The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive [official site] blog has announced the winners of the recent Polycount weapon finish contest. I don't think we usually cover that side of things and I'm quite uncomfortable talking about guns with any level of excitement, but I liked the colour palette of the winning design so I decided to dig a bit deeper to see how the process works and how the designs develop. The theme was 70s and 80s science-fiction.
You should probably bear in mind that my favourite gun skin in recent years has been the Steel Bite version of the ARX-160 in Call Of Duty Advanced Warfare. It's a variant rather than just a cosmetic but I play with it solely because I like the look - it's the sort of gun I think Pat Butcher would like.
The gun skin which won the Polycount contest is "Desolate Space"; a purple and blue-themed spacescape for the M4A4 where an astronaut skeleton is being tasered in the head. I am fully onboard with this concept anyway, but I also like looking through the sort of moodboard and development of the skin in the creation thread. It's the work of DryDoctorEgg and Andy.
There's also an interesting back and forth on the thread dealing with the development of the HR Giger-inspired AK47, "Dead Pulse". I think for me the skin-ness of the cosmetic will always undermine the Giger-ness because I associate the latter with tactility and volume. The gun would need all manner of physical projections and undulations to work for me but I really liked reading the story of the gun unfold, if that makes sense.
Another Giger-inspired gun skin called the "Harvester" was actually named one of the winners of the contest and that went in more of a grungey, grimey direction which was cool.
There's also a stunning astromech-inspired M4A4 which is just great:
And the colouring and the fabric effect of the honourable mention Bizon is gorgeous - it actually reminds me of Delacroix in terms of how the colours are used.
Same with this Bizon - the "NEO". Swapping fawn-coloured accents for green was a really good decision as the skin was developed. I think I might even prefer this one to the previous one in terms of the colour:
I'm also fond of this Dune-inspired skin for the MP9. The designer ultimately went with a different colourway but I really love how this particular one feels like you'd be matching your gun to your lava lamp and your psychedelic album covers. I'd swap the red for black on the folding stock though.
The "Neo Tokyo Sky Racer" M4A4 is delicious too. You can probably tell that I think subtlety and camouflage is for losers.
Harvester, Desolate Space and an Alien-inspired AWP called "Phobos" will definitely be coming to a weapon case soon but Valve might also end up cherry-picking more entries to add to the game after that.