After I’d jumped ship to the PC and the world of MS-DOS, I took my “skills” with me.
The good news was that 99.999% of PC games didn’t need to use raw read/write commands for storing the saved data on a floppy disk. This meant that all of the saved game data was usually inside the same folder as the game. This, mixed with the old Norton Disk Editor, meant that the tweaking of saved games was just as easy – so long as the data wasn’t encrypted 🙂
However, the numbers are stored in Little Endian format, whereas the Atari ST saved games usually stored them in Big Endian format. That took some getting used to!
These days you can revisit your MS-DOS gaming youth via the use of virtual machines such as DOSBox (and other variants) which are, in effect, an emulator.
My first hacks
The following items were done in or around 1993/1994 and were originally intended to be sent to PC Format magazine for inclusion on their cover disk. They never left my hard-drive though 🙁
Detroit (Impressions), Heretic (Id Software), Hexx (Psygosnis), Monopoly (the Windows 3.1 version!), Pirates Gold (Microprose), Premier Manager 2 (Gremlin Graphics), Sim City (DOS and Windows 3.1 versions) and Speedball 2 (Imageworks).
The first steps will be to create a similar ‘saved game editor’ shell using FreeBASIC for DOS so that I can release these hacks for use under DOSBox – as I don’t have a DOS-based PC knocking about anywhere these days.
Once I’ve got used to coding in FreeBASIC, I’ll be able to create multiple variants of the same code for each different game and get them compiled and released on here.
I’ve got a test shell done using Speedball 2 as an example, which opens up and reads in the values from the saved game file. It then allows the user to maximise the values and then writes the changes back.
Once I’ve done some testing, and found a tame beta-tester for the shell code (best to play safe), then I’ll be able to start converting my old cheats, and maybe start looking at some other olde worlde DOS-based games.