[UPDATE: Chet Faliszek tells us that CS:GO's SDK will contain the classic Hammer Editor.]
What would Counter-Strike be without custom maps? Well… pretty much nothing. As a matter of fact, most, if not almost all of the maps held most dear by Counter-Strike fans were created by third-party mappers. So the release of a level design toolkit is crucial to CS:GO’s development. Hammer (or, to call it by its maiden name, WorldCraft) is getting a bit old, and Portal has already replaced it with a far simpler and more versatile Puzzle Creator. So what’s going on over at the CS front?
Finally, the Seven Day Cool Down guys have posted up their audio interview with Gabe. An in-depth podcast, featuring some very interesting things we’ll also be covering shortly. Beyond the interview itself, they also posted up this screencap of a brief e-mail exchange with Gabe, featuring the aforementioned SDK revelation:
Steam Workshop integration is a brilliant idea – perhaps custom maps will be just as important to CS now as they used to be back in the old days. Downloading, rating, and uploading maps will be much easier with the Workshop (making custom maps from the communty into full-fledged official game maps will also be far easier this way), but I do wonder if the SDK’s level editor toolkit will still be the same old Hammer Editor which, as I previously mentioned, is getting a bit old. Perhaps, just like their Portal 2 Puzzle Creator, Valve is planning to offer us a brand new level editor. I wouldn’t bet much on it, but it is a possibility.
Might we also also see it on the consoles? It remains unknown if the Portal 2 Puzzle Creator will make its way to the PS3 and Xbox, even if its simplified controls and design would make it a perfect fit for the console experience, although Steam Workshop integration would have to be added, which could possibly exclude the Xbox entirely. Similarly, perhaps a console CS:GO level editor would also be a success – as fans of the honorable TimeSplitters series will undoubtedly tell you.
I also wonder if the SDK will offer more in the way of moddability and customization. What would CS modding be without the countless weapon and character skins? Perhaps CS:GO’s Steam Workshop component will also feature support for uploading, rating, and downloading custom skins. It’s so wide-spread that it couldn’t possibly do Valve any harm to make it official.
In other CS:GO-related news, this week’s beta update brought a number of bugfixes, balance changes and other such things to the game. Nothing really substantial per se (which is good – too much content all at once can make for a diluted testing experience), although earlier this week they posted up an in-depth heat map showing statistics for approximately 6.5 million bullets fired on DE_Train, as well as a lengthy recap and analysis of the 2012 Copenhagen Games’s CS tournaments.