Valve Is Making Counter-Strike Look Better

Valve Is Making Counter-Strike Look Better

After a lengthy update drought, Valve is suddenly lobbing Counter-Strike news like a first-time player haphazardly tossing grenades. First there was the new Nuke (Newke) and Operation, then $US1 million CSGO majors, and now new graphical effects. Valve has introduced a whole host of new lighting and shader effects to CSGO with the goal of making the massively popular team shooter look subtly better. For instance, here's a shot of a new shader option, which involves — jargon time — phong specular reflections on lightmapped materials:

Valve Is Making Counter-Strike Look Better

And here's a new reflection effect:

Valve Is Making Counter-Strike Look Better

And there's the difference between an area without improved environment lighting and with it:

Valve Is Making Counter-Strike Look Better
Valve Is Making Counter-Strike Look Better

Basically, the first one looks bright and out-of-place, and the other blends in more naturally with the lighting around it.

There's a lot more subtle environment improvements like that on Valve's page for this update. It may not seem like a lot, but the new version of Nuke is an example of how they all come together to form a map that is, in many ways, a visual step up from other eternal terrorist-vs-anti-terrorist dance halls. It's also easier to parse when you're in the thick of things, a practical effect of subtle upgrades like these.

Valve Is Making Counter-Strike Look Better
Valve Is Making Counter-Strike Look Better
Valve Is Making Counter-Strike Look Better

It should be noted that these new effects are not (at least, at the moment) being retroactively applied to pre-existing Valve maps. However, they are now available for all mapmakers to use, which should result in some newfound razzle-dazzle, snazzmatazz and drop shadows on displacement blends. Also, better looking crates. Thank goodness.

This update comes at an interesting time, though, considering that many CSGO players are eagerly hoping that Valve will soon port their beloved game about draxxing up terries to the brand new Source Engine 2. The question, then, is why Valve would continue to make visual improvements to CSGO's Source 1 version if a sparkly new Source 2 package is on the way. In the grand scheme of things, though, these graphical enhancements seem slight. Also, a lot of them came about as a result of Nuke's creation. May as well share the wealth, right? So really, this whole thing doesn't say much about whether or not CSGO's next in line for a DOTA 2-style makeover. We'll see.


    While i personally love the making it look nicer, i run all on ultra at average 260 FPS.
    A big chunk of the people i talk to about the game all play it on the lowest possible settings to get an edge.
    4.3 aspects for narrower vision
    low textures so that you dont pass over the shiny models by accident and can see the distortion of a model easier against a backdrop.
    Low quality smoke allows visual clipping (not sure this is still the case in GO)

    Last edited 26/02/16 1:45 pm

      Had a friend do that in Battlefield 2, but mainly because of his hardware limitations. With no shadows and limited textures the opposing team stood out dramatically. Was bullshit.

        I would find that way to bland to play. I don't see myself as a graphics whore, but that seems to strip some of the fun out of it.

      Was going to say, improving the graphics of CS:GO is ironic when most people aim for the most potato possible [which, while I *understand* why, I think it's a bit over the top personally]

    moar tessellation is required!
    Lighting seems more like a slight tweak compared to an over-haul, make stuff less flat and you will start getting more random and natural shadows.

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