Overwatch Workshop Announced


by in General | Apr, 25th 2019

We’ve all become accustomed to Blizzard’s strange way of doing this, and in this case, “strange” doesn’t necessarily mean bad. Not in the slightest. They’re just not a company that likes to do things the same way as everyone else. Case in point — Blizzard just announced the Overwatch Workshop, a special tool that will enable players to create custom game modes free of charge and share them with the community across multiple platforms.

Just like that, without any announcement beforehand. Without any sign of what was “cooking” behind the scenes. And it’s not like this is a negligible addition either; something that’s going to cause a small splash and be forgotten in a week’s time. No, this is absolutely huge and will likely infuse a ton of life into Overwatch’s already active community.

The Origin of the Workshop

How did such an incredible thing come to fruition? Well, in true Blizzard fashion, it almost sounds like a joke. Jeff Kaplan said that two of their programmers (two stand-up dudes — Dan and Keith) were given some free time to come up with anything they wanted to. So they basically created a playground that allows for a virtually infinite number of possibilities. While such tools already exist in other titles and are by no means a rarity in gaming, it’s still surprising to see it in Overwatch, especially in such a polished state.

The Workshop itself is a “scripting environment that will allow players to create custom modes.” It will allow players to control the logic of the game and how things unfold in real-time. But what can one actually do in the Overwatch Workshop? By the looks of it, the number of possibilities is only limited by your own creativity. You can already play in a “Mirror Match-Up” game mode, where every player plays the same hero for a minute, after which the state of the game resets and you get another hero. Another player created a custom mode where you’re constantly moving through a thick layer of fog, and you’re never fully sure when (or where) you’re going to meet up against an opposing player.

I made the “Advanced Widow HS” mode. Where you teleport to the place of the enemy you kill. It makes for some very awesome highlights. from r/Overwatch

Finally, the Overwatch Workshop is being shipped with the Workshop Inspector, a custom-built debugger that will allow you to run your game mode and immediately see why certain things aren’t happening — it will highlight the kinks in your code and allow you to iron them out before finishing your custom game mode.

Blizzard will also ship a couple of built-in game modes with the Overwatch Workshop so that players can instantly tweak already existing ideas.  

Perhaps the most surprising thing is that the Overwatch Workshop isn’t limited to just PC — console gamers will actually get to have some fun as well!  

The Overwatch Workshop is currently available on the Overwatch PTR (Public Test Region), and you can experiment to your heart’s content. Also, if you’ve created something what you deem is spectacular, don’t fret! You’ll be able to directly copy your custom game mode from the PTR to live servers once the Workshop gets released worldwide.

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