Back in the days of DOS, before steam, in the long-long ago, there were tools like SoftICE and IDA and W32Dasm that would allow you to hook into your operating system or running executables and modify them in perverted ways. Today, I’m going to show you a little trick from my game cracking days for unlimited health in the game Terraria, which I tend to play a lot when I don’t have access to my gaming machine.
Every game has variables that store information: your ammo, your health, how large your penis is, etc. Each of these variables generally has a dedicated position in memory where it’s stored. If you can find the location of this value, you can modify it to your liking. But how to you find it? This is the process of memory searching.
The tool we’re going to use is called TSearch. I don’t think it has an official site anymore (assuming it ever did), but you can get it off this completely legit Angelfire website (direct link). While I can’t guarantee the executable is free of pathogens of the digital persuasion, I can say that I’ve scanned it with several tools and come up blank. UPDATE: There are probably better tools you can use, for instance Cheat Engine, an open source program in the same vein as TSearch. I Chose TSearch because that’s what I used in the old days, and had a copy laying around on my machine.
The way memory searching works is you pick a value you want to modify. We’re going to do health. So open start Terraria, open your favorite world, and let’s go to town. Once Terraria is loaded, open TSearch. On the top-left, you’ll see a button called “Open process.” Click it and select Terraria.
Now that the process is open, TSearch has access to Terraria’s memory, including your health value >=]. We’ll start our search for the location soon, but first we need a starting point.
The next step is to hurt yourself in Terraria. Yes, we’re going to to be playing the part of the masochist (but only for a little while). So jump off that cliff, dip your toe in lava, tango with a skeleton, whatever it takes…you want your health value to not be in its default position.
We’re going to search for that health value in Tsearch and as a starting point to try and find its exact location in memory.
Once we have lowered our health, open Tsearch. Make note of the value your health is in Terraria (and also make sure the game is paused).
Open TSearch and click on the little magnifying glass icon under the “Open process” button (the one furthest to the left). It will bring up a dialog that allows us to search for locations in memory based on value. We’re going to pull down the menu and select “range.” We use “range” instead of “exact value” because the health value regenerates, meaning at any given point it might be between two integers.
Let’s say our health is at 268 (like the image to the right). For value one, we enter 267, and value two 269. Then select Type: “2-byte.” This means we’re searching for a 2-byte value between 267 and 269. Hit “Ok.”
It’s going to find probably tens of thousands of values. Don’t worry, we can narrow these down. Open Terraria again and let your health regenerate (or hurt yourself again, being careful not to kill yourself). Once your health changes by a few points, open TSearch again.
We’re going to search again, but search within our current results. Click the magnifying glass directly to the right of the first one (it has “…” on it). This will open the same dialog before. Do a ranged search. Let’s say our new health value is 259, we’re going to search between 258 and 260. Run the search.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get only one result. If you’re unlucky and you get more than one search result, repeat the above filtering step one more time (change the health value, filter withing the current results, rinse & repeat until only one value remains). Sometimes you’ll have to do many searches in a row to get the results you want.
Once you have your one search result, click on that entry in the search box and then click the green plus icon. It should add it to the list on the right. Double click under the “Description” field and name the value “health.” On the right, you’ll notice the value 259. Change it to 400. The click the box next to the value’s name (it should turn blue). You just froze your health at 400.
Go back into the game and hurt yourself. You’ll notice that your health goes down, but immediately bounces back after about half a second. Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy your infinite health =].
Hopefully this can answer some more questions about memory searching.
- This method only works while TSearch is open. Once you close it, the game will start tracking health again. If you want your hacks to persist, it’s a whole nother set of tools and processes, worthy of at least a few more posts. Keep in mind that if you use Steam, it will probably overwrite any changes you make to the exe. Such is life.
- Memory searching works for values besides health. Be creative! You can get unlimited ammo, unlimited money, etc.
- In Terraria, using this method for money can be tricky. If you move money from one of the money slots, it will change memory locations and you’ll lose your hack.
- This method works for other games as well. I chose Terraria because it’s the only game I currently use it on.