GameJackal 2: The Second Coming?

vbimport

#1

GameJackal 2: The Second Coming?
GameJackal Website

Overview
GameJackal has been designed to do away with the need for both disks and virtual drives in order to play your disks. It creates a small profile of the game that you want to play and then uses that to launch the game without the CD being in the drive.

Version 1 of this program gained a lot of admirers but it was limited in as much as if couldn’t do the latest copy protections that were available at the time. However the team have been hard at work and have now launched version 2. This has been designed to work with the latest SecuROM and SafeDisc versions as well as many of the other used protections.

So let’s take a look at the program and see how it performs.

Test PC
P4 2.5 GHz
512 Mb Ram
Windows XP Professional
Everyday Usage Computer

The Software
The setup of Game Jackal is very straight forward so I will jump straight onto the main program. Remember to reset your computer after installation.

Once the computer has been restarted you should see the following icon on the desktop. Simply double click on it to lunch the program.

On the first launch of the program the following Wizard will come up. Here there is an option to show the tutorial for Game Jackal. If you are new to the program then this is recommended viewing. It will go though the main points on how to use the program.

Once again there is a License to agree to. You will have to tick the box to continue.

Now you have to generate a key. This is a unique key that will be attached to the profiles you create. This means that if you make a profile on one machine it can’t be moved to another machine unless it has the same Profile Key.

That’s the program setup. It is now ready to be used.

You should now see an icon in the lower right corner of your screen. This is the Game Jackal icon. If you click on this the menu system will be launched.

And here it is. It is fairly straight forward. The game profile that you create will appear at the top under the “My Game Profiles” title. Other than that all of the other commands are fairly self explanatory. Any sections that you aren’t going to use can be minimised to free up some space.

The First thing I did was to update Game Jackal to the latest version. To do this all I had to do was click the “Update Game Jackal” button under tools. Just make sure you have your Internet connection turned on. The download took about 4-5 minutes on my 56k modem. Once done I then restarted my computer again. It didn’t ask me to but I normally do when something gets updated.

So now everything is setup and updated we can move on to building our profiles for the games we want to play.

To get Game Jackal to work properly you must first install the game you want to play. If there are any updates that you want then these to must be installed. Finally make sure the game works normally by simply playing it for a short period of time. If the game didn’t work properly with the CD in the drive then Game Jackal will probably fail to run it as well.

To launch the profile building wizard all you have to do is to click the “Create A Profile” button under Tools. The following screen will then come up. Here you need to select the CD or DVD drive that the game has been installed from. At this point make sure that the CD or DVD isn’t in the drive but that you have it handy as it will be needed when you build your profile.

Next you will be taken to the predefined profiles screen. These are profile that the makers have made and stored. If your game is here then you can select it to speed up the process. This is basically a library of games that have been tested by the developers and certified as 100% working. Here I have found a game that is in the list to try first.

Also note that there is an “Update” button here. This is to update this list of profiles with more as they become certified and available for download.

The next screen to come up give an overview of what maybe required to get the profile to work. In this case for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City you will need to play the radio station though for the profile to store them as they are normally kept on the CD. This will be the same for games that have movies stored on the disks as well.

Next it will ask you to locate the main exe of the game. If it is a predefined profile and you have installed the game in the default location then nothing should have to be done here. If you have installed the game to a different directory then you may have to locate the exe manually. To do this simply click the “Locate Title” button and browse through your drives and directories until you find it.

Now you will be asked to insert the CD or DVD. This is to verify that you have the CD or DVD. This will normally only take a few seconds.

That is it now setup. The first time the game is played the CD or DVD will need to be in the drive for the profile to be built. After that if everything has been successful you will be able to remove the disk and play without it.

Now lets move on to a game not already in the predefined profile maps. Once again you will need to click on the “Create A Profile” button and then select your drive.

Next instead of finding the profile you want to use you need to leave it on No Profile Map Selected and click the next button.

Now enter the game of the game that you want to create a profile for. Here I am creating a profile for Evil Genius.

Because Game Jackal knows nothing about this game you will have to find and locate the exe file for the game. Just navigate to the installation directory of the game on your hard drive and then find the exe file. It is normally the one with the picture.

Once again you will be asked to insert the disk.

That’s it. All you have to do is launch the game and play it for a while to see if it works. If it does then you can exit it and then play it through the Game Jackal interface.

When you have created your profiles you will be able to find then under the “My Game Profiles” heading. To run a game all you have to do is click on the game you want to play.

The icon at the bottom of the screen will now start to spin and tell you some messages. After a few second the screen will change and the game will load up.

Guardian Control
Guardian Control is a new feature in version 2. It basically allows you to limit the amount of time a user can play a game or completely stop someone from starting up the game. This is great news for kids and parents sharing a computer. It means that it can be set to stop children from playing the grownup violent games and can limit the amount of time they can spend playing in a given period of time.

I had a bit of a fiddle with it and it seems to work fine. The only trouble with it I had was setting up the privileges to begin it. Although I managed to figure it out it could possible be a little overwhelming for a beginner or novice.

Problems
I didn’t have any major windows related problems with Game Jackal on my computer. In version 1 my main problem was that my drives stopped refreshing and I had to reboot everytime to get them to work again. Not this time. One problem fixed.

In essence the only problem I had was creating profiles for SecuROM games. For some reason my computer just would not do it. It would play the game through Game Jackal but then would come up with a message saying “Please insert original disk” as soon as I removed the disk and tried to play without it. I removed software, I reinstalled and in the end I formatted the machine and tried it again. Low and behold it worked first time and everytime. So unfortunately there seems to be an issue with some programs stopping the creation of SecuROM profiles.

Results
Below are a summary of the games I tested along with the copy protection versions.

Working

[ul]
[li]The Sims - SafeDisc 1
[/li][li]The Sims Patched To 1.1 - SafeDisc 1
[/li][li]Command And Conquer: Tiberian Sun - SafeDisc 1.11.000
[/li][li]The Sims: Livin It Up - SafeDisc 1.50.020
[/li][li]Total Club Manager 2003 - SafeDisc 2.80.010
[/li][li]FarCry - SafeDisc 3.20
[/li][li]Football Manager 2005 - SafeDisc 3.20
[/li][/ul]

[ul]
[li]Desperados - LaserLock
[/li][/ul]

[ul]
[li]Beach Life - SecuROM 4.82.01.0005
[/li][li]RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 - SecuROM 4.83.11.0048
[/li][li]Grand Theft Auto: Vice City - SecuROM 4.84.69.0071
[/li][li]Space Colony - SecuROM 4.85.00.0005
[/li][li]Championship Manager 03/04 - SecuROM 4.87.02.0017
[/li][li]Sid Meier’s Pirates - SecuROM 5.03.06.0042
[/li][li]Evil Genius - SecuROM 5.03.06.0051
[/li][li]RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 - SecuROM 5.03.11.0047
[/li][/ul]

Not Working

[ul]
[li]TrackMania + Power Up Expansion Pack - StarForce 3.3.35.04
[/li][/ul]

Positives And Negatives
Below are the positives and negatives of the program.

Positives

[ul]
[li]Every game that should have worked did
[/li][li]Easy to use
[/li][li]Quicker loading times
[/li][/ul]

Negatives

[ul]
[li]Had to reinstall windows to remove the SecuROM profile creation issue
[/li][li]Drive name not shown. Just the drive letter
[/li][li]Possibly confusing Guardian Control settings for beginners
[/li][li]Sorting of Game Profiles not in alphabetically order
[/li][/ul]

Conclusions
In my review of version 1 I stated,
“Well there you have it. Possibly great piece of software in the future. At present it just seems too hit and miss. If they get the bugs sorted and get more games to work with it then it is certainly a program I would buy. All I can say is keep on updating it.”
Well they have, and now it is probably the easiest way of playing your games without the need for the disk. If a patch comes out all you need to do is rebuild the profile again and off you go. Fantastic.

Obviously for me the issues with SecuROM forcing me to do a reinstall are an issue but hopefully this is something that can be found and fixed in updates in the near future.

The other main issue is still the letter of my drives. I have three optical drives and up to 4 virtual drives on some occasions. I do tend to forget which is which at times so the addition of the names of the drives would be a big help.

Finally I would like an option to sort the Game Profiles. By this I mean by the amount of times played or alphabetical. This way if I have a lot of games installed I would be able to find what I was looking for quicker. With a couple of games it doesn’t really matter but after I had all of the games installed that I was testing it got a little confusing.

Game Jackal is defiantly moving in the right direction and with new features like Guardian Control is defiantly a program that will allow parents to limit what there children can play and for how long.

In all this is a massive jump forward from version 1. This version really does seem to be able to create a profile for just about any game and copy protection and let you play it. It has also been stated by the developers that they are working on Tages and StarForce, so soon any game you have will be playable without the disk or disconnecting your drives.

All I can really finish with is that Game Jackal has now come of age.

Womble
08-02-2005

This was an independent review of Game Jackal and all opinions expressed in this article are mine and mine alone


#2

The GameJackal Version 1 thread can be viewed here.
Many thanks to the 10,000 people who have viewed and posted.

Update Log For GameJackal Version 2
Release v2.0.5.216 (2.0.0.2014) - release

  • Fixed a bug that prevented the automatic license detection feature from working correctly.

Release v2.0.5.215 (2.0.0.2014) - release

  • Fixed an issues with the installer.
  • Fixed an issues with the “Show Tutorial” check box on the profile key generation dialog.
  • Fixed an issue with the auto updater

Release v2.0.5.214 (2.0.0.2014) - release

  • Fixed a bug which was causing an exception the first time Game Jackal is run.

Release v2.0.5.212 (2.0.0.2014) - beta (rc2)

  • Updates to the driver to improve game support, address problems on machine with multiple cdrom drivers and improve performance.
  • Changes to the update utility

Release v2.0.5.211 (2.0.0.2012) - beta (rc1)

  • Fixed a bug which could cause a performance issue on some machines.
  • Implemented the full version of Guardian control.
  • Improved the auto stop functionality of profiles.
  • Small changes to the main interface and the update utility
  • Update to the help files

Release v2.0.5.204 (2.0.0.2012) - beta

  • Note version beta v2.0.5.203 was incorrectly identified as rc1.
  • Updates to the driver to improve game support, address problems on machine with multiple cdrom drivers and improve performance.
  • Small changes to the main interface.

Release v2.0.5.203 (2.0.0.2009)

  • Support for a larger range of games.

  • The addition of guardian control (this is not fully functional for the release)

  • A large number of interface tweaks.

  • Added skins functionality (new default look).

  • Improved online update functionality.

  • Fixed bug which was causing an exception when profiles were removed.

  • Added option to disable wizard animation.

  • Improved the auto stop functionality of profiles.

  • Fixed bug which was causing an issue with profile details (the in game time was not being recored correctly)

  • Improved profile “by name” sorting

  • Changes to the installer application

  • Holding down the shift key when selecting a profile will prevent the auto start feature from starting the game.


#3

Finally I would like an option to sort the Game Profiles. By this I mean by the amount of times played or alphabetical. This way if I have a lot of games installed I would be able to find what I was looking for quicker. With a couple of games it doesn’t really matter but after I had all of the games installed that I was testing it got a little confusing.

This option has been available since version one and can be found in the “general settings” section. They can be organised in “no order”, “order by name”, “order by most popular” and “order by amount of time in use”

At the bottom of the first tab you can select how profiles are sorted :wink:


#4

The other main issue is still the letter of my drives. I have three optical drives and up to 4 virtual drives on some occasions. I do tend to forget which is which at times so the addition of the names of the drives would be a big help.

I like this idea and this will be added shortly!


#5

Goes to buy some glasses
Cheers Ockingshay.


#6

In a world quickly approaching emulation for nearly everything (damn those DVD’s for no RAW mode), I see GameJackal becoming important piece of software. Imaging DVD’s (even on 200GB+ harddrives) for emulation will be a royal pain.


#7

It’s nice to see a new player on the market. Maybe now some others (like Alcohol) will realise that if they don’t get up to date, they will lose customers.


#8

It’s nice to see a new player on the market. Maybe now some others (like Alcohol) will realise that if they don’t get up to date, they will lose customers.

These are two completely seperate beasts, it’s not even fair to compare the two, and I’m sure the gamejackal folks wouldn’t appreciate it. Gamejackal isn’t even trying to compete with the copy folks.


#9

Alcohol 52% is not about copying, but only emulating, just like Game Jackal. So I think it’s very fair to compare the two :slight_smile:

Alcohol support is nearly 0% nowadays, when people have a problem they only have one answer: wait till next version. But they have been giving this answer for almost a year now and there’s still no update.
About a week after the last version was released, it already was blacklisted by SecuROM, rendering the program useless until the ‘next version’ comes out.
Great program, but it’s only useful for about one week every year :Z

If Game Jackal does a better job with updates (worse will be extremely hard to do), then I think we got ourselves a new winner :iagree:


#10

Great improvments over jackal1 ,only thing it now lacks is sf3 support but hopefully you guys can manage to support it soon…it will be not an easy task.


#11

Been trying to get to their site since yesterday w/ no luck. Are they still in biz?


#12

works fine for me :wink:


#13

Just a quick pic to keep the appetite wet!



#14

Features and changelog will follow, however at the moment i can tell you the game support engine and been improved once again and now includes securom V7

HINT


#15

Thanks for the update Ockingshay.

Time to try out the new version. :slight_smile: Once it is released of course.


#16

New features in version 2.5

[ul]
[li]Create profiles right from the desktop with the new “One-click” profile creation option. Simply right-click any game icon on you desktop (or anywhere else for that matter) and select “Convert to Game Jackal profile”, a much simplified creation wizard guides you through a 2 step process. Click here to see this in action.
[/li][li]Unused profiles can now be moved to an archive section allowing you to keep only your current favorites in the “My Game Profile” section.
[/li][li]A new “plug-in” interface is now available, this allows third-party developers to create plug-ins for Game Jackal.
[/li][li]Right-click popup menu for profiles, this provides a faster and easier way to manage profiles. Click here to see this in action.
[/li][li]Improved reliability, support and performance for many games and hardware configurations.
[/li][/ul]

Revision Notes For Version 2
Release v2.5.7.235 (2.0.0.2024) - release

  • Updated the tutorial.
  • Minor interface tweaks

Release v2.5.7.234 (2.0.0.2024) - beta (rc2)

  • Fixes to the popup hints window.
  • Improved game support and drive bug fixes

Release v2.4.6.233 (2.0.0.2023) - beta (rc1)

  • Small modifications to the plug-in manager and the SDK interface.
  • Fixes to the popup hints window.

Release v2.4.6.232 (2.0.0.2023) - beta

  • Finalised the plug-in manager interface.
  • Small changes to the popup hints window.

Release v2.4.6.230 (2.0.0.2022) - beta

  • Added a dynamic hints window, this window will popup and display hints when the standard hints area is hidden.

Release v2.4.6.228 (2.0.0.2022) - beta

  • Added functionality to restore any converted game icons during an uninstall.
  • Minor interface tweaks

Release v2.4.6.226 (2.0.0.2022) - beta

  • Fixed a bug which was causing an exception when a profile was removed from the My Game Profiles section.
  • Minor bug fixes to the interface.
  • Minor interface tweaks

Release v2.4.6.224 (2.0.0.2022) - beta

  • Fixed a bug in the sr_optimizer.dll plug-in.
  • Minor bug fixes to the interface.

Release v2.4.6.222 (2.0.0.2022) - beta

  • Implemented plug-in interface (SDK to be finalized).
  • Added right-click “profile creation option”, this allows a user to create a profile using existing game icons.
  • Added popup functionality to the My Game Profiles section.
  • Added profile archive section (accessed via right-click popup menu)
  • Removed the requirement to enter a password when deleting a password protected profile. If you wish to protect these profile from deletion use the Game Jackal password protection feature.
  • If a profile is selected when another profile is currently running it will be shutdown first.
  • A profile can be shutdown form the command line using the following command “maplom_sc.exe /deactivate”
  • Add option to deactivate the interface animation, this interface will simply show/hide without the animation.
  • Small changes to the installer, this currently select skin will not be overwritten.
  • Minor interface tweaks

Release v2.0.5.218 (2.0.0.2014) - release

  • Added FAQ’s to the help system.
  • Minor interface tweaks

Release v2.0.5.217 (2.0.0.2014) - release

  • Improved the license registration process.
  • Minor interface tweaks

Great work guys. It’s always nice to see a good program just get better. :iagree:


#17

any news on starforce protection


#18

Still a no go yet unfortuneatly. However SecuROM 7 is up and working(just tested it with my brand new LEGO Star Wars)


#19

I cant get Act of War working with the updated GJ. It SecuROM 5 on the disk but the patch updates it to SecuROM 7. It makes the profile fine but when I run the game thro GJ it says it can’t authentica the disk. Any ideas?

\\VH////
:slight_smile:


#20

:sad: and i was gonna buy GJ