Cheat Engine


  • LDG

    I came across Cheat Engine today. Apparently, some players are using it to mod/hack AWL. It’s pretty interesting to follow the discussion about finding and modifying the various properties such as health and gold.


  • Tiger Hat

    It always amazes me people cheat in games, especially ones like AWL.


  • Patron

    If they bought the game, and they want to cheat, then why not? Reverse-engineering is a time honored way to learn technology.

    Story time:

    Way back in high school I taught myself hexadecimal so I could hack my SimCity 2000 saved game. I translated my current cash to hex. I would then search and find those values. I would change them to “FFFFFF” and then relaunch the game. Whenever I start to run low on money (zero taxes), I’d do my trick again. I had to boot to DOS mode to run the game and boot to Windows to use the hex editor.

    “Breaking” the game to behave in ways not intended by the original developers was very fulfilling to me. I believe that experience was part of my motivation to pursue engineering as a career.


  • LDG

    @dannagle said:

    If they bought the game, and they want to cheat, then why not? Reverse-engineering is a time honored way to learn technology.

    Absolutely agreed. You bought it, it’s yours. The only exception is when the game is multi-player and your changes affect the game for other players.

    I’d like to make our games more moddable, actually. That’s how this came up. A player asked me if there existed a better way to tweak the game than via editing memory during runtime with this app.


  • Patron

    @geoffb There is 100% better way to tweak the game than directly editing memory.

    I hacked AWL a while back. Here is a screenshot of me in the weapons shop with about $7 million and tossing around 6 silver boomerangs that spread to cover a larger area:

    (I won’t reveal my methods.)
    http://i.imgur.com/yxcTccq.png

    I think AWL could support modding without much difficulty.


  • Tiger Hat

    @dannagle said:

    @geoffb There is 100% better way to tweak the game than directly editing memory.

    He’s right, Greenheart games published the whole process. That’s what @Josue was talking about a little while ago too when he was asking about modding. Apart from the bits involving Djinn the code is crystal clear (once you run it through a beautifier), I just can’t remember the whole Djinn process, an entity spawns an action or something like that.

    Either way no one needs to go near that for modding, as long as the monster spawn list and spawn chance etc. gets shifted out to JSON, a .txt file or whatever you want that’ll be it. You’ll often find that the community will actually make the tools if they enjoy the game enough. I don’t think the Dungeons of Dredmor guys did anything except “here’s everything the game does in .xml files, go nuts” and everyone else made a few GUIs for it. That’s how I found out the shopkeeper was randomly and unfairly indestructible in Dredmor, because he was a hack, they couldn’t get him working in fact I think they discussed it on roguelikeradio.com (here, they’re a great bunch of guys). When I was looking through their xml at the mapping part, all their rooms were put together with ASCII blocks, the same way Derek Yu does it in Spelunky. There was a tile called ‘s’ and another tile called ‘S’ which I found out was the shopkeeper, lower case was them standing still, upper case was them blocking the door I think, I can’t remember it was similar to that. There was no monster entry in the monsters.xml file for Shopkeeper so yeah he was a massive hack, I stopped playing after that because I couldn’t fix him, so when playing Dredmor he won’t get affected by wands for example, so instead of being a tank he’s just a crazy map tile.

    Hope they fix it after Clockwork Empires it was a great game.


  • Patron

    It was a lot of fun hacking AWL when I was doing it myself. I had the beginnings of a script to go tweak values automatically. I also did some quick hacking on Lava Blade so paying to recharge only cost 10 gold, and I made the throwing star absurdly powerful, and my movement spaces was the entire game board.

    I had a random thought of turning my script in to a GUI, but I didn’t know if @geoffb or @richtaur frowned on that sort of thing. It’s not like I actually read that EULA that came with their game.


  • Tiger Hat

    @dannagle said:

    I had a random thought of turning my script in to a GUI, but I didn’t know if @geoffb or @richtaur frowned on that sort of thing. It’s not like I actually read that EULA that came with their game.

    This is the clearest stance on modding so far but that was from a while ago.

    http://forum.lostdecadegames.com/topic/15/#3651

    The main issue really is that modding takes place in the (minified) source code so you have to distribute a tool for modding the existing code, then create an output script that your tool can use as input to apply the mod, otherwise you’d just be distributing full code (not allowed). So basically your GUI would be more than a convenience for modding, it would be a necessity. It all depends on demand though I guess, I posted a Steamworks request thread in the Steam discussions to see if any of the community would bite but there’s been no interest so far from the players.

    So as of today @dannagle, you are the modding community. Congratulations!


  • Patron

    Well, I would certainly not distribute the source code, even minified. I could have a library of checksums to verify I am only modding against the single-player humble download.

    That is, this would work until @geoffb or @richtaur develops anti-hacking mechanisms. It is pretty straightforward: Write a launcher app that would verify the engine’s checksum before loading. I would then have to mod their launcher saying it always passes verification. This then starts an arms race, of which I would immediately give up because I have better things to do. I doubt they’d bother with the anti-hacking. Adding layers of apps and recompiling node-webkit is a PITA. They have better things to do, like complain about Magic: The Gathering on Lostcast.


  • Tiger Hat

    @dannagle said:

    Well, I would certainly not distribute the source code, even minified. I could have a library of checksums to verify I am only modding against the single-player humble download.

    That is, this would work until @geoffb or @richtaur develops anti-hacking mechanisms. It is pretty straightforward: Write a launcher app that would verify the engine’s checksum before loading. I would then have to mod their launcher saying it always passes verification. This then starts an arms race, of which I would immediately give up because I have better things to do. I doubt they’d bother with the anti-hacking. Adding layers of apps and recompiling node-webkit is a PITA. They have better things to do, like complain about Magic: The Gathering on Lostcast.

    Yeah it would be the Humble build I guess, the important thing is that the code isn’t done yet there’s a couple of fixes coming, one for rockets doing splash damage in the RotD etc. But at the end of the day once the codebase is finished stable and game number 2 is in the works modding would be down one of two paths (assuming LDG allow it, I think it’s best to revisit the question later rather than looking at @geoffb’s earlier answer now that the game’s on Steam and selling).

    1. Community demands it, LDG gives it. Behaviour, items, spawning etc. goes into an external file, you fiddle with that. Game checks the “mod” folder before launching the canonical stuff. Sprites too in the mods folder.

    2. LDG don’t provide it due to no demand or whatever else but say it’s ok. King of the modders makes a launcher and modder tool. The tool sticks sprites behaviour changes etc. in a zipped file with a different extension if necessary, say “.awl”. The launcher reads .awl files and writes the code and sprites to the “running directory” (you know the one), rewriting index.html and away you go (I double checked and the running directory is “interruptible”).

    I think we can all agree that 2’s a lot more fun, and it happens to tons of games once they age you just wait for the thumbs up from the devs.


  • Patron

    Cheat Engine is really interesting, but I see no point in using it with AWL, as it’s way more straight-forward to hack the minified sources.

    And yes, you can count me in the volunteers to create an AWL modding tool.

    Let’s do it!


  • Patron


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