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Tanara Kuranov's picture
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Joined: 2013 Jan 9
Pyramad: Registration or Crack?

So Pyramad looks like an interesting game. Interesting enough that I tried my hand to try and find a way to register it. MagiCastle is long gone, sadly. Not able to buy it, the old '05 Serial Box had nothing and I've spent the past couple of days attempting and failing to use MacsBug in QEMU to try and find a way around it. I can certainly say I've learned a lot but I sadly don't know what I'm doing. I just can't seem to find a good breakpoint, via traps or otherwise, to get in as registration is being checked.

Maybe there's a reason why there isn't anything as far as this game goes. But heck, throwing this out there, there's far more knowledgeable people here than I, and I'd send the $20 registration fee to anyone who figures it out (or gets it registered in any way, for that matter), especially if they explain the process of how they got to that point. I'd love to know!

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OpenSourceMac's picture
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Joined: 2019 Jan 21

When I spent several hours looking the game over in hex, you can clearly see the section that creates a key based on the user's info, and it seems that everything including the credit card is part of that key (that is unlocked buy the password you would have received from the vendor).

On searching the hex for the unlock message, you can see exactly where it pops-in letting you know you have to register the game to play it anymore, and I think the crack would either need to find the switch in code that states that the game is registered and set it permanently to 'yes', OR to disable where it triggers exit from normal play because of lack of registration and/or remove the unregistered part of the if-statement. I tampered at length and removed some very large chunks of code, without seeing a change. I suspect that it creates an external file that states registered or unregistered and refers to it very early-on in the load sequence. There are numerous 'write' functions present. Am hoping to have more time to keep prodding at it and see if something shakes loose. Very cool the newer version was found - maybe it simplifies everything - only time will tell.

Am planning to use the "Sample" command in bash to watch what it is doing in Classic and see if a call to an external file happens. If so, it might be as easy as editing such a file rather than modifying the app.

Jatoba's picture
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Joined: 2018 Apr 16

If it is an external file, the first thought that comes to mind is a hidden file created in the Preferences folder (or even elsewhere in the System folder). But who knows, only by investigating we will be able to tell.

WhosIt.There's picture
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Joined: 2014 Aug 23

If it does look at a separate file, it's unlikely to have something simple like "unregistered" inside it, so there's no way to know what it's meant to say in that file unless someone has a registration code anyway ... chicken and egg territory.

OpenSourceMac's picture
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Joined: 2019 Jan 21

These are all true. It would be a sneaky file! But, a good way to go is to start with a really minimal OS9 system, then use Carbon Copy Cloner to make a backup, but exclude as much as possible, then run the app and see if the folder sizes change and hunt down any changes. There is, of course, a chance that the external file is only created on successful registration - So any approach will be trial and error.

Tanara Kuranov's picture
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Joined: 2013 Jan 9

So, is the part that creates the key unexposed/unobfuscated, i.e. can we see what it calculates and ends up expecting as a key? Could I see where that section starts and the surrounding area? I could try and find and set that as a breakpoint in MacsBug and see if I get any interesting and/or useful values. Gonna try the approach of if we can get one good reg code out of it, we may not have to bother with a crack at all.

OpenSourceMac's picture
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Joined: 2019 Jan 21

It is relatively out in the open, but a number of variables are encoded. I suspect this will be pretty hard. Even something as simple as a delimiter can ruin it. Hopefully on version 1.5 it is simplified (i.e. the fact you had to have your original credit card number might have been a big problem for re-registrations).

Tanara Kuranov's picture
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Joined: 2013 Jan 9

Far as I can tell, the registration system is basically unchanged. If anything, it just seems more picky about the preferences file being moved about. Rather than making a new preferences file when I delete it, like v1.2 does, v1.5 says it's been moved about and demands a re-install. There's no changelog, so I'm not sure what's changed between the two other than that.

There's also a Windows version I found floating about, though my machine is being finicky about opening up a VM right now. No idea if it might be easier or if any crack will even be compatible (or at least help) between the two.

OpenSourceMac's picture
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Joined: 2019 Jan 21

Can you post that Windows version??

Tanara Kuranov's picture
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Joined: 2013 Jan 9

Sure thing.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/qkt55tyhp1f0drp/pyramad_nt.exe?dl=0

Keep in mind, I've been able to do no testing at all with it yet. Open at your own risk, I'd recommend a VM or something first.

EDIT: Also, you'll absolutely need a VM or old machine, it's not going to open on a new machine. At least it won't on mine. Not Win 10 64-bit compatible, haha.

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

You may want to test the latest addition to the Pyramad page (DL #3) Hope it's of use.

Tanara Kuranov's picture
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Joined: 2013 Jan 9

Launched it, switched between different modes, looks like it all works without a hitch. I saw mentions of the disk that's on, but I didn't imagine it would be registered like it is.

All I can say is, amazing find! :3

24bit's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

Your Windows finding is a registered one as well.
Seems to work with 32bit Windows and 256 colours.
Maybe W10-32 does the trick too.

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Screenshot from Windows XP

Could it be it deserves a place on the Pyrramad page as an exception?

Jatoba's picture
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Joined: 2018 Apr 16

For completion's sake, I'd say it's relevant. IIRC, Windows versions of programs/games available for Mac have been previously hosted here, too. As long as download description says i.e. "download #4 is the Windows version, for completion" or something similar.

SkyCapt's picture
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Joined: 2017 Jan 11

That what we see in your Windblows picture might Not be registered. "King Tut..." is what the Mac versions say when unregistered. You need to find the menu screen where it has a 3x3, 4x4, and 5x5 board across the bottom. Unregistered let's you start a 3x3 game, but asks for your personal information if you try starting the 4x4 and 5x5 gameboards.

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

Could it be it deserves a place on the Pyramad page as an exception?

I'm going to upload the full hybrid CD that includes the free Pyramad game for both Mac/Win, shortly. It also includes a couple of educational programs that aren't here on the MG that I can see, so it will go to it's own page.

I'll place a link to the Win version of the game in the Pyramad page, once it's up.

[Edit] and done Smile

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

YW. The only tricky part was determining which "invisible" item was required to make the game think it was still on the original CD. Wink

24bit's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

Thanks SkyCapt! Is this the page you are referring to?
You are right. Clicking the 5x5 grid takes me to the register for 20 bucks page.

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XP again.