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 Post subject: Alternate Reality: The City Atari 8-bit Cartridge
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 8:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 8:07 pm
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Now in stage 2 and working with a temporary character!

http://www.atariage.com/forums/index.ph ... opic=70147

Alternate Reality: The City, Cartridge Label Design Contest!

The winner will receive a winning art design certificate and a free copy of Alternate Reality: The City game cartridge or the value thereof*

http://www.atariage.com/forums/index.ph ... opic=70854


Last edited by Xebecs Demise on Mon Jun 06, 2005 3:45 pm, edited 6 times in total.


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PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 2:22 pm 
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Alternate Reality will require some heavy duty decryption, rewriting and cracking before it could be loaded onto anything but a floppy disk. :(

It uses it own SIO routines, multiple copies, and does its data decryption in the same interrupt driven routines. According to Phil Price, there are also many many code checks throughout the runtime that check to make sure various portions of code are still encrypted and not modified.

Looks like a tough job, if you can find anyone whos up for a challenge, go for it. :)

A nice side effect would be that it would also off a hard disk!

Steve


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 Post subject: Alternate Reality on a Cart?
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 3:29 pm 
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I agree. AR would be very difficult to hack. However, I wonder how it would run as a set of disk images on a MyIDE HD?



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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 10:07 am 
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Boy would it be cool though! That would be the most desired Atari cartridge in a matter of minutes - all the flash carts would get sold out.

Aren't all the disk images of AR on the net, already cracked - most by Glenn the 5200 man?

Or when you say cracking are you referring to something else?


Last edited by Xebecs Demise on Mon Jun 06, 2005 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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 Post subject: Alternate Reality on a Cart?
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 5:04 pm 
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Well, I'm not much of a "cracker" myself. I'm OK at it but most of the folks you'll meet around here are much better. Anyway, the code on the disks was written by Philip Price to function in a very precise manner off of the disks, so making them "copiable" and "runnable" in ATR format is not too bad. However, going through all the code and "hacking" all of the areas on the disks where specific calls are made for Disk IO and such is a lot of work. The original City disk always calls for D1 (if I remember right). The dungeon will work with 2 drives (and 128K) but that's another can 'o' worms entirely. Additionally, there are a whole bunch of paranoia checks in the code to prevent "cheating" and all of these would have to be addressed as well. That's why I thought of the possibility of running the game from a set of Floppy Images (built from the ATRs) on a MyIDE hard drive. I think this is a much more realistc (and easy) approach to a complex game like AR. But... I haven't tried it yet. I have almost all of the parts I need for a new system that I plan to install my internal MyIDE setup in. When I finally get it up and running I will try to do AR and post the results.



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2005 7:16 am 

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Has there been anymore updates on this as the other Atari forum doesn't seem to contain any more information. I think the person heading project wanted an original of the dungeon, though now I have tested my original discs - they don't work.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 10:50 am 

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I have original Dungeon Disks - though they might be the v2 ones (I bought it as soon as it came out)

I know there was an update to fix a few bugs that I might or might not have. I never saw a request for original disks - Wrathchild?



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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 7:12 pm 
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I seemed to have missed out on some of the recent auctions for the Dungeon,
though I did have an offer from someone in the UK to donate the disks
too me - though I didn't take him up on it at this point as no time to
focus on the project. I had got the dungeon to the point of loading and
running the intro from cart. Then, as it initializes, it wants to read from
the disk (e.g. it detects 64K and so wants to cache data under the ROM
area). So I need to hook in my replacement 'get sector' routines as was
done with The City. Having gone through some of the disassembly, the
structure of the code isn't too dissimilar and so I'd begun to take 'labels'
across to help understand the code in order to work out where to drop-in
the replacement routines. That's as far as I had got, I hadn't even got
around to working on why the AR:City cart was having issues with the
failure to re-enter buildings. I think it was the in-ability to write back
some info from RAM to disk when needed (map stats?). That would have
to be circumvented by starting on the code to write data back to the cart.
No hope of any re-focus on this in the near future I'm afraid.
Regards,
Mark


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 6:22 am 

Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 5:10 pm
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All the best for giving it a go.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Reality on a Cart?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 11:05 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 3:04 pm
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densonj wrote:
I agree. AR would be very difficult to hack. However, I wonder how it would run as a set of disk images on a MyIDE HD?


The only problem I would see with this is the same as when using A.P.E with A.R.: The City only recognizes 2 drives, even though there 4 disk sides and the character disk, so even with A.P.E it requires disk swapping.this isn't a problem with A.P.E just a pain (for me, my PC is across the room from my 8-bit), to swap iamges on the virtual drives on the PC. But with MyIDE (which admittadely I just got and no very little about) it's running on the same machine, so I don't know how you would "swap" images in the middle of the game. Now, if A.R.:The City could be hacked to just accept 5 drives, then you could set up 5 ATR image partitions and your good to go. The Dungeon accepts 4 drives, but I think there are 6 sides and the character disk. So in both cases there is still some disk swapping. This is were problems would occur, I think, with MyIDE.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Reality on a Cart?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 11:08 pm 

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densonj wrote:
Well, I'm not much of a "cracker" myself. I'm OK at it but most of the folks you'll meet around here are much better. Anyway, the code on the disks was written by Philip Price to function in a very precise manner off of the disks, so making them "copiable" and "runnable" in ATR format is not too bad. However, going through all the code and "hacking" all of the areas on the disks where specific calls are made for Disk IO and such is a lot of work. The original City disk always calls for D1 (if I remember right). The dungeon will work with 2 drives (and 128K) but that's another can 'o' worms entirely. Additionally, there are a whole bunch of paranoia checks in the code to prevent "cheating" and all of these would have to be addressed as well. That's why I thought of the possibility of running the game from a set of Floppy Images (built from the ATRs) on a MyIDE hard drive. I think this is a much more realistc (and easy) approach to a complex game like AR. But... I haven't tried it yet. I have almost all of the parts I need for a new system that I plan to install my internal MyIDE setup in. When I finally get it up and running I will try to do AR and post the results.


Correction: 2 drives for 'The City' and 4 drives for 'The Dungeon' but as I pointed out above, there are still problems as mentioned with having more disk sides than disk drives the program can handle, and then as you made reference too, both A.R. games check the amount of memory your system has; The City checks for, I believe, 48-64k and uses all available memory upto 64k, The Dungeon checks for 48k-128k (at least, it may even look for more than 128k). I plan on finding the answer to this soon as I'm doing a 320k upgrade to my XE, and A.R.:The Dungeon will be one of the first programs I try out, just to see if 'The Dungeon' will recognize the extra memory above 128k and use it as well. For all I know, and plan on testing eventually, is built in support in 'The Dungeon' for not only XE extra memory but it may check for extra 800 or XL memory upgrades like Axlon boards in 800's or RamboXL, etc. upgrades for XL's. I'm planning on memory upgrades for my 800, and 1200XL too, and I plan on testing 'The Dungeon' with them to see if this is the case.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Reality on a Cart?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:36 am 

Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2003 12:21 am
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Gunstar wrote:
But with MyIDE (which admittadely I just got and no very little about) it's running on the same machine, so I don't know how you would "swap" images in the middle of the game.


With MyIDE you copy your disks in order to successive image slots and then you use Ctrl-Shift-1,2,3,4,etc.. to load each disk into D1:. It works fine with some of the infocom games, Ultima III and some others.

Things that some games do that defeat the MyIDE system:

- swapping out the OS
- turning off the keyboard IRQ
- using some custom SIO routines

The City probably does at least the last two of these things.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Reality on a Cart?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:03 pm 
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Gunstar wrote:
Correction: 2 drives for 'The City' and 4 drives for 'The Dungeon' but as I pointed out above, there are still problems as mentioned with having more disk sides than disk drives the program can handle, and then as you made reference too, both A.R. games check the amount of memory your system has; The City checks for, I believe, 48-64k and uses all available memory upto 64k, The Dungeon checks for 48k-128k (at least, it may even look for more than 128k). I plan on finding the answer to this soon as I'm doing a 320k upgrade to my XE, and A.R.:The Dungeon will be one of the first programs I try out, just to see if 'The Dungeon' will recognize the extra memory above 128k and use it as well. For all I know, and plan on testing eventually, is built in support in 'The Dungeon' for not only XE extra memory but it may check for extra 800 or XL memory upgrades like Axlon boards in 800's or RamboXL, etc. upgrades for XL's. I'm planning on memory upgrades for my 800, and 1200XL too, and I plan on testing 'The Dungeon' with them to see if this is the case.


I do know that The City will actually make use of at least 128k with a 130XE - it runs faster and loads less than with a 64k XL.

Did you ever do any extensive testing with AR and memory upgrades? I believe if you insert disk 2 of AR The City Philip lists the computers he used, one of which was an 800 with a RAM upgrade.



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 Post subject: Re: Alternate Reality on a Cart?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 3:09 pm 
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Gunstar wrote:
Things that some games do that defeat the MyIDE system:

- swapping out the OS
- turning off the keyboard IRQ
- using some custom SIO routines

The City probably does at least the last two of these things.

Certainly 1&3 for the City.

However - for a MyIDE version to be done the following would be required.
1) Re make all of the disks with each sector 'unencoded' (possible)
2) Force the game to run in 48K mode only (do-able). This has the advantage of avoiding the OS swapout.
3) Change the calls to use the replacement save/load routines to use the OS routines instead, effectively using the MyIDE ones.

But - this falls down because:
a) AR:City uses the existing OS I/O areas for its own purposes, moving the I/O buffers elsewhere.
b) There could be some conflict with MyIDE registers etc. though these could probably be got around.

My recommendations:
1) Wait for the FlashCart version
2) We could completely disassemble the game (and its overlays) and then re-build it specifically to work on MyIDE.

Regards,
Mark


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:10 am 

Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:03 am
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WOW! Alternate Reality on 8-bit cart would be great! I liked The Dungeon and was not happy they made it the last of the series. Jim Ratcliff was one of the programmers who made the game and I programmed with him at NovaLogic about 10 years ago. I was a game programmer and NOT a good hacker at all. But perhaps he would be the person with whom to talk because the company (Datasoft?) has long since gone under.

Jamie


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