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Old 26 June 2003, 00:15   #1
BippyM
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Robocop 3

Some pics of the dongle!!


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Old 26 June 2003, 00:47   #2
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What on earth is that for?
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Old 26 June 2003, 00:51   #3
CodyJarrett
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It's the copy protection hardware for Robocop 3 - the uncracked game doesn't work without it.
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Old 26 June 2003, 01:15   #4
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Am I drun k k or issssssssssssssss th e picture a lttttttle unshaaaarp .......

It look nice, could we have some pictures from above and beneath

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Old 26 June 2003, 01:19   #5
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Madness! I never heard of games needing a dongle! Just apps! And on an Amiga!
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Old 26 June 2003, 03:41   #6
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You will get used to it... we have 4 so far
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Old 26 June 2003, 14:09   #7
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Wasn't Ocean bragging about that game protection being unbreakable because of the dongle? I remember reading about that in game magazines. They were advertising it as a state of the art protection, and look what the crackers did with it
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Old 26 June 2003, 14:31   #8
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It may be a harder task (to replicate/reverse engineer the dongle)from our point of view since we are not changing any game code... We shall see...

"state of the art" 10 years ago will hopefully not cause much problems now though I hope.
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Old 26 June 2003, 15:54   #9
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State of the art 10 years ago was the 16k smartcard BSkyB used to annoy Sky hackers
Even if RoboCop 3 uses that technology (that I doubt...), the communication protocol can be directly ripped from the gamecode, and the table downloaded.
However it is more likely to be some simple gate logic, or a counter for cost saving. (afair tfmx had a counter TTL)
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Old 26 June 2003, 16:33   #10
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I wonder why they thought this protection would be better than all the others. If I'm not mistaken, all that the crackers had to do was to disable the part of code that checks whether the dongle is connected or not, right?

It would be the same as any other plain normal codewheel protection...
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Old 26 June 2003, 16:37   #11
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It could be that a critical part of the game code/loader/encryption key is stored on the dongle. It would mean the crackers would have had to read it out and put it on the disk somewhere (or do the equivelent). But I guess we will know soon enough.
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Old 26 June 2003, 17:02   #12
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One important thing that is often mistaken:
copy protection is there to prevent a legitimate customer of a game to copy his/her purchase to a friend, a neighbour, a kid, a schoolmate etc.
When people affected could not copy a game to whoever they showed it to, many of the people went and bought the game instead - we are of course not speaking about people "in the know" of piracy, but casual users, the people who these games were targeted at the first place.

A manual can be photocopied (normally), a codewheel can be ripped apart and photocopied, a disk protection (less advanced early ones) can be copied once you know how.
However a dongle no matter how simple is out of reach for many of the people who could have copied the game otherwise.
The reason dongles were rarely used was the cost involved and the massive losses that could have been gained if the success of a game was improperly forecast. (similar problem with console cartridge remittance)
A wrong sales forecast could have easily wiped out the profit of a bad selling game, while duplication was a much more controllable cost and could be done is small (few hundred copies) runs whenever needed.
Manual and packaging cost was shared among platforms in many cases, so the cost was well spread and mass reduced, of course if none of the conversions sold, it was a major loss.
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Old 26 June 2003, 19:00   #13
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The folks at Ocean were bragging more about other protection on the game than the dongle. Something about threaded code or something like that (it's been years since I read those articles).
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Old 26 June 2003, 19:03   #14
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We'll see about that soon(ish)
Just in case it is really needed (if more, than just logic circuitry), somebody might have to send me the dongle... but hopefully not needed.
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Old 28 June 2003, 03:36   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by IFW
We'll see about that soon(ish)
Just in case it is really needed (if more, than just logic circuitry), somebody might have to send me the dongle... but hopefully not needed.
Got an original copy of Robocop 3, big box version with dongle. If you need it for CAPS I'll happily give it away, but it would be nice to find a link to a working WHD version. Every time I try to install it won't work, even though there are no read errors.
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Old 28 June 2003, 04:00   #16
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Anybody remember Lenslock? that silly plastic thing you held up on the tv to unscramble a code, the game asked for the code!
but summin went wrong and thousands of shipped games had a faulty lensock thingy.... so the code didnt display right and the game was useless LOL!
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Old 28 June 2003, 13:03   #17
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Robocop 3

Despite Oceans wild claims, the dongle for Robocop 3 wasn't all that great.

If the dongle had been used properly then it might have taken longer to crack.

The idea behind the dongle was simply to test for its presence, and it would return a value if present. The way that the programmers decided to disguise the read code was no different to how a programmer might disguise a Copylock protection check.

Once you got beyond the self modifying code, you simply removed them.

I'm pretty sure if you test the dongle in different ways, it returns different values, which if you were an intelligent programmer, you could use this for different aspects of the game.

For the record, Gaston of Fairlight got it at 9.30am UK time, by 17.00 UK time, it was cracked 100%!

The protection isn't very well put together, and its nice you all goto the efforts of trying to support it, but the Platinum release doesn't even have this protection, and has had several bugs removed. I'm sure I still have a dongle for this game, and am quite happy to work out what it does for inclusion into a CAPS environment...... I think you all overestimate the dongles effectiveness!

The 'hype' surrounding the protection did more to promote gamesales of Robocop 3 than the dongle itself did, because so many people mistakenly thought it unbreakable...... that was the last time anyone swallowed that rubbish.
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Old 29 June 2003, 13:35   #18
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@Galahad

Just out of curiosity.
If the cracking experts such as Fairlight Crystal etc had put their collective minds to it, could they have come up with unbeatable copy protection? Is it actually possible to make a game 'crack-proof'?

Also, did any crack teams ever put their talents to creating a game? It seems a lot of crackers were better than most of the game developers. I know Team 17 were ex-demo coders but were there any crackers turn developers?
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Old 29 June 2003, 16:56   #19
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No sorry, crackers were quite often just kids, with will enough to spend a few hours on removing a copy-protection, but developing a game requires month and years worth of dedication.
There are rewarding moments of developments, both most of the time it is real work.

But there were few worthy talents out there too:
TLC->Factor 5

It is possible to create something that by the time it gets cracked nobody would care.
It is just too expensive for a game and would be very annoying for the real buyers of the game.

If you want state of the art protection check out CryptoWorks, Seca 2, MediaGuard etc. All of them are being used in pay-tv services.
The only keys that get out from these cards are the keys currently being used, and they change about every 10 minutes.
Communication codes, blocking, addressing specific receivers and cards are all unknown about these systems, what you may find is fake or useless.
By the time they get cracked, the services will just change to a new viewing card.
But we are not talking about $30 games here, but $600-$1200 yearly tv subscriptions so the motivation of protecting the system is "slightly" bigger
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Old 29 June 2003, 18:29   #20
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No, its not possible to make a game uncrackable. IFW is not speaking about 'fixed protection', which is a different prospect altogether.

The problem with game copy-protection is that once its written, it can't evolve, its set, its fixed. So whatever the programmer has done, is done.

I developed a copy protection for Speris Legacy that unfortunately could not be duplicated, hence Team 17's Lame-o-doc-check.

If someone can design something, then someone can figure it out.

As for most of the crackers being kids...... not so!

Also, attempting to hack the cards on these new Pay TV systems is a waste of time, most hackers simply hack the system the cards plug into You'd be amazed at what systems have been hacked for a while now

If someone can design it, someone else will make it their business to understand it.

There is no such thing as an uncrackble copy protection for games, it hasn't happened yet, and it won't happen now.
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