Henry Tofts - Level Designer

I work here!

Personal Work - CS:GO Map - De_Subliminal - Source SDK

-Indoor map set within a submarine base -


"This hidden base has had many occupants dating back to the second world war. Now terrorists seek to cause an international incident by blowing a hole wide open in it."


Bomb site A: Is situated inside a munitions room where the base keeps high explosives and weapons.

Bomb site B: Is on top of a prototype three manned submarine.

de_subliminalCtspawn de_subliminalBsite de_subliminalAsite2 de_subliminalMid

Prototyping De_Subliminal in SketchUp

With a submarine theme in mind, I wanted to challenge the editors capability in creating an indoor playing space only.  It is common to see outdoor levels for CS:GO, as the outdoor lighting is highly effective in creating nice contrasts between zone transitions.  This has been a fun challenge, as the absence of a skylight across the entire level has meant extra thought has had to go into the detailing phases while still retaining a noiseless floor space.


The following galleries below show the various stages the level went through until completion.


Level Progression

S4_Subbayone S4_Subbaytwo

Beta Phase

At this stage, the level was fully optimised, bots navigation mesh implemented, and collision volumes setup to make sure each area is water tight in potential exploits and bugs like losing the bomb behind a pesky plant pot. The first minimap for the radar was also included.


The level has done it's first rounds with real live people at this stage. The overall timings for both teams moving from their spawn points to potential conflict zones looked pretty good.


I made a poll discussing whether or not people thought it was fun despite the risk of planting at B in dropping the bomb into the water if killed close to it. The general response was that people found it funny. In a competitive environment this opinion I am sure will change. This eventually led to me placing a reset bomb volume in the water so that the bomb package would return on the floor above.


Focus after first few weeks of testing:

-Better lighting

-Better texture work

-Lots more decoration to sell the theme in each area

-Polished minimap

-Final Bot AI tweaks

-Ambient sounds

-A professional looking workshop page


From the very beginning of this process I have been optimising as I go. All surfaces that do not get seen by the player have NoDraw textures on them so that those faces are not seen at runtime. Objects in the level that do not effect gameplay have their collision volumes turned off, and if they are needed as a boundary, they have a simple bounding box on. Critical objects have VPhysics collisions on them so that bullet fire and player interaction is precice when colliding with them.


Before the Beta phase, I placed area portals and hint/skip brushes in key areas where I did not want the engine to render everything if it could not be seen by the player. The hint/skip brushes help to break up the portions of the level into better manageable chunks.


I did some simple framerate tests to make sure I hadn't gone too far in certain areas. The submarine bay was the area I needed to be most watchful of.



The images below reference just some of the plays made by players playing subliminal.


Bombsite A and B needed a lot of work to balance the windows overlooking both of these sites.


Extra cover was added at B and some cover was removed at A along with one window being blocked off. This meant that players looking to get a kill would have to expose more of their body to return fire.


Overall the map is fast and frenetic, and is also well suited to Armsrace gamemodes.


- Server hosted by Mapcore.org

  • Map breakdown of timings for both teams gaining line of sight on one another. 

  • Time taken to get to bombsite A and B as a terrorist.

  • Counter-Terrorist rotation time for moving to defuse planted bombs at both site A and B. 

  • Top down overhead views and first person perspective shown.


Back To Projects Download de_subliminal!