The original Diablo is still very much a favorite of mine 20 years after its release. There’s just something amazingly fun about this dungeon-crawler that sticks with me even today. And I’m not the only one, as the modding community has constantly been tinkering and toying with the original and its sequels to come up with some pretty cool things. Know what else is cool? Someone finally managed to reverse-engineer the source code!
A coder by the handle of GalaxyHaxz spent over 1,200 hours over the course of 6-12 months to obtain the source code with his project, “Devilution”. Keep in mind that this source code won’t give you a free copy of the original game when you compile it (even though Blizzard stopped updating and selling the original back in 2001). The whole point of the reverse-engineering was to make things easier for the modding community when it comes to creating their mods.
“For years mod-makers had to rely on tedious code editing and memory injection. A few even went even further and reversed a good chunk of the game,” explains GalaxyHaxz. “The problem is that they never released their sources. Usually being a one-man job, they move on with their lives inevitably due to the amount of time/work required or lack of interest. This leaves people with a half-finished mod; one which had countless hours put into it, but left full of bugs and unfinished potential. So we’re back to square one. Devilution aims to fix this, by making the source code of Diablo freely available to all.”
As the goal was to reproduce the 1996 code as accurately as possible, bugs and all, there’s a unique bonus with this: Fans get a look at the development of the game. For those that don’t know, development of Diablo was rushed near the end, with many ideas being scrapped and the multiplayer component being a quick hack job. “By examining the source, we can see various quirks of planned development.”