Blizzard Entertainment has announced an exciting new feature coming to Overwatch, the Workshop. This new game mode is accessible to players in the game browser, and is a “simplified game scripting system” that will allow players to make custom game modes within the custom game browser. Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan announced the new feature in the latest Overwatch developer update, which you can watch below.
Kaplan explained that two of Overwatch’s amazing programmers created the Workshop as a passion project during some of their free time. The new feature is an adapted version of the system Blizzard uses to create Overwatch, with a custom layer of interface and scripting on top of it.
It’s important to note that Kaplan has described the new feature as speaking primarily to “power users” — essentially individuals that have prior experience with programming and scripting engines. That’s not to say that people without programming experience shouldn’t try the Workshop, you absolutely should, but don’t approach it with the expectation that its a map editor, because you’re likely to be disappointed. “It mainly allows you to control the game logic behind game modes and what’s happening to heroes,” said Kaplan. He also noted that they tried to make the Workshop as accessible as possible to all players, not just the programmers of the world.
Blizzard is creating a new special forum for the Workshop specifically, that will allow players to interact with Overwatch developers and ask questions about how to use the new feature. They’re also adding a few examples to the new area of the game browser. This will provide players will the ability to dissect certain maps and game modes, and see how they’re created using different variables and scripts. One such example of a game mode created with the Workshop is Molten Floor. In this game mode any player that touches the floor takes fire damage, sort of like the game most people played with pillows in their living room as a kid.
To create a script players must first add a rule. To create a rule players much select an event, (which dictates when the rule will be executed), following by a condition (a list of things that must be true before the rule can execute) and finally an action (what occurs when the event and condition associated with the rule have occurred). This may sound a bit complicated for those of us who are new to programing, thankfully Blizzard is providing a debugger that will check your script once its completed, and let you know why it may be failing to execute properly. The Blizzard news post introducing the Workshop provides in-depth instruction of the entire process here.
Workshop will eventually be available to players on both console and PC, currently its only available on the PTR for PC players. All the work you create on the PTR will be able to be copied over to Overwatch Live, using a share feature Blizzard has added to the game.