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Old 11 September 2021, 20:09   #1
SquawkBox
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Final Assault working version

There is this other game I can't get to work on my A500 : Final Assault, the English version of Bivouac (1987) (Infogrames), which, incidentally has recently been WHD'fied by jotd. Apparently, Epyx didn't care to fix the game for any of the later miggys. Some of the ADF's bear the [KS 1.2] flag, yet that version was released a year later compared to Bivouac & Chamonix Challenge, respectively the French and German version of Bivouac. Epyx bought the rights before Infogrames realized the game didn't work from a bog standard KS 1.3 A500. After that, Infogrames managed to fix the game before releasing it for the French and German markets, but didn't bother sending the fixed assets to Epyx, their U.S. based partner (merely speculating here, but it could have happened that way, me thinks).

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Old 11 September 2021, 21:55   #2
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maybe try a cracked version? there's HLS disk protection on the original. And I don't think it requires KS 1.2 either. All versions run with whdload+kick1.3
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Old 11 September 2021, 23:16   #3
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Also tried TMF version (The Magnum Force). No better luck, game gurus right after the cracktro :







Not quite sure what's going on underneath, but Epyx must have done something off their own bat.

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Old 12 September 2021, 05:00   #4
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All right, so the HLS disk protection prevents the HFEv3 of Final Assault from working with the Gotek, while Chamonix Challenge which is exactly the same game works perfectly, good to know. Now, the confusing part is that the language of the IPF of Chamonix Challenge is English, while the language of the cracked version of the game is German. I infer that no dump could be found by the SPS team of the French and German version of Bivouac.

Having said that, the "anonymously" cracked versions of Final Assault do work, any of them, I hadn't looked at that possibility.

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Old 12 September 2021, 15:02   #5
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Just noticed dlfrsilver preserved Chamonix Challenge by IPF'ying the version that was included in the Super Quintet compilation (the one that used to be sold in the U.K.). He did the same with Bubble Ghost. TMF couldn't crack Chamonix Challenge properly, that's why it's an h flag instead of cr I presume.

https://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=63565
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Old 17 September 2021, 16:34   #6
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The case of the Hellion version (and TMF) of the "Final Assault" game is special :
Final Assault (1988)(Epyx)[h Hellion][KS1.2]

Hellion's crack uses the DoIO function directly in the ROM and at the address only existing in the Kickstart 1.2 ($FC06DC).

Apart from these technical considerations, the fact is that this version of the game only works on KS1.2, so this information from TOSEC is voluntary and relevant.

Last edited by Crashdisk; 17 September 2021 at 18:59.
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Old 17 September 2021, 20:55   #7
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Nice of you to step in my modest Bivouac thread, please use one of the sleeping bags, we leave early in the morning . On a more serious note, I've got a couple (somehow unrelated, and probably ingenuous) questions :

jotd mentioned the HLS disk protection, is this some kind of utterly smart protection ? What I mean by that : Did the coder behind that disk protection had anticipated the possibility that a virtual FDD would exist someday ? Assuming I had bought that version of the game (a boxed copy of Final Assault), the corresponding floppy disk would load fine on my miggy, right ? The reason it doesn't hasn't anything to do with the integrity of the HFEv3 I used, but instead could be attributed to the detection of something fishy by the protection (like some red alert after it detected a Gotek, instead of an actual floppy disk drive). Is this a correct interpretation ?
Also, is there any possibility for the average Joe to backtrack on an anonymous (lack of cracktro etc.) crack from an ADF in order to relate it to any of the existing scene group / person ? In other words, were there early crack groups that were known for not attempting to become famous by spreading their nick through their releases (deliberately, or simply because they didn't care).
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Old 17 September 2021, 23:43   #8
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I don't know anything about protection but it is obvious that simulating the functioning of a protected floppy disk is not an easy task, especially the management of the reading timing, the "fuzzy bits" or other oddities invented to avoid piracy.
So the performance of a virtual FDD to reproduce the operation of a real floppy drive will be decisive for running a protected game even if it has been preserved by SPS.

Concerning, the 2 IPF preserved by SPS :
- Chamonix Challenge (1989)(Infogrames)[compilation Super Quintet][2281]
- Final Assault (1988)(Epyx)(US)[1429]
The 1429 is protected by Herndon HLS while the 2281 is not protected. Probably because it is not a commercial but a budget version. The duplication is cheaper without (disk) protection...

Warez archives (CD/BBS/...) are a good way to find the origin of a crack, you can sometimes find hacks that change the text or/and the cracktro to make it look like they are the origin (example Softgallo Team). Some people remove all references to the crack for various reasons (compatibility, "ethics", speed of loading, etc).
It also happens that there is no reference to a crack because it can be shameful to crack a 2nd-rate game.
And then there are also backup programs for private use (Maverick, Lockpick, FreeCopy, ...), generally, they do not sign their cracks.
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Old 18 September 2021, 02:44   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crashdisk View Post
The 1429 is protected by Herndon HLS while the 2281 is not protected. Probably because it is not a commercial but a budget version. The duplication is cheaper without (disk) protection...
I don't think so. It appears Epyx are solely responsible for it. They have slapped this Herndon HLS type of copy protection on California Games (which they devised) and on Winter Games too (cf. corresponding WHDLoad entries).
Probably, Infogrames didn't bother to protect Bivouac, nor Chamonix Challenge at all, I guess we'll never know for sure. The way I see it, each title from this Quintet compilation is 1:1 replica of the retail game, just squeezed to fit on a single floppy disk.
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Old 19 September 2021, 01:10   #10
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Did some more testing with published by Epyx games . Winter Games HFEv3 (freshly converted from the IPF) loads fine from my Gotek, one set of HFEv3 of California Games loads fine, while the other doesn't. Let me explain : Search the server, you will notice there are two sets of IPF's (a total of four) for California Games, one is [1445], that's the one which fails to load
while [1447] works perfectly fine . Also, HFEv3 of World Games fails to load.
Emailed Jean-Francois about it, maybe it's down to how the Gotek firmware handles the above mentioned Herndon HLS copy protection. I mean, it is unlikely the IPF's of the games which fail to load on my machine happen to be defective.

Last edited by SquawkBox; 19 September 2021 at 08:09.
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Old 20 September 2021, 11:44   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SquawkBox View Post
Did some more testing with published by Epyx games . Winter Games HFEv3 (freshly converted from the IPF) loads fine from my Gotek, one set of HFEv3 of California Games loads fine, while the other doesn't. Let me explain : Search the server, you will notice there are two sets of IPF's (a total of four) for California Games, one is [1445], that's the one which fails to load
while [1447] works perfectly fine . Also, HFEv3 of World Games fails to load.
Emailed Jean-Francois about it, maybe it's down to how the Gotek firmware handles the above mentioned Herndon HLS copy protection. I mean, it is unlikely the IPF's of the games which fail to load on my machine happen to be defective.
as explained by Crashdisk, a gotek with flashfloppy + HFe v3 can't solve an incompatibility problem due to kickstart 1.2 fixed offset used in ROM by the game.

You would need then an A500 + KS1.2 to be able to run the game in original. the HLS herndon protection is not the problem here.

The proof is in the pudding, you've been able to load Winter Games, and also California Games, because you use an A500 with KS 1.3 + HFE v3. Again, the HLS herndon protection is not the problem.
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Old 21 September 2021, 09:27   #12
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Crashdisk reply isn't related to how Gotek deals with games that are protected against copy. In short, what he told me is that the [KS1.2] flag does apply to The Magnum Force version of Final Assault not because the original would require KS 1.2 but because the crack requires it (sorry, my previous assumption was somehow misleading). Not a single original game mentioned in this thread require KS 1.2, one of cracked version does and that's it. Now, concerning Herndon HLS copy protection, you have chosen to consider the games I have been able to load, but not the ones I haven't been able to load. As I said, there are two sets of IPF's for California Games. The SPS team must have noticed a few differences between the two sets of originals despite both of them bearing said protection, presumably.

You could try this yourself : After having proceeded to conversion to HFE v3, one set of IPF's loads [1447] while the other [1445] fails to load, simple as that. Add to that the fact that World Games and Final Assault fail to load too with with KS 1.3 + HFE v3 as you say. Feel free to convert the corresponding IPF's and compare CRC32 with mine if you think I might have converted to HFE v1 by mistake :
  • California Games [1445] : 0EB1C74B ; Data Disk : AE3D2E77
  • California Games [1447] : E39AD753 ; Data Disk : 7BFDE12D
  • Final Assault [1429] : 933268E8
  • World Games [0604] : E9F9B04A

What may be concluded ? That FlashFloppy could possibly be improved so that each and every original which uses that type of copy protection works as intended. Now, there is something that you don't seem to realize : FlashFloppy is based on HxC. There are a few users out there who use HxC daily with their miggy and are perfectly happy with it, despite the fact that it comes with a (small) price.

The way I see it, normal course of action for a copy protection related bug report would be to send it to Jean-Francois first. Eventually, he would fix it (assuming it can be fixed without too much hassle), then keirf would catch on and update FF consequently (not trying to assess the individual merit of HxC VS FF here). I can't be 100% sure of course, but I don't think a HxC user would benefit of a better software in terms of loading games bearing the Herndon HLS copy protection. Ultimately, it's up to J-F to give it a go and if he doesn't... Well, too bad but no biggie, cracked versions exist for each of these games which the Gotek can load without breaking a sweat.

Now, consider this : Despite the fact that my miggy was sold with FF, I could switch over to HxC (bought the license, since, as the saying goes : Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's ), but it would involve a few steps which may require a direct link between the Gotek and my computer, stuff like that (I've done worse). Just as you, I am fine using latest version of FF, at least I've settled for this for now.

The consequence of that : J-F decided not to "waste time" (that's his words) with bug reports of folks who are not using latest version of HxC. So yeah, kind of dilemma as far as he's concerned, should he "waste time" trying to load original of Final Assault, World Games etc. from his machine (he had agreed to load ISS - Incredible Shrinking Sphere you might reply, yup, but it seems he changed his mind and won't do it again for said games after noticing I am still running FF) or leave things as they are and maybe miss the chance to improve the way HxC handles Herndon HLS protection.
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Old 21 September 2021, 11:22   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SquawkBox View Post
Crashdisk reply isn't related to how Gotek deals with games that are protected against copy. In short, what he told me is that the [KS1.2] flag does apply to The Magnum Force version of Final Assault not because the original would require KS 1.2 but because the crack requires it (sorry, my previous assumption was somehow misleading). Not a single original game mentioned in this thread require KS 1.2, one of cracked version does and that's it. Now, concerning Herndon HLS copy protection, you have chosen to consider the games I have been able to load, but not the ones I haven't been able to load. As I said, there are two sets of IPF's for California Games. The SPS team must have noticed a few differences between the two sets of originals despite both of them bearing said protection, presumably.

You could try this yourself : After having proceeded to conversion to HFE v3, one set of IPF's loads [1447] while the other [1445] fails to load, simple as that. Add to that the fact that World Games and Final Assault fail to load too with with KS 1.3 + HFE v3 as you say. Feel free to convert the corresponding IPF's and compare CRC32 with mine if you think I might have converted to HFE v1 by mistake :
  • California Games [1445] : 0EB1C74B ; Data Disk : AE3D2E77
  • California Games [1447] : E39AD753 ; Data Disk : 7BFDE12D
  • Final Assault [1429] : 933268E8
  • World Games [0604] : E9F9B04A

What may be concluded ? That FlashFloppy could possibly be improved so that each and every original which uses that type of copy protection works as intended. Now, there is something that you don't seem to realize : FlashFloppy is based on HxC. There are a few users out there who use HxC daily with their miggy and are perfectly happy with it, despite the fact that it comes with a (small) price.

The way I see it, normal course of action for a copy protection related bug report would be to send it to Jean-Francois first. Eventually, he would fix it (assuming it can be fixed without too much hassle), then keirf would catch on and update FF consequently (not trying to assess the individual merit of HxC VS FF here). I can't be 100% sure of course, but I don't think a HxC user would benefit of a better software in terms of loading games bearing the Herndon HLS copy protection. Ultimately, it's up to J-F to give it a go and if he doesn't... Well, too bad but no biggie, cracked versions exist for each of these games which the Gotek can load without breaking a sweat.

Now, consider this : Despite the fact that my miggy was sold with FF, I could switch over to HxC (bought the license, since, as the saying goes : Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's ), but it would involve a few steps which may require a direct link between the Gotek and my computer, stuff like that (I've done worse). Just as you, I am fine using latest version of FF, at least I've settled for this for now.

The consequence of that : J-F decided not to "waste time" (that's his words) with bug reports of folks who are not using latest version of HxC. So yeah, kind of dilemma as far as he's concerned, should he "waste time" trying to load original of Final Assault, World Games etc. from his machine (he had agreed to load ISS - Incredible Shrinking Sphere you might reply, yup, but it seems he changed his mind and won't do it again for said games after noticing I am still running FF) or leave things as they are and maybe miss the chance to improve the way HxC handles Herndon HLS protection.
I don't use HxC but Flashfloppy, and the HLS herndon is clearly not a game that Hfe v3 can't support. And then, there are not multiple HLS Herndon revision of the protection. If the game doesn't work on kick 1.3, test it under kick 1.2.

Just make a simple reasoning : if you have 2 games using HLS herndon that are loading, and 2 others failing with the same protection, then the protection is not at fault. It's the program failing. and if you use an A500 with KS 1.3, this means that the games requires KS 1.2 and possibly 512k only.

World Games and Final Assault are KS 1.2 games. World Games was released in 1987, and it works with 512kb of chip. Final Assault was released in 1988, and i guess that it will work as will with KS 1.2+512kb.
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Old 21 September 2021, 11:33   #14
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Just to push my words, look exactly the protections involved :

California Games [1445] : AmigaDOS Longtrack (supported 100% in HFE v3)
California Games [1447] : there's no protection on the disks !
Final Assault [1429] : AmigaDOS Longtrack (supported 100% in HFE v3)
World Games [0604] : AmigaDOS Longtrack (supported 100% in HFE v3)

So basically, any protection type as AmigaDOS longtrack is fully 100% supported by the HFE v3 format and Flashfloppy.

So this shows you went the wrong route.

A game doesn't work on amiga for 3 reasons :

1) Wrong Kickstart used (a game can also be locked by region, requiring NTSC and blocking on PAL machines)
2) Wrong RAM chip size used
3) if the protection involved is very complicated, it can fail. But the HLS herndon are not at all concerned by this problem. so your problem is point 1) or 2).

So replace your KS 1.3 rom with a KS 1.2 and mystery solved !
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Old 21 September 2021, 14:48   #15
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Ho ho save your breath, I am not going to argue for the sake of it. Here's a better idea : With a cool head, load HFE v3 of World Games in one of your equipped with Gotek miggies and be edified. Yup, no joy!

All right, long story short, support of Herndon HLS copy protection in FF / HxC is most likely incomplete. It's not up to you (nor to me) to say if current version of FF is "good enough" for owners of machines bearing KS 1.3 and 1 MB chip. J-F is now aware of potential issue pertaining to his software with said protection hopefully. He'll make up his mind whether it's worth the trouble fixing it in next release of HxC or not.
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Old 21 September 2021, 15:13   #16
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hey who cares about running a protected version except for cracking purposes (which has already been done) ? there are working cracks all around. I can provide one if you want.

no need to fight about that.

(or get a HD and whdload...)
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Old 21 September 2021, 15:47   #17
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Ah but there is an (Amiga) world outside EAB, I mentioned HxC user base that one could easily deem negligible, but it is not. Thing is, among those traditionalistic Amigans using a Gotek with their A500's, some of them would never consider using a cracked version, they stick to the idea that the #1 reason to get a Gotek is to play original versions of games they own, or used to own licensed copies of. I am sure J-F and keirf are both well aware of that trend. It's not that these guys are prudish, just that they never considered playing a game they never bought or borrowed in physical form.
Quote:
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there are working cracks all around.
It's all right, I've been using the file server search engine a great deal these last months. As I said, I'd like this thread to serve as an opportunity for j-F to improve HxC hopefully. Agreed, there is no reason why I shouldn't be using any of the cracked versions for each of this game (mind you, it is sometimes a better idea to play the original when no proper scene version was released back in the days e.q. Garrison but it's not the case here).
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Old 21 September 2021, 16:02   #18
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Agreed, using the original in that case bears little interest, specially because if properly cracked, the final assault executable is fully decrypted and doesn't have a trace of protection. Plus cracktros can be removed if necessary, it's a DOS game so it's not rocket science.
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Old 21 September 2021, 16:27   #19
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cracktros can be removed if necessary.
Why would anyone do such thing ? Again, as unlikely as it may appear, you've got to take into consideration worst case scenario from J-F Nero / keirf perspective. Let's assume some A500 owner obtained an IPF of Final Assault in exchange for the upload of the raw dump of his original, now let's assume all he ever wanted is being able to play that very game on his Gotek .

You've got to understand, ADF sets belong to a parallel universe in his views, he wouldn't touch one with a ten feet barge pole. He is actually a proud owner of Final Assault original and his only dream in life is to play that version he obtained from SPS team on his Gotek . Who he's gonna turn to after noticing the game fails to load ? To support section of J-F HxC forum most assuredly, not to lemon or similar easy going sites.
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Old 21 September 2021, 16:47   #20
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Ah but there is an (Amiga) world outside EAB, I mentioned HxC user base that one could easily deem negligible, but it is not. Thing is, among those traditionalistic Amigans using a Gotek with their A500's, some of them would never consider using a cracked version, they stick to the idea that the #1 reason to get a Gotek is to play original versions of games they own, or used to own licensed copies of. I am sure J-F and keirf are both well aware of that trend. It's not that these guys are prudish, just that they never considered playing a game they never bought or borrowed in physical form.

It's all right, I've been using the file server search engine a great deal these last months. As I said, I'd like this thread to serve as an opportunity for j-F to improve HxC hopefully. Agreed, there is no reason why I shouldn't be using any of the cracked versions for each of this game (mind you, it is sometimes a better idea to play the original when no proper scene version was released back in the days e.q. Garrison but it's not the case here).
Garrison was cracked by HQC
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