Fresh, homemade DOTA 2 data!

By Lisa Schaeffer and Oscar Barda

An Introduction
We play an unreasonable amount of DOTA 2 here at Them Games. In fact, we play it so much that given our jobs as game makers, we couldn’t but notice that no new hero has been added to DOTA 1 since May 2013 (Nerif the Oracle and Kaolin the Earth Spirit were then ported to Dota 2 and modified but no new design has surfaced in the last 2 years).
But if you caught the DOTA train after the DOTA 2 stop, you might not know that Heroes used to be designed by the community. People would ping the designers or just add new heroes themselves (because DOTA was a map made in the Warcraft 3 editor so anyone could edit it).

Nowadays, Dota 2 belongs to Valve and although modding is being added as we speak, there will still always be an official DOTA 2 on one side (with millions of dollars in the balance) and community created maps, mods, and Heroes on the other.
So to herald the coming (back) of the age of people creating their own Heroes (and we’re probably going to be among them, teasing teasing teasing) we went on to compile a heap of informations about all these characters.
What kind of stats would be interesting, what conclusion do you make of them combined?
Note: We have a lot of ideas and this article will change very soon, send us your feedback!

Gradient Classification

DOTA 2 Heroes Gradient

Heroes Classification by Main Color
Click to fullview – Cliquez pour agrandir

DOTA 2 Heroes are designed by Valve with specific color palettes and settings.
For more information on Valve’s take on character design in DOTA 2, here’s the Official Character Guide, with explanations on the palettes, settings, silhouettes, and much more!
Now, what kind of useful information this homemade gradient classification can give us?
First, there aren’t a lot of Cyan/Green Characters, and a lot of Blue & Red ones.
We cannot say that it is a ‘Dire is red, Radiant is blue’ (Roshan is coming for you) separation as Heroes are mixed in both colors.
Second, most Heroines are in the blue-ish area, the four exceptions being Lina, Windranger, Enchantress, and Queen of Pain. Again, that is not really a hint for their alliegance, as Lina is on the Radiant side and Queen of Pain on the Dire side of life.

Races of DOTA 2

The goal of this table is to allow you to see what races and species already exist in the Dota 2 universe and get inspired (maybe you would like a character to be the cousin or the kin of another hero, or maybe they’d be the worst enemy of your favourite hero or a cursed Wildling or ride a Thunderhide?).

We’ll say our thanks to Hefaistus and 1337_n00b of the DOTA 2 Dev forum for this Lore Thread.
It’s not perfect: we grabbed information from comics, official lore, DOTA 2’s Gamepedia (thank you so much guys), facial features (like ears, eye shapes etc.) body types and body features (number of fingers, tails, fins etc.) and… Yes, personal cuts. We had to, really, there’s just not enough information to actually sort the 110 heroes (without even counting the two yet-to-be-released ones) without making some choices. Otherwise it would have been 110 individual rows.
Its race section is more than useful to understand how difficult it is to choose either a race or a category. For exemple:

  • Dazzle & Huskar are both from the Dezun Tribe.
  • Huskar has been brought back to life, he’s Undead, right?
  • But they both share physical Troll traits with Shadow Shaman & Troll Warlord.
  • What do??

Well, we had to choose, and it’s not perfect, but the lore isn’t either, yet is deepened with each new Hero. Stay alert!

Race Name Heroines & Heroes N# of Heroes
Keen Folk Alchemist Techies Sniper Tinker Clockwerk Gyrocopter Timbersaw 7
Oglodi Axe Disruptor Warlock 3
Ogres Ogre Magi [Alchemist’s Ogre] [Ogre Creeps] 1
Trolls Witch Doctor Troll Warlord Shadow Shaman Dazzle Huskar Batrider [Troll Creeps] 6
Celestials Storm Spirit Ember Spirit Earth Spirit Brewmaster 4
Undead Lifestealer Undying Wraith King Death Prophet Lich Clinkz Razor Necrophos Phantom Lancer Kunkka Vengeful Spirit Abaddon Pudge Pugna [Ghost Creeps] 14
Plants & Animals Broodmother Sand King Nyx Assassin Venomancer Weaver Treant Protector Ursa [Wolf Creeps] [Harpy Creeps] [Wildwing Creeps] [Hellbear Creeps] [Thunderhide Creeps] 7
Slithereen Slardar Naga Siren Tidehunter Slark 4
Godlike Zeus Io Medusa Elder Titan Phoenix Keeper of the Light 6
Humanoids Mirana Luna Lina Crystal Maiden Windranger Phantom Assassin Templar Assassin Legion Commander Beastmaster Chen Lone Druid Anti-Mage Sven Omniknight Dragon Knight Lycan Silencer Invoker 18
Skywrath Skywrath Mage 1
Gargoyles Visage 1
Demons Doom Shadow Demon Shadow Fiend Terrorblade Bane Queen of Pain Lion 7
Halfsteeds Centaur Warrunner (Centaur)
Enchantress (Dryad) Magnus (Magnoceroi) Leshrac (Prob Dryad)
Elementals Ancient Apparition Spirit Breaker Morphling Tiny Earthshaker Chaos Knight Spectre Nature’s Prophet Enigma [Golem Creeps] [Golem Ancient Creeps] 9
Drakes Jakiro Winter Wyvern Viper Puck [Dragon Ancient Creeps] 4
Uniques Tusk Juggernaut Oracle Meepo Drow Ranger Bloodseeker Dark Seer Rubick Outworld Devourer Bristleback Nightstalker Bounty Hunter Faceless Void 13
Satyrs Riki (Satyr) [Satyr Creeps] 1


  • Out of 18 Humanoids, only 4 are people of color: Chen, Windranger, Legion Commander, and Anti-Mage to an extent.
  • Lifestealer might be an Oglodi, according to a response from Bristleback.
  • Shadow Shaman is half something, half Hill Troll.
  • Brewmaster is half something, half Celestial.
  • Phantom Lancer might be dead.
  • Vengeful Spirit has been torn apart then ‘recreated’ into a pure form of Vengeance by the goddess Skree’auk.
  • Pugna might be an undead entity controlled by a juvenile but powerful Grandmaster whose Temple turned to ashes, and we do not know what became of his body… So Pugna the character could just be a vessel, mentally controlled by another person… Lore theories, I swear.
  • The Slithereen are an underwater, cross-species elite, between Nagas and others.
  • Elementals have a connection with nature, without being almighty like the Celestials. Chaos Knight embodies the battle of Darkness against Light. Nature’s Prophet is a seed planted by a goddess. And so on.
  • Uniques are the last of their species, such as the Juggernaut, last of the Faceless Ones, or Outworld Devourer, last keeper of the edge of the world… or we just don’t know, like Oracle or Dark Seer.

Heroes Repartition by Side per Attribute

DOTA 2 Heroes Gradient

Heroes Classification by Attributes
Click to fullview – Cliquez pour agrandir

[Radiant is Green – Dire is Red – Abyssal Underlord & Arc Warden have been added]
The repartition between attributes is fairly balanced:

  • There are more Radiant Heroes than Dire Heroes, so there can’t be any 50/50, but 59 to 51. That ain’t bad.
  • By Attribute: AGI 35 < STR 37 < INT 40
  • The main difference lies in the Strength Heroes, at 16 for the Dire and 21 for the Radiant.
  • There are more Intelligence Heroes
More stats on Attributes and Roles

Officially, Heroes and Heroines can have multiple roles, between Carry, Disabler, Lane Support, Initiator, Jungler, Durable, Nuker, Pusher, Escape, and Support.
For example, Sven has officially four roles: Disabler, Initiator, Carry, and Support.

On Strength Heroes
There are 37 Strength Heroes. Of these, the most prominent role is Durable with 29 Heroes.
This is noteworthy as ‘Durable’ isn’t a term widely used in the community vocabulary, compared to ‘Carry’, or ‘Support’. But it is logical, as Strength adds hit points.
There is only one Female Strength Hero, Legion Commander.
There are two Neutral Strength Heroes, Phoenix and Io.

On Agility Heroes
Most of Agility Heroes are Carry, with 29 Heroes sharing this role out of 35.
This is the category in which there are the most Female Heroes, up to 9, almost all of them having mainly a Carry role.

On Intelligence Heroes
In this category, 26 out of 40 have a Nuker role. ‘Nuker’ is used, but ‘Ganker’ is way more used in the community.
Here, there are most of Neutral Heroes: Puck, Visage, and Ancient Apparition.
Also, here is the rest of Female Heroes, up to 7.

Heroes Repartition by Gender per Side

DOTA 2 Heroes Gradient

Heroes Classification by Gender
Click to fullview – Cliquez pour agrandir

[Neutrals are Green – Females are Blue – Males are Red]
This pie chart is far more interesting, as it shows us the repartition by gender of all Heroes.
For example, Broodmother as the feminine pronouns (she/her), she’s female. Puck has neutral pronouns (it/its), it’s neutral.
Males are pretty obvious.

  • Ok, so we’ve got a lot of dudes here, but combined with what we know of the races, few of them are Human-like (10 out of 87) the rest beings Insectoids, Elementals, and the likes.
  • Totally on the contrary, nearly half of the Heroines are Humans (8 out of 18). Is there a lack of imagination in Heroines Designs? Maaaaybe. It’s noteworthy that Death Prophet, Naga Siren, and Queen of Pain have Human-like features.
  • Again on the Heroines, there’s a clear majority on the Radiant Side, with two third, and one third on the Dire Side. All Dire Heroines are non-Humans.
  • Now, on the Neutrals: they aren’t a lot, but they matter.
    Most DOTA 2 players think Puck is female because of its voice actress. Its creature design tending toward blue and purple/pink colors would confirm that, but the lore says clearly ‘it’.
    Another case would be Visage, why would it be Neutral while most of Heroes don’t have more male attributes in their designs? For example, Viper, Outworld Devourer, or Morphling? We’ll never know.

As you can see, DOTA 2 has a lot of different races and backgrounds, yet genders are still pretty much like they are on Earth: males, females, and some animals or otherworldly entities that just don’t like to be called either he or she.
We at Them Games feel that there are too many dicks on the dancefloor and urge you, if you were to create some new heroes for DOTA 2, to create Big women, old women, tall and short neutral people, various shapes and races and colors! Make the world of DOTA 2 a weird and interesting one to play in! It’s a game in which you can play an Undead Oglodi, a Greek god, and monsters from the infinite corners of the universe…
Why not a more diverse crowd?

Petits essais dessinés ep.7 Le sens de l’urgence

Oscar (@Osskx) aborde une problématique du game design :
comment faire ressentir l’urgence dans un jeu ?

Forces du Mal menaçant de conquérir le monde en 200 heures de jeu ; explosions de vaisseaux à rallonge ; énigmes infinies… Toute la cohésion d’une histoire est en jeu lors de ces moments critiques, alors qu’elles sont les pièges à éviter et les pistes possibles d’amélioration ?

Et n’oubliez pas de venir nous dire ce que vous en pensez sur les réseaux sociaux !
Ici pour Twitter
Ici pour Facebook !
Ou sur notre site

The Legend of Zelda : Ocarina of Time
Broken Age, Double Fine
The Witcher 3 :
Red Dead Redemptio
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Un Béluga
Massive Chalice
Fable III

A très bientôt pour de nouvelles vidéos !

Petits essais dessinés ep.6 Le controller hacking et les expositions de jeux vidéo

Oscar Barda (@Osskx) regarde en détail ce que c’est que le controller hacking et sa place dans l’avenir du jeu vidéo et plus spécifiquement des expositions de jeu vidéo ! En bonus, Oscar nous présente des exemples qu’il a filmé lors de Alt ctrl GDC.

Où trouver des jeux avec du controller hacking ou du controller modding ?
ALT CTRL GDC (Los Angeles – États-Unis)

A MAZE. FESTIVAL (Berlin – Allemagne)

ZOO MACHINES (Tourcoing – France)

Et n’oubliez pas de venir nous dire ce que vous en pensez sur les réseaux sociaux !
Ici pour Twitter
Ici pour Facebook !

A très bientôt !

Petits Essais Dessinés Ep.5 : La pédagogie dans le jeu

Oscar Barda (@Osskx) fait petit topo sur l’intelligence intuitive, l’intelligence déductive et comment les jeux vous apprennent des choses.

(Ludo-éducatif) Adibou

(Ludo-éducatif) L’odyssée des Zombinis

(Serious-Game) Dragonbox Algebra

(Serious-Game) The Best Amendement

Et n’oubliez pas de venir nous dire ce que vous en pensez sur les réseaux sociaux !
Ici pour Twitter
Ici pour Facebook !

A très bientôt !

Petits essais dessinés Ep.4 : La culture du jeu vidéo

Aujourd’hui on discute d’un outil que nous sommes en train de créer : la carte du monde du jeu vidéo.
Dans le petit essai dessiné de cette semaine, Oscar vous la présente et vous l’explique :

Voici la carte :
La culture du jeu vidéo

Alors rendez-vous dans les commentaires, sur Youtube ou sur les réseaux sociaux pour nous filer un coup de main !

A non-exhaustive list of Game-Jam-made games

Game Jam Preserve

Game Jam – Oscar Barda

By Lisa Schaeffer

Here it comes, a new article from Them Games!

So we went looking over the internet but could not, for the life of us, find a list of video games made during game jams – a sort of compendium of success stories if you will !

Of course, this list is far from complete, and will be updated as jams and time pass.

Drop us some names in the comments or by email, we’ll be pleased to add them!

So here it is, in all its glory:

Classroom Aquatic Oculus VR Jam 2013 Steam, Oculus Rift
0rbitalis LD28 You Only Get One Steam
Evoland LD24 Evolution Steam, GOG
Surgeon Simulator Global Game Jam iOS, Android, PS4, Steam
/ Escape \ LD 21 Escape iOS, Android
Sputnik Panik Flappy Jam Android, iOS, Ouya
Gods Will be Watching LD26 Minimalism Steam
Deadcore (Deadlock) 7DFPS Jam Steam, Desura
Inside my Radio LD23 Tiny World “Digital Stores”
Costume Quest Amnesia Fortnight Double Fine iOS, XBLA, PS3, Steam, Linux
Stacking Amnesia Fortnight Double Fine PS3, PC, OSX, Linux, 360
Goat Simulator Coffee Stain Studios jam Steam, iOS, Android
1 shot 1 kill LD28 You Only Get One PC, OSX, Linux, Browser
TRI : Of Frienship & Madness LD20 It’s Dangerous, Take This! Steam, GOG,, Humble
qbqbqb LD26 Minimalism Steam, Humble, iOS, Android
The Sun and Moon LD29 Beneath the Surface Steam
Titan Souls LD28 You Only Get One PC, OSX, PS4, Linux, PSVita
Broforce LD23 Tiny World Steam, Humble
Retro Game Crunch LD24 Evolution Steam, Humble
KRUNCH MiniLD21 Greatest Fear Steam, Humble
Dynamite Jack LD6 Light&Darkness Steam, Humble, iPad
Galcon Fusion LD8 Swarms Steam, iOS, Humble
Galcon Legends LD8 Swarms Steam, Humble
Galcon 2 LD8 Swarms Steam, iOS, Android
McPixel LD21 Escape Steam, Humble, Android, iOS
Mini Metro LD26 Minimalism Steam, Humble
Color Zen LargeAnimalsGames Pjct Days 3DS, iOS, Wii U
TinyHawk LD11 Minimalist iOS, Browser, PSN
Fishslap MiniLD24 Pick’n’Mix Android
Super t i m e Force Toronto, Ontario Game Jam 2011 XBLA, PS4, Vita
Connected Words LD30 Connected Worlds Android, Browser
Soccertron LD28 You Only Get One Steam
Dodge LD26 Minimalism Browser, Steam Greenlight
Vaults inc LD29 Beneath the Surface Still in dev (PC, Mac, Android, iOS)
Singular LD28 You Only Get One, iOS, Android
In vivo LD27 10 Seconds Humble,
Bad Hotel LD20 It’s Dangerous to go Alone! Take this! Steam, iOS, Android
Vox LD23 Tiny World Steam, Desura
Quiet, please! LD22 Alone PSMobile, Android, iOS
Expand Adelaide GamesDevClub Jam ‘10 Windows, OSX, Linux
Even The Stars Space Cowboy Game Jam Windows, OSX, Linux
Mew-genics LD24 Evolution  
Offspring Fling 2011 Game Jeam ‘Motherhood’ Steam, Desura, own store
Darknet (Ciess) Oculus/Indiecade VR Jam Oculus + ?
The Binding of Isaac Procedural Death Jam Steam, PSVita, PS4
Pew*9 Global Game Jam 2011 XBLIG
Hex Heroes School Jam 2013 PC, OSX, Linux, Wii U
The Last Night Cyberpunk Jam 2014 In dev
Super Hexagon (Hexagon) One day Jam Game Steam
Hot Tin Roof One Game a Month Steam, GOG, Humble
In Tune BoobJam In dev
Hexagarden LD24 Evolution In dev
Hoplite 7DRL iOS, Android
Wojna Taniec Hits Playtime In dev
Kawiteros One day Jam Game Steam
Spacebase DF-9 Amnesia Fortnight Steam, Humble
Hack’n’Slash Amnesia Fortnight Steam
TowerFall: Ascension 48H Game Jam (?) Steam, PS4, Ouya
I Am Bread Bossa Studios Internal Jam Steam
The Lamp & The Vamp Procedural Death Jam iOS, Android
Sublevel Zero LD29 Beneath the Surface Steam
Dark Echo LD26 Minimalism Greenlight, iOS, Android
Eufloria (Dyson) 2008 TIGSource Procedural Generation PC, OSX, Linux iOS, Android, PSN
VA-11 HALL-A 2014 Cyberpunk Jam PC, OSX, Linux, iOS, Vita
Please, Don’t Touch Anything LD31 Entire Game on One Screen PC

Art movements in video games, an introduction

«Someone who thinks games are not culturally interesting is illiterate. It’s 2014. Be a snob, not an apologist.» – Eric Zimmerman

When I talk about Art movements, I imply that games are Art. This first article is not mandatory in the series but, I will lay down foundations and will be going through the different tools I use every day talking about games to a general audience (which is my job) often ignorant (and sometimes very dismissive) of video games. You might therefore find in this section a good selection of vulgarised ideas to use on your uncle who only sort of gets technology and literally plays zero video games in order for you to gain his approval on your way of life.

    A foreword of advice

When I introduce video games as an artform, I answer the question straight away: they are.

If global warming has taught us anything it’s that close minded people are not accustomed to the precaution of vocabulary any scientific method commends. You need to express the consensus in simple and direct terms, with certainty if needed. If you are proved to be wrong in the future, do correct yourself but if at a given time, global warming strongly seems at 97% to be human caused say it is. Don’t lose yourself in jargon defending “a very likely theory”. Say “the science is certain and irrevocable, it is”. You are the knowledgeable person on the matter, act like it and make your point before presenting yourself as just another member of an ongoing conversation where everyone has their equal say even.

«Are games Art?»

«Well, the consensus is that it’s likely even though in the industry many people still think that…» no, skip this part and go straight to this one:

Music is aesthetic meaning from sound, Pictural Art is beauty born of visual representations through paint or drawing, architecture is giving meaning to a traverssable sculpture and games are the art of giving humans something to do. Their meaning is coded in rules and abstract propositions and is expressed, made apparent and senseful through active participation in an experience.

Monopoly, Pong, Rugby, all give you something to do and you derive meaning and aesthetic through acting out their rules.

What the game of Go says about the human condition is in its ruleset and remains consistent while played with beer caps or on an ivory board just as Mona Lisa would be the same painting while shown at Le Louvre or in the Amazonian jungle. Context is context, not the piece itself. Even though Go’s meaning is, as all Art’s is, open to interpretation.

    Disclaimer and retenue

Take heed though: saying games are an art-form does not mean every game is Art: much like not every movie is Art, nor is every book or dance move, theatre piece or music track… The vast majority of games played in the world is likely to be non-formalised: you play with water under the shower, run your fingers on the edge of a bench, try to avoid walking on certain-coloured pavements…

And even in the products that come to market, the vast majority of them are kitsch: a dumbed down expression of the art-form, reduced to it’s barely-meaningful parts.

The kitsch paintings of yore were the reduction of the Art of painting to a mass-produced, landscape-adorned, decoration object. When they originated in industrialising Europe around the 1860s to cater to the demands an ever-rising middle-class of bourgeoning bourgeoisie trying to mimic the richer aristocrats, kitch painting became that decorative less-than-Art, non-meaningful or talk-worthy, utterly conventional class of objects that resemble great museum pieces in many ways but carry as little meaning as possible. Kitsch exists everywhere, in every media and art-form and is made to be absolutely and unreservedly non-thought-provoking. Most games are Kitsch but not all of them are.

Transformers is kitsch

Twilight is kitsch

Pop culture is built on kitsch.

And if you (or your uncle) can’t point to a piece of Art in the field of video games, think of it like this: when the Lascaux paintings were made, could anyone point to a masterpiece of a painting? Likely not at the time but it did not mean that painting could not be an art-form, just that in this precise context, no œuvre was known to the early wielders of pigments that could be pointed to as an illustration of a realised potential. It likely took literature, dance, sculpture or music millennia to mature, don’t expect video games to do so in 40 years.

Video games have not been here for long and not being able to point to a chef-d’œuvre of the field does not mean there can be none.

    The gamey-game part

While talking about Art movements in games, we will examine the game-part of the pieces evoked. If you’d allow me, I will illustrate this with a game most everyone has played or seen enough of: the first Mario Bros.

The game-art underlying the piece, is making you jump and avoid obstacles, it is making you reflect on a projection of yourself moving through perilous environments and the emotions born of it. That is what I will be talking about and analysing.

Now “Platformers” are a genre, they are not really an Art movement: they have many of the qualities movements have had in the past: they adhere to a ruleset of stylistic and thematic approaches, have an underlying theme of peril generally running through them and express it mostly through a set of tools and techniques (pixel art, fixed cut 2D perspectives) that say something about what it means to be human and how games should treat them according to the genre, but their expression comes from somewhere deeper.

Mario is the piece

Platformer is the genre it inhabits like still-life or thrillers.

Pixel art, chip tune, 2D are the techniques, like paintbrush or charcoal drawing, like handwritten or printed, like what instrument is playing the music you’re hearing.

What Art movement does Mario belong to? I don’t really think it belongs anywhere… It’s a piece that stands as an exploration of possibilities in a barely born medium and is therefore quoted to illustrate what I mean by “game part” rather than to tease a first movement.

We might note here that some Art movements, techniques, and historical moments are linked (like impressionism and oil painting around a certain period or baroque music and clavecin, gothic architecture and stone) but the are not necessities of one another. One could make a impressionist drawing, a 3D platformer or a plastic church in the purest flamboyant-gothic style.

In this exploration of the young art-form of video games, we will try to pinpoint these early Art movements, some of the ones I find interesting or worth talking about for what they have achieved or what they say about us, humans playing with them.

The first upcoming article in this series will be about the first one we identified at a café in the middle of the summer of 2012 with Heather Kelley, Brandon Boyer, Alex Fleetwood, David Calvo and my humble self from a pun I had made earlier coining Journey, Dear Esther and Gone Home as “Justwalkingism”.

I will, as I have done in this too-lengthy-of-an-introduction use many hazardous metaphors and comparisons to help me make my point, they are not to be taken at face value but rather understood as a way to help us all think of games in another light and try to formalise the premises of a grammar of video games that I have been willing to start writing about for too fucking long.


If you wish to participate in the conversation, feel free to do so in the comments, on our facebook page, harangue us on twitter or mail me at oscar@ ourwebsite adress which is