After much teasing Valve have started testing a major visual overhaul for Counter Strike: Global Offensive called Panorama UI. The new update aims to bring better performance, more visually pleasing menus and in-game quality of life tweaks.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive is in a sticky situation due to no major updates for long stretches of time, causing players to switch to other popular games such as PUBG, Fortnite. The last major update to the game was the "Hydra Operation" that released in 2017. Panorama UI aims towards bringing back players and attracting new ones, marketing CS:GO as a brand new game.
The overhaul was teased back in January 2017 during Gaben's AMA on Reddit where it was confirmed that the CS:GO team's main focus was a visual overhaul. One of the most notable changes is a quicker response time along with a somewhat overused blur effect.
Panorama UI was released on 19 June 2018 and it's only accessible through beta updates as it is still in being worked on. Valve are calling the overhaul "the most substantial change to the look and feel of CS:GO since the game was released in 2012". The new update is taking the UI part of the Source2 engine and backporting it into source engine of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
According to Valve's development website Panorama UI "enables rapid development, high quality, and high-performance interfaces as well as seamless integration with game content".
The team behind the UI seems to be aiming towards simplicity which might not suit everyone. The overhaul added a completely fresh look to the main menu with one of the biggest changes being the addition of an animated player model.
Alongside the model, players can now access the menu on both sides. The left side is reserved for settings, the CS:GO play button, demos, and inventory, while the right side houses the friends list, recent teammates and such.
Settings have been rearranged in separate tabs, which in turn allows for an easier way to customise controls, video, and audio settings, since every CS:GO player worth their salt changes these settings after every match in order to keep the opposition off guard.
One of the most requested features was the ability to preview ones appearance. Skin hoarders will be happy to hear that the new preview mode will allow them to see an animated player model holding a weapon.
The pre-game HUD has been touched up as well, allowing players a cleaner and easier way to pick a map. Prime match text size has been increased removing the confusing between prime matchmaking and its non-prime counterpart. The most notable changes in-game consist of a new flavour text, redesigned weapon purchase menu, scoreboard, and radar.
Panorama UI is still in beta and doesn't allow users to play competitive matches but rather test out the UI in a match against AI opponents. There is no official release date for the new UI. According to the developers, the biggest pieces are already in place, which might mean we can expect the update to hit live servers sooner rather than later.