Dota 2, Greatsword of the Citadel


Greatsword of the Citadel

Heirloom of the Meranth family. Passed down from father to son for generations until hidden before the execution of Pallid Meranth to avoid confiscation by the Vigil Knights.   As the lore goes; Sven’s father Pallid Meranth was one of the Vigil Knights, who was executed because of violating the Vigil Codex (having a son, Sven, out of marriage).


Being a big fan of the art style in Dota 2, I was quite excited about Valve’s idea of getting the community to be part of the content creation.

This little project turned out to be a great opportunity to get into doing some cool designs and learning how to take them through the necessary steps for them to be implemented into Dota 2.
By being little late in the game, already a ton of documentation has been created on how to go about doing this and I didn’t really need to leave the Polycount community to learn the tricks. Valve has also worked a lot on making the process as artist friendly as possible.


As my first item, I started with something… not too ambitious. After picking a hero I wanted to create item for, in this case Sven, I started making some silhouette sketches to explore some sword ideas.

After picking my favorite, I created a value study and added the required detail. From there I went on to build the base mesh in Maya and to sculpt the high poly model in ZBrush.

I created a basic color blockout in Zbrush, which then got baked into the retopoed model in Xnormal. All in all, normal, cavity, ambient occlusion and the color map were baked in Xnormal.

By layering these maps inside Photoshop, I went on to create the final Color map with added hand painted textures.

Dota 2 shader also requires another two 32-bit targa files to be used as “masks”. All the 4 channels in these targa files contain greyscale masks that control the Dota 2 shader/material properties, such as reflectivity.

Geo: 400 triangles

Link to Steam Workshop:


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