Train2Game news: Valve reveal how CS:GO beta heat maps influence design decisions

Train2Game News readers should find this interesting; Valve has released data about the science of player actions during the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive beta, and how it ultimately effects their design decisions.

The developer has released heat maps of the map de_train showing where 6.5 million bullets have been fired during the beta. You can see it in full here.

“Recently we have discussed how we incorporate feedback into our design decisions. In addition to valuable feedback on the forums, another important form of feedback we receive is gameplay data.” read an update on the Counter-Strike blog.

“Our data collection is extensive. We track nearly every player action, from individual bullets fired to weapon purchases, and the resulting data can be used to help us evaluate game design decisions.”

The post added the heat map helps the Valve development team gain insights into player habits.

“A straightforward way to visualize the data we collect is through heat maps. Heat maps can reveal player preferences, choke-points in maps, sight-lines for snipers, and much more.”

In an interview with The Train2Game Blog , Valve’s Chet Faliszek said that beta testing is an important part of the game development process for CS:GO.

“It’s really important to us because we’re going to let that drive the release date,” he said.

“Because we’re really looking to get the feedback from the community over the changes we’ve made. We’ve brought over some stuff that was good from Counter-Strike: Source and we’ve brought over some stuff that was good from 1.6, so it’s going to be interesting to see how the communities react” Faliszek added.

There’s more Counter-Strike: Global Offensive news right here on The Train2Game Blog.

What are your thoughts on Valve using heat maps to help make design decisions? Are you taking part in the CS:GO beta?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game Blog top features of 2011

Train2Game Blog Editor Danny is off on his Christmas holidays from Thursday 15th December, but don’t worry, that doesn’t mean The Train2Game blog won’t be updated over the festive period.

Train2Game blog readers will continue to receive all the news that’s relevant to them thanks to Danny’s assistant posting updates through to Christmas and New Year.

Of course, you can also Like Train2Game on Facebook, and follow Train2Game on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest developments. You’ll also be able to discuss the latest news, and experience on Train2Game courses on the Train2Game forum which will be active as usual throughout the Christmas period.

So, before Danny has some time off, here, in no particular order, are some of his favourite Train2Game blog features of 2011.

The Train2Game & Epic Game Jam documentary. 15 minutes of footage including Train2Game students, Train2Game course leader Tony Bickley, TIGA CEO Dr. Richard Wilson and Epic Games Mike Gamble.

Train2Game blog interview with Bioware co-founders Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk on founding Bioware and how they got into the games industry.

Train2Game blog interview with Splash Damage Lead Writer ED Stern about Brink, game design and getting into the games industry.

Train2Game blog interview with Deus Ex: Human Revolution writer Jim Swallow about writing Human Revolution, what skills a games writer should have and getting into the games industry.

Train2Game blog interview  from The Eurogamer Expo with Trion Worlds Senior QA Tester Karl Tars on End of Nations, QA Testing, and how QA can help you get into the industry.

Train2Game blog interview from The Eurogamer Expo with Valve’s Chet Faliszek on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, beta testing, and getting into the games industry.

Train2Game blog interview with Hogrocket co-founder Ben Ward on switching from triple-A to indie, life as an indie and developing iPhone games.

Train2Game blog interview from Gamescom with Ubisoft Creative Director Jason Vandenberghe on Far Cry 3, game design, and getting into the industry.

Train2Game blog interview from Gamescom with id Software Creative Director Tim Willits on developing RAGE, modding, and how it’s a great way to get into the industry.

Train2Game blog interview from The Develop Conference with TIGA CEO Dr. Richard Wilson on TIGA, Train2Game, the UK Games industry and games tax relief.

We also interviewed plenty of Train2Game students about their experiences with Train2Game, listen to them all on the Train2Game Audioboo website, or read them on the Train2Game Scribd page.

Keep reading the Train2Game blog through 2012 for more exclusive interviews with high profile figures in the games industry and all the latest information about Train2Game and the industry as a whole.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Danny Palmer

Train2Game Blog Editor.

 

Train2Game news: CS:GO beta begins tomorrow

Train2Game students who were lucky enough to pick up keys at The Eurogamer Expo can get involved with the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive beta from tomorrow.

As reported by the Train2Game blog, Valve’s beta test was supposed to start in October before being delayed after feedback from professional players. However, those with keys will be able to begin beta testing from tomorrow, with Dust and Dust 2 the first maps available to play.

Valve plan to expand the CS:GO beta as it goes on, with the idea that it’ll eventually become the full-game. In an interview with the Train2Game blog at the Eurogamer Expo, Valve’s Chet Faliszek said that beta testing is an important part of the game development process for CS:GO, and ultimately it’s player feedback that’ll drive the eventual full release date.

It’s really important to us because we’re going to let that drive the release date,” said Faliszek on beta testing.

“Because we’re really looking to get the feedback from the community over the changes we’ve made. We’ve brought over some stuff that was good from Counter-Strike: Source and we’ve brought over some stuff that was good from 1.6, so it’s going to be interesting to see how the communities react.”

Beta testing is good way for Train2Game students to test their bug finding skills, and according to Trion Worlds Senior QA Tester Karl Tars in an interview with the Train2Game blog, it’s also a potential way to get a foot in the door of the games industry.

There’s a lot more about beta testing and its importance to game development, here on the Train2Game blog.

So Train2Game, are you going to be involved with the CS:GO beta test? What will you be looking for?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game interview: Valve’s Chet Faliszek on CS:GO

 

Train2Game attended the Eurogamer Expo, and during our time there we had a chat with Valve Software writer Chet Faliszek about Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. In an in depth interview, Faliszek discusses the reasons for making CS: GO, bringing the PC title to consoles,  the importance of beta testing and much more.

The Valve Software writer also tells the Train2Game blog how important modding can be as part of finding work in the games industry.

Read the interview below, on Train2Game’s Scribd page, or listen to it via Train2Game Radio.

We’re over ten years on from the original Counter-Strike, why is the time right for CS: GO now?

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive started because we were actually originally just going to do a port of Counter-Strike: Source for XBLA. Internally we started playing it a lot and released that ‘Oh, this is a lot of fun’ We forgot how much fun this translates over to the 360 now we’ve got really good at this, so we should make a bigger investment, a full game and expand out what it is.

What are the main Game Design changes that have been made to CS: GO?

One of the cool things with Counter-Strike is it’s been around for so long, that there’s a lot of feedback we can get about what works and what doesn’t work. So we’ve taken a look at 1.6, we’ve taken a look at Counter-Strike: Source, we’ve kind of taken the best of both worlds and we think we’ve created the best version of Counter-Strike.

Which modes will be available in the upcoming game?

We’re going to have the classic bomb planting and hostage and rescue, and were also going to have – again looking back to the community, they had worked on gun game – and so we’re incorporating gun game directly into what we call ‘Arsenal modes.’  We have two of those modes; one is Demolition and that’s about bomb planting and team based Gun Game. And then we also have Arms Race which is the classic Gun Game where every kill you get, you get a new gun and then eventually you get to the knife round.

How difficult has  it been to bring what’s fundamentally a PC game onto consoles?

We don’t really ever look at games that way. As a company, as gamers ourselves, we play on too many different platforms just to think of a game being that anymore. I mean, I play Left4Dead on console as much as I play it on PC, so you know, I think we’ve become accustomed to that.

It’s been fun watching people jump down here and say ‘Oh man, I can’t believe you don’t have keyboard and mouse here,’ and then they play on the PS3 and go ‘Oh yeah, that works pretty well.’

It’s had a good reaction from the hardcore Counter-Strike fans then?

Yeah, actually what’s really funny is at PAX back in Seattle, we were showing it on the 360 and we had a pro-gaming website come in really dissing that we had it on the 360. And they sat down and ran over everybody and they loved it.

Is there a mode for players who might be new to Counter-Strike, but don’t want to get run over by veteran players?

Well actually in all of our modes we’re going to make sure that doesn’t happen, but we have the Social Mode which you’re seeing here. You get all the weapons, there’s no friendly fire, all talk is on and it’s a place to have fun with your friends and you’re talking about your girlfriend’s or what you’re talking about on TV while you’re playing the game.

But also there’s also a skill based mode which is all about the skill based matchmaking, so that’ll always make sure you’re having a competitive game without getting owned by someone who’s been playing for  ten years and is tonnes better than you – they’re going to be playing against different people than you will.

You’re giving out beta keys here, how important is that phase in the development of a game?

It’s really important to us because we’re going to let that drive the release date, because we’re really looking to get the feedback from the community over the changes we’ve made. We’ve brought over some stuff that was good from Counter-Strike: Source and we’ve brought over some stuff that was good from 1.6, so it’s going to be interesting to see how the communities react.

Already we’ve got some positive feedback from some of the pros, but we’re telling the communities it’s not going to be either, it’s going to be something new so let’s play it, let’s give feedback and let’s go from there.

Valve Software has a reputation for hiring modders, is modding therefore a good way for a budding game developer to get noticed?

It’s a really good way for someone to get noticed because it shows that you’re able. Normally modders have to work as a team and that’s important, and they also have to be able to finish something and that’s really important. So those two things together are a really good way to demonstrate that you’re ready to work in the industry.

What other advice would you give to someone looking to work in the games industry?

Make sure you’re doing something.  Do whatever you’re doing, like we (at Valve) weren’t necessarily writing for games when Gabe (Newell) tapped us, but do whatever you do as well as you can and with a view as to what your eventual goal will be.

Anything else you’d like to add about CS: GO?

We’re going to have the beta starting in October, check it out. We think it’s the best version of Counter-Strike there is, and you can help us make it the best version.

Thanks for your time.

The CS:GO beta begins in October, with a Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC released scheduled for early 2012.

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

For more information about Train2Game, go to www.train2game.com