VOGONS


First post, by Agathosdaimon

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okay i am looking for some possible technical help - i got a nice boxed copy of Kick Off 2 the other day, and the disk all seems to bein working order however there looks to be copy protection on the prog.exe file which dosbox seems unable to deal with so i just get a blank screen

i would like to know how i might be able to crack the prog file so i can play this version which i paid certainly no small amount for
i know there is a cracked abandonware version online, however that version of Kick Off 2 is slightly older than this one and i think it lacks all the sound that the one i got has
i tried swapping the prog.exe file from that version with this one but that doesnt work - maybe i can use a hexeditor or something unfortunately i dont know how one goes about that - would anyone have any advice?

i was able to do the install process from the disk and tried running the game with the floppy mounted as well as tried without but a black screen both times. I am hoping that if i can edit the prog.exe file simply then maybe i can play this version which seems to be a newer version to the one online

attached is a picture of the kick off2 game i bought, just to show i am not interested in playing the online version on abandonware sites

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Reply 1 of 25, by Jorpho

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Agathosdaimon wrote on 2020-11-03, 00:05:

i was able to do the install process from the disk and tried running the game with the floppy mounted as well as tried without but a black screen both times.

Please state exactly what you are typing in DOSBox when you install the program. And please try to be as detailed as possible.

Reply 2 of 25, by Agathosdaimon

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yes for the installation i do the usual but made the game folder specific to kickoff 2 so it installs to a folder of the right name

mount c c:\games\kickoff2
mount a a:\ -t floppy
a:
install c

- files are then copied to the folder kickoff2 in my games folder
i was trying to just install by only typing install before but that brought up an illegal path error so only when i did install c did it work right.

the game as i understand does have some copy protection on it as for that reason there is a cracked version of it on the abandonware sites (that cracked version though being not very good i think, missing sound and only seems to be EGA graphics)

Reply 3 of 25, by Jorpho

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Agathosdaimon wrote on 2020-11-03, 02:27:
yes for the installation i do the usual but made the game folder specific to kickoff 2 so it installs to a folder of the right n […]
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yes for the installation i do the usual but made the game folder specific to kickoff 2 so it installs to a folder of the right name

mount c c:\games\kickoff2
mount a a:\ -t floppy
a:
install c

- files are then copied to the folder kickoff2 in my games folder
i was trying to just install by only typing install before but that brought up an illegal path error so only when i did install c did it work right.

Okay, so after you install the game, what exactly to you type? It should be something like

mount c c:\games\kickoff2
mount a a:\ -t floppy
c:
cd kickoff2
kickoff2

If you are typing something else, then that could be the cause of the problem. As I said, it is very important to be precise.

Reply 4 of 25, by Agathosdaimon

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after i install it (which it turns out is no different to just manually copying the files over from the disk to the folder) i do just as you typed except to run Kickoff you run either the file KO.bat or prog.exe
so i do what you showed but just run KO.bat at the end and its a blank screen

I used a debugger version of dosbox to see what processes were happening when this happens and it is a rushing list of entries like this -speeding by in the process window - this is a sample of what i could select - i get this regardless of whether i mount the floppy or not

115927562: BIOS:Disk 1 not active
115928760: CPU:Illegal Unhandled Interrupt Called E
115937817: BIOS:Disk 1 not active
115939015: BIOS:Disk 1 not active
115939015: CPU:Illegal Unhandled Interrupt Called E
115948732: BIOS:Disk 1 not active

Reply 6 of 25, by Agathosdaimon

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thanks for the replies, i just tried that - made an image with winimage "kickoff2.ima" imgmounted it and did the the whole process again, but still black screen

i should add the black screen comes after you get asked the startup questions that come every time one plays kick off 2 - after answering the last question or if one skips the setup, then in the cracked version it goes through the game menu and you can play, but wit this version from disk, its just a black screen.

i really hate this old floppy disk copy protection that nothing seems to be able to get around nowadays - i would have hoped that such antiquated measures would be easily overcome by current applications.
there is i found in one of the copy protection removal programs for dos games, one with an entry for Kick off2 but the version it is for is slightly older than the version on my disk so it doesnt work - that program searched for the file "prog.exe" in the kick off 2 folder so i assume that it is in the decryption where the crack is to work, if i knew how to i would remove teh copy protection myself on that file.

Reply 7 of 25, by Jorpho

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The thing is, while there were lots of games that booted off copy-protected floppies, it would be highly unusual for a game that installs to a hard drive to use copy-protected installation floppies.

I think at this point a useful test would be to set up a bootable DOS hard drive image in PCem, and then install the game there (either from floppy images or from the floppies directly). PCem emulates a lot of thing more accurately than DOSBox does by default.

Reply 8 of 25, by Agathosdaimon

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well when i made the disk image - what also showed up onthe diskimage were a bunch of strange files titled weirdly, i cant even figure out how to recreate the dashes there are using, - they come as looking ing ::M File (the colons though are more like vertical lines than dots) - so there are clearly hidden files on the disk, as these are not visible when i just look at the A drive in windows explorer

also i know of other games that installed to hard drive and still used copy protection - M1 Tank Platoon 1 would install but then you go to run it and it will just ask endlessly for diska even if i have diska in the usb floppy drive. These are obsolete copy protection methods which i Kick Off 2 must be using also.

another interesting thing i found in the "abandonware" site version of Kick Off 2 in the game folder there is an info file from the folks who cracked it and in their message of thanks in the notes there, some mentions how a fellow had to relay the instructions for copy protection:

Supplier: ACTION MAN & SCOTT
Crack: Copy-Lock in a Call
Graphics: EGA/VGA/MCGA
Controls: Keyboard/Joystick
Sound: ???????

Cracking/Game Notes:
Cracked by Jrok in Europe, and he dictated the patch to me over the
phone. 3 bytes.."

regarding the use of PCEM i dont really know what i would need to do - make a virtual MS dos system? is that possible? i have a pcem complete version of winxp that someone made for me, but i guess i cant really try dos with that.
I have Oracle virtualbox with a virtual Win98 SE, but i am not sure if that actually has a usable dos componeten also

Reply 9 of 25, by Agathosdaimon

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i tried Kick off 2 in the oracle VM win 98se dos command prompt and it does the exact same thing - just a black screen

i would love to know of someone else who has the original Kick off 2 disks to see if they get the same problem

maybe i will just put the Amiga UAE championship edition version on a cd and stick it in the kick off 2 box just for a sense of completeness

Reply 12 of 25, by Dominus

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Jorpho wrote on 2020-11-03, 06:10:

The thing is, while there were lots of games that booted off copy-protected floppies, it would be highly unusual for a game that installs to a hard drive to use copy-protected installation floppies.

It's unusual but happened. Operation: Inner Space drove me up the wall as you'd need to uninstall to make the floppy useable for another install.

Windows 3.1x guide for DOSBox
60 seconds guide to DOSBox

Reply 15 of 25, by held

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Agathosdaimon wrote on 2020-11-03, 12:45:

oh i pmed you so you didnt get anything?

No, I got it but I cant message you back 😒.
And I can't just plaster this onto the forum.

EDIT: Send me a horrible password eg: 25+ chars

Reply 16 of 25, by Agathosdaimon

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held wrote on 2020-11-03, 12:43:
Agathosdaimon wrote on 2020-11-03, 07:41:

okay cool will do

Can't PM because of board restrictions 😒 , so how do I get this to you ?

if you are on steam then this is my steam name also, as well over at the simhq forum i go by this username