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Interview - (2002-07-14) Brother Laz
Title Interview - (2002-07-14) Brother Laz
Description Deathscythe of the Phrozen Keep interviews Brother Laz on his Demon Trip mods and mod making in general.
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DEATHSCYTHE
Please tell us something about your self.
LAZ
M. C., 18 years old Belgian civil engineer student without a life or a girlfriend or any other needless distraction, and very poor at English as you might notice.
DEATHSCYTHE
Where did you come up with your name?
LAZ
Me, from Arch-Bishop Lazarus in Diablo 1. I called him that when he dropped me a perfect aa/wiz staff (IIRC).
DEATHSCYTHE
Where did you start modding?
LAZ
Way back in November 2001. Some messing with skills and items, nothing too drastic, but that changed when I stumbled upon the four Hex Editing Tutorials by Thunder and Jarulf. I guess that did it for me.
DEATHSCYTHE
What made you make a mod in which the characters are monsters?
LAZ
An experiment long ago of someone who did some animation swaps, and he said: 'you can stand around and walk and be a goat man'. This sounded like a good idea, but I thought it would be way too hard to do. The original idea was to replace all skills of a single character. Then I decided on three characters, and then thought: 'hell, if I'm going to replace all skills, why not give them a new look? Maybe it can be done'. It could.

I also posted quite a lot on the diabloii.net Fan Fiction forums under a different name, which also helped. In fact, at least 10 skills and/or skill names are taken straight out of the FFF.

DEATHSCYTHE
What's the greatest challenge you encounter in the mod?
ENQ
There are several 'butcher' superunique bosses that are not part of any quest but very powerful. This was already in DT1, but there will be many more and harder ones in Demon Trip 2. These superuniques are often their own monster type and have special abilities such as life-draining blood stars, ranged stun attacks or lightning bolts that bounce off walls.
DEATHSCYTHE
Can you give me some summary of your mod?
LAZ
One sentence: monsters as characters + all new skill trees with new skills + new monster abilities + new items and affixes. There is no fancy gfx editing, no new inventory pics and no thousands of cube recipes that do not affect on actual combat.
DEATHSCYTHE
What is the best thing about your mod?
LAZ
It is something 'different' for a change. Many mods tend to become as I call it 'Doom Serpents mods' after the unused missile in Diablo 1 which was overused by mod makers. Most every mod had replaced the bone spirit graphics with Doom Serpents, and it always did the same thing.
DEATHSCYTHE
What did you find the hardest part about making a mod?
LAZ
Actually finding new offsets in the dlls to edit is something I have never managed to grasp. Some people are true coding wizards and seem to have an innate sixth sense for asm. Not me. I'm always glad when the dll work is done and I can continue with the good old friendly txt editing
DEATHSCYTHE
What major ideas and concepts are you adding to your mod?
LAZ
Demon Trip 2 is 'more of the same' but with a lot of bugfixes I could not implement in the first mod because it was already too far along. The uselessness of attack rating in DT1 was a large design flaw, and it is the first thing I have fixed in Demon Trip 2. Characters should now also have a skill tree full of useful skills; there should be no obvious filler skills taking up space in the skill trees.
DEATHSCYTHE
What DID you want to include but have been unable to?
LAZ
Diablo 1 style spellbooks. It is probably possible, but with my nonexistent asm skills I have no idea how to do it.
DEATHSCYTHE
do you have any plans in making other mods or betas in the future?
LAZ
First I will finish Demon Trip 2, and after that - what else but a Demon Trip 3? But I'll probably wait until something very interesting is discovered by the code people. Demon Trip 1 was based around the 'new' (in January 2002) skill swapping discoveries. DT2 makes heavy use of the newly found missile tables. I have this feeling that within half a year someone will find how to make Diablo 1 style skill books. And then I will build a mod around it.
DEATHSCYTHE
What new features should fans be watching out for?
LAZ
Melee skills that work properly! This was an oversight in the original mod, but now all melee skills should be properly based on attack rating and weapon damage. And some cool new skills, of course.
DEATHSCYTHE
Do you have any advice to the newbie modders?
LAZ
One rule: dare to try unusual things. Set missile velocity to a negative number and see what happens. Randomly modify interesting looking columns. Do not listen to anyone when they say something cannot be done. Notice the column in itemstatcost.txt that contains for each affix type the maximum allowed negative value. Enter something in the empty spots and make your own 'impossible' negative resistance affixes. Set the column that says 'save bytes' to 10 for all affixes and make uniques with replenish life +500.

And of course, always make *backups*. I found this out the hard way just two days ago, when I accidentally deleted my entire collection of animations thinking they were outdated bin files. Now I have five backups.

DEATHSCYTHE
Thanks for your time.


Anyone wishing to check out Brother Laz's latest project(s) can do so by visiting his official website at http://laz.d2mods.com.


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