Counter Strike is an incredibly versatile platform. Sure, we’ve all experienced intense clutch situations on Dust II and had fun trying to AWP jungle from palace on Mirage, but so much more of Counter Strike’s life and energy exists beyond the competitive games we grind for days on end. Surf maps are a popular example, often being paired with the bunny hopping community. These people have found creative ways to manipulate the source engine with complicated yet simple maps that allow players to glide along an angled surface or strafe in the air endlessly finding platforms to land on. To some it may seem menial, but to others it’s an art form. Thousands of hours of surfing videos can be found online featuring players who have spent hours on a single map, trying to get each landing perfect.
With so many players on one game, it’s bound to invite creative talent to the scene. Source’s ‘SDK Hammer editor’ client allows players to make their own maps from scratch using props from the vast steam library, as well as creating their own to suit their vision. One successful example is de_Cache, created by community member FM_Pone, a map played by silvers and professionals alike. Most skins in the game are also fan made, each new case housing weapon finishes made by content creators with one aim in mind – helping their favourite game become the versatile platform growing in numbers daily that it is today.
de_Cache by FM_Pone
Although Counter Strike: Global Offensive is six years old, CSGO YouTubers are still raking in thousands of views daily. From weapon skin reviews to map making tips, becoming a content creator has never been easier. Artists have a platform on which to make whatever they want – and if their creation is good enough, and with a little luck, they might be shortlisted by Valve to be put into the actual game, through operations or otherwise. Seeing a huge game developer engaging so closely with the community is undeniably one of the many reasons CSGO is still relevant today.
3kliksphilip is one such creator, making hundreds of videos explaining the way SDK works, how to use it, and teaching millions of people how to become a creator themselves. With 2,154 hrs on record, he’s clearly had the time to learn and understand the programme to its entirety. Recently, he’s been experimenting more with the applications of the engine rather than teaching people how to use it, along with analysis of the games current meta, situation, and community. With almost 700,000 subscribers on his main channel (with success in his second and third), he’s found fun and interesting ways to make videos about Counter Strike, such as trying to understand the bots better, or analysing the player models (that one was a bit weird). He’s known to experiment with Source, even so far as creating his own Rube Goldberg machine within the engine.
Philips ‘Rube Goldberg Machine’
I was able to get in contact with Philip and talk to him about how his channel has accumulated a successful following and where he sees the CSGO community progressing.
Armed with an arguably odd sense of humour, he’s not afraid to lend his hand to content developers with less talent or popularity and help them gain the following they need to improve their maps or videos. He considers suggestions on his Reddit, giving him direct contact with his audience and ways to shape his videos in order to stay relevant and up to date. He said he keeps “a close eye on Reddit, both for the CSGO scene and to keep up to date with the latest dank memes. I owe a lot of my success and audience to CS:GO’s subreddit.” When asked what he thinks the future holds for the platform, he answered, “I don’t know, people keep predicting the end of the game but my 3kliksphilip channel has remained constant since 2015. Youtubers can’t ride the game’s growth for success any more but if they have a good idea then there is an audience out there for them.”
The nature of being a content creator on YouTube creates concern over how that will return a salary. Philip has stated before that he won’t accept sponsorship from gambling sites, like many other YouTubers in the same field, arguing that “I don’t promote gambling or case sites. I favour good, solid tangible goods from reputable companies that I have a good knowledge about myself. I know where I stand with these.” He even goes so far as to avoid fan donations – “I’ve seen some Youtubers turn to patreon, I tried it for a while but didn’t feel right about asking my audience for money when I can make a living from other means. I’d rather embrace the free, ad-driven approach to Youtube.”
Philip’s favourite map of his own making is “de_sparity. I made it the right way and although it didn’t get the success I hoped for, I consider it a good map. Plus I got an awesome video series out of it as well.” If you haven’t heard of the map, check it out on the Steam workshop where, like all maps, you can download it for free and learn what it takes to be a successful Counter Strike map mapper.
de_sparity by 3kliksphilip
I asked Phil what he makes of the ever rising popularity in the Counter Strike Esports community. He thinks that “It shapes it. I’m very happy that people still want to watch my content, which I wouldn’t consider very esportsy at all. […] I see the growing esports scene as a challenge for my channel to adapt to. It keeps things fresh for my audience… and also for me, as the person making it!” The viewership of Counter Strike has made a noticeable shift towards the competitive side of things, some people only watching majors instead of playing the game themselves. This carries a natural disadvantage and challenge for YouTube channels like 3kliksphilip to overcome, though how they do it is completely up to them.