It's 2018, and someone has rebuilt the source code for Diablo, a 1996 computer game. They also put it online so that others could tinker with it. Called Devilution, the aim of the project is to re-create the source code for Diablo in a form as close to the original as possible. It also gives fans a chance peek behind the curtain to see what unused content lies hidden in the code, and maybe even one day add that content via mods.
Devilution is the work of GalaXyHaXz. On the GitHub page, they explain that Blizzard's lack of support for the game made it hard for modders to get any quality code to work with. Those who did try to mod Diablo often made it up as they went along, and didn't really work together to build a source for the community to work with as a whole. So GalaXyHaXz took it upon themselves to build a working, faithful replica of the code using data from the Japanese port and the PC version's debug build. This replica became Devilution.
"The goal of Devilution itself is to recreate the original source code as accurately as possible, in order to ensure that everything is preserved," they state on the GitHub page.
By releasing the code online, it will become "much easier than before to update, fix, and port the game to other platforms." But GalaXyHaXz stresses that such alterations are a "side project," something for others to take up, or for them to address later. Of course, this emphasis could just be added because taking a company's work and releasing it online for free is always a tricky issue from a legal standpoint.
"Under the DMCA," GalaXyHaXz says in the F.A.Q., "reverse-engineering has exceptions for the purpose of documentation and interoperability." They assert again that the purpose of Devilution is documentation. "However, it falls into an entirely grey area. The real question is whether or not Blizzard deems it necessary to take action."
Perhaps to make it so that Blizzard doesn't deem it necessary, the Devilution code won't work unless the user has a legitimate copy of Diablo. This makes it so that GalaXyHaXz isn't just handing out the game for free.
As for the future of Devilution, GalaXyHaXz promises nothing. "Honestly I have no idea. More than 1,200 hours went into creating Devilution, and I have other things going on right now." But a few months down the road? "The goal is to create a native Linux port, convert to OpenGL, modernize the UI, etc. you get the drill. There has to be some surprises. ;)"