Counter-Strike: Source map: de_rio
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If you are not familiar with Counter-Strike or the bomb defuse game type in particular, please read the footnote explaining them in order to follow the discussion of my bomb defuse map.

This map does not have polished HDR lighting, so please disable that video option if you try the map.

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Map Overview

This map is a standard bomb defuse map with two bomb sites. The counter-terrorists (CT) spawn on the helipad and can move easily into and around the warehouse that contains the A bombsite. The CTs can also move through the housing complex at the north end of the map to quickly get into the B bombsite on the dock. Terrorists (T) spawn in back alley and can move west towards the front gate and A, or to the east that branches towards B or the middle area.

Stars on the overview map mark the points where, if the teams charged down every path towards one another at the round start, they would meet. From left-to-right:

  • The first meeting point is outside the A bombsite warehouse building, which is discussed in more detail in the next section.
  • The Ts can go under the first meeting point into a tunnel that emerges at the north end of the warehouse, which is the second meeting point. This one penetrates deep into the CT-side of the map, but the tunnel exit is on the ground floor and CTs standing on the catwalk of the warehouse have a tactical advantage.
  • The third meeting point is the middle of the map; a yard with a fence dividing it in two. CTs can approach this point from the snaking stairs near the helipad or exit the A site warehouse doors, or from the housing complex ground floor door. Ts approach the middle from the southeastern supply tent corner. In the middle of a round when players are trying to move from one bombsite to the other, this area is the fastest route. The fence has a hole in the south end and crates and a plank at the north end to go over the top; it is meant to be an interesting arena for those players trying to cross the map.
  • The fourth meeting point is just outside of a crawlspace that the Ts can use to attack B or to enter the housing complex or middle area. The CT side of this meeting point is open, so there are many points for that team to cover it from.
  • The last meeting point is in the thigh-high water of the river between the boat launch and the B bomb site on the dock. Players hiding on the dock can hear when opponents are running in the shallows.

Front Gate, A-Side Meeting Point

The front gate, which is just out of the left side of the screen shot, is an interesting meeting point in this map that offers players on both teams a variety of defensive and offensive options.

The A bombsite is inside the building with the red roof. At the round start Ts spawn in the back alley (1) and can come around to the front gate to try and gain entry to A. CTs spawn on the helipad (2) and may run up the road to the front gate or through the warehouse to meet the Ts. Rather than having the two teams turn the corner (3) and meet eye-to-eye, I went for something different and elevated the CT-side of the meeting point. The effect is that T's cannot peek around the corner, they must ascend the ramp to see where CTs are positioned. Likewise, a CT player that tries to peek may find one or more Ts taking cover in a variety of positions on the low side waiting for a head to appear. This area is easier for either team to defend their own side and requires some maneuvering to advance through.

The Ts have several options at this point. One option is to climb the ramps and get onto the road. A wide door at the top allows access to the second floor catwalk overlooking bombsite A, so players here can down into A or keep the high ground to cover the bombsite. Ts can also slip into the tunnel under the road (4) faster than the CTs can look over the edge to see if they are moving that way. If they take this route they must go deeper to the warehouse's other room, and double-back on the inside to reach the A bombsite.

The T's can simply hide in the tunnel entrance (4) before deciding to take the tunnel or emerge and ascend the ramps. A barred window (4) allows the Ts to look directly at the A bombsite and cover it or toss flashbangs for teammates approaching from another direction, or just pick off a CT before moving in.

Bombsite B

Bombsite B is on an L-shaped dock strewn with crates to hide behind, and has thigh-high water underneath that players move through to pass under the dock. It creates an interesting defensive position: defenders on the dock can be completely concealed and cover the two ladders (L1 and L2) or the loading ramp but attackers can move freely under the site to try and attack from an unexpected direction, or from several directions at once. Defenders on the dock can hear players running in the shallows below to try and track them.

Ts approaching from the boat launch (1) have to cross an open stretch of shallow water to get to a ladder (L1) or get under the dock. There is a large rock with an over-turned boat to provide some cover at the T-side of the stretch if CTs are advancing. Ts can also use the crawlspace to emerge (2) on the concrete dock and take the loading ramp onto the dock or jump off and go underneath. The bomb must be planted on the top-side in the hazard stripes.

The dock's supports are very wide and provide a cluster of cover points for fire fights under the dock.

Gameplay Video

This video is of me playing against bots and shows the map in motion. You can download the video (193MB) or watch the YouTube version (note that high-quality is available, and looks much better).

Footnote - Counter-Strike Game Type: Bomb Defuse

The bomb defuse game type for Counter-Strike is an ingenious multiplayer scenario. In order to explain it fully, let me cover Counter-Strike quickly. Players are divided into two teams, terrorists (Ts) and counter terrorists (CTs) who have asymmetric objectives. A match is composed of many short rounds where any player that dies during the round does not respawn until the next round. The round ends when one side is eliminated or one side meets the team objective. Players earn money for kills and meeting objectives that is used to buy weapons and equipment at the start of every round, adding an economic element to the overall match.

In the bomb defuse game type Ts are trying to denote a bomb and CTs try to prevent it. Bomb defuse maps (prefix "de_") usually have two bomb sites, A and B, but a map could have a different number. CTs spawn closer to the bomb sites and can get into them and defend them before the Ts arrive.

There are two possible phases to a bomb defuse round. The first phase objective for Ts is to plant the bomb at one of the sites, and the CTs are trying to prevent the plant. In this phase eliminating the entire opposing team will win the round, and the CTs win if time runs out before Ts can plant the bomb.

Once the bomb has been planted it will count down for 45 seconds before detonating. Nothing can affect the planted bomb except CTs defusing it; it can't be moved around or shot at. After the plant, then, the strategic situation alters dramatically because Ts must now defend the bomb until it goes off while the CTs are on the offensive to get in and defuse it. Even if the CTs eliminate the Ts, they need enough time to defuse the bomb or they still lose the round. This ofen leads to exciting conclusions as the bomb ticks down.

Good maps have near 50% win rate for Ts vs CTs, but often one side is slightly favored. In a competitve match of Counter-Strike the teams play 15 rounds as T or CT, then the teams change roles and play another 15 rounds to balance the roles.


The one-life-per-round element of Counter-Strike means you do your team a disservice when you are cavalier. A good team has talented individuals but also great teamwork, practiced at covering each other and changing plans quickly in reaction to events.

The bomb defuse scenario also creates a very deep and interesting multiplayer experience. From the T perspective the starting goal is to get into a bomb site and be able to plant the bomb, an animation that leaves you defenseless for several seconds. Ts can charge one bomb site, or fake to one and switch, or take it slow and try to pick off CTs before committing. CTs on the other hand are trying to defend both bomb sites and usually trying to watch the middle of the map so that Ts cannot have easy access to both bomb sites from a central position. The opening of a bomb defuse round is very spread out, very much about gathering information on the other team's movement, and engagements are often little skirmishes or rushes at the expected meeting points of the map.

Once the Ts have planted everything changes. Now the Ts are clamping down to defend the bomb or setting up ambushes or even trying to flank behind the CTs that are moving from somewhere in the level towards the bomb. Whereas in the opening of a round players know exactly how long it takes to run from spawn points to critical meeting points between the teams, in the post-plant phase players on both teams may be in any nook or around any corner. CTs alive might stick together and tackle the bomb as a mass, or take a risk and split up to attack the plant from more than one direction.

Then there is the defuse attempt which is a mini-scenario all to itself. Ts are hiding in or near the bomb site and the surviving CTs ran from the other bomb site, and are about to enter the vicinity. Are the Ts in plain view, firing and stalling for time? Do the CTs rush in or take it slow? Even when a CT gets in and the bomb is right there, that player must think twice about defusing. Ts can hear the sound of a defuse attempt starting and might be waiting for it as a cue to pop out and bag the defuser. CTs often fake defuse by starting the defuse then looking up quickly for a T to emerge. And even when all the Ts are eliminated the CTs do not win if the bomb is planted--they must have enough time left to defuse it. This means smart Ts can sacrifice themselves to interrupt a defuse as the timer is about to expire and still win the round.

The bomb defuse scenario is simple and brilliant. Counter-Strike has a lot of well-designed aspects that draw and retain a large player base, but it's bomb defuse that catapults it into the loftiest of interesting and rewarding competitive multiplayer games.

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