eSports Spotlight: Counter-Strike veteran Lag_Beast talks CS: GO

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With the recent launch of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive the obvious question has come to mind of whether it will take in the place of the previous Counter-Strike titles in our local competitive scene. This week I’ve caught up with Alistair ‘Lag_Beast’ Bouman, one of the local Counter-Strike veterans to talk about the launch of the CS: GO pickup channel and its progress.

Counter-Strike 1.6 and Source has seemingly disappeared and it wasn’t certain whether the franchise will continue to be a part of our tournaments. It is yet to be seen if the game will take off competitively in our country as well as titles in the Battlefield and Call of Duty franchises have done.

Bouman has been a part of the local Counter-Strike community for almost twelve years and currently takes in a managerial position for the team Damage Control, a name that is well known to most competitive Counter-Strike players. The line-up consists of some popular nicks such as: Style, Hellhound, G4mbit, Explicit, Surge and Warhammy. These are players who have competed across many competitive titles including Team Fortress 2. Bouman will be tasked to make sure this team is prepared for upcoming CS: GO competitions.

Bouman is also the man responsible for initiating the CS: GO pickup channel project. The channel kicked off mid August and seems to be more active than the long running Call of Duty 4 pickup channel. Check out what Bouman had to say about it and the prospects of CS: GO becoming a successful eSports title in S.A.

CS: GO Pickups

Why did you start the CS: GO pickup channel?

Well ever since 2005 when I first was introduced to the Counter Strike: Source pickup channel which allowed for individual players to practice in a competitive environment, I realized that the only way to get better is to play in these mixed clan matches and not just to play on Free For All. It was because of this that I decided to get the CS: GO pickup channel going to help other players and in general improve the overall level of gamers in South Africa so that one day when we are able to compete regularly in overseas competitions that we actually get recognized internationally – with that in mind potentially opening the doorway to sponsors for local teams etc. which ultimately means much more opportunities to make gaming a career and not just a hobby.

Who’s been a part of the process of kicking it off?

Sho well there have been many factors in getting this started but MrSkull and DeFi had been working on the previous bot for Counter Strike: Source and with the release of CS:GO on the way I approached them with the idea to start creating an autonomous bot. With the help of these gents as well as a guy that goes by the nickname Hornet or now “faMe” who has graciously given us some servers to host the pickup servers on, we’ve managed to run the service quite efficiently.

I must admit though that without everyone putting time in and putting effort in to this service it would never be successful so thank you, to everyone and anyone that’s had input into things as is. Thank you to those people who are also actively helping in the channel with new players. It’s because of all these people that things succeeded as they have. On a side note the biggest most massive thank you to DeFi – really a genuine person with a heart of gold, the man behind the bots mysteriously coded face. If you looking for anything programmed or anything give this man a shout his rates are also pretty decent he says 😉

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How do people join CS: GO pickups? What is required?

Currently, though unfortunately, the only way to access the pickups is to join IRC and enter the pickup channel to add. For this you need to download mIRC chat client (www.mIRC.com) and join the irc.shadowfire.org server and visit us in the #gopickup channel.

However DeFi is currently working on a few projects, one of which is a stand alone client that allows you to add to a pickup without having to join mIRC. Once the bot has more integration with the CS: GO servers we’ll also allow people to add to pickups by joining the servers themselves and adding in game for their convenience.

How is the channel managed/what is the administration process?

Well the flaw in previous pickup channels is that it was always run by ‘admins’ or people who were there to start the games and run them this always lead to a lot of ego’s as well as a lot of fights and conflict and human error with regards to games not going to plan. To eliminate this we’ve tried to automate the bot so that everyone can start games and be part of it without having to have ‘status’ within the community – by doing this we eliminated the need for there to be admins in the channel to start games (in my opinion one of the biggest causes of pickup failures is the reliance on certain key people being online to run a pickup).

So what we are left with is a channel that runs itself essentially with very little assistance add to that a handful of people that are chosen by the community to provide assistance to the new players and people that are experiencing any issues and you have yourself a smoothly run situation with people that are all equal with regards to social standings – no ego’s allowed. 😉

What has been the progress of the pickup channel?

Well we went from testing 3 – 5 pickups a day (18/08/2012) to roughly 16 – 22 a day sometimes even more (03/09/2012). We have also gone from using one ready up method to using a more reliable /r system which eliminates some challenges of the game starting before everyone is on the server and things like that.

 

CS: GO as a competitive title

How does CS: GO compare to Counter-Strike 1.6 and Counter-Strike: Source?

I think the mistake most people make is comparing these games in the first place, although it shares the name “Counter Strike” I don’t think that they should ever be compared however natural it feels as the platform is FPS they are still new games which should be judged individually on a set of criteria. In my opinion though each title has their own benefits and advantages etc.

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1.6 – solid and there is less ‘chance’ so to speak with regards to recoil and holding down the fire button.

CSS – took awhile for Valve to refine this enough for it to be viable on a competitive level due to the initial problems with hit registry but turned out to be very enjoyable.

CS: GO it seems like they’ve taken the ideology of 1.6 in the recoil being more solid and reliable but also taking a familiar looking game engine and replacing the old source one with a new one which seems pretty solid so close to the game being released – overall I’d say Valve have done a pretty good job with CS: GO in a way I hope it’s almost married the separate communities into one big one.

Do you think that CS: GO will become successful in the local comp scene? If so, why?

Yes, I think it will be successful in the local comp scene. Already I’ve seen such an increase in players just competing in the pickups that are being played. More so I’m seeing people from different games and backgrounds all coming together to play CS: GO. On top of that you have a maturing player base with plenty of ‘veteran’ CS players that are doing their best to keep the community as respectable as possible – something I think that lacked a lot in previous years. As the community gets older it takes things for granted less which results in a slightly more down to earth group of gamers which hopefully once the older generation have moved on, carry the torch high for the future generation of gamers to come.

To find out more about what pickups are and how they work, you can read this handy guide on Bravado Gaming’s website. Even thought it was originally written for Counter-Strike: Source it has a lot of information and tips on everyday use on IRC: including a guide on installing mIRC, registering your nick and joining new channels.

Do Gaming has already announced a CS: GO cup for which registrations are already open. There are 14 teams currently registered for the cup, entries close on 10 October, five days prior to the starting date of the comp. Further more Do Gaming has also posted on the league site that they plan to run a CS: GO league in 2013.

What are your opinions? Do you think that CS: GO will take off and have enough competitive teams to carry the title and show people that it’s worth organising comps for? 

 

 

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Last Updated: September 11, 2012

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