Re: [stella] Perfect BIN copy protection

Subject: Re: [stella] Perfect BIN copy protection
From: Thomas Jentzsch <tjentzsch@xxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 3 Feb 2002 17:15:37 +0100
At 03.02.2002, 16:08, Eckhard Stolberg wrote:
>> Yes, we would have to rely on certain values of some 2600 registers
>> after the game starts. Sure that could be changed by clever people too.

> As Chad has already hinted, there is a rather simple (well, simple
> for the people on this list, that is ;-) ) way to put the Cuttle
> Cart in any state you want before you hand over control to the game.
> (OK, not any state, but more different states than you would want
> to check for in your game. ;-) ) All you have to do is to chose a
> contol byte value that leaves the Cuttle Cart in Cuttle Cart mode,
> and to add some code to the game that sets the VCS in the correct
> state and then locks-in the right bankswitching type.

I knew that you're one of the clever ones. ;-)

> I'm not offended by your question, but I don't own a Thrust
> cartridge either. But that's because I really stink at that
> game and not because I can play it for free on my Cuttle Cart.
> In fact I usually only load it into my Cuttle Cart, when you
> ask me to. ;-)

I hope my questions didn't cause you to much pain. ;-)

> But I must shamefully admit, that ever since I started programming
> for the VCS and VCS emulators, most of my interest in (homebrew) VCS
> games is in the technigal aspects rather than the gameplay. For most
> games I just want to know how it was done and if the emulator supports
> is properly. One game I was seriously interested in buying was Jammed.
> But I decided that I liked my multi-colour version of the game better,
> and as long as I'm still not finished playing the original board game
> levels on that one, I'm probably going to wait before I'll order Jammed. ;-)

Don't hurry, Jammed will wait for you! :-)

> I think the CC lock out was just a side effect of the hacking
> protection code that Manuel added to Gunfight. When people
> reported to him that the game wouldn't work on the CC and
> I explained to him why that was, he thought that limiting
> the freely available binary to the emulators was a good idea.
> So I guess it's partly my own fault. ;-)

And IIRC, I started that hacking protection idea, when I discovered that
in some Video Gems games while converting them from PAL into NTSC format
for CC use. That closes the circle, doesn't it. :-)

> I think that a simple hack protection, like th one in Gunfight
> are a reasonable idea, even if only to force the hackers to
> learn VCS programming. ;-)

I don't expect that will happen, but who knows?

> But I think once someone knows how
> to program the VCS, he will appreciate the work that went into
> the game and most probably will respect the wishes of the author.
> So I don't think you should scramble your code too much. After
> all Manuel and you have disassebled many VCS games yourself and
> learned quite alot through it. Therefore it would be nice, if
> you'd give the chance to learn from your code to new generations
> of VCS homebrew programmers as well.

Sure, that's why I'm releasing my own source codes and all the
disassemblings it did.

> I think Simon's plan is to release the binary after the first
> linited edition run of cartridges has sold out. He just wants
> those customers to be the first to play the game (execept for
> him and his beta testers of course).

That's my idea behind Jammed too. I will wait some time after the Hozer
release of the cart and then release the non-demo binaray and the
complete source code to the public.

> As for the EbiVision games, I'm sure once the games were
> released in cartridge form, the ROM completists already had
> them in their collection. After all they are even trading
> every buggy little test program from this list. ;-)

I think, they all are very honest, because (except for Merlin's Walls) I
never saw a EbiVision ROM anywhere. Even the latest Good2600 ROM
renaming tools doesn't know them.

Have fun!
Thomas Jentzsch         | *** Every bit is sacred ! ***
tjentzsch at web dot de |

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