rejigging it. Following similar revamps, an "updated and refined version" of Dust2 will be available for testing in the next CS:GO beta depot.

Valve has yet to publish anything elaborating on the updates and refinements, though they did tweet out the picture you can see above.

...and that's about all we know at the moment, but if you want an idea of how significant Dust2 has been in the history of CS:GO, Evan spoke to some key CS:GO mapmakers in 2015 about its import. You can see the tweet embedded below.




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