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Hex Editing : The Basics

Due to popular request (100's), here is an very brief guide to hex editing so that all you folks who want to give yourself 16 billion credits in Imperium Galactica (or any other cheat in any other game!) so you can spend, spend, spend and wipe the galaxy floor with your enemies.


WARNING: always make a backup copy of files before you start dissecting them, I am not taking responsibility if you accidentally disassemble your Main Battle Flagship or manage to edit a file so that it corrupts your entire game - (some games just don't like to be messed with....[e.g. Age Of Empires].

Tools Of The Trade : The Editor

All right, first thing you need is a hex editor. The one I have provided here is shareware and the only one I recommend, written by Jonathan Durward (jon@durward.com), its the smallest, and it sure has a lot of useful features, including searching in ASCII as well as hex, can load large file sizes (some save games can be over 1Mb in size), count number of string occurrences, ansi colour (to aid your eyes) and most useful - a HEX/DEC converter. The file is only about 68Kb and it is zipped, so it will download quickly, you will need either Winzip or similar program to decompress it!

ANY DOWNLOAD ISSUES - send an email to my self or Jon!

*****************************************************************************************
The Registered Version of this program can be purchased and
received immediately on the Internet at Albert's Ambry.

Registration at Albert's also eliminates shipping and handling so please go to :

http://www.alberts.com/

Search on: hextool.zip and then Click on the "Buy It" Hotlink to register this software.
*****************************************************************************************

Hands On Experience

Basically, a hex editor lets you view the hexadecimal code in which most save games are compiled/saved. When you're trying to cheat by adding money, attributes, ships, gold, lumber, ammo etc., you'll be looking for a string of hex characters that will look something like this:

08 49 FA 9B 58 09 DA

and replacing it with an altered string that the cheat file/hex editor tells you to. All you're doing is the same as changing "credits=1000" to "credits=1000000". So, load the hex editor, (its easier if you place the hex editor files in your Utils directory so if you have a DOS path set to include \Utils, you can use the program anywhere on your drive) by typing 'hex ' and the filename you need to edit in order to get your credit bonus - e.g. C:>hex save1.sav. When it opens, it'll look something like below:

The column on the right is the ASCII code generated by the characters to the left. So, in this example, the amount of credits I have in the game is 14847889 (I already cheated!!!!). So we are looking for the string "14847889" but we don't know the hex equivalent, you can use the converter (ALT B) and type in your decimal figure. Hexadecimal is what we call a base-16 system, which just means that instead of counting 0-10 for each decimal place, you count 0-16, using A-F instead of 10-15, so, if 11=0B, then 15=0F and 16=10 and so forth. It takes a little practice, but it's really not too hard, especially if you keep a pad and pencil handy for notes, but again being kind old Mogsy, the editor I use can convert decimal, hexadecimal and 2 others (told you it was good), so as I said, you can convert back and fore from hex/decimal at your leisure!

Back to the editing, so as per the picture, to convert '148478889' to hex in order to find its location its hex address), use ALT B and type in the decimal figure, this then tells us the HEX equivalent which is 'E2 8F 91', but here is the twist so READ carefully - any hex figure that uses more than 1 byte i.e. over FF (255) must be reversed before editing it to your hex file. So it now becomes '91 8F E2' and we do a search using F5 and type in the string. It tells us that it is located at offset 2D (shown in green text on far right of screen). The offset is used so you know where to return to the next time (use ALT G and type Offset number). Phew!!!!

Some cheats lists will tell you to replace a complete string, others just say the first occurrence and so on. If you've backed up your files, you should be free to experiment with whatever variables you can find, and believe me they sometimes are hard to find! Then, rename your original file (save1.sav -----> save1.bak), save your edited file under the original file name (save1.sav), load the game and load your save game, now you should have enough credits to buy an army/armada/fleet.  Be aware, that some games will crash, should you insert some weird values, Alien v Predator and most MS based game are bad for this.

That's all for now, I will do an update soon, for all the new types of games.


Any comments or queries, just email 'em to me with Header/Subject : Hex Edit Query


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Copyright 2002-2007 Iain MacMillan - no reproduction of material or images is permitted without approval.