Échange avec Valve à Jönköping
Never we've seen such interaction between Valve and the CS community. If some developers regularly intervene on reddit, some of them also show up in a handful of great competitions. For example, three developers came to Europe for one of the greatest CS event: the DreamHack Winter 2013. During a conversation between Happy from Recursive, Ido and Brian from Valve, we saw an opportunity and pop-up to talk about many things. Here is a feedback.
Take note that it wasn't a proper interview and that we didn't have any prepared questions. It was an unexpected exchange in parallel of the VG/NiP game. We are trying to relay it fom memory as faithfully as possible. No breaking news here, but a nice reminder on a lot of subjects.
The first point we talked about was the maps and specially the lack of visibility on some of them. We asked about a command to totally disable the fog, or as for Source, add a few options to allow some subtle adjustments of the video settings. Ido had many answers to offer.
Fog alert during the beta ! (screen ATOM_BG)
First of all, they don't want to fall into the same trap than Source where you had to spend hours making your very own .cfg in order not to be disadvantaged. He also adds that those .cfg were making changes to some settings (in particular to the netcode) that were deteriorating the game experience... And, those .cfg spreading, in the end players were wrongly attributing the malfunctions to the game itself instead of blaming their custom settings.
Second, he advanced another argument which concern more the "non competitive" maps: the creators make their maps with a certain idea in mind: atmosphere, ambiance,... If the players were able to customize everything, they would deactivate anything that could give them a disadvantage and those maps would lose their interest.
Third and last point, their goal is for players to be able to express their individual skill in a variety of ways. As the visual fidelity of games has improved over time, an increasingly-relevant skill has emerged: the ability to very quickly identify targets. All players have the opportunity to develop this skill, and if they do they should be rewarded. It would not be fair for players to develop this skill, only to encounter opponents who negated their advantage by turning off a graphics setting.
They aren't against modifying some maps punctually, when there is a proper issue at some point (Brian gave the example of Inferno, deeply reworked since the beta). But they need accurate feedbacks (screenshots for example) of an issue in a map. Not an indistinct "Too much fog".
Still far from this level of photorealism... (screen PC World.fr)
Then, discussion went to weapons, specially the "OP" ones. We talked about the P90 and the autosnipe. They had two answers to offer.
Firstly, actualy we see very few P90 and autosnipe in games but the players have the habit to optimize their gamestyle. So we can come to the conclusion that those weapons aren't so strong, if they were, they would be played with a lot more.
Secondly, they want to diversify the weaponry from the classic m4/ak/awp/deagle and they want a new "skill" to emerge: use the right weapon at the right time and place (GeT_RiGhT and his autosnipe on train for example). They use many statistics in order to balance weapons and Brian gave us the example of one stat, the amount of money spent per kill, by weapon and matchmaking rank. Oddly, the weapon with the biggest gap between high and low ranks is... the bizon! Because if this weapon is deadly during the second or third round, it's nearly useless once the ennemies have kevlar. It has a huge ammount of ammo, but it's recoil is as huge and hard to master. Global Elites and Supreme Masters use it way more effectively then Silvers who are going to take it at anytime.
Knowing when and how to use the proper weapon is a compulsory for a player in Quake (screen Quake.de)
About the graphism is general, developpers are constrained to make compromises between the wishes of competitivity of the players and the necessity to make a game from 21st century with coherent gameplay and graphism. Here came the suppression of bunny-hopping in default settings. Seeing "realist" soldiers jumping around to move faster would be a surprising first experience for beginners... But they are also well aware that a good b-hop is a proper skill not easy to master. Even though they need to make some compromises between the experiences of older and newer players, Valve is still very open to feedback about how to provide new ways for players to express their ability to move in CS:GO.