Valve have made a new Dota 2 [official site] mode for the full launch of Custom Games (mods, basically) in their free-to-play lords management game. Custom Games will let folks create their own levels and gameplay rules, and will have a nifty-looking in-game hub to find and play them. A video showing off Valve's newest Hammer editor makes them look surprisingly easy to make too.
They're a big part of the Dota 2 Reborn update that's due to enter open beta testing this week. Other big changes are a new UI and a switch to a new engine which they don't name but come on it's obviously gonna be Source 2 right?
Yesterday's part of the reveal was a long look at how Custom Games will work, from making them to playing them. Valve say:
"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."
I hope this kicks off a modding community like the Warcraft III scene that spawned DotA in the first place (pedants who want to go on about Aeon of Strife are invited to pat their own heads rather than leave comments). I still hold that it's the great forgotten mod scene, seeing so many weird and wonderful creations but too often going unrecognised.
The Custom Games hub won't be a simple dump for them, offering useful info like the 10 most popular games, what your friends are playing or have recently, and a lineup of suggested games which rotates every 30 minutes. Each Custom Game will have its own lobby page, where folks can find low-pinging people to play with. Compared to the Warcraft III custom games section where I first discovered DotA, it's... I could cry at how not-pigging-useless this is.
To get things rolling, Valve have made their own new mode, named Overthrow. It's a big old brawl with (or without) teams where you murder folks to score points against a timer. Valve say they'll have another mode of their own "in the coming weeks" and are happy for folks to tear 'em apart or build upon them to learn how to make modes. Here's a trailer for Overthrow:
As for making Custom Games, Valve have a new Hammer editor which looks a snap to use, along with editors for fiddling with textures, models, and particles. Scripting is handled with LUA, and folks can write their own UI bits too. Then creations go up onto the Steam Workshop for all to see and play.
Here's a look at the new Hammer:
Custom games have been kinda supported in Dota 2 for a while, but they required installing extra bits and were hidden away in a kinda rubbish place.
Valve will talk more about the new engine "later this week" then launch Dota 2 Reborn into open beta for all to play. For now, a fancy trailer for Custom Games (hey look, Pudge Wars!):