Exploring Map Making in CS:GO

One of my favourite types of games to play religiously throughout my gaming experience has always been first person shooters, the fast paced action, the strategy behind the competitive play, the skill involved, I love it. My favourite first person shooter to play is Counter-strike and always has been, especially the competitive side to the game.

So instead of creating a game for my final project, I have decided to create a competitive map for the game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. For many players de_dust and de_dust2 are the main representatives of the game, due to the popularity of the maps. The maker of de_dust2 ‘David Johnston’ actually made replications of another map made in the older version of Team Fortress 2. Around the late 90’s a whole bunch of screenshots were circling online, just as the mod “Counter-Strike” for Half-Life had been rising in its popularity.

The original de_dust map on Counter-Strike wasn’t an exact replica of that on the TF2 map, but it posed many striking similarities. But little did David Johnston know that his little map, for the little mod for Half-Life would explode and make the most iconic map in FPS history. Dust originally planned to have an indoor CT spawn, but David Johnston decided to get rid of this, as it didn’t fit the Dust theme he was going for, Dust was an outside map, with sunny exteriors.

These kinds of things are things that I should consider as I go into map making in the future with my final project, preferably I don’t want to steal a map design from an old outdated game. However, I would like to create my own map, own map style, something that isn’t “Dust”.

Overview of de_dust

Not only do I have to think of the map aesthetically, but I must think of it functionally in competitive play. I could have a beautifully, aesthetically pleasing work of art that proves to have many glitches, and is very non-functional when it comes to people actually using the space for play. The types of things that I should consider that aren’t for aesthetic are: skybox limits, areas for players to hide, the bomb site layout, the balance between a site and b site, connecting tunnels (if I decide to go with a map that has an underground).

You can see David Johnston’s blog on the making of de_dust here:


It provides a great deal of insight into the backstory of how the map was produced and a brief history into counter-strike.


Johnston, D. (2003). The Making Of: Dust. [online] johnsto.co.uk. Available at: https://www.johnsto.co.uk/design/making-dust [Accessed 31 Mar. 2016].


  1. That’s really interesting Daniel, I can only imagine how difficult it would be to make an actual map for dedicated competitive play. There is quite a lot of documentation that the guys from DICE have done about their process for making a massive Battlefield map that is not only visually striking and interesting, but balanced and not asymmetrical (which I’d imagine is the hardest thing to avoid making). So many things to consider, but if you make it simple enough with few obstacles and other factors like verticality then you should be able to hone in on a good, simple map.

    This is what I was thinking of:


    IGN also has a similar article with much the same philosophies. Best of luck!


  2. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with. When your playing a game you often overlook the little details and tropes that appear and reoccur in popular maps. It’s actually interesting when you approach a map from the perspective of a creator, you’ll start to notice those little things which I’d love to hear you report on! I’d recommend looking back on some of your favourite maps – maybe play on them again, taking notes on what makes it work.

    I’d also recommend looking up lists of the most popular FPS Maps of all time, and maybe watch YouTube videos of gameplay on the maps if you don’t have access to the games for ideas!

    Here’s an article by Kotaku amalgamating a few popular maps: http://www.kotaku.com.au/2015/11/the-best-7-multiplayer-maps-in-first-person-shooters/

    Good luck with your project! Who knows, maybe you’re map will become as influential as the ones in the article! Hah!


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