CS:GO’s Workshop Competition

To celebrate Counter-Strike’s 20th anniversary,
Valve has announced a special workshop event. It sounds like they’re going to release
a weapon skin case and sticker capsule to commemorate it being 20 years since Counter-Strike’s
first beta. The theme is ‘Counter-Strike’- make of that what you will! All you have to
do is to make a skin or sticker, to submit it to the workshop, and to tag it with ‘CS20’.
Older submissions can also be tagged, if deemed suitable for this theme.
On September 19th, Valve will pick from them and those lucky, talented workshop artists
will get their works immortalised in Counter-Strike forever… as well as a cut of the revenue
their artwork generates. Valve has a number of guides and additional
information online for people looking to create some workshop submissions- see this video’s
description for them. It’s easy to think that the flashiest and
coolest looking skins and stickers will be most likely to get picked, but actually there
are far more spots for lower grades. Their workshop style guide shows it best- in a weapon
skin case there will be maybe 2 covert skins picked, which will have bold, ‘loud’ patterns
that can easily be recognised from a distance. But there may be 7 or 8 of the lowest ‘military
spec’ grade. There’s more to it than that though. Valve
encourages you to make a variety of skins in different grades, or even a particular
skin in several different finishes to suit different rarity tiers. They say that flashy
covert skins may make you popular with the community- and this is the important bit-
this popularity generated may in turn attract Valve to browse through the rest of your workshop.
To support this they even say that most military-spec skins that are picked are discovered after
reviewing artists with a broad portfolio- which obviously means flashier, popular designs.
It’s worth reading into these two paragraphs, as if there’s anywhere that will reveal
what Valve is looking for, it’s somewhere within these.
And it’s not as though lower tiered designs are any worse. They’ll merely have more
muted colours and patterns. There’s still a lot of scope here for skilfully designed
skins- they’ll typically look more realistic or worn than those of rarer grades.
And the same idea applies to the sticker capsule. Unlike the 4 grades of weapon skin, stickers
only come in 3 grades. The lowest is ‘High Grade’, which has a plasticky sheen to it.
‘Remarkable’ is like a rainbow hue, with a holographic effect on the sticker’s colours.
And the highest grade is ‘Exotic’, with a bump-mapped, 3D looking Foil finish to really
give the sticker that premium, embossed look, with tasteful thickness. Oh my God. It might
even have a watermark. Whether you’re making a weapon skin or sticker,
be wary of blood, skulls or violent themes. Some regions in the world don’t like this,
so you’ll either be asked to make a low-violence edition or you simply won’t be picked at
all. It’s probably best just to do what China wants and to avoid violence completely.
Oh and don’t steal other peoples’ work. It sounds obvious, but when the theme is ‘Counter-Strike’
I imagine that a lot of entries are going to be somewhat inspired by existing content
in the game. Valve has stated that your work on this must be original, apart from Counter-Strike
logos or icons. So you can at least use those! All of the basic information will be available
in Valve’s own guides, linked to in this video’s description.
I’ll link to some skin and sticker-making tutorials for those who want to participate
but who don’t know where to start. And for advanced ‘inspiration’ and to
get a feel for different weapon grades, I suggest checking out my skin showcase videos,
where I interview the skin makers who have had their designs accepted. They often share
tips and bits of wisdom that may help and inspire new skin makers.
I have personally never made a skin or sticker, but can still give you one bit of advice:
don’t get your hopes up. There will be a LOT of submissions. Even if yours is good
enough, it may still not be picked. But if that’s the case then it may be selected
in a year or so for a future collection of some kind. You have nothing to lose by submitting
something to the workshop now. A competition like this is a great motivation
to actually get on with a project, and to get it finished by a certain deadline. I advise
you make your skin or sticker(s) because you want to and for the enjoyment that you’ll
get from creating it. But don’t expect it to be picked. I have made many things and
my biggest regret isn’t that the things I made didn’t get more popular, but that
I didn’t make more of them at the time. Go make something you’re proud of.

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