Create new and fresh original game disks

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Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby mr.vince » Fri Jul 08, 2011 5:08 pm

Broken original game? Used a virus scanner to replace the allegedly dangerous non-standard bootblock? Bought it from eBay just to find out it was "fixed" by copying a crack over it?

Don't worry... we finally made it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypT_H-Dg3bs


Note: Although you will be seeing an Amiga there, it also writes Atari, PC and other disks as well... just did not have the time to set up the 1040... but for sure will. Soon.

If you would like to read more about how this works, please visit our site: http://www.kryoflux.com


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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby Mug UK » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:29 pm

Most excellent news and worthy of pimping it up to be an Announcement :)
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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby mr.vince » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:36 pm

Yay! Thanks, Mug!

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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby Marakatti » Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:16 pm

Seems to be a very interesting device. Now if there's going to be an emulator support for the fileformat aswell (and the device works as advertised) it sounds like a good alternative to Pasti on ST.

Do you know if it succeeded with titles on ST that Pasti can't image? See viewtopic.php?f=47&t=8372 for more details

Is there a plan to support Falcon030's HD floppy format?
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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby Dal » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:02 pm

Where was this 20-odd years ago?

Excellent news - could it potentially be used to write pasti images back to disk?
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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby mr.vince » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:55 pm

Can't think of anything we can not image...

As for Pasti... no, no plans to support it at the moment. Maybe someone will want to write a converter or similar, but since it's technically inferior (no offence here, just looking at the tech specs) to IPF, I don't think it can support the same amount of games we can. IPF stores true mastering data and how a disk was written (not how it was read, because this state is well defined), and is not limited to one platform only. We can in fact store tri-platform games (for Amiga, Atari ST and PC - sold on a single disk) in a single image file and write back this very image to a disk, supporting all three platforms again. Just wrote a copy of LethalXcess (Amiga & Atari ST on one disk), and it's playing flawlessly.

If you take a look at the games list here, starting at ID 3100, there are already some ST games preserved as IPF: http://www.softpres.org/games&search=&v ... offset=500

I really think there is nothing that can not be imaged or written with KryoFlux...

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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby aacheron » Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:13 pm

mmm, i'll wait until write support has been fully implemented... anyway it's a great piece of hardware... PasTi is a raw format? or can be it converted to raw? If yes, pasti write support will be possible using this hardware, is it?
Oh, the video that shows write support tests it's amazing! to write amiga ipf using a normal pc floppy disk drive... amazing. AFAIK, amiga fdd hardware it's far different to pc floppy drive!
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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby spiny » Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:34 pm

i think the question i posted on the youtube void has been answered, but one more:

does this read protected atari format disks and save them as .ST images ? 'cos that would be pretty sweet :)

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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby mr.vince » Sat Jul 09, 2011 6:51 am

It reads disks as STREAM (RAW), which can be converted to anything. The format specs are here: http://www.softpres.org/kryoflux:stream

At the moment, we directly support sector formats like ADF, D64, IMG and others when reading. Since IMG is 1:1 the contents of an MFM coded disk, this also delivers valid dumps of unprotected Atari disks. IPF is produced by us, which means people contributing STREAM dumps of a particular game will get "their" IPF in return. The reason for this is not being elite, but the tools and knowledge required to create a format the contains pure mastering data. I'd like to point out that writing IPFs is a one-click process, no parameters or fiddling required and this of course also works with the very first images made by us about ten (!) years ago when writing back hasn't even been thought of.

IPFs don't store unverified raw data. Each track comes with a descriptor that contains the format information. Therefore we can always verify data integrity. Another pro is data authenticy, which means that after dumping every dump is analyzed and we can see if the disk is genuine, user written or partly modified.

IPFs are like a disk. Because of this you can store virtually any format; you don't need a new image file format for a new computer platform supported. You also used the very same 3.5 DD disks for Atari, Amiga and PC back in the day, didn't you? :)

The rest would just be writing new import or export filters.

PS: As a coincidence, our Mac port was written by the very same person that copy protected Giana Sisters for the ST. :)
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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby ijor » Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:58 pm

mr.vince wrote:As for Pasti... no, no plans to support it at the moment. Maybe someone will want to write a converter or similar, but since it's technically inferior (no offence here, just looking at the tech specs) to IPF, I don't think it can support the same amount of games we can.


No offense. But I wonder how you could know that by "just looking at the tech specs", because the Pasti specs were (yet) never published.

I really think there is nothing that can not be imaged or written with KryoFlux...


Want to bet?

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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby Dal » Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:30 pm

A duel? ;)
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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby ijor » Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:41 am

Dal wrote:A duel? ;)


Absolutely not. Nothing futher from my intentions than anything like that.

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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby mr.vince » Sun Jul 10, 2011 6:23 pm

ijor wrote:No offense. But I wonder how you could know that by "just looking at the tech specs", because the Pasti specs were (yet) never published.


Well, when you are maintaining a format, which was made for preservation, and you intend extending your efforts to preserve Atari ST as well... you look at what's available. It's not we were keen on reinventing the wheel. Then you evaluate what's there and what you want and file the decision if you go with what's there or develop your own solution. That's why we have a good overview regarding formats, and also some internal tech specs and docs. I'd assume others doing the same. :)

KryoFlux also just happened because we could not get anything like it. We were never keen on spending 2 years on such development, because our specialty is preservation and the software tools developed for this.

ijor wrote:
I really think there is nothing that can not be imaged or written with KryoFlux...

Want to bet?


No, because we already delivered. There might always be the 0.1% that's not been thought of yet. Reading is flux reversal timing, nothing else. After that is analysation and generation of mastering data. That's why IPF can support e.g. Amiga and Atari ST in a single image, and the very same image can be written back to disk.

If someone would be forcing me to bet I'd just make sure that the sum would be high enough to cover any manpower possibly needed, just in case. :D

ijor wrote:
Dal wrote:A duel? ;)


Absolutely not. Nothing futher from my intentions than anything like that.


Same here. I'd be more tempted to see if there is a way to get Pasti supported. As I said, we don't have plans for this atm, but preservation and writing something back to disk are two different things.

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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby ijor » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:09 am

mr.vince wrote:Well, when you are maintaining a format, which was made for preservation, and you intend extending your efforts to preserve Atari ST as well... you look at what's available. It's not we were keen on reinventing the wheel. Then you evaluate what's there and what you want and file the decision if you go with what's there or develop your own solution. That's why we have a good overview regarding formats, and also some internal tech specs and docs. I'd assume others doing the same. :)


That's ok Vince. I had no intentions to start a debate about this. It was only your wording that strike me ("just looking at the tech specs"). Because I know for a fact, that you can't have "the Pasti specs". I am aware that some people reverse enginereed some of the Pasti tools, may be that's what you get or heard as "Pasti specs". But reverse engineering doesn't really give you specs. And in the best case, it would give you specs only for the tools released to the public. There are many Pasti tools, all sort of them (imaging, analysis, emulation, simulation, write back, etc) that we never released to the open public. So trust me, you have no way to know what really the "tech Pasti specs" are.

ijor wrote:
A duel? ;)

Absolutely not. Nothing futher from my intentions than anything like that.


Same here. I'd be more tempted to see if there is a way to get Pasti supported. As I said, we don't have plans for this atm, but preservation and writing something back to disk are two different things.


I want to stress that there is absolutely no animosity of any kind (there was some in the past). There were enough of silly fights in the retro scene, even internally in the atari st scene, and even in this very same forum. As a matter of fact, you might be aware that I had a rather friendly email exchange with IFW not too long ago. I am aware, and I understand (even when I might not fully agree) about your reasons. But you'll be suprised about what some users might want or need.

Not too long ago somebody told me he would like to backup his own modified copy protected disks. He has his disks from the old days, with his own hi score, or with his own saved data (yeah, unusual on copy protected disk, but not unheard). So you might say this is backup and no preservation? Ok, but even then it would be ridiculous to request the user to have a separate hardware for this (backup and not preservation) kind of usage. I assume you would agree with that.

I am guessing we can work out something with IFW. I should reactivate that email exchange... But time is always a problem :(

ijor wrote:
I really think there is nothing that can not be imaged or written with KryoFlux...

Want to bet?


There might always be the 0.1% that's not been thought of yet. Reading is flux reversal timing, nothing else...

If someone would be forcing me to bet I'd just make sure that the sum would be high enough to cover any manpower possibly needed, just in case. :D


I am not talking about what it's implemented or not at the software (or firmware) level. I am talking about the capabilities of the hardware. A device like the KyroFlux simply can't write back every single disk and protection out there (at least not with a standard disk drive). Point.

If you insist otherwise, then I insist in the bet :) Yeah, no problem in betting an amount high enough to cover the costs of manpower.

Sorry but you are wrong. Reading flux transition timing is not everything (it is in most cases, but not in all cases). And even if we restrict to those cases, just because you can read them it doesn't mean you can write them back. Some flux transition patterns you cannot write.

Hint: I wouldn't accept the bet if I were you. :wink: Trust me, I know what I am talking about. (I am writing back copy protected disk since long, long ago)

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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby mr.vince » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:18 pm

Let's take the shortcut. As I said we already delivered and we'll of course extend capabilities and add missing stuff as needed. I said above I really think (=believe; impossible to know as we don't have _all_ games at hand) there is nothing that can't be read or written. This of course excludes physical alterations to the disk, like laser-cut holes.

Maybe you just want to name a game, which I'll try to track down and image and then we know if it's supported or not. You can as well supply it, or I can send over a unit, so you can send us the dump.

They did not use alien-made carving instruments to create disks back in the day. :)

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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby mr.vince » Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:08 pm

And the rest is silence. :)

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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby ijor » Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:05 am

I think I should better follow up on PM.

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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby SofiST » Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:19 pm

I think that some people (including me) may be interested about this. I mean, what is possible and what not to write with regular floppy drives. Even if not much interested in whole (floppy) copy protection stuff, what is now really little outdated. So, if possible, please try to clarify it ... I really don't understand why someone prefer doing all it via PM-ing. OK, do bet part via PM, other public :D My kudos to KryoFlux team and their open file format approach.

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Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby mr.vince » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:11 pm

The drive just delivers the recording current, the flux reversals come from the controller. Usually, controllers are limited to a certain format or fixed flux reversal timing.

Many commercial disks were replicated with a Trace machine, which used drives with a feeder. What made them so flexible was the option to script data, which was the key factor for copy protection.

KryoFlux works on a similar basis. There are some recording tricks like flux reversal suppression (which creates tracks without any reversals; usually impossible), but these are handled by KryoFlux as well.

The only thing that we for sure can't create is physical surface damage.

We would love to get hints on what is regarded as being impossible to write and lay our hands on it.

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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby Hippy Dave » Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:29 pm

mr.vince wrote:The drive just delivers the recording current, the flux reversals come from the controller. Usually, controllers are limited to a certain format or fixed flux reversal timing.

Many commercial disks were replicated with a Trace machine, which used drives with a feeder. What made them so flexible was the option to script data, which was the key factor for copy protection.

KryoFlux works on a similar basis. There are some recording tricks like flux reversal suppression (which creates tracks without any reversals; usually impossible), but these are handled by KryoFlux as well.

The only thing that we for sure can't create is physical surface damage.

We would love to get hints on what is regarded as being impossible to write and lay our hands on it.


If one were to lay down an analog signal with bias frequency, would you be able to replicate it?

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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby mr.vince » Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:56 am

(With the current board) we pick the data up right behind the AGC, so we see it the way it comes out of the drive. There's no way a computer with an FDC could see more, it usually sees less (a more processed version of this).

I don't get the meaning of a biased signal here... it either means adding a DC offset to a signal or the "pre-shuffling" of the magnetic particles to prepare for recording. The latter happens automatically when writing (depening on type of drive etc.). As for a DC offset... What would this be used for? It am sure the AGC at readback would adjust for it...

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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby Hippy Dave » Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:07 pm

mr.vince wrote:(With the current board) we pick the data up right behind the AGC, so we see it the way it comes out of the drive. There's no way a computer with an FDC could see more, it usually sees less (a more processed version of this).

I don't get the meaning of a biased signal here... it either means adding a DC offset to a signal or the "pre-shuffling" of the magnetic particles to prepare for recording. The latter happens automatically when writing (depening on type of drive etc.). As for a DC offset... What would this be used for? It am sure the AGC at readback would adjust for it...

Good Info.

I was describing the method that a tape deck uses to record audio. An audio tape deck boosts the treble of an audio signal and sums in a 70 KHz to 100KHz frequency to derive the "recording signal" which is applied to the write head. The Bias frequency is to "shuffle" the magnetic particles while the analog signal is linearly recorded into the magnetic media.
_

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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby mr.vince » Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:52 pm

The drive's electronics will take care of this. You just supply the flux changes that need to be written. Messing with the analogue signal would most likely trigger unreliable results as all drives have some automatic component that will deliver a preprocessed, amplified signal (flux reversals) on the output. So while doing something on the analogue level for drive A, I am very confident there would be different results for drive B...

You can however "mess" with certain things in regard to timing. Weak bits (=flakey bits, which change every time you read the very same track) are usually generated by writing an illegaly long period of "no flux changes" which will lead to the controller inserting phantom bits. Or you change timing like on the Dungeon Master protection track, that will make bits appear in different bands (MFM on the Amiga and Atari uses 4, 6 and 8 us). Bits are placed between 4 and 6 us, which will make those on the "border" appear here and there, depending on random factors.

See attached screenshot, or follow things link for some more pictures: http://www.softpres.org/kryoflux:ui:stream-plot
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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby ijor » Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:30 am

I followed up by PM, for reasons completely unrelated to technical issues.

Hippy Dave wrote:If one were to lay down an analog signal with bias frequency, would you be able to replicate it?


No such device can control the magnetic domain at the analog level. But I never heard about any protection based on magnetic analog properties.

(I think I wrote about this some time ago ...) A protection is as good as it can be checked and verified reliably with standard user hardware. Every single disk is unique, and surely you could distingish each disk at the lab. But you can't take a lab equipment to the user, nor you can ask the user to bring the disk to your lab everytime he wants to use the software.

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Re: Create new and fresh original game disks

Postby SofiST » Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:54 pm

Can I suggest that instead theory make possible to do real test: as is suggested by sending floppy disks suspected that can not copy with Kryoflux. Otherwise I expect just not much useful discussion here, with more-less speculations. There is for sure people with lot of originals . So, Ijor should write here exact title names (as he claims that there are some ... ). Then, will someone spend few bucks or not to go further with it ...
And when we are at betting ... I bet that it will not happen - money is very important, more than knowledge :D My experiences with people willing to help - clarify things are bad here : people who own some floppy originals are not in mood to spend 10-15 minutes to make STT image, so we can know is it usable for some games (and can be written back to floppies with regular PC with internal floppy drive) .
Just to say: I'm not interested in Kryoflux and copying protected floppies ( I prefer removing protection (and there are 'manual' protections too) and install it to hard disk, and done it for all my originals). But like to know what is possible and what not, and why . Really don't get people who avoid public discussions and hide some things ...


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