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-   -   Classic Amiga Preservation Society - CAPS (http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=1701)

CodyJarrett 08 October 2001 19:40

Classic Amiga Preservation Society - CAPS

Great project to save original Amiga disks from extinction!

Akira 08 October 2001 20:51

Heh, this is what I wanted to do with DF0: but I never got round to finish the project :(

Kodoichi 08 October 2001 23:51

I don't get it, even after reading the introduction and the FAQ.

- Why do we need another format again?
- Why should I contribute when I can't download any games?
- What will they do with those games if they don't share them? Play them and laugh at us that don't have them?
- I can as well go through the TOSEC dats and look for [o]
- There's already another project called CAPS I think

TikTok 09 October 2001 01:45

A quick question if that's ok....

- I can as well go through the TOSEC dats and look for [o]
"O" stands for "Overdumped" doesn't it? Does this have a direct correlation to original images or does it just designate that more data than the standard 80 tracks has been dumped? My guess would be the latter...

Akira 09 October 2001 05:25

I'm all in for a site keeping MFM images of original disks. The shit thing is that you preserve them but never are able to restore them to disks. This is what made me halt development of df0:.

You could make clean cracks out of those MFMs, but for that you need a crew of Codetappers, and I dont have one :).

CodyJarrett 09 October 2001 10:15

- Why do we need another format again?
*It's designed to support all disk formats on the Amiga, not just one or two.

- Why should I contribute when I can't download any games?
*To save your original Amiga disks from oblivion and to add your games to a pool of originals which will be released to everyone in the future.

- What will they do with those games if they don't share them? Play them and laugh at us that don't have them?
*The games will be released in the future. This is the sort of project that gets shut down in the current Amiga climate. The images are currently not of much use, but there are plans for them in the future.

- I can as well go through the TOSEC dats and look for [o]
*Amiga TOSEC is mostly for cracks and emulators, not for originals.

- There's already another project called CAPS I think
*This is the only CAPS.

Akira 09 October 2001 20:29


Originally posted by CodyJarrett
- What will they do with those games if they don't share them? Play them and laugh at us that don't have them?
*The games will be released in the future. This is the sort of project that gets shut down in the current Amiga climate. The images are currently not of much use, but there are plans for them in the future.

This is teh way GAMEBASE64 works... So far they have stockpiled images like maniacs, and have relased nothing to the public. I don't like them very much, but if you request a game in their forum they give it to you.

Overdoc 09 October 2001 23:15

The aim of CAPS is not building up another archive of games like Dreamzone, Tosec, Godflesh's FTP or the like.

CAPS is dealing with the preservation of ORIGINALS only !

That means games will not be dumped in ADF format ( because that won't work with originals ), but in a new format which yet has to be designed.
However, future emulators will support this format, and it's also possible to write these images back to real original disks ( very useful if your original disks are screwed up ). Note that the whole disk structure will be dumped !
That means if a CAPS image iswritten back to a real disk, then this disk will be copyprotected just like an original.

Hope this clears up some confusion :)

Akira 10 October 2001 00:04

Codetapper told me a million times that putting a disk back onto a floppy ain't possible, unless you copy from original to another disk using a cyclone cartridge(or similar hardware). You just cant write the special tracks with your disk drive :(

So if they want to do this they better quit now.

Overdoc 11 October 2001 00:56


Originally posted by s4murai

Hmm... so how come I could transfer my original games into ADFs? :p

Most probably your originals were not protected or just password protected and not diskprotected.

Also, it is not sure if it will be possible to reproduce every copyprotected disk ever, but so far all games that use Rob Northen's 'Copylock' protection can be reproduced WITHOUT any Cyclone or Siegfried-Copy hardware !! And quite a lot of games used this protection, as you can see the list on Codetapper's site.

Check the June WIP archive on http://www.caps-project.org for more info on this topic.

Akira 11 October 2001 01:03

I want Codetapper to jump in this thread... AFAIK you have to replace the loader routines for you to copy any game onto normal disk with normal tools, then again, im not very qualified to talk about this, so I call forth the Codetapper!

Go! Codetapper! Crack Attack! it's super effective! Copyprotection faints! Codetapper gains 15EXP. Points!

(I got to delete POkemon from my flashcard :P)

Codetapper 11 October 2001 02:52

Codetapper thinks writing back playable RNC games is impossible!

Also, it is not sure if it will be possible to reproduce every copyprotected disk ever, but so far all games that use Rob Northen's 'Copylock' protection can be reproduced WITHOUT any Cyclone or Siegfried-Copy hardware !! And quite a lot of games used this protection, as you can see the list on Codetapper's site.
OK Akira, I'm here... Right, let's start from the top!

There are multiple different types of Rob Northen Copylock in existance. The early ones from 1988 or before (Daley Thompson's, Run the Gauntlet, Stargoose vintage) have a lot of encrypted code in the bootblock (which ONLY works on a 68000, nothing else) and then gets to the protection. They read track 1, time how long it takes, then track 0. It has 8 ranges of values in a table and it picks out the value based on how long to read that track. In the Daley Thompson's one, it combines both track speeds as 16 bit keys to make a 32 bit key to decrypt the next section of code (thus 8x8 combinations - I managed to guess the correct decrypt key based on Rob's interview within 7 tries luckily). In the Run the Gauntlet case, it just makes sure track 1 took 10-15% longer to read than track 1. If not, it runs "crash the computer" code :)

The CAPS team may well have been able to read the data off the disk assuming their disk format times how long it should take etc. Making the game runable on a REAL Amiga however is IMPOSSIBLE. You need a trace machine to write this track back at the correct speed unless CAPS have figured out some clever "slow down your disk drive" code (which is what the cyclone hardware does). If it could be written without hardware, I think Rob Northen would not have used it in his protection as lots of people could develop tools to defeat it easily (without cracking the game).

Oh yes, series 1 copylocks crashed on anything other than a 68000 aswell. So playing say Chase HQ on your A1200 will never work on the original, only a cracked version.

The next generation worked on more Amiga's, check for several syncs on the disk (the final one being $8914) and generate a 32 bit key. These were probably known as the bread and butter games to crack as you wire the key into d0 and skip the protection and it works. These were mainly from 1989-1991 games and the odd rare one after that. Again it does a speed check though so I don't see how it could be written back to another floppy on an Amiga without hardware.

After 1991 (and indeed a few before then I believe) the copylocks started doing other things, decrypting a bunch of memory or setting some values in it. The crackers somehow wired the key into place and skipped the "check speed check and send back key" code so it just did the useful bit of decrypting the game. Examples of this type are Magic Pockets, Mortal Kombat 2, Neighbours, Indy Heat...

From the interview with Rob Northen I still say you CANNOT duplicate a RNC game with a standard Amiga. You maybe able to READ the original data and have it in some format playable on a future emulator (or a modified current emulator) but taking that original CAPS image, copying it to your Amiga and writing it back to a floppy is IMPOSSIBLE! The whole protection relies on track 1 being written at a different speed and the Amiga's floppy drive CANNOT be slowed down without soldering/modifications/hardware/external drives etc.

Assuming you could even write these original dumps of games back (which I don't believe can be done), they will generally only work on an Amiga 500 (as they had no cache, thus the self modifying code tricks will not crash like they do on all other Amiga's). This means mister A1200 owner is screwed anyway.

[Please note that I am only talking about the vast majority of RNC games, some PDOS format games (eg. Superfrog) can be written back in their original form with just a standard disk drive (as it is a custom format but no copylock). I will post the PDOS tools at some stage on the Action site.]

[I have just read the June archive - it's easy to make claims about beating the protection, I will believe this software based writing will work WHEN I can do it myself on some of my originals like Rainbow Islands. Until I have done it myself, I say it's impossible! If whoever has written back these RNC copylock games could provide me with a list of games which were successfully duplicated along with just the protection track, I would love to have a try myself. I am keen to see which series of copylock were reproducable if it isn't just talk.]

WHDLoad is currently the cleanest way to dump your disks in a playable form. The slaves are small and constantly updated. Disk images are as small as possible (storing the track data only and not all the physical MFM layer data which is what CAPS does) and the encryption/self modifying code tricks are all bypassed. Features like high score savers, trainers, missing blitter waits and beam delays are inserted for games that have corrupt music/graphics or play too fast/hard. It's still being developed, written by a real Amiga enthusiast, supported by lots of slave writers and is damn cheap for what it does! End of advertisement for WHDLoad :)

birdy-scc 11 October 2001 03:21

That was a well written explanation.

The thing that gets me about this is why anyone is that bothered.

And as Codetapper said, some ORIGINALS just will not work even if you have the original and a more modern computer.

When I cracked Rob Northen protection on the ST, the usual result was the clean disk image used as the master by the programmers.

I would then try to single-part it and put a small text intro on it.

I've seen comment about single-parting before which wasn't positive, but in those days 3.5" disks cost as much as £3.50 each. Seven games that used to take seven disks now on one? The saving was a *lot* of money.

Sorry if I diverted a bit there, but it seemed about time to get that out!

Galahad/FLT 11 October 2001 16:06

tsk, tsk, tsk!
Whilst I find the subject of the CAPS project interesting, and commendable for people still maintaining an interest in all things Amiga, it is a futile and pointless exercise!

Everyone knows about WHDLoad and JST. These systems already do the job that the CAPS project would like to do, but the CAPS system will make emulators slower and the resultant disk images will be BIGGER (in some cases twice the size) of the WHDLoad and JST Installs.

The imagers written for WHD/JST are written to support many versions and only take from the disks the data that is required. MFM information, Sync markers, track gaps, etc, etc, etc are not needed. Anyone who has ever used a Warper will know that MFM protected disks come out as VERY big files, because the Warper cannot always guess a format, so therefore takes all data it can possibly find.

Warper compaction routines are traditionally very good, and archivers such as Zip, Lzx, Lha etc, etc, would make little or no impact on the size of the files, such is the dense nature of the data stored.

Rise of the Robots is a 12 disk game, warped the files amount to nearly 16Megs of data..... any WHD/JST install of this game would be considerably smaller.

And lets also dispel some other myths about CAPS.....


Consider this..... If this were possible, don't you think someone like, Phil Douglas, Blackhawk, IBM, Gaston, N.O.M.A.D., Galahad, FFC, Eurosoft, Marco Polo, Bob Duncan, Ringo Starr, Mok, Rob, The Surge, Pnemotron, etc, etc, etc.... would have figured it out?

No, because they already figured out that it cannot be done on Standard Amiga hardware.

The RNC PDOS format is the one Longtrack format that CAN be duplicated if you know what to do, but other format such as the FACTOR 5 Longtrack MFM format used by most Rainbow Arts games and countless others will also fail to be written down to a standard Amiga setup because the Amiga drive does not revolve slow enough to write all the track information down to disk, hence the name 'longtrack'. When its duplicated the duplicators use multispeed drives. The PDOS protection employed by Rob Northen does not become Longtrack MFM until it gets to the duplicators, until then its normal MFM.

The CAPS project has its heart in the right place, but to be honest, you would be much better off seeing that the guys doing installs for WHD/JST were supported by your original disks. They fix the problems with the games, they remove the protection, they even make them work on o4o/o6o.

Other protections systems, simplistic ones employed at the start of the Amigas history, did speed checks on one single MFM track.... you have already stated that UAE/Fellows ability to properly speed sync processor or CIA is flawed.

Seeing as these protections are based on speed checks, how do you suppose you are going to bypass these? How can you speed test MFM data in memory?????? You can't, because the speed test is done based on the drive motor and the revolution on the disk and how quickly the data gets into memory.

Yes, your idea to preserve the history of Amiga games is commendable, but ultimately this project is doomed in its present form. If you concentrated your efforts on doing a bi-support for WHD/JST, I think you would find your cause better served.

I really wish I could be more positive...

Regards, Galahad of Fairlight

Toni Wilen 11 October 2001 18:03


you have already stated that UAE/Fellows ability to properly speed sync processor or CIA is flawed.
Is this still problem with UAE 0.8.17? 0.8.17 had some important disk updates for braindead track loaders and copy protections, cycle-exact (at least nearly cycle-exact...) DSKBYTR, WORDSYNC-flag and INDEXSYNC emulation.

Galahad/FLT 11 October 2001 18:41

Whilst UAE is better than it was, some of the older style speed checks were indeed 'braindead'!

Some old ones would expect a result within a defined range of values (i.e. If the speed check was $1888 - $19ff then the protection would pass as ok), but others were set too low.

This is a problem that other people are experiencing and have mentioned in this thread.

This really is not much of a concern for UAE/Fellow, seeing as most people are using cracked software to use on their systems or using WHDLoad/JST installs, the subject of speed checks for protection is irrelevant, but for the purposes of the CAPS project, would make it practically impossible to do without cracking the games all over again, which they said they would not do.

Just as a cursory note, I still use Filemaster today, if you are the same Toni Wilen :)

Akira 11 October 2001 19:15

Thank you Codetapper for jumping in here and confirming what I thought (heck, I learned it from you :)), and welcome mister Galahad of Fairlight, another cracker supremo! Glad to see you here and I hope you stick around!

What I think these CAPS guys should go for (actually thsi is what I wanted to do with df0:, but as I said, I know pish all about coding), is to make CLEAN cracks. I mean, if I could have a clean crack of R-Type 2, I would be more tha nwilling to overwrite my fudged original with it. With clean I mean it should have no intros or similar tagging, it could (and I would said it definitely should) be fixed for better machines, and of course it should have its loader replaced so it can be transferred back to disks on a stock Amiga. This would be a neat way to replace faulty originals.

Then again, when the media's lifespan is over, there's no possible fix :(

andreas 11 October 2001 20:28


and welcome mister Galahad of Fairlight, another cracker supremo! Glad to see you here and I hope you stick around!
Yeah! :)
I second that, of course! :)
Step by step the whole amiga scene is gonna return here!
N.O.M.A.D. (SCOOPEX) would also be a good choice to invite here, methinks! :)

István Fábián 11 October 2001 23:18

To help you guys
First: I understand your problem with understanding what we do.
A few things FYI:
We have never ever stated that longtracks can be written back with a normal fdd, because they can't. However there are fdds out there with speed control, which can.
CAPS started out as just an emulation project, originally, long before going to public. It was not expected that any images could be remastered. While commencing we noticed that many of them are writeable, so why not do it? :)
Toni: the disk system should most likely be updated a bit to support cell timing. Please contact us and we can give *you* information on how to improve disk loading - like cycle exact working of sync flags, diskbytr etc -, also how to implement caps format into uae. Alternatively if you have an ICQ number, we can discuss online.
The point of CAPS is to save the images in unaltered form. This is a very different purpose compared to say HD installers, which are very nice IMHO. If you don't get the difference, it's of not our concern.

And lets also dispel some other myths about some posters here: YOU CAN REWRITE A COPYLOCK TRACK!!!! PERIOD! :)))

Joking aside it is possible, on "new" CopyLock tracks. We did the hard part for you: we show CopyLock timing graphs on the CAPS site's wip. It's just a matter of being creative to figure out how to duplicate that - the revelation will be striking to say the least.

If we'd shown you, how everyone would claim "I knew it", wouldn't they? (besides it'd be a spoiler for the challenge minded)It's based on a flaw of the system - probably the only one. CopyLock was obviously much easier to crack, then to copy, that's why nobody bothered.
Codetapper: whichever game produces the timing graphs on our site are all remasterable without hardware. And only those, afaik at the moment. At least from 1988-1993. That's pretty a lot, considering Rob Northen Computing afaik went out of business sometime around that.
"How can you speed test MFM data in memory?????? You can't" Just have a look at the timing graphs on our site. They are cycle exact. How do you think we made them? Drawn with DPaint or what...? We obvioulsy found a reliable method to sample cell density, that's how. Sorry to "dispel another myth"!
Mr. A1200 is screwed if he were to be screwed with the *original*. If it worked on A1200 it would work on it again. If it failed it would fail just as well. We do not modify the programs in any way. That's exactly what preservation means.
On the images: they'll be available - but only tested ones, we don't want to flood the .net with bad dumps. Unfortunately any Amiga company would shut us down if we'd offer the images on our site - this seems to be their only legit goal nowadays. We are not strong enough to fight them, they'll go away: all of them did sooner or later. So we won't fight them. We are not hoarders, although some of us are has a lot of originals.
I don't know how GB64 works, I've donated them a lot of ultra-rare stuff (through a friend), but I think they want to stay on the legal side and avoid any legal trouble. It's just a guess on my side, but they are releasing their stuff through TOSEC silently on a.b.e.m. newsgroup. We go for a similar approach.

I don't want to push this as an advantage on my side, but: how many of you were into commercial games development market in the Amiga era? I, for one was. Those who work with me know me, and that's all it matters.

End of advertisement for CAPS :o)
Please forgive my style, but your comments of disbelief provoked that. ;)

Akira 11 October 2001 23:28

Hmm this sounds most interesting. Please have in mind nobody has bashed your project for no reason at all, both Codetapper and galahad know what they talk about. YOu talk about something revolutionary that will allow Copylock games to be written back without extra hardware. I for one can't wait to see how you pull this out.

We did not intend to bash you, we're kind of pessimist that's all :) Please keep us posted about progress in your project.

I might be able to save my wrecked copy of R-Type II after all :)

EAB rules :) How did you find out about this thread?

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