Have you got what it takes?
We’ve been adding items to Dota 2 created by community members like you. Not only do these item-makers get to see their ideas come to life in Dota 2, but they also receive a split of their items' sales from the in-game store.

That’s right: money.

If you have Dota 2, the Steam Workshop now makes it easier than ever for you to submit finished 3D models of items for a chance to have them accepted and incorporated into the actual game. To publish an item to the workshop for consideration, first read the FAQ below, and then click the Steam Workshop button in the main menu of the game.

New to model-making? The FAQ below is the best place to get started. If you have other ideas for the game, we encourage you to share them with the DOTA community in the DOTA forums. Yes, we actually do read them.

Disclaimer: Naturally, we will not accept items that contain offensive imagery or any copyrighted or trademarked material. So please, don’t waste your time.

Helpful links:

Steam Workshop - Browse, rate and give feedback on community-made items
Source Developer wiki - Excellent resource for model creation
Making of a Skull Hat - Hat tutorial by Valve artist Bay Raitt


Q: What are the steps to making an item?
A: Here are broad steps involved in making a 3D item:

1. Concept: Come up with a good idea in words. Trust us, this is the hardest part.
2. Design: Draw in 2D or 3D what it will actually look like.
3. Model: Using a 3D program, create the clean polygon model that will actually be in the game.
4. Pelt: Unwrap the 3D model like a bearskin rug (UVs) so you can texture map it.
5. Paint: Using your UVs as a guide, pick a color. Paint a color. Repeat.
6. Publish: Upload it to the steam workshop!
Q: How does the item publishing process work?
A: Like this:

1. You create an item that meets the submission requirements.
2. You publish your item to the Steam Workshop.
3. We review your item and potentially select it to be added to the game.
4. If selected we contact you then integrate the item into Dota 2.
5. We test your item.
6. We add it to the game and split the money your item generates in the Dota 2 store with you.
Q: Where can I find good tutorials to learn 3D modeling?
A: Search for 'speed modeling' on YouTube and visit the source developer wiki. There are a lot of digital art communities online with great information. Here are a few that we like to visit.
Q: What are some guidelines for matching Dota 2 art style and improving the chances of my item getting in?
A: This is a tricky question we grapple with daily. Items should maintain the personality of the character. Read through the guides below.
Q: What software tool should I use to make my item?
A: It varies depending upon the project, but this is generally what we use:
Maya (models, textures, skeletons, morphs, animation)
Photoshop (textures)
Zbrush (detail models, morphs and textures)
3Dcoat (models and textures)
Mudbox (models and textures)
Wings3D (models only, but it’s free)
Modo (models and textures)
3DS-Max (models, textures, skeletons, morphs, animation)
Q: Can my item change animations?
A: Yes, however it will be up to you to author them. For more info on how to affect a heroes animation with your item check out the Animation page. (coming soon)
Q: I would like to create a custom courier, do I have to animate it or will Valve take care of that?
A: A fully animated walking and flying version of your courier are necessary for a successful submission. Please read the NPC Requirements page for more information on Couriers.
Q: Is there Dota 2 SDK?
A: We are working on it and will release it as soon as possible. For now you can use Alien Swarm SDK to see your items in HLMV (model viewer)
Q: Do all heroes in Dota 2 have same types of items?
A: Due to the diversity of heroes in Dota 2 each hero has unique set of items. See hero-specific models and requirements on the Technical requirements/Hero Models page.
Q: Where can I get the original content for the existing characters so I can build my item in context?
A: The source geometry, textures, and other content for the heroes is available on the Technical Requirements page. We will be continuing to release more heroes so please check back later if you do not see the one you’re looking for.
Q: My item just got rejected. Why?
A: Chances are that it didn't meet one, or several, or possibly all of the guidelines listed below:
  • Obscenity: We will automatically reject any obscene items. (Don't even bother.)

  • Copyright infringement: Even if you made the model yourself, if you used an existing likeness, it’s copyright infringement. We can't and won't put other people's intellectual property in our game, for the simple reason that we don't own it. They do. We will automatically reject any items based on existing intellectual property.

  • Overall Tone: We may reject an item if we feel it deviates too far from the tone of Dota 2.

  • Gameplay: Dota 2's characters have distinctive silhouettes that help a player differentiate between them in the heat of battle. Consequently, we tend to avoid items that overtly obscure or confuse these silhouettes.

  • Technical limitations: Items that require changes in character clothing or facial animation might be considered too costly to produce. Note: This does not mean that we will always refuse an item based on technical complexity. But nine times out of ten, it probably isn't helping your case.
Remember: Except in specific no-go areas (obscenity or copyright infringement, for example), these are not hard and fast rules. They are guidelines. We may select an item that breaks one or several of these guidelines, simply because it's too awesome not to include. However, these guidelines do dictate our selection process. Following them can only help your chances of getting your item in the Dota 2 Store.