Cracktros - How are they made?

Discussion in 'Computer Programming, Emulation, and Game Modding' started by jonthedit, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. jonthedit
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    jonthedit GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    I know cracktros are a dead art, but I am genuinely interested in the general process to programming a cracktro.

    The pixel manipulation seems to still be in use in [some] modern 'keygen' and patch programs.
    Stuff like this:


    I can't seem to find any of the really cool stuff for some reason- where there are ripples and stuff.
    Think of say, how Ubi pulled the effects in the AC series or WatchDogs- except real-time manipulation of pixels instead of just using overlays.

    How do you reference pixels, (or rather, is that even the efficient way to do it?) and can this only be done in certain languages?

    Notice the linked video how it colors in the pixels making it look like it "takes over" the screen. Stuff like that is what I am interested in.
     
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  2. jonthedit
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    jonthedit GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Bump, I realize this is necro, and this forum is probably not the place to ask, but figured I would bring this up again.
     
  3. Ruby Gloom

    Ruby Gloom GBAtemp Maniac

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    Unless you're the one who cracked it, why is this even a concern? ( NOTE: That's my way of asking you if you made it. )
     
  4. jonthedit
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    jonthedit GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    You misunderstand. I am not talking about this specific cracktro/crack release.
    I am interested in how these visual arts are developed, and the common practice, since cracktros are not very prevalent these days.
     
  5. Ruby Gloom

    Ruby Gloom GBAtemp Maniac

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    Hmm... I guess I just don't know then... XD I'm sorry. I thought you meant something else. XD
     
  6. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    A term you might wish to look up is demoscene, though many will know what you speak of when you say cracktro the more common, and dare I say more useful, term is demoscene.
    http://www.pouet.net/ is a good start there.

    Anyway as for how to program them then I am not sure what I can say -- they are supposed to be about devs and/or artists trying interesting things with code, pushing hardware to the limits/doing unexpected things with hardware and half the point is cooking up something. You might find some try certain restrictions (given language, has to run on ? specs/system, limited size...), others might try something more exotic like http://trixter.oldskool.org/2015/04/07/8088-mph-we-break-all-your-emulators/ and many things are done for contests these days.
    A lot of them make use of interesting maths, a basic example might be the classic thing they teach electrical engineers with a sample of random noise demonstrably being constructed of a series of super imposed sine waves. If you have sine tables in your program/device you can then map something to that to make it look random. More on a coder level then many a coder got started in this by learning how to make a fractal program*. A common theme within them is 3d graphics at good speed without leaning into actual 3d hardware.
    Somewhat related but perhaps easier to get started in might be if you looked at some of the visualisations for things like XBMC. They make use of many of the same techniques https://github.com/cisco-open-source/kodi/tree/master/addons/visualization.vortex/resources/Presets (you might wish to go up and look at some of the other visualization. sections).

    Afraid I can not teach you how to make music, however the aesthetic favoured by a lot of the demoscene seems to be tracker/sequenced synth stuff. You can then look up mod and xm music as well as any.

    *in case you are not familiar with the term, you have probably seen many before though


    Edit. You might also wish to look up things like Shephard tones.
     
  7. jonthedit
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    jonthedit GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    This is exactly what I was looking for. I have never anything remotely close to what you linked. I have heard of (but the name escapes me) files that are 64K and produce amazing visuals. Thanks for the amazing quality as usual, FAST6191!
     
  8. Steve Antony Williams

    Steve Antony Williams Advanced Member

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    For the record on the C64 we never used the term "cracktro" at the time, we always said "intro". C64 intros are always written in machine code (6510 which is basically 6502 with a few extras bits and bobs) and would use raster bar effects, sound routines etc. The program containing the intro would start at $0801 and the intro (usually but not always) would be at the beginning from say $0801 to $1000 with the music data at $1000 to $1400 (typical values, not cast in stone). The cracked game would then "sit" after the intro and music data and in the intro code it would check for a key press (typically the space bar) then copy a small piece of code to a spare piece of RAM (I seem to recall $0207 and $0334, failing that $0400 to $ 07f8 was the display memory, hence why you see gobbledegook characters on some C64 games when moving RAM or decompressing. The small piece of code would "move" the program from say $1400 down to $0801 and then jmp$ to the start address and decompress then run (all C64 single file cracks load at $0801)

    I only did 1 or 2 intros myself on C64, they weren't very good but I have done a couple of the Atari ST and the Commodore Amiga.

    You can see any of the intros I used in my C64 days by looking for "zenith c64" on Youtube.

    Steve of Laser/Zenith/SCS*TRC/Avantgarde/TRSi

    — Posts automatically merged - Please don't double post! —

    Here's one of my favourites from Laser:
     
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  9. Subtle Demise

    Subtle Demise h

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    That's pretty awesome. The warez scene has always fascinated me since the first time my dad got his hands on a bunch of bootleg pc games his friend got from this mysterious thing called "online".
     
  10. Steve Antony Williams

    Steve Antony Williams Advanced Member

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    The "intro" scene has pretty much died a death these days. In the Commodore 64/Atari ST/Commodore Amiga era(s) the intro was a common feature on cracked games etc, not so these days on PC cracks and the like. If you're interested in the C64 warez scene take a look at CSDB. http://csdb.dk/scener/?id=195
     
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  11. Subtle Demise

    Subtle Demise h

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    Duplex did a cool one on the ps3 version of gta v, and venom did one for dqix on ds. You're right though, it is a dead art save for a few rare exceptions.
     
  12. Steve Antony Williams

    Steve Antony Williams Advanced Member

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    Not seen the DQIX one, I'll look that up. Can't check out the PS3 one as my PS3 is too "up to date" to mod.
     
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