Pirates! (1987) - The Gold Bug at around 655000 pieces

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Droegi
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Pirates! (1987) - The Gold Bug at around 655000 pieces

Postby Droegi » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:37 am

Hi there, i got a real problem with this alltime nr.1 game ever.... in this galaxy :wink:

The first Version of Sid Meier´s Pirates! from 1987 on Atari ST.

In the past 22 years i have to got the (buyed) original Versions for C-64, Amiga and PC. Also every sequel on PC. Yes, im really fanatic on this game :wink: But the following bug report i cannot remember they appear in the other Systems.

Now i dont have the real Atari Hardware. But wanted to give this System a try too. So i went for a Emulator on my retro PC. Asus Tus Mainboard, 512 MB, Pentium III 1400 mhz on Windows 98 second Edition.

STeem Version 3.2 with and without Pasti support. The rest is on default configuration. TOS V1.02. Everything downloaded from Little Green Desktop HERE. Its the german faq translation site.... so please excuse the glitches in my english here :wink: Yes, pasti works and i downloaded that stuff extra somewhere.

As regards for the *.st(x) Images i have tested: they are irrelevant, it seem that every Version is affected by the bug. Delight, Replicants, Delight/Blue Soft.... and also the pasti version from eg. the D-Bug site!

Naturally after few minutes of testing i became again instantly addicted to the Atari Version too. I began a big new career and after days of playtime i stumble over this debacle BUG.


The ingame Situation:

I start in 1660 as English with skill in fencing and difficulty Journeyman at age of 25. In the first Expedition i was forced to Devide up the Plunder with a collection of afair around 380.000 Gold pieces at age of 28. Imho not bad for a first attempt after a long pause of playing this game.
Now im in the second Expedition of this career at age of 31. Im in Nevis and i must Devide up the Plunder. In this second run i collected over 655.000 Gold pieces from this longshore lubbers and spanish riffraffs, aarrrr.... and now:


The Gold Bug in Detail:

I will attachment the Save-Filedisk (image) for the proof and so you dear Readers may reproduce this Bug yourself.
Load the Save-Point inside the Savedisk named "45DEVIDE".
Go instant to the Merchant in Nevis.
DONT sell any of the Ships! Go direct to the Stuff-Screen.
Sell carefully with single mouseclicks just the Cannons at price of 50 gold pieces and watch the main Gold-O-Meter....

You start the Screen with a total of 655.060 Gold pieces.
5 clicks later and 10 Guns selled, you are at 655310 Gold pieces.
If you are now dare enough to sell a single more gun or whatever --> BUMM your Gold Counter restart at 0 (zero) pieces.... omg! And yes, that is not just a Displayglitch.... its reality for the whole game engine!

I also have verify that this is not a "Merchant-Screen-Bug" or Nevis-Bug or whatever. This bug seems clearly have to do with the Gold Counter and the Number above 655310....
Try yourself with the first Save-Point "37ATTACK" with is also near 650.000 Gold pieces. And if you sake Towns or capture Ships were the loot overcomes this magically 655.310 Barrier.... you got the same debacle bug.


Thoughts and Speculates:

Ok. Naturally this is not acceptable for a real Pirate :wink: As compersion in the PC modern 3D-Version im usualy cruise around the caribbean with: The fleet full of Ship of the Lines! Starting as Swashbuckler. Employ the "open End" method, playing with ingame age over 100 and so on. And a little pocket-money of just over 20.000.000 (yeah in words: over 20 Millions) of Gold pieces and a Crew over 750 seadogs they are permanently Very Happy.... :lol:
Did i mentioned im really fanatic on this Game? :wink: No Cheats! But you can be sure i know nearly about every glitch in the game engine of the versions/systems from this masterpiece. Especially from the 3D-Version. And how to exploit them for my acquisitiveness.... aarrrr!

But this one is afair new to me and i assume its only in the Atari ST Version. Before i post here i used Google a lot and the bulletin board search here.... no luck. So maybe my fanatic gamestyle is not commonly :wink: and this bug is not well-known in general.

Im not good in technical, code, programming, computer and stuff. So i cannot imagine if this is related to Atari, Emulator, Images, Ingame Bug or the Savefile corrupted or whatever....
Maybe someone here want to try this Savefile on the real Atari hardware and want to report? That maybe would be very helpful and makes me highly appreciative.

But this Number 655310 is also highly suspicious that its a 64k programming bug. This convert stuff of bits and bytes and so on.... you may know that much better.
Maybe Mr. Meier and his Atari conversion Crewmembers did a programming accident in the old days.... (but why its not well-known or am i to blunt to find?) or maybe we can fix this around today.... i dont know.

But i know this for sure: i collect also old homecomputer systems. I cannot get an real Atari ST if i dont know how to get around this Bug. Because in my (gramps) fanboy-world a computersystem ist not worth the existence if you cannot play Pirates! errorfree on it. Period. :lol:

Ok so enough of this lubberish chitchat. Let us come to the final Questions that you dear Reader may answer me. Be sure im so much grateful for every reply, hint, thoughts, field reports.... and thanks a lot ahead.


The final Questions to the Gold-Bug:

1. Is this Bug in the commonality well-known?
2. Is this Bug related to the original Game or to Emulator?
3. Is there a way to get around? Like eg. the Patch option of Steem?
4. Under the circumstances is a way to programming/fix this bug out today?


---

PS. This text was posted originaly HERE.... sorry if that x-posting over different bulletin boards may breach some kind of board-rules.

But the Admins or Mods here, can read in the PS. thereabouts.... why that was necessary :wink: and to apologise. Thanks.
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Grunaki
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Re: Pirates! (1987) - The Gold Bug at around 655000 pieces

Postby Grunaki » Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:52 am

ggn says he will help you out if you sign up at the D-bug forum.. http://forum.dbug-automation.co.uk/cgi- ... 1250347888
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coze
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Re: Pirates! (1987) - The Gold Bug at around 655000 pieces

Postby coze » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:24 am

most probably the gold you carry is kept in a 16 bit value (padded with a zero at the end) thus the maximum you can carry is 65536 x 10 .

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Re: Pirates! (1987) - The Gold Bug at around 655000 pieces

Postby Desty » Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:02 pm

coze wrote:most probably the gold you carry is kept in a 16 bit value (padded with a zero at the end) thus the maximum you can carry is 65536 x 10 .

More like 65535, which is 16 ones unsigned. :D

Hard to see that bug being easily fixed, since you'd basically need to add another 2 bytes onto it and do 32-bit calculations instead. :(
tá'n poc ar buile!

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Re: Pirates! (1987) - The Gold Bug at around 655000 pieces

Postby rdemming » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:35 am

Desty wrote:Hard to see that bug being easily fixed, since you'd basically need to add another 2 bytes onto it and do 32-bit calculations instead. :(


Sounds easy, but you can't just add two bytes to it on the same address because that probably overwrites other data. So you need to relocate it to a new address with 4 free bytes. Then you need to find all the references to the old address and replace it with the new address. If they use absolute addressing mode, then it is easy to find, but if they use indexed addressing mode, it is much more difficult. Then those instructions must be changed from word to long mode. In immediate mode the instruction then gets longer, so it won't fit at the original place. So you need to move the instructions around as well.

So it involves quite a bit more than just adding to bytes and do 32 bit calculations instead.

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Re: Pirates! (1987) - The Gold Bug at around 655000 pieces

Postby Desty » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:22 pm

rdemming wrote:So it involves quite a bit more than just adding to bytes and do 32 bit calculations instead.

Heh, that's what I meant by:
Desty wrote:Hard to see that bug being easily fixed

The fact that you can't just turn 2 bytes into 4 in the assembled program was implicit in my "hard" :D
tá'n poc ar buile!

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Re: Pirates! (1987) - The Gold Bug at around 655000 pieces

Postby rdemming » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:50 am

Sorry, I read it too fast :roll:
Good that we agree :D

Desty wrote:
rdemming wrote:So it involves quite a bit more than just adding to bytes and do 32 bit calculations instead.

Heh, that's what I meant by:
Desty wrote:Hard to see that bug being easily fixed

The fact that you can't just turn 2 bytes into 4 in the assembled program was implicit in my "hard" :D
There are 10 kinds of people. Those who understand binary and those who don't.


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