Valve opened the gates on the 2018 Dota 2 short film contest at the end of May, and fans of the MOBA wasted no time submitting their videos. Passion aside, it's not hard to see why: the top submissions will be featured in The International 2018 Battle Pass, and the winners will be shown on-stage at The International itself. There's also some sizable prize money up for grabs: $25,000 to first place, $10,000 to second place, $5,000 to third place, and $500 to the rest of the top 10.
There are only a few simple rules on submissions, which you can read in full here. The key points are that entries must be 90 seconds or less, they must be original films created for the contest, and they must pertain to Dota 2. Notably, they "can use any form or combination of animation or live-action," so using Valve's popular Source Filmmaker is not a requirement. This year's entries hit the whole spectrum of techniques, but the past few days in particular have seen some stunning animated films, presumably because animation is hard and these things needed every second in the oven that they could get (the contest entry period closed yesterday morning). Here are four of the best:
Ursa Minor, by Alexander Frey and his team.
On The Cliff, by Keller Max and his team.
Kobold Blues, by Erick Wright and his team.
The Final 88 Seconds of an 8-Hour Game, also by Erick Wright and his team (multiple submissions are allowed).