Counter-Strike Wiki

Jess Cliffe is a computer game designer, known for co-creating Counter-Strike with Minh Le in 1999. He has also been working on every game in the franchise since.


Before getting involved with the original Counter-Strike, Jess Cliffe was a very active gaming website designer. The earliest known gaming website he founded was Jedi Knight Multiplayer Addon Group (JKMAG) which he founded in December 1997.[1] After around a year of maintaining the website, he moved on to start the website Action Quake2 Map Depot.[2][3] It was during the time he was involved with this site that he got to know Minh Le as Le was part of the team developing Action Quake 2.[4] Around January 1999, Cliffe also founded the website Silo X devoted to Half-Life maps.[5]

During an IRC chat, Minh Le mentioned the fact that he was starting development on his own mod. Cliffe thought the theme of the mod sounded interesting and offered to design a website for the mod, which is how Cliffe got involved in the development of Counter-Strike.[4]

Cliffe's responsibilities while working on the original Counter-Strike involved maintaining the website and public relations.[6] He was also responsible for some of the graphics and sound effects.[6] Perhaps most notably, he created the radio and announcer recordings for the game.[7] Cliffe also served as the main line of communication between the level designers and the core Counter-Strike Team.[8]

After Counter-Strike had grown in popularity, Valve Software approached Minh Le and Jess Cliffe about purchasing the rights to the title in 2000.[9] Simultaneously Valve also offered both of them jobs. They agreed to the deal, but Cliffe would finish his studies before he joined the development team at Valve.[9]

Since joining Valve on-site in 2003, Jess Cliffe has been contributing to every Counter-Strike title up until Counter-Strike 2.[10][7] His roles at Valve have included being a game designer, 3D artist, level designer and sound engineer.[7][11]

For Counter-Strike: Source, Cliffe integrated ambient sounds for every map included in the release of the game.[12] It was also in this game that he got his first experience working on map level design, as a result of which he made a “remix” of Assault.[13] In addition to it, Jess Cliffe also planned to release a "map based on a construction site theme", however it never made it into the game.[14]

Not much is known about what Cliffe worked on in Global Offensive. One of the few pieces of information available is that he was involved in the development of revamped versions of Nuke and Dust II.[15][16][17]


On February 2nd, 2018, Jess was arrested on charges of "sexual exploitation of a child" in the Southwest Precinct of Seattle. After the incident, Valve has suspended Cliffe's employment.[18]

In 2019, Cliffe stated on Reddit that he was innocent and not charged with the original charge, and instead accepted an Alford plea for a significantly reduced charge of second degree assault. He specified that he was catfished by a scammer, and spent 57 days at a minimum security facility.[19]

List of maps

Official maps

Map name Game(s) Responsibilities Year
Assault Css t Level designer 2005
Dust II (Revamped) Game icon 730 Environment artist 2017
Nuke (Revamped) Game icon 730 Environment artist 2016
Site Css t (cut) Level designer 2005


  • In Counter-Strike and Condition Zero, the map description of Militia calls the setting of the map "Cliffe's Compound".
  • In expert mode, there is a bot named "Cliffe" who uses the AK-47 or the M4A1.
  • Jess Cliffe and Minh Le, the Counter-Strike creators, share the same birthday.[20]


  2. JKMAG News Archives Section 3
  3. Action Quake2 Map Depot. Archived from the original on 1999-02-21.
  4. 4.0 4.1 CS-Nation - Counter-Strike: Year 1. Archived from the original on 2000-08-15.
  5. Blue's News - January 16-22, 1999
  6. 6.0 6.1 The official Counter-Strike web site - The CS Team. Archived from the original on 2001-02-03.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Valve - People (Archived from the original on 2010-04-14)
  8. Gamasutra - Interview with Minh Le
  9. 9.0 9.1 PCGamesN | The making of: Counter-Strike
  10. -- the official web site -- The CS Team. Archived from the original on 2004-11-13.
  11. » About. Archived from the original on 2007-05-15.
  12. Half-Life 2 - Raising the Bar (Uncorrected Proof). Archived on
  13. CS-Nation - looking at assault. Archived from the original on 2005-07-08.
  14. CS-Nation - On Militia, Player Models, And A Mystery Map. Archived from the original on 2006-04-19.
  15. Jess Cliffe on Reddit - Newke T Spawn Ref.
  16. Jess Cliffe reply on Reddit - Devs annouce dust 2 rework.
  17. Valve on YouTube. Counter-Strike: A Brief History.
  18. Kotaku - Counter-Strike Co-Creator Arrested For Sexual Exploitation Of A Child
  19. "Reddit User Response".
  20. CS-Nation - news - birthday boys. Archived from the original on 2003-10-05.