Rob Northen code found

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Rob Northen code found

Postby Mug UK » Mon May 03, 2004 8:59 pm

Don't ask where I got this from as can't remember myself .. but anyone want to take a look at the official code that Rob Northen used to send to developers?

Includes all his tools for packing, keyfiles etc.
My main site: http://www.mug-uk.co.uk - slowly digging up the bits from my past (and re-working a few): Atari ST, Sega 8-bit (game hacks) and NDS (Music ripping guide).

I develop a free Word (for Windows) add-in that's available for Word 2007 upwards. It's a fix-it toolbox that will allow power Word users to fix document errors. You can find it at: http://www.mikestoolbox.co.uk

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Postby Showaddywaddy » Mon May 03, 2004 9:07 pm

yes please
would be rather interesting ;)

BTW Mug, is that a self portrait ??

;)
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A snippet from the documentation

Postby Mug UK » Mon May 03, 2004 9:08 pm

Here's some of the suggestions he made .. am sure anyone in Dbug, Automation, Medway Boys et al would have pointed out how many coders couldn't be arsed doing any of the following - hence their games were cracked the quickest!

* Suggestions for better protection
* ---------------------------------
*
* 1. Include the source file two or three times if possible into the main
* program, preferably not right at the beginning of the file.
*
* 2. Write software checks into the program which test for any changes
* made to the program in an attempt by a hacker to remove the
* protection. Use CRC's, 16/32 bit checksums or simply EOR all
* words/longs.
*
* 3. Disguise each check as much as possible, by making each check
* different or coding each check differently and by hiding the checks
* in the middle of other routines.
*
* 4. Include as many checks as possible spread throughout the whole
* program.
*
* 5. Perform checks continually throughout the running of the program.
*
* 6. Checks which fail should not simply cause the program to hangup but
* continue to run slightly differently which may not be apparent to the
* hacker straight away. After performing a check do not use IF THEN
* ELSE constructs, which can easily be removed, instead use a logical
* or arithmetic operation on the result from the check and combine it
* with a program variable. This is harder to remove since the hacker
* would have to know the value of the result.
*
* 7. Write checks into interrupt routines. The check could generate a
* checksum by reading one byte from the program each time the interrupt
* is called and signalling another routine when the last byte from the
* program has been read.
My main site: http://www.mug-uk.co.uk - slowly digging up the bits from my past (and re-working a few): Atari ST, Sega 8-bit (game hacks) and NDS (Music ripping guide).

I develop a free Word (for Windows) add-in that's available for Word 2007 upwards. It's a fix-it toolbox that will allow power Word users to fix document errors. You can find it at: http://www.mikestoolbox.co.uk

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Postby Mug UK » Mon May 03, 2004 9:21 pm

COuld be .. could have aged 40 years since last met ;-)

All I did was type in "avatar" +mug .. and that came up ..
My main site: http://www.mug-uk.co.uk - slowly digging up the bits from my past (and re-working a few): Atari ST, Sega 8-bit (game hacks) and NDS (Music ripping guide).

I develop a free Word (for Windows) add-in that's available for Word 2007 upwards. It's a fix-it toolbox that will allow power Word users to fix document errors. You can find it at: http://www.mikestoolbox.co.uk

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Re: A snippet from the documentation

Postby Brume » Mon May 03, 2004 9:23 pm

muguk wrote:* 2. Write software checks into the program which test for any changes
* made to the program in an attempt by a hacker to remove the
* protection. Use CRC's, 16/32 bit checksums or simply EOR all
* words/longs.
*


I'm not familar with Rob's protection, but this case may be the worst to deal with. I never met a game with a CRC on it on Atari ST... but I guess it has been used. Shw, Muggie, do you have an example of game that use that kind of protection?

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Postby Mug UK » Mon May 03, 2004 9:29 pm

Best leaving that question to SHW or Cyrano due to their experience "in the field" ..
My main site: http://www.mug-uk.co.uk - slowly digging up the bits from my past (and re-working a few): Atari ST, Sega 8-bit (game hacks) and NDS (Music ripping guide).

I develop a free Word (for Windows) add-in that's available for Word 2007 upwards. It's a fix-it toolbox that will allow power Word users to fix document errors. You can find it at: http://www.mikestoolbox.co.uk

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Postby aktiv8 » Tue May 04, 2004 8:24 am

Very intersting to see this kind of stuff... Adds to the whole atmosphere of the old cracking scene :D

I can see what Mug says about the developers not being arsed to do half the stuff. They themselves as a result must have sent their proggies to an "early grave"...

Would love to see the code and tools Mug...
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Postby Cyrano Jones » Tue May 04, 2004 8:25 am

I remember "Infestation" using one

I just remember this one because everyone else missed it and I spent several hours looking for it. If it wasn't removed you ran out of air after 45 seconds and died!

As far as I remember, Carrier Command and Falcon also had them.
Falcon made you lose flight controls after 4 minutes :-)

There were many, many others tho.

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Postby dungeon.master » Tue May 04, 2004 8:58 am

I like this stories :D

please tell more :!:
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Postby Cyrano Jones » Tue May 04, 2004 9:17 am

You really need to go out more :P

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Postby LC5 » Tue May 04, 2004 9:42 am

We don´t dare to go outside, haven´t you heard that INTEL is OUTSIDE?

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Postby Mug UK » Tue May 04, 2004 11:55 am

OK .. slight conumdrum here.

In case it's still classed as commercial code, then I'll only send it out to interested parties via email.

However, if someone can prove that it (like many of the games protected by it) are no longer classed as commercial, then I'll upload it to here and FTP it to various places.

Will also send it to my site once the re-design and merger of both PC & Atari sites (on two different servers) is complete. Slowly plodding through and learning how to set up links, articles and stuff under PHP is not fun.

By the way, you all do realise that Rob's routines are a simple .S file which you include and you don't get to see his code as it's stored as "DC.L" so that you can't break in yourself ;-) He wasn't / ain't that stoopid !!

Anyone else who used to be a developer - did you ever use any other non-Rob protections? Do you still have the code? I used to have the complete sourcecode to Onslaught and Super Cars but they've been lost in the mysts of time/hard drive crashes.
My main site: http://www.mug-uk.co.uk - slowly digging up the bits from my past (and re-working a few): Atari ST, Sega 8-bit (game hacks) and NDS (Music ripping guide).

I develop a free Word (for Windows) add-in that's available for Word 2007 upwards. It's a fix-it toolbox that will allow power Word users to fix document errors. You can find it at: http://www.mikestoolbox.co.uk

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Postby Cyrano Jones » Tue May 04, 2004 3:21 pm

dungeon.master wrote:I like this stories :D

please tell more :!:


As long as we got it right, you'd never even know :)

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Postby dungeon.master » Tue May 04, 2004 3:54 pm

Cyrano Jones wrote:
dungeon.master wrote:I like this stories :D

please tell more :!:


As long as we got it right, you'd never even know :)


excuse my bad english, and explain me what you mean :?:

with a simple english for froggie :wink:
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Postby Mug UK » Tue May 04, 2004 10:20 pm

As in (I think) that the skills of the crackers in the past got it right so that you never got a dodgy cracked copy of the game. Even without the source code I have found - they managed to bypass Rob's protections.

This OK C.J. - or have I go off on a tangent?
My main site: http://www.mug-uk.co.uk - slowly digging up the bits from my past (and re-working a few): Atari ST, Sega 8-bit (game hacks) and NDS (Music ripping guide).

I develop a free Word (for Windows) add-in that's available for Word 2007 upwards. It's a fix-it toolbox that will allow power Word users to fix document errors. You can find it at: http://www.mikestoolbox.co.uk

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Postby Cyrano Jones » Wed May 05, 2004 7:25 am

Yep thats about right.......

Rob.N protected games were great. His code was so bulky you could always fit the DMA fileloader and depacking routines inside the space occupied by his shell :-)

"Is it a Rob.N or will I have to work on it?" :-)

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Postby aktiv8 » Wed May 05, 2004 7:30 am

Cyrano Jones wrote:"Is it a Rob.N or will I have to work on it?" :-)


I like that comment CJ :lol:

Anyone ever wonder or know what Rob N thought about his seemingly poor code?
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Postby Cyrano Jones » Wed May 05, 2004 7:41 am

He probably thought it was an amazing Cash Cow - and hats off to the man for that :)

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Postby Mug UK » Wed May 05, 2004 8:27 am

After all the various routines that were present in the early games that the Automation Cracker and similar tools could remove .. there was also that commercial tool by Evesham (?) that removed the really early copylock encrytped .PRG files .. can't remember name of the program but would be fun to have a copy to remember the old days.

Would also be a good idea to (if possible) start making h/drive compatible versions a la JSTLoad/WHDLoad on the Amiga - or would that be too much work making old games work on the ST/STE/Falcon/STEEM with h/drives?

I (personally) don't know of any other firm that released a 3rd party protection scheme for use by commercial companies ... plus he also did the hybrid ST/Amiga format disks as "backup earnings" :-0

If the company releasing the game could get a few days sales before a cracked release was available, then there would be money well invested in Rob's protection.

Daresay the problem wasn't as bad as it is now with 0-sec releases, especially when everyone was on dial-up back then.
My main site: http://www.mug-uk.co.uk - slowly digging up the bits from my past (and re-working a few): Atari ST, Sega 8-bit (game hacks) and NDS (Music ripping guide).

I develop a free Word (for Windows) add-in that's available for Word 2007 upwards. It's a fix-it toolbox that will allow power Word users to fix document errors. You can find it at: http://www.mikestoolbox.co.uk

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Postby Cyrano Jones » Wed May 05, 2004 10:34 am

muguk wrote:Would also be a good idea to (if possible) start making h/drive compatible versions a la JSTLoad/WHDLoad on the Amiga - or would that be too much work making old games work on the ST/STE/Falcon/STEEM with h/drives?


The ironic part in that is all the single part 1mb versions would actually run from a HDD, but as soon as the DMA fileloaders appeared nobody did them any more, despite the fact that they were nearly always easier.

All you had to do was image the disk into the extra memory and hook the sector reading code. Advantages are that once initial depack is done all further disk access is near-instant, disadvantage is that it wont run in 512k (does anyone really care any more?)

If I remember correctly a lot of the later DMA conversions had RAM-disks built in so that as the files were loaded they ended up in high-RAM anyway for subsequent reads.

If anyone could be bothered (dont ask me, I cant!) it would be (relativly) easy to convert a DMA file game back to a floppy image as the filenames were usually in the 0xxx0yyy format.

This name was usually the starting sector number (xxx) and the number of sectors to read (yyy), done this way so we wouldn't have to store any filenames in the patched loader.

Anyway, if you have any more questions just ask.

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Postby Mug UK » Wed May 05, 2004 10:39 am

I remember the later Superior disks having the code for a h/disk loader to work with his DMA routines so long as you had his .SYS file (can't remember exact filename) in the root of C:

I always tried to do h/drive compatible versions of the games and demos that I packed, trained and link-filed but that was easy compared to doing DMA stuff.

Weird looking at some of the Special FX menus that featured my work under nickname of "Mentor" .. can always tell my code from anyone elses ;-)
My main site: http://www.mug-uk.co.uk - slowly digging up the bits from my past (and re-working a few): Atari ST, Sega 8-bit (game hacks) and NDS (Music ripping guide).

I develop a free Word (for Windows) add-in that's available for Word 2007 upwards. It's a fix-it toolbox that will allow power Word users to fix document errors. You can find it at: http://www.mikestoolbox.co.uk

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Postby Mug UK » Wed May 05, 2004 3:59 pm

Almost sure that was the last function added (or was a planned extra) for the Link-filer I worked on with Mac Sys Data ..

Can't remember who's code I'd gleaned it from for a trap #1 loader that loaded the whole link file in to the top half-a-meg and by-passed the load routine and depacked the data straight from memory to source...

All a bit confusing these days ....... Matron .. where's me medicine
My main site: http://www.mug-uk.co.uk - slowly digging up the bits from my past (and re-working a few): Atari ST, Sega 8-bit (game hacks) and NDS (Music ripping guide).

I develop a free Word (for Windows) add-in that's available for Word 2007 upwards. It's a fix-it toolbox that will allow power Word users to fix document errors. You can find it at: http://www.mikestoolbox.co.uk

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Postby Shazz » Thu May 06, 2004 6:52 am

Sorry to break the discussion but I was wondering, what do you call DMA fileloaders, DMA file routine ? Is it when there is no directory entry and the boot sector acts as a loader and directly jump to the program located somewhere on the disk ? Why DMA ?

Just curious :)

Mug : I read the Alien cracking tut', nice tut but unfortunately it does not explain really what the various protection do (which is for me intereting in order to understand how to crack it...) and the 'manual/words' protection is not explained :(
...8bits are enough...

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Postby Cyrano Jones » Thu May 06, 2004 6:59 am

DMA fileloaders were used to convert raw boot disk titles that ran without GEM into files.

They allowed us to read standard format files without using GEMDOS calls.

DMA is an acronym for Direct Memory Access.

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Postby Mug UK » Thu May 06, 2004 7:13 am

I've seen on an Amiga cracking site some code that shows you a password protection routine and how it was cracked .. when I find the site, I'll publish the code here.

Unless CJ/SHW have any examples to hand??
My main site: http://www.mug-uk.co.uk - slowly digging up the bits from my past (and re-working a few): Atari ST, Sega 8-bit (game hacks) and NDS (Music ripping guide).

I develop a free Word (for Windows) add-in that's available for Word 2007 upwards. It's a fix-it toolbox that will allow power Word users to fix document errors. You can find it at: http://www.mikestoolbox.co.uk


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