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Creating an Overview

A Tutorial for Counter-Strike 1.6

1. Getting Started

    Greetings and salutations! Yes, I know what you're thinking, we already have a few tutorials for this, and they work! Why do we need more? Well, honestly, the other tutorials work, but I just wanted to provide an alternative. This is not a slight against those users, if their tutorials work for you, then please continue to use them. I have nothing against them and they helped me MASSIVELY in the past. This is just my take on the process, and I hope this can perhaps provide a different perspective if anyone has any left over confusion on the matter.

    There are two halves to the process. The first half will be getting your image and the data associated; it's entirely in-game. The second half is getting the overview working after the fact; it's after you've quit the game. Neither are very complicated, and once you've done it a few times it can be done in a matter of a minute or so.

2. The Basics

    First, of course, you need to take your screenshot. Do not use Steam's built-in screenshot function; it saves in JPEG format and that will do us no good. Use the in-game screenshot function, which by default is F5. For this example, I will be using a map I've picked at random. In this case, cs_rainy_estate by Gimli.

3. Resolution

    After launching the game, it is important that you make sure you have the right settings. Go to "Options" and then to the "Video" tab in there. Make sure you have the right resolution set, it is best if you have it set to 1024x768. I recommend doing this in windowed mode if you're on a modern PC.


4. Opening the Map

    To open your map, rather than going through "New Game", we're going to open console by pressing the "~" key and entering "map [map name here]". In my case, since I'm using cs_rainy_estate, I'm going to enter "map cs_rainy_estate".


5. Enabling Cheats

    Now that you have the map open, we need to enable cheat mode. To do so, open the console again ("~") and type, "sv_cheats 1" in console. Assuming it's not already set to 1, you should see a message in console that says, ""sv_cheats" changed to "1". In my case, it was set already, so the response message does not appear in the first screenshot below, but they're on, don't worry. ;)

    After this is done, we want to reload the map, so just go back and enter the same command from step four; "map [map name here]". When the map has loaded up again, cheats should be in full effect.


6. Taking Your Screenshot

    With cheats on and your map reloaded, we are going to take the screenshot and gather some information from console using two very simple console commands. Open your console ("~") and enter "dev_overview 2". This will give you a bird's eye view of the map, with everything outside of it in the worst shade of green that you've ever seen. To the game's engine, that green color in an image is transparent (thank goodness), so you won't see it once everything is said and done.

    If the map is not entirely in view or off-center, use your movement keys to move the map up, down, left, or right, and use left and right click to zoom in and out of the map. If sections of the map are covered by rooftops, use your swim up and swimp down keys (' and , by default) to raise or lower your altitude so you can see through those rooves.

    Once that's done, take your screenshot! Again, don't use Steam's built-in function, as the image quality will be too low. Instead, use Counter-Strike's built-in function. By default, the button is F5, but if you changed it, you'll know what to press. This will save a BMP image to the cstrike folder (..\Steam\steamapps\common\Half-Life\cstrike).

    Now, go back to console and enter "dev_overview 1" into console. This will completely fill your console with a ton of the same message. We are going to collect this information, and I'll show you how in the next step.

7. The Text File

    First, we're going to grab the data from console and collect it in a text file. You can use Notepad or Wordpad, I personally use Notepad++, but really it does not matter at all as long as it saves as a TXT file. Below, I'll provide a template for that text file, next I'll show you what to enter.

global 
{
	ZOOM	0
	ORIGIN	0	0	0
	ROTATED	0
}

layer 
{
	IMAGE	"overviews/[your_map_here].bmp"
	HEIGHT	0
}

    First, for "ZOOM", replace the "0" in the template with the number that pops up in console. As you'll see in the screenshot below, the number for cs_rainy_estate is 2.39.

    Next, we need to set numbers for "ORIGIN". Make sure that between these three numbers there is a tab space between each value, and not just a single space (one using spacebar). The spaces will likely be uneven, but that's fine.

    The first "0" is going to be the first of the three values in the parentheses. If the number ends in ".00", leave the decimal out, just enter the number without it. In the case of cs_rainy_estate, that number shows "-644.00", so I will enter "-644".

    The second "0" is going to be the second of the three values in the parentheses. Same as before, exclude the decimal if it just shows, ".00", but include it if it's anything else. For cs_rainy_estate, the value is "-1426.00", so I will enter, "-1426".

    The third "0" is going to be the "Z Max" value after the parentheses. We will ignore the third value inside the parentheses as well as the "Z Min" value that we see there. For cs_rainy_estate, that value is "-165.00", so I will enter, "-165".

    Moving onto "ROTATED", as you would expect, you just copy the value you see in console after "Rotated"; the value can only be 1 or 0. In the case of cs_rainy_estate, that value is "1", so I will set that to "1".

    Under "IMAGE", we are going to just show where the overview image is located, so you will enter "overviews/[your_map_here].bmp". For cs_rainy_estate, I would enter, "overviews/cs_rainy_estate.bmp".

    The last one is easy, for "HEIGHT", we will use the "Z Max" value again. So in this case, cs_rainy_estate gets "-165". Below I'll show what the file for cs_rainy_estate looks like.

global 
{
	ZOOM	2.39
	ORIGIN	-644 	-1426	-165
	ROTATED	0
}

layer 
{
	IMAGE	"overviews/cs_rainy_estate.bmp"
	HEIGHT	-165
}
    With that, all values are filled, and we can save the text file to the overviews folder (..\cstrike\overviews). The name of the text file is the same as the map name.


8. Making it Work

    In our final step, we just need to get the image in the right place. For this, I use IrfanView. It's free image editing software, but really we're using it to ensure that the image works properly. It sometimes works from the raw screenshot, but it's not a 100% success rate, so I recommend doing this. We're not really editing anything so much as we're converting it.

    Open your screenshot that you took earlier in IrfanView, it will be located in your cstrike folder, the file will be the name of the map with four numbers after it, likely just four zeros if you only took one screenshot. In my case, it would be "cs_rainy_estate0000.bmp". Remove the numbers at the end of the file name and open it. Once it's opened, we're going to press "B"; this will open the batch conversion options.

    In here, select the BMP image from the cstrike folder, and then click on "Advanced" under "Batch conversion settings" on the left. This will open a whole slew of options that would be way too hard to describe just in text, so I will refer you to the third screenshot below (or just click here) so that you can copy those values exactly.

    Once that's copied, just make sure the output format is BMP and that you've selected your BMP image and it's showing in the input files box. For the output folder located to the bottom left corner of the batch conversion window, we're going to set it to the overviews folder (..\cstrike\overviews).

    Double check your work, make sure you've done everything you want to. If you want to add a signature or a logo to the overview, you can do so in any other image editor (I use Photoshop). Just make sure whatever signature or logo you add is not complex, or it will look like hot garbage on the overview. If you do this, make sure to save it in the exact same format that you opened it in, or it will ruin the image and it won't look right in-game. If everything is right, click on "Start Batch". That will open a window and tell you whether or not it worked (it will). Go ahead and hit "Exit Batch" and close IrfanView.


9. Final Test

    Assuming you've done everything right so far, there should be a TXT and BMP file with the same name as your map in your overviews folder. In my case, I have "cs_rainy_estate.bmp" and "cs_rainy_estate.txt" saved in mine. There are several ways to test it, if you're about to play with friends you can just open up and play with them and you'll see it, or if you're just doing it for the hell of it like me, you can just start a local game with bots to test it (I personally do that in Condition Zero).

    If you plan on running a server and want to make sure that everyone else gets the overview downloaded, all you have to do is create a text file and name it "[your_map_here].res" (replacing the .txt extension with .res); in my case, it would be "cs_rainy_estate.res". If it already exists, just open it in a text editor. Now, anywhere in the RES file, enter the location of the overview files. In cs_rainy_estate's case, there isn't much in there, but regardless all you have to enter are the two overview files (like below).

overviews/[your_map_here].bmp
overviews/[your_map_here].txt

    Save that RES file and you're good to go. Keep in mind the overviews are built to work in 1024x768, so larger modern resolutions will likely make it appear wonky. Regardless, the overview will work for you and anyone that joins the server. Well done!

Questions? Concerns? Did I miss something? Please let me know in the comments below.
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  • SickiX avatar
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    4mo 4mo
    Good job it is always nice to have alternative solutions! :]
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    4mo
    ok cool but on 16;10 res the overview is completly offset and wrong
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    This will be very useful! But how I can show maps with different levels (assault, nuke etc.)?
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