Baby Steps with the CSGO Guide

By | March 20th, 2019 | Categories: Interviews

Everyone must start somewhere. While some gamers may have a better aptitude that allows them to excel at certain games, not everyone has an impressive prowess to hit the ground running, regardless of the game. That’s precisely the reason why Žygimantas, a promising developer from Lithuania with an inherent proclivity for making things easier, created the handy CSGO Guide.

With it, CS:GO newbies won’t have to go in blind—heck, even old-school veterans may even learn a trick or two. Practically anyone can quickly learn (or re-learn) all the basics of the game so they can one-shot opponents with ease and shoot their way to the top of the leader board.

Let’s get to know more about the app and its creator.

 (1) Tell us about yourself (name/nickname, hometown, age, occupation, favorite games that you play and what platform(s) you play)?

My full name is Žygimantas, but in CS:GO and other games, I’m known as zygrock. I am a 22-year-old male who was born and lives in Lithuania. I finished my Computer Science studies and am currently working as a full-time .NET developer. My favorite games include League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Currently, I mostly play co-op games such as the Dark Souls series, GTA Online, or Dying Light on PC.

(2) Do you work independently or in a team? If in a team, how big is it?

For this application, I started to work independently. I made the first version, which looked similar to this one, from UX (user experience) side but different from UI (user interface). Then my friend Tomas encouraged me to upload it to Google Play store. After the application reached about 5k downloads, he offered to gather more information such as smokes spots to it, which boosted my motivation to implement extra features.

Unfortunately, some features were too hard to implement on my own—especially considering the lack of experience I had back in the day. I liked one feature that the “Knowledge Base for WoT” application on Google Play store had, but I did not know how to do that. What did I do? I randomly emailed the guy who created that application and asked if he could share how he did it. He responded and explained how to do it. However, I did not understand anything he said, so we agreed to contact each other via Skype. He checked my source code and I ended up rewriting absolutely everything—of course with his help. That’s why anne_domi is the assistant developer in this application. I must admit that I was scared when I sent my source code to him. I was afraid that he would steal everything and re-upload it as his own, but I guess the risk paid off. Later, there were many volunteers who asked to translate Guide for CS:GO to their native languages, so I welcomed their help. Right now, I get a lot of help from my girlfriend who gathers the newest game content for me.

So to conclude the answer, I work independently but with the help from the others.

(3) What inspired you to create an app specifically for this game? When did it cross your mind to create your app?

Before going to sleep, I used to lie in bed and learn how to play League of Legends by using one guide app. It helped me a lot to improve my knowledge about the game and overcome some of the more schooled friends at the game. I thought I could do the same with CS:GO. As I didn’t find any application, I decided to create one on my own.

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(4) What programming language or tool did you use to create this app? Do you have any favorite PLs or tools in particular?

At first, I used Android Studio as a developing environment. Android SDK and Java were used for programming, XML for the user interface. Later, I introduced SQLite for storing data locally, MySQL for storing data remotely, PHP for MySQL database updating and communication with the application in JSON format.

My favorite programming language is .NET right now, and I’ve been working on it by using C#. I also like web front-end stuff. For small scripts, I sometimes prefer to use Python due to its beautiful syntax and simplicity. VS Code is one of the best tools I’ve ever tried. It has plenty of useful features that even non-programmers can use, so if someone is using Notepad++, I always advise them to try VS Code.

(5) When it comes to designing the user experience/UX of the app, what motivated you or what influences did you have?

To be honest, I didn’t have any influences. I just made everything from my head, according to what I thought would be the best. It has stayed like that until now. If I could do it again, I’d do it absolutely differently and would adapt to existing best practices for UX.

(6) From the developer’s and gamer’s perspective, how do you think the app affects the overall experience of the game?

It gives all the basic knowledge about the game. Players can learn map call-outs; best places to deploy smoke grenades, flashbangs or Molotov cocktails; the names and stats of all weapons; every weapon’s recoil pattern and compensation; knowledge of basic CS:GO words, ranks, achievements etc. Those who don’t care about that can also use the application to monitor the latest skin prices in their pocket. I get a lot of feedback about how players managed to improve their gameplay and reach a higher competitive match-making rank, so I think that application positively affects the overall experience of the game.

(7) Is there any margin of error when it comes to the app’s performance and provided information?

Yes, the application has some ineffective code which could be improved. By doing that, its performance would improve too, but since it’s not critical, it’s not worth it for me to invest any time in it. When it comes with provided information, skin prices could vary by a few cents and if new updates come out and I miss something out or simply don’t have time to update the application as soon as possible, then some information could end up missing or outdated.

(8) What were your biggest challenges for this project? How did you overcome them?

Internationalization. I had to rewrite absolutely everything to enable the application to support multiple languages. Once I did that, volunteers started translating information. Some of them mistranslated some info, so other volunteers contacted me and asked to re-translate it. More supported languages mean more translators have to help take care of future content. Sometimes it’s very hard to get in touch with them again. There were a few occasions when I used Google translate for one-word phrases or opened CS:GO in a different language by myself to check into what some words should be translated.

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 (9) Are you expecting the game’s expansions to change your app’s dynamics and performance? Is it something that you’ve already prepared to tackle?

Of course I do. For example, my application couldn’t handle the Danger Zone update, because the implemented UX just doesn’t fit. Performance-wise, the application is pretty safe because all content is stored offline in its own little database. Sometimes, I consider remaking absolutely everything to support multi-platforms, and to support the web app. However, it would take a lot of my personal time to do that and I’m not sure if it is worth it.

(10) Are there any exciting new developments for your app that you would care to share?

Not really, it’s in the maintenance stage right now.

(11) Could you share a few quick tips to new players of the game?

Learn call-outs, learn how to deploy nades, keep your crosshair at the height of player’s head, and practice your aim. All of that could be done offline, using matchmaking and workshop maps, 30-60 minutes per day. Yes, it is boring, but after one month you should become a pretty decent player. Also, don’t forget about the pro scene, you could learn a lot by watching how pro players do things.  It’s happening right now on IEM Katowice Major. Go check it out if you haven’t already!

(12) Any advice you’d like to share to aspiring game app or web developers?

Before doing anything on your own, watch some tutorials and do what tutor does instead of trying to reinvent your own wheel on the first run.

Code in your free time, read programming books, feel the passion by doing that. It should be like a hobby. If you don’t feel that, maybe it’s the wrong technology, the wrong project or maybe what you do is unnecessary and you feel it.

Try to be disciplined because once it’s broken, it’s pretty hard to recover it. For example, if you start to code something or try to read some book every day and stop doing so for some time, it could be hard to start over again.

If you land a job, it doesn’t mean that you’re “secure”. IT quickly moves forward every year with new technologies, new tools, etc. Doing the same thing every single day will stop your constant improvement and, personally, for me it’s a red flag. In such cases, I think that’s the right time when a project or a workplace should be changed. Of course some people might claim that “they already learned what they need and are getting paid for their knowledge”, why should they change something? With that mindset I agree, why should they? 🙂

Get By with a Little Help From Friends

While this CSGO Guide wonder app is indeed the product of zygroc’s blood, sweat, and tears, he recognizes that it takes a whole community to keep it going and make it even better. Such a trait is rare these days, and it’s probably why the app is so good—making it such an essential supplement to the game. Things can only get better from here on out. So go right ahead and download the app.

Lock, load, and get ready to join the fray!

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