The New Dust 2 is here, currently in the beta
build for CS:GO! It has had a vivid visual overhaul, sporting 4 times the texture resolution!
That’s a lot of pixels. I’ll be showing graphical comparisons between the old and
new throughout this video, but let’s see what else has changed.
All of the important cover we know and love has remained almost identical, but those messy
corners that always felt like after-thoughts have been opened up and simplified.
The wall leading from CT spawn to B, for example. And this dumpster-fire of a corner over on
long A, which has been opened up and tidied. The car here now serves as decent, full-body
cover for anybody guarding long from this location. It also helps defend against short!
I can see this becoming an important spot to hold.
And outside of B tunnels looks very different but probably won’t change the gameplay too
much since it’s never been too important an area in the first place.
The curved walls around mid have been replaced with far tidier cubby holes. Just be sure
to check them as you run past! One of the ideas floating about the community
for this remake was to open up the B tunnels to help set up grenade throws into the site.
At first glance it looks like they’ve done this, but it still acts as a solid ceiling,
and the skybox around B tunnels is closed so you won’t be able to smoke the site from,
say, T ramp. HOWEVER! They have changed the entrance to the site. It looks narrower. But
it isn’t; merely taller, which will let attackers set up more grenade throws before
assaulting the site. So this is a good change! I predicted that a reason for this remake
could be to open up the skybox more, since updates to the older map did this around the
A area. This clearly hasn’t been the case around B, but Valve have paid close attention
to the heights of the buildings. You’ll notice lower walls around areas of conflict.
This is by design! Want to stop a long A rush? Bounce a flash off this bit here! Stuck in
Goose? Simply lob a flash over this wall here before admiring the beautiful new goose graffiti!
And so on. Oddly enough they’ve made long doors taller
and have blocked up my favourite grenade setting up area. So at a glance thought you might
think they’re trying to stop you smoking from T spawn into long. But you can still
do it, particularly from this corner which was never really used for much before. I reckon
this tree has been strategically placed to provide players with something to line up
grenade throws up to. It’s a stroke of genius: it’s big, its pointy bits are memorable
and it doesn’t block grenades. It’s PERFECT for this use!
Wooden posts appear to serve some kind of gameplay purpose this time! This one at long
nicely bounces grenades around the corner. I guess that’s the point of it, otherwise
why else would Valve add an obstruction like this to the middle of a battle zone?
While we’re on the topic of long, rumour has it that the timings have changed for the
best spawns. I tested it and couldn’t see any difference. Bear in mind that while terrorist
spawns are picked at random from all of the available positions, the 5 CT spawn points
appear the same every round for competitive, so in casual CT’s may spawn closer still
but that was the same as it used to be as well.
Moving on, The doors are back to wood again, but are
super thick and won’t deal much damage even with an AK, so it’s not as though they’ve
returned to how they used to. Spamming the same area makes it slowly turn purple; this
happens on all wooden models in CS:GO because the texture around the bullet hole isn’t
quite fully transparent, and once you have lots of bullet holes in the same area this
not-quite-transparent area becomes even less transparent, resulting in a blotchy purple
mess. Just thought I’d ruin the game by telling you this.
I got a few jumps blocked by an overly aggressive clipping block here on short, but overall,
the clipping is very good. All first stairs have been smoothed off. I particularly like
how they’ve added dozens of stairs to places even though they still behave exactly like
ramps. But sadly, they haven’t learned their lesson with the spiral staircase in tunnels.
You’ll still feel like you’re amidst an earthquake while running up and down these.
It seems the technology to smooth these staircases just isn’t there yet.
I also love the new pointless areas leading off from the main map. You can’t get to
them, and they serve no gameplay purpose, but I stare through them and wonder where
they might lead to. Of course, the answer is nowhere and everything quickly becomes
invisible, but it helps ground this map in a place, rather than just a series of corridors
waiting to house a massacre. Please can we also spare a moment to mourn
the loss of the tiled floor. What has been a staple part of the map since 2004, and still
one of my favourite examples of pixel shading, has now been replaced with a boring, sandy
floor. Suits the name of the map more, I guess. Not that these surfaces are BAD. Across the
map we see beautiful application of blend textures. Similarly to how snow is sprinkled
on surfaces in Skyrim, sand is dusted over the underlying paving stones in a convincing
manner, rather than just simply fading between the two materials. This helps remove repetition
and will now be available for us to use in our own maps! They’ve also added subtle
3D models to make some of these cobbles stick out above the rest.
Which brings me onto a bug: these models don’t show bullet decals. So they’re easy to find:
shoot the ground texture and the bullet holes appear, but shoot these models and they won’t.
While we’re on the topic of bugs, as lovely as these new impact sounds are, they play
inconsistently. Shoot a car and you get a lovely metallic DINK, but barrels don’t
make any sound. Looking down from the boost spot to short
shows a hole in the skybox. The displacements at long don’t match up, also revealing the
skybox between the seams. And thanks to Commentariesforever for pointing out a dodgy bit on the wall here
which can suspend you in the air. Thank him over on his video for saving this new version
of Dust2 from such a gamebreaking bug. And looking over on Reddit right now there
are all kinds of other GAME BREAKING bugs in this new map that I don’t think I’d
have found in a million years myself. Here’s hoping that Valve pays attention to all of
these before the map moves out of beta. Oh and there’s no sun Valve please fix.
Also, the Leet Crew has been given a newer, older, beardier, shinier and more colourful
appearance. They certainly retain the character of the older models, and shoot straight to
the top of my ‘best models’ list in CS:GO. So, all in all this map is still Dust2 in
all of the ways that matter. But you may find yourself somewhat disappointed. Besides, Dust2’s
problem was never the messy corners or the graphics, but rather that it had been played
to death! Something that this visual overhaul won’t fix. For those of you who are still
bored of Dust2, Valve ends their blog post with something you might find interesting:
‘After getting feedback on the visual upgrade, what would you like to see next as the map
continues its evolution? We want to hear from you.’
So maybe they plan on updating the gameplay later on. Perhaps this is only Dust2_episode1_part1
after all! On top of this, Jess Cliffe over at Valve broke his year’s silence on Reddit
to respond to people in Dust2 posts, no doubt excited to finally share his work with the
community! Valve isn’t known for directly communicating with us, but I urge you to post
to Reddit with bugs and suggestions as I’m sure they keep an eye out for it. I mean,
don’t contact Valve employees directly cos that’s annoying for them. But let’s hope
the visual overhaul of Dust2 is just the start of an ongoing project between us and Valve
that will hopefully result in a better map for all of us.