Sub-tick system, Source 2 rendering, and other major improvements in Counter-Strike 2

Valve has officially announced Counter-Strike 2, a major update to its global hit CS:GO coming this summer. Here are the main features and key improvements to the game’s core gameplay systems.

Counter-Strike 2: all major improvements over CS:GO

How is Counter-Strike different from CS:GO?

Counter-Strike 2 was announced with a few short trailers describing the upcoming changes. Valve also made a blog post on Steam, calling the upcoming game the “largest technical leap forward” in franchise history.

Built with the Source 2 engine, Counter-Strike 2 will use all the features and tools of this framework. Valve upgraded classic maps and rebuilt some levels from the ground up, adding the new lightning system, reflections, and physics.

The company will also make the Source 2 tools and rendering features available to the community. This will allow users to create their own maps and experiment with new features.

When it comes to gameplay and player experience, Valve updated the tick rate system by building a new sub-tick architecture so that moving, shooting, and grenade throwing is no longer dependent on the server refresh rate. This should make the game more responsive because servers will know the exact instant that motion starts and calculate player actions between ticks.

Although the sub-tick update may seem like a minor change, it could be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, improvements — if implemented the way Valve describes it — gameplay-wise, especially for a competitive FPS like Counter-Strike.

Valve also introduced dynamic smoke grenades. The new system makes smoke interact with the environment, reacting to lighting and filling spaces, while its shape can be carved by bullets and grenades.

The company improved all visual effects using Source 2’s particle system and adding new behavior for fire, flashes, explosions, and water. On top of that, Counter-Strike 2 will have an upgraded UI with new visual effects.

Other facts about Counter-Strike 2 and its upcoming launch

  • Counter-Strike 2 is a free upgrade to CS:GO. A limited test starts on March 22, and the full launch is scheduled for the summer.
  • According to the official FAQ, participants in the limited test will be selected based on recent playtime on Valve servers, Steam account standing, and other factors.
  • At launch, players will be able to bring their CS:GO inventory to Counter-Strike 2, with Valve promising that items will look better thanks to the new lighting and rendering.
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