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[CS:GO] - de_subliminal - Defusal map


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Hi everyone,

I have been making this level alongside writing a blog on my process from start to release for my portfolio. I wanted to challenge the editor in making a primarily indoor level only. 


I am fairly new to Hammer, but I wanted to showcase level design itself. This level as a result uses stock assets/textures only. Flow, timings and angles have instead been the focus.

I have been a designer for a fair number of years now, and worked on Trials HD on the Xbox 360 in the past. CS has been a personal favourite of mine since 1.2, completely lost the reflexes now though..lol. Hope you enjoy subliminal and feedback is more than welcome! 


- This map has been fully optimised
- Map supports 15 vs 15 players, but 10-20 players are recommended based upon public play tests carried out.
- Working Radar
- Can play with bots
- This map has 180 lights in total, and over the course of 4 months building this level, they have been carefully tweaked. 

Stuff I learnt making an indoor level with Source:

- When you think it is bright enough, it still isn't. Due to the lack of an all encompassing skybox to govern the primary source of light, more lights are needed in an indoor map.
- I found light_spots to be useful in softly lighting darker areas. 
- Readability will always be an issue. I tried with this map to reach a happy medium with prop details and keeping it clean at the same time. Low ceilings and enclosed spaces come with the territory of making an indoor only map, so even a small amount
of detail will over emphasize the decoration. Take it away and suddenly the walls look very flat/bland.
- Adding some warmer lights and opening up the ceilings in places I found helped in reducing the feeling of being closed in and claustrophobic. 
- If I was to make another indoor level I would make it smaller, similar to baggage. Indoor levels naturally have more connectors, for some players they will find this too much until they learn the layout and commit it to memory. Otherwise you will have a lot of tunnels and very long sight lines. B site is a bit guilty of this.
- Source relies on a environment light. I hope Source 2 will introduce post-process volumes or a global light setting that blends with the rest of the map so that indoor areas without skylights or large windows for skybox materials can be lit with fewer lights but still retain readability and a natural look.
- A coffee machine helps with the amount of compiling I had to do for each minute change to the lights.

I enjoyed sharing this level with you all and experimenting with different gameplay and settings for CS:GO :).

[Link to the level's workshop page]






New Radar

Thanks for your time (More images available on the level's workshop page)  :)

[Link to the level's workshop page]


Edited by AkatsukiUK
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Really like your lighting, especially those underwater spotlights.


I think you could push the details more, especially in your connectors. More infrastructure stuff like pipes and wiring near the ceilings would be good I think, to keep your floors pretty noiseless. You could maybe also go for more trims on your walls; some still look pretty blocky.


Overall though, I'd say awesome theme and awesome work.

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Thanks for playing :). I agree with your feedback 100%.


I am working my way around the level slowly building up the detail. I have some ideas for the passageways to make them more appealing!


Was a tricky theme as underground bases, are well..not particularly friendly  :D  


Expect improvements however to the visuals with every update from now on. 


Nice feedback. :cool:



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I like the design ideas of bomb sites A and B and the big mirror room of B bombsite, but especially B might need some work. The water is 1HKO and I can see a lot of people falling down there. At least that Silver Elite brother of mine did when we played a few rounds on it for fun. Also echoing what others have said: A bit bland in the corridors, but otherwise fun.

Edited by RivFader
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Hey RivFader,


Thanks for taking the time to play and comment on the level. I'm a bit of a level design purist so all the detailing comes in quite late on my map design work, you can see on my portfolio the early stages and how bland that looked  :D , but it will get there I promise.


The whole of B site is a bit of an experiment at the moment in trying to mix up tactics and to create new strategies. CS promotes good positioning, but it can be quite a static game with two parties shooting from the same spot a lot of the time. The idea of the risk is there so that if players want a LOS reward, they will have to cross the ramps onto the submarine. This means you need to be a little mindful of your step if strafing while scoped.


I have made it so you can plant on the ramp leading onto the submarine, this is an intentional design decision to make the area more forgiving for T's under fire looking to make a quick plant. 


The area is ready to completely box in and make it health and safety regulated if the overwhelming response from the community is that of genuine hatred, but I hope through regular play, people will be more open to a bit of change.


We are gamer's and we learn by dying ;)

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I am certainly open to suggestions  :). When you said your brother fell in where did this occur and how many times are we talking?, Was this a regular occurrence or just the once? 


These questions will help if changes need to be made.

Edited by AkatsukiUK
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We played some casual game with bots, 1 player and 4 bots on each side. Sometimes all of the bots would rush and hectic firefights would assume on the site, and it happened maybe 2 times that my brother fell back then. Usually around the small bridges leading to the sub itself. The main problem I see is that the bomb can fall into the water, though - not nice to lose as a T through that. Maybe expand the area around the bridges a bit, but leave the bombing zones they are so you ensure that the bomb is likely to fall into water?

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Ok thanks Riv that is really useful feedback  :). The bomb falling into the water was my worry also, due to some strange reason, while carrying the bomb if you die, the bomb jumps forwards two metres at speed.


I made a post about this in the discussion threads on the levels workshop page. So far a few people like to keep it as it is, due to it being 'funny'... and changing the game mode on the spot from bombing to a team deathmatch.


Annoyingly the solution I had was to use the bomb brush tool to block off the bomb rolling away into the water. Sadly the brush also stops bullets, which would mean you would not be able to shoot through the railings anymore.


Once I have done the last of the detailing, I will get the map hosted with full human players, and I can use that to design a solution that works for everyone's tastes. One example: putting some custom railings on the ramps themselves.

Edited by AkatsukiUK
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Big update in today.


Last of the big detailing is complete now. I may add some very minor spot details at a later date, but overall I am happy with the final look.


I noticed a sharpish contrast post cubemap on one area in bay 02 on the walkway leading from the steps. So will get this fixed this week.


Based on the feedback above about bombsite B, I have:


- Added railings to the ramps leading onto the sub

- Added collision volumes around all railings now so you can no longer jump over them to your death  :D

(This also means the bomb is less likely to fall into the water)

- On top of the sub itself is still a hazard, and has no invisible collision volumes to keep you penned in. The bomb can roll into the water if you die here while carrying it.

- Added a small piece of cover at B.

- I am keeping the walkway width the same. I want to get players to think more as a team, rather than tank rushing. There are plenty of connecting spots that link up to B site.


Thanks all and I will see about getting the map hosted so we can play without bots getting in the way.

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Annoyingly the solution I had was to use the bomb brush tool to block off the bomb rolling away into the water. Sadly the brush also stops bullets, which would mean you would not be able to shoot through the railings anymore.



Don't use the block bomb brush for this, instead use a trigger texture in the water with  trigger_bomb_reset. This will return the bomb to where it was before being dropped. You can also use the tools/toolsclip to block players, bots and bombs from reaching areas. 




I would also move the ladder to this wall, as it will help to guide players and make climbing the ladder easier. You can also add a pallet leaning against the wall. This will allow players to fall onto it, preventing any fall damage (de_nuke uses this mechanic also). I would also put a player clip above the trim, to stop players breaking their feet on it.

Edited by MaanMan
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Just added your suggestions MaanMan.


Thanks for the clear feedback examples, you would make an excellent QA tester if you're not already one :).


I moved the ladder to the opposite side, as I felt design wise it was more readable for players running down the corridor, but the outcome is the same and those pesky bots now use it properly! If the bomb does roll into the water on top of the Sub it will now reset.




Edited by AkatsukiUK
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