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C64 Cracking Competition 2015

- Quality over Speed

Event Type :
Standalone Compo

Dates :
16 January - 4 April 2015

Website :
http://sh.scs-trc.net/return_of_heracles_real_original.g64

Organizers :
Burglar, Peacemaker

Competition Results :

Mixed Game
PlaceReleaseDLCSDb ratingPub only
1Return of Heracles +MD by BreezeDownload9.4
2Return of Heracles ++MD+Map by TriadDownload9.79.9
3Return of Heracles +M V0.9.1 by FairlightDownload8.4

Productions released outside compos :
Return of Heracles +15 by Success + The Ruling Company (Crack)

Releases containing information on this event :
Game Corner Q2/2015  Results and some Trivia
Vandalism News #64  Report + results


User Comment
Submitted by Burglar on 17 May 2015
C64 Cracking Compo 2015: Jury Report

The Compo has come to an end and what a ride it was. Return of Heracles proved to be a quite hard game to tackle. Not only did you have to beat EA's wellknown Pirateslayer protection, but also figure out the weird loader system, the game's scoring setup, internal protections, its huge savegames and tens of kilobytes of text.
Only 3+1 entries might seem low, but considering the amount of hard labour required to finish this one, I'm actually really happy with 4 cracks. Or quoting "<Bacchus> HOLY FUCK it was a LOT of work! :-P"

Congrats to all participants, you're all winners in my book for not only beating the protection, but also delivering a high quality crack of what actually is a nice complex game.

Crack Size

Size was calculated without intro and without savegames. Which could be somewhat debatable as the Breeze release requires savegames on disk if you want to use any, Triad decided to include them in their iffl and FLT didn't have support for savegames yet, but I assume they would be on par with SCS*TRC, standard filebased and copieable.
For the Triad version, I had to subtract the savegames (9*37 blocks) plus an additional subtraction of $100 bytes per savegame for the last sector gap of those savegames. Just to make sure we are comparing apples and apples.

Introless Size Result

 #1 BigFoot/Breeze              221 blocks      10 points
 OC Burglar+Peacemaker          237 blocks      --
 #2 Bacchus+Rowdy/Fairlight     244 blocks       8 points
 #3 Sailor/Triad                255 blocks       6 points

Massive win by BigFoot! His dictionary approach turned out to be not only shortest in size but also very quick in loading times.

Trainers

With regular trainers, it's easy to compare, but not with RoH! All crackers decided to go for an ingame trainermenu (well, except me :/), which is actually the best way to train this game. I'm very impressed by all 3 in this regard and it's hard to favor one over the other, so this is a bit subjective.

Trainer Result

 #1 BigFoot/Breeze                              10 points
 #2 Sailor/Triad                                 8 points
 #3 Bacchus+Rowdy/Fairlight                      6 points
 OC Burglar+Peacemaker                          --

BigFoot wins here by a small margin, Sailor's trainermenu looks best, but does not cover the same amount of trainers as BigFoot's. Bacchus trainermenu is nice, but it's not finished and will lock up in some cases, if it was completely finished, it could have competed for first spot here.
The compo organizers version has a high amount of trainers, but it's just nowhere near the quality of an ingame trainermenu, and the strength trainer is somewhat broken too :/

Loading Speed

I measured the time it takes to load the crack with a fastloader until you can select a player.
Here's where Triad's choice to include savegames in the iffl doesn't work out that well, scanning 560 blocks just takes more time.
The FLT crack was hard to measure, as pressing F7 in the main menu just causes the game to crash.

Loading Speed Result

 #1 BigFoot/Breeze              0 min 45 sec    10 points
 OC Burglar+Peacemaker          0 min 48 sec    --
 #2 Bacchus+Rowdy/Fairlight     0 min 52 sec     8 points
 #3 Sailor/Triad                1 min  0 sec     6 points

Packaging

For the packaging category, we're looking at all the extras like docs, maps, drive support, reu support, etc.

Packaging Result

 #1 Sailor/Triad                                10 points
 #2 BigFoot/Breeze                               8 points
 OC Burglar+Peacemaker                          --
 #3 Bacchus+Rowdy/Fairlight                      6 points

Clean win by Triad with docs and a map included, kernal version, reu support, you name it, it's all there.
Breeze comes in second by adding docs. FLT and myself have to improve ;)

Ingame Bugfixes

Were any bugs fixed? Were any bugs added?

Ingame Bugfix Result

 #1 BigFoot/Breeze                              10 points
 #2 Sailor/Triad                                 8 points
 OC Burglar+Peacemaker                          --
 #3 Bacchus+Rowdy/Fairlight                      6 points

Another win by BigFoot with proper gamespeed fixes and an ingame bug fixed.
FLT is dead last here as their crack just isn't stable and doesn't work with cartridge enabled, it also lacks savegame support while all the others do.
My version seems to be the only one with an IRQ fix, so that music doesn't occasionally slow down while loading.

Overall

And now to add up all points for all entries, so we have 50% of the final result.

Overall Jury Result

 #1 BigFoot/Breeze                              48 points -> 9.60
 #2 Sailor/Triad                                38 points -> 7.60
 OC Burglar+Peacemaker                          --
 #3 Bacchus+Rowdy/Fairlight                     34 points -> 6.80

Public Voting

Votes were taken from CSDB many weeks after the compo ended.

Public Voting Result

 #1 Sailor/Triad                9.70    9.7 (23 votes) 19*10, 2*9, 1*8, 1*7
 #2 BigFoot/Breeze              9.23    9.4 (13 votes)  6*10, 4*9, 3*8
 OC Burglar+Peacemaker          8.50    --- ( 4 votes)  1*10, 1*9, 1*8, 1*7
 #3 Bacchus+Rowdy/Fairlight     8.47    8.5 (15 votes)  5*10, 3*9, 3*8. 2*7, 2*6

Final Combined Result

 #1 BigFoot/Breeze              9.415
 #2 Sailor/Triad                8.650
 #3 Bacchus+Rowdy/Fairlight     7.635

Congrats to BigFoot/Breeze for winning the C64 Cracking Competition 2015!
Breeze totally deserves the win by winning almost all categories, especially in size you totally owned all others.

Hope you guys had fun cracking RoH, I know I did :) Even though it was a lot more work than I originally anticipated. Triad said it right "May the best groups be still standing".

An honourable mention must go to eLK/Avatar as he cracked the protection and had a somewhat working version ready as well. Sadly he didn't finish his crack.

Learnings for next cracking compos:

- Check the original a bit better, so we don't give you an already patched original. Thanks again to Zer0x for providing a proper original shortly after the compo started.
- Get the voting system finished before the deadline, so there are no huge delays.
- Maybe find a bit easier game to crack, as 3 entries is still not much.
- Think of how to get all the other crackers to enter, it's too bad there is no entry from G*P, Onslaught, Laxity, Hokuto Force, F4CG+A, etc. I'm up for suggestions :)

Until next time!

Burglar

User Comment
Submitted by hedning on 4 May 2015
Yeah. TRIAD ftw.

User Comment
Submitted by Jazzcat on 16 April 2015
My favourite is the Triad version.

User Comment
Submitted by lemming on 8 April 2015
> a) In-IFFL storage statically allocate blocks
>for 9 save slots - even if noine are used.

How on earth is this relevant? In case someone wants to use only 3 save slots and copy some other stuff to the diskside? Gimme a break :)

User Comment
Submitted by Bacchus on 7 April 2015
(Echoing my views on Event id #2314 : C64 Cracking Competition 2015)

Amazing quality of the contribution.

# Triad's had the save games in the iffl (ugly) but seriously kewl ingame trainer (best of all) and bit credits for the docs.
a) In-IFFL storage statically allocate blocks for 9 save slots - even if noine are used.
b) You are limited to 9 save slots - no way to make a second save disk
c) Sailor did an importer but what about exporter?

# Breeze had multifiles (ugly) but also seriously kewl ingame trainer.

# Scs+trc+hitmen had the least kewl trainer but nice filestructure.

# FairLight had nice file structure, kewl trainer but was only 0.9 as it didn't feature any working game load/save. The 100% version will do load/save and will also improve the trainer a bit (going between trainer and "Know thyself" without goving via the game and also add perpetual poison of dagger and sword)

All in all it's a close fight, but my vote would still be on Breeeze as the best one.

User Comment
Submitted by Burglar on 20 March 2015
As nobody objected against the move of the deadline, the final deadline is Saturday April 4th at 23:59:59, right before easter.

Everybody is invited to come to irc #c-64 to chat with hopefully all contestants around that time.
Funny thing is, Revision old school demo compo is around that time as well, nice opportunity to have the stream running in another window and chatting the night away with your peers.
Return of Heracles was hard enough, so there will be plenty to talk about :)

Shortly after midnight a zip will be released containing all versions at once.

Public voting should start soon after on a then disclosed url. We will re-use Votox - The X Voting System for voting (provided there are enough entries, and it looks like there will be). You can receive a votecode on irc from me, or you can request one by email: c64crackingcompetition@hushmail.com, or even via PM here on csdb.

Voting will be open for 7 (or less/more?) days, at the same time the organizers finish their ratings of each entry. Final result will then be revealed.

Time to start wrapping your crack up :) Which in our case means, finish the fuckin trainermenu lol

See you the 4th on #c-64!

Peacemaker & Burglar

User Comment
Submitted by Burglar on 16 January 2015
Howdy Crackers!

These days the cracking scene is pretty active, but it seems most effort is spent on rushing out a version first with non-protected games.
Now that we found this nice original that hasn't been cracked, we thought, let's turn it around. Have a cracking competition with all of you with a full price EA game, including a nice protection. So here we go with the first C64 Cracking Competition 2015!

You are invited to crack "Return of Heracles" (C) 1983-1986 Electronic Arts.

Download the original here: http://sh.scs-trc.net/return_of_heracles.d64

Please read the rules carefully, and take all the time you need, quality over speed please :)

Rules:

- Submit your entry before or at 23:59 saturdayevening the 28th of March 2015 by email to c64crackingcompetition@hushmail.com
- Your release must fully run on a stock c64 + 1541.
- Your release must be filecopieable and packed.
- Your release must contain a crack intro, but you also must provide an introless version. This will be used to accurately measure size.
- Recracking is strictly forbidden, you must crack the original we provide. When in doubt, we will dig through your release and ask a few questions to confirm you really cracked it yourself.
- Individuals may only be part of a single release, so a group may enter multiple cracks, provided they are done by other members.
- You are allowed to use whatever tools you want.

Calculating Results:

50% of the result will be determined by public voting, either using or own voting system or on csdb. Stay tuned for additional info.

The other 50% of the result is calculated by the compo organizers using the following criteria:

- The shorter the better *)
- The faster it loads the better
- Proper saving capabilities
- Full PAL/NTSC compatibility
- Amount of bugfixes (if any bugs present in game)
- Amount of trainers (no double trainers)
- Minus points if you introduce bugs and need multiple versions
- The more devices besides 1541 (or compatible) you support, the better
- Optional REU support is also nice

*) We explicitly do not want to discourage the use of large intros, hence
the introless version requirement.

Most of all, have fun cracking this full price game!

The Organizers,

Peacemaker/Hitmen
Burglar/SCS*TRC
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