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Old 20-05-2006, 10:00 AM   #21
Guest
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OK, I've found two cracking programs which list this game as being one possible to De-protect. The first one is NEVERLOCK from Spring 96 and the second one is LOCKSMITH PC 7/94 edition. They both claim to have de-protects for Disciples of Steel.

HOWEVER, the problem is we now need a fully *uncracked* version of the STEEL.EXE file to test these programs out on! I tried it on the three versions of the program I've been able to find online (1. here, 2 HOTU and 3. STARE.GRY), the version of STEEL.EXE is 759,404 bytes in all three of these. The problem is the game has already been "cracked" (the RAZOR 1911 611 byte crack.com file is included in each of the three archives).

Both unprotect utilities fail because they can't find the bytes they need to modify in STEEL.EXE because it is already "cracked" (namely, our infamous 180-attribute limit bomb). As a hint, it appears NEVERLOCK attempts to modify two byte streams. The first one it actually successfully locates in the "cracked" STEEL.EXE file. It fails to find the 2nd set of bytes to modify, and aborts the crack... Unfortunately, it doesn't tell us *which* bytes it's modifying so we can't go in and do a manual hex-edit!!!

So, we need an uncracked version, *or* we need to know which bytres the CRACK.COM file included in the archive is modifying, and reverse those changes manually, *then* apply the cracks in NEVERLOCK and/or LOCKSMITH. I think we have a GREAT chance at getting this game playable if we can do this!!
                       
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Old 20-05-2006, 11:15 AM   #22
Guest_zyzzle
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WOW!! I think I've finally got a working cracked STEEL.EXE. I figured out there are four locations to modify. Two of these are checksums. Replacing these with NOPs seems to fix it. Now no message about "CRC failure" comes up. The other modification was made so that savegames are no longer checked and corrupted if CRC mismatch occurs. To crack the game, perform the following modifcations to the STEEL.EXE file at these offsets. The file should be exactly 759,404 bytes:

0x0464A0: 74 06 FF 46 B6 E9 05 00
to: 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90

0x069B30: 75 09
to: 90 90

0x069EA0: 75 09
to 90 90

0x06F710: 7E 03
to 90 90

It is now cracked! Test this out to make sure I haven't missed anything. Hopefully the game should now be able to be completed normally.
                       
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Old 20-05-2006, 11:21 AM   #23
Guest_zyzzle
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Forgot to mention above that attributes can now extend well beyond 180, in fact the range is a 16-bit signed integer, so enjoy hacking your characters to have 32,000 strength, etc. The practical limit seems to be around 900, for aesthetic purposes, the bar graphs corrupt the display at ranges much higher than 900 - 950! Save games no longer crash the game if attributes are > 180.
                       
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Old 23-05-2006, 03:44 PM   #24
Just some guy
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Hey, that crack worked great! So has anyone else played through the game to the point with some lame giant talking mouth that asks you a question? I can't find anything in the game to answer it, and this game barely seems to exist on the Internet!

So if you know that answer to the mouth, help me out! I killed the hermit to get around his question, but the game won't let you kill the mouth.

Thanks
                       
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Old 23-05-2006, 10:23 PM   #25
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Has anyone tried using the crack posted above? When I modify those locations, the game gets stuck when I start it up in DOSBox.
                       
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Old 23-06-2006, 11:35 AM   #26
Svend Karlson
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Hi guys, oh I wish one of you had found a full solution!

Those of you playing the game now should read this, it's important.

I once had a cracked version of this game that I managed to play to completion. What I do know is that in addition to the manual copy protection at the beginning of the game, and the resume game copy protection, and the CRC mismatch thing, there is mid-game manual copy protection.

Roughly mid-way through the game, there is a critical quest that requires you to enter a particular cave. Before you can enter that cave you are presented with another request to enter word x from page x of the manual. From very hazy memory, it asks different sets of questions than the manual protection encountered earlier.

I believe that I passed the copy protection simply by entering fairly random words in response to the copy protection question, and eventually being lucky. Once I got lucky, I could rely upon the same word being requested again in order to get past subsequent checks. If anyone else uses this method with success, then I hope they will post it here.

Good luck everyone
                       
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Old 29-06-2006, 05:01 AM   #27
the captain
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I would love to find a copy of the manual for this game....I have the original floppy disks for this game and haven't played it in quite some time because the manual came up missing. I encountered all of the same problems that everyone here have experienced with the downloaded cracked version as well. Dissapointing to be sure. The game is old and outdated, but it is fun; I have played and completed it several times.

The mid-game copy protection does indeed exist, but not as described in the earlier post; the quest does not require you to enter a cave. Rather, it is a Dwarven town located roughly in the center of the map. The town has shops that contain quality armor and weapons (some magical), and there is a Dwarf lord that you must speak to and perform some quests for.
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Old 29-06-2006, 10:18 AM   #28
Svend Karlson
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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(captain_crunch_muncher @ Jun 29 2006, 04:01 AM) [snapback]240367[/snapback]</div>
Quote:
I have played and completed it several times.

The mid-game copy protection does indeed exist, but not as described in the earlier post; the quest does not require you to enter a cave. Rather, it is a Dwarven town located roughly in the center of the map. The town has shops that contain quality armor and weapons (some magical), and there is a Dwarf lord that you must speak to and perform some quests for.
[/b]
Ah thanks for correcting me Captain, I should not have relied upon my faulty memory.

I've completed the game too, and although this game was denounced in pretty much every review I've ever read of it I really appreciated the turn based combat, high difficulty, open-ended world to explore and the attempt to mesh party based RPG to large unit combat (although I wish the last item had received more emphasis).

I remember loving the damage descriptions too, things like "your head spins off in a pinwheel of gore & blood", classic!
                       
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Old 09-09-2006, 04:26 AM   #29
catchaserguns
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i hade to download from anather site in order to get it to work.
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Old 26-10-2006, 03:22 AM   #30
grassblade
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Hi,

If anyone is still reading this, I have just signed up and have the original diskettes & manual, as well as the following handwritten notes:

1) Briek's Mines --> Mimax
2) Frost Giant Outpost --> Garden
3) Terrine Mouth --> Peace
4) Only in Unity will you find Variz

I never completed the game; I recall believing that the cave where Variz is supposed to be seemed buggy. So, I'm extremely happy to hear that people have completed the game.

I checked the email notification box. If anyone replies and tells me how, I'll be more than happy to scan my manual & upload it.

grassBlade
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Where the World Once Stood
the blades of grass
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