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View Full Version : Using Central Point's CP2PC Software



Grandcheapskate
November 2nd, 2014, 05:03 PM
Hi Guys,
Being new to this forum, I know there is a lot of older material I will never get a chance to read. There is a lot of information contained in all the various forums and it becomes overwhelming trying to take it all in at one time, especially when some answers build on the knowledge gained from previous threads. I know this from my experiance on various forums dealing with another of my passions where I have been a member for well over a decade - slot cars.

So I hope you will forgive me if I am asking questons covered many times before.

First...I was reading with interest a thread on how to make backup copies of old floppy based games which use some type of on-disk protection...

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcfo...V%29-%28IBM%29

A little searching around the internet allowed me to gain some background information on the Central Point Option Board as well as the old CP2PC software. Even found a site that let me download many versions of the software from 1.9 to 6.0. So yesterday I tried to test the CP2PC program on a AMD 486DX4-133 using just an ordinary floppy. If it worked, I could try it on some protected floppy games (first up would be Live Studio's Thunderstrike) and finally get myself some backups.

Using version 1.9, all I got were read errors on every track even though the floppy itself is fine. I began to assume that this error was either because the software is not designed to run on a machine this quick or it is not designed to run on anything other than an Intel processor. Can anyone give me some help here?

I also would love to disable the need to have the key disk inserted every time I want to play the game. It sounds like the CPS NOGUARD and NOKEY programs would do this for me, so any info on them would be appreciated. I was able to download them as well.

Thanks...Joe

SomeGuy
November 2nd, 2014, 06:35 PM
Unless you know you need otherwise, you should generally use the final Copy II PC 6.0. I do believe earlier ones had issues with faster computers and newer hardware.

Copy II PC is probably the best software-based copying tool, but its capability is limited by the IBM PC and compatibles floppy disk microcontroller. There are many copy protection schemes that it can not copy. Those require a hardware based copier like the Central Point Deluxe Option Board/TransCopy card or SuperCard Pro.

Trixter
November 4th, 2014, 08:00 AM
A little searching around the internet allowed me to gain some background information on the Central Point Option Board as well as the old CP2PC software. Even found a site that let me download many versions of the software from 1.9 to 6.0. So yesterday I tried to test the CP2PC program on a AMD 486DX4-133 using just an ordinary floppy. If it worked, I could try it on some protected floppy games (first up would be Live Studio's Thunderstrike) and finally get myself some backups.

Using version 1.9, all I got were read errors on every track even though the floppy itself is fine. I began to assume that this error was either because the software is not designed to run on a machine this quick or it is not designed to run on anything other than an Intel processor. Can anyone give me some help here?

I also would love to disable the need to have the key disk inserted every time I want to play the game. It sounds like the CPS NOGUARD and NOKEY programs would do this for me, so any info on them would be appreciated. I was able to download them as well.


I second the motion that you should only use 6.0 on anything newer than a 286 system. If you have an older system, such as a 286 or lower, sometimes versions 4.x and lower can work because later versions actually remove some copying functionality (company was legally pressured).

Thunderstrike (great game, btw) was one of the last protected disks to be produced in the era of protected games, and uses a scheme that I don't think CopyIIPC can duplicate. In fact, IIRC it takes a while even with an Option Board. Other games, especially 1988 and earlier, will probably copy fine.

When it comes to removing protection, programs like NOGUARD, etc. work on very specific protections that were mass-marketed to game companies as an alternative to the company rolling their own. They work on only the most high-profile releases: Lotus 1-2-3, dbase, Sierra games, and others. About 100 titles in all, which is relatively small compared to the total number of games and applications released in the first decade of the PC's life.

Your best bet in getting an old game running without checking for a key disk is to simply look for a copy of it online that has the copy-protection removed, and download and run that instead of off of your original disk. A google search for "abandonware" is a good starting point.

Grandcheapskate
November 5th, 2014, 08:23 AM
Thanks guys. I tried using the v1.9 release because I had read about Central Point disabling certain features due to software company pressure. I will try release 6.0 but not until I get my slowest machine - a 386/16 I believe - out of mothballs.

I had really hoped it would work with Thunder Strike as I love that game.

Just as an aside, and since this is my thread I'll ask here although I will probably open another thread on this subject. How does one "crack" code for these PC games? I was a mainframe programmer for 25 years and knew IBM mainframe assembler, so I'm not a complete novice. Is there some place I can read about the methods and tools used?

Thanks...Joe

Trixter
November 5th, 2014, 10:52 AM
Just as an aside, and since this is my thread I'll ask here although I will probably open another thread on this subject. How does one "crack" code for these PC games? I was a mainframe programmer for 25 years and knew IBM mainframe assembler, so I'm not a complete novice. Is there some place I can read about the methods and tools used?


There is not a single, unified place to read texts on how to crack games, although there is a section dedicated to it over at www.textfiles.com. For a quick video demo of similar techniques, you can try this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCSaKuqPrf4 It patches a bug in a game instead of removing the game's protection, but a lot of simple protections were a single-byte patch anyway (ie. changing a conditional jump into a forced jump) so the ideas are the same.

Grandcheapskate
November 5th, 2014, 04:28 PM
There is not a single, unified place to read texts on how to crack games, although there is a section dedicated to it over at www.textfiles.com. For a quick video demo of similar techniques, you can try this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCSaKuqPrf4 It patches a bug in a game instead of removing the game's protection, but a lot of simple protections were a single-byte patch anyway (ie. changing a conditional jump into a forced jump) so the ideas are the same.

That video was a great starter. While I do not know 386/486 assembler, my background with IBM mainframe assembler let me follow what he was doing. Of course, there is SO much to learn about the PC architecture before you could even begin to modify code. But at least I now see a little light where there was complete darkness before.

Maybe I'll try to contact the owner of the video to see if there's any hints he can offer.

Thanks...Joe

Trixter
November 5th, 2014, 04:48 PM
Maybe I'll try to contact the owner of the video to see if there's any hints he can offer.


Well, I could reiterate my previous post (video was mine ;-)

hargle
November 6th, 2014, 07:14 AM
when I was learning how to crack games, I found buckaroo bonzai's guide to cracking on the IBM PC to be most helpful. Those should be available on textfiles.org.
Buckaroo's guides give you the background information you need, but they are too old to describe the tool of choice for 386+ debugging: soft-ice by numega.

The first games I cracked were harley davidson's road to sturgis, and test drive 3. Both were quite easy to do in that they were very straightforward with no anti-debugging tricks, are not compressed executables. They were both very easy to know if you passed the check (IIRC sturgis just kicked you back out to DOS, and TD3 crashed your car after a few seconds of driving)

The main challenge you're going to have is finding UNcracked copies of those games to play with. :)

Stone
November 6th, 2014, 08:05 AM
I had really hoped it would work with Thunder Strike as I love that game.I have a 1994 version of Neverlock that does Thunder Strike.

Trixter
November 6th, 2014, 03:56 PM
http://www.textfiles.com/piracy/CRACKING/ is probably the best place to start.

Grandcheapskate
November 6th, 2014, 07:59 PM
http://www.textfiles.com/piracy/CRACKING/ is probably the best place to start.

Thanks for that link and the video. I think I'll have to try again to learn assembly programming on the 386/486. It's unfortunate that assembler programming on the IBM mainframe is so completely different from the PC - in fact, I believe it's a detriment to know maninframe assembler because the concepts are so different, right down to the order of how numbers are stored.

It is really a shame they never produced a microprocessor which had the same architecture as the IBM mainframe. It would have allowed an amazing number of knowledgeable people to make an easy transition.

Joe

fs5500
November 8th, 2014, 10:43 AM
Wow, I also have original Thunderstrike by LIVE Studios, Inc. (Developed by Millennium Interactive Ltd.)

Yes, this game has copy protection on Track 39-0.

Sector 1 - 6 (Normal 512 bytes) 22 (CRC-DATA 1024 bytes) 24 (Normal 512 bytes) 9 (Normal 512 bytes)

This game was released after Future Classics made by LIVE Studios, Inc.
FC has no copy protection but this has.

To copy this program, I think CP 5 or later works well on 80386/486DX2 system.
(SNATCHIT 1.11 works on 486DX2-66 too)

I'm dumped it by Teledisk and TransCopy 5.4 to run on PCE Emulator without crack or modification.