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Counter-Strike

Advanced

As you play CS more you learn loads of nifty tricks. There are so many not many people know them all. Here are just a few that I think are very useful.

Environmental Audio

Some sound cards, such as the Creative SoundBlaster Live! series support a technology known as EAX - or Environmental Audio. This is a very precise art of getting the computer to place audio events around you in the correct 3D environment. Whether you have 2 speakers or 4 the effects are amazing, and of great help. I recommend that you do use 4 speakers though.

From the Half-Life main menu go to Configuration > Audio - then select EAX. A3D is a two speaker equivalent of EAX for Aureal sound cards (no longer in existance).

Now stop and listen. You can tell where people are, when you are playing and the game fall silent stop and listen. You will often catch a footstep in the distance, allowing you to know where the enemy is. It's no longer footsteps to the left or the right. It's footsteps in front, behind, above below, and their distances.

The real trick comes in the echos. When a gun fires the sound will echo depending on the area it's in. If the player firing this gun stops as they dive for cover the echo will change as they fall behind cover - this allows you to know if the enemy is on the move, or is hiding behind that suspicious looking box. It's a bug that allows you to hear the echo change style after the gun has stopped firing, and one that will get you such coverted awards as "OMFG WALLHACKER!!!".

Describing it is very hard, so thusly it's hard to teach. If you play enough EAX becomes part of your instinct in the game. You don't think about it, you just allow your instinct to work it out and leave you to the aiming.

Latency Advantage

Ping. The infamous LPB (low ping bastard) versus the hated HPW (high ping whiner). Conversation will typically follow in this way:

*** LPB kills HPW
<hpw> Damn LPB's it's just the same as cheating.
<lpb> stfu, you lot just lag up the servers.

I class latency in different groups.

  • < 60 ms = Ultra LPB's (broadband digital internet)
  • 60-140 = LPB's (ISDN)
  • 140-180 = 56K'ers
  • 180-220 = HPW's (standard modems, untweaked)
  • > 220 ms = Foreigners or BT/AOL customers.
There is an advantage with latency, those with lower latency get a few miliseconds more to react. It may be useful to know reaction times though. If you are driving along the road and you see a child dart across the road, you can make a physical reaction in 150ms. If you get boiling water poured onto your hand, your body will make a reaction in 50ms. So in CS we can't expect anybody to react quicker than 150ms plus or minus depending on their reactions. The only real advantages come when playing against people with more than 150ms between your pings.

Now, this has been a big problem over the multiplayer gaming years, as LPB's have always been able to beat the HPW's. Valve put a stop to this with what is called as "the new net code". In CS anyway. This new net code is quite old now in the history of Counter-Strike, but it's still new. It introduces prediction and compensation. If you fire your gun bullets will fly out and you will see the bullet marks on the wall. These marks are predicted, and so is the gun firing. This gives the player the ability to mark up their shots with the bullet marks easier. The next feature, compensation is the part that all LPB's hate and HPW's love. It's also known as bendy bullets, or bullets that fly round corners.

Mr HPW with a ping of 400ms see's Mr LPB with a ping of 40ms. He shoots him, and on his computer he gets a nice minty shot on Mr LPB's head. Mr LPB on the other hand see's Mr HPW shoots, misses, and dives for cover and thinks "phew that was a close one". The server then sees that Mr HPW should have hit the LPB, so the server make the bullet hit, even if Mr LPB is nicely under cover. Mr LPB will then die.

So as you can see from that, the advantage no longer lies with the LPB but with the HPW. This is why LPB's hate playing against people with really high pings. Surely this can't be right? No it's not entirely. There is still one fundemental advantage to a LPB.

Mr HPW shoots Mr LPB, and Mr LPB shoots Mr HPW. They both hit dot on. But, Mr LPB's bullets made it to the server before Mr HPW's, and the server can't make bullets from a dead person kill somebody - so Mr LPB wins.

This knowledge can often save your bacon on maps with a lot of ducking and jumping in and out from behind boxes. They might not be just really slow, it could well be their computers. But if you can get the kill in first you will get the win.

Beefy Computers

Another part of "lag" is not having a powerful enough computer, if it can't display the graphics it will start to chug and things will slow down or "lag". This trick is very immoral, but works all the same. If you have a very powerful computer you can protect yourself considerably with smoke.

Smoke will slow down computers something cronic, and due to a massive cock up in Valve's last release 1.1.0.8 it slows down even beefy computers. Fortuently this has been fixed in the next release.

The trick is very simple, you buy a smoke grenade (especially handy if you are a sniper) and drop it behind your attack or sniping spot. Because it's behind you, your computer won't attempt to render it, and thusly won't slow it down. But, the people who are attacking you will see it, and their computers will have to render it. If they don't have a powerful computer then their computer will start to chug, and they will lag up giving you a stupendous advantage.

As I said, it's not a nice thing to do, but it's still a trick :)

Walls

Walls in half-life are made up of blocks. The Half-Life engine does not know the material it's made of, how thick it is, or features like this. To make the game realistic some of the more powerful guns can shoot through walls (although their power is depleated). It does not matter if you shoot through a piece of chipboard or 4 foot of concreate, the bullet will still emerge at the other side and do the same amount of damage. The AWP is the most powerful gun in the game and it will penetrate 3 layers. This doesn't matter how thick it is, it will just go through it.

Crates and boxes are a common object to hide behind. They offer protection, but if you have a powerful enough gun, you can easily kill anybody hiding behind it. As a box doesn't have 1 side, an empty space and then another side. It's just a block. It's solid inside so it only counts as 1 wall. This means the bullet on the other side is still very powerful.

If you have a weapon that will shoot through walls use this to your advantage. If you are in a fire fight that has a good change of going nasty put a wall between yourself and the target. Your bullets will continue to hit them, and theirs (if they don't have a powerful gun) will stop at the wall. Allowing you to kill them without the worry of getting your armour scratched. It's a very good trick, but requires fast moving as there is rarely time to think about it when in a fight.

Oh, and a player counts as 1 wall. So if you are on a Friendly Fire off server you can shoot a target through your team mate - it's a good way of using a team mate as a body sheild and not getting them killed. I have often stolen kills from team mates by shooting through them to finish off a target.

These guns will fire through objects:

  • IMI Desert Eagle
  • Avtomat Kalashnikov AK-47
  • Sig SG-552 Commando
  • Steyr Aug
  • Accuracy Int. Arctic Warfare/Magnum (AWP)
  • Hekler and Koch G3/SG-1
  • Sig SG-550 Commando
  • FN M249 Para
Logic

The reason why online multiplayer gaming is better than single player gaming is that you cannot predict a humans response. But, you can take very good educated guessed. Everybody is out to survive and kill. The same rules apply to everybody.

A bit of logical thinking will get you up the scoreboard like nothing else. It is also the biggest fuel cheating accusations. A look over the Hunting section to read up about looking out for your environment as well as the Environmental Audio section to help you be aware of you surroundings is useful.

Take for example a long range battle. It's not going anywhere fast as you both have short range guns. The person then shoots off somewhere, and doesn't return. He's going to be either flanking you of going for the objective. Figure out which way he went and then go that way to intercept. Or you are chasing somebody and they disapear, chances are they are hiding behind that box. Which box? The same one you would hide behind if you were going to leap out behind somebody as they passed. Just go round the other way and shoot them in the back - or knife them, it's far more satisfying.

Knowing this, you can then reverse it all on good players, who aslo work logically. In the case of the long distance shooting, you can run off to the right, then sneak back to the left. That way you can come up behind them as they are waiting to see you run round a corner.

It's using thought like this, with knowledge of the maps and common sense that will win the game. Jumping and shooting like a loony will only get the individual kill.