Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is one of Steam’s most popular games, regularly peaking at almost two million players online. With such popularity, gamers are always looking for good strategies that can perfect their gameplay. One of the best ways is to play what players call “stretched CS:GO.”
If you’re wondering how to play stretched CS:GO, we’re here to help. Here are the many benefits of the trick, as well as how to execute it yourself.
What Is Stretched CS:GO?
Stretched CS: GO is the term that players use for a display trick that allows users to alter the game’s camera. While it sounds complex, it’s as simple as changing a setting.
Televisions have an aspect ratio, which is essentially the ratio of height and width to your display. The ratio is expressed as #:# in all uses.
One of the most common ratios is 16:9. Higher aspect ratios exist, with some climbing as high as 32:9, while others go as low as 4:3.
In CS: GO, the game is designed around the 16:9 aspect ratio. Most professional players or high-ranked players use 4:3 aspect ratio instead. While this confuses new players, many switch to the ratio simply to play more like the professionals.
By changing the ratio to 4:3, players essentially stretch the display out. The stretching effect is what’s earned the game style the nickname of Stretched CS:GO.
But why bother doing this?
Benefits of Stretching
Stretched CS:GO has more benefits than looking strange. By stretching out the resolution, you make some models appear larger.
Competitive first-person shooter (FPS) games are often a competition of reactions. By making the model appear larger, players are able to hit the model easier.
Interestingly, there’s nothing to this effect that truly changes the hitbox. While it’s functionally the same size in-game, the larger appearance makes it easier for players to aim and shoot. Think of this style as zooming in – while the target is the same size functionally, they take up more space on a narrow lens.
Enhanced aiming is the primary benefit behind stretching. Many players who use the best guns for sniping or precision weapons find this to be a perfect boon. Since you’re spending most of your time zoomed into scope, the stretched display has no drawback.
You can find most high-skill players, such as those on Clash, using stretched resolutions. It’s the ideal way to farm up CS: GO skins and even the playing field.
Consequences of Stretched Resolutions
With so many benefits, what are the drawbacks of stretched resolutions? Many players are afraid that the setting counts as an exploit. Exploits are a bannable offense, meaning players would lose their account and their favorite CS: GO guns.
Thankfully, there are no official consequences to stretched resolutions. Ultimately, players are doing nothing more than choosing their preferred setting. While this provides a somewhat-minor benefit to gameplay, it does nothing that Valve considers against their terms of service.
However, that isn’t to say there are no drawbacks whatsoever.
Comparing screenshots of a game before and after the switch to the 4:3 resolution, the display is altered dramatically. Making the view stretched doesn’t make it wider, meaning that the same models will take up more room.
While this effect makes enemies easier to hit, it also makes other parts of the game block the screen more. You won’t have as wide of a view, so you’ll need more awareness of your surroundings.
For some players who don’t care as much about their performance, they feel that the game also looks notably worse. Everything is squished and stretched, making the game appear as if the display settings are incorrect. Given that they technically are incorrect, this is a sensible complaint.
How to Play Stretched CS:GO
With a better understanding of what Stretched CS:GO is and why you would want to play it, how do we accomplish the display? It’s as simple as changing some settings.
Open the settings menu by clicking the cogwheel icon on the left side of your screen. Scroll down to the Video section, then scroll down until you see “Aspect Ratio.”
Select 4:3 as your aspect ratio. Know that this aspect ratio may not work the same on all screens. If you have a small monitor, the stretching may feel comparatively minor.
Once you’re on the 4:3 Aspect Ratio, go to the “Resolution” option. Pick whichever option best fits your screen in this new aspect ratio.
Some players continue using their monitor’s resolution. A 1920×1080 monitor that keeps this resolution may suffer performance issues on 4:3.
Instead, consider switching to a 1280 resolution. Most professional players use 1280×960 or 1280×1024.
The lower the resolution, the more stretched the screen. Therefore, lower resolutions mean larger enemies. As such, many players go for the lowest resolution they can, as making the enemies larger is the primary goal.
Some prefer to avoid these low resolutions, as they can impact clarity. The effect is worse on some CS: GO maps Play around with the resolutions and see what works best for you.
Removing Black Bars
One problem with stretching your display is that it can often cause black bars on the top and bottom of your display. Getting rid of these bars is done through your GPU settings.
Access your GPU’s control panel. The process to do so varies depending on what brand and type of GPU you use.
From there, adjust the desktop size and position under the DIsplay option. Choose full-screen to force your GPU to stretch the game across the monitor.
Learning New Strategies
Understanding how to play stretched CS:GO is simple, as it only requires changing your display settings to a 4:3 aspect ratio and preferred resolution. The benefit is that enemies are easier to hit due to appearing larger. There are no official consequences from Valve, but some players feel the game looks worse and lacks clarity when stretched.
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