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Dota 2 Polycount Contest

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No, you are not dreaming this - we are teaming up with Valve yet again for another contest!

Just like when we teamed up with Valve for the TF2 Polycount Pack, we're kicking off a brand new contest for Valve's Dota 2 where the winners will have their entries included in the Dota 2 store for a chance to earn some money from their Dota 2 Hero item set. If the TF2 Polycount Pack results are any indication, to most of you this has just become a pretty big deal.

Let's not waste any more time and get right to the goods...


  • This is a 3D modeling & texturing contest for Valve's Dota 2.
  • For the Dota 2 Polycount Contest, participants will create fully modeled & textured, completely original item sets for a Dota 2 Hero of their choice, chosen from the list below. Each Hero has a varying number of items they have available to them. For this contest, you must create an item set that consists of a minimum of 3 items.
  • The deadline for this contest is November 19th, 2012 @ 11:59PM EST (UPDATED!) December 3rd, 2012 @ 11:59PM EST
  • The Dota 2 Polycount Contest winners will be announced December 3rd, 2012 (UPDATED) December 10th, 2012. That's right - just like we did with the Team Fortress 2 'Polycount Pack' we're telling you right now, right here when the winners will be announced.
  • All submissions must be original and cannot contain elements from copyrighted works, reference to other IP's, or use of any images or material you do not own. So please, be original & creative and don't copy & paste your way to a submission!
  • You may team up with as many artists / concept artists as you like for this contest. If you do team up wth others please pay special attention to the Submitting guideline noted below!
  • You must be signed up and registered on Steam to enter this contest.
  • You will need Dota 2 (or the Dota 2 Spectator client, which is free for everyone) to upload and submit your entry to the Dota 2 Workshop and be considered for this contest. The spectator client is available from the Steam Dota 2 page here. The spectator client will not work with anyone who has a 'limited' Steam account - meaning they've never spent money on Steam and have only ever used free software).
  • All submissions to the Steam Workshop for this contest must be final. Use your WIP thread on Polycount to show your work-in-progress.
    • Please see Creating, Presenting and Submitting your Entry below for more information
  • You must be a member of Polycount to enter this contest.
    • Please see Creating, Presenting and Submitting your Entry below for more information
  • You must create and maintain a Work-In-Progress (WIP) thread for your entry in our Contest & Challenges forum.
    • Please see Creating, Presenting and Submitting your Entry below for more information




Every single Hero in Dota has a specific list of specifications & guidelines for creating item sets. Please read this page here. When creating your item set for your chosen Hero, they should all be within a cohesive, original design.

In addition to their specific list of specifications, every Hero item set has a general set of requirements that will need to be completed. These tasks are a standard for all Dota 2 Workshop submissions. Below is a quick list of those requirements, but make sure you read the entire Dota 2 Workshop page. It outlines these requirements in detail, as well as has individual specification pages for the Hero you choose for this contest.

  • Hero models and requirements for hero’s items are available on each hero’s page.
  • Each item in the set should follow geometry and texture requirements on hero’s page.
  • The accepted format is .SMD, .DMX or .FBX for models and .TGA for textures.
  • Each item should have 2 levels of detail models (LOD).
  • Each item should have color, normal, mask1 and mask2 textures to be accepted.
  • You have 6 weeks to complete your Dota 2 Hero item set and submit it.
  • Submission is done via in-game submission tool which enforces the requirements above.

When you're ready, choose your Hero from the list below and check out their specifications page by clicking on your chosen Hero. Entries for the Dota 2 Polycount Contest must adhere to these guidelines.

The Heroes you can choose from for this contest are:


  • Antimage
    Crystal Maiden
    Death Prophet
    Doom Bringer
    Drow Ranger
    Faceless Void
    Lone Druid
    Naga Siren
    Nyx Assassin
    Ogre Magi
    Outworld Destroyer
    Phantom Assassin
    Phantom Lancer
    Queen of Pain
    Sand King
    Shadow Shaman
    Skeleton King
    Spirit Breaker
    Templar Assassin
    Witch Doctor


It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT you read the page linked above (here it is again). Right below the list of characters are the specific 'general' requirements for all Heroes. Within each character page is not only the character specific specifications but a download for the model & texture files for each Hero.


If you have any questions regarding this information feel free to ask about it in our Q&A Thread.




The process you will go through for this contest is 3 parts: Creating your submission, presenting it, and submitting it for final judging.


When you begin to work on your Hero item set there are some things you will need to do.

  1. If you haven't already, sign up for a Steam account. This will be required when it comes time to submit as you'll be submitting to the Steam Workshop via Dota 2
  2. If you are not part of the Dota 2 closed beta, you can download the free Dota 2 Spectator Client. The Spectator Client will allow you to import, preview and submit your models to the Dota 2 Workshop.
  3. Sign up and join the videogame art community, Polycount. If you're in to 3D modeling or texturing for videogames, you'll like it here at Polycount - promise! We have 40,000+ members with virtually every videogame studio's talent represented in some way shape or form within our forum.
  4. Create a work-in-progress (WIP) thread in our Dota 2 Polycount Contest forum. But please, use the following layout for your thread title:
    1. [Dota2] - Hero Name - Item Set name
    2. Example: [Dota2] - Ogre Magi - Aggron's Fury
  5. Update your WIP thread as much as you can! Showing your progress is very important. You cannot simply sign up today and then post your final submission 6 weeks from now. Showing your progress will not only motivate you to finish, but it will allow the community to offer words of wisdom. That, and it will show the guys & gals at Valve that you truly did make your entry for this contest and didn't have it tucked away on your hard-drive somewhere collecting dust waiting for the opportune time to cash in.
  6. 1 thread per item set. Any submissions being worked on by multiple artists must be posted to 1 WIP thread only. Do not create 1 thread per artist on a team.
  7. As you're working, be sure to follow the guidelines for your Hero. The model of your hero is available for download on your Hero's page. Feel free to use it in your WIP thread images.

A note for new users to Polycount: First off - welcome! We're really glad to see you've decided to sign up and enter this contest with us and Valve. When you first sign up and register with Polycount you will receive a PM on the site from our Administrator, 'adam'. It outlines instructions on how to have your account moderated so you can begin posting. (Essentially, you should make a post here saying hello and why you've joined Polycount). From there, our moderator team with moderate your post, and open your account fully to the site. In the mean time, you will have limited capabilities while on Polycount. If your account hasn't been activated, you may work on your entry in the mean time and it should be activated within 24 hours of registering. Thank you and again - welcome to Polycount!


Ultimately presentation for your item set is up to you. Your goal should be to create an attractive presentation that engages the interest of the community and the judges. There's plenty of examples of presentations already up on the Dota 2 Workshop.


Submitting your artwork to the Dota 2 Workshop is a beautiful thing. If you follow the guidelines for your character not only will your artwork be uploaded easily, but it will be setup on the Hero and work with their animations immediately. No more requirements for rigging and / or animation knowledge.

Submission guidelines & instructions are straight forward and found on the Dota 2 Workshop website. When submitting do not forget the following

  • If you are not in the Dota 2 beta, download and install Dota 2 spectator client from the Dota 2 steam page. You will use it to upload & submit your entry to the Contest as outlined in the Workshop page.
  • Your submission through the Workshop includes the tag 'Polycount'. If this is absent your entry will not be considered for the Dota 2 Polycount contest. There will be a Polycount check-box during the submission process, via Dota 2 / the Spectator Client
  • Your submission includes the link to your Polycount Forum thread for this contest. Please add this to the box where you supply a description of your item set.
  • Your completed, original, Hero item set.
  • Your model is to the specifications outlined in its guideline.
  • You have created the appropriate LOD's for your item set.
  • You are submitting with the accepted file formats.
  • Via the Workshop Steam page, you elect the Steam accounts of the people you teamed up with for your entry and will apportion them the appropriate % of royalty they will receive from your winning entries earnings. You will be prompted to do this once your entry is submitted through Dota 2 or the Spectator Client





Dota 2 is a multiplayer Action RTS game. It began as a user-made modification for Warcraft 3 and has grown into one of the most played online games in the world. Dota 2 is scheduled for a 2012 release on the PC and Mac.



Valve will decide the winners for the'Best Overall' and 'Top 10 Overall'. The 'Best Overall' will be given to the most 'stand-out' item set as per Valve's discretion. From there, the Top 10 Overall item sets will be announced as the winners of the Dota 2 Polycount Contest

We're proud to announce this ahead of time: The winners of the Dota 2 Polycount Contest will be announced December 10th, 2012



Pfft... you entered this contest because making game art is fun and Valve is cool. So yeah, no prizes. Sorry. They'll just send you some confetti in an envelope you can toss over your head yourself. Youtube it or something.

Huh? Oh it says here there will be prizes. We nearly forgot to include this part - phew!

  • Each winner will have their items sold in the DOTA 2 store and will receive royalty payments from their items.
    • As a reminder, here is a page about the Polycount Pack TF2 Contest winners and how they fared. (But this is not a guarantee of that kind of earnings.)
    • You may divvy up your royalty portion amongst your team-mates as you see fit. (See Submitting above).
  • Special Polycount rarity versions of their items - above & beyond the self-made rare items already in the game.




As a way of showing support for the 3D game art community and Polycount, Valve has decided to give an additional 5% of revenue from all Polycount Contest items sold on the Dota 2 store to Polycount.com. They know we're looking to do some large updates to Polycount and the 5% revenue of Valve's earnings will enable us to do just that. Thank you Valve for the support!

(Important note: This 5% is not taken away from the Polycount Dota 2 Contest Winners share, but rather taken from Valve's share as a donation to Polycount. Everyone wins!)

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