Custom Games are new experiences that are created by the community, and playable within Dota 2. These games can be anything from a grand brawl between ten Invokers, to a story-driven dungeon adventure, to something creative that no one has seen before. For us, Custom Games represent a continuation of the tradition that gave birth to Dota, Team Fortress and Counter-Strike. We'd like to build an ecosystem where you can experience something new every time you launch Dota 2.


The Custom Games hub has been designed to present you with a wide variety of experiences to choose from, which makes finding something new and fun easy to do. We've also created features that enable players to quickly evaluate new and untested Custom Games, giving every Custom Game the opportunity to find an audience.


Quickly find a list of the 10 most popular games currently being played.


You can mark any game as your favorite to easily find it the next time you want to gather your friends for a match.


See a list of games that your friends have been playing recently. If any of your friends are currently in an open lobby, you can quickly jump in and join them from here.


We know how vital it is for new games to be able to gain exposure, rather than always being hidden behind a dominant lineup of popular titles. The Suggested Games list includes a wide variety of games that are trending upwards and receiving positive votes from players. The selection will change every 30 minutes, presenting everyone in the community with the same 15 games at any given time, making it easy for all matches to fill quickly.


The Workshop Vote system presents players with preview videos of various Custom Games to rate. The results serve as one of the metrics in determining if, and how often, a game is shown in the Suggested Games list. Both new and old games, through rotations in voting queues, will always have a chance to find or regain a foothold within the community.


Custom Game matches support spectating like any other game, giving you a chance to see your friends play or watch an interesting game in action and decide if it's right for you.


Each Custom Game has its own launch page, providing a Play button that allows you to find the lowest ping lobby with enough room to fit your party. If none are available, a new lobby will be created. You'll also find various pieces of useful information on this page, such as patch notes, videos and friend activity. To help foster a community for even the smallest of games, each Custom Game has a dedicated chat room that you can set your client to always join.


Create your own lobby for a Custom Game to give you and your friends a private place to play. You can also set it to public at any time if you want to pull in a few more players from the community. Setting your lobby to public will also cause it to be used automatically anytime someone hits the Play game button on that Custom Game's page, helping you fill your lobby as soon as possible. We've also integrated a full lobby browser that lets you view all the open lobbies available, and filter and sort by game type, custom description, connectivity, players remaining, etc. This lobby browser is useful for gathering players to try a lesser-known game, or to help you gather feedback on your own Custom Game while it's under development.


Don't have time for a full round of Dota? Overthrow is a quick fight to the death in a small team free-for-all as players try to earn enough kills to win the match before the timer expires. Gather a friend or two, or go it alone as you stalk near the Midas Throne, which increases the gold and experience gains of nearby heroes. Snatch Gold Coins as they appear, or head out to claim an item delivery.

Another Valve-authored game mode will be arriving in the coming weeks. You're welcome to look through our files to learn how these Custom Games were built, or use them as a starting point for your own creation.



The new tools let you quickly create and iterate on your ideas. In this video, one of our designers takes you on a tour of our new level editor.


Use Hammer's new tile system to quickly lay out your map, then fine-tune your creation with its powerful 3D modeling tools. An embedded Asset Browser also lets you browse models, particles, and materials, and quickly drag them into the level editor. Use the powerful lighting options in the 3D view to see exactly what your creation will look like in-game.


Create materials and import them easily into the game with the Material Editor. Tune shader parameters and update textures while viewing your changes live in-game.


With the Model Editor, you're able to preview model appearance and animations as well as author gameplay details such as hitboxes and attachment points.


The Particle Editor lets you create or modify existing particle effects and preview them in isolation or live in the game. Play with dozens of manipulators, modify rendering, tune decay rates, and preview control point settings.


The console now comes with more powerful debugging features, multiple tabs and powerful filtering tools. You can also have the console live outside of the game, allowing you to access the console even after disconnecting or quitting the game.


Panorama lets you use a web-like workflow using XML, CSS, and Javascript, which can integrate with your Lua gameplay scripts. It also updates without needing to restart the game or even reload the map. Additionally, with Panorama you can create high-fidelity UIs which can include particles and 3D models, and it has a robust inspection tool to debug your UI. You can also use the inspection tool to learn more about how our examples were created.


With its long and well-documented history in a variety of existing games, Lua scripting gives authors a versatile tool to forge their creation. Most of the game functions can be accessed through script including hero abilities and modifiers, spawning NPCs and particles, or even changing global settings. You can also listen for events that happen in the game, such as entities being damaged or killed, and items being picked up. Additionally, you can create your own events.


We'll be releasing plenty of example content to help you get the hang of creating your own Custom Games, including all of the source content for our Overthrow mode: maps, gameplay scripts, and a variety of advanced Panorama UIs ranging from scoreboards to team selection. Check out some of our particle examples to learn how the visual effects of Dota are built. Then have a look at the many existing Dota abilities we've recreated in Lua to help you get an idea of what you can create. We'll have more examples coming soon.


We've also made numerous bug fixes, feature additions and API improvements since our most recent release of the Workshop Tools Alpha. Check out the changelog link for further details. We'll be regularly updating the tools during the Beta to address your feedback and provide more functionality.

Next Up: The Beta Begins, and Behind the New Technologies