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WE BEAT HAPPY TO DEATH (dedication found on original disk)


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#1 ijor OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:15 AM

I'm used to see all sort of hidden (or not so hidden) dedication messages to crackers, pirates, etc. But this one I didn't note before:

 

 

ATARI HLS COPY PROTECTION (TK 0 AND 39) ... WE BEAT HAPPY TO DEATH! 

 

 

This is found, among others, on the Mindscape release of Gauntlet. Note that this doesn't come from the publisher or the developer, it's a signature from the company that implemented the copy protection.

 

Btw, this protection defeated the Happy, but only temporarily until they released an update.

 



#2 Mclaneinc OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:40 AM

Never bait a hacker / cracker, you will lose almost always :)

 

A hacker or in this case a hardware writing device maker with a challenge is a person possessed..

 

I remember the guy on the Xbox360 scene (C64eva I think was his name) who rewrote a Liteon DVD Burner bios so it could write ever so slightly longer allowing copy images to be written to real disks.

 

These guys are like Terminators, they never give up :)



#3 DjayBee ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:48 AM

Where/how did you find this message?

I searched for it on the ATR, the ATX and in RAM while it was running.

 

I want to search if other titles contain the same or a similar message because this copy protection is used by several games and publishers (i.e. Broderbund, Epyx and Accolade).


Edited by DjayBee, Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:50 AM.


#4 ijor OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:16 PM

You won't find it on ATR or (standard) ATX images. This is part of a duplicator marking signature. It is some kind of metadata, usually recorded on track 40 (the 41th track).



#5 Nezgar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:25 PM

Now we have to re-do all the software preservation initiative to capture track -1 and 40 of all commercial disks! ;)

 

Do you know what the specific protection scheme was that was used that temporarily foiled happy?



#6 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:41 PM

Alternate Reality has scrolly message (in the backup utility?) that describes some of the protection and encryption employed.

 

Even The Dungeon has a message to pirates.  I tried to crack it (from a non-complete copy), got to about the second or third round of decryption and that was about it.



#7 ijor OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:05 AM

Now we have to re-do all the software preservation initiative to capture track -1 and 40 of all commercial disks! ;)

 

Do you know what the specific protection scheme was that was used that temporarily foiled happy?

 

Many raw images at the initiative already include the track 40. It depends on the user and the default configuration of the software. Kryoflux software images a couple of extra tracks by default. SCP software usually doesn't and the user has to include them specifically. I already commented more than once that people should do it. Note that only a small fraction of the Atari 8-bit disks have those duplicator records.

 

The mentioned protection has 20 sectors on track 39. The "standard" happy software can produce a maximum of 19 sectors per track, because normally you can't fit more. But these aren't really full 20 sectors, there is one short/overlapped sector. So the layout can be produced with the 1050 hardware once the software/firmware has the right smartness.

 

Other enhancements, including some 810 happy versions, could reduce the rotation speed to include 20 (or even more) full sectors. But this is not very reliably, and in almost every case it won't reproduce the original track layout anyway.



#8 sack-c0s OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:36 AM

Never bait a hacker / cracker, you will lose almost always :)

 

A hacker or in this case a hardware writing device maker with a challenge is a person possessed..

 

I remember the guy on the Xbox360 scene (C64eva I think was his name) who rewrote a Liteon DVD Burner bios so it could write ever so slightly longer allowing copy images to be written to real disks.

 

These guys are like Terminators, they never give up :)

 

That and inevitably the comment is embedded very close to the actual copy protection so you are effectively doing half the job for the cracker :)
That said, I did once find a game whose protection was in a binary file called 'copyProtection'....



#9 Mclaneinc OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:55 AM

Lol.........All you need was another file called 'nothingtoseehere'

 

Some programmers who don't have the hacker mentality often have the grey matter but bugger all common sense :)



#10 DjayBee ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:32 AM

You won't find it on ATR or (standard) ATX images. This is part of a duplicator marking signature. It is some kind of metadata, usually recorded on track 40 (the 41th track).

 

If you want to search yourself for more of these messages:

 

These titles share the same protection:

    Bop'n Wrestle (1986)(Mindscape)(US)(Side A)
    Boulder Dash Construction Kit (1986)(Epyx)(US)
    Gauntlet (1988)(Mindscape)(US)(Side A)[!][req 64K]
    Gauntlet - The Deeper Dungeons (198x)(Mindscape)(US)[BASIC][req 64K]
    Infiltrator (1986)(Mindscape)(US)(Side A)[req 64K]
    Lode Runner (1983)(Broderbund Software)(US)[a]
    Trailblazer (1986)(Mindscape)(US)
 

These titles are similar:

    Ace of Aces (1987)(Accolade)(US)[a1][!][req 64K]
    Ace of Aces (1987)(Accolade)(US)[req 64K]
    World Karate Championship (1986)(Epyx)(US)
 

And these titles use the same disk format but do not use the protection on track 1:

    Eidolon, The (1985)(Epyx)(US)[!][req 64K]
    Eidolon, The v1.1 (1985)(Epyx)(US)[p][req 64K]
    Koronis Rift v1.1 (1985)(Epyx)(US)[a][p]
    Koronis Rift v3.0 (1985)(Epyx)(US)[p]
    Lode Runner's Rescue (1985)(Synapse Software)(US)(Side A)[!]
    Temple of Apshai Trilogy (1985)(Epyx)(US)
 



#11 ijor OFFLINE  

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Posted Yesterday, 3:19 PM

If you want to search yourself for more of these messages:

...

 

I don't have raw dumps for all of those, but so far found only Lode Runner's Rescue having the same dedication message.

 

These duplication signatures seem to depend more on the publisher and the date, than the actual protection. Trailblazer has almost the same marking but without the dedication message. And Boulder Dash Construction Kit, with the same protection, doesn't seem to have any duplication signature at all. At least in the copies I've seen.



#12 ijor OFFLINE  

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Posted Yesterday, 3:30 PM

Some programmers who don't have the hacker mentality often have the grey matter but bugger all common sense :)

 

But several publishers were smart enough and eventually hired (ex) hackers to do the work. This was more common on the 16-bit and later platforms. And sometimes they embedded greetings to his ex fellows. Sometimes they included some kind of questionnaire: "if you crack this program, write me and please tell me how much time, how difficult, etc ..."

 

But this case is quite different. It doesn't address the hacker or the cracker, but the manufacturer of a copier. Hackers probably didn't even where aware of this message as they have no way to see it. Not completely sure that even Mr Adams (Happy owner and developer) received the message. LOL



#13 Bryan ONLINE  

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Posted Yesterday, 4:00 PM

Copy protection is certainly interesting on the A8, but on the C64 it was absolutely nuts because you had software access to every aspect of the drive. You could write any kind of crazy stuff all over the disk, not just in the normal track space. Of course, this meant you could outwit your disk duplication/mastering hardware too.



#14 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Yesterday, 4:11 PM

Well, that was one of the many reasons that 99.99999% of all Commodore 64 owners had ONE 1541 drive, at least....The copy protections wouldn't run on anything else... self modifying decryption code running on the drive, overlapping data on tracks, overlapping sectors, unbelievably weak sectors. I believe some protections would attempt to brick the drive mechanics if things weren't exactly right.... brutal.

 

-Thom



#15 GlowingGhoul OFFLINE  

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Posted Yesterday, 10:01 PM

Well, that was one of the many reasons that 99.99999% of all Commodore 64 owners had ONE 1541 drive, at least....The copy protections wouldn't run on anything else... self modifying decryption code running on the drive, overlapping data on tracks, overlapping sectors, unbelievably weak sectors. I believe some protections would attempt to brick the drive mechanics if things weren't exactly right.... brutal.

 

-Thom

 

And yet, there always seemed to be more C64 pirated disks floating around.



#16 Bryan ONLINE  

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Posted Yesterday, 10:19 PM

 

And yet, there always seemed to be more C64 pirated disks floating around.

Well, they could copy most stuff with software tools that reprogrammed the drive. We usually had to wait for someone to crack stuff.






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