The most recent Counter-Strike: Global Offensive update has sent professional and casual players into a frenzy, and a new addition to the game is to blame.
Besides the usual addition of “holiday cheer” to commemorate Halloween, Valve enabled an new audio occlusion system for all players in an update last night. The audio model, whose developer console command is “snd_occlusion 1,” is meant to distort game sounds according to distance and map materials.
The command was initially added to the game as an optional command a week ago, but Valve has forced it upon the Counter-Strike community after only a week of it being in the game. In addition to the occlusion command, they also set the default audio output to “Stereo headphones (HRTF)” for all users, which is an option that wasn’t the default beforehand. This means that unknowing players will need to adjust to two audio problems: The occlusion model and the HRTF output.
If you previously didn’t have HRTF on and you want to turn it off, go to “Audio Settings,” click the menu under “Audio Output Configuration” line, and select the “Stereo headphones” option. Unfortunately, occlusion cannot be turning off with “snd_occlusion 0” because the command has been automatically set to “snd_occlusion 1” by default.
In theory, the changes make sense because of actual spatial sound physics, but so far the audio update isn’t a welcome change. Several professional players have expressed their concerns with the update on Twitter, with some of them being more vocal on the problem than others.
With the community up in arms, all eyes are on Valve to see if they will make any changes to the new sound settings.