At the end of February this year, Valve decided to add new CS:GO community maps. These were community maps, which means CS created them:GO players. The maps included fall into 3 categories: 2 competitive maps, 2 Wingman maps, and 2 Danger Zone maps.
The Competitive Maps
Iris and Climb are the most important CS:GO maps of the 6 mentioned above. These are the two competitive maps, and their creators are:
- BubkeZ and Oliver (Iris)
- RZL, Squidski, and Coachi (Climb)
The creators did an excellent job, and there’s a chance that we will get to see Iris in professional tournaments one day. Climb is out of the question because it is a Hostage Rescue map. But Iris is a Bomb Defusal one.
What Makes an Excellent Bomb Defusal Map
Over the years, CS:GO Community Maps have been created for CS:GO’s a professional circuit. However, only a small number of them have demonstrated their viability. Pro players are very sensitive to map design because they know all the tricks and all how you could gain an advantage.
On many maps, the structure of the objects and the entrances to key areas heavily favor one of the two sides. So from the start, the map is doomed to be rejected.
Even a 5% unbalance is enough to create a visible difference in results. And after a while, Valve is forced to admit that although it is fun in pub games, the map is not well-suited for competitive matches.
Another big error when designing a CS:GO map makes the travel distance to key locations unbalanced. If one of the two sides can get there much faster, that creates a big problem. When pro players compete, they want the map to feel well-designed from both sides.
Often, teams will devise their strategies in a very rigorous and mathematical way. They will not rely on pure luck or mistakes on their opponent’s side. Instead, they will think like a chess player and seek ways of gaining an advantage reliably.
CS:GO Community Maps – What Works and Doesn’t
Moving around in CS:GO is dangerous. You might get shot whenever you walk around a corner or open a door. When pro players peek, they do it understanding the dangers. But that understanding is informed by their experience, by the intel provided to them by their teammates, and by their deep knowledge of each map.
You never want to take a wild guess and hope for the best. The goal is to have such a good mental model that when you make a decision, you know what’s likely to happen ahead of time.
On CS:GO community maps, most of the action takes place near the bomb locations. These locations, called A and B, are where map designers must focus most of their efforts. If the Counter-Terrorists have no room to move around or no place to hide when the Terrorists attack their position, the map is poorly designed.
On the other hand, if there are too many options and the Terrorists need to make wild guesses, that’s also a problem. You never want the bomb location to be undefendable or unconquerable. And you don’t want to eliminate all skill by having too many possibilities that need to be verified.
CS:GO is a great game when the teams feel like their tactics matter, and their preparation is rewarded by the map design. Imagine, for instance, that you’re fighting on a perfectly flat plane in an open field. The only skill involved in that battle is shooting. If you aim better than the opponent, you will win every time.
Great CS:GO community maps adds complexity to the struggle, forcing players to consider many more variables and then find intelligent ways to use the terrain to their advantage. Every wall and every box should be there on purpose. Adding objects for the sake of filling space is a bad idea.
Another key aspect of a good map is the possibility for counter-play. This means the attacker doesn’t have all the advantages and needs to be careful about the defensive side. If the map design forces the CT side to sit near the two bomb locations and doesn’t provide any opportunity for them to threaten the Terrorists, that’s quite bad.
Anything that makes the battle predictable and repetitive is bad for the game and the audience. Ideally, the two teams should feel like the map provides everything they need to win as long as their strategies are sound.
The New Danger Zone Maps
The new Danger Zone maps added to CS:GO is Vineyard and Ember. You should check out if you’re a fan of this mode. Both of them are very well designed.