Date: Based on a build from August 1996
Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.
The Alpha4 is neither a leaked in development version by Blizzard, nor is it an ordinary mod to retail Diablo. It is the attempt to faithfully recreate the status of development in July/August 1996. Basically this is just the pre-release demo with additional assets to enable the player to see later levels of the pre-release demo.
How do we do that? With the help of the pre-release Demo released by Blizzard a few months before the battle.net beta. While the pre-release demo only contained parts of the cathedral and was blocked after that, the rest of the code for later levels and monsters was still in the EXE file.
Since the assets stored in the pre-release MPQ are only for the first couple of levels, the game crashes a lot when trying to go deeper than level1 and is completely unplayable after level4. So what we're doing is trying to figure out how to convert the assets from later versions of the game to the pre-release demo. We're trying to leave the code unchanged, but some adjustments have to be made for incorporating actual gameplay, especially on the later levels and to include interesting removed game content.
For a full list of changes, take a look at the readme file in the downloadable archive.
A lot of people helped working on the Alpha4. Starting with the guy who, in 1996, found out how to hex-edit one byte in the demo to unlock everything. For a full list of credits, take a look at the Info section on this website.
Work in progress: We are working on a launcher that enables the user to customize the gameplay experience by switching out some visuals and content to older versions as well as providing access to debug features used by Blizzard
If you have experience working within the diablo.exe or can work with the different image formats and think you can help us complete the Alpha4, feel free to contact us. Right now we're trying to increase stability without changing features and also fix several issues with the tileset.
I hope you enjoy playing the Alpha4, but due to the age of the software (almost 20 years) there are most certainly compatibility issues with modern operating systems so we will take no responsibility for any damage this might cause to your system and provide the download as-is to use at your own risk! There are also lots of bugs and stability issues both caused by the game being based on an unfinished version at Blizzard and also by our own attempts to unlock later levels, so be prepared to reload and start over often!
List of Changes
- 16 levels + the mysterious level 17 (warning: crash guarantee) instead of just 1 level
- 21 new monster types, more than in retail Diablo, including the removed enemy types have been added
- Smaller corrections (seed sizes, dlvls, resistances, mlvls, frame count, attack types)
- There is a completely new monster, too, the Ice Stalker which used to appear in earlier Alphas but was removed later
- 6 new unique monsters (Wrathfire the Doomed and The Dark Lord for example)
- Revised unique monster palettes
- Smaller corrections (dlvls, attack types, damage)
- Some bosses had to be moved to an other dlvl to make them spawn
- All three character types are working
- Classes all have their own sprites. This took up most of the work actually and they're still crash prone, especially the sorceror
- 28 new unique items have been added
- The base items stayed more or less the same, but their graphics are now from the Beta version
- Finally, a lot of data was moved around, but you won't notice that ingame, if everything was done right