Knowing how to test skins in CS:GO is important for anyone who is interested in enhancing the gameplay by using various weapon finishes and seeing more vivid colors. While there are many paid skins in CS:GO, and you can purchase them from the community market or get them from cases, there are also to test skins for free. While these methods have some restrictions, they allow you to test a weapon finish in the game and get an impression of its look and feel, before making an expensive purchase. Some methods of testing out skins require a certain level of technical knowledge, while others are pretty easy. Below you will find a detailed description of various methods for testing skins. 

Why Do You Need To Test Skins? 

There are various reasons players may want to test skins in CS:GO. Here are some examples of situations, when it comes very useful: 

  • You want to buy an expensive skin but aren’t sure you will like it. So you can examine all its animations before buying just to be sure. 

  • You want to apply some stickers on this skin and want to check if they will look good. Try out various combinations of stickers to see which one creates the more impressive outlook. 

  • You plan to gather an inventory in a certain style, and want to test which skins will look good next to each other. 

Even if you do not plan skins right now, playing around with various items, including exorbitantly expensive ones, can be very enjoyable. 

How To Test Skins in CS:GO 1

CS:GO Skin Tester - What is it?

The CS:GO skin tester is a tool or website that allows players to preview how different skins look on weapons or characters in the game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) before making a purchase or trade. Such tools can be incredibly useful for players looking to customize their in-game appearance, as they provide a way to see how various skins will look in-game under different lighting conditions and from various angles.

However, it's important to note that while there are legitimate websites and tools that offer skin testing or previewing features, users should always exercise caution. Make sure to use services from reputable sources to avoid scams, phishing attempts, or the risk of violating CS:GO's terms of service. Always verify the legitimacy of a website or tool by checking reviews, user feedback, and official endorsements before using it.

One of the easiest ways to test skins in CS:GO is using an inspect link. If you browse a Steam Community Market, Float Database, or one of the multiple third-party skin trading websites, you will notice a button called “Inspect in Game”. Launch Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but remain on the main menu, without launching game mode. Then open the web page of the desired link and click the Inspect in Game button.  

How To Test Skins in CS:GO 2

CS:GO Server to Test Skins

There is another similar method of inspecting skins by using this link. First, you need to find an inspect server – a game server, dedicated specifically to giving players an opportunity to explore the looks of various equipment. Such servers usually have the word “inspect” in their name. After joining the server, use the command “!i …”, inserting the inspect link from FloatDatabase. 

You can also get the link while viewing other players' inventory on Steam. It will appear below the description of an item. If you do not know who owns the skin you are interested in, use to find out. This database accounts for all skins presented on the market, and each of them is accompanied by a link to the owner’s inventory. 

How To Test Skins in CS:GO 3

Naturally, if you want to test out skins in CS:GO via this method, they do not become yours. You can use them, only while you are on an inspect server. The link points to a particular item, not just the type of the skin, so it is wise to use the link from the website where you eventually plan to buy it, so you can see the exact look of the item, along with applied stickers and wear marks. 

It can also take some time to find skin-testing servers initially. You can use an in-game server browser to search by keywords or look through online server lists. In this case, you may need to make several attempts, because sometimes the server turns out to be offline or not functioning. The basics of using such servers are always the same – use an appropriate command with an inspect link to hold the desired weapon in your hands. 

How To Test Skins in CS:GO 4

How To Test Skins from Community Workshop

There are also a lot of skins besides the official collections. Each day, multiple skins are published in the workshop, and all of them are available for free. Consequently, knowing how to test skins in CS:GO from a community workshop could be also very useful. However, there isn’t any straightaway method to use them in the game before they get selected by Valve and added to the game in an official way. You cannot test them right now, however, you can look at the page of the skin in the Workshop to get a general impression of its look. After that, you can also vote for the skins you like, so they get a chance to be noticed by the developers and included in the weapon case. After the official addition to the game, the skins can be tested out as it is described above. 

Steam Workshop offers convenient filters, which allow you to search not only by weapon type but also by the style of the weapon finish, tags, and keywords. Moreover, it is also worth it to explore Steam Workshop besides various skins, because there is a lot of useful content. You can download various maps to play with friends or to practice certain game aspects, and also install additional music kits. 

How To Test the Skins You Have Created

However, if you have designed some original skins for CS:GO and want to add them to the Steam Workshop. There is a way to test it beforehand, to ensure that the skin looks exactly like you have planned. But this method to test skins in CS:GO comes with several restrictions. 

First, you can test out skins only in offline mode, on your private servers where only bots and no other players are present. The reason for this is that modifying the game folder will be considered cheating if you try to join an online game. It is also advised to use a separate account for such testing to avoid getting banned by accident, for example, if you forget to revert the changes and try to join a match. 

Second, if you want to test skin in CS:GO this way, the changes will be visible to you only. All modifications happen “client-site”, which means, they belong to your computer, and other players won’t see it even if you join an online match. As a result, the method can be used for technical purposes only, such as checking the looks of your own skin before you submit it to the Workshop. 

Here are the steps you need to undertake to test skins in CS:GO if you have created it yourself and have all the texture files. You will need to install two apps, namely GCFScape and NotePad++. Both of them are free. 

  • Navigate to the local folders of your Counter-Strike: Global Offensive game. You can locate the folder via game properties in the Steam client. 

  • Find a folder called “material” and create its copy in a separate location to keep as a backup and restore original files when you need it. 

  • Find a file called “pack01_dir”. Create a backup copy of it as well. Open it with GCFScpe, find the folder “materials” within it, and copy it in any convenient place. Then copy it to the root folder of the game. 

  • Navigate to the folder with the address \materials\models\weapons. You will see two folders within it, v_model and w_model, both contain textures of different resolutions. 

  • Create weapon textures for v_model and w_model folders, using VTFEdit software, and copy them into the folders. Rename it, so the number of characters is the same as in the original. 

  • Now, you need to make the game recognize your files. To do this, open pack01_dir with NotePad++, find all mentions of the weapon model you want to replace, and insert the name of your file from the previous step instead. 

Now, when you launch a game, you will see your skins instead of the originals. It is also useful to enable cheats on the private server you will use for testing. As you see, this method allows you to test skins in CS:GO offline without scripts. It is helpful when you have created a skin and want to make some cool screenshots to present your skin in the workshop. However, you won’t be able to show it to other people in the game. You may find some tools that simplify the process and proclaim to change your skins, but the same rule is applied to them: if you try to play online with a modified client, you are basically asking to be banned. 

How To Test Skins in CS:GO 5

Remember, that playing with a modified root folder in an online match can result in a ban. So, do not forget to return the folders to the initial state after you finish making your screenshots and testing out the skin. Take the folders you have saved as a backup and replace the modified ones with the initial ones. The convenient way to do this is to keep copies in the same folder but with an addition to the name, such as “materials_copy”. This way, you can just delete the modified version and then rename the original one returning its initial name. You may need to verify the game files via the Steam client to ensure everything is in place. 

Important Information About Testing Skins in CS:GO

To sum up, here is everything you need to know to test skins in CS:GO without causing any problems for your game or account: 

  • The easiest way to do this is to use special community servers, created exactly for this purpose. 

  • You can use third-party websites, such as Float Database, to get the inspection link for a particular skin. 

  • Many websites that sell skins, including Steam Community Market itself, provide an inspection link as well. 

  • You can inspect only skins that were officially released in the game. For skins from the workshop, you can only look at the screenshots and vote for the skins you like to be added in upcoming cases. There is no way to inspect skins and stickers from the workshop created by other players. 

  • However, you can test your own custom skins in the game. The process may seem convoluted, but makes no problem for someone, who has already designed their own skin. Custom skins can be tested out only in offline mode, on your own private servers. 

With this knowledge, you are now able to test skins in CS:GO in various ways to get an impression of they look before buying them, which will help you purchase weapon finishes that will truly shine in the game.

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