Counter-Strike 2 revealed by Valve, out this summer

Counter-Strike 2 revealed by Valve, out this summer

Counter-Strike 2 revealed by Valve, out this summer

Counter-Strike 2 is officially a thing, and is slated for release this (US) summer. Running on the Source 2 engine, which also served as the basis for the famous Half-Life: Alyx, the game will be available as a free upgrade to the existing CS:GO. Limited Testing for CS2 is now live and will show up for select players as a special notification in the CS:GO main menu. Serving as the “greatest technical leap forward in Counter-Strike history”, the game includes several visual and technical improvements, with the promise of more to come. The news comes after a leak earlier this month, where a recent Nvidia driver update added support for “cs2.exe” and “csgo2.exe”.

In a series of videos, developer Valve explained what sets CS2 apart from CS:GO. First, you have the classic maps – Dust 2, Inferno, Train, etc. – which come with visual and lighting improvements, resulting in reflections on tiles, puddles, and better shadows. All thanks to the new Source 2 lighting, which includes a “physics-based rendering system”. Older maps have been completely rebuilt from the ground up to feature new assets and physics changes, bringing a new aesthetic to a beloved game, using Source 2 tools. The tools will also be available to mappers from the community, allowing them to create and experiment with details as small as textures or lighting colors.

Counter-Strike is known for its accurate and precise gunplay, evaluating moves and shots at specific time intervals or ticks. On the official CS:GO game servers, this was hard-locked to 64hz, although it could be bumped up to 128hz on third-party servers, resulting in a streamlined competitive experience. The metric basically measures how often the server refreshes to process and update new information. Counter-Strike 2, however, introduces a new sub-tick architecture which Valve says negates the purpose/value of a tick rate. “Now the tick rate no longer matters for moving and shooting, so the server will know the exact moment you fired your shot, skipped your jump, or peeked,” describes the narrator in the video. “…the server will calculate your precise actions between ticks. So what you see is what you get.

Smokes are also enhanced, starting with creating volumetric 3D fogs that interact with the environment and any physical obstructions. Instead of just forming a static cloud of smoke, as we’re used to from CS:GO, it now expands to naturally fill spaces, accommodating entire vents and tight spaces, and sometimes seeping through broken windows. The shape of the smoke cloud can also be manipulated via gunfire and high-explosive grenades, its impact clearing the smoke, as it realistically would. Not only will your entire CS:GO inventory – weapon skins and decals – carry over into Counter-Strike 2, but they’ll benefit from Source 2 engine lighting and high-res model upgrades. There’s more gore, better ragdoll effects when turning over dead opponents, and UI improvements.

How to Access the Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test

According to Valve’s FAQ page, players are selected based on many factors, including their Steam profile position, recent playtime on official servers, ban history, and the “trust factor.” If chosen, players will receive a notification on their CS:GO main menu, asking them to “REGISTER” and begin their download. “Once the download is complete, launch CS:GO and select the ‘Limited Test’ option to play Counter-Strike 2 Limited Test,” the message adds. Valve says more players will be added to the limited test over time, and it’s a good idea to check your main menu occasionally. There is no third-party website to access the limited test of CS2, nor beta test keys to redeem.

CS:GO and CS2 will be accessible to a chosen few, but they will only be able to play with and against players on the same version. So Counter-Strike 2 players will only be matched with other CS2 players, and vice versa. Any XP earned in the limited test will carry over to CS:GO, while competitive cooldowns are shared between the two versions. While it goes without saying, Valve also reiterated that “accounts with VAC or banned from playing CS:GO cannot play Counter-Strike 2 on VAC-secured servers.”

Counter-Strike 2 is coming out this summer on PC. It’s American summer (June-August), beware, not Indian.

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