Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive development team is putting in work, and it’s starting to show.
Updates to CSGO over the past several days can’t confirm that another major operation is coming, but they paint a picture of a dedicated team working hard on something. It’s not just CSGO’s programmers either. In the past three weeks, Valve has made huge changes to how users’ game clients talk to each other. The official CSGO twitter account has publically called out a Chinese third-party client for hooking into CSGO’s engine.
CSGO is being cleaned from top to bottom. Developers have been everywhere in CSGO’s code, working on the game’s translation files line by line. On October 17, developers added new render options. Right now, CSGO just feels smooth. Even so, the game’s UI still looks like a work in progress. There’s slick styling for its menus, but some are missing lines that separate one item from the next. The constant stream of updates mimics what players saw twice in the past year when similar changes started to appear before Operation Shattered Web began and in the weeks after it ended.
On the hacking side of CSGO, developer John McDonald and his coworkers at Valve have continued to make improvements to VAC and its other anti-cheat systems.
(Any time we reship all of the code for the game, it causes lots of churn in badly written cheats that leverage well known places in our less-frequently rev’d DLLs).
— John McDonald (@basisspace) October 17, 2020
Most players don’t go into their settings once they’ve set up their autoexec.cfg file, but WIN.gg asked several long-time players to take a look. While it wasn’t an official study, everyone seems to agree that CSGO’s interface feels snappier than usual, especially player inventories. But players can chalk that up to improvements in how Steam handles player items across all of its games. Valve’s ongoing networking improvements that started in early August continued in CSGO’s latest patch on October 16.
The new Steam features and code updates aren’t necessarily reactive to the increasing presence of competing first-person shooter Valorant. If anything, the updates seem to have been in the works for some time. With Valorant’s first major tournament First Strike starting in December, a smart publisher would announce something just before.
Whatever Valve has coming, it’s likely coming soon. Counter-Strike has retained its top spot on the Steam charts since hitting an all-time high in April. It regularly approaches one million concurrent players each day, and that’s not something Valve should ignore. Players have been waiting patiently for the game’s next major update or operation, and recent changes show that it may be coming soon.