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Tatung Einstein Disk Protected Games #103771
01/23/16 06:20 PM
01/23/16 06:20 PM
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StarshipUK Offline OP
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I am not sure if anyone can help.

There are a number of game disks listed at:
http://www.tatungeinstein.co.uk/front/progress.htm

Which only work when transferred back to original 3" Einstein disks. They do not load in MESS, using floppy drive emulators (like HxC) on the Einstein or SD Card devices on the Einstein. This is due to very effective disk protection methods used on these games, and it would seem most of them are using different methods rather than the same one.

I don't have the skill or expertise to do this myself, but am wondering if anyone would be able to modify "KONAMI FOUR GAME PACK" to remove the disk protection so I can load it on the SD card device I am getting. Of course the modified version should also work in MESS, also allowing people to play the game in MESS.

Of course I would also like the other 11 games also modified, probably "ELITE" is the next one I would like the most (being an iconic game), followed by Scrabble, Monopoly and Cluedo, but the games on "KONAMI FOUR GAME PACK" are the ones I miss the most.

Would anyone be able to help please?

Re: Tatung Einstein Disk Protected Games [Re: StarshipUK] #103772
01/23/16 06:30 PM
01/23/16 06:30 PM
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R. Belmont Offline
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We can't help crack the games, but we'd obviously be interested in getting them to work on MAME. Since they can be written by a stock PC and then work properly on hardware the protection can't be anything too interesting.

Re: Tatung Einstein Disk Protected Games [Re: StarshipUK] #103773
01/23/16 06:44 PM
01/23/16 06:44 PM
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StarshipUK Offline OP
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There is no need to crack the games, just a need to remove the disk protection on the disk images for these games which prevents them from loading on Emulator (MESS) or Floppy Drive Emulator (HxC) and SD Card device on the real original Tatung Einstein Computer.

In theory if the disk protection can be removed to make the games load in MESS then they will also work on the original machine using an HxC or SD Card device.

Just to confirm when I wrote the images back to original 3" disks and tried them on my Einstein they loaded without any problems, but with them also not working using my HxC confirms the issue is with the disk protection methods used rather than a fault with MESS not loading them.

Again thank you to anyone who could help with this.

Re: Tatung Einstein Disk Protected Games [Re: StarshipUK] #103776
01/23/16 08:11 PM
01/23/16 08:11 PM
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Octocontrabass Offline
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Originally Posted By StarshipUK
There is no need to crack the games, just a need to remove the disk protection

That is the textbook definition of cracking the game. wink

A cursory look at the first disk on the list (Cluedo) shows nothing particularly devious. The sector layout seems to be offset every other track, but I can't tell if that's copy protection or just a side effect of how disks are written on the Einstein.

Have you tried making a copy of any of these disks using the Einstein? If those copies work, it's not protection.

Re: Tatung Einstein Disk Protected Games [Re: StarshipUK] #103777
01/23/16 08:32 PM
01/23/16 08:32 PM
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I am not aware of any software to copy one disk to another disk using an Einstein itself. My guess is unless it creates an exact 1:1 copy of all disk sectors (rather than just data) it will not work, in the same way writing original disks back from the images works.

The last time I asked about this somewhere else back in 2011 the reply I got was:

"Games that do not work are those with uncracked protection - usually based on false sector sizes/numbers on each track - games such as Elite. I don't have an extensive list - but it was about 4 or 5 out of the 20 or so I tried. Those based on Xtal-DOS are OK."

However I do not think all the disks are using the same method of protection, as different games in the list will fail to load in different ways. For me I would love to get Konami Four Game Pack working the most.

I guess someone would have to compare against a working Einstein Game to see the differences, but the comment relating to Xtal-DOS may be relevant in some way.

Re: Tatung Einstein Disk Protected Games [Re: StarshipUK] #103778
01/23/16 08:49 PM
01/23/16 08:49 PM
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Are you sure copy protection is the problem with MESS? I tried Cluedo and Elite and they seem to load fine although they're unplayable due to the keyboard not working once in game.

Re: Tatung Einstein Disk Protected Games [Re: StarshipUK] #103779
01/23/16 09:44 PM
01/23/16 09:44 PM
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I just tried Konami Four Game Pack and... it crashes MAME. I guess MAME doesn't like the 40 empty tracks at the end of the file.

After trimming it down to the expected 40 tracks, it looks like the problem is that it expects some interrupt (vblank?) but never receives it.

Re: Tatung Einstein Disk Protected Games [Re: StarshipUK] #103780
01/23/16 10:34 PM
01/23/16 10:34 PM
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Haze Offline
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are you sure it's protection at all, and not just a timing problem when using MAME or the floppy emulator.

if you can write the images back to disks, and they work fine it sure doesn't sound like protection, more a fault with the MAME / your SD based floppy emulator not emulating the behaviour of the drive accurately.

but again, in that case we should be fixing the MAME code (and firmware of your device) not the images.

Re: Tatung Einstein Disk Protected Games [Re: StarshipUK] #103781
01/23/16 11:26 PM
01/23/16 11:26 PM
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StarshipUK Offline OP
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I am not sure if it is protection or timing, but the majority of games disks for the Einstein work without any problems in MESS\MAME and using a floppy emulator. There is something different with the 12 listed on that page though, and like I said I don't think they are all the same problem as they crash when loading in different ways.

All I have to go on is the "false sector sizes/numbers on each track" information I was given before, which obviously MESS\Mame and floppy emulators can not cope with.

To answer crazyc, with Elite it will load the title screen of the game and then when you press Y or N for a new commander it will try and load the next part and fail. Inside MESS pressing Y or N seems to have no effect, but at this point it would be trying to load the next part off disk, but fails.

I can't remember much about the issues with Cluedo, but when it asks you to enter your name the keyboard input is not working in MESS. Same with Monopoly. It would appear to load and then freezes.

The 3" disk drives used in the Einstein were unique and especially made of the machine, but I am led to believe somewhat similar to the 3" drives for the Amstrad (I think the power inputs were swapped though) hence the CPC disk software is used when writing images back to original disks.

Re: Tatung Einstein Disk Protected Games [Re: StarshipUK] #103782
01/23/16 11:35 PM
01/23/16 11:35 PM
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StarshipUK Offline OP
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Also if you load Southern Belle (a train driving simulator, and the best one back in the day) the loading screen displays:
Security Loader (C) 1989 C. Lloyd-Parker

Then again keyboard input fails in the same way as Elite, Monopoly and Cluedo.

I am guessing it is at least a security loader on that game causing the problem, but as most seem to fail to load in different ways I think different methods were used for most of these.

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