Reading off my old 5.25" floppies...

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dotkel50
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Re: Reading off my old 5.25" floppies...

Post by dotkel50 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:48 pm

What games actually use this CPC protection scheme?

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Re: Reading off my old 5.25" floppies...

Post by Collector » Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:39 pm

Some of the early AGI games, Such as KQ1 and SQ1.
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Re: Reading off my old 5.25" floppies...

Post by dotkel50 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:08 pm

Is there a list of them somewhere?

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Re: Reading off my old 5.25" floppies...

Post by Collector » Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:35 pm

I don't have such a list. I could make one, but I would have to go through my collection. In the process of archiving my floppy disks, I copied everything on the disks, including CPC.COM. Any of your disks that have CPC.COM is a protected disk and will give you a message asking you to insert the original disk to play.
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Re: Reading off my old 5.25" floppies...

Post by audiodane » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:02 pm

So here's what I sent to the SPS (software preservation society, makers of KryoFlux), and their reply:

mine first:
Hello- fabulous work! I just stumbled across you guys. I'll be brief. I'm interested in assessing the feasibility of developing a hardware+software solution to getting old 5.25" floppies supported in "modern" PC's running, perhaps, DOSBox. This would include support down to the "low level" access for copy right protected game play. Several questions:

1) By chance does any of that sound interesting to the SPS or KryoFluxteams?

2) If not, then by chance could your hardware/software solution beleveraged as a jumpstart for such an endeavor?

thanks,
..dane
and their reply:
Hello dane,

This has been done; all that's needed is linking the IPF library against DOSBox and "you're done".

We actually read and write floppy disks with our solution and data can be represented in any emulator around (if someone is "glueing in" the interface).

If you are interested in licensing the technology, we'd need more information about what you intend to do and which kind of market you are targeting.

Thanks,
--Christian Bartsch
The Software Preservation Society
http://www.softpres.org
And in that one swoop, if handled correctly, this has gone from a hardware/software endevor to a purely software one. Getting the IPF format, getting a floppy controller spec/driver, and linking them together. I have no idea how the sierra software actually "accessed" the low level hardware, but if an adaptation layer could be created, that'd be neato. Though another massive question is whether or not the low level interfacing required strict timing algorithms or just read-this-sector type commands.

Next thing I need to know is how the Sierra low level access algorithms work. :(

..dane

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Re: Reading off my old 5.25" floppies...

Post by Collector » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:51 pm

I am not familiar with KryoFlux, so I don't know what would be involved. One thing that catches my eye is:
If you are interested in licensing the technology
If this is something that is not compatible with DOSBox's GPL license, it is of limited usefulness. It would be nice to get Qbix's take on it, but he has not been on the board recently. Additionally, if I can't do it through NSIS, it is of limited usefulness to me. I am not so much of a preservationist that I need to also preserve the CPC sector of the disk. I would have to learn more about it to from more of an opinion.
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Re: Reading off my old 5.25" floppies...

Post by audiodane » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:35 am

There was some major discussions going on at the KryoFlux forum regarding distribution licenses. The SPS development team was seeking public opinions regarding which license(s) they should choose. Ultimately I do not know what was chosen (if anything), since I'm fairly new to it all. That statement caught my eye as well. They probably know nothing about DOSBox either, so it would be a mutual learning experience to see if their technology would fit. But someone on one of those forums mentioned that KryoFlux and the two others mentioned all read low level flux changes. So hardware wise I think there are multiple choices. The issue is the data storage format and how to use it. IPF was developed by the SPS for their software preservation effort. Whether or not is would be available to us I don't know. And whether another format would be similar in its potential I also don't yet know.

What is NSIS?

I am not so much a preservationist either- I want to play my old games. And if a more generic floppy emulation is more versatile, then I'm interested in helping where I can. If trying to just find patched/hacked versions of the games is just plain easier, then for me that makes sense.

I don't wnat to minimize their efforts however. I think their preservation efforts are marvelous.

..dane

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Re: Reading off my old 5.25" floppies...

Post by Collector » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:58 am

audiodane wrote:What is NSIS?
NSIS is the install system that I use to write my installers. It is an easy to use powerful and very flexible free, open sourced scripting system. It is well documented with a very deep Wiki. NSIS has a ton of support both in terms of plugins and an active forum. Between the documentation, Wiki and existing information on the forum, I have been able to find all of my answers. I have only had to ask twice for help on the forum. The first time was one of those mistakes that you only make once. Populating a variable with a value read from a version file, I failed to take into account the new line read with the version number since the new line does not show as a character. The second time I figured it out on my own before anyone else did.
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Re: Reading off my old 5.25" floppies...

Post by beigemore » Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:02 pm

I don't know if this would work with the CPC stuff, but found it interesting. You still have to provide power to the 5.25" drive via molex -- the guy in the article appears to be using an external drive enclosure to provide power.

http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/2503

Looks like this place makes them: http://www.deviceside.com/

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Re: Reading off my old 5.25" floppies...

Post by Collector » Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:13 pm

Looks interesting. One thing that immediately caught my eye:
And it's not just for IBM PC disks – it also understands formats used by Apple, Atari, Commodore and TI, among others.
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Re: Reading off my old 5.25" floppies...

Post by audiodane » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:02 am

Yes, I've been aware of that solution for almost a year now.. $50 seemed like a lot until I started seeing prices for KryoFlux and Catweasel. I have a sneaking suspicion that the KryoFlux is a more robust piece of technology thanks in MOST part to what looks to be a much more advanced software algorithm. The big downfall of KryoFlux though, if I understand it correctly, is that their software doesn't natively produce the IPF files. It can produce other file formats I suppose, but not the IPF format; the SPS organization will analyze the data read and generate the IPF from it (on whose timeline I do not know) and send it to you. They claim this is because they have more advanced algorithms to analyze the flux transitions that they're not packaging up in their released software.

I think they are conflicted between being a "for the greater good" organization and a profitable business. I think they want to eat from both pies; they talk about their format being released to the public domain, but they don't release the source to their library SDK that can read the IPF format, nor are they giving any information on how the IPF is organized. I can't blame them however, they're doing this out of their own bank accounts. I wouldn't want to just "give away" everything I've done over a 10year period for free if it was anywhere near as good as they say it is. Apparently they have some really top-notch ex-floppy designers contributing to the project- or at least that's what I gather from the few things I've read.

Anyway- it's nice to see so much progress, but it's unclear what (if any) of these solutions will be strong enough (and widely available enough) to become a permanent format for preservation, much less emulation.

..dane

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Re: Reading off my old 5.25" floppies...

Post by notbobsmith » Sun Mar 09, 2014 4:42 pm

Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I recently got a Kryoflux board and was looking into ways to get copy protected games running. I came upon this thread while researching. From what I understand, because of the differences in license agreements, running IPFs in DOSBox is not an option. But I also found an emulator called PCE which seems to be able to. Someone on the forums was able to covert the stream files the Kryoflux generates into an image format that preserves the copy protection (not an IPF) and then get the copy protected version of Space Quest I to work using PCE.

http://forum.kryoflux.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=765

So I've started to look into PCE, but it's slow going. I was just wondering if anyone was familiar at all with PCE. Also, could this be something that could be implemented in DOSBox? Thanks.

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Re: Reading off my old 5.25" floppies...

Post by Collector » Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:37 pm

Do you have a link to PCE? As to DOSBox, the author of DOSBox is a member of this board. If he sees this thread, he might respond.

If you did not see it, earlier in this thread is a link to a page on the main site that has information about the AGI copy protected disks. SHP "Sierra AGI Back-up Disks" page.
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Re: Reading off my old 5.25" floppies...

Post by notbobsmith » Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:04 pm

http://www.hampa.ch/pce/index.html

I actually don't have any Sierra titles with copy protection, but I do have other games and it seems that PCE might be an option. Since someone was able to get Space Quest to work, I thought this might be of interest to you. But information about PCE is... sparse. There isn't exactly a "how to" guide and the manual is nebulous.

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