I really think it should be a standard act of corporate responsibility and platform stewardship to make it so that work like that of Professor Abrasive's, is not the only spare key we have to current culture a few decades down the road. We as a global culture just might be really, really lost and bereft of history if that was to be the case.
I frankly think that Apple under Tim Cook is in a historically unique position of making cultural preservation of games and software feasible and something built into the whole social and legal contract of proprietary, locked down platforms. It's not like Sony is going to lead the way with the PlayStation?
I mean, to really make preservation legit, there needs to be some sort of useful official emulation and data extraction capability down the road. For all we know now, there might be terrible legislation that prohibits reverse engineering in a lot of jurisdictions.
There's of course a lot problems to solve, with all the crypto and stuff, and licensing, but someone should be on this. Especially since software distribution is becoming all ephemeral and download based! Not to mention the cloud fragmentation of personal data.
But that database of unencrypted copies would be the ultimate target for industrial espionage, copyright theft, and hacking. I don't think we can trust any one organization with that responsibility.
Anyway, the world looks really bleak for open platforms right now.
The main example is Android. If you have like one toe dipped into a role related to infosec at the moment, you can't serioulsy recommend that people you work with or care for even touch mainstream Android phones. Because the patching situation is such a dumpster fire.
Even Google's Nexus crap that is getting patched, seems to be set on a 2 year lifecycle, with 2014 phones getting end of lifed a few months from now. Pretty weak sauce if Google's intention is to set any kind of example for vendor security support on Android.
My sister runs my first iPhone, a 2012 iPhone 5, fully patched. It's going to be supported for another year or two, probably.
I don't particularly want it to be this way, but I have to almost force people I care about to buy iPhones. It feels bad, especially in cases when they'd have better use for their money.
So with Apple, specifically, they're really good at the closed platform game and I don't see them getting out of that, especially if they're getting more into things like payment services or automotive. Their crypto stance really implies that they want institutional-level trust from their customers. http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2016/03/follow-t...
Game consoles are unlikely to quit DRM too: the only thing that'd make them stop with DRM per se is probably to make all games just streamed from the, uh, cloud. Doable... maybe soonish but that'd rule out a lot of people and use cases where the connectivity just isn't there.
That's kind of why I suggested my half-baked idea to pressure, force and shame closed platform vendors into proper legacy support as part of the "social contract". Or whatever. Not that certain "social contracts", like the ones Western countries have with banks are working out all that great at the moment.
But as I said, this idea of mine is half baked. Someone like Apple is only part of the puzzle, since apps and games increasingly rely on server backends to work properly. It's not like Apple could save the gaming world's cultural heritage in 2030 just by offering a binary blob that runs all iPhone apps from 2010.
Not really. DRM usage has nothing to do with (honest) business cases. They are all crooked or Lysenkoist in nature (i.e. based on completely wrong / ignorant reasoning).
Also, I think you are mixing up DRM with security. DRM is the opposite of it. DRM can employ encryption, but its purpose is not to secure your system, but to police you, and because of that it actually compromises your security.
> apps and games increasingly rely on server backends to work properly.
Many multiplayer games surely do. That's why it's good then the server is open source. This way it indeed can be preserved. Otherwise, it will be lost as soon as the servers will go bust. Another option is to provide the server component with the game, to allow running it as server instance. Lot's of older games did that, allowing running LAN / WAN multiplayer without using dedicated servers. It's less common these days. Either developers cut corners with implementing it, or server components got too heavy, not sure.
Making single-player games rely on some remote services as a hard requirement is a very poor taste. Same if they have multiplayer component. It should be optional and single-player part should function without it.
Can you explain this? The argument and terminology are unfamiliar to me. Wikipedia says:
> Lysenkoism is also used metaphorically to describe the manipulation or distortion of the scientific process as a way to reach a predetermined conclusion as dictated by an ideological bias, often related to social or political objectives.
The goal of DRM is, ostensibly, to be paid for the hard work of creating something that is easy to duplicate after being created. That's a reasonable goal, but really hard to do when the software is executing on a machine in the control of the user. Requiring a remote server is a logical way to accomplish that goal, with unfortunate side effects when that server is inaccessible.
What part of this logic is crooked or Lysenkoism?
In short, it means that logic of DRM usage is completely invalid and based on false premises (when someone tries to justify it using reasons like increasing sales for example and such).
There can be other possible reasons for DRM usage, which aren't Lyseknoist, but simply crooked. I.e. for instance, covering up incompetence, competition exclusion, standards poisoning, undemocratic policy making and so on. Those are done to achieve dirty goals, and they are harder to counteract than ignorance.
How is it a false premise? For the sake of argument, lets say we have a "perfect" DRM method.
Then do you believe that - for e.g. all the people who're pirating Windows - would switch to a competing product because they were not going to buy it in the first place? IMHO That would be a completely erroneous position. Maybe _some_ might, but there is no evidence that everyone would. Which is the crux of the problem. If DRM didn't increase sales then I don't think you could make the argument that every single publisher who uses DRM is doing it for reasons other than sales.
Because DRM is decreasing sales, not increasing them.
> lets say we have a "perfect" DRM method.
There is no perfect DRM. But let's say there is very hard to break DRM. That means very abusive, extremely privacy invasive policing method. It would fall even more into the crooked territory.
> If DRM didn't increase sales then I don't think you could make the argument that every single publisher who uses DRM is doing it for reasons other than sales.
Why not? I could make an argument that some do it out of ignorance, and the rest (of DRM users) are crooks. That's exactly what I'm saying. I.e. those who aren't dumb are using it for crooked reasons which have nothing to do with preventing piracy (I listed such common reasons above). And the rest (who use it indeed for sales sake) are digital Lysenkoists.
Based on what?
Based on crippling the product for those who pay for it. I.e. there will be those who will simply skip it because of DRM altogether.
In addition, some skilled pirates will remove DRM and provide that product without crippling for everyone else, and there will be those who otherwise could buy it, if it would have been DRM-free, but because it's DRMed they will pirate it instead.
The bottom line - DRM means lost sales.
Also app-specific DRM is unnecessary AFAIK, so that will avoid common problems.
Breaking DRM is like finding a cure for insanity ;)
IIRC, tehy're a major hindrance to people who want to legitimately restore old arcade/pinball machines, rather than just grabbing a cracked rom.
Ten layers of tinfoil can capture pirate-bullets.
Tape/wedge the drive lid sensor down, power up with a real game in (you don't need to close the lid as the sensor believes the lid is always shut) and allow it do the initial copy protection check on your real disc.
At this point it stops the disc for just less than second - just enough time to pull the real disc out and swap in a CD-R. It takes a little practice and potentially can damage the drive motor if your timing is frequently poor.
Games this won't work with are those spanning multiple discs where you need to swap discs in game to progress.
Then I killed it trying to mod it. Got a PS1 instead, couldn't figure out the trick anymore.
It was funny that they kept on changing the points where the disc would read info, you had to swap multiple times at different points. They wouldn't stop either, just slow down.
Ugh, don't remind me. My brother fried our n64 and our ps2 trying to mod them into handheld's (with built-in screen).
Maybe you can shave the back of the shimmed wobble edge down, so that it won't stick out as much on the burned CD. This shimmed wobble can be your key for all the burned CDs you have.
Maybe double sided tape can keep the wobble shim attached to your burned CD while still allowing it to be removable for other CDs.
I've never had a Saturn, so I don't know what this wobble edge looks like in person. Am I missing something?
> Why not just cut the wobble edge of a real CD off and attach it to a burned CD?
This would have a very low success rate, as the precision required to accurately cut off the wobbled edge on an original disc (and the target area on a CD-R) would a lot of upfront engineering as well as cost-prohibitive tools. Optical discs require more precise measurements than most people who favor the scrapbooking "cut-n-glue" solution can provide.
This is just as long as we're pretending it's possible. Opitcal discs lose a lot of structural integrity the moment you start breaking/cutting them. The reflective portion where the data resides is on a thin film substrate at the back of the CD. Cutting that without outright destroying the disc or (at least reducing the operating life) would take significant effort, as would precisely healing the new gap from combining two separate materials without destroying the alignment of all those microscopic ones and zeroes.
Not to mention that any adhesives you might apply to combine the two pieces would make that level of accuracy impossible, if not highly improbable. And then you have to hope the whole thing holds up while spinning. Even assuming you could get the two pieces to combine seamlessly, there's always the chance that you've done something that destroys the balance of the disc, which could have a number of unfortunate effects in spinning media. I don't think the Saturn drive spins fast enough for it to sling off and demolish your hardware, but it could cause data inaccuracies at the very least.
I mean a company could attempt to do it for you, but it'd be cheaper and more reliable to engineer Saturn-compatible CD-Rs (or offer a disc-pressing service) at that rate. Considering the only use is to defeat old copy protection, it's not going to have a market large enough to sustain it. So you're going to have high prices, and low enough product sales that it would probably not be worth inviting the legal trouble. Even after all that, CD-Rs can have all sorts of QA issues that can affect their shelf life. And then you still have the problem mentioned in the video where the drive hardware fails.
Replacing it with flash data is just a better long-term solution.
It's similar to the Gamecube using the burst-cutting area to implement DRM - it's impossible to duplicate without a production setup.
The video shows it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOyfZex7B3E#t=2m13s
The protection ring is visible to the naked eye for this reason. I can't find a picture, sorry!
I can assure you, I am not looking forward to the TPP!
To achieve this did not require fully reverse engineering the cdrom controller but it is great someone did though.
The nice thing about this new solution, even ignoring that it furthers public understanding of the hardware, is that it's a simple module that plugs into a slot already available and accessible on every Saturn ever sold by SEGA (presumably it won't work on the Hi-Saturn units made by Hitachi, as they had the MPEG hardware integrated, though they are also very rare and very expensive).
For PCB assembly, http://www.4pcb.com/ is recommended.
Some reviews from Lady Ada: http://www.ladyada.net/library/pcb/manufacturers.html
Also check out http://pcbshopper.com/
Not sure about assembling all the parts into the case. Depending on who does the PCB production and assembly, they might also offer a full assembly service, or not.
The Factory Floor series by Bunnie Huang might be an interesting read about some of the steps necessary for getting an idea to production.
Sega should really make an HD remastering of all of them though. Or even a new one. Especially after the sadness of Star Fox Zero.
There are a lot of great games (including PS1 and PSP games) for the system, but once the hardware dies or the download servers are shut down, what is left for people who still want to play these games?
In the back of my mind I've been thinking what digital consumer rights look like. It seems like this point in history has laws that favor publishers more than consumers or the public good.
There was a time when DRM was only visible when it broke your legitimately purchased game (e.g. SimCity, Diablo 3)
Now at least gamers are getting some decent perks from DRM (e.g. digital loaning, play anywhere, cross platform licensing) so it's a bit easier to stomach.
That's because people have been vocal about that. If the companies had it their way, I'm sure the majority would want you to buy a new license for each platform and system (like how the cheap Windows licenses are - locked to your system)
The old way of doing business was proprietary everything. (See Sony in the 80s and 90s) I'm just glad manufactures finally saw that locking things down so much increased customer anger and frustration more than it increased sales. Being a child of the 80s, I'm still surprised at stuff like using a generic USB thumb drive in an Xbox 360 and things of that nature.
* Windows falls out of popular use for residential people / People moving away from using PCs as we know it.
* Steam client not being available for the mainstream OS of the day.
* Most of the games in your library not working with the the mainstream OS of the day.
* A new platform replaces Steam and it has newer remakes of classic games.
* We are all in our 50-60s and lost access to our accounts long ago because we don't play games anymore.
Steam probably won't be killed off in one day. It will die gradually as it falls into disuse.
It'd be a shame if we suddenly couldn't play these classics anymore just because Sony wants us to repurchase it on Console XYZ.
That said, the Vita is much nicer for PS1 games, and if your firmware is old enough, you can even convert your old discs yourself for it.
No point cracking it till they stop making games for the thing though.
Submission of complete source code, on the other hand, could help.
But you'd still need to have the build process, so really you'd need submission of the full dev environment. But then you might also need the hardware to run it ...
Personally I think it should be copyright protection or DRM: the demos doesn't get the DRM stuff to enter the public domain so strictly speaking DRM stuff can't be copyright as the deal of time-limited monopoly is broken by the corps that are using DRM.
Yeah, I like that. Sort of like how something can be a trade secret or patented but not both.
These crazy reverse engineering projects kind of make me feel insecure about my own abilities, as weird as it sounds.
I wonder if I would have been able to come up with the same solution if I worked at it. My fear is that I would not, but who knows.
A lot of it is purely analytical, but there is a portion that relies on pure creativity and problem solving abilities.
I understand the process he went through as well as the technical details behind it, but following along is much easier than looking at a circuit board with a blank face, wondering where to begin.
I spent the last 2 hours last night just reading about Sega Saturn…
PPSSPP and Dolphin have made great progress BECAUSE they were open.
long story short, it is the real solution, but its not a practical one by any means.
The hard part is for someone to actually develop the emulation for all the custom chips in the system. In particular, the two graphics chips are very complex and the documentation is very hard to understand. The same goes for the sound chip. The others are all standard enough to be reasonably straightforward (if not actually easy).
Here are some relevant links (I'm sure there will be other systems that have been recreated in FPGA form):
Emulation is the best possible path IMHO since it enables the games to be played (and experienced) on pretty much any hardware. I think this work may do quite a bit to help in that area, there's really no reason the Saturn isn't nearly perfectly emulated these days.
Reproduction is the next best and much harder than Emulation. Basically figuring out how to build the hardware again. There's several versions of this with much older hardware (C64, 2600, etc.) with new hardware being produced that can run the old software natively. There's also "lesser" versions that use modern CPUs, etc. to run the code basically also in emulation, but this is not the same thing. However, reproduction is both technically more difficult and has a smaller audience who's willing to add yet another machine to their collection to see old games.
also, MESS's emulation is also not too terrible, I was pretty surprised with how many games worked under it
In a hundred years, the only practical way to experience classic software like this will be via emulation and I believe that's where resources should be put.
There's a weird kind of snobbery in classic gaming that, unless you're playing original games on original hardware, you're doing it entirely wrong and emulation stuff is basically just dirty piracy. Fast forward to today and the talk of the community is that old game and hardware prices are getting sky high, and in the case of some systems (like the 5200) finding working equipment is getting to be impossible. No duh, sucking all of the inventory for a product that's not going to be manufactured in anymore and allowing the prices to slip into normal supply-demand areas means that's what's going to happen -- even worse, the new audience who can be exposed to this material shrinks even smaller every day.
For almost all practical purposes, systems like the Amiga or the SNES or similar vintage are pretty much complete in terms of emulation -- the entire known software libraries are basically completable. In many ways, emulators like UAE offer better software compatibility than real hardware!
Also, you mention CD-RW, but IIRC you could not boot off CD-RW, only CD-R. Or maybe that was the softmodded xbox?
Skies of Arcadia was I believe the biggest ever 'released' - 2x1GB. A group called Echelon did manage to release it after many months/1 year+(?) without anything ripped, sized to fit on 2x700mb CD-R's. They pre-compressed the whole game and wrote a custom on-the-fly decompresser. Apparently this did slow the game down in places, but the technical achievement certainly needs to be appreciated.
You mention the read speed issues, meaning the dreamcast drive was CAV. Were all data drives of the time CAV? Are audio CD players CAV? Not some 40 second skip protection discman, but like a hifi unit from the 80s (since my naive 80s implementation would not like the data rate changing across the disc)? Does CAV vs CLV have any meaning here, or is pretty much laserdisc only terms?
All things I vaguely feel like I should know (like if all optical media has pits that are the same length across the disc. I think not, again laserdisc.) I love my dreamcast. Left one in an apartment 6 years ago when I moved out. It could be still there. Still have one.
To achieve what you claim would more than likely mean game engine modification and without the source code I dont see that happening.
I have little reason to doubt their claims given their clear technical skill spanning multiple console generations (Echelon might have only been associated with the Dreamcast/PS2, but it's obvious that their 'group' were behind multiple other, very highly technically accomplished scene groups).
Access to the source code is even a possibility - at one point they routinely released games weeks or even months before street dates.
http://dcemulation.org/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=97250 is worth a read for an indication of some of the shenanigans that were afoot back in those days.
https://tcrf.net/The_Cutting_Room_Floor has a lot of examples of left over / hidden content but nothing as cool as a message left for a particular group.
However, I read some forums from the time, it sounds like the results weren't great. Mainly folks notice sound triggering noticably late. So uh, Maybe instead of downsampling they built a MP3 decoder, but to use the existing system, it couldn't stream the audio, so they had to decompress the clip completely into a buffer before playback?
Bigger than Shenmue / Shenmue 2? IIRC both Shenmue games spanned 3 GD-ROMs.
Yeah about that, I don't get it. Is there data hidden in that spiral that acts as a checksum for the CD or something? Or is it of special material that lights up differently under certain light (like money)?
To me it doesn't look that hard to duplicate a simple spiral, but then I know nothing about it.
Gamecube discs utilised a similar technology which you can easily see on the disc surface - http://www.gamesx.com/grafx/ngcdisc2.jpg & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_optical_discs#Burst_c...
Years before, companies actually did a similar thing with floppy discs, albeit in a slightly different way.
hmm, now that I think about it, its possible someone incompetent made modchip that would keep sending wooble constantly, that could cause tracking problems and tire mechanism pretty fast.
Playstation also had a trapdoor Parallel I/O port exposing raw address/data bus, it was meant for network interface, debugging(PSY-Q) and stuff(ActionReplay/GameShark). Great thing about that port is you can hang your own ROM there and console will execute it while booting, no code signing/drm crap.
Afair at the beginning PSIO patched original firmware replacing all CD routines with its own, but later in the project it was discovered a lot of games talked straight to the hardware ignoring SONY requirements for using BIOS routines. This is why current version comes with small board you need to solder inside to reroute chip select signals from the CD controller chip - PSIO emulates that chip completely. You still get data faster than CD due to no seek times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc3rOb7Evxc
Original work from 1999 http://web.archive.org/web/19990220052039/http://www.geociti...
Gamecube has IDE-EXI, same thing http://www.gc-forever.com/wiki/index.php?title=Ide-exi
Anyway, the basic story is that the Saturn had copy protection in the form of physical marks on the copy protected CDs. This puts a huge barrier to entry on homebrew and the like, so a guy going by Dr Abrasive tried to reverse engineer a way around that. He first looked into a way of disabling the copy protection on the CDs to allow burned CDs to be used but that proved too difficult.
He eventually hit upon the fact that the Saturn had an external module that could be added to allow the system to play video CDs. He then built a component to take advantage of that fact and feed in his own commands through this interface thereby avoiding the copy protection entirely. This allowed content to be run from USB sticks without the need for CDs at all, lowering the barrier to entry even more. It also helps workaround mechanical failure of the CD drive which is becoming a common problem for the 20 year old hardware.
So now if you have this custom built component, you can take an off the shelf system and start running code from a USB stick without any soldering, hacking, or modification at all beyond plugging the device into the back of the console.
Also, I love that his original motivation was to use the sound processor for mixing chiptune, and basically opening up the entire system at metal level is a happy by product.
ALSO, the fact that he decided that his first working prototype was too hands on and finding a way to piggyback the video playback expansion card to make the mod orders of magnitude less complicated to install / execute.
Super impressive stuff
It takes a special set of skills and a mindset to do this. I recommend everyone to try that once. Just take a foreign binary, any which you know the application of, and try to modify it. Then, after you give up, take a note this was done on an unknown binary with (almost) unknown functionality. TBH, he did say he looked up a table of known functions on a wiki somewhere, but still...
>I, myself, am not going to release these ROMs. This isn't the first project where I've dumped a commercial object for some other purpose and been asked to share (see: shairport, for one), and after much thought I conclude - now, as then - that it's not the right thing for me to do in any project. There are legal and professional risks which I'm just not comfortable taking. That's not negotiable.
>But that's not to say I won't help you dump it yourself. I'll have a dump feature in the cart, and I'm sure someone will rapidly archive all the available systems.
By analogy, if the original comment had been "I will not give you a copy of the copyrighted harry potter book, but I can teach you how to use a scanner if you'd like, and I'm sure someone else will scan it" would you say that teaching someone to use a scanner is illegal?
It's actually typically legal to make a backup of a copyrighted item you own for personal use if the original is damaged.
He's teaching people to do something that's typically legal, avoiding infringing copyright by redistributing himself, and commenting that it's quite likely others won't be so scrupulous; I don't see how anyone could reasonably fault him.
I hadn't thought of the 'for personal use' defense, though.
He does claim legal and professional risks as his reasons in the assemblergames forum thread though.
The Playstation also has one, the ps-io. I'm really hoping for someone to step up and do the PC Engine, Neo Geo CD, Sega CD and 3DO.
You might be interested in the turbo everdrive from http://krikzz.com/
And in general, most console systems are a serious bundle of hacks, mostly tolerated by programmers by the sole fact that you can rely on every system to be identical.
Not to mention that all the relevant information may not exist anymore, or is in a storage facility somewhere growing mold.
This included the remark that Hasbro would not go after developers for discovering or bypassing the encryption key (which was discovered shortly after) to run their own software: http://allanswers.org/games/games/video-games/atari/jaguar-4...
I don't know. Winning people's hearts? For the fun of it?
That's true, but as long as they can still make money from their IP they won't (i.e. repackaging old source + game(s) into a VM for sale on Steam or next-gen consoles)
Some of the source code/etc may be licensed from a third party, which means that releasing it is treading through a legal minefield.
If there is one thing I learned from internships and various jobs (I'm still a student), it's that companies pretty much always exist of people who care. If there's an opportunity to spread the name SEGA around without any downsides, good odds you could find someone in the company who's up for that.
Trouble is, you probably need to find whoever was on the original product team, or it's going to cost the company more hours than they'd find it worth.
No modchip required, no soldering, broadband penetration on the rise, filesharing was now a thing.
I completely understand the Saturn's botched launch and limited number of retail outlets, but the Dreamcast had the best launch of all time up to that point and broke sales records.
I'm not convinced piracy is not in fact the cause of the Dreamcast's demise.
I really did love the Dreamcast, built in modem and the second-screen VMU.
If you don't think piracy killed it, what do you think killed it? The PS2?
The DVD drive after the ps2 was released probably would be a huge factor though, if the dreamcast wasn't in fact already dead which it was.
I'm sure some business school guys have written papers on this, I should find them. Would be interesting to read all the opinions on Sega's near death and exiting the hardware business.
If a new console used the wobble/burst then surely you'd be able to order these CDR's from Alibaba..
I applaud crazy fuckers like you. The world needs more of you.
Well done sir.
Of course, if you sit at that point in the system you have a different set of problems and capabilities. Much easier to build hardware for, but no data output, and of course you need to disassemble the console to get there in the first place.
"I hope this lays the matter to rest, and prevents anyone from wasting more time on it (like my day burning useless discs).
I'm sure someone will wave their hands around and say that custom burner firmware could do the job, but good luck finding a burner with a programmable DSP in the pregroove tracking loop and managing to modify it to do the job."
Harder to program of course.
You can also rip a sega saturn CD in your computer. I particularly enjoy the music from Sega Rally Championship and Virtua Fighter 2.
These days my interest in game cracking is mainly for archival purposes. (are you going to be able to play this game in 50 years?)