Surf maps have existed in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for years now, but Valve has historically ignored this user-made game mode. Until now, possibly.
SteamDB detected a whitelisted server that was running a map named surf_beginner for a short time, with just one player utilizing it. This could mean many different things, and it could have been a mistake or an experiment by Valve, but it’s led to some speculation regarding the possibility of surf maps being made part of official servers in the near future, possibly as part of a new CSGO operation.
SteamDB picked up a whitelisted CSGO server (basically official server) running a .bsp named surf_beginner a few days ago.
This was very likely just a mistake, but what if @CSGO would add surf as an official gamemode in the next operation like they did with retakes last year? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/Jq5FHLRWtc
— T-R3x3r (@TR3x3r) July 29, 2021
Surf maps take advantage of a phenomenon in the Source engine that allows players to glide and accelerate across inclined surfaces. This has primarily been explored in user-made maps in Counter-Strike, Half-Life, and Team Fortress 2, but this mechanic exists in the official versions of these games and is possible to execute in actual defusal games of CSGO.
A map named surf_beginner has existed in CSGO for almost the entire existence of the game. The map is precisely what it sounds like, featuring a basic obstacle course for new surf map players that tasks them with completing increasingly difficult jumps in order to advance to the next level.
It is unclear if this is the exact map that Valve is using, or if Valve might have made its own surf map with a similar name. Regardless, there are some interesting implications in an apparent surf map appearing on an official Valve server.
Does a surf map on an official server hint at next CSGO operation?
A surf map appearing on something akin to an official server is strange but carries some implications. It’s possible that this was set up as an experiment or done in error, but it could be a test run for a rollout of official surf servers. And if that’s true, it could be a hint that a new operation is coming to CSGO.
— Ninjas in Pyjamas 🇸🇪 (@NIP) December 3, 2020
A big part of Operation Broken Fang was the introduction of game mode Retakes to official matchmaking. Retakes has existed for years now on community servers, but Valve included a polished version of the game mode that players could grind for stars. Valve could do something similar with surf maps for the next operation, tasking players to clear them in order to earn stars.
Valve would need to experiment with using surf on official servers, though. Official CSGO matchmaking runs on 64-tick servers, unlike esports events and third-party matchmaking services like FACEIT and ESEA that run on 128-tick servers. Surf maps are ideally run between these two marks, and Valve might be wanting to see how things feel on 64-tick servers before committing to this move.