Interview with QED of Triangle
Here is an interview with the famous QED of Triangle. The interview turned out to be rather different, mainly because QED does the quite a the work himself! The major part of the interview is actually a diary of a crack he made.
The interview was first published in the FairLight DiskMag Reformation, probably in 1993.
And now we talk to the rising star of the new right QED of TRIANGLE, conducted by himself as nobody else was near... Take it away!
Nobody had any technical knowledge, except for myself. (I actually learned machine code on a VIC-20 (my first computer))I then did a major cleanup in the group, kicking everyone who didn't do anything useful (all but me!). Later I learned that my old playmate also had gotten a C64 and was proficient in MC as well. He joined the group and together we (QED+TSW) started to code seriously. TSW knew a guy who also could code a little, and we swapped our demo's. This dudes first demo's were ripoffs of other peoples routines, but he was a damned fast learner, after he got his Reference-Guide. Today this dude and I are in the same group, as he is nobody other than SPOT of TRIANGLE.
GCC and another local group "SKULLS" then joined forces and created "THANATOS" which I coded some (lousy) demos for, while learning to crack a few easy single-loaders, SPOT also joined, and coded our demo for the 2000AD Party (which came in 4th.)
I got a lot of help on cracking from SCRATCH of TRIANGLE, and as THANATOS joined Pulsar, I concentrated on cracking. In the beginning of 1990 I felt confident enough to start cracking multiloaders and I became Pulsars main cracker...
In the middle of 1990, I got fed up with Pulsar, and as I got an offer from Triangle (Scratch was now a good friend of mine) I joined them...
This summer I started to develop a level version and it is very near completion, but like all my tools it won't be spread.
And a dairy-of-a-crack I did for fun while cracking Dragon Breed:
Saturday, 1. december
Opening the mailbox, revealed a mysterious envelope. Despite the fact that it was heavily sealed(thanx Marcel!), it soon had to give in to the excessive use of a survival knife, applied with great force. Inside was another licenced game by Activision (when do those guys invent a gameplay themselves!) called "Dragon Breed".
Loading the game, I discovered it to be another cyberloader (no sweat, right u guys ?!?) done by ASH'n'DAVE with music by Martin Walker (the worst he's done so far (which is a description Scratch believe covers all MW's music)) who seems to have done all his recent musics for Activision (Ninja Spirit, Atomic Robo-Kid, Time Machine(on the Activision/Vivid Image label) and now this!)
The rest of the day was spent transferring files (by hand ofcoz, since none of the transfer programs seems to work on more than a couple of games.) Watch out for the Triangle intelligent cyberload transfer, coming soon (in ten years time or so!)
Sunday, 2. december
On with the search, luckily I still have the Expert Cartridge, I borrowed from The Ranger for the cracking of Atomic Robo-Kid. Unfortunatly I don't have a DolphinDOS anymore, as it was sold to TCD after the total breakdown of my old 1541.
As verifying 6 files of 250 blocks with normal dos takes a hell of a long time, and I wasn't in the mood for writing the results down, as they whizzed by on the screen, thereby missing other vital results. Since you can't pause the verification, I devised a devious scheme, in which I, using the technological benefits of our time, recorded the whole caboodle on video for later playback. A lot of you guys must think I am a bit nuts, doing a thing like this (Scratch laughed like hell!), but it has the major advantage that you can scan the recorded material back and forth. By dinnertime, I had a videotape with 45 minuttes of data, and four sheets of paper with the results.
Found 77 blocks of common data, which is quite a lot, given the consideration that the six crunched level files have an average length of 152 blocks. A one sided version now seemed a faint possibility, but was rejected after a miscalculation of the crunched length.
Monday, 3. december
Test crunchings sadly revealed the fact that this game won't be crunched with our levelsqueezer 3.1, as it screwed the data real bad. Propably because the charpacker doesn't like some of the quite small files. The 2.23 version, worked out, but the depacker needs a few modifications, which will be fixed tomorrow, as I ain't got more time today.
Tuesday, 4. december
Wednesday, 5. december, (morning)
Considered reprogramming the end-sequence, as it uses the same character set as the main game, although it's a two blocks "boiled-to-the-bone" version without any of the extra characters, contained in the game.
Thursday, 6. december (at school)
The biggest unanswered question is: Why on earth haven't Commodore, in their infinite wisdom, programmed DOS to use forty tracks ??? :)
Aha, an idea just popped into my head. All my common files are based on what the levels have in common with the sixth level. If I compare all the files to each other, I might locate some more saveable blocks.
No more work today, as I'm off to a xmas luncheon with my classmates. Any development in the cracking tomorrow will heavily depend on my condition.
Friday, 7. december
Saturday, 8. december
Playtested again, and the bug is now a thing of the past, albeit the bonus seemed to be a bit huge, a bit of locical thought showed the reason quite clearly: You get six thousand points per remaining minute and one hundred for each additional second, which is 24.000 pts. for four min. and as the bonus counter only has four digits, it has to loop twice.
The only thing left to do is to link files, put on an intro and pack the lot (half an hour!) Final Result: 61 blocks used on side1 and 13 free blocks on side2.
At last, I would like to credit some people for their support of
various kind: The Ranger (for supplying the expert cartridge (which I used almost as much as my own Action Replay Mk5)) and Scratch, for the
(usually!) nice phonecalls.....
Interview made by: Per Carlbring a.k.a. Zike of Fairlight