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Old 11 April 2002, 11:13   #21
DrBong
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@Twistin'
Trouble with HD fixing the old 80s EA games is that the loaders are written in C and the games themselves make heavy use of OS functions. Therefore most of them crash and burn on pretty much anything but a basic Amiga set-up running Kickstart 1.1 or 1.2. Jeff's done remarkably well to HD fix these games for most Amiga configurations and with a clean quit back to WB option to boot!
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Old 11 April 2002, 14:39   #22
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I know that Codetapper has mentioned to me before how he hates mucking with games that use the system. I would have thought it would be the other way around, but I can see how this could be a problem (sort of). What I *don't* understand is why they won't emulate worth a damn even using the original ROM files (which was more difficult to swap around on a real Amiga).
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Old 11 April 2002, 15:41   #23
fiath
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Guys,

Look at the credits to the install.
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Old 11 April 2002, 19:24   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by Twistin'Ghost
What I *don't* understand is why they won't emulate worth a damn even using the original ROM files (which was more difficult to swap around on a real Amiga).
The answer lies partly in the fact that there is more to an Amiga (and Amiga emulation) than a kickstart rom (image). The old EA games won't even work on basic OCS Amigas softkicked with 1.2. Heck, some old games needing Kickstart 1.x wouldn't work if you simply had an external floppy drive enabled. Sometimes that was a intentional byproduct of the copy protection, other times it was purely incidental. Anyway, as good as Amiga emulators are getting, methinks it's probably being too hopeful to expect old copy-protected games to work when they don't on the real thing with softkicking/degrading/praying/headbanging etc.

The other answer to your question lies in the fact that Amiga emulators at present cannot handle disk copy protection. Being able to make an ADF of an original Amiga game without errors being reported won't necessarily mean that the copy protection is intact either. For some games this is crucial. Test Drive is a perfect example. Most times you can make an ADF of the original Test Drive disk without any errors being reported. However, the game exec file (TD) is one of the earliest files loaded after booting the disk. IIRC once the exec is loaded, a disk check is actually initiated to verify the presence of a non-standard protected track (track o head 1 to be precise). If the disk check fails then the loading actually stops then and there. Downright devious! That non-standard track on the Test Drive disk can't even be warped properly. Therefore, in order to get the WHDLoad patch working properly, Jeff Fabre without a physical original of the game, had to crack the exec file so the disk check would be bypassed to load and run the game.

The mind really boggles when you consider all the weird, whacky and downright evil disk copy protection schemes that appeared on the Amiga!
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Old 12 April 2002, 00:45   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by Shadowen
Anyway, as good as Amiga emulators are getting, methinks it's probably being too hopeful to expect old copy-protected games to work when they don't on the real thing with softkicking/degrading/praying/headbanging etc.
Well, I agree that it's just as much of a pain to get those older games working on a real Amiga, but I wasn't referring to copy-protected versions. Most of the old E/A ones have been fixed via parameter copiers. Also, a lot of those terribly address-crunched 1-parted games are just as difficult to get going on anything but a bog-standard A500. I shutter to think what the current Amiga retro gaming scene would be like without the WHD patch creators all making the impossible possible. They are the wind beneath my...[SNIP!]
Quote:
Originally posted by Shadowen
The mind really boggles when you consider all the weird, whacky and downright evil disk copy protection schemes that appeared on the Amiga!
It would make a great book, methinks. But or course, everyone would just pirate the book...
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Old 12 April 2002, 04:23   #26
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@Twistin'
You inadvertedly hit the nail on the head.....some of the single filed games by the likes of Il Scuro have been crunched using obscure, and at times, quite nasty decrunchers. I suspect that problems would occur if the game is decrunched to an area of memory that is being reserved for other things on expanded set-ups (emulation or not). There's also still no getting away from the fact that deprotected or not, old games will do nasty things (emulation or not) if the coders did not follow Commodore's programming guidelines. If a lot of game coders had, then the WHDLoad guys would not be nearly as busy I suspect!
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Old 12 April 2002, 11:20   #27
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Tell me about it!

We have seen one game that instead of making a library call, it jumps straight to an address in ROM to execute a function. Needless to say, this game only works on KS 1.2.

Another game, and one of the best protections we have seen so far (the game is crap though ;) monitors the exactly behaviour after it deliberately throws a CPU exception - within a CPU exception block. Needless to say this game only works on a 68000 CPU.
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Old 13 April 2002, 00:48   #28
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@Fiath
What game do you speak of and does the copy protection have a specific name like RNC or Trackmaster 17?
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Old 13 April 2002, 05:29   #29
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Okay, the first reference to "direct ROM jumping" refers to some of the early EA titles. This is one(?) of the reasons why some versions of them (the earlier ones obviously) only work on KS 1.2 and/or with specific memory configurations.

As for the second one - that prize goes to Cardiaxx - that game has BRILLIANT copy protection - technically speaking. It is just a shame they did not put as much effort into the game itself!

But no, they do not have specific names afaik. In fact, most of the protections we find at CAPS probably have names - we just don't know them! Hence why we usually call protections something ourselves - just to refer to it. This is usually after the publisher, or something else for example:

ReadySoft (main)
ReadySoft (old) - 1st Dragon's Lair only?
Firebird
Rainbird (non CCITT)
CopyLock (old version)
CopyLock (newer version)

Or whatever. I suppose if there is some identifier in the protection that obviously refers to it - we might use that or something...
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Old 13 April 2002, 05:36   #30
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Hey, Fiath - just make sure you are keeping good notes on all of this stuff. I still think it would make a very good book (we could put protection on the pdf ebook!)
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Old 13 April 2002, 05:39   #31
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Haha yeah eBook... But what about that Russian guy?

Anyway, the WIP is nearly a book by now...
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Old 14 April 2002, 05:01   #32
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Quote:
Originally posted by fiath
As for the second one - that prize goes to Cardiaxx - that game has BRILLIANT copy protection - technically speaking. It is just a shame they did not put as much effort into the game itself!

But no, they do not have specific names afaik. In fact, most of the protections we find at CAPS probably have names - we just don't know them! Hence why we usually call protections something ourselves - just to refer to it. This is usually after the publisher, or something else. I suppose if there is some identifier in the protection that obviously refers to it - we might use that or something...
Which release of Cardiaxx has that copy protection- Electronic Zoo, Team 17 or both?

With the names of copy protection schemes used, sometimes you can find some reference to it in the game credits (in-game or in the docs). Other times the name may be embedded in bootblocks or game code. However, as you've said, mostly they are unknown and will remain that way unless software houses/coders have discussed them in old Amiga magazine articles or more recently on the net. Pity that information about Amiga copy protection isn't as prevalent as that for C64 copy protection, where books like that written by KrackerJax were published on the topic.
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Old 14 April 2002, 06:16   #33
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Quote:
Originally posted by Shadowen
With the names of copy protection schemes used, sometimes you can find some reference to it in the game credits (in-game or in the docs). Other times the name may be embedded in bootblocks or game code. However, as you've said, mostly they are unknown and will remain that way unless software houses/coders have discussed them in old Amiga magazine articles or more recently on the net. Pity that information about Amiga copy protection isn't as prevalent as that for C64 copy protection, where books like that written by KrackerJax were published on the topic.
Actually we were planning on doing an Amiga version of the Inside Kracker Jax series, Bob Mills and I were starting the first volume when the whole CBM market fell thru

Now when I say we, I mean the Kracker Jax team, it was a sub label of the parent company, Hands On Software. I worked for the parent company since about it's inception, when it worked wholly on C64 parameters as they were called and were sold via a couple of local computer shops.

Him and I had kept a lot of notes on the various schemes, including the long tracks used by both Psygnosis and Readysoft. We both liked the simplicity and the nuances of all the iterations of RNC protection

Not sure if Bob kept any of his notes, mine I had to leave with the company when I left there a few years back. I got to keep the software however
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Old 14 April 2002, 18:46   #34
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@jmmijo
Interesting info. :-) When, how, and why did Hands On Software/Kracker Jax leave the C= market? Surely, if they left because the C64 market had died they could have continued on with Amiga product development? The last Amiga development I know of from Bob Mills was the update release of Maverick V5.01 on 12/8/92, which was still in the Amiga heydey and well before Commodore's bankruptcy. Did he release anything after that date?

Anyway, I would love to get my hands on any of the Kracker Jax books/software published for C64, but especially the books which have long been out of print.
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Old 14 April 2002, 22:40   #35
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I have seen those books for sale on ebay before, so you may want to do some searches there from time to time.
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Old 14 April 2002, 22:55   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by Shadowen
@jmmijo
Interesting info. :-) When, how, and why did Hands On Software/Kracker Jax leave the C= market? Surely, if they left because the C64 market had died they could have continued on with Amiga product development? The last Amiga development I know of from Bob Mills was the update release of Maverick V5.01 on 12/8/92, which was still in the Amiga heydey and well before Commodore's bankruptcy. Did he release anything after that date?

Anyway, I would love to get my hands on any of the Kracker Jax books/software published for C64, but especially the books which have long been out of print.
Well it was a business move, not so much when CBM went under in 94 but we could see the writing on the wall. The C64/Amiga sales were tumbling then, not just the Maverick software and hardware but the entire line of software. See Hands On Software ran a mail ourder business, Software Support International, which sold C64/128/Amiga/PC software and hardware. Also a local retail shop was opened too, this mainly dealt with PC software and hardware as that is where the money was I tried resisting it for a couple of years but in 94, I too fell victim to the PC black hole, at least in the states it was

Sorry to say this was all because Hands On Software couldn't make enough to justify keeping development going and to keep the Kracker Jax team paid. So the owner thought it best to just sell what was left of the stock and to migrate to the PC side of things, which at this time was being in-undated by "shitware" CD-ROM titles, but I tell you, we couldn't keep half of the titles in stock. PC users with their brand new 2x Multimedia system wanted every freakin title. I'm afraid that nothing is about doing it for the love of the product, it has to make money or baa by

Yes the last release of Maverick for the Amiga was about then, sorry to say that it was more of a maintenence release to fix a few bugs in the utilities and the parameters.

As for the books, I'd have to dig around for them, but I think it's best you check out eBay or even some places like oldsoftware.com that still has both some Amiga and C64 stuff to sell. Perhaps they would come across something like this.
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Old 15 April 2002, 00:12   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by Shadowen

Which release of Cardiaxx has that copy protection- Electronic Zoo, Team 17 or both?
Electronic Zoo release, we do not have a dump of the Team17 version...

Quote:

With the names of copy protection schemes used, sometimes you can find some reference to it in the game credits (in-game or in the docs). Other times the name may be embedded in bootblocks or game code. However, as you've said, mostly they are unknown and will remain that way unless software houses/coders have discussed them in old Amiga magazine articles or more recently on the net. Pity that information about Amiga copy protection isn't
Yeah, well you never know - somebody should to put a site together to standardise the names of all the copy protection schemes on the Amiga. They could even try to trace down authors / publishers to get information.

Any takers?

Nah... Thought not.

It would be a nice resource though - imagine - a site devoted to documenting copy protection on floppy based formats - with detailed specs of how they work and such like. Hehe, perhaps demand might not to great for this - but I would enjoy it!

Last edited by fiath; 15 April 2002 at 11:59.
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Old 15 April 2002, 21:15   #38
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Hmmmm.

Not so Kieron.... I gave you the names to most of the copy protection systems

Company Protection Name
------------ ---------------------
Gremlin, Magnetic Fields SS MFM (Shaun Southern)
Sensible SOS MFM (Sensible Operating
System)
Richard Aplin CyberDOS MFM
Psygnosis Reflections MFM
Rob Northen Protected DOS MFM (PDOS)
Readysoft RL DOS (Randy Linden) MFM
Digital Illusions TSL MFM (The Silents)
Factor 5 MT MFM (Manfred Trenz)
Rainbird, Silverbird, Microstyle, Microprose, Probe, Maelstrom, Realtime Games ZZKJ MFM (Programmer for Probe)
Bloodhouse BS MFM (Bloodsuckers)
Tony Crowther RAT Dos (Tonys nickname was RAT)
Anco Cobra X-Rom
Special FX, Rage SFX MFM (Special FX)
Thalion JH Dos (Jochen Hippel)
Sales Curve RPW (Ronald Pieket Wieserik)

They are the main ones that were in use more than once. Obviously there are more (Rise of the Robots MagicDOS), but for the most part, these protection systems were only used once, and thus would carry the name of the game as its protection system.
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Old 16 April 2002, 08:50   #39
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Quote:
Tony Crowther RAT Dos (Tonys nickname was RAT)
I'm feeling a bit proud now
You're seldom having the occasion to correct Mighty Galahad.
But I'm sure about this one: his nickname was Ratt (like the Heavy Metal band).
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Old 16 April 2002, 09:52   #40
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Re: Hmmmm.

Quote:
Originally posted by Galahad/FLT
Not so Kieron.... I gave you the names to most of the copy protection systems


Thanks, I had not forgotten!

However, I was under the impression that these were just the ones you knew about - and there were probably (loads?) more.

If this is indeed nearly all those that were used "widely" then I guess there is no problem here...

Quote:

They are the main ones that were in use more than once. Obviously there are more (Rise of the Robots MagicDOS), but for the most part, these protection systems were only used once, and thus would carry the name of the game as its protection system.
Good idea, I'll suggest it and the system mentioned. Thanks very much (again) for your input!
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