CS:GO: How To Surf



Tue 12th Jun 2018 - 8:54pm

Surf describes a community-based game mode in CS:GO that allows you to glide on ramps in one of two variants of said game mode. The first variant is called "Skill Surf", where you try to beat a time set by a surfer before you and attempt to set records for yourself, the server, or even worldwide. The second is a versus surf mode called "Combat Surf" that is a race for superior positioning and weaponry. No matter which you play, both game modes can be relaxing and may even improve your understanding of the source engine and its limitations.

Before we get into the actual mechanics of surfing, let's first take a look at how you can find surf servers.

How to Find Servers

Counter-Strike has deep roots in community-driven game modes and servers, and thus Valve decided to add the Community Server Browser for CS:GO as well, which you can find by clicking "Play" in the main menu. After you've clicked on "Play", you can click on "Browse Community Servers" in order to bring up a CS:GO community server browser that allows you to use different filters and tags in order to help you sift through the sheer endless amount of servers.

Although this browser will most likely leave a cluttered impression at first, it really is quite easy once you've taken a longer look. Listed in the "Servers" column are all the names of the servers, which, if the admin knows what he's doing, will do a good job of explaining what the server is about. Let's take the first server listed in my example: "[RageCom]| BHop | Long-Jumps | FastDL | japan_z3 |"

RageCom is the name of the group of community servers hosted by the same people, allowing people to know what kind of servers they'll connect to if they already know the hosts. BHop stands for automatic Bunnyhop, allowing you to just hold your jump button in order to endlessly jump and gain momentum, a rather standard feature of Surf servers. Long-Jumps most likely refers to the servers ability to track how good you are at long jumping and tell you how long your actual jump was. FastDL is the abbreviation for fast download, which promises the player that he won't be stuck in downloading limbo from downloading cluttered sprays, skins, and sound packs, slowing down his loading time. japan_z3, as you can also see more on the right of the server browser under the "Map" column, is the map that is constantly played on the server. The "Players" column is obviously there to tell you if the server is full or even has users playing (and you can also filter out full and empty servers, as seen below the search bar) and if there is a Valve symbol listed below the column with the blue symbol, then the map hosted on the server will be downloaded from the Workshop and not from the server itself.

"Latency" shows your ping, which, unless it's above 150, shouldn't be too relevant for surfing. The last column "Tags" lists the tags the server will show up on when you look for those listed in that column. Now, in some names of those servers, there are words such as "Beginner", "Easy", and so on, which indicate how hard the maps that are available to vote on in the server are. Some also list what tier of maps they're hosting, tier 1 being the easiest.

Surfing Offline

It is also possible to download the surf maps and surf offline. For that, you can simply go to the Workshop and download the map you want to surf. Two of the more popular ones are surf_utopia_v3 and surf_kitsune, which are suitable for beginners. However, since you are not on anyone's server where an admin can make the necessary settings, you will need to open the console and use the following commands:

  • sv_cheats 1
  • mp_roundtime 60
  • mp_roundtime_defuse 60
  • bot_kick (if there are bots in your game)
  • sv_airaccelerate 1000
  • mp_restartgame 1

And, once you've set all of these settings, you can surf. Be sure to enable god mode by typing in the command god and if you feel like sv_airaccelerate 1000 is too easy or too hard, you can always up or down the setting as you wish! It can also help to bind noclip to a key that you don't normally use to be able to fly through the map instead of constantly failing and needing to reach the same spot again to look where to go.

This is a possible bind for noclip: bind "alt" "noclip"

The Mechanics

Surfing is based on the principle of air movement in the Source engine, which allows you to not only navigate in the air but to also gain momentum. Let's say you jump and want to turn. In some games, this is absolutely impossible but, in CS:GO, you can just move the crosshair in the direction where you want to move and at the same time press the direction key relating to the direction you want to move in. This will make you turn mid-air. It's important to not to press any different movement keys at the same time, though! Otherwise, you might stop or not move in the direction you want to move in. This also allows you to gain momentum in mid-air.

Now, once you enter such a ramp, such as the one shown above, you will start falling. If you press the key into the direction where the ramp is in relation to your player model you will exert force that negates the falling effect, while still telling the engine that you're falling. For example, let's say you're on the right side of a ramp, so the ramp is to your left. Once you jump on that ramp, you will need to press the left movement key, default "A". Since you are constantly falling in the engine's eyes, this allows you to gain speed beyond the 250 units per second ground movement speed limit. So now you are able to glide along the ramp until you fall off.

In order to gain actual control over your on-ramp movement, you will need to use the crosshair. The crosshair will allow you to guide your model in the direction you want to go, and if you want to jump off the ramp with enough speed you can just aim up and into the ramp in order to get airtime.

Also, if you have to cross non-ramp distances along the way, you can again use the mid-air movement described at the beginning of the "the Mechanics" paragraph, where you need to move the mouse into the direction you want to go while simultaneously pressing the fitting movement key on your keyboard.

Gaining Speed

It's pretty simple and somewhat like real life. Imagine being on a skateboard. If you want to jump and cross a distance between two ramps, you would need enough speed. To gain such speed, you will need to go down a ramp first. This is what you'll have to do in Surf. Allow your model to travel a certain distance downward to gain momentum. You can also gain speed by strafing in the air when you have to travel without ramps for certain parts of the map.

Surfing Turns

Some surf maps have a lot of curves and turns, and sometimes you do not need to press the movement key that keeps you on the ramp normally. If you have enough speed, you may only need to use your mouse or even press the opposite key than usual in order to not to fly off the ramp unwillingly.

How to Beat Surf Maps

In order to beat surf maps, you will sometimes have to fail a lot, since they are often cluttered with unintuitive turns and obstacles, and there is no way to get used to that unless you surf that map a lot. Also, a lot of servers have a "!spec" command, allowing you to watch the server record replay or a different player who may know the map. If you do not know where to go, you may always use that command or ask in the chat, since a lot of the surfing communities can be quite friendly to newcomers.

If you are still unsure about how to surf, be sure to watch one of the many surf tutorial videos on the web, since not all people can learn such uncommon game modes with only a written article.

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