Counter-Strike 2 releases this summer, tick rate gone, limited testing begins
Very expected: Valve has lifted the curtain on the sequel to the most popular game on Steam, CS:GO. There are a lot of details left, but Valve has revealed some fundamental changes, including the elimination of the tick rate. It is not clear what will happen to the current version of the game, but everything that players have earned is carried over to the sequel.
This week Valve announced Counter-Strike 2, a free upgrade to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). coming this summer. The sequel is a complete visual overhaul and significant backend changes to the classic competitive shooter gameplay.
The CS2 closed beta starts on Wednesday, during which Valve will test its new features and fix any remaining issues before launch. The company promises to reveal all the features of the update when it is released publicly, but its initial announcement includes a few early details.
One fundamental change is that CS2 removes the tickrate system that underpinned previous iterations. Global Offensive’s servers are updated several times, or “ticks” per second, determining how quickly the game reacts to the player’s actions. Counter-Strike 2 will detect player actions, such as movement and shooting, between ticks, making precious milliseconds more important.
Also, smoke works completely differently in CS2. In most games, smoke is treated as a view-blocking sheet that doesn’t interact with the environment and often goes right through obstacles. However, the Smoke in CS2 is voluminous, interacting with light and physical objects, just like in real life.
When throwing a smoke bomb in CS2, particles dynamically bend around objects and transform, filling the fences. Bullets and explosions temporarily throw smoke aside. Particle clouds also obscure the light and shadows that pass through them. The changes could drastically change how players use smoke to communicate and cover their movements.
Valve updated the Counter-Strike maps for the sequel, but in different ways depending on the terrain. Touchstone maps, like the legendary Dust II, have the fewest changes so players can use them to test CS2 gameplay changes. They have slightly better lighting and character reading, but are otherwise no different from CS:GO.
“Upgrade” maps like Nuke use physically based lighting from Valve’s new Source 2 engine. Valve hasn’t changed the textures or other visual elements. However, more realistic materials and reflections make these levels completely new. Other maps like Overpass get brand new textures, objects and lighting on top of their old layouts.
Valve will provide players with access to Source 2’s level editing tools to help create custom maps. Players can upload or download custom content from the Source 2 Item Workshop, which Valve plans to implement during the Closed Beta. Valve will provide more information on community-created maps before the end of the beta.
To find out if you qualify for the limited test, simply launch CS:GO. You should check repeatedly throughout the beta as Valve invite more players over time. The company selects participants based on recent CS:GO playtime on official Valve servers, Steam account status, and trust factor. The test phase is only available on Windows.
Beta testers can email feedback to Valve with “CS2LT Report” in the subject line. Reports should include bug details, replay steps, and screenshots to help developers investigate issues.
It is not yet clear what will happen to CS:GO when CS2 comes out. However, beta testers are free to switch between both games. Experience points from CS2 also carry over to CS:GO, so it’s worth playing. All inventory items also carry over to the sequel in beta and full release.
The presentation of Counter-Strike 2 was not a complete surprise. Valve insiders confirmed its upcoming release earlier this month after Nvidia drivers mentioned the game’s executable. They claim that the development of CS2 is the main reason why CS:GO updates have become less frequent lately.