Valve Cinemagic: CSGO’s Source Filmmaker Short

By Nathan Grayson on August 18th, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

Fear not! These jagged remains of a window will protect me.

If it wasn’t already amazingly apparent, Valve is quite well-versed in the ways of moviefilm-fu. And while it may have recently offered its tools of the trade to all who would dare know their secrets, the Newellian empire is still very much the master. Case in point: a new short film promoting Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. While other games that do the whole good-guys-vs-terrorists shtick have entered into an arms race over biggest ‘splosions and who can make their flying drone swarms look like something out of a Hitchcock movie, this brief CSGO tale aims to be intimate, intense, and true to the spirit of the series. It won’t blow your mind or anything, but it’s still certainly a cut above.

Elsewhere on the merry ol’ CSGO-round, Valve’s announced that the latest revamp of its undying shooter franchise is set to launch with a rather literal interpretation of that theme – namely, a zombie mod. So it was written on CSGO’s official blog:

“CS:GO doesn’t launch alone next week.  When we go live next Tuesday, we will have some brain chomping walking dead joining us.  The guys over at plaguefest.com have been working with us to get Zombie Mod working on CS:GO and it’s ready! It was important to us as we developed CS:GO to make sure it was as moddable and extensible as any CS game.  So this is just one of many mods that will be available to CS:GO in the coming months.  Are you actively developing a mod for CS:GO?  Let us know.”

So that’s encouraging. But will this finally be the One Counter-Strike To Rule Them All? Or will it just end up fragmenting the audience further? And really, would that be such a bad thing? Perhaps a CS that’s more friendly to new players – both in terms of gameplay and the community surrounding it – would be good for both old players and new. What do you think? Do you plan on giving this one a go?

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65 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Crimsoneer says:

    I don’t WANT zombie mode. Already, most CSGO servers are full of 32 player, start with 16000, or deathmatch configs… I miss some proper vanilla CS :(

    • zeroskill says:

      correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t that what competitive mode is there for?

    • Paravel says:

      Uh, what? I’ve played 50 hours and haven’t seen anything but vanilla games. Are you sure you’re not talking about CS:Source?

    • PopeJamal says:

      It’s a zombie MOD, not a zombie MODE. There is a slight difference.

      EVERYTHING has a zombie mod at this point courtesy of the mod community. You can’t stop the march of the undead. Zombies neither.

    • aldrenean says:

      Stop joining custom servers? O.o

    • Premium User Badge

      liquidsoap89 says:

      $16K funny hat servers are the only way to play though!

  2. Greggh says:

    All throughout the video I kept hearing in my head:

    “GET TO THE CHOPPAH!”

  3. Ernesto says:

    Harz, Germany…. Yeah, that’s a pretty big area ;)
    I liked it anyway. It captures the intensity of the last minute of a de_ match. But nowadays its more deathmatch than tactics. I’m curious whether CSGO is any different.

  4. Willazord says:

    I’m just waiting for deathrun.

  5. Tei says:

    Maybe can make “Meet the… ” videos for DOTA2.

  6. Premium User Badge

    emotionengine says:

    Am I the only one who found the voice acting a little awkward? I thought German CTs yelling in English was strange, but even after mentally re-skinning those to SEALs or SAS or whatever, I still found the voices a bit stiff. Not a huge deal, but still.

    Edit: I watched it again, and there are some German words mixed in with the English, so maybe the voices were made to sound like that on purpose. Slightly accented “Commando English”. Anybody know if GSG9 operatives usually communicate in English during an operation IRL?

    • woodsey says:

      Pretty sure it was just done so English-speakers could understand it….

      • Kollega says:

        Actually, after seeing your comment, i thought that there is nothing in the video that we wouldn’t understand if it was in German, and it would be a lot more atmospheric that way.

        • woodsey says:

          There’s about 5 words of muffled dialogue, I don’t think it’d add all that much.

          • Grape says:

            …Which is exactly why it’s absolutely fucking pointless to have it in English.

          • Tei says:

            Guys… All the movies with aliens have the aliens talking the same language as the characters ( english if the movie is in english). Except if you want to add a “authenticity” effect, you use the language the spectators will understand.

    • meatshit says:

      I haven’t played the game, but I assume all the voice work is just repurposed in-game chatter.

    • Lemming says:

      I thought they were just using the familiar CS:S sound barks?

    • Roshin says:

      I thought it was really polite of the counter-terrorist to say “FLASHBANG” loud and clear before he tossed it. :)

    • Miltrivd says:

      They are using the in-game radio commands, so they are pre-defined short audio tracks.

    • spaggy says:

      People who know two or more languages can quite often switch between the two during a sentence. I do it a lot subconsciously, and a lot of people who have learnt English do it as well.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code-switching

  7. Kollega says:

    I don’t like Valve now like i used to in the past, but i gotta hand it to them: they made CS look like something that i would actually be interested in (it’s simply not my type of game normally).

    • Trithne says:

      Unfortunately, as Ernesto said above, in practice the game is more of a team deathmatch with no respawning than competitive Rainbow Six.

  8. mashakos says:

    Holy crap that was amazing for a Source engine pre-render.
    Why can’t Valve make their games look like this? I’d live with a few sharp edges if it meant that this level of atmosphere would be possible in-game. The post-processing was great.

    • Marik Bentusi says:

      Because especially the dramatic shadows it would be in the way of gameplay, much like their giant lens flare cousins or dirt-on-screen uncles or head-bobbing-dachshunds.

    • Jon Tetrino says:

      Right now the source engine simply can’t handle it in real time. The next version of it? Who knows, but currently to get that level of polish takes hours and hours of rendering.

      I do love the Film Maker though.

      • PopeJamal says:

        I was under the impresion that the Source Filmmaker software was in-engine, realtime. Not prerendered.
        Or was this one a “traditional” video?

        • gavintlgold says:

          The source filmmaker does not render in real time, but it lets you set up the scene and “preview” in realtime, with rough lighting and no blur or DoF. When you actually render the scene, depending on the settings it ends up rendering at about a frame a second on my machine.

          • mashakos says:

            I see. Still, the post-process effects in this video aren’t exactly impossible on today’s gtx580s / gtx680s or even mid-range cards.
            I’m just wondering why Portal 2 or Left 4 Dead don’t have this level of polish, at least as an “extreme” option, to keep Source games from looking like indie titles?
            Mind you, I far prefer Valve’s approach to keeping their games accessible (in terms of hardware requirements) as opposed to Blizzard’s “let’s not update the graphics engine for another two decades till we can release our games in javascript” approach…

            It’s just that it would be nice to be impressed by Source games, rather than just comment on how clever the creative staff have been at sprucing up a game engine from 2004.

          • mashakos says:

            As a point of reference for high quality post-processing, I’m running this GTA 4 mod at 60fps on my gtx580 equipped core i7 machine:

          • Jackolatern says:

            @mashakos

            Probably cause Source engine is basically still just a extremely pimped out quake engine, its not going to be able to do that kind of graphics. They need to rewrite a new engine from scratch with the engine’s fundamentals based around models instead of the bsp geometry. Then suddenly it becomes much more easier to apply better unified lighting and pixel shaders into the game level.

    • Grovy says:

      The target audience of this game don’t really want them to. They’ve already made a second set of maps with _se name suffix with a lot of the pretties and ambient sounds removed to be more suitable for competitions.

      • mashakos says:

        I was actually thinking of Valve’s single-player/co-op campaign oriented games rather than counterstrike in particular.

  9. notenome says:

    -Somewhat off topic-

    Kind of crazy to see this now. Last night I went online to play DOTA2, and through the joys of random match maker, Gabe Newell was on the opposing team. I said I was going to report him, and he said every time he gets reported HL3 gets delayed by a month. Nice guy, one of those crazy random video game moments.

    After the game was over (we lost due to a DC) I checked his profile to make sure it was legit, and indeed it was.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      I ran into him in Red Orchestra 2 once. I never got a chance to tell him what I really think about his company. Maybe next time.

  10. subedii says:

    But will this finally be the One Counter-Strike To Rule Them All? Or will it just end up fragmenting the audience further? And really, would that be such a bad thing? Perhaps a CS that’s more friendly to new players – both in terms of gameplay and the community surrounding it – would be good for both old players and new. What do you think? Do you plan on giving this one a go?

    Realistically? I seriously doubt the CS1.6 mainstay is ever going to accept and move to CS:GO. It’s a different game, and going in a slightly different direction. Part of that means removing or altering what could be called “idiosyncracies” in the way that CS1.6 works that have come to be viewed as core components (like map design changes to alter or remove grenade tricks) of the game. Others have been just general shifts in the “feel” of the game (and there’s always going to be an angry minority who says it plays like CoD now). In either case these aren’t things that the 1.6 community wants to leave.

    Before the arguments start, I’m not going to be drawn on value judgments on that, you can feel however you want on it. Some bits are better, some bits worse and could use more work (I agree with the sentiment regarding reloading animations might be better if they didn’t cross the centre of the screen for example).

    Basically I’m put in mind of the same situation Blizzard was put in with Starcraft 2. To what extent do you keep the old gameplay model (complete with aspects that would originally have been design limitations or simply differences, but have since been adopted by the mainstay as being core parts of the game), and to what extent do you evolve? There are of course, people who will be completely unsatisfied with ANYTHING other than CS1.6 + new paint job, but nobody really cares about those guys. After that, it’s a matter of degrees.

    I’m certainly not a high enough level player to comment on which is “better” for the competitive scene, and where “this mechanic isn’t as good” separates from “this mechanic is different and therefore not as good”. To be blunt, I also believe 90% of the people that ever complain about these things aren’t skilled enough and objective enough to make accurate calls that fall into the former rather than the latter.

    For me, well the upside for me is that I don’t care as a result since I already know I don’t know any better. So speaking personally? I’m happy enough for CS with the option for skills based matchmaking.

    • rakbanan says:

      I’m trying to think of something that CS:GO does better and I’m honestly having a hard time.

      The obvious answer would be graphics, but the post-processing and huge amount of fog, not to mention the art design of the models and maps actually harm the gameplay.

      Only thing I can think of is the HUD, but that one is kind of bittersweet because while it is functionally better, it’s ugly as hell and lacks readability. They should take a look at CSPromod.

      CS:GO has a lot of problems, and it’s not a matter of “just different, not worse.” It is worse. Why is that old, blocky game still one of the most played games on Steam. Why is it still more popular than CS: Source? A higher skill-ceiling and better competitive gameplay, that’s why. If CS: S was one step down, CS: GO is two. Almost every change they’ve made makes for a worse competitive game, some are just different and a matter of getting used to, but most of them are simply worse. Nothing was learned from CS: Source, except that barrels are bolted to the ground now.

      It’s clear to me that Valve doesn’t take Counter-Strike seriously as a competitive game. I’m not even sure they take it seriously as a franchise. Remember the CS: GO announcement trailer? It looked like something you’d expect from an amateur mod team, not a team backed by fucking Valve.

      Oh, I do remember one thing that is genuinely one hundred percent better, the voice acting. It has some character now, and while it’s not great by any means, it’s much better than the boring voice commands in the previous games.

  11. ten_six says:

    Anyone else notice that flicker between the 11th and 12 second mark? I screen grabbed it and it looks just like the frame in the 6 second mark.
    Are they at their tricks again?. what does 6 and 11.5 have to do with anything?

    screen grab here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/85239316@N07/

    thoughts?

    • Premium User Badge

      Driveshaft says:

      Oooh. Well spotted. Very interesting indeed.

      No idea what I’m looking at though.

      Funny that it flashes over the radioactive sign (OMG HL3!!)

      • PoLLeNSKi says:

        The tree branch makes a back-to-front, upside down, lambda sign if you squint at it funny…it MUST be

  12. Marik Bentusi says:

    Wait, does CS:GO come with the good mod support or the L4D2/Portal2 mod support?

  13. Totally heterosexual says:

    Looked really nice but the shootouts were kinda weak.

    Eh

  14. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    This was far from a bad video but I do think they needed a better director. There were some really nice set pieces but it didn’t quite hang together right. for me, all the ingredients were there and of very high quality but they didn’t mesh together quite right for me.

    I think they’re just used to, and have gotten very good at, making Meet the… videos.

  15. revokatt says:

    I am now convinced Spike should hire these guys for the Deadliest Warrior show.

  16. Beelzebud says:

    I bought CSGO because it was so cheap, and I am pleasantly surprised. I was burned out on CS years ago (like 8 years ago), but I’ve been having a blast with this.

  17. CrowPath says:

    Rated M for Mature, says the kid I wouldn’t serve a beer to.

  18. DigitalSignalX says:

    Bomb was defused. For sure.

  19. Skabooga says:

    Shout-out to my two (three?) favorite weapons being featured, the SAW machinegun and the dual pistols. I don’t care how impractical they are, I’ll never stop using them.

    • dsi1 says:

      I forget its actual name, but that wasn’t a SAW, it’s a Russian LMG.

      • Premium User Badge

        VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        I still have no idea what most of the guns are in CS. I just remember them as key sequences, like B 4 3.

      • The Arbitrary says:

        Sorry to gun nut out a bit, but I’m fairly certain that the gun in the video is a SAW. What you’re probably thinking about is the Negev, which I think is also in CS:GO and is an Israeli weapon.

    • Geen says:

      The dual pistols, I love them. I don’t give a crap about their reload time or damage or whatever, still my first or second pick early game during the pistol rounds. They can be used for suppressing fire or whatever, and look badass while still retaining usability, unlike the desert eagle and it’s shit accuracy and low magazine.

  20. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

    Valve have certainly learned something from making the Meet The x videos. I watched them all recently, and though Meet the Scout and Meet the Heavy are fun, neither is near as well put together as Meet the Medic or Meet the Pyro.

  21. JayeRandom says:

    Crikey. My CS clan played the hell out of this map, what, 13 years ago? I remember so many close showdowns in the basement, just as depicted here. Really eerie, to see it rendered with such verisimilitude.

    edit: de_nuke. That was it.

  22. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    Having played a lot of Raven Shield, I can’t help but put German-accented phrases like “Who the…” “Police!” “I’m getting out of here!” into the mouths of the terrorists. I also like in that game that while, like SWAT 4, you can arrest surrendered terrorists, in Raven Shield it makes absolutely no difference if you just shoot them for the most part.

  23. Bweahns says:

    I played this back when I was into Quake2. I’m keen to give GO a go simply because I want to play maps other than Dust2 and Office, the only maps that ever get played ever on the CS Source servers here in Australia.

  24. McCool says:

    I was shocked and appaled it did not end with the iconic voice-over “Counter-Terrorists Win”. It was building up to it to such an extent.

  25. Messiah Complex says:

    I wonder if the fact that they showed an iron sights view in the movie will cause a furor among those that think iron sights would ruin CS (even more!).

  26. YourMessageHere says:

    How many years is it that people have been playing the same handful of CS maps? This was a great short, and in a way it was a sign of Valve’s directorial skills that they managed to make de_nuke recogniseable while also showing that they are adding in new elements.

    But really, what if, along with their new game, they did something really amazing like making some new maps? Or integrating randomised elements into existing maps to keep play somewhat dynamic and unpredictable? Or a full-on proceedural map generator? It seems patently obvious to me that this is the single biggest thing that ruins games like these; the l33t0rs learn the maps, find the optimal angles and camping spots, and it just turns into ‘play like this to win, or play like you want and lose’. It’s no longer about skill in responding to a situation as it develops, it’s about skill in finding ways to exploit a familiar landscape.

    I suppose you can argue that that’s the real skill of competitive FPS, but to me it absolutely shouldn’t be, particularly in games where the objective is to simulate (or at least approximate) the real world. Gunfights are not decided by people squatting behind a box which offers perfect sightlines to entry points but conceals them well, because they know it’s there and have done it a hundred times before, they are decided by adaptation to the environment on the spur of the moment.