Diablo fans can scratch their seven-year itch for a new mainline game in the series with a fan-made web browser port of the 1996 original. Game developer Rivsoft made a limited version of the Blizzard’s classic hack-and-slash RPG playable on their website based on a demo included in the original CD called Diablo Spawn. You can even play the full game in-browser, provided that you have a copy of it (it’s only $10 on GOG!)
Credit for the Diablo source code that makes the browser version possible goes to the fan project Devilution, led by a programmer going under the username GalaXyHaXz. In a README file on Devilution’s GitHub page, one of the project contributors explained their rationale for reverse-engineering the original game’s source code:
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.
According to the Devilution team, parts, if not the whole source code, of the first Diablo have been reverse-engineered by fans before; their project only marked the first time the source code was shared with the internet.
As PCGamer notes, the source code’s availability also means the original Diablo is much easier to mod. They report that GalaXyHaXz isn’t done with Diablo yet, and plans to eventually port the game to Linux, “convert the game to run via OpenGL and offer some UI improvements along the way.”
Try the browser port for yourself right here.