Rapid Reactions: Panorama UI
Today on Counter Strike’s 19th birthday they pushed out Panorama UI to the beta client. With the update the entire user interface of the game has been changed and feels almost brand new. The old CS:GO UI had started to feel old and outdated, and while it feels wrong for many people to see something else, it was time for a change.
The update includes a major overhaul to the main menu now showing a black screen with CS:GO shining in gold in the center. Before there was the Valve screen followed by a grany bland screen with Counter Strike Global Offensive in the middle. The wait time seems much shorter and sends the player quickly into the main menu which has also had major updates. Instead of cramming everything into the main menu like before the main menu is actually pretty blank showing a terrorist or counter terrorist slightly to the right. The friends tab has been moved to the right side and is only shown when the mouse hovers over it. Players can now see both their main matchmaking rank and their wingman rank in the main menu along with the standard wins and achievements. What ever medal the player has displayed will be in the background of their profile now as well.
Moving onto the left side the play, inventory, watch, and settings tabs have been moved where they used to appear across the top. Next to this thin column the updates and announcements tab is shown with everything posted to the CS:GO blog. Underneath the news is where players can see their offers and other items available for purchase such as keys and cases.
The play tab has been optimized to be able to show a much cleaner picture of the maps being selected for competitive or casual play. Players can even see which maps are part of the map pool and which are Valve created maps. Similar to before players can choose from Competitive, Casual, Deathmatch, War Games, and Wingman. Instead of creating a lobby and being stuck within it, when a player or players join a lobby it now shows up above the friends tab on the right side of the screen and allows players to still access their inventory or change settings while remaining in the lobby. Before players would need to exit any lobby they were in if they wanted to change settings. There are also new options to completely opt into Prime only matches instead of having to change it each time from trust factor games.
My personal favorite change in the UI is the inventory and item inspection. While viewing your items is still very standard, when inspecting weapons it allows the player to move the weapon around however they want instead of having to wait for the old camera to move around to a certain part of a skin. Along with this standard inspect, there is now an option to view the weapon on a player model based on which sides the weapon can be equipped on. For stickers and graffiti they now are much closer up and show a better picture of what they actually look like.
Moving onto the settings there is not too many changes as to the interface but changing between settings appears to be quicker and for things like changing resolution won’t take minutes to change.
While the mechanics of the game have all stayed the same in this update, the game itself has changed a lot. When loading into a game the map displayed has changed and shows more depth than the previous maps when loading in. Once loading in, if in a casual game players can choose which side they would like to join which now show models of both terrorists and counter terrorists. Money, ammo, time, and score have all been slightly change to fit more to the modern style of the game. Furthermore when going into the buy menu weapons are now displayed with the stickers attached to them and the rarity of the skin. After purchasing weapons the next feature you might notice is the scoreboard which has been overhauled to a new design. The scoreboard has lots more room but shows all of the same stats as before. Along with the scoreboard the mvp announcement and round win displays have been slightly changed as well. When a game is finished a revamped screen shows the scoreboard from the match along with the name of the team and their logo if they have one.
The biggest change to the ingame interface is when hitting escape. Where previously the bland text would show up across the middle of the players screen, it now shows something similar to the main menu. A column along the side will show up with options to call vote, switch team, open their inventory, opem settings, and exit the game. All of these show up on the left side and on the right the same overview from the main menu shows up. This will display the players steam friends along with nearby lobbies and recent players. In the middle of the screen it remains clear and doesn’t block much of the game unless any of the other options are opened up, this allows for the player to still be able to see things happening in front of them in game while heading to the settings options.
As this is only the beta I am sure that Valve may make some other changes to the UI before officially releasing it but I believe for now this is a step in the right direction for giving players a fresh taste of the game and maybe giving new players an incentive to try what is an older game. Feel free to let me know if I missed out on any other changes from this update so that others can see.