There have been a handful of mods for the PC version of the first Dark Souls ever since it came out, but they've largely been relegated to the realm of graphical fixes and cosmetic changes for items. This one, however, is an entire boss. From Diablo III.
Yep, that's unmistakably the fleshless bonemass of good ol King Leoric. I'd know those blanched, featureless features anywhere.
The mod's creator, Jed Lang aka "nyxojaele," plans on releasing his creation to the public soon.
How'd he do it, though? Well, he claims he's also built a mod tool set as wickedly powerful as any Dark Souls boss:
"This is the first -real- mod made for the game— no hacking of in-game memory, or intercepting DirectX calls. As far as your computer is concerned, this mod is officially created content by the original developers. And it's all done using my upcoming Dark Souls mod tool called DSMODT."
Here's a video of that in action:
I asked Lang for more details about how exactly DSMODT will work and how versatile it will be, and here's what he told me (warning: it's kinda technical):
"Dark Souls' content is all stored in 4 archive files (very LARGE archives) that in turn have smaller "sub archives" inside of them (and sometimes "sub sub archives" in them!) — DSMODT works by reading those archives, no matter how many levels deep, and displaying that info to the user, pretty much in exactly the same way as the actual game does it. This "viewer only" version is publicly available for download here: http://t.co/iVDyeoeLqo It can view enemies, maps, and props with 95% accuracy."
"The UNRELEASED version of DSMODT, which only exists on my computer, is what I used to achieve the video I linked you in my previous email. It has support to allow the user, while viewing an enemy, to replace that enemy's 3D mesh with another one, and then save that change BACK into the original Dark Souls archives, repacking however many levels of archives are necessary. Basically, it acts in a similar manner to the tools that From Software themselves used to originally create the game."
"What this means is that the user doesn't need to run any extra software (such as Cheat Engine or DSFix) alongside Dark Souls in order to play a modded version of it, because the whole mod is built right into the game just like From Software themselves did it."
So captain skull-and-murder-bones up there is a mesh mapped on top of a pre-existing boss—not an entirely new entity with custom moves. There are big hurdles to overcome in order for Lang to achieve that, but he does hope to make it happen someday:
"Ultimately, I want all of the things!"
"However, I need to be realistic about the whole thing. Animations and collision data are Havok [physics engine] data, which means I'd have to figure out how those files work as well. DSMODT uses the Havok library to play back the animations of enemies, but I don't think that library provides a means to modify those animations, only to play them back; the same would apply to the collision data. I highly suspect that those files will be a very large hurdle to surmount, so while I won't say it's impossible, I'll say that it will definitely take a long time. This is on my list of 'I definitely want to try and get this in' things though."
"If I do get so far as to get this Havok modding feature into DSMODT though, then absolutely, people will be able to create their own bosses with custom movesets, and entire new zones to explore."
"The only major thing after that is the issue of AI. I'm undecided at this time as to whether I will pursue AI customization via DSMODT. There is a very real chance that AI will be significantly more involved that Havok, as far as providing an editing interface via DSMODT. It's on my TODO list, under 'undecided.'"
Lang hopes to have a public version of the full toolset out asap, but there's still apparently "a lot" of work to be done before it's intuitive enough for peasant hands such as ours to grasp.
Even so, if it all works this is big news. Yes, it's Dark Souls 1 instead of Dark Souls 2, but a) DS1 is better and b) the possibilities here are quite enticing. Only time will tell whether or not it really can graft all this new meat onto Dark Souls' bones, but here's hoping.