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Atari 7800, 5200, and 2600 flashcart copy-protection (And maybe emulator detection?)


Ecernosoft

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1 hour ago, SIO2 said:

All games will be stored in the cloud. You will have to pay to visit the cloud where you will have closely supervised fun and your play habits can be analyzed to determine how to get you to visit the cloud more often

That sadly is the future of gaming in a nutshell. Perfectly described and it will happen if Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo get their way.

 

Not that many modern games are worth the effort any more.

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3 hours ago, SIO2 said:

All games will be stored in the cloud. You will have to pay to visit the cloud where you will have closely supervised fun and your play habits can be analyzed to determine how to get you to visit the cloud more often.

We're already there. I think we've been there for a few years now.

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2 hours ago, juansolo said:

Not that many modern games are worth the effort any more.

Nope. They are not.

 

Totally dislike managing subscriptions. Totally dislike online connection delays and hiccups and the time it all takes to get a game going. Remember in the past cartridges were instant. And disks with fastloaders were almost as good. You had every part of the game on-location. No need to connect with servers to validate trust either.

 

Most modern games seem like work to get going and even play through. Opposite of what a game should be.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Late to the party, but...

On 5/21/2022 at 9:15 PM, Eagle said:

If you know how to test Pokey RND you can block almost all emulators as well :D but why....?

Not so sure about that. The MAME pokey pulls the correct sequence coming out of reset, or else Tempest arcade wouldn't boot. So this likely won't be a problem with A7800.

 

I think putting 6502 code somewhere in a hardware protected microcontroller would be better. The game would retrieve various bits of the purposeful 6502 code from the micro. Absolute addressing would be used with some particular RAM location, and the various routines would reuse that same location. Ideally the routines would be dynamic in some fashion, depending on some internal state in the microcontroller. (e.g. a call index counter) An attacker could tediously tickle the microcontroller into giving up all of the code, same as the game, but reassembling it all that into an unprotected rom would be a massive pain in the ass.

 

To OP, I don't think 7800 emulator detection would be difficult, but I'm not giving clues out, because I have better things to do than work on making A7800 more realistic in unimportant ways. Plus, other than this DRM thing being a stimulating cat-and-mouse game to think about, I don't think application of DRM is a worthy use of homebrew dev time. Even if you value your time at minimum wage, you won't recoup any time you spend implementing DRM, I promise.

 

The exception to my DRM feelings is for the hardware guys (flash carts, virtual soundchips) who spend their $$$ developing hobby gear and procuring inventory. They should throw in every reasonable monkey wrench they can, to avoid being cloned, since they have more skin in the game than us game devs ever will.

 

While I'm still on the pulpit... I'll say the 7800 scene is blessed not only because the devs share their roms. It's much more than that. We have a functioning gift economy. Devs share their time, help, and code, with other 7800 devs. We genuinely cheer each other's successes. Music and art people give freely. QA dudes spent their time and effort going over the games in tedious ways to make sure they're bulletproof. Everybody's contributions are publicly acknowledged. In short, we have none of the zero-sum big-ego crap that sometimes shows up in other hobby spaces, which suits me just fine. I have zero tolerance for all that drama.

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On 5/23/2022 at 3:42 AM, juansolo said:

That was a really long post that could be summarised as: The whole thing is complicated, but ultimately how a dev/publisher decides to distribute their work is ultimately up to them and there's not a damn thing any of us can do about it. I know FOMO is a thing, but it doesn't give us the right to impose our views on them in what they do with their own property, and we should probably just accept that as it's been this way since the creation of copy protection.

There's a pretty wide gap between "imposing our views" on them (which I read to mean: harassing), and merely having a casual conversation about the subject as a whole. IP property owners can certainly deliver their product however they like and feel comfortable. But there's no denying that there are also a lot of legitimate purchasers of these games, who aren't chancers or freeloaders, who are also turned off by the imposition of DRM  who will steer clear of these releases for that reason. It's a calculated decision the developer has to make when releasing.

 

But more importantly: we all have the right to share our views on the subject and how it affects our individual decision to purchase a game or not. That's the whole point of forums like this. As long as it's done respectfully, there's no reason we can't voice an opinion a given game dev might disagree with. The moment we give up the right to our own thoughts is the day the pirates win.

Edited by John Stamos Mullet
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5 hours ago, John Stamos Mullet said:

But there's no denying that there are also a lot of legitimate purchasers of these games, who aren't chancers or freeloaders, who are also turned off by the imposition of DRM  who will steer clear of these releases for that reason.

I would be one of those. I want nothing to do with DRM laden crap. It complexifies the experience for legitimate users. Piss on them all.

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6 hours ago, John Stamos Mullet said:

There's a pretty wide gap between "imposing our views" on them (which I read to mean: harassing), and merely having a casual conversation about the subject as a whole. IP property owners can certainly deliver their product however they like and feel comfortable. But there's no denying that there are also a lot of legitimate purchasers of these games, who aren't chancers or freeloaders, who are also turned off by the imposition of DRM  who will steer clear of these releases for that reason. It's a calculated decision the developer has to make when releasing.

Oh totally. I only buy games for the PC from GOG these days. If it doesn't come out on GOG, I don't buy it. Simple as that. Voting with my wallet there.

 

6 hours ago, John Stamos Mullet said:

But more importantly: we all have the right to share our views on the subject and how it affects our individual decision to purchase a game or not. That's the whole point of forums like this. As long as it's done respectfully, there's no reason we can't voice an opinion a given game dev might disagree with. The moment we give up the right to our own thoughts is the day the pirates win.

Indeed, that's why I posted my opinion on the matter to a forum ;)

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23 hours ago, RevEng said:

Not so sure about that. The MAME pokey pulls the correct sequence coming out of reset, or else Tempest arcade wouldn't boot. So this likely won't be a problem with A7800.

RND Pokey should show $FF without reset (tested on real Pokey and PokeyMAX)

After reset $xxxF RND should show random numbers.

A7800 is showing random numbers without resetting Pokey (at least my version, I didn't check new one)

JS7800 act this same, prosystem not at all. BupSystem seems ok but for $4000 address if I remember correctly (must do more tests)

Attaching my old tester (joy/select/start/help). RND is in right bottom corner.

 

PokeyTesterNoreset.a78

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If you're talking about the initial chip state, we had to change it because there was a counter-example of a game that missed it but otherwise worked fine on real hardware. It's been a while, so I'll need to dig.

 

[edit] here's the output I get in a7800. What should the output look like? I get $04 in the lower right with concerto, but I'm not sure if it does anything to SKCTL prior to running the rom.

 

 

Screenshot_2022-06-06_08-08-08.png

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On 5/27/2022 at 1:37 PM, Keatah said:

Nope. They are not.

 

Totally dislike managing subscriptions. Totally dislike online connection delays and hiccups and the time it all takes to get a game going. Remember in the past cartridges were instant. And disks with fastloaders were almost as good. You had every part of the game on-location. No need to connect with servers to validate trust either.

 

Most modern games seem like work to get going and even play through. Opposite of what a game should be.

6 of the last 8 times I've turned on my PS4 it was so I could update it.  For those that want to analyze my gaming time on new systems.  90% updating shit, 10% playing.  I don't have hours at a time to sit through this crap which is I guess why I keep coming back to my old Atari systems.  2 to 5 seconds and I am playing a game and I don't need the internet to do it.

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1 hour ago, Eagle said:

Looks OK. Should be $FF (my a7800 is ver. 4.0 :D )

 

I'm attaching version with resetting SKCTL (writing $03)

Ok, thanks for confirming. I think I had a false reason for the correct-result here - 32k+pokey@450 isn't a mapper that a7800 supports (there hasn't been a homebrew released with this) so I ran with XM instead, but I'm expecting that the XCTRL registers kept pokey disabled.

 

Reviewing the historic case I was talking about earlier, I now think it may have been that the flash device used interfered with pokey. I'll revert to leaving the a7800 pokey in reset as the cold state. :thumbsup:

 

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12 hours ago, Stephen said:

6 of the last 8 times I've turned on my PS4 it was so I could update it.  For those that want to analyze my gaming time on new systems.  90% updating shit, 10% playing.  I don't have hours at a time to sit through this crap which is I guess why I keep coming back to my old Atari systems.  2 to 5 seconds and I am playing a game and I don't need the internet to do it.

I switched my XboxOneX on yesterday to see if you could still download AMR2 to it (you can't :(). It might have been a while, as then for the next several hours it chonked away updating 15 games. What the hell do they keep changing on them?! Gone are the days when a complete game is released for you to play that just works. Now we're in this constant cycle of hours and hours of updates and waiting to play games. I'm totally with you dude. Put game in Atari, play game, job done.

Edited by juansolo
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