Counter-Strike (commonly abbreviated to CS) is a tactical first-person shooter video game which originated from a Half-Life modification by Minh "Gooseman" Le and Jess "Cliffe" Cliffe. The game has been expanded into a series since its original release, which currently includes Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, Counter-Strike: Source, Counter-Strike: Anthology and Counter-Strike on Xbox. Counter-Strike pits a team of counter-terrorists against a team of terrorists in a series of rounds. Each round is won by either completing the mission objective or eliminating the opposing force. The latest incarnation of the game, Counter-Strike: Source, is based on the Source engine developed for Half-Life 2.
The game is almost entirely based on the dynamically streamlined multiplayer experience activated via Steam, and is currently the most played Half-Life modification in terms of players, according to GameSpy.
Counter-Strike was developed first as a Half-Life modification. Therefore named "Half-Life: Counter-Strike." The original version was a 3rd-party Half-Life modification, but since then it has grown into a commercial mod and later advertised as separate game in itself. It still uses and runs on the Half-Life game engine and is based on its unchanged structure.
On 24 March 1999 Planet Half-Life opened its Counter-Strike section. Within two weeks, the site had received 10,000 hits.
On June 18, 1999, the first public beta of Counter-Strike was released, followed by numerous further "beta" releases. On April 12, 2000, Valve announced that the Counter-Strike developers and Valve had teamed up. Counter-Strike 1.0 was released around Christmas 2000.
On January 25, 2003, a world wide competition was held by Valve and hosted by Dell. Numerous Dell desktops and laptops were awarded in the competition which attracted over 10,000 participants. The competition was held over a two week period, with the winner ("b0b") being announced on February 15 on Valve's website.
In 2004, Counter-Strike: Condition Zero was released. It contained a single player campaign and bots, as well as other changes.
Standard monetary bonuses are awarded for winning a round, losing a round, killing an enemy, being the first to instruct a hostage to follow, rescuing a hostage or planting the bomb.
The scoreboard displays team scores in addition to statistics for each player: name, kills, deaths, and ping (in milliseconds). The scoreboard also indicates whether a player is dead, carrying the bomb (on bomb maps), or is the VIP (on assassination maps), although information on players on the opposing team is hidden from a player until his/her death, as this information can be important.
Killed players become "spectators" for the duration of the round; they cannot change their names until they spawn (come alive) again, text chat cannot be sent to or received from live players; and voice chat can only be received from live players and not sent to them (unless the cvar sv_alltalk is set to 1). Spectators are generally able to watch the rest of the round from multiple selectable views, although some servers disable some of these views to prevent dead players from relaying information about living players to their teammates through alternative media (most notably voice in the case of Internet cafes and Voice over IP programs such as TeamSpeak or Ventrilo). This technique is known as "ghosting".
Counter Strike is famous for the culture surrounding it, which includes everything from professional gamers and leagues, to excessive cheating and disruptive behavior. Certain professional teams (such as SK Gaming, alternate aTTaX, Team-Avtomat Kalashnikov, mousesports and fnatic) have come to earn a living out of it, while other clans and community based groups neither lose nor earn money via member donations which are self sustaining in return for administrator rights in servers involved in the community.
Half-Life and other contemporary games took full advantage of hardware graphics acceleration in the late 1990s, replacing earlier software-rendered games such as Quake. The continued popularity of Counter-Strike has meant that older video cards such as the 3dfx Voodoo3, ATI Rage 128, and Nvidia RIVA TNT2 remain useful.
There have been a multitude of games claimed by their developers, reviewers and fans to be "Counter-Strike killers," but none have seriously been able to dent its overall popularity. Server statistics in 2002 showed that Counter-Strike servers outnumbered their Battlefield, Unreal Tournament 2003 or Quake III first-person shooter counterparts at least 3 to 1.
However, as criticism of Condition Zero showed, the GoldSrc engine has already been surpassed by several generations of newer engines. Even Counter-Strike: Source has been criticized for not progressing the gameplay enough and failing to take full advantage of the Source engine.
Typical cheats are:
Valve has implemented an anti-cheat system called Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC). Players cheating on a VAC enabled server risk having their account permanently banned from all VAC secured servers.
With the first version of VAC a ban took force almost instantly after being detected, and the cheater had to wait 2 years to have the account unbanned. Since VAC's second version, cheaters are not banned automatically. Rather, they are banned according to a delayed banning system, and bans are permanent. Many cheats are still not detected by VAC, and often the only effective anti-cheat solution is a human administrator watching an online game. (Some servers implement a vote system, in which case players can call for a vote to kick or ban the cheater.) VAC, while being effective in some ways, has also provided a boost in the purchasing of private cheats. These cheats are updated frequently, as to prevent detection, and are available to those who pay to use them or to those in the community or clan.
On January 17, 2008, a Brazilian federal court order prohibiting all sales of Counter-Strike and Everquest and imposing the immediate withdrawal of these from all stores began to be enforced. The federal Brazilian judge Carlos Alberto Simões de Tomaz, of the Minas Gerais judiciary section, ordered the ban in October 2007 because, according to him, the games "bring immanent stimulus to the subversion of the social order, attempting against the democratic and rightful state and against the public safety".
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