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Old 25 October 2014, 14:08   #19
Galahad/FLT
Going nowhere

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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: United Kingdom
Age: 44
Posts: 6,604
Primarily it was done for the challenge, secondly for a rather hidden type of fame.

Hidden? OK, lets clarify that. Why did some cracktros have PO Box addresses in them? Because no-one was stupid enough to put their real address (unless it was in demos to say no swapping games but everything else!). Yes, I and others had 'fame', but it was hidden, because I can assure you, other than people being able to rattle off a list of what groups I had been in, they sure as hell didn't know who I was, and that was the same for every other cracker, rarely did we publicise who we really were.

I nearly got caught out twice, the first time was cracking a piece of productivity software where the software company concerned were very eager to find me (and it wasn't to offer me a job either!), and the second time I was actually outed, but there was some code (feeble as it was) that meant it didn't spread much from the copy party I went to. I was pictured in Amiga Action or one of the big magazines with the rest of Binary Emotions (Speris Legacy, Minskies Furrballs) and some bright spark figured out which one was me.

No cracker or group was afraid of getting bust by FAST, but we sure as fuck wouldn't voluntarily make their life easier, we had more to worry about using AT&T Calling Cards.

Sure, when I went to college, a few blokes thought it was cool I was in Fairlight, the girls however, it impressed them not one bit!

But the primary reason was the challenge, not just of cracking it, it was the whole process.

1). Waiting until 10am for the original supplier to let you know if your services were needed that day.
2). Being told "Yes, we've got X and X coming, do you want to do them?"
3). Waiting for the original supplier to get back and ready to upload.
4). Him asking you want do you want him to do..... "chuck it through X-Copy quickly" would be the usual answer.
5). And then from then on, get the bootblock, build an imager if it was an MFM game (errors on every track), or if it was simply Copylock or a derivative (1 error'd track), image the entire disk minus the track (7/10 you didn't need the Copylock track to get the serial key if it was implemented by a moron!).
6). crack the game, having to constantly answer the phone from the original supplier to find out if its ready or not, whilst he gets modem traders ready and gets the sysop of the WHQ ready to kick off non-FLT members so all the FLT modem traders can sit on a node and wait for the release.
7). Do an intro, playtest, and upload.

And then the hard work begins. The entire time you're doing that, Paradox, Quartex, Prestige, and any others might well be doing the exact same thing you're doing.

Upload to original supplier, who is also connected to the WHQ and is ready to upload immediately, doing the FILE_ID.DIZ (an ascii descriptor file so people can see what it is as the filenames must respect the 8:3 file format of MS-DOS).

Once its upped to the FLT secret conference on the WHQ, modem traders download, a couple of them hit every FLT board in order of importance, and the others then go and hit every rival groups WHQ of importance. So Paradox, Prestige, Quartex, in fact any group that was a worth rival and had the boards to match, they'd get blitzed as fast as possible.

The Sysop of the WHQ would copy the file to the main index so its live to everyone else, nodes freed up for other people.

If you can get your release on all your boards and all rival boards of note within 3 hours of release, you've won, because it will then be so spread from there on in, no other group has a chance.

Cracking? Pah, that was one aspect, the whole race was the thrill, waiting for a poxy page to update, whilst you're uploading, someone from Prestige might have a faster modem and already got their version in the listing ahead of yours.

Good times...... the best of times
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