Counter-Strike Wiki

Barking Dog Studios Ltd., later known as Rockstar Vancouver, was a Canadian video game development company that helped the Counter-Strike Team with the development of Counter-Strike Beta 5.0.


Laying the foundation

Barking Dog Studios was founded on July 16, 1998 by former Radical Entertainment employees Brian Thalken, Peter Grant, Sean Thompson, Christopher Mair, Glenn Barnes and Michael Gyori.[1][2][3] Barking Dog Studios signed their first project, Homeworld: Cataclysm when the original Homeworld was still under development.[4]

Offering Minh Le a helping hand

In 1999, Barking Dog Studios was doing some work for Valve Software and Barking Dog had hired Minh Le to do some work.[5] When Valve Software became aware of this, they asked if Barking Dog would like to help out Minh Le in the development of Counter-Strike Beta 5.0.[5] Valve Software offered to pay for the development as a sign of gratitude to the Half-Life community and its mod developers.[6]

The team at Barking Dog Studios had been playing Counter-Strike since the first beta, thus they were more than eager to help out.[5] At the time, Barking Dog consisted of three distinct teams and their whole first-person shooter team, nicknamed Popdog, was assigned to the development of Counter-Strike.[7][8] As Minh Le was very busy with his university studies at the time, around 90% of the changes and features introduced in Beta 5 were the work of Barking Dog Studios.[5][9]

All the new code for Beta 5 was the work of Barking Dog Studios and a lot of old code was cleaned up to fix old bugs.[8][10] The menu and HUD interface graphics were given a more consistent look by Popdog artist Cory Lake.[11] New maps were contributed by Barking Dog Studios designers Christopher Mair and Jamie Mactaggart in the form of Train and Backalley. Various features that increased the user-friendliness of the game were also added.[12] These included help messages and new HUD icons for the different zones. In addition, the gameplay of both hostage rescue and bomb defusal scenarios was made a lot more straightforward by making hostages get automatically rescued in hostage rescue zones and restricting the planting of C4 to bombsites only. Barking Dog Studios also helped out in the development of the subsequent patch.[13]

Despite the substantial contributions that Barking Dog Studios made to the game, they were only credited as a special thanks in the manual of the retail edition of the game.[14] It has even been suggested that Barking Dog Studios were "the unsung heroes of Counter-Strike".[15]

Take-Two acquisition and eventual closure

Rockstar Vancouver logo

On August 1, 2002, Take-Two announced that it had acquired Barking Dog Studios and that the studio would be re-founded as Rockstar Vancouver.[1]

The studio finished one title, Bully, and helped out other Rockstar subsidiaries with the development of high profile titles before Take-Two announced on July 9, 2012 that Rockstar Vancouver would be merged with Rockstar Toronto.[16]


  • 1999 – Counter-Strike (Beta 5.0)
  • 2000 – Homeworld: Cataclysm
  • 2002 – Global Operations
  • 2002 – Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon
  • 2006 – Bully (as Rockstar Vancouver)
  • 2012 – Max Payne 3 (Rockstar Vancouver as part of Rockstar Studios)


  • In the map Backalley, one of the billboards has the Barking Dog logo as a reference to this studio. Along with vending machines from the same map and 2 train boxcars in the map Train.
    • In Backalley, approaching it from the alley near the CT spawn triggers the sound of dogs barking at a car alarm, while approaching it from the tunnel closer to the T spawn triggers the sound of a dog barking at a cat.
    • In Train, crouching below the boxcar that has this studio logo will trigger a muffed dog barking sound, giving the impression as if the dog is trapped inside.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Rockstar Games (2002-08-01). "Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.'s Rockstar Games Announces The Formation Of Rockstar Vancouver". Business Wire. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  2. Kyllo, Blaine (2009-01-28). "Vancouver's video game family tree". The Georgia Straight. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  3. Barking Dog Studios (1998-06-18). "Recent News - Thursday, July 16, 1998". Barking Dog Studios. Archived from the originalon 2000-03-03. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  4. Koltookian, Gary (2000-05-12). "Interviews: Homeworld -- Cataclysm". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 2000-06-20. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 RageWarrior (2000-06-05). "Interview mit Chris Mair, dem Author von de_train". Archived from the original on 2000-08-18. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  6. Sluggo (1999-12-21). "Counter-Strike beta 5 coming". Mod Central HL. Archived from the original on 2000-03-02. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  7. WereWolf (2001-01-01). "Intervju av WereWolf med Chris Mair". Team Fortress 2 Sweden. Archived from the original on 2001-04-05. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Wezer (2000-05-15). "Interviews - Chris Mair". Archived from the original on 2000-10-23. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  9. Gestalt (2000-03-10). "Minh Le of Counter Strike team". Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  10. Looney, McClain (2000-02-10). "I N T E R V I E W : Gooseman - Counter-Strike Creator". Stomped. Archived from the original on 2001-04-16. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  11. RageWarrior. "Interview mit Scorman alias Cory Lake". Archived from the original on 2000-12-14. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  12. Yu, James (2001-01-25). "Gooseman Counter-Strike Interview". FiringSquad. Archived from the original on 2001-08-12. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  13. Cliffe, Jess (2000-01-06). "rocka-my soul in the bosom of Abraham...". The official Counter-Strike web site. Archived from the original on 2001-08-05. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  14. Kammerer, Gerry. "Interview with Chris Mair (Original, in English)". Archived from the original on 2001-05-22. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  15. Vic (2012-08-12). "A History of Counter-Strike". LambdaGeneration. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  16. Rockstar Games (2012-07-09). "Rockstar Games Expands Toronto Development Studio". Business Wire. Retrieved 2017-05-18.

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