Free Half-Life addon module that allows you to play online as either a terrorist or a counter-terrorist. The counter-terrorists must rescue the hostages from the terrorists or stop the terrorists from bombing targets. The weapons in the game are totally realistic, and the gameplay is as realistic as possible. One shot can kill, and once you're dead, you're dead until the next game. None of this silly "respawn and blast the badguys again" stuff. Luckily, games usually last only about 5 minutes. Visit http://www.counter-strike.net/ for more info.

I first played Counter-Strike the very first day it was out (circa June 20th, 1999) and was hooked ever since. The maps weren't too great then, the servers unstable, and the game buggy, but it was still fun, and had great models/animation. With each succeeding beta the game got more an more popular, because of it's quality, and because it was the first real quality mod out for Half Life (besides Valve's own TFC). Around Beta 3 you could pop into #counterstrike on gamesnet and talk to the creator himself, Gooseman about the game for hours (I remember talking with him about if the new custom models should be locked into each map or chosen by the player, so for example a terrorist couldn't use a desert uniform for a snow map). This lasted about a month before the room got flooded with newbies and spammers, and Counter-Strike started to rise in popularity.

The community was tightest around beta 3 because there were enough people to make the game popular enough to always find players and servers, plus the mappers were starting to find exactly what a Counter-Strike map should be, as they moved away from the normal HL textures, and more towards custom realistic textures and architecture. Team play increased with the addition of radio commands. Everything was going well. Beta 4 came out with the addition of a new scenario (defusion aka bomb defusal). This also when the map de_dust by DaveJ was introduced, which went on to become the most popular Counter-Strike map of all time (despite its decidedly dm qualities). Since CS is now the most played game on the internet, that means de_dust is also the most played map for any multiplayer game. When Beta 5 came out last year around the end of December, CS' popularity increased ten-fold. Valve realized how popular CS was, and contracted Barking Dog Studios to polish the game in order to give it a broader appeal (no more cryptic manual configs, etc).

When Beta 5 came out with new maps, new models, new guns, and new HUD graphics, graphical adjustments, etc, CS quickly became huge. Many complained about CS becoming commercialized, but most of those people still played it anyway. Beta 6 came out with night vision that finally worked right, new guns (the Aug and Mac 10), and introduced radar. Also, the assassination and escapes scenarios were introduced. The as_ maps are like TFC hunted mode, where the good guys have to get a VIP to an escape point, while avoiding the bad guys. The escape scenario died an early death, and was hated by many because of bad maps and the fact that people don't like playing with just a pistol and not being able to buy anything.

This is also when CS cheats started popping up. The CS-Professional bastards came up with model cheats, such as terrorist models with huge spikes coming out of them, so that people could know if you were behind a crate, a corner, etc. Grenades had big green nets around them so you knew what kind of grenade they were. The sniper rifles had long red "lasers" that let you know where people aimed. Gooseman quickly put a stop to this using a simple CRC check, checking the bounding box size, etc. The cheaters cracked it, and continued their cheating ways. However, this is much less of a problem now thanks to the bounding box checks. Many console commands also let you cheat. By typing lambert -20 into the console for example, models would light up like they were fullbright. On maps like 747, where darkness was key, it made it easy to spot people.

A huge change for Half Life multiplayer in general was the new netcode, accompanied with the release of CS Beta 6.5. The notoriously bad netcode of HL was finally fixed up, and made the game 10x more enjoyable (despite what some whiners might tell you, who I'm betting play it anyway). Along with it came new maps, and lots more players (as usual). Beta 7 was released recently and came with new maps, the removal of the es_ maps, new guns (the duel Beretta Elites), new maps (arabstreets, vegas, and others), and, yes, even more players. Of course, the cheaters came out with new cheats, and Gooseman soon released a 7.1 patch to fix bugs and cheats. Recently a proxy server was developed that acts as an aim bot. First, the skins of the models are made a bright red, green, or blue on the chest and head. The proxy searched for this color, and locked onto it. It's pretty ineffective, and is useless when playing against good people. A fun trick is to make a color spraypaint with those colors so the cheaters can't move, or even better, put the color in the skybox of your map, so that they can't look anywhere but up.

Recently, it was announced that CS 1.0 is being released officially by Valve in stores. The mod will still be available for free off the site, but it will also be available in stores. It incorporates parametric animation from TF2 and new models, guns, etc. I've been playing the game for almost a year and a half, and am not tired of it. The newbie factor is a problem, but by finding a clan with a good server, that problem is gone pretty quickly. If you haven't played CS, or god forbid, Half Life, get off your ass, go to a store and get it. It's worth your time.
Counter-strike, the popular Half-Life mod, received yet another update, moving it up to 1.6. When this write-up was started, the game was at 1.3.

Containing the requisite new maps, the 1.4 patch adds a few significant additions. 1.4 gives players a crosshair that grows and shrinks as they move around, showing their relative accuracy at any given time. This is a feature found in similar shooters, especially Rainbow 6 and its sequal Rogue Spear. Some cheat protection has allegedly been brought in, though whether or not it works will be found out as the cheaters get to work breaking the new code. The spectator mode has been updated, giving an incredibly fun first-person view mode to watch from the eyes of the still living. It also adds some handy menus to help you get to what you want to watch, and an overhead map mode.

1.4 has the option of being delivered by Steam, a service that connects to data online and runs Counter-Strike with it. For the price of downloading new content when you need to use it, players can skip patching entirely. In my experience having to complete a download each time you play is not worth it, even on my 500k/sec + university connection, so try if you like but I'll be running the standard patches.

see www.counter-strike.net for more information



Counter-strike was updated again to version 1.5, but no major changes were made. Cheating still happens, and what's worse, paranoia insists that any good player be banned just in case they were cheating.

Now updated to 1.6, CS continues to be the largest online first person shooter (FPS). The game is now playable only through the Steam content delivery service. There are some new weapons, and some tweaks to the network code.

Esports, though, have grown, in such leagues as Cal (the Cyberathlete Amatuer League) which is a 5v5 online circuit, found at www.caleague.com. The CPL is also held about twice a year, and is basically a giant lan party for more 5v5 counter-strike games.
Counter-strike is a modification for the popular computer game Half-Life. Half-life itself is a stand alone first-person shooter/thinking type game that chronicles Gordon Freeman’s journey out of a catastrophic disaster inside a top secret government laboratory. Counter-strike differs from Half-Life in that it has no story or main game that players attempt to beat.

Instead, it is comprised completely of short rounds of play where two teams attempt to achieve victory. Teams are composed of terrorists and counter-terrorists. Each map/board has a different scenario with different conditions that must be met for either team to attain victory. For example, in some maps, the counter-terrorists must get to hostages and escort them to a designated area without getting killed or by killing all the terrorists. In other levels, the terrorists must place a bomb in a key area without getting killed.

In any case, at the beginning of each round all members of each team have the option to buy weapons, ammunition and equipment with the money that is earned by killing members of the other team, rescuing hostages, and by being on the winning team last round. Guns in Counter-strike are not like most guns in first-person shooters where they fire fast, accurately, and consistently. The guns in Counter-strike are affected by recoil, player movement and general inconsistency severely, such that most must be fired in short, well aimed bursts while moving relatively slowly to achieve any accuracy. This makes the game much more realistic and difficult to master. The number of shots a player can take is extremely low, just as it would be in real life. Head shots kill instantly, body shots kill with four to five, and limb shots take nine to ten. Of course, body armor and the caliber of the bullet fired is also taken into account (ak-47 shot does a whole lot more damage than a pistol and less than a shotgun).

Some strategies for winning are map-based and others are independent. Maps can be extremely complicated and knowing the layout and where people are like to be helps to stay alive on that map. Knowing that if you aim for high center on the torso, you are likely to get a head shot due to recoil does not need a specific map to work.

Most online games fade away eventually due to mass-proliferation of cheating and lack of sufficient gameplay value to hold interest for any longer. Cheating has been dealt with harshly in the Counter-strike community. There are many free utilities that server operators can utilize to prevent cheating on their servers. These utilities are constantly updated to take into account new hacks and cheats so that the cheaters are constantly kept to a minimum. Gameplay is not an issue, either, as each game is different in most respects and games are over quickly and a fresh one starts within five minutes usually. Nobody ever spends too much time waiting for a new game to start, and players must be alert the whole time they are playing, moving towards completing goals, watching out for potential enemies, and engaging enemies.

A very addictive game, www.cdmag.com asserts that Counter-strike surpasses Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament as far as number of players is concerned.

As a comment to what wonko writes, the game is not that realistic, eventhough it is by far the closest thing to reality in FPS games to day. There are some inconsistencies with physics like instant crouch (a running player can crouch and come to a complete halt in exactly one frame) and totally unrealistic auto-fire; you can not tell where the next bullet is going to land by looking at where the previous ones landed but, rather, the bullets are spread in a uniform circle the size of which depends on the weapon, player actions (firing crouched vs. firing while jumping or climbing a ladder which totally ruins accurate firing), and the duration of full-auto firing; short bursts with small pauses in between keep the recoil at bay and makes accurate aiming possible while full-auto-till-the-clip-is-empty (generally a sure sign of a beginning player) is nothing more than mindless waste of ammunition (and in a tight combat situation very often means certain death, unless the enemy happens to be at near point blank range). Also, grenade explosions don't take into account any obstacles in the maps but, the damage is done based on a simple linear(!) formula and anyone within the blast radius is damaged.

As a comment to what de-frag writes: that may have been true with the early versions of Counter-strike - the current (at the time of writing) version 1.5 seems very stable. Biggest stability problems have been caused by various mods that the servers use (anti-cheat, statistics etc.) like a cvar detection bug in older versions of CSGuard/HLGuard (a popular anti-cheat mod), which caused player computers to freeze with sounds looping. This bug was fixed in HLGuard v1.00 beta 4.

In CS a player has exactly 20 hit boxes (head, neck, l.shoulder, r.shoulder, l.upper arm, r.upper arm, l.forearm, r.forearm, l.hand, r.hand, upper torso, middle torso, lower torso, pelvis, l.thigh, r.thigh, l.calf, r.calf, l.foot and r.foot) which take various amounts of damage from hits. Hostages have nineteen hit boxes and a particularly large headslot. As a small curiosity even the chickens found on some maps (cs_italy for example) have nine hit boxes and a particularly large headslot (Note: these hit boxes were confirmed by disassembling the player model files). The most vulnerable hit box is the head, which takes roughly 3-4 times the damage a shot in the chest would, followed by pelvis, which takes about 2 times the damage chest would. Pelvis is a difficult hit box to score hits on because it is almost completely hidden under other hit boxes.

Talking about hit boxes, probably one of the funniest but, also the most frustrating bugs that the early versions of Counter-strike had were the extended hit boxes; under certain conditions (crouched, while holding the Dual Beretta Elites) a player had his head hit box extended vertically by about a factor of 4, which made it possible to accidentally score headshots on players you couldn't even see, by shooting in the air above boxes. Currently, there still is a small bug-like feature that (imho) should be corrected: it is much more difficult to score a headshot on a player from behind, because the head hit box is partly hidden behind the upper torso and shoulder hit boxes. Version 1.4 fixed a bug which was still causing the upper torso and shoulder hit boxes to be vertically extended, making it harder to score headshots.

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