Diablo, the Lord of Terror, has fallen to a brave hero beneath the church of Tristram. Now that hero is gone, replaced by a Dark Wanderer who roams the world of Sanctuary leaving death and destruction in his wake.

As a hero of humanity, you must face the minions of Diablo's evil brothers and stop the Dark Wanderer before he fulfills his terrible destiny.

Image RSS Feed Latest Screens
In-game In-game In-game
Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Latest News: Stay Awhile and Listen

1 comment by TheUnbeholden on Dec 7th, 2013

The following excerpt comes from Chapter 9 of Stay Awhile and Listen: How Two Blizzards Unleashed Diablo and Forged a Video-Game Empire - Book 1. In this excerpt, we follow the Diablo team at Condor - later known as Blizzard North - as they populate the dungeons with devilish denizens, construct the iconic town of Tristram, and interact with WarCraft developer Blizzard Entertainment.Stay Awhile and Listen: Book 1 is available now on Kindle, Nook, and iTunes e-reading platforms and apps.


Condor began the process of establishing Diablo's artistic vision in early 1995. While Dave wrote code and Max managed NFLPA Superstars for the 3DO, Erich guided the artists in the creation of monsters to haunt Diablo's halls. Rather than steer his guys in a particular direction, Erich encouraged them to take the ball and run with it. No artist ran harder than Michio.

Usually, I would sit down with a whole lot of paper and do a bunch of sketches. I'd generate maybe 20 pages or so, and we'd sit down as a team and pick out the ones we liked, and I'd further define them.Sometimes Erich would have an idea, like, "I want a fat demon." I'd sit down and create my design of what I thought a fat demon would be. Then he'd say, "We need a flying bat demon." I'd go create one.
-Michio Okamura

Michio would come up with reams and reams of drawings, so it was fun to get a bunch of drawings and just say, "Okay, this looks really cool, but this guy has a cooler sword, so let's combine those drawings."I think that was some of the most fun collaborative art stuff we did at the time.
-Erich Schaefer

No artist ran harder than Michio.

Straying from their design document, the three bosses decided that Diablo would offer a single hero character instead of three. Early on, Michio and the other artists realized that building characters on the computer would not come as easily. Diablo would display graphics in 2D by first paring down three-dimensional models. Condor's artists could render out 2D art in games, but building 3D models was beyond their skill set.To help Condor get a pipeline for 3D art production up and running, Blizzard co-founder Allen Adham sent two of his artists, Duane Stinnett and Justin Thavirat, to Redwood City.

They had roughs of their character drawings, and we kind of went through and built the art, swapped components, just tutored them on how to get their pipeline going and make the games work. We showed them some of the things that we had learned by being self-taught and from going through WarCraft and WarCraft II.
-Duane Stinnett, artist, Blizzard Entertainment

Building 3D models was beyond their skill set.

Over a single month, Duane and Justin took Michio and the other Condor artists on a whirlwind tour through modeling and animating 3D characters. Michio threw himself into the lessons. Armed with a pen and sketchbook, Michio mocked up his idea for the hero-a knight wrapped in steel mail. Coming in on weekends and staying on weeknights long after most of the guys had gone home, Michio slowly pieced together models of his characters. His first creation was the clunky, bulky knight. He considered it. Dave, Max, and Erich would probably give it a thumbs-up. Invariably, though, they would ask him, "What do you think of it?"Michio scrapped the model and started from scratch. Days later, a tall man with long, dark hair and tattered clothing emerged. With the model complete, Michio handed it off to the other artists to animate.

We had this armored guy we got from Blizzard, one of the WarCraft models. Tom [Byrne] went on vacation for a week, and we hadn't made much progress on the [hero's] walk cycle. So I said, "Let me take a crack at it."And in one day, I made him walk. After that, I got put on animation. That's how I became an animator.
-Kelly Johnson, artist, Condor

Diablo's hero was a blank slate. Rather than select a fighter, thief, or magician, players defined their hero by defeating enemies and earning points to spread across attributes, such as strength, magic, and dexterity. Dropping points into strength let players wear heavier armor and wield bigger weapons such as great axes and two-handed swords. Favoring dexterity increased their accuracy in combat and archery, while boosting the magic stat enabled them to learn advanced spells. Or, if players wanted, they could scatter their points across all attributes to create well-rounded heroes.No matter the direction players chose for their hero, they all began their journey on the outskirts of the troubled town of Tristram.

We had this idea of this medieval town, and we wanted it to be a darker, more gothic, grim kind of place.
-Erich Schaefer

As the town's architect, Erich set out to create a town perpetually cloaked in twilight. Dirt paths meandered between skeletal trees and farmhouses. All but a few homes sat empty; their inhabitants had either fled or been snatched from their beds by demons. Those who remained huddled in doorways; lanterns inside their shops and homes framed them in warm light that pushed the night away.

Erich set out to create a town perpetually cloaked in twilight.

The cathedral looming over Tristram from the north was the source of the town's fear. Red light poured out from windows and the open doorway, running over the ground like spilled blood.

I had been to Europe and really liked the small, medieval churches out there. When we started to make Diablo, the first thing I made was the church. I made it based on a book that had some Spanish churches in it. The terrain around it in the book was kind of similar to Tristram's: grass, kind of rolling but kind of broken up. I think that set the tone.I remember shrinking the church down a couple times because when we first put it in the game, the walls were just too high, and you couldn't see the ruined roof or the red light coming out.
-Erich Schaefer

With his main themes established, Erich asked his artists to create townsfolk to see to the player's every need. Griswold the blacksmith bought, sold, and repaired armor and weapons, while Pepin the healer patched up wounds and sold healing potions. Players who followed a forked brook that ran northeast came upon a rickety old shack that belonged to Adria, a witch ostracized by the community due to her stock of magical scrolls, books, potions, and staves.

One thing that brought Tristram together for me was the witch's shack. That looked cool with the light spilling out through all the walls. I kind of tweaked the dusky nighttime setting of the scene to make that stand out.
-Erich Schaefer

Near the end of Diablo's development, Erich realized the town was missing a storyteller who could pass along the game's lore.

We were offering two fans the opportunity to get their names into the game. The names that won were "Deckard Cain" and something "Messerschmidt".At first we laughed at such a crazy name: Deckard Cain. We weren't sure if it was made up or not. In any case, the name grew on us, and by happenstance, came at a great time, right after we identified the need for a narrator-type [character] to drive the story along.
-Erich Schaefer

With the storyteller's name set in stone, all that was missing was the storyteller himself. Kelly Johnson, by that time finished with his work on NFLPA Superstars, eagerly volunteered.

Erich Schaefer said, "We need a guy in town who's going to be a storyteller." The only thing I was told was, "He's a storyteller." A lot of times we just went off a word. We'd get a word or two that described what Dave, Max, and Erich wanted, and they trusted us to come up with something. And we did.I made Deckard Cain, from thin air. Erich assigned me to make Deckard Cain and all I was given as a description was that he was going to be the storyteller for the game. I was given no physical description to work on, so I made him black.Back in the mid-90s, there were almost no black characters in games, so when given the opportunity to make a character, I made him black. For the time, it was considered very radical.
-Kelly Johnson

"The style of it was really more created by what it couldn't be."

The sagely storyteller always greeted players warmly, inviting them to "stay awhile and listen." Soaking up Cain's myths and legends in the heart of Tristram's perpetual twilight went a long way toward setting the proper mood, but it was the soundtrack Matt Uelmen composed for the town that clinched it.

I told Ken Williams [Condor's business manager] I needed actual musical gear. It [composing Diablo's soundtrack] was really a process of grinding until things stuck. The first couple of months of attempts were pretty bad, though I think I knew I wanted to have acoustic guitar as a centerpiece for any kind of town setting.The main piece of gear was an Ensoniq ASR-10 [keyboard sampler]. That was the core tool for the making of that soundtrack, and we actually got a good discount on it, because Ensoniq was trying to market sound cards in that era, and so developers could buy their musical gear near wholesale prices.
-Matt Uelmen, composer, Condor

Using the sampler, Uelmen could record himself playing different instruments, then rearrange the recordings into custom tracks. To get an idea for the mood he needed to set, Uelmen studied the atmospheric disparity between dungeons and towns. Down in the dark, danger reared its head at a moment's notice. Up in town, players let down their guard and moseyed around.Daily, Uelmen walked the shore along the marina. Stretching out with his twelve-string, he watched boats bob along the water and strummed, playing with different sounds and moods.

I think the sound of the 12-string dictated a good deal of the approach Tristram's tune ended up having. The style of it was really more created by what it couldn't be: it couldn't be too overtly country or bluegrass, it couldn't be too obviously Latin, and I didn't want something that was too faux-medieval, so it ended up somewhere in between all of those things.
-Matt Uelmen

This sounds dorky, but music is almost spiritual, a soulful movement that resonates with all of us. Having music that sets a mood will ensure pushing an experience over the top. It can either make or break something.If you were to go into Tristram and hear happy-go-lucky music, it just wouldn't work. It's like a horror movie: it's all about the atmosphere, the music, the sound, and how that creates feeling.I thought Matt did a perfect job of balancing dark, eerie, moody, and a little bit of light because of the string guitar. It's got kind of that feeling of lightness to the tone, but it's also kind of sad and disturbing, kind of haunting.
-David Brevik, co-founder, Condor

Uelmen's final product washed over players each time they set foot in Tristram to repair armor, hawk goods they didn't need, browse new wares, and let Pepin heal their hurts. Inevitably, they would have to leave Tristram's fading daylight and descend into the dungeons beneath the church.


Media RSS Feed Latest Video
Downloads RSS Feed Latest Downloads
D2:Elements v1.03
Diablo II

D2:Elements v1.03

Dec 23, 2013 D2:Elements Full Version 0 comments

Fixed some bugs, various balance changes, added several low-mid level runewords and 2 low-mid level sets.

D2SE Snej v6.0.06 pre2 sfx
Diablo II

D2SE Snej v6.0.06 pre2 sfx

Dec 23, 2013 Snej-Mod Full Version 1 comment

This is the first release of the Snej-Mod as a D2SE Modmanager plugin. The complete Modlauncher is now a project on its own to support other Mods too...

Seasons After 3.28d
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

Seasons After 3.28d

May 19, 2012 Seasons After Full Version 5 comments

Essentially a balance mod for Diablo II Lord of Destruction with a few other ideas, bits and pieces thrown in for fun. Variant characters are now viable...

Hells Revenge 0.5 Beta
Diablo II

Hells Revenge 0.5 Beta

May 14, 2012 Hell's Revenge Demo 0 comments

News: Finished a version for D2 1.10 final. Hell's Revenge is a Veteran's Mod. The three Prime Evils have united, and the Forces of Light are retreating...

Sanctuary in Chaos v. 2.21b
Diablo II

Sanctuary in Chaos v. 2.21b

May 14, 2012 Sanctuary in Chaos Full Version 0 comments

The SiC mod features many new items, heavily altered skills (mostly notably the sorc), new monsters, alternate gambling systems, specialized item creation...

Dominus Rex 0.2a
Diablo II

Dominus Rex 0.2a

May 14, 2012 Dominus Rex Demo 1 comment

If you are running an old version of DR, I suggest you patch 0.2a over your current patch. WARNING: All 0.1 patch characters have been invalidated in...

Post comment Comments  (70 - 80 of 130)
rendong
rendong Mar 8 2008, 2:55am says:

mnga bati mog nwng!!!

-1 votes     reply to comment
HellionOfEvil
HellionOfEvil Jan 4 2008, 8:33pm says:

I read this forum over and was shocked to see that someone actually claimed to play D3, it seems Daiblo III is like a mystical beast with one horn on it's head, lots of talk about it but no s/s's.

Hey Brother Laz do you think Blizzard will ever make Diablo III public, if not will you?

I really enjoyed your 2008 Median Mod v1.56, very well done and very inspiring, so much so that a couple of us at HallsOfPain have taken up patch editing ourselves.

+1 vote     reply to comment
raar121
raar121 Nov 24 2007, 11:05am says:

ok this is gettin me a little fustrated because im on a mac and it says PC/MAC and it doesnt work at all it gives me this crapy zip file that messes it up and zips dont work for mac and so if any1 else nows how to fix or is on mac and nos a good mod e-mail me
static_boy54@yahoo.com

+1 vote     reply to comment
masterT
masterT Oct 7 2007, 10:08am says:

hi iam using windos me and i cant seem to do ne thing when i dounload paches and mods. when i get the zip file i open it and theres nothing in it... plz help ...e-mail me ...theo2d@yahoo.com

+1 vote     reply to comment
Undying_Zombie
Undying_Zombie Sep 29 2007, 11:36pm says:

Used to be a program that allowed you to edit monster numbers drop rates ect ect in the maps.. Had it a long time ago but I don't remember what it was called, cant seem to find it either.. Wanted to make the npcs harder on every act.. sigh lol

+1 vote     reply to comment
BrotherLaz
BrotherLaz Sep 12 2007, 8:32pm says:

Not 'every' mod is for 1.10. Median 2008 and others are for 1.11, because we do understand that forcing people to downgrade to a previous patch is a big middle finger to the player.

+1 vote     reply to comment
fredrik923
fredrik923 Aug 7 2007, 4:49pm says:

Oh Sh*t just found out that the link i sent was not functioning SRY!

+1 vote     reply to comment
fredrik923
fredrik923 Aug 7 2007, 4:28pm says:

I've just found out about modding d2 and it seems like it's very funny. but there's one problem though, everybody says and mods with patch_d2.mpq but i don't understand how. i open patch_d2.mpq with MPQEditor but all i find in the file "patch_d2.mpq" is .xxx, .dc6 and .wav files. How do i mod ? PLEASE HELP!

+1 vote     reply to comment
fredrik923
fredrik923 Aug 7 2007, 4:47pm says:

Everybody is complaining about that all mods are made for 1.10. if you cant find where to download it, here's the link for pc Ftp.blizzard.com

+1 vote     reply to comment
sutter
sutter Feb 5 2007, 10:45pm says:

Many hardcore RPG players got pretty ****** at the all the rave reviews and accolades this game got on it's own merit, Baldur's Gate this and that they went on about was a true rpg this wasn't, well.

To be frank, this actually is an RPG, the thing is it's actually more geared towards character builder than most, maybe forgettting about all else, but... Blizzard ain't dumb, this is a game company which isn't about pampering and massaging hardcore gamers egos and drives, you see Blizzard is a business and a big business and all it's about is ultimately making money by giving you the player something in return for your hard earned money; it so being it means they want to appeal to masses of players more than they care about whether they appeal to the true hardcore player which actually is seeing less and less games geared towards them in the coming years, since a game is taking more man hours and substantially more millions to produce.

So what do we have here? does it mean it sucks just because it isn't hardcore to the sinew and bone?
does anyone who reads Thomas Mann won't ever read Pynchon or God forbid Stephen King ? of course they will, maybe it's not their favorite reading, but when fun comes into the equation the choice widens.

You know your broiled chicken breasts and baked potatoes and rice is much better and healthier than a fat greasy burger, but does that mean you never drooled over a burger? and isn't a burger tasty? sure it is, a burger can be as tasty if not more than the best of the more subtle and refined cuisine.

There's a place for hardcore and there's a place for pure undiluted crazy obsessive fun such as of which this game is made of. Sometimes reading lots of inane absurd and lackluster lines from your average multiple NPC isn't what is should be, story lacking or story absent as is the case with even many trully lauded great RPGs, sometimes all the player wants is action, mindless and intense such as in this game; the huge and greedy choices which appeal to the basest of senses and makes you hooked that can be great, that is also a simple and smart move towards a brilliant idea for a game, couple that with technical competence in design, programing and overall balance and any game done that way will sell like hot cakes.

I wasted months on this years ago and just thinking about it makes me want to revisit the virtual place, feel the obsessiveness, the greediness, the hook it can put on you, the player.

This is a fine, fine game, not something to be played in a million years, for there will surely be chess for that, but still you have a couple more decades untill something has yet to come along and beat this for what it is, a great character builder, and certainly in that sense, it is a true RPG game at heart.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Post a Comment
click to sign in

You are not logged in, your comment will be anonymous unless you join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) which we encourage all contributors to do.

2000 characters limit; HTML formatting and smileys are not supported - text only

Icon
Diablo II
Platforms
Windows, Mac
Developer & Publisher
Blizzard Entertainment
Engine
Custom Built
Contact
Send Message
Official Page
Sea.blizzard.com
Release Date
Released Jun 28, 2000
Game Watch
Track this game
Share
Community Rating

Average

9.3

378 votes submitted.

You Say

-

Ratings closed.

Highest Rated (7 agree) 9/10

Great game, small resolution. Nuff said.

Feb 26 2010, 11:11am by Henley

Style
Genre
Hack 'n' Slash
Theme
Fantasy
Players
Single & Multiplayer
Project
AAA
Boxshot
Boxshot
Sequels
Diablo III, Released May 14, 2012
Logo
Diablo II, Released Jun 28, 2000
Logo
Diablo, Released Nov 29, 1996
Logo
Twitter

Latest tweets from

It can take up to a few hours for tweets to begin appearing.

Embed Buttons

Promote Diablo II on your homepage or blog by selecting a button and using the HTML code provided (more).

Diablo II Diablo II
Diablo II
Statistics
Rank
32 of 20,529
Last Update
4 months ago
Watchers
337 members
Mods
14
Addons
4
Files
102
News
12
Features
19
Reviews
27