So, you cannot write to a bank without erasing it first?
What do you have to do to "dump" a flashcart? How about a regular cart?
This post is long, but I feel it is very important to the degree of success of the project, so please read on
Do you have any ideas or recommendations for making cheating your AR cartridge just a little bit more difficult than most people would bother with? If the cartridge was somewhat of a pain to cheat, then I really think the AR cartridge experience would catch-on and spread due to the competitive nature and portability of the cart and I would definitely be a proactive force. To begin with, I think the AR cart deserves it's own website and ongoing Alternate Reality Character Hall Of Fame
were player's efforts and experiences can be shared and continually appreciated. That would be the driving force and fun for me! Maybe it could even be several pages that were integrated into Atari Age or eobet's The Original AR website. But I would be willing to purchase a domain for it and manage the site.
I mean, even if a person had to dump the flashcart and then figure out where the new char info was stored and edit it by hand, that would be better than nothing. It would invalidate all the info for memory locations for editing a character and it would disable all the character editors that are out there. That is not a bad start. Yes, someone could still go to the trouble of figuring it out and editing it, but at this point in the game's life, I don't believe very many would go to that effort. Now, the apparently talented programmer that you are, isn't there an additional twist that you could throw in to give your conversion one more step of protection against cheating. I really don't think it would take much as most would like to appreciate the game rather than try to build false bragging rights and cheat the game.
Could the game be burned onto a regular cart and would there be any added difficulty to that? Could it be encoded?
As experience has shown, with the character editors and memory locations for editing a char conveniently available, most people will end up using them because it takes very little effort. I am not trying to stand on a soapbox and say that this is some "evil" act and should never be done, because it actually is fun to get into the code and play around with your characters. The thing is, when all variables of a character can be changed through editing, people will have very little need or desire to play the game.
How does this happen?
1. People that get their interest stirred up about the game will first download the disk images and an emulator and start playing. They would likely do this even if an AR cartridge was available and even if it happened to be the AR cart that was what renewed their interest. It's just easier to do and they don't have to buy a cart so there is no cost or time to wait for delivery.
2. After people start playing the game, they realize or remember that AR is a difficult game and playing challenges them. Immediately, they also remember that there are character editors and hacks for the game. A quick search of the Internet will put all the tools to cheat the AR experience right in their hands. With the info and editors easily available, most quickly succumb to the thrill of changing all of their stats to 255 or even just giving themselves 100 Water Flasks and Food Packets or better stats.
3. After cheating, once people have played around with the game for a bit on the emulator, giving themselves 200 potions, quaffing Treasure Finding potions and shortly thereafter finding the most powerful items in the game and becoming near invincible due to their edited stats and characters, they wander about the City and check out a few establishments. With nothing much left to do in the game, their nostalgia and interest in the game is satisfied and they disappear back into the Internet. There is very little reason left to get an AR cartridge and continue to play and interact with other fans, the challenge and game play spoiled.
The most recent example of this has been with the AR competition I have been running. People have messaged me or posted that they began playing the game, but then shortly thereafter began cheating. I think that everyone so far has admitted that they were cheating and therefore they did not bother to post their screenshots or get involved in the competition and game play discussion. That is the unfortunate part, as a result of the accessibility and ease of cheating, they also did not become involved much with playing or sharing the game either. And then their interest quickly wanes and they disappear. (Unlikely to be interested in an AR cartridge either.) This Alternate Reality thread is only a little over a month old and it has already drawn nearly 2000 views. The interest is out there, but the problem with the current disk based version of the game is that while cheating is initially very attractive and fun, that fun is also very short-lived.
If the AR cartridge had some type of deterrent to cheating then as the competition grew, more and more people would see the challenge and fun in getting an AR cartridge and joining in the fun of playing AR without cheating. If people know that the game physically discourages cheating, they will also feel that sharing their characters, items and stories with others is also worthwhile, which only spreads the interest further.
AR really is a great game and deserves the appreciation and attention that it is getting here and it really is a whole lot of fun, if you can manage to keep yourself from spoiling the experience through cheating, but that is difficult to do when you know that you can change any stat you want in a matter of minutes or even seconds, as with the emulator.
So, please, Wraithchild, see what you can do, see what you can pull out of your programming hat! For cheating and studying the game, we will always have the disk images and emulator. Lets make the AR cartridge something to be valued and appreciated! All it would take is a small bit of difficulty to keep most people interested in and playing the AR cartridge rather than cheating. I know you can do it!
(It's a long post! Just a reminder that I have a few questions at the beginning)
Edited by Xebec's Demise, Fri Jun 17, 2005 12:05 PM.