While most titles from Blizzard receive years of love and support, Diablo stayed in the shadows. Abandoned in favor of a sequel, it remained full of bugs and unfinished potential. The game was last patched in 2001 before being discontinued altogether, a problem I wanted to fix. I played Diablo extensively as a teenager, but as time passed it became difficult to run the game on newer hardware. The lack of many improvements found in the sequel also kept it from aging well. At first the game appeared to be a lost cause, but thankfully a little oversight in 1997 made it not so.
With Diablo's development team moving on the source code was given to Synergistic Software to handle the expansion. Less known however is that it was also given to Climax Studios to create a PlayStation port. Now Sony has long been known for letting things slide; especially in Japan. Anything from leaking prototypes to full source code and Diablo was no exception. Symbolic information was accidentally left on the Japanese port. Normally used for debugging, a symbol file contains a map of everything generated during compile time. This includes file names, functions, structures, variables, and more! To top it all off a special build is hidden on the PC release in DIABDAT.MPQ -> D1221A.MPQ -> DIABLO.EXE! This build contains debug tools and assert strings further giving away code information.
After months of piecing these mistakes together, Devilution was born. I present to you a reconstructed form of Diablo's original source code! Once more shall the heroes of Sanctuary return to the depths below!
Having the source code makes Diablo much easier to update and maintain. For years mod-makers had to rely on tedious code editing and memory injection. A few even went further and reversed most or all of the game. The problem is that they rarely shared their work. Usually being a one-person job, they move on with their lives due to the amount of time required or lack of interest. This brings us back to square one having to do countless hours of work all over again. Devilution aims to fix this by finally making the source code open to the community.
In order to ensure that everything is preserved, Devilution keeps everything as it was originally designed. This goes as far as bugs and badly written code in the original game. With that it serves as a base for developers to work with making it much easier than before to update, fix, and port the game to other platforms.
As a side goal Devilution tries to document the unused and cut content from the final game. Development of Diablo was rushed near the end--many ideas were scrapped and multiplayer was quickly hacked in. By examining the source, we can see various quirks of planned development.
Edited by lydon, 15 August 2018 - 09:10 AM.