Counter-Cartography: CSGO Reviving De_Cbble

This is Jim's house, isn't it? Jim! We're in your house!

Dave Johnston is best known for creating de_dust and de_dust 2, but he also made other maps for Counter-Strike. No, I’m not talking about cs_tire, the reddish-brown retirement home which was cut from an early beta. (That’s me establishing my CS credentials). I mean de_cbble, the quaint castle-set map.

Over on the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive blog, the CS:GO team have written about their work in re-creating and updating de_cbble for the new game, alongside an entirely new map they’re adding soon. They say mean things about the old de_cbble.

The post begins by praising the map, but it’s not shy about commenting on its problems.

The original map fell out of favor for several reasons. For one, its paths to bomb sites were long and disconnected from each other, ending in tight choke points. This meant that teams were unable to react and change strategy mid-round. The same choke points that made it difficult to plant bombs made it near-impossible to re-take a site and defuse a bomb in time. The lack of strategic options made de_cbble’s gameplay feel limited and monotonous.

Limited and monotonous! Oof. The post also notes that “Players in the original de_cbble felt out of scale, as if they were in a “land of giants”.” The solution to all of these problems is apparently to turn the map into a fairytale-lookin’ castle with new pieces of cover and new routes to bomb sites.

Johnston, you just got schooled! The level designer, who made many of these maps as a teenager, now works at Splash Damage. What’s he going to say to all this?

Alright, he seems pretty happy.

Here’s a screenshot comparing the new and old map.

Dear Americans, this is what all of England definitely looks like.

The post also explains the design process for a new map called Overpass, which is designed to be “fast-paced” and which has nice paint on the walls.

This one is Alec's house.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the latest iteration of Counter-Strike, which began life as a mod, switched engines in CS: Source and which is still as popular as ever. I’ve been playing it a little recently and, in between moments of vertigo where the last fifteen years of my life telescope out before me, I’ve been having a great time. Although isn’t it about time they brought back de_jeepathon2k?


  1. Life Glug says:

    I have fond memories of jeepathon and other silly vehicle maps on the old jolt Road Rage server. There was a funny bug on those old “brush” vehicles which, if the driver crouched while driving up an incline, would cause the vehicle to carry on going up in the air until it reached the bounds of the map.

    When Battlefield came along I could never really get into it. I mean, the vehicles actually worked.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I think the APC on that one map wiped more CT teams than any number of terrorists ever could.

      It was glorious for LAN parties, where glitching, spasming death is a cause for rousing laughter.

    • smeghamr says:

      Wow I totally forgot about Jeepathon, definitely a winner at LANs.

      To me, that first screenshot reeks of Piranesi, which is another map that needs redoing, also, Siege, with the APC.

    • Hunam says:

      I lived on that server for a few weeks, it was so much fun :)

  2. BooleanBob says:

    Why stop at Cbbl, though? Dust, Dust_2, Aztec, Italy – by this logic, doesn’t practically the entire CS canon boil down to a series of limited, monotonous chokes?

    • ankh says:


    • Luringen says:

      Doesn’t every single racing game’s list of tracks just boil down to a series of boring monotonous corners? Doesn’t the entire map of Just Cause 2 boil down to roads, trees, mountains and some buildings? Doesn’t every shooter boild won to aiming and clicking? Doesn’t LoL and DOTA boil down to shooting/punching some npcs in a line until you can shoot/punch some enemy players and towers? Sure, all of this is correct in low-level play, but a good player on CS can tell you where to bounce your grenades to hit an exact spot, where to position your teammates for different situtations, ensure you can quickly rotate to another spot, apply pressure, fake an attack, smoke off snipers, flash the defenders and what loadout to buy for what situation. A racing game enthusiast would never tell you two tracks were the same, and each required different tuning to the car to tackle the specific turns correctly, etc. There is more depth to a lot of games than you think.

      • BooleanBob says:

        I was actually talking specifically about those maps and their choke-heavy nature, not all of gaming, fella.

        Your dismissive reductionism is cute and all, but if the chokes in Cbbl were enough of a problem that a revision was called for, why shouldn’t the same have applied for Aztec, Dust and Dust_2? (The answer, as more helpful commenters have pointed out, is that actually it did).

    • Reefpirate says:

      Dust, Dust2, and Aztec already got the CS:GO revamp treatment… Although I haven’t noticed much change in Dust2. And the blog here is right that those maps all offer plenty of ways to juggle between different chokes and approaches to different bomb sites.

      • neurosisxeno says:

        Dust: The Tunnel is smaller, distance from T side to bombsight is reduced. Additional staircase added in the middle of the underpass to allow more mobility. The ramps are less steep so peeking is less detrimental. The bombsite was moved to just outside CT spawn rather than inside of it. Most of the changes are geared towards removing the “all-in” mentality you had as T’s on this map.

        Dust2: In mid you can jump on X-Box and from on top of it onto Catwalk rather than having to run around. The double stack box at the top of Catwalk is now a single stack . The staircase on Catwalk has less steps. Long A is wider, Long A pit has no boxes in it. The B double doors are facing opposite ways, and you can no longer peak tunnel from doors. B plat can be jumped onto from in the site. The double stack outside tunnels can be jumped onto from tunnels. You can’t crouch behind any of the boxes on B plat.

        Aztec: Back portion of river is completely removed–T spawn only has 1 exit. Mid doors moved closer to T spawn so T’s get out the doors earlier than CT’s. Boxes in bridge room are in the middle of the room instead of the left side for T’s–allows you to peak from either side. The area between bridge room and mid for CT’s has more clutter and some tarp to dampen damage and visability. There’s a new connector from the back of B\CT Spawn to near bridge room on CT side allowing better rotation.

        Just off the top of my head.

        • BooleanBob says:

          Thanks for the precis. These all sound like great changes (and don’t get me wrong, I love me some CS).

  3. Dethnell says:

    Counterstrike credentials? pfft!

    How about when CS had no knifes and you couldn’t go back to spawn to purchase more ammo? You had to have a battle of wits with your opponent for who would be the first to cave in and kill themselves via console command.

    • dE says:

      Stop right there, or I’ll shoot the satellite dish.

    • Premium User Badge

      Graham Smith says:

      I was there, man. I was there when all was left-handed and the character models had no shoulders. I was there when Poor Yurik’s maps were still in. I was there.

      5.2 was when I got hooked, but I played earlier versions. Who would have thought we’d still be playing it now?

  4. ankh says:

    This map was pretty good on public servers with a lot of players.

  5. airtekh says:

    Ahh cobble. Might give it a go if they get it done over christmas.

    I fear I burnt out on Counter Strike years ago, after playing WAY too much 1.5/1.6 I keep CS:GO installed for the occasional nostalgic-trip-but-with-shiny-new-graphics.

  6. mukuste says:

    One thing I’ve always wondered when CS maps come up: what do the prefixes (de_, cs_) stand for?

    • skyturnedred says:

      “De” was used for maps with bombs (detonation?) and “cs” meant hostage rescue.

      • Life Glug says:

        Yes and, for anyone that doesn’t know, cs just stands for Counter Strike. This is because hostage rescue was the first map type before de and as (assassination) were added.

      • Alphadrop says:

        Defusal actually, though it did stand for detonation in the console games.

      • Joc says:

        It’s all about kz_ maps.

    • airtekh says:

      Originally Counter Strike only had hostage rescue maps, and these were prefixed cs_ as was par the course with other Half Life mods (e.g ns_ for Natural Selection)

      When they added other modes, they just changed the prefix, de_ for the now dominant demolition maps, as_ and es_ for the short-lived assassination and escape modes.

      Long live as_oilrig I say, I had fun times on that map.

      • Jeremy says:

        Oh yeah, I have a lot of good memories of that map. That final mad dash to the helicopter as the VIP was always terrifying.

        • LionsPhil says:


          And remember then TFC had weird and varied map gametypes like that, and even four-team football? Good ol’ late ’90s, before every aspect of gameplay had been tuned and trimmed to within an inch of its life.

          • Jeremy says:

            Oh man, it’s so true.. there were so many BAD mods out there. For a group of college kids on a LAN though, that was half the fun. We would play anything and everything that came our way, and just laugh until it hurt.

      • Skiddywinks says:

        Oh man, fuck paying £1.50 for crate keys; I would gladly pay that for oil rig again though.

      • neurosisxeno says:

        Thank god I’m not the only person that remembers Escape maps. es_trinity yo. Thankfully they removed that awful game mode…

  7. skyturnedred says:

    It always was my favourite map back in the day. Now I just need to go about buying CS:GO. But I have to admit, I find it really odd to play any modern military FPS without iron sights anymore.

    • ankh says:

      Iron sights would completely ruin CS, the gameplay is just too fast. Also CS is very much a shooting game first and foremost, I’ve always felt the little bit of “modern military” theme was a bit tacked on.

      Also I’m sure CSGO will be on sale a lot now in order to really capitalise on idiots spending real money for a chance to get a weapon skin. It’s very popular at the moment.

      • skyturnedred says:

        Yes, I did not mean to imply CS needed iron sights, on the contrary. Just that I’ve gotten so used to looking down sights in games that look like modern military shooters, so it’s a bit jarring to go back to a game without them.

        • ankh says:

          In that case I would recommend using the AUG at first then while you get back into it because right clicking gives you a full screen zoom similar to how iron sights usually work (except better).

    • neurosisxeno says:

      Matches on de_cbble were the bane of my existance as a team leader. That map was so CT-sided it was painful…

  8. Wurstwaffel says:

    These look great! Too bad much of the community are stubborn old fucks who will only ever play one or two maps. I have friends who refuse to play the operation bravo maps with me because they determined that those suck after having played them once.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Well of course they suck, because they’re not dust on 1.6 therefore they suck.
      Surely you’ve played enough CounterStrike to understand how these things work by now? If it’s new, it must be bad.

  9. Noburu says:

    Turkeyburgers and de_rats all day erry day!

  10. lordfrikk says:

    The comment about land of giants reminded me about the de_rats, was it by any chance updated for GO?

    • Leetables says:

      Yes! In fact there are many rats maps available. Some new, some old, some remixed, all as fun as they used to be imo. :)

  11. Kitsunin says:

    Counter Strike has always been a game that feels like it should be fun, but just isn’t, because I’m so utterly garbage at it. Even having played easily over 20 hours of Source here and there (Which I only bought because of Garry’s Mod) I was always going 1-10 or somesuch. For some reason it’s just utterly unintuitive what the right way to play is.

    Oddly enough though, this reminded me that I felt like having a go, and as though some switch flipped in my brain, I did alright! Something about paying attention to all the possible positions your opponents might be in rather than just reactive play. Wow, it’s fun. I hope I don’t play another round later and suck again…

    • puppybeard says:

      The last CS:GO article on here actually compelled to pick it up, and I hadn’t played any CS in about 10 years.

      Damn fun, and a little bit nostalgic. Didn’t make a complete show of myself either.

  12. engion3 says:

    By far one of the best maps, this and inferno.

  13. Artificial says:

    Cbble was one of my favourite maps in Source!