Two guys, Zarathos and RedFox, launched projects to skirt the hardcoded limits of the game without editing the game executable (which is totally illegal): memory editing. To explain what is memory editing, I will just quote Zarathos' words:
Zarathos wrote: The first thing I learned when I started working with debuggers, decompilers and disassemblers is that while it's totally forbidden to edit executables, it's 100% legit for a user to edit its own memory without any consequences. Memory editing is a grey zone in which, nowadays, there are still no real rules and this is due to the fact that all what is being put inside the virtual memory of a computer switches its ownership from the productor of a packed entity (the executable compiled by CA) to a consumer of volatile data (yourself). It's your memory, you bought it, you can do whatever you want with it.
When executables are launched, they are loaded and mapped into the computer's memory and, there, their instructions can be edited as will without breaking any law. This is the correnct and only path we must follow to circumvent the eula's restrictions and bypass any limitation. How? Using a custom launcher/patcher that creates a fully deployed game process in a suspended state, modifies some small parts of it in order to change its behavior and finally resumes its execution.
Zarathos is leading the project for M2TW, while RedFox leads the project for RTW. But what does this mean for Silmarillion? Basically, it means more depth, more immersion, more flexibility. For the moment, here are the breaked hardcoded limits:
- Most BI features available in RomeTW-ALX
- All ALX features available in RomeTW-BI
- Unit size limit increased to 300 (planned to unlock 1200 next)
- Regions limit raised from 200 to 1000
- Extensive developer-only debug logs enabled
- Built-In EDB, DMB, UI image validators unlocked - a serious contender for the old Zeus Validator
- Clouds and terrain textures are modfoldered
- Minimalistic User Interface with available configuration options
- Descr_Geography.db auto-generation
- Extensive debug logging to catch any possible errors from RomeTW
- Auto-generated background script
- Enabled developer debugging with Visual Studio JIT debugger
- DLL injector and patcher
Here are the next planned features to unlock:
- Add more faction slots - 60+
- Enable Loyalty for RomeTW-ALX
- Increase EDU slots
That means we could have a bigger map, more regions, more cultures, faction-specific interfaces, more units, bigger units, better and more complexe scripts, and so on. We won't likely add new factions for we already planned every faction of the First Age, but the increased faction slots will be a great help for the new scripts.
And something that is extraordinary: maybe there is a way to add skin variations inside a unit (basically, all soldier won't have the same appearance inside a unit, like in M2TW and all subsequent TW). So, no more clone-armies! RedFox has already some ideas on how to achieve that, but it will be without any doubt a huge task and requires a lot of work. So, let's cross our fingers and hope.
Both projects have received Creative Assembly's approval, and are 100% legal.
Zarathos and RedFox are looking for help, basically they need very experienced C/C++ programmers and guys who know the use of IDA Pro, OllyDBG or another similar debugger and an hexadecimal editor). If you want to help or just follow both projects, here are the links.
Here is a picture of the new launcher of RedFox's mod (RTR Project):
Maybe one day we will have something like that in Silmarillion. Meanwhile, please spread the word and stay tuned for next updates!