The RockPatch was an unofficial patch or "exe hack" for Westwood's Yuri's Revenge, created by pd and later continued by VK. Major code contributions were also made by jonwil, and Marshall frequently wrapped the releases into a convenient patcher, before he eventually created an automated program for the coders to do this themselves. RockPatch gained fame through the fact that, for the first time ever, someone overcame rules(md).ini limitations and modded YR in a way that could not be done via INI modifications1. It was also revolutionary in a different kind of way: it finally proved that the key to extending or modding the engine were not the often-cited .TLB-files, but the game(md).exe itself.
Having been created on January 14, 2005, RockPatch ran for two and a half years, until development was ceased on June 08, 2007. As of now, it has been superseded by the Ares project.
The History of RockPatch
The original thread(s)
"Who needs TLB files to modify the game?" - these were the magical first words spoken by pd to the DeeZire community, closely followed by "gamemd.exe hacked - new country added!", the name of his now legendary thread. Although at first greeted with a little suspicion, due to the dozens of n00bs having claimed game hacks before, he talked more convincing than anyone before and, as the first one so far, actually provided proof for his claims. The modders celebrated. But this wouldn't be YR modding if it was that easy. Quickly, the usually lazy moderator-henchmen of DeeZire showed up, and, instead of protecting our holy grail from the n00b armies, laid waste to our hopes and closed the thread.
Luckily, this is the internet. Forums are replaceable. Within mere hours, a new thread was opened at Renegade's forums, and word was spread through instant messengers – when the thread was reopened not even 28 hours later, we had already migrated.
The new thread
Sheltered from DeeZire's evil influence, developement skyrocketed. Soon talks of a "real", community-issued YR 1.002 started, and more and more features were added to the game. The thread spawned a wishlist and several other pages at ModEnc2, and is currently the most-visited, most important and most-posted-in thread at the Renegade Projects Forums (1,267 replies, 64 pages).
The Next Generation
On September 15, 2006, pd resigned from writing RockPatch, citing a lack of time and no motivation to continue working on it as the reasons.
RockPatch was taken over by CnCVK, who coded it simultaneously with The Extended Tiberian Sun Engine; unfortunately, VK and the community did not get along well, leading to constant fights over his coding and management style, his (lack of) documentation, support, and continuously broken compatibility. One problem in particular was the perceived bugginess of VK's releases - it was later revealed by himself that "[He] always test[s] only basic things; [he] assume[s] that other bugs will be found by [the] community.". All in all, the amount of problems and anger was so big that even pd came back to post an angry thread asking WHAT the hell is going on?.
As a response, VK seemed to have planned "RP Project Rules", similar to the ones he uses for ETS, which, among other things, declared that a bug was only a bug if it actually triggered an Internal Error (which, logically, would have drastically reduced the number of "bugs" RPCE had). These rules never came into being in this form, possibly because of the instant backlash right after their first mentioning, but he did post an even stricter set of rules with the release of RP 1.10.
Yet, the release of 1.10 was an adventurous ride on its own - things escalated when Renegade wrote and posted a ModEnc-page mapping VK's version names to version numbers similar to the ones used by pd: VK put development of RP 1.10 on hold, threatening to not resume until the page was deleted. Not going to let VK dictate what stays on his server and what doesn't, Renegade refused. The community was unevenly split between a large majority supporting VK, because they didn't care for the page and didn't want RockPatch to stop, and a minority telling VK he was overreacting, and that there was no reason to do this.
Parallelly, an editing and revision war broke out on ModEnc, with VK trying to remove the content he didn't like, and the administration rolling back his edits, until the page was protected and VK was banned for vandalism. The matter was "resolved" after some time, when a compromise page was written that showed the "real" versioning on top, separately from the mapping, and VK declared all RockPatch Documentation on ModEnc unofficial.
With that and the release of RP 1.10, things finally seemed to have turned for the better - until it was clear that VK, in effort to keep down the negative comments about his work, was trying to prohibit any further discussion of RockPatch, and practically reduced support to elite modders who met very specific requirements. He also started to "blacklist" people who violated these "rules".
All of this, especially the ban of discussions, lead to another outbreak from pd...
The End of RockPatch
On June 05, 2007, pd revoked VK's right to use the name "RockPatch". VK ignored this, and released RP 1.10 #0036 a day later. After some more discussion, on June 08, 2007, VK declared the project ended due to the technical limits of the YR engine being reached. In the same post, he announced that he was going to write his own engine (joining the ranks of several other projects already running). For some time, this seemed to have been the end of RockPatch. VK continued hacking the exe with his new "NPatch" project, a thinly-veiled continuation of RockPatch (using 1.10 as its basis), but as his style of work didn't change, the community mostly followed him out of necessity (him being the only exe hacker around) rather than enthusiasm.
A New Hope
After some work behind the scenes and a silent pre-announcement a few days earlier, on October 19, 2007, pd officially announced the development of RockPatch 2 (currently known as Ares. Contrary to VK's "let the users find the bugs" mentality, pd made it a point to say
The purpose of this should be clear: RockPatch2 is to be bug free, and I must say I have done a good job until now for that matter.
While this announcement is sure to win over the hearts of many who have loathed the bugfest that were the later RP versions, he also announced that he "will not do everything VK did for the NPatch and if you need a certain NPatch feature badly, you will have to use NPatch instead."'
The Death of NPatch
On November 6, 2008, after almost a year since the last release of NPatch, one of Revora's community members spoke with VK about the status of NPatch. VK replied that he wouldn't return to finish NPatch, and declared it a dead project, and that if he returned, he would create his own engine.
1 ↑ Truth to be told, there were actually some projects re-enabling the third campaign button through a similar method. However, there's a big difference between looking at game.exe, looking at gamemd.exe, and then filling the gaps, and adding entirely new code and features into the game.
2 ↑ At the time of the original writing, the page "YR 1.001pd Wishlist" was actually the most popular page on ModEnc, with 7,589 views, followed by the Main Page with 5,025 views, and then by the other two RockPatch pages, YR 1.001pd Votelist (3,757 views) and YR 1.001pd Status (2,899 views); due to the deletion of these original pages after moving RockPatch to its own namespace, these statistics are lost.
- After the closure at DeeZire.net, it actually took DeeZire one month to come by and state that he didn't have that much of a problem with the discussion. We were long gone.
- Back when the key to perfect normals was discovered, Renegade actually predicted full game hacks as the next big discovery - albeit still thinking of the old way. (Post lost through The Backup, the uttered line was close to "Wow! First [x], now perfect normals...what's next? TLB hacks, anyone?")