Like Christmas in March

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Holy moly and all the butt cheeks on a stick. We’re all giddy inside!

With news this big we knew we just HAD to write a special edition. That’s right, you get an extra edition entirely for free. Just like all our other editions. Hmm.

And all that just because, oh we don’t know, Valve dropped the biggest news of the year. Counter-Strike 2 is here, it’s real, with a beta becoming accessible yesterday and the full thing coming this summer. Read all about it in edition #352, or rather 3 S2?

No more ticking along

Illustration by NovaH. Source: Valve

Hello, beloved podcast host and technical guest writer Logan here to explain tick rates.

Many video games (CS:GO, Valorant, League of Legends just to name a few) use ticks to determine how information is sent to a server.

That means that X amount of times every second, a package of information including EVERYTHING about the gamestate is sent to the server and updated across the board. And something that happens in between 2 ticks, will wait until the next tick happens.

Let’s put this in newsletter terms: We send you a newsletter every Tuesday and Friday. If something happens on Wednesday, it’ll get included in the Friday newsletter. Same thing happens in CS:GO.

With 64 ticks per second, you’re sending and receiving information from the game server 64 times every second, with 128 tick, you send/receive double that. Some games (League of Legends) even operate on 32 ticks.

So whats new?

Well, CS2 is introduces subtick rate, which in software development is also referred to as event-driven programming. It sounds very flashy, but it’s really not.

Instead of having a game state file being sent 64 times per second (64 tick), we get one sent whenever a button is pressed, a bullet is fired, or someone moved. So instead of only a measly 64 times per second, we get updates for every single movement, shot etc.

In newsletter terms: every time there’s a story, we send something out, similar to HLTV (ew) making an article each time.

Now, what does that mean for you?

Well, the big thing people think about regarding the effects of tick rate is smokes, and if we're to believe a first reaction from fl0m's stream, nothing will be changed about your lineups, though some smokes that are specific to size and one-ways won’t work anymore.

So what is it about those new smokes anyway?

Smokes and other nade changes

Whether you like it or not, some big gameplay changes are upon us. And SOME OF US knew about them for YEARS!

Cold betrayal from my friends aside, the way Counter-Strike 2 will be played this summer will be different than how CS:GO has ever played. simba here, taking a break from nerding out over CS:GO to nerd out over CS2 for your reading pleasure.

Starting with the smoke grenades, Valve completely revamped the way they function.

Smoke will now react to everything around it, including other smokes, map geometry, bullets, player models, and even HE grenades. Stewie definitely isn’t coming back now.

Bullets carve a hole in the smoke and HE grenades completely remove it for a short ~3 second period if they explode near it, giving you visibility to what’s lurking behind.

There are so many creative ways these new mechanics can be leveraged, and it’s already being used to great effect. The only limit is your imagination, and some of you should keep that to yourselves.

Smokes are going to be much more dangerous to be around. Valve have also made these smokes look the same from everyone’s POV. No more client side smoke nonsense. This may mean no more one-way smokes, but we’re sure someone will find exploitable areas. They even gave them a slight color tinge depending on which team threw the smoke. Neat!

Even though this is considered a nerf for the smoke grenade in the grand scheme of things, it gives HE grenades an additional purpose besides being a $300 money-sink and it significantly changes the way spraying through a smoke can be punished. Even M4A1-S users are not safe anymore!

The addition of much higher fidelity lighting and shadows not only makes the maps look gorgeous but also means you now have a shadow, just like how EG is a shadow of what it once was.

Oh, and you have legs now. We’ve all been patiently waiting for that, I know. This may actually have some significance though. Now you no longer have to guess where your shadow is being drawn, you can just look down and see where it is. Another reason for my teammates to not aim at head level. Great.

Smoke grenades are not the only utility to receive some TLC. Flashbangs received some minor tweaking, resulting in no more “afterimage” flashes when it lands near you but not in your vision.

Incendiary grenades are easier to look over and no longer give an advantage to the person nearest to them, they also look much cooler than before. Maybe some of us won’t walk into them anymore.

There are so many shiny new things to explore in the coming months. Remember, this is just the beginning. Valve pushed the accelerator to the floor and there are no brakes on this ride, so buckle up and adapt, or get left behind.

Valve pls give access, thx.


Left: CS2, Right: CSGO. Source: Valve

Wow! So pretty!

NovaH here, one of the guys who makes all these pretty pictures you look at so often. Thought it would be fitting to share a few words with you on what CS2 will look like -

One of the major talking points of the ever-looming Source 2 update was how the game would actually look and run on the new engine.

Chief detective Gabe Follower even built their own version on Source 2 a while ago, giving us a potential inside look. It was never going to be Unreal Engine 5 - thankfully for our 30 FPS friends - but we all had high expectations for how it would look.

Left: CSGO, Right: CS2. Source: Valve

Speculate no more comrades! The first images and video are here and well… it’s good!

From what we’ve seen, only a few maps have brand new Counter-Strike 2 versions, those being Overpass and Italy?! Is hostage mode back?

Overpass is structurally the oldest map in the pool right now, having not received a major update since 2015, so a facelift with some changes to layout is super refreshing. Can they fix the T-Side too please? Like seriously, please.

Nuke is another example where there hasn’t been any changes to the actual map itself, but it definitely benefits from the new lighting and reflections.

Another major rework is water physics. Ripples and waves will be left by running players and maybe even give away a little info? It’s expected that there will be more map updates prior to launch and we could be getting a fresh map pool on launch!

Only time will tell - but Valve-time™️ ends this summer!

March 22, 2023

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