Valve has released an interesting CSGO update that they believe will massively enhance sound realism on maps. The update is supposed to alter sounds to correctly reflect the distortions caused by distance and by different materials. It’s a considerable effort on Valve’s part towards real-world realism.
But is the real-world realism of the new CSGO update appreciated?
The new sound model is accessed with the command ‘snd_occlusion 1’ in the developer console. And it has both pro players and CSGO enthusiasts hopping mad.
But why should this be so?
Because the new audio update changes game mechanics. Sound is an important in-game mechanic in Counter Strike. Everything from careless footsteps to weapon sounds allows opposing players to ‘zone in’ on you, locate you, and of course, try to kill you.
Since ‘peeking’ in CSGO can quite literally get you ‘killed’, these sounds become an important aspect of game-play.
They warn you of the approach of enemies in the vicinity.
How do the changes affect the in-game meta?
Quite crucially! All CSGO players in general, and top CSGO pros in particular have ‘trained’ themselves to pick up on such sounds. They’ve learned to use those sounds to focus on the approximate location of an approaching foe. The new update changes the very mechanics of how those sounds work, distorting them. This actually amounts to changing the entire audio-meta of the game.
Take a look at this video, which will make this point very clear…
Changing the audio-mechanics of the game has serious consequences.
This applies to all players, but especially to pro players. All players are going to have to ‘re-learn’ their in-game audio detection and analysis skills. No small task, indeed! They’re going to have to learn to focus on an approaching enemy, and try to analyze his location THROUGH the distortions. No one knows if this is even possible to do as accurately as before!
Let’s say it’s possible.
Then there’s not much damage done. Fans and Pro players have been inconvenienced (but do the developers really want to do that?). But still, not much damage done.
But what if it’s really not possible to analyze the sound effects as accurately as before?
If it’s not, a player’s ability to focus on approaching foes has been irreparably damaged. And if that’s the case, a crucially important aspect of game-play has also been badly damaged.
We’ll have to see, as the new CSGO update comes into mainstream use. Time will tell whether it will be permanently implemented, and whether top players will be able to work with it. Whether it’s a REAL, rather than a cosmetic improvement. Whether it will truly add to the game, rather than taking away from it.
Only time will tell!