Hi! I am Michael Tsyganov from Russia, studying in Germany.
In my spare time I do some computer programming. Here is what I experienced during the past four years as I learned to crack computer games:
Four years ago I started to crack games. At the begining this were cheat cracks, such making unlimited money, lives, energie, etc. One day I found a program on the internet which rips Wave and Image files from main files of Mortal Kombat 3 game. The author of this program gave me the source code (I think it were 100 lines in C). Luckily I was studying how to program in C at that time. When I had got the major idea behind this program I started to write rippers for other games. My first target was a popular game called "Jagged Alliance." The ripper of this game had the same algorithm as the MK3-ripper: Open file, search for Wave-, PCX file headers, get the size of the file, read it out, create a new file, write the readed data. I configured this program accordingly for other games, such as WarCraft II, Deadly Games, Tie Fighter, Death Rally and many others. Gradually the program algorithm underwent changes. As I got to know many file structures, which are often similar to each other, I needed ever less time to crack a file format.
One year ago I decided to start to write complex win95 editors. The first win95 editor was a Win32 based program, with which you can edit 'Z'-maps (a strategy game from BitmapBrothers) by clicking on the specific positions of the map, similar to MapEditor in WarCraft2. Then followed MDK texture viewer, MotoRacer texture viewer, etc.
One day I opened a GEO file in the "Need for Speed 2" directory and changed a few values, and what a surprise, I noticed a change of CarModel. I went on to change other values to find out how the program reads these files (It was my first file format with 3d data). Within two days the geo files were cracked 80% and I started to develope ModelViewer (later CarEditor). I developed this program very fast (I needed only 2 days). Finally, I put this program on the internet, in one of the German compuserve forums.
I was disappointed, in 2 weeks time my viewer was downloaded only 15 times! I sat back, considered a bit and decided to write a car editor (Puh, this was a very hard one!). It could import and export ASCII 3D files (ASC2GEO converter), but to change a mesh you had to edit the ASC files with a texteditor or a 3D-editor and then to import it back. With the third version came a TRUE GEO editor with the same user interface as the actual version, but it was very buggy and the position of only one vertex could be changed at a time. After the third CarEditor release came the first and joky version of TrackEditor.
To be continued...