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- This topic has 14 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 5 months, 1 week ago by Cyberstein.
I have an original SQ 3.5″ disk. (I think this same problem applies to SQ2). I could never figure this one out. I want to back up the disk… now when I play the version of the game from my original disk, copied to hard drive, it asks me to insert my original disk. So I insert a disk with all the same files on it, and with the same label (“SQ DISK 1”) – but it does not accept it! So there’s no way to make a backup disk because it wouldn’t work. So, anyone have the solution (besides a crack, or besides a copy of SQ from the CD collection)? How did they program this? The original disk isn’t high density by the way, but of course my new backup disk is – does that have anything to do with it? And it’s not the hidden CPC.com file – I copied that too, of course.
(re: Space Quest EGA Original Disk) As you’re a regular here, I’m sure you own the disk! Anyways, try and locate a copy of Anadisk IF you can get hold of it, it should do the job. Have you tried DiskDupe (wow, that takes me back!)?
(re: Space Quest EGA Original Disk) I don’t know if this will help or not, but I had a similar problem when trying to fix a bad DOS 6.2 upgrade disk years ago. I could not name it to what the installer wanted by just labling the disk, but I found that if I labled a disk when I formatted it I could. Just right click on the floppy drive in Explorer and choose “Format…” Lable it in the dialog box before you format it. You can then just copy the files over to the new disk.
Another option would be to just make a direct disk copy (right click on floppy drive and choose copy disk.)
(re: Space Quest EGA Original Disk) Hi
I know about it, you have to use the copyIIpc program to backup diskette. It will helping. Wink !
(re: Space Quest EGA Original Disk)
You can finding the “CopyIIPC v5.01 + Snatchit v1.11” at
(re: Space Quest EGA Original Disk) I can label the disk just fine, that’s not a problem. And now for a bit of rambling…
Thanks for the suggestions of diskcopy or programs to use… yes, I do have the actual real disk. That’s not my concern either though… But I’m sure I will try those in order to make a backup copy… I was hoping more for an idea from a programming point of view of how it works. Obviously someone knows, because I’ll admit when I grew up I did not have a legit copy of the game, but a cracked version that someone figured out how this works. What if in 10 years floppies are not used anymore? Laptops for example often come now with CD drives but no floppy drive (true, you can buy a plugin). Some would say the floppy won’t die, just like an audio tape – but it will become less used. Well the purpose of my question is whether I can avoid this without using a floppy at all (I guess I didn’t make that totally clear) – what is happening from a programming perspective?
This is obviously one of many issues relating to old hardware, old processors, the DOS operating system, that are making it hard today to play the old Sierra games. As I said in another thread, I got an old computer so I can still play the old games, and I will make a backup disk as you have suggested I might to use on that old computer. But what happens when the disk drive in that machine dies? Heh, you can see lots of arguments to my questions – but I just wanted to bring up this issue that hasn’t been discussed before, whereas other issues such as speed problems and timer bugs and the like have been brought up a lot already.
(re: re: Space Quest EGA Original Disk) I feel ya, Brandon…
I have been thinking about this for about 2 years now, after finishing rebuilding and upgrading my old PCjr specifically for older Sierra games. I rebuilt it with all new parts, had it working blissfully, and guess what? A few months later the drive not only fails, but would kill any disk I put in it. Needless to say I severly damaged quite a bit of my ancient 5.25 disk Sierra collection, not to mention the DOS PCjr boot disk itself. Rage is not a word for my emotions then.
It got me thinking, why don’t I build a stand alone unit, with it’s own front end, that is built ONLY for the old Sierra games. Imagine… You hook this box up to your TV or Monitor, turn it on, and are greeted with the Sierra opening logo. Then, you are at a selection screen, where you merely choose the Sierra game you wish to play and “there you are” No sound issues, no installation, nothing. Sort of like a video game console. No need for CD support, it’s all on HD…
I have been working on this for awhile, and it would seem relatively simple, except that I have no programming skill whatsoever.
But I can dream!
In this day and age where there are emulators for almost every videogame system out there, it is sad that there is no common emulator that we seek. Vivendi or Sierra studios are blind to not realize that they could make a profit by making these games not only available, but PLAYABLE without hassle, on today’s computers, hell, even X-Box or PS2. And think of the development costs??? More profit than anything. Look how much the collections go for on eBay?
Look at Nintendo. Coming soon is a Gamecube bundle that has a Zelda disk, that contains playable Zelda I and II (NES), and Zelda Ocarina of Time, and Majora’s Mask (N64)…
If there was a King’s Quest disk that I could just put in my XP based computer and be confident that all games would run, I’d pay $200 for that disk alone.
(re: re: Space Quest EGA Original Disk) Why not try mounting the Space Quest directory on your hard drive as a floppy drive in DOSBox? Just launch DOSBox and type in:
MOUNT A C:SIERRA\SQ -t floppy
This will mount the folder “C:SIERRA\SQ” as floppy drive a: in DOSBox. Just modify the path to match your Space Quest folder. This game is one that I don’t have, yet, so I can not try it myself. If you try this, please let me know if it works.
You might also try copying your Space Quest folder into NAGI and see if NAGI will run it OK. Also you might try
Link: SUP Sierra Unprotection Program v2.01(http://dl.fileplanet.com/dl/dl.asp?ClassicGaming/agisci/sup.zip)
Link: Ultimate AGI & SCI Site(http://www.classicgaming.com/agisci/)
(re: Space Quest EGA Original Disk)
You cannot make a backup copy from your original disk because the disk is copy-protected. I take it that you only own the original disk for the game, not the “3D-animated adventure game reference card”, otherwise you would know this. Sierra stopped using disk-based copy-protection sometime in 1988. Programs like CopyIIPC can defeat SOME copy protection schemes and create working copies, but it can not defeat Sierra’s CPC.COM, because the PC’s floppy controller can not write the copy-protected track.
Concerning software emulators: Yes, they *could* emulate the copy protection, but NOT by mounting the game directory as someone suggested (the copy protected track is not allocated to any file), and not with the file format all emulators (MESS, Dosbox, Tand-EM) use to hold disk images. The semi-popular TeleDisk file format could hold the necessary information (even though TeleDisk can not create a working duplicate of the disk itself), but no emulator supports this format.
(re: re: Space Quest EGA Original Disk – How it works)
Brandon asked how the copy-protection is programmed. Here it is:
The copy protection consists of three files:
AGI: The actual program file. This file is encrypted to prevent you from renaming it to AGI.EXE or something like that and from evading the copy-protection. After it is decrypted, it is a normal .exe format file.
SIERRA.COM: The “Loader”. It loads AGI into memory, asks for the original disk, reads and executes CPC.COM to obtain the decryption key, then decrypts and runs AGI.
CPC.COM: A hidden file on the original disk. Called by SIERRA.COM, checks for the presence of the copy-protected track (side 0, track 6), reads the decryption key and passes it on to SIERRA.COM.
So, whether the game starts up or not with your backup disk depends on whether CPC.COM recognizes the disk as an original disk or not. CPC.COM looks for the following things on side 0, track 6:
1) sectors 2 thru 8 must have a non-standard sector size of 1024 bytes per sector (a normal DOS sector has 512 bytes).
2) sector 1 must have a non-standard sector size of 8192 bytes per sector. This sector contains the decryption key.
3) sector 1 *must* have a CRC error. (BTW: This is what prevents the copy-protection from working under Windows 98, because Win98’s Int13 handler returns incorrect error codes (0Ah instead of 10h for CRC error))
4) all sectors on track 6 must overlap, i.e. the data for sector 2 also contains the beginning of sector 3, and so on. The data from sector 1 contains *all* the following sectors.
5) The checksum of the first 128 bytes from sector 1 must match a certain value (1Ch or something like that).
1), 2) and 5) can be reproduced with an advanced diskcopy program, like copyiipc or Teledisk. 3) and 4) can NOT be reproduced, because the PC’s floppy controller doesn’t allow you to write “bad” sectors (with CRC errors) on purpose, and it’s doesn’t allow you to write overlapping sectors (it wouldn’t make any sense, except of course for copy-protection purposes).
(re: re: Space Quest EGA Original Disk)
The old Copy2PC option board can write this kind of disk, although I doubt you’ll find one nowadays (let alone a PC which takes ISA cards :))
Anyway, there are unprotected versions of the AGI interpreter, some from Sierra’s own AGI demos or from the compilation CDs. And then there’s freeware/opensource interpreters.
(re: Space Quest EGA Original Disk) NewRisingSun:
>You cannot make a backup copy from your original disk because the disk
>is copy-protected. I take it that you only own the original disk for
>the game, not the “3D-animated adventure game reference card”, otherwise
Ah… thanks for your technical explanation… that’s really fascinating. Did you work at Sierra, or did you read this somewhere? Actually I have the game boxed and I have the reference card, but didn’t bother to read it, because I just recently acquired the game (as well as 2 and 3) near-mint on eBay. When I was a kid my dad had a cracked version on our old computer… so now of course I wanted my own legitimate and complete copy of the game… and to be able to play it without wearing down my original disk… and without using an emulator or something like that.
>Anyway, there are unprotected versions of the AGI interpreter, some from
>Sierra’s own AGI demos or from the compilation CDs. And then there’s
Right… I’m sure I have some AGI demos stashed away somewhere. So are you saying that it’s possible to replace the AGI file or the Sierra.com file from another Sierra AGI game without copy protection, and hence make the game work without needing the disk? Is that what you’re saying? I don’t know the structure of AGI games, so I don’t know which files are game-specific or not. I’ll have to re-read NewRisingSun’s technical explanation carefully to understand your suggestion better.
Oh, and King Rygar – I’m with you all the way! I read in the newspaper about this brilliant guy based out of Toronto, I think, anyway he makes computers out of all sorts of weird things – like bread boxes, and I can’t remember what else, but basically anything that looks cool and that he can use to house the hardware. He’s a hobbyist and makes the computers run very quietly and they don’t produce much heat. I’m sure this guy could make a system like you envision – that would play all the old Sierra games, and you just plug it into your monitor or tv or whatever, and you turn it on, see a Sierra logo, and pick which game you wanted to play.
(re: re: Space Quest EGA Original Disk)
>So are you saying that it’s possible to replace the AGI
>file or the Sierra.com file from another Sierra AGI game
>without copy protection, and hence make the game work
>without needing the disk? Is that what you’re saying? I
>don’t know the structure of AGI games, so I don’t know
>which files are game-specific or not.
To replace the interpreter with that from another game, you would need to replace the file “AGI” and all *.OVL files. However, AGI also has the gameId (i.e. “SQ2”) hard-coded into the executable to prevent you from doing this (since you’re not supposed to bypass the copy-protection).
The best solution would be to download this program:
SUP patches SIERRA.COM so that the keydisk prompt no longer appears, CPC.COM is no longer loaded and the buffer which would be filled by CPC.COM with the decryption key at run-time will be already filled at program start. Or in short: It just “cracks” SIERRA.COM. 😀
(BTW, this is exactly what SIERRA did for the collection versions — no, they did not properly *recompile* the games to remove the copy-protection, they just used a “crack” on their own games! How’s that?)
What I would really like to know is whether Sierra programmed CPC.COM all by themselves (unlikely, given the way it is implemented), or if they licensed it from some other company, and if that is the case, which company that was. Ken? 🙂
(re: Space Quest EGA Original Disk)
Thanks NewRisingSun, you’ve been very helpful! I look forward to any insight Ken can give on this one now.
Some comments on new website version that arise from this post:
1) As I notice when I’m replying to NewRisingSun’s post, when it quotes the post above, it doesn’t say who wrote it – it should!
2) Interesting style for the title of the message you’re replying to (big, spaced out, red) – but it should be smaller and there should be a blank line between the title and the contents of the post.
3) NewRisingSun’s messages don’t display properly in the daily email… I don’t know why, his (or her I don’t know!) messages are the only ones that seeem to do this, oddly enough.
4) The daily email thing.. does that just do x amount of messages per day? For example, each day it sends out the last 20 messages? It should either do x amount of messages every time you reach x amount new messages, or once per day with all the messages for that day – NOT both. Because what is happening now is each time, in the first 1/2 of the email, we get all the messages from the last 1/2 of the previous email – does that make sense?
Regarding creating backup copy of SQ1 disk. You can use diskcopy to copy the original disk. It will state error regarding copywrite sector, ignore and continue. Once done, replace the agi and sierra.com files with the ones from the Space Quest Anniversary collection CD. It will then work. I own all of the original 1 – 6 big box versions and the anniversary collection CD. I like to use backup disks versus the originals and ran into this problem as well. For information purposes I have SQ1 Version #2.2.