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First Person Shooters (Games)

A Look at the CounterStrike Source Beta 262

mutewinter writes " has posted an article reviewing the recent CounterStrike Source beta. What is unusual about Source is that it keeps the same gameplay, including guns and maps, of the original CounterStrike and simply brings CounterStrike (which uses the original Half Life engine) up to date graphically. Imagine if Doom 3 had been just like the original Doom, but with a better engine. Many gamers look down on recycled content, but is this a problem for a 5 year old game that is still as popular as ever?" S!: We also had an alternative look at the Beta over on Slashdot Games a couple of days back.
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A Look at the CounterStrike Source Beta

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  • by kmak ( 692406 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:17PM (#10027649)
    why fix it? Well, of course, there should be new content, and there probably will be, but that doesn't mean that we have to get rid of the old stuff. There's always a balance somewhere.. but things aren't always as mutually exclusive as people think it be..
    • For a long time I've been wishing that console gaming companies would understand this. The Mario Party line of games in particular is a good example. My friends and I loved Mario Party and Mario Party 2 was a big jump forward, simply fantastic. Then Mario Party 3 which wasn't as good. And Mario Party 4 which sucked badly. And Mario Party 5 which we haven't bothered to try. The two best games for this series are on the N64 platform. We would have easily gotten newer prettier versions of the same if they
    • by JPriest ( 547211 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @06:10PM (#10028174) Homepage
      I don't care what others say, CS is a much better multiplayer game than Doom 3 and others. CS offers a level of precision in shooting not offered in other games and has more realistic game play. The engine update is amazing if you ask me, the more realistic smoke granades and flash bang rock, as does the new machine gun.

      CS still offers a level of gameplay that other cannot match, and CS:S does a very good job of renewing the game. Expect to hear more about CS:S as it moves out of beta, I was impressed with it.

      • I would hope it would be a better multiplayer game since that is the entire focus of the game. Doom 3 on the other hand hs multiplayer thrown in as little more than an afterthought for added replayability. Doom 3's ENGINE will ultimately power some very impressive multiplayer FPS games, but without those mods (and complete commercial overhauls) it's not exactly a fair comparison.

  • by mesmartyoudumb ( 471890 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:17PM (#10027653) Homepage
    I work for a very larger server company and Counter strike is still the most popular game, At least 95% of our servers are CS.
  • by Zed2K ( 313037 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:18PM (#10027658)
    There is a difference. This is not a sequel, just an update. Think of it as CS 1.8 (or whatever version they are up to now).
  • by atrizzah ( 532135 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:18PM (#10027662)
    Because if we do, we let the terrorists win
  • Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Espectr0 ( 577637 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:18PM (#10027665) Journal
    Imagine if Doom 3 had been just like the original Doom, but with a better engine

    To me, that is exactly what they did.
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:38PM (#10027867)
      iD took too much flak for Doom 3, i think. "Booh, it looks nice but all i do it's killing monsters in dark corridors!". Well DOH, it's Doom, for Christ's sake!

      I love it. I love the atmosphere, the level design, the graphics, the sound (underrated, it's excellent), and the nods to other games, including Half-Life, System Shock 2 and of course Doom itself. It managed to freak me out in a couple of parts (one with a ghost women voice truly perturbed me), and it's also funny in parts; check those PDAs as you go along.

      Best single player FPS experience in years. I downloaded it, but as soon it's published here (South America), i'll be first in line to buy it. Can't wait for the Linux binary either.
  • by kenp2002 ( 545495 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:18PM (#10027666) Homepage Journal
    I think that counter-strike has found an near perfect formula that follow the KISS standard. GAMEPLAY is the real core of a game. The graphics are just icing. The have a perfect sense of gameplay so there is no need to fix it. Just to make it pretty for the new generation.
    • I disagree.

      It's currently too balanced. It's like a symetrically perfect face - it looks weird and awkward.

      That's what CS is like now. Everything is so perfectly balanced, that there's no excitement to playing any longer. There's no challenge.
      • It's currently too balanced. It's like a symetrically perfect face - it looks weird and awkward.

        WTF are you talking about? It's pretty much that Symmetry and Beauty are interconnected []

        A more symmetrical face is percieved as a more beautiful face. Symmetry is indicative of a person without obvious genetic defects, and hence a good prospect for mating and reproduction.

        I realize that I'm probably feeding a troll, but I'll take the risk.

      • by huchida ( 764848 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @06:59PM (#10028558)
        That's what CS is like now. Everything is so perfectly balanced, that there's no excitement to playing any longer. There's no challenge.

        No. That's WHY the game is still immensely popular (and it's why Starcraft is still going strong, too.) It's a complex game of strategy where both sides are balanced, yet have very different strengths and weaknesses. Counterstrike takes thought, and you have to out-think as well as out-shoot your opponent. And I can't stress enough how great it is that once you're dead, you're dead.

        Quake, now that is a boring game. THAT is a game where everyone is equal. And there's not much incentive to protect yourself because you'll re-spawn anyway.
    • If you took a look through it (or had someone else tell you about it, *cough*), you'd have noticed all the old Quake-like source files in it like glquake.h. It looked as though parts of Half-Life 1 were included. The reason became clear when people figured out you could play the original Half-Life using the Source engine as though it was a big TC. Amazingly, Valve retained mod compatibility with the previous Half-Life.

      So basically, the reason nothing's changed but the graphics is because, literally, ver
    • Well maybe they're messing with the "near-perfect" formula because Dice managed to find a nearer-perfect formula with the battlefield games.

      On the same note, the reason battlefield vietnam is so much better of a game in my opinion is that the sides AREN'T equal. The maps will lay things in favor of one team or the other and then make the team with the advantage do more.
    • GAMEPLAY is the real core of a game. The graphics are just icing.

      That's a popular myth. Agreed, great graphics is not substitute for great gameplay, but advances in graphics if used effectively can greatly change the nature of the game. Making a game look and feel more real is especially important for 3D shooters.

      Here are a few instances where improvements in lighting can have a significant effect on the way Counter-Strike would be played.

      -You see realistic muzzle flashes that light up the surroundings.
  • by nacturation ( 646836 ) <nacturation @ g m> on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:18PM (#10027670) Journal
    Give the people what they want. If there's a market for the exact same game in a better engine, then it will be popular. If it's not there, perhaps the developers will work on totally new content. Not many people complain that the Scrabble being sold today is exactly the same as the one they played as a kid.
  • Gameplay (Score:5, Insightful)

    by asd-Strom ( 792539 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:19PM (#10027680)
    The fans din't want the game to be changed. The counter-strike fans will go nuts even if there is a small box moved in some map. So this new version will sell good, at least with the hardcore fans.
  • Hmmm. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:21PM (#10027698)
    Imagine if Doom 3 had been just like the original Doom, but with a better engine

    You might get reviews like this []:

    "Doom 3" is the most visually appealing and best sounding PC game to date, but it doesn't bring anything new to the "3-D shooter" genre in terms of the game play, which is basically 1993's "Doom" all over again.
    • by swb ( 14022 )
      Presumably Doom 3 adds at least real 3-D worlds. Wasn't the original Doom fake 3-d in that nothing had "real" height, it just looked that way?

  • this is a mistake (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:22PM (#10027703) Homepage
    This is a mistake on Valve's part.

    I played CS from beta 5 or so up through the 1.2 or so release. Then I got tired of it: the weapons were -too- balanced, and it lost a good deal of the fun and challenge. That, and things became rediculous, such as the accuracy of headshots and such. It just wasn't fun anymore.

    That, and the plethora of people that played it obsessively (not I) were irritating, as they were quite good and made getting killed repeatedly terribly boring/frustrating. Add into that the maps getting replayed an obscene number of times (dust, anyone?), with few people playing the newer (and IMO often better) maps, things got really, really dull.

    I'm sorry, but I wouldn't have paid money for Doom with updated graphics. I certainly won't pay for CS with updated graphics.

    I bought half-life. With it, I got a dedicated community full of modders, bringing forth DoD, CS, and the like of fun, playable expansions in addition to the single (and multi) gameplay of just Half-Life. What is it, exactly, that I'd get by paying for CS Source that isn't already available in terms of gameplay? Nothing. CS currently looks pretty damn decent, what with the 'modern' textures and such, and runs quite well. An engine change does nothing for gameplay.

    If I want pretty, I'll get a povray renderer.
    • Sounds like RTCW Enemy Territory. Still my favourite game at present, but most people keep playing the same 6 maps over and over when there are heaps of better ones. Some people are so rediculously over-practised at these maps that new and even experienced players will find themselves getting repeatedly hammered.....
      • Nothing pissed me off more in CS when servers were playing the same map(dust & dust2) OVER AND OVER AGAIN. It's like nobody wanted to make new maps, or even try out new maps.
        • Those maps are most popular because they are, IMHO, the most balanced. Neither team has a distinctive advantage, like the overt terrorist advantage in cs_assault.

          New maps take a while to become popular. Mainly because to be good at CS, you have to know the map pretty well. In fact, I found my skills improved when I figured out how everything was laid out in the map.

          Also, who wants to wait 30min for a new map to download? For me, I find I have an hour or so free for some gaming, so I want to pop in ASAP be
    • Re:this is a mistake (Score:5, Informative)

      by schmoli ( 105622 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:43PM (#10027926) Homepage
      I'm sorry, but I wouldn't have paid money for Doom with updated graphics. I certainly won't pay for CS with updated graphics.

      I bought half-life. With it, I got a dedicated community full of modders, bringing forth DoD, CS, and the like of fun, playable expansions in addition to the single (and multi) gameplay of just Half-Life. What is it, exactly, that I'd get by paying for CS Source that isn't already available in terms of gameplay? Nothing. CS currently looks pretty damn decent, what with the 'modern' textures and such, and runs quite well. An engine change does nothing for gameplay.

      Uh you're not paying for CS:Source. CS:Source will be a mod for HL2, which will be an entirely new single-player game. You're getting the exact thing you got with HL but newer. Deal with it, and pay for it if you want, but don't bitch about it being a waste as it's not.

      Now if I'm wrong and CS:Source is going to be a standalone game sold at full price, flame on but I do not believe that is the case.
      • As you say, CS: Source will be free for people who own HL2. I think it will also be free for the folks who bought CS: Condition Zero. On the other hand, if you're not part of either crowd, it'll also be possible to buy CS: Source as a standalone game. I'm certain it won't be full price, though.
    • by HIghoS ( 177655 )
      I started playing in beta3. Still remenber racing to my death, and specing for dropped weapons, because back then they were left between rounds, so it was a great way to save cash (or if you didn't have any ;p) Played in a clan for a few years, but gave up on it around when 1.3 rolled around, had gotten more interested in other games or other hl mods at that point. (far more active in TFC these days) ...unless of course i'm at a LAN Party, in which case we have to play CS :)

      > I certainly won't pay fo
    • by amalcon ( 472105 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:54PM (#10028015)
      I understand this completely. Counterstrike was a decent game while it was still in beta. You'd still occasionally get people who work in teams, people still occasionally played on non-de_ maps, and occasionally one of your teammates would ACTUALLY rescue a hostage!

      I would contend that the weapons did not get "too balanced," at least by 1.1, as everyone still used exclusively mp5/m4a1/ak47/awp and usp/deagle. It was always inherently unbalanced due to the weapon buying system, but this didn't get real bad until the community degraded further, and there was such a gap between the 24/7ers and the casual players that once a team got going, there was no chance of winning. The anti-newbie mentality fueled this further, because people would at first opportunity switch to the team "w/o all teh n00bs."

      This is why this game has succeeded. A strongly elitist community has formed, and people take entirely too much pride in being a part of this community. In some games, this sort of behavior is looked down upon, but in CS, it's encouraged.
      • If you weren't already at 5, I'd mod you up.

        I played CS back from beta 2 to beta 5, with beta 4 being my favorite phase by far and away. I watched the community you spoke of start to develop, and ultimately, it's what pushed me away from Counter-Strike (and most FPS games in general).

        In early beta, people picked up CS because it was different than the same Quake/Unreal deathmatch format we'd all been playing for so long. CS really did have an element of team play and strategy that wasn't present in other
        • I found myself constantly drawn back to Quake 3 Rocket Arena. Sure there were lots of servers with the same immature attitudes and banter, but there were a few quality servers where some of the most amazing players hung out and welcomed anyone else to join in.

          It was about fun, not who was the most l33t. If someone pulled off an amazing maneuver there would be a round of "ns" (nice shot), "nt" nice timing, and "gg" good game.

          I think that was one of the bonuses of CS. It tended to draw away the players that
    • by d_force ( 249909 )
      Bring back Action Quake 2, baby!

      Man, I loved that game and still believe that mod was, by far, the most realistic one I've ever seen. (laugh, yes, not completely realistic, but better than most IMHO)

      Bolt-action sniper rifle = awesome. Every other game that's tried to come close doesn't do justice to the look and feel of the weapon. Plus, the skull cracking "head shot sound"... truely magificent!

      Knifes with the Quake 2 physics engine were also unbelievable. I loved how you had to arc the throw in orde
      • It's still running, if you want to play it. Although I do admit AQ2 is on its last leg. There have been some good anti-cheating measures to combat the source code release. But it's getting to the point where everyone wants to snipe urban/jungle/city. And you have to remember that it has the old Quake netcode. Going back from Counter-Strike was very difficult for me. But again, if you want that brief trip down memory lane, go for it. It was my favorite mod of all time, and it's sad to see it die.
      • I played this mod ALOT.

        I have fond memories of booting people from the slide to the roof on the mall level.
    • CS: Source supposedly will be released for free for all Half Life 2 owners. I understand they are also making an updated version of DoD, but I could be wrong.

      I'd have to agree partially with what you said about both the maps and the really good players. I myself enjoy playing on servers that don't play the default maps. As for other players, during the time frame you described, I was noticing a big problem with cheaters. I stopped playing CS for over a year and finally started playing again not more than a
      • I agree with the whole cheating thing. I started played around beta 3, when cheating wasn't nearly as widespread. Then by the time 1.0/1.1 rolled around it was actually somewhat difficult to find servers where there weren't cheaters. Or maybe a bunch of people just got really good. This may just be my ego talking, but I doubt that many people can get that much better then me when I'm sure many weren't as experienced as I was on it. So I stopped playing. I tried to start back up again around January but afte
  • Touchy subject (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Skandal ( 624659 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:23PM (#10027713)
    I was actually amazed at how ugly and washed out the screenshots look considering what the engine is capable of. But I appreciate that hardcore CS2 players would revolt if the lighting conditions are changed too much since that would ultimately affect gameplay. But I guess there will soon be new maps which take better advantage of the new engine.
  • by FerretFrottage ( 714136 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:25PM (#10027743)
    CS has had the longest retention of any of the FPS shooters for me (besides maybe Q2 and all of its assorted mods). I think I got hooked because I found a decent, mostly honest server where people would play as a team to meet the objective. You actually felt like you had a job to do and became more immersed in the game.

    Once it started to become more and more popular, a lot of the team play went away on "common" servers where it just became a frag fest. I'll definitely check out Source and see how it looks and feels. Hopefully most of the map exploits have been fixed better cheat prevention mentions have been added.
  • Source (Score:5, Funny)

    by SnAzBaZ ( 572456 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:26PM (#10027756) Homepage
    Damn, did anyone else read that title think for a brief second that they were going to be treated to some counterstrike source code oogle at?
  • True Combat []

    Ween yourself of the windows...
  • by CHaN_316 ( 696929 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:28PM (#10027777)
    Funny comic from Penny Arcade today about CounterStrike, here's the link [].
  • by ecc0 ( 548386 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:31PM (#10027799)
    Imagine if Doom 3 had been just like the original Doom, but with a better engine

    Oh, like Doom Legacy []...
  • Fair comparison?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dFaust ( 546790 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:32PM (#10027810)
    Comparing Doom3 to CS:Source??? Come on, that's ridiculous. Wouldn't a better comparison be something like Capture the Flag, Team Fortress, or maybe even Doom's Simpsons mod. I'm sure if any of those were updated to use the Doom3 engine, they'd be fairly well recieved... however, none of those have NEAR the popularity of CS, hence players probably WOULD want to see some newness in them.

    In addition, as someone else noted, this is essentially an update, it's not supposed to be Counter-Strike 2. I didn't hear anyone complain about CS 1.6 being just like CS 1.5.

    Just my two cents

  • I might deserve a troll label for this but...

    From the "review" it seems he's never played Farcry. The features described in HF2 are all present in Farcry. Not that I'm not waiting for HF2 to come so I can get CS too. But you have to expect any new FPS game to contain ragdoll physics as well as the other effects that Farcry & Doom3 have. IMHO this is why Valve has not released HF2 on time. I don't think it originally did not measure up to some of this years games and they are using the leak as an excuse
    • by Anonymous Coward
      What's HF2? Huckleberry Finn 2?
    • I have played Farcry. I did point out that CounterStrike Source brings CounterStrike up-to-date graphically with other current games, Farcry included.

      Did they push HL2 back to add more features? Perhaps. As long as they get it released, I don't care. I'm still waiting for Duke Nukem Forever.
  • ... and thought that the source for Counter Strike had been leaked...
  • PA (Score:2, Redundant)

    Once again, let Penny Arcade tackle this difficult issue.... -20&res=l []
  • Hilarious (Score:5, Informative)

    by kevin_conaway ( 585204 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:45PM (#10027935) Homepage
    This video [] is a must for anyone who has played Counterstrike
  • it isn't suprising for me to discover that cs:source is only it's revamped predecessor.

    What vALVE did was shift from what was born and is a basically free game to a pay-for-play model. Everyone needs an income, that's why they hired Gooseman in the first place.

    It's ok after all. They make great games and they deserve an income out of it. Still, I wonder what outrage this will cause among the community when vALVE will ditch CS1.6 as they did recently with CS1.5 (the WON version, that worked without install
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:46PM (#10027944)
    Counterstrike players complain for months if you even change small weapon balancing issues. I've even people complain about the new graphics. it would be like if you changed the rules of football. Its the game they've learned to play and Its highly upsetting if you start messing with it. I wouldnt be suprised if Counterstrike Was almost identical 10 yeas from now. with maby the addition new weapons.
  • It seems that their engine is finished, but Half Life 2 is not. So to keep in the news... they attach some old content to the new engine and send it out for beta testing.

    Not only do they get to work some more bugs out of the Source engine, but now all the tech news sites are talking about it. They can't let Doom 3 have all the news, even if HL2 was supposed to be out last year.
  • Doom (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Neurotoxic666 ( 679255 ) <neurotoxic666@hotm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday August 20, 2004 @05:53PM (#10028005) Homepage
    Imagine if Doom 3 had been just like the original Doom, but with a better engine.

    Honestly, that would've been awesome. I like Doom3, but something from the originals is missing, and it reminds me waaay to much of Half-Life rather than Doom. Actualy, is anybody aware of some group re-creating Doom and Doom2 on Doom3's engine?

    And more on-topic now, I think it's good they kept the same maps and guns from the original Counter Strike. For a beta version, it helps to see the differences between the old engine and the new one.
  • Argh. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Telastyn ( 206146 )
    I for one will be trilled when Counterstrike dies. Given that everyone plays it to the exclusion of everything else [175,000 to 5,000 any given evening from statistics I've seen] the FPS genre has been CS or nothing for pretty much 4 years. And since I can barely stand the game...

    • There's wonderful other options!

      If you computer is decent, UT2004 is great with a GREAT modding community. Lots of good mods out already, but not a lot of players.

      Also for half life check out Natural Selection [] .. My personal favorite mod for half-life (try it, it's awesome)
  • Keeping the gameplay the same as the original is one of the cool things that Valve does that most companies don't do. For example, if you look at Team Fortress Classic (their remake of Quake's Team Fortress) you'll note that they _attempted_ to keep the gameplay (physics, movement speed, damage, etc) authentic.

    I definitely think that there is demand for upgraded graphics while keeping the gameplay the same. I can only imagine how cool a revamped Quake 2 would be :)

    Most remakes of classic games that fail
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 20, 2004 @06:26PM (#10028306)
    Ya, that is right, CS:S will be free with HL2, its not suppose to be CS2, nor is it suppose to bring anything new, valve simply ported CS to the new engine, and is offering it for free.. had they taken money for CS:S alone i could understand people being upset, but really.. This is just goodwill from Valve as i see it.. Stop complaining about everything!
  • by gblues ( 90260 ) on Friday August 20, 2004 @07:09PM (#10028649)
    CS: Source DOES include significant gameplay changes!

    - Accurate physics, including ragdoll physics for when players die; you can also push stuff around.
    - When you land from a jump, you STOP MOVING. No more bunny hoppers! Also if you fall from a high enough ledge to take damage, you stop moving for a bit.
    - Accurate hitboxes, so you actually have to hit the head to get a headshot.
    - The new fog effects make smoke grenades really useful.
    - Flashbangs actually make you deaf for a minute, as do grenades if they explode near you.
    - Jumping makes noise.

    • by SkoZombie ( 562582 ) <> on Friday August 20, 2004 @09:56PM (#10029649) Homepage
      Yeah i was wondering how far down i'd have to read for someone to post something insightful about CS:S. If i still had mod points i'd mod you up!

      In addition:
      - The muzzle flash is vastly improved ... for instance when you're in smoke firing, a *lot* of the smoke lights up.
      - Flashbangs visual affects are VASTLY improved and give a real feeling of disorientation, with images overlayed and what looks like a 2 year old playing with the brightness and contrast controls.
      - The physics can not be understated! You can hide behind stuff, that might get shot away! Its not a static world, most stuff is dynamic! I played it for ages and ppl were *still* playing with the physics! A grenade explosion will send objects (weapons, bodies, small objects) flying ... it looks SWEET!
      - The dust looks awsome, try wasting a few clips into the ground and tell me you dont drool!

      On top of that ... its generally just more playable!
  • Counter-strike's popularity is in its multi-player. The 'content', for all comparison purposes is the experience, and the people you're playing against. Doom 3 was a single-player game. Huge difference. Huge. Did I say huge? I meant really big.
  • One of the coolest things about the Source engine as compared to the HL1 engine is that object attributes are hierarchal. What this means for CS is that we will now be able to design maps that contain stuff like vehicles with turrets, or doors with breakable windows.
  • ..about Source is that it keeps the same gameplay, including guns and maps, of the original CounterStrike and simply brings CounterStrike (which uses the original Half Life engine) up to date graphically.

    This isn't correct. They ported a large chunk of the code/behaviors over, and imported the old models/maps, but they've done a significant amount of work to get them to look good in Source. This is hardly just "updating the engine." I'd even suspect that they can make CS look even better, seeing as it's a
  • by Snaller ( 147050 ) on Saturday August 21, 2004 @07:26AM (#10031448) Journal
    Half Life 2's engine is not nearly as advanced as iD's but this is due more to the need for wide open environments in HL2 and Counterstrike Source than any inferiority at Valve.

    So Id's engine is better because it can render a dark hole in the ground?

    Hurrah for Valve and their wide open spaces - just say no to black holes (and crates!)

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