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The Magical Mystery of Molotov

31 Mar. 2021

Not so long ago, a video appeared on the Internet where the author showed a curious trick with the Molotov on the map Overpass. In this trick, the Molotov doesn’t explode mid-air after two seconds — and reaches any surface instead. The bug has already been detected on other maps as well. CS.MONEY is here to solve the mystery.

What it’s all about

The trick has to do with the so-called “skyboxes” — special game textures that represent the sky. Because they have special properties, the Molotov cocktail behaves slightly differently when encountering them. As a rule, the cocktail explodes as soon as it comes into contact with a horizontal surface. The mid-air mechanics checks the surface beneath in assigned units. If it finds the surface, it ignites it, and if not, it explodes mid-air.

This is exactly where the skyboxes come into play: they are a surface, yet Molotov can’t set them on fire. The bottle does find that surface underneath and doesn’t explode mid-air, but it doesn’t set it on fire either, since it’s a “skybox.” Molotov decides to just fly on.

Where this bug appears

The bug only appeared in certain places. It was found on the following maps. Overpass — you can throw a Molotov from mid at B plant and from A plant at the water:

Inferno – from the CT respawn at B plant:

What we can do about it

At this point, Valve have already fixed the bug, so you don’t have to worry about a Molotov coming from nowhere any longer. 

There have already been a whole number of bugs and issues related to Molotov in the game. At one time, the community noticed that smoke grenades can’t put it out. Even professional players were affected by it — and would sometimes burn in the smoke. According to the source code of the game, there are only 2 situations where smoke puts out the flame:

  • The smoke hits the center of the fire;
  • The smoke covers one-third of the flame. 

Otherwise, part of the flame continues to burn. This is a rather odd mechanics, as it depends heavily on fire distribution on the surface. Another downside about Molotov’s behavior. After all, Molotov flames are a group of fires whose position is determined randomly.

That is, the area of the actual fire is slightly different each time and is left to chance. Given the randomness of fire distribution, it’s impossible to know in advance where you should throw the smoke. In a competitive game where every second counts and every action must be carefully planned, this seems rather out of place.

The distribution of fire when a Molotov bounces off a wall might come across as pretty weird too. This distribution depends on the direction of the player’s throw, not on that of the bounce. From the player’s perspective, that’s not particularly fair: often, we can’t see where the Molotov is coming from and can’t calculate the area where the fire will be spreading. 

We can only hope there won’t be any Molotov-related bugs in the near future so that we can continue to fully enjoy our favorite game.   

31 Mar. 2021

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