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Marioysikax

Sharing modified game executables

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There was discussion at IRC about sharing modified game executables, it basically got started with Batman Arkham Asylum, here's the edit.

 

I don't have logs about the discussion, but basically it boiled down that it's far better to simply instruct that to user instead of sharing automatic patchers which are almost always falsely flagged with AV softwares or sharing directly modified executable which basically contains copyrighted material - even if DRM is intact and user can't do anything with it alone, it's better to play safe. 

 

Because of this I though that using xdelta would be great way to bypass this. No executables are shared, no false AV alarms. I did make xdelta patch with (supposedly) working windows batch file for Batman and uploaded it into files section, though it's still not approved. I've been using xdelta few times as translation patches for console games use this quite often. 

 

~couple weeks ago, this happened. It's link to modified executable with those hex values edited. 

 

So basically, what is official stance on sharing modified game executables here? Of course hex editing should be more than OK, but I'm sure there are some users preferring far easier methods, see killer is dead article earlier. 

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Can't we just password archives? And provide an explanation for it? O.o

Also for simple byte replacement, creating a program which does just that should not be a problem. I don't know, maybe I'm lucky, but, this is my StuntGP widescreen hack:

https://www.virustotal.com/pl/file/e641493cfce5726738b808368056d1fc65614187509cc1398a42f4e38f1e9f23/analysis/

and this is my Aquanox 2:

https://www.virustotal.com/pl/file/2f13199cc818d683b84b4716511b9afb4163575e0e3aae516b6e90930199b496/analysis/1441028993/

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This thread is in some sense a duplicate of this

 

The subtle difference is that there, you are purposely supposed to share cracked executables because the game doesn't even work otherwise.

Here you share simple modifications for more content, a generic fix, or even the lulz. That even if on one hand don't tamper with DRM, on the other provide no legally noble excuse

 

So the point is just:

  • do we want to 100% comply with current law (in which case I suspect unlawfulness would already start at the sharing modified textures level)
  • do we want to follow common sense and just, well, share what we deem is ok (which goes from stuff innocent like this, to cracked executables for older games, just because who fixed them was to lazy to keep cd-rom always in)

Personally, I believe we should just write down and accurately define this fine point.

 

Btw speaking of this specific case with batman, I figured out that premade exe or hex editing... the user is still flying blind.

Which is: he doesn't know what that couple of bytes changed mean. It's not like if the game got updated (ie different addresses) these instructions could teach you the art of disassembling.

So, indeed, there's no value added. It's just more steps to do (even though this doesn't necessarily imply it requires more time, and the explanation should still be there for the records)

It'd make sense instead if you had to hex edit, say, a setting file, or generically hack resolution on unkwown executables: situations where you can't account for the plethora of cases.

 

ps: password protected archives suck

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Also for simple byte replacement, creating a program which does just that should not be a problem. 

I though so as well, but some (most) cases there aren't automatic patchers available and sometimes it's indeed red flagged (Burnout case, Personally had false flag with only Microsoft Windows games autopatcher). 

 

What I'm aiming for is basically some unified way for these kind of cases, where executable needs to be modified. If sharing executables is fine, then it makes matters much simplier for many users, but I feel like simply telling to hex edit stuff may be too much for some. I though that xdelta would be pretty viable solution as 1. any user can do them 2. they all work same way and also with Unix based systems 3. we can then have one article for instructions and automatic script which could be easily modified for any game and bundled with the patch. 

 

 

This thread is in some sense a duplicate of this

Somewhat, yes, as I already brought xdelta up there. 

 

And password protected archives should be banned by law. 

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Ook, back again, here's a list of usable OSD-compliant stuff:

Now that we have some choice between speed and size.. I guess somebody should come up with some idea on how a patch has to be properly deployed.

Is an installer[EN] the best choice? When instead a batch would make more sense?

What about having to patch multiple-versions (more different inputs) or multiple-files (more "output")? Or what about 1GB thingy (like here) that often sticks on opening because AVs have to scan it?

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This post applies to this topic and the other similar topic, yer I'll just answer this one.

 

 

 

Hmmm.... I'm divided here. We dont want to unintentionally allow piracy, sure. However, it's not always easy to modify the exe yourself. Not everyone has the know-how, the patience, or confidence to hex edit. When it comes to games from the Wim XP era and older it is becoming quite common to have to find a no cd or modify the exe in some way JUST to get the game to run at all. Games like GTA San Andreas, which has a ton of mods that reference the hoodlum 1.0 crack as a requirement, and incidentally offers better support than even the 3.0 executable that Steam offers, or even Blood Omen which just can't run on modern systems without the exe that is offered on nosgothica, to name examples.

 

Now, for the time being, these exes can be found on external sites... but for how long? These are uploaded by other people to their sites with no guarantee said sites will be there tomorrow. Now, sure, tomorrow THIS SITE might not be here, but it wouldn't be for the same reason Megaupload no longer exists.

 

 

Also, sometimes modifhing an executable is a thing NOT because a game wont run, and not for piracy, but because of console exclusive content. As previously mentioned, a couple Batman games, but also, I've seen it with Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2010, Mafia 2, Burnout Paradise etc. Now, if we had a chance to buy this content, I'm sure we would (generally), but we don't, so we have no choice BUT to modify exe's. Surely an ideal solution can be agreed upon, no?

 

EDIT: I forgot to mention launchers, which are also part of the issue. Lets take for example Tony Hawk's American Wasteland, which there is a launcher for on this site. Dome games wont run without the launcher, even if the actual game exe is cracked, so wouldnt sharing the launchers fall unto the same issue? (If not, then I concede, i was just curious) at the same time, again, that game also benefits from having a cracked iso for the fix mods it has. Speaking of launchers, Final Fantasy 8 says to download a custom launcher, (which unlike Tony Hawk's, ISN'T hosted here) and for the life of me, i can't find it anywhere on the net. All i find are old dead links for it from several years ago... which brings me back to my initial ppoint.

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You are merging two different issues.

 

One, is enabling piracy, which is something that falls under lot of definition.

Is the executable "the game"? Is just "nocd" piracy by itself?

 

Another is sharing copyrighted stuff. That, for everything I know, could even classify mods like this as an infringement.

 

Now, the utopia would be (aside of problems not existing in the first place I mean :p) having unpackers like here, for every DRM.

Of course some "people" won't be happy with that, but it's your code and even in such an actual case like recent oculus's, as you might now, as long as you aren't profitting from it, you are going to be just fine.

 

Unfortunately, world isn't so perfect and we have to rely on good old warez, made in a time when the only earning was pride among groups (aka "no, we ain't releasing tools source code, nor our knowledge")

And also, it's not bad to have a replacement for bare hex editing for noob-er.

 

Delta patching comes into play, by solving the "share of copyright" issue, and under many interpretations of Theseus' paradox, even piracy one.

Whoever has some spare time, should check Inno Setup XDELTA Patch Maker, look if it would satisfy the 1-click requirement or what not. Else may batch be with you. Or your C skills, w/e.

 

 

In your ff8 case, check archive.org.

 

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