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      /  Could X-Copy tehoretically have created a new game?
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Bugala 
Could X-Copy tehoretically have created a new game?
Posted on 18-May-2024 9:46:22
#1 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2007
Posts: 652
From: Finland

As a kid, I remember how I sometimes hopefully took for example three different games, put them to X-copy and used to copy only part of the disk from all three to a new disk in hopes of getting a new game. Naturally, that never worked out to my great disappointment.

But lately I have been wondering that could it actually theoretically have worked?

That I don't think that by putting half of powermonger and half of superfrog had made me some hybrid game of those two, but, to make an example.

Lets suppose I have Lemmings, Moonstone, and Dogs of War.

Suppose they all have file called map.iff, and also a same named sound sample.

Could have I ended up with a Moonstone where the map had been Dogs of Wars map, and every time I am hurt in Moonstone battle, it would play "Oh no!" from lemmings.

How does that Xcopys copy system work, that is there any chance that two or three games could have had at right enough spots those files and they could have therefore replaced the original?

For supposing the sample resides at first 1/3rd f the disk, map gfx on second 1/3rd of the disk, core of the game on last 1/3rd of a disk, could it have worked the way I just described?

Or rather, lets take Kings Quest and Police Quest, supposing they both have files named Room1, Room2, Room3... could some of these be replaced with other ones, perhaps displaying wrong graphics for the room for example or something?

How did that X-Copys system work where you were able to choose to copy something between, was it 0 - 79?

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NutsAboutAmiga 
Re: Could X-Copy tehoretically have created a new game?
Posted on 18-May-2024 10:32:11
#2 ]
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Joined: 9-Jun-2004
Posts: 12840
From: Norway

@Bugala

No, not possible, this not like mixing chemicals.

This is like taking a jigsaw puzzle and trying to make it into a different picture.



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Hypex 
Re: Could X-Copy tehoretically have created a new game?
Posted on 18-May-2024 15:11:45
#3 ]
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Joined: 6-May-2007
Posts: 11244
From: Greensborough, Australia

@Bugala

Lol. That's a funny one. Perhaps if ChatGPT could interface with X-Copy you'd have something. AIX-Copy.

In theory I think the idea could work but in a more simple manner. That is not with X-Copy able splice floppy data together. But the data itself.

I'll use Thunderboy as an example. A simple, basic looking but typically annoying platform game. Now, years ago I attempted to "soft" hack it. It was on a DOS disk and I could read all the files. It has these data dirs and some files are obvious like boy, bee and spider. In an attempt to hack it I replaced the graphic files I found with blanks. The idea was if nothing was on screen to hurt me I wouldn't die. I don't recall it working out as it happened. The enemies disappeared but I don't remember flying past and completing it.

I just checked now in UAE and all the files are "encrypted" as 8SVX. It looks like they mangled all the IFF headers as they are obviously ILBM but modified to play as audio. They sound like corruption. I may have just replaced them with pure ILBM files. Thinking it would just ignore a correct ID. Well I do recall blanking the sprites.

But, for your idea, X-Copy would need to know the disk format. If there was copy protection. In the simple case there isn't and it's a DOS copy then the data is usually in DOS OFS or custom file system. Regardless if it was OFS in all cases then the only way it could work if all the image data were in the same blocks. So even with the best scenario the chances are still low.

X-Copy would really need to go beyond "dumb disk" copying and go deep into data. It would need to be able to decode game data then intelligently replace image and sound data. That's even beyond the level of ChatGPT 4 I imagine. The operation would really need to be like extracting data, then recompiling it all into another binary. I once was able to patch some binary compression so it modified the data as I needed but it was a fluke. It involved unpacking, modifying, then repacking until I had the smallest change in compression codes. It's easier to modify and recompile from source.

Last edited by Hypex on 18-May-2024 at 03:14 PM.

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amyren 
Re: Could X-Copy tehoretically have created a new game?
Posted on 19-May-2024 15:46:24
#4 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 15-Jun-2005
Posts: 134
From: Norway

@Bugala

My impression is that X-copy copies the raw data from the disk, sector by sector. It dis not seem to worry about the format of the data, it just reads a sector and writes back to the destination whatever it did read.
It could copy amigados, ndos or even ms-dos disks. Mac disks is another story since they had some special trick that altered the speed of the disk depending on how far out on the disk it was reading. (If I remember it correctly)

Once I even tried copy a cleaning disk just to see what happened. It did happily copy all sectors until finished. Obviously the copy was useless.

For your experiment, I think you might end up with a readable disk in the end. But most likely many files would end up being corrupted. Normally formatted disks have a file allocation table at the beginning at the disk, telling the system where on disk a file starts and ends. Files can span over many sectors of the disk, so you have to be very lucky when joining two disks together if the result is somehow readable.


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vox 
Re: Could X-Copy tehoretically have created a new game?
Posted on 21-May-2024 15:44:49
#5 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 12-Jun-2005
Posts: 3748
From: Belgrade, Serbia

@Bugala

As explained, its sector by sector copy, so it can copy non DOS disks :D

But I remember some clones (Nibble copy or so) had Tetris you could play while copying was undergoing :D

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NutsAboutAmiga 
Re: Could X-Copy tehoretically have created a new game?
Posted on 21-May-2024 16:50:35
#6 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Jun-2004
Posts: 12840
From: Norway

@amyren

perhaps, but it has to check the sector crc's or else it won’t know if it’s a bad or good sector. Also it will need to know where to start the copy process, so has determine the number of sectors.

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Deniil715 
Re: Could X-Copy tehoretically have created a new game?
Posted on 21-May-2024 22:53:31
#7 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 14-May-2003
Posts: 4237
From: Sweden

@Bugala

Short answer - no.

To make what you suggest theoretically possible, it would have to be a file copy, where files where mixed from different games. Of course, the filenames would have to match for the game to find them. But say they came from the same game creator, who happened to use the same names for the files, and the same map file format, then perhaps you could get some such mix.

X-Copy reads whole tracks actually, AFAIK, not sectors, because Amiga can read complete tracks, not just sectors, which is why Amiga disks can store more than PC disks - there is no gap between sectors otherwise required for the PC CPU to handle the sector interrupt

Creating a new game with X-Copy is like creating a new book by taking the first 100 pages from one book, the second 100 pages from another book, and finish with the last 42 pages of a third book. The story-line will simply not make sense and be incomplete. A game will not read from start to finish either but pick what it needs from exactly defined places at exact offsets within the "book". Like at offset 3456 it expects chapter 14 to begin with title first, no leading space, but instead it ends up in the middle of a word in some random sentence in a storyline that doesn't even belong to the same "story". -> Guru Meditation

There is no such thing as magic

Every single bit must be put at the exact right place and in the exactly determined order for computer programs to work. There is no random. Sure stuff is linked, like filenames "point" to a given file, and you can change that file and get a different result but.....

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Bugala 
Re: Could X-Copy tehoretically have created a new game?
Posted on 22-May-2024 10:17:22
#8 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2007
Posts: 652
From: Finland

Thanks from answers, hadnt took into consideration the different formats at all, making it even more difficult.

I guess only way this could work to some extent would be, using Sierra games as example, is if they would be having exactly same sized files in exactly same placed locations and exactly same amount of files with exactly same names.

This could be a design choice, as in rooms would always be named from 1-20 and each room would take exactly same size of space, hence making it possible that room x always resides in same location of the disk and if engine would always take same amount of space too etc, like All earlier Kings Quests are basically all based upon 5x5 grid map at beginning of game if I correctly recall.

Sierras Room filesizes differ in reality, but they could have been done in way of, instead of using 1,2,3...11,12,13...101, 103, 103... be using 001, 002, 003... 010, 011, 012... 100, 101, 102 making each room file exactly same sized. That the file size would be predetermined to something, and you can just change the content of the file, not the size.

If that would be the case, then there could have been a chance that some rooms could have got mixed in two different Sierra games, but even then I guess it would eventually crash, as in, maybe maybe Sir Graham from Kings Quest could get into Police Quest locker room, but trying to take anything from the locker would result in error, since program otherwise wouldn't be handling extra items in other rooms, or maybe commands wouldn't work as parser wouldn't be prepared to handle them or something similar.

And of course the engine version would need to match too, that both Sierra games would be using exactly the same engine version I guess.

Lots of lots of IFs, but I guess it could get some sort of mixing done if everything is right, although not anything really working.

Last edited by Bugala on 22-May-2024 at 10:18 AM.

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NutsAboutAmiga 
Re: Could X-Copy tehoretically have created a new game?
Posted on 25-May-2024 13:35:45
#9 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Jun-2004
Posts: 12840
From: Norway

@Bugala

I think there small change random data can produce a game, while do not think copying random block can work, because etch block has is pace of puzzle.

the chance of random data becoming a game:

likelyhod = (number of working combination) / (max number of combinations)

We can calculate number of combinations in storage space,

x = 2^(880*1024*8)

but your windows calculator won’t give you a result too large number

to finding number of numbers of working combinations, I’m not sure how to do.
there will be many combinations that do work, but most combinations will not.
we assume it’s small percentage of total number of combinations.

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NutsAboutAmiga 
Re: Could X-Copy tehoretically have created a new game?
Posted on 25-May-2024 13:41:49
#10 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Jun-2004
Posts: 12840
From: Norway

@Bugala

Replacing files, this what is called game modding, and lots of people do it.
a newer game engine, might be able to handler data files from older game engine, made by the same company, technically , if you find newer version of game, that worked, but had problem running a older game, on your 68020/68040 or AmigaONE, you can replace the game engine. But there can be stuff in there prevent you from doing it or can be newer game only looks like same game, but use different game engine.
That really tricky to do on NDOS games, can work on OFS/FFS games.

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