In a new developer update yesterday, Jeff Kaplan described a brand new feature coming soon to Overwatch. The new mode, called The Workshop, is an expansion of the game browser and will give players an insane amount of powerful tools to create almost any game mode imaginable within Overwatch. The system is broken down in the developer update, which you can check out below. Fair warning, even Kaplan himself says the system is fairly complex.
According to Kaplan, “The Workshop is a scripting mode that will allow you to make custom game modes within the custom game browser but also allow you to do really cool things. For example, you could even prototype your own Overwatch hero using this system.” Kaplan believes that the new feature will most appeal to those who have experience in programming or scripting, though the developers have made the system as user-friendly as possible, despite it being so powerful.
The mode is accessible from the game browser menus, and the new interface will pop up when creating a custom game. The interface will allow you to further customize created or premade game modes, such as Elimination or Mystery Heroes, by creating a script. The script must contain a rule, which is applied to an event in the game (such as a player death or an elimination), optional conditions (which further pinpoint when your script will occur), and finally an action (which is what happens when all of the conditions are met).
If this sounds a little complex, don’t worry, it is! Luckily, a post on the Play Overwatch site breaks everything down in detail so you can start creating games in no time. The developers have even gone ahead and created some special game modes that are both fun to play and will help you get a sense of how a script is formulated. The mode will also have a custom debugger, called the Workshop Inspector, which will give a report listing exactly why certain things are happening (or not happening) in the game. If all else fails, a special forum will be launched on the Blizzard website to talk with developers and other players to get your games running smoothly.
Currently, the Workshop is only available in the PTR on PC but will be coming to the live servers on both PC and console. If you’re worried about creating the perfect game mode in the PTR and then having to start over from scratch on the live servers, worry not! Once you’ve perfected your mode, you can save it and get a custom code, usable for six months after creation, which can be keyed into the live servers after it launches to load the script, ready to save for future use.