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Interview - (2002-08-21) Zhoulomcrist
Title Interview - (2002-08-21) Zhoulomcrist
Description Mordini freelance for the Phrozen Keep interviews Zhoulomcrist on his upcoming Cryptforge mod and mod making in general.
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Tell us a little about yourself.
My true name is Eric. I am currently one of the Phrozen Keep Senior Moderators as well as the Project Administrator and one-man staff for CryptForge. Aside from modding, I'm a major fan of Real-time strategic Games such as Warcraft 1-3, Starcraft, Age of Empires, and the like. Aside from that, in the real world, I am a PC Service Technician. I live deep out in the country and work is about 40 minutes from where I live. I am located here in Alpine, Arkansas and have lived there for almost 4 years after moving away from the city. I am 22 years old (and enjoying every bit of it ).
Have you ever done any modding for other games apart from Diablo 2?
I have done some experimental modding with Warcraft III in recent times to create a type of Burning Legion mod on the side so-to-speak. Nothing I actually plan on releasing to the public (at least, not at this time). I've also done some work with the Neverwinter Nights Toolset to make a CryptForge campaign with it which will be loosely based upon the CryptForge mod.
How did you get interesting in Diablo 2 in the first place and more specifically how did you get into Diablo 2 mod making?
I became interested in Diablo II after being a huge fan of the original Diablo and Hellfire expansion. It began back in 1996 when my older brother had bought a copy of Diablo from one of our nearby software retailers. I forgot the name of that store now. Sometime later, Hellfire came out and my feverish addiction to Diablo was virtually unbreakable . I still play it to this day. Anyway, after playing Diablo, Diablo II was the logical next step in my Diablo playing journey.

The first mod I ever played was the Teknokyo mod. It was around the end of January 2001 when I came to the conclusion that Diablo II terribly lacked the strength of feel and depth that the original Diablo had. It was time for change. So, I proceeded to download a second mod, Eastern Sun 1.3 (one of the latest versions I could find at that time) and played it through New Years Night into the next morning. Well, that night, I was searching for a way to make Mana Potions buyable in shops. I found that on Klay's old site if I remember. Next, I did some searching for D2 mods on the net through www.altavista.com. First place I found was cheatlist.com. I went there and started browsing through their forums and found a bunch of threads/posts by Fusman, PhrozenHeart, etc... who no longer post there for highly understandable reasons. I found the Phrozen Keep by means of PhrozenHeart's signature in the old cheatlist forums and followed the link in his signature to the Keep.

I found the forums at www.forumco.com and started looking around and about 2 or 3 in the morning, I registered the name Zhoulomcrist and it didn't take long for me to get about 5 or 6 replies. I downloaded modding tools shortly after and work began on my very first mod release, Soulspire, which turned out to be a total disaster back then. Things just kind of progressed from there.

What do you consider your role here at the Phrozen Keep?
Ever since I was a non-staff member of the keep, way back when, it had been my goal to help folks out with modding problems as well as learn from other people's mistakes and discoveries by reading through the forums and experimenting with various things. When I became a member of the staff, I was moderating the Mod Making forum for Classic Diablo II, before D2X was released. That was back in March. Since then, my responsibilities and dedicated mission has been the upkeep of order around the keep. We (the staff) do our absolute best to keep the Phrozen Forums free of Hacking/Cheating material, flaming, spamming, etc..... in order to maintain a clean, professional, and friendly environment in which anyone whom really wants to learn how to mod can have a place to come and discuss their mods and mod making issues with the rest of us, whether they're seeking advice or giving it.
What are your feelings about the apparent demise of the Shadowhaven mod? (formerly known as your mod Zhoulomcrypt)
ShadowHaven was a great mod. Not the greatest, but far from the worst. I turned it over to Baldrick after time constraints and lack of D2X modding interest hit me hard. However, when my current interest turned to what will now be CryptForge, which carries over alot of ZhoulomCrypt's current features, I really didn't feel much sorrow to see the old mod bite the dirt so-to-speak. The first thought that came into my mind as I noticed the ShadowHaven forum's volume of traffic slowing down to a dead stop was that aBaldrick had probably lost interest in it and turned his attention to other games, real life matters, etc... and I wish him well.
Could you give us an overview of your upcoming mod Cryptforge?
CryptForge is a mod which focuses on a return of the Sin War. This happens 6 years after the fall of Baal and the destruction of the Worldstone. When Lord Acropyl and 2 of his acolytes journey from Hell to the Undead Realm of Nocrodor, they end up purposely sacrificing themselves to revive the 3 brothers. That's where the mod starts. In CryptForge, you have the ability to choose your role as either one of the 4 heroes fighting for world peace and order or as one of the 3 prime evils fighting for self-dominance over the world at ALL costs.
What key features should mod players be on the look out for in the new mod?
The following is a list of all the major key features that CryptForge will harness as they are written on my site. Take note that while reading that list, the mod has so many other features that aren't mentioned on the web site or even in the CryptForge forum. Some things, players will have to discover on their own through various clues while playing the mod. Things like new dialog and information from townsfolk may reveal virtually anything from hidden artifacts of great power to new cube recipes and very hidden "shortcuts" through the game.

CrytForge Features

Battle to the death as either the 4 heroes from Diablo: Hellfire or the 3 Prime Evils, themselves.

Numerous new recipes for the Horadric Cube bring great help or hell to the user of them

3 new relics, available from magic vendors, the Enchanted Orb, Adria's Spellbook, and the Dragon Rune give your weapons and armor unseen power when transmuted with a cube

10 new available set item sets

Larger stash, cube, inventory, and multi-player trade windows

Musical scores from the original Diablo and Hellfire expansion set

Much darker theme to in-game areas help bring CryptForge to life

For more information and an updated take on features, readers should check the CryptForge forum at

Are we likely to even see a public beta release of Cryptforge for v1.09 or are you waiting on Blizzard to release the new patch?
It will depend on when I can get things done in contrast to when Blizzard releases their patch. What I can assure everyone is that I've been working to the absolute fullest of my modding capabilities to bring players a fun and enjoyable feature-packed and yet stable and reliable mod that is as free of bugs as humanly possible. That being the case, unlike ZhoulomCrypt, I'm pushing for reliability and stability rather than speed. In either case, I'm not gonna wait on Blizzard to release their patch to release CryptForge. But, when Blizzard does release their patch, I will convert CryptForge over to 1.10 to ensure compatibility with players using the latest patch from Blizzard Entertainment.
Is Zhoulomcrypt your only mod making focus right now or are there any other side projects in the works?
Aside from CryptForge: I've been working on a functional Burning Legion Race mod for Warcraft III. This currently functions by giving a Necropolis the ability to train Chaos Peon units. In this case, the Chaos Peon's 3D model was used to make a new unit called a Demon Worker (name is likely to change) which can summon Shrines which give the legion their food supply as well as the Demon Gate for summoning Fellhounds, Infernals, and Doom Guards. New buildings also made through the Warcraft III Unit Editor within the World Editor like the Alter of Chaos allow for hero summoning in this mod. This however, presents a loop-hole which could allow you to (dual-race) by creating undead stuff with an acolyte and demon stuff with a demon worker. But, then again, the mod is early development and just a private project of mine to experiment with the World Editor. It's coming along great though .

The list of features go on from there. In addition to that, I've been working on a CryptForge campaign in Neverwinter Nights using the Neverwinter Nights Toolset. The Burning Legion mod likely won't be released for some time and if so, it will be released elsewhere from Planetdiablo since it's for a seperate game. Same deal with the Neverwinter Nights Campaign I'm working on.

What advice would you give for anyone thinking of trying their hand at making mods for Diablo 2?
Modding takes patience. That's a key factor with mod making. If you don't have patience, learn it before making your first mod . Also, read and experiment with the various Phrozen Keep tutorials we offer on our site. We don't look or talk down to newbie mod makers. We've all been there, before. If any of you are new to mod making or have questions about how to mod a specific feature, file, etc...., check through our forums to see if you're question has already been answered. If not, don't hesitate to ask and don't get angry if it takes days for someone to answer your question. The members/staff of the Phrozen Keep are located from virtually all over the world and many live in different time zones. Along with those things, DON'T GIVE UP . The ability to make quality and reliable mods does not happen overnight.

Anyone wishing to check out the Cryptforge mod can do so by visiting the official website at http://cf.d2mods.com.

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