Joe Wojciechowski. A web log.

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Diablo on Modern PCs

The Diablo series of games are something near and dear to my heart, a world in which many hours were spent with friends defending the town of Tristram and the world of Sanctuary from the Prime Evils and their minions. The original Diablo is a slightly different beast than the latter two, lacking many of the player niceties and stylistic badassery of its descendants. Because of this, it still stands up on its own merits as an interesting and fun game and not simply a chopped-down Diablo II. As with so many other classic games, however, the installation and startup process has not aged nearly as well as the gameplay. This is the method by which Leah and I were able to get local network games working between Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Installing the executables is still a flawless procedure and takes barely any time at all. Running them, however, leads to some immediately-obvious issues. Here I used a utility I had found some time ago for Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings – well before the Steam version existed– called DirectDrawFix. Feed it the problematic executable and it will apply corrections to the Windows Registry to fix the color palette issue.

Only marginally more complicated is multiplayer functionality. Playing over Battle.net with others doesn’t pose an issue, but both of us trying to connect from the same network was a no-go due to the both of us trying to connect from behind the same router, which would require router configuration changes (port forwarding) that I was too lazy to figure out. I attempted to sidestep the issue by starting a LAN game, only to notice that the ability to reinstall IPX networking (which Diablo uses for LAN connectivity) was killed off after Windows XP. Fortunately, there exists a set of IPX-to-UDP wrapper DLLs that, when placed in the directory of the game in question, allows the IPX connection option to simply work seamlessly. Much simpler!

Thus did we venture down into the Cathedral and proceed to get utterly annihilated by King Leoric at our first encounter.

Your death will be avenged.