Chickens In The Mainframe: CS:GO Maps

Thanks to the Steam Workshop, I have more random things installed on my PC than ever before. Wanderin through the workshops has become a routine in my downtime. They are the curio shops of games, a tiny sliver of insight into someone’s passions put on display. I’ll find something, subscribe, forget I have it, then turn on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and discover it has underwater maps, battlegrounds inspired by Alice In Wonderland, and motherboards to run around on. Here’s a few of my favourites.

I do love the part of the CS community that doesn’t give a hoot. “Logic and scale in a tense game of counter-insurgency? Not as long as I have an urge to create a StarGate!”. And I have to have that. Not because it’s good, or well balanced, or pretty. But because it exists. Speaking of which.

Give people mod tools and within six months there will be a StarGate mod for your game. That is the law of the universe, and it was once again proven by de_stargate_atlantis, a map that has the CT’s beaming into the TV show’s base to take on the Terrorist occupiers. It’s an enclosed space, but nonetheless built with a lot of open spaces and large areas. You can definitely camp in the shiny sci-fi corridors.

This chess, but from another universe. It’s an Alice in Wonderland inspired map, where the ground is a broken, rippling wave of checked tiles and the landscape is covered in over-sized crockery and chess pieces. Outside the map’s boundaries are tumbling cups, saucers, and teapots, and I think the suggestion here is that the map is a frozen moment of those weighty pieces colliding with the ground, as if some giant lost his game and petulantly pounded the board. One area has a plate slicing deeply into the ground. My favourite touch is the steam rising from the teapot spouts.

This is actually a port of a CS: Source map, but it’s worth commenting on. One of the tropes of map-making is putting the players in spaces they couldn’t occupy in the real world. In this case it’s in a PC case. CTs and Ts stalk around the PC components, trying to find line-of-sight past the CPU fan and using the sticks of RAM as cover. It’s a lovingly made mixture of mocking silliness and authentic parts: there’s a “Super-Duper chip”, but there are also stickers on top of the DVD warning it’s a “Class-A Laser Product”, and the fans have spinning blades. Only the bravest player will enable the option* that destroys the inside of your PC when the terrorist’s bomb goes off.

The second law of moddo-dynamics states that once the StarGate map is released, then the community will make a map that uses the visual style of Minecraft. So it was that awp_minecraft_crash_go was made. As the prefix suggests, this is a map for sniper scumbags to work out their issues with each other: a square map with a blocky, covered hill in the middle. Even with all these clean lines, it’s possible to be sneaky, using the gaps in the straight trees works well. But no matter how many times I stab the ground, it remains resolutely undug. Bah!

Another of my favourite map tropes is the mapper being deliberately obtuse. De_Spectrum_b1 is such a map, where there’s no underlying theme pinning it all together. It’s just a strange, dark map with artwork, cubes, and neon lighting. There’s also a running commentary of outside trills and bug noises. But even without a theme, it still manages to remind me of something: it’s like an over-developed laser tag hall.

TheSparseForest doesn’t look immediately interesting, but there’s a point to TheSparseForest that I like: you can only see silhouettes, which really means you can only see trees and almost nothing else. The only way to find someone else is through their gunfire. It’s a good idea to build tension, but the implementation is a bit shonky: when I tried it, it lagged horribly, and the gun blasts didn’t carry far enough to make it a truly interesting experience, but I like notion and if putting it on the list inspires the mapper or someone else to fix it, then that’s what I’m going to do.

Another classic from maps of ye olde tymes. A skybox of galaxies, and corridors and rooms with no coherent design to link them. One room has a miniature sun with a single tiny planet orbiting it, and one of the ways out is to walk up the unfurled tongue of a giant face. It’s not a map to fight people on, but if you and a couple of friends manage to host it, you’ll have a lot of fun just wandering the corridors and reporting what you find to each other: “Have you been in the room with the reconfiguring staircases, Bopo?” “Nope. I’m stuck in the Idiot Zoo. Help!”


The central atrium of this under-construction underwater hotel is a lovely space, with just the right level of tackiness that you get in hotels. It’s no Rapture, but there are towering windows of liquid blue that do a decent job of making me want to hold my breath.

You knew we’d end up here, eventually. Another remake of a fond classic, and another map that miniaturises the players. Rats is still discombobulating in best way. You’re a tiny man in a front room, and down here everything looms: bookcases are towering buildings with tottering, physics enabled books; you can climb ladders made of pin-tacks, and use a kiddy train as intermittent cover. There are lovely little details, like the change under the sofa. It even has a hidden room with a rocket car and a mousetrap.



  1. Dozer says:

    Every time someone pulls out a knife so they can run faster, I start laughing.

    • int says:

      Makes you wonder, does it work with all sharp objects? I think I’ve heard something about running with scissors.

      • Dagonath says:

        Maybe that’s why parents try to prohibit their youngsters from running with scissors.
        The vague argument that “oh it’s dangerous! You might trip and hurt yourself” is just a cover up for their real intention.

        They do not want you to be able to outrun them….

        • melphion says:

          So does that mean that if you were to get, say, 50 knives, tape them all together and hold the pokey, sticky, slashy mess, you could approach the speed of light?

          • DanMan says:

            Who knows? You should just try. Maybe walk on stilts, too, so your stride length increases, too.

            What? No, i totally do not want you to fall to your stabby death. Silly.

    • LionsPhil says:

      “Everyone knows you run faster with a knife!”

    • subedii says:

      As opposed to running with an AR in your hands? Well yes actually, you would. I don’t understand why people always complain about this.

      Simple thought experiment. Take a rucksack. Stuff it with items. Run with it whilst holding it in your arms in front of you.

      Take aforesaid rucksack, sling it over your back. Run with something small and easily hand held in your hand.

      It doesn’t matter that your overall weight is the same (which I presume is the root of the complaint, or it always has been every time I’ve asked). If you’re holding something big and heavy in your hands, your centre of gravity is shifted forwards, and you aren’t able to pump your arms effectively whilst you run (which yes, is important when you’re trying to move as fast as possible).

      A rifle is a big, chunky, heavy thing that requires both arms to carry it. It’s easier to run with a rifle slung over your back than it is with it in your hands. That’s why you switch to pistol / knife. The tradeoff being that you need to switch back before encountering anyone or else you’re a dead duck.

      Is it realistic in the strictest sense? Of course not. Soldiers don’t run into battle wielding knives for a very good reason. But as a gameplay mechanic on its own it doesn’t strike me as particularly egregious, certainly not compared to all the other things happening in the game.

      • bakerman says:

        Great post.

        • Harlander says:

          Indeed, it’s nice to see some rigour on the comments.

          Also, just goes to show that just because something’s realistic doesn’t mean it doesn’t look really silly.

      • LionsPhil says:

        As much as anything, I think it’s because CS’s “put away the heavy thing” option is “and take out a knife instead”, not “holster weapons” as in a few other games. Hence FPS Doug picking up a knife into his empty hands to run faster being funny.

      • Jerkzilla says:

        I thought it was more of a gameplay mechanic to let you catch up to unsuspecting opponents while they’re moving away from you.

        • subedii says:

          It’s possible that it could also help serve that purpose, I’m not exactly ‘pro’ material so I couldn’t tell you. However you do move slower depending on the weapon you have out. AWP and M249 slow you down the most.

          link to

      • Widthwood says:

        Actually according to CS:S you have to hold Scout sniper rifle to run at maximum speed.
        Followed by knife tied with all kinds of handguns.

        Probably that is why you don’t see marathon runners with sniper rifles – they will get banned for cheating…

  2. Mr. Mister says:

    You know, that would be a more legit reaason to think that CS could induce dangerous behaviour on kids than shooting guns.

    • PrinceKonami says:

      So true.

      • Mr. Mister says:

        Argh, I meant to reply to “Maybe they will think they can run faster while holding sharp objects, like scissors”.

  3. The Dark One says:

    Sure, rats is classic, but I prefer turkeyburgers.

  4. Hirmetrium says:

    I saw the top picture and immediately had to make a cup of tea.

    Thanks RPS.

  5. fitzroy_doll says:

    The diversity and creativity of the CS:S mapping community was the reason and means that I made CSSSCIFI. Such a shame the last Source engine update broke the mod irrevocably.

  6. Dwin_hoffi_coffi says:

    you forgot to mention de_fawlty_towers, its just a shame nobody plays these maps

    • bakerman says:

      Google does not know of this de_fawlty_towers… is there a link?

      • Text_Fish says:

        It’s actually cs_fawlty_towers, and beyond the fact that it looks a lot like the set of Fawlty Towers, it’s not that great.

  7. Kemuel says:

    ZUHHH? Holy shit, Nipper’s still around? I must have spent at least a year of CS1.5-1.6 playing nothing but his customs.

  8. tehsorrow says:

    All this stuff makes me miss Levelord

  9. Lord Byte says:

    On the minecraft map. Every weapon hit on those blocks should destroy it, and the AWP multiples :) Since they’re squares it shouldn’t be that hard to make all the ones above ground level destroyable since they’re pretty low-poly.

  10. realitysconcierge says:

    Those maps were amazing.

  11. ScruZer says:

    CS:GO is an insult to good old CS 1.6

    I cant believe that RPS seem to like every FPS except for Battlefield.

    • Boffin says:

      Out of curiosity, why?
      I’ve played all of them throughout my life, and I’ve never really noticed any huge differences (except for when physics happened). I imagine it’d have to be a pretty giant difference to be considered an insult, but I’ve got nothing. Is it some sort of balance thing, or what?

    • Widthwood says:

      Hated both 1.5 and especially 1.6 when they came out – fell in love with CSS during first minutes.

      It felt like it was more in spirit of earlier 6.5b to 1.1, sans horrible bugs and exploits, while in 1.6 they reached ultimate level of gimping the players, that made playing it (for me) more like a chore.

    • innociv says:

      CS:GO is pretty good. Have you actually tried it?

      I didn’t like CS:S, but CS:GO is pretty great. The last community map pack has some of the best maps in any non-scifi FPS.
      They’re compact, nice looking, but incredibly strategic and deep. Way better than the old CS maps everyone plays.

  12. pupsikaso says:

    Does CS:GO also use Hammer for creating maps?

    • Asahthor says:

      Yes. I use Hammer but i also use other software like vtfedit & photoshop

  13. Asahthor says:

    Hello! I’m the guy who made Fy_TheSparseForest. Can you tell me more about your issue with lag? Did you play with bots because i’m trying to figure out why it lags with bots it works fine for me when i play tested 3 versus 3. Thank you for liking my idea! I were working on version 0.95 when my pc crashed so i’m now waiting for it to return from the repairshop then i’ll start working on version 0.95 again!

    Best Regards
    Johan Engström(Asahthor)
    You can mail me at