CSGO’s Agents are hard to see, especially for the colorblind

By Nick Johnson


Nov 22, 2019

Reading time: 3 min

Shattered Web is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s first operation in two years, and its release has brought out the helpful side of the CSGO community. As players band together to help each other with the operation’s first week of missions, some fans and pros are concerned about the new agent models and their visibility on competitive maps.

Some models models, like the FBI SWAT Operator, tend to disappear into the background of some maps. The vibrant new version of Cache is a perfect example of a competitive map that helps some Shattered Web models get away with hiding in plain sight. 

The problem isn’t limited to Cache. Another Reddit user posted a comparison of the default models and a new agent model on Dust 2’s B bombsite. There is a clear difference between the default models and the new models at window, back site and car. 

Simply put, the new agent models might affect competitive play, especially if players increase their digital vibrance through their graphics drivers.

New Agents are big problem for colorblind players

Fans aren’t the only ones concerned about the new agents’ visibility. It turns out that colorblind players are having more trouble than others with the new models. Team Liquid’s Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski tweeted out his concerns and asked the CSGO development team for a command to disable the new models. 

“I would really love if we had a cl_minmodel type command again now because I think some of the agents are hard to see especially for color blind people and I think it gives a disadvantage now in some situations @CSGO,” EliGE said.

Players could choose their player models in Counter-Strike 1.6, just like the option added to CSGO by Operation Shattered Web. The “cl_minmodel” command is a vintage clientside command from 1.6 that made every player model the same. 

The command was used to force the client to load only one player model per team. EliGE wants to use it to help colorblind people make sure they can tell the difference between a player and the map background by forcing the game to use the default models.

“I am color blind and I have been having some difficulties distinguishing some of the models from the backgrounds in some cases. I think this option would be really helpful and I can’t think of any downsides,” Elige said in the Reddit post discussing his position.

There is currently no colorblind mode built into the CSGO client. Players that suffer from the disability have turned to options like Window’s own color filter or Nvidia’s Freestyle overlay to help them distinguish between models in Valve’s first-person shooter.

Nvidia Freestyle offers colorblind modes overlays for all games

Luckily for those suffering from color blindness, there is a Nvidia GeForce Experience mode called Nvidia Freestyle that has overlays designed to help. Freestyle is an overlay, but using only a single filter minimizes the impact on a player’s FPS. This tool is only available to Nvidia graphics card owners.

To enable Freestyle for Counter-Strike, simply open GeForce Experience. When a user first opens the program, it will ask to scan for games. Once done scanning, players should close the program, but continue to let it run in the background.

When CSGO starts up, users should see a “Press Alt+Z” in the upper right for a short time before it disappears. Pressing Alt+Z opens the GeForce Overlay and select Game Filters on the left. Players can also use Alt+F3 and skip straight to the filters, but that’s a little too close to ALT+F4 for most.

Initially, all filters are off. Users should select the number one on the top left and “Colorblind” from the dropdown menu. There they can then adjust sliders for the three types of color blindness.

  • Red-green or protanopia
  • Red-green or dueteranopia
  • Blue-yellow or Tritanopia

Users can open an offline server with bots or an aim workshop map while playing with the sliders until they they can more easily tell the difference between the new models.

So far, Valve hasn’t commented on the issue. But with the recent attention they’ve given CSGO and a Major fast approaching, a colorblind mode isn’t out of the question for Valve’s flagship shooter.


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