Someone Is Programming The Original Diablo From Scratch

Someone Is Programming The Original Diablo From Scratch

Diablo III might be doing a good job of quenching your thirst for action RPGs today, but let’s not forget its humble origins: Rogue. Ahem, sorry, the first Diablo. You may rarely feel the urge to play the 90s classic, however, if you do in the future, you might want to check out Freeablo — a cross-platform rewrite of the game’s engine that’s in the works.

A user by the handle “wheybags” announced the project on Reddit a few days ago and linked to an, uh, official website and the GitHub repository where the rewrite’s code resides. Yep, it’s open source under GPL.

Now, this isn’t the whole game — just the bits that put the data on the screen and allow you to play with it. You’ll need to original files to do anything with Freeablo and even then it’s barely playable.

The biggest issue I can see — other than the monumental task of reverse-engineering Diablo — is Blizzard itself. The company has a reputation for fiercely protection its brands, even chasing after things no sensible person would consider harmful.

I’m not sure if Blizzard would shut a project like this down, but I certainly wouldn’t discount the possibility.

Freeablo [Official site, via Reddit]


    • Why not? Preserve the game for future generations, perhaps even extend it. Why do we do the same for Doom? This isn’t exactly the first open source recreation of a popular older game

      • The situation is a little different. Doom had its original source code released and that led to a lot of forked remakes and upgrades. This project seems to be a clean-room reproduction. And if the video is anything to go by, one in the very early stages.

        • Very true, the world got given a head start with the original Doom source. I still reckon that without it we would’ve gotten Doom in open source verities before too long.

        • Not really, that copy may just stop working one day, and without the source code, creating a patch would be very laborious, where as porting some code is a piece of piss.

  • Wasn’t that wine kerfuffle a false positive on their warden system? And the world of starcraft mod is pretty fair game – it’s very likely that one day blizz will release a sc mmo so they need to protect that. The dota thing was pretty funny tho. That just seemed like a toddler winging cause someone took thier toy – meanwhile they had ignored it playin with other things. Guess they’re just dirty that they didnt own the rights even tho it was warcraft3 mod.

    I think it’s a pretty awesome thing, that one person is coding something that took a team quite a while to do (granted i don’t think he’s doing any asset creation and the tools coders get to work with these days are so bloody good). As long as it’s not breaking new ground i can’t really see the harm of it. Even the name “Freeablo” is pretty nonsensical.

    • The DOTA thing was super mild, they were more concerned that something free and cool in the community might suddenly be owned by a competing company and that ownership might rob the community of the free mod. There’s no doubt it hurt them too, everyone who played DOTA (and bought Warcraft 3 to do it) became Valve customers instead when DOTA2 came out.

      The Wine thing was the usual thing that happened on the D3 forums after release – people try to pile on something with a bad reputation by trying to make it even worse, whether it deserves it or not. Bashiok made a post at the time saying the following:

      We’ve extensively tested for false positive situations, including replicating system setups for those who have posted claiming they were banned unfairly. We’ve not found any situations that could produce a false positive, have found that the circumstances for which they were banned were clear and accurate, and we are extremely confident in our findings. Playing the game on Linux, although not officially supported, will not get you banned – cheating will.

      Turned out despite all the stink, only three people actually reported being banned, and Blizzard had evidence that they had been cheating. Of course, that part never seems to get reported on so everyone believes the bullshit instead.

  • Hey, I’m the founder of this project.
    Just wanted to jump in – that video is fo the v0.1 release, there’s been a v0.2 and v0.3 since then (the videos kinda suck, but you get the idea).

    Also, re: legal issues: a blizzard employee was in the v0.1 reddit thread, all was well. Also, as no copyrighted material is being distributed, it’s legally completely clean.

  • And thanks for the article!
    It’s great to get some exposure, hopefully it’ll help get in some more developers.

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