Project Overview


I'm the founder of KZ-Climb, a custom game mod for Counter-Strike that involves difficult jumps and hard obstacles. The goal is to traverse difficult maps with the fastest time.

I took on multiple functions as game designer, developer, project manager, and community manager. I led and grew the community from a small local scene, to having an international presence. Its popularity peaked at November 2016 with >10,000 daily active players.

KZ-Climb can best be thought of a speedrunning game mode where the goal is to get to the end as fast as possible. As its part of the Source Game Engine, one of the core mechanics of the game is how players can make use of Source movement exploits such as strafe jumping and bunnyhopping.

What makes KZ-Climb fun is that it can be played both socially and competitively. As a multiplayer game, players can help their friends out by giving tips on hard obstacles. In addition, best times are tracked for each player -- so they can compete with their friends, or attempt to take a spot in the global leaderboard.

Design & Development

Originally, every KZ-Climb map had a hardcoded Start Point and End Point within the map data itself. However, we slowly realized that this was not scalabe. We made use of SourcePawn, the official scripting language for Source Engine, to develop a better, flexible solution in the form of a custom game mod. The idea behind the KZ-Climb Mod was to create an extendable API that can be easily added to any existing map. Essentially, all you needed was a JSON object that contained the coordinates for the Start Point and the End Point. Next, a start button and an end button were then generated during run-time at those coordinates -- which acted as a stopwatch to record time. This system allowed any map to speedrunable, even those that were not designed specifically for KZ-Climb. This system worked incredibly well, and as a result KZ fans started making maps itself.

The next part was figuring out the design of the movement system. I worked closely with players to gather feedback to tweak the numbers. We wanted to stay as close to the movement of the original Source engine as possible, while also revving things up by giving players a bit more control and velocity. It took months of design iterations and user interviews to find the right balance, but we eventually found the perfect formula.

KZ-Climb Community

One of the very first things I did was establish a web portal for KZ-Climb players to establish a central point of information. I also extended it with a web forum to allow players a platform for discourse and feedback regarding the game. I bootstrapped the forum using XenForo, a popular and semi-modern forum software.

forum Visit KZ-Climb Web Portal

I added a number of enhancements to increase user engagement, such as implementing a chatbox, and allowing users to personalize their profile with game-related fields. Eventually, I also implemented integrations with Steam, which proved to be a popular decision. Lastly, I implemented a "Badge" system to reward prominent community members.

KZ-Climb Forum Badge
KZ-Climb Forum Badge

As the community grew, I realized that I could not manage every aspect of the community myself anymore. I handpicked a team of passionate volunteers and delegated various tasks to each of them. These roles included web administrator, community manager, game moderator, and game QA testers. I lead the overall strategy and long-term vision of the game, while the volunteers helped the game stay solid on the short-term.

PCGamer Interview

One of the key moments in the history of KZ-Climb was coverage by the popular internet magazine PCGamer. I was personally interviewed by their writer, and the interview lead to a surge of players in KZ-Climb.

A few months ago I stumbled upon [KZ-Climb], and I instantly fell in love with it. I would strongly recommend climbing a few maps. Not only is it great fun, but it also helps you in normal games: being able to maneuver your character smoothly will help you win a lot of duels.

Frderik, Writer for PCGamer

The article exposed KZ-Climb to a massive, international audience -- and it lead to an almost ~500% increase in daily active players. Suddenly, famous gamers were talking about KZ-Climb and playing on our servers. We quickly scaled up our servers to account for the massive jump in players, and managed to stabilize and retain a huge amount of new players.

Read Full Interview

KZ-Climb Cup

The next step in KZ-Climb's roadmap was hosting a tournament. What resulted from months of planning and preparation was the KZ-Climb Cup -- an ambitious 128-players international tournament.

As it was the first tournament of its kind, we had to design a fair ruleset in addition to solving a range of logistical issues such as picking server locations and scheduling.

The entire tournament was streamed with commentary on Thanks to a very successful Reddit advertising campaign, the KZ-Climb stream peaked past 1,000 concurrent viewers, and it was shorty officially partnered with Twitch. This allowed us the ability to receive donations and paid subscriptions through Twitch. Those donations went directly into the prize pot, increasing the stakes and hype of the event.

KZ-Climb Cup
KZ-Climb Cup

The tournament was extremely successful, and further boosted the prominence of KZ-Climb.


I retired as the community leader shortly after the end of the KZ-Climb Cup event, in late 2016. Today, a number of volunteers run the various aspects of the game and community, from community management to mod development. KZ-Climb has since dropped off in popularity, but is still played by a niche, but loyal playerbase.