- Platform: Any - webpage
- Language: PHP, Html
- Other used: Bash scripts
“A crack intro, also known as a cracktro, loader, or just intro, is a small introduction sequence added to cracked software. It aims to inform the user which "cracking crew" or individual cracker removed the software's copy protection and distributed the crack.” — Wikipedia
I was a kid in the 90's when the Commodore era was on its peak. I was amazed by those colorful & hi-tech intros before the games, regardless to what was their message or meaning. To be honest we absolutely didn't know anything about piracy. None of us knew it was illegal to copy each others floppies. :D We all thought these games are free to everyone. Good old naive days :)
As I got older, I quickly realized the real value behind these cracktros. The crackers usually made these intros as fancy as they can to compete with others, and to show their skills and talents. This competition led to unbelievable things, which were originally technically "impossible". (128 colors on a 16 color C64, new graphics modes, etc)
When I was able to see the miracle and the technics behind these intros, I was much more impressed as before.
I've found this collection in the early 2000's, and my first thought was it would be cool to "play" those intros directly in my webbrowser without the need to download every file... :/
I had to wait about 15 years...
When dreams come true
At the end of 2017 I've found a great JS (!) C64 emulator, which was capable to emulate the hard tech tricks what those intros use most of the time. It was some kind of miracle for me. Finally I can make my dream come true.
Because I didn't have a need for a difficult portal system, I choosed PicoCMS to organize the things. The freely downloadable intros.c64.org collection contains 9999 intros from 2177 groups. In a semi-organized way. (Collected only by alphabets)
Because the filenames in the zip doesn't tell so much about the group who made the intro, I had to get the Group names somehow from the original webpage. So first I had to write a crawler what fetches all the group names and their connected ".prg" files. Thank god the filenames in the zip and on the page matched.
With the fetched filenames, Group names and alphabets, I was able to store and organize things along some pattern. After purging the spaces and all unneccesary special characters from the groupnames (but keeping their shortnames) the currently used urls were born:
- Intro09 from Fairlight: groups/f/fairlight-[flt]/flt-09
- All intros from Fairlight: groups/f/fairlight-[flt]
- All groups with F: groups/f
PicoCMS is a lightweight content management system. It doesn't have any database, all pages are stored as plain text files. It seemed perfect for me, because with the files from the zip file, and with the fetched data from original webpage I could write a script which generates all the directory structure and urls and the final text files for every intro.
The final script what puts the whole thing together is 93 lines long :D
Try it out
If you are interested, check out these nice intros:
Please note, the emulation and the sound can be clunky on Linux and on mobile devices. Windows is recommended... :/
Or there are some youtube videos for better experience: