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PINCE is a front-end/reverse engineering tool for the GNU Project Debugger (GDB), focused on games. But it can be used for any reverse-engineering related stuff. PINCE is an abbreviation for "PINCE is not Cheat Engine". PINCE's GUI is heavily "inspired(;D)" by Cheat Engine. PINCE is in development right now, read Features part of the project to see what is done and Roadmap part to see what is planned for now. Also, please read Wiki Page of the project to understand how PINCE works.

Disclaimer: Do not trust to any source other than Trusted Sources that claims to have the source code or package for PINCE and remember to report them immediately

Pre-release screenshots:


  • Memory searching [Planned] (The plan is to use libscanmem by wrapping it with a gdb python script)
  • Variable Inspection&Modification [Done/Basic]
    • CheatEngine-like value type support: Byte to 8 Bytes, Float, Double, Strings(including utf-8, utf-16, utf-32 and zero-terminate strings), Array of Bytes [Done]
    • Symbol Recognition: See here [Done]
    • Automatic Variable Allocation: See here [Done]
    • Dynamic Address Table: Drag&drop is planned, ctrl+c/x/v is done [Halfway Done]
    • Manual Address Table Update: [Done]
    • Smart casting: PINCE lets you modify multiple different-type values together as long as the input is parsable. All parsing/memory errors are directed to the terminal [Done]
    • Continuous Address Table Update: You can adjust update timer or cancel updating by modifying settings. Non-stop version is Postponed\Quarterway Done [Done\Only works when the inferior is stopped]
    • Variable Locking: PINCE lets you freeze(constantly write a value to memory cell) variables [Postponed\Quarterway Done]
    • Postpone reason: These two features requires thread injection to the target or gdb and PINCE's injection methods are not perfect yet, I've already spent more(read:WAY MORE) time than I should on this, these features are not vital for now, also you have got the options to manually update the table and set the value manually already
  • Memory View [Done/Basic]
    • Infinite Scrolling: PINCE automatically disassembles the next available instruction(s) on mouse wheel/scrollbar move. Instruction count can be changed from settings. Hex View also supports this feature [Done]
    • Dissect Code: You can dissect desired memory regions to find referenced calls, jumps and strings. Disassemble screen will automatically handle the referenced data and show you if there's a referenced address in the current dissasemble view. It can be used from Tools->Dissect Code in the MemoryView window. Using its hotkey instead in the MemoryView window automatically dissects the currently viewed region. You can separately view referenced calls and strings after the search from View->Referenced Calls/Strings. Note: If you decide to uncheck 'Discard invalid strings' before the search, PINCE will try to search for regular pointers as well [Done]
    • Bookmarking: Bookmark menu is dynamically created when right clicked in the disassemble screen. So unlike Cheat Engine, PINCE lets you set unlimited number of bookmarks. List of bookmarks can also be viewed from View->Bookmarks in the MemoryView window. Commenting on an address automatically bookmarks it. [Done]
    • Modify on the fly: PINCE lets you modify registers on the fly. Unlike CE, you can also change XMM and FPU registers. Check GDB expressions in the Wiki page for additional information [Done]
    • Opcode Search: You can search opcodes with python regular expressions. To use this feature, click Tools->Search Opcode in the MemoryView window. [Done]
  • Debugging [Done/Basic]
    • Has basic debugging features such as stepping, stepping over, execute till return, break, continue. Also has breakpoints, watchpoints and breakpoint conditions. Has advanced debugging utilities such as Watchpoint/Breakpoint Tracking and Tracing
    • Chained Breakpoints: Just like CE, PINCE allows you to set multiple, connected breakpoints at once. If an event(such as condition modification or deletion) happens in one of the breakpoints, other connected breakpoints will get affected as well [Done]
    • Watchpoint Tracking: Allows you to see which instructions have been accessing to the specified address, just like "What accesses/writes to this address" feature in CE [Done]
    • Breakpoint Tracking: Allows you to track down addresses calculated by the given register expressions at the specified instruction, just like "Find out what addresses this instruction accesses" feature in CE with a little addon, you can enter multiple register expressions, this allows you to check the value of "esi" even if the instruction is something irrelevant like "mov [eax],edx" [Done]
    • Tracing: Almost the same with CE. But unlike CE, you can stop tracing whenever you want. Created from scratch with shittons of custom features instead of using gdb's trace&collect commands because some people have too much time on their hands [Done]
    • Collision Detection: GDB normally permits setting unlimited watchpoints next to each other. But this behaviour leads to unexpected outcomes such as causing GDB or the inferior become completely inoperable. GDB also doesn't care about the number(max 4) or the size(x86->max 4, x64->max 8) of hardware breakpoints. Fortunately, PINCE checks for these problems whenever you set a new breakpoint and detects them before they happen and then inhibits them in a smart way. Lets say you want to set a breakpoint in the size of 32 bytes. But the maximum size for a breakpoint is 8! So, PINCE creates 4 different breakpoints with the size of 8 bytes and then chains them for future actions [Done]
  • Code Injection [Working on it]
    • Run-time injection: Only .so injection is supported for now. In Memory View window, click Tools->Inject .so file to select the .so file. An example for creating .so file can be found in "libPINCE/Injection/". PINCE will be able to inject single line instructions or code caves in near future [Partially Done?]
  • GDB Console [Done]
    • Is the power of PINCE not enough for you? Then you can use the gdb console provided by PINCE, it's on the top right in main window
  • Simplified/Optimized gdb command alternatives [Working on it]
    • Custom scripts instead of using gdb's x command for reading memory [Done]
    • Custom scripts instead of using gdb's set command for modifying memory [Done]
  • libPINCE- A reusable python library
    • PINCE provides a reusable python library. You can either read the code or check Reference Widget by clicking Help->libPINCE in Memory Viewer window to see docstrings. Contents of this widget is automatically generated by looking at the docstrings of the source files. PINCE has a unique parsing technique that allows parsing variables. Check the function get_comments_of_variables in SysUtils for the details.
  • Extendable with .so files at runtime
  • Automatic Trainer Generation: [Planned]
    • PINCE provides a trainer auto-generated from current address table on demand by using libPINCE and PyQT5 together

Installing Automatically

Just run sudo sh in the PINCE directory. Install script currently supports Ubuntu and Debian. For Archlinux, use the AUR package instead. See below if the automatic installation fails.

Installing Manually

To install PINCE, run this command chain then compile gdb:

sudo apt-get install python3-setuptools python3-pip python3-pyqt5  
sudo pip3 install psutil pexpect distorm3 pygdbmi  

Compiling gdb with python support

Install the packages required for compiling gdb:

sudo apt-get install python3-dev gcc-5 g++-5  

Then cd to the libPINCE folder and make a folder for gdb:

cd libPINCE
mkdir -p gdb_pince
cd gdb_pince

Download and extract the gdb source code:

wget ""
tar -zxvf gdb-8.1.1.tar.gz
cd gdb-8.1.1

Then compile&install locally:

CC=gcc-5 CXX=g++-5 ./configure --prefix=$(pwd) --with-python=python3 && make && sudo make -C gdb install

Move the contents of gdb/data-directory to share/gdb in case of python part of gdb installation fails:

sudo cp -R gdb/data-directory/* share/gdb/

Running PINCE

Just run sh in the PINCE directory

For developers:

sudo apt-get install qttools5-dev-tools (qt5 form designer)
sudo apt-get install pyqt5-dev-tools (pyuic5)
sudo pip3 install line_profiler (for performance testing)

How to use line_profiler: Add @profile tag to the desired function and run PINCE with sudo kernprof -l -v


  • A few weeks till 17/01/2016 : Learned GDB, process of analysis
  • 17/01/2016-22/01/2016 : Basic design, grasping of Python3 and Pyqt5, proof-testing
  • 22/01/2016 : First commit
  • 19/02/2016 : Moved to Github from Bitbucket
  • 25/02/2016 : First successful implementation of thread injection[Update-08/05/2016 : PINCE now uses linux-inject as a secondary injection method]
  • 18/06/2016 : PINCE now supports all-stop mode instead of non-stop mode
  • 21/06/2016 : Variable Inspection&Modification is finished(At basic level)
  • 21/08/2016 : Memory View is finished(At basic level)
  • 24/08/2016 : PINCE no more uses linux-inject because of stability issues(a fix for the race conditions in the inferior would be nice)
  • 26/12/2016 : Debugging is finished(At basic level)

Current Roadmap

  • Consider adding type guessing for the StackView
  • Refactorize memory write/read functions
    • ReferencedStringsWidgetForm refreshes the cache everytime the comboBox_ValueType changes, this creates serious performance issues if total results are more than 800k. Implement a cache system for it by storing the raw bytes and converting them to desired types as the comboBox_ValueType changes
    • Implement same system for the TrackBreakpointWidgetForm if necessary. Do performance tests
    • Consider using a class instead of primitive return types to store the raw bytes. This also gets rid of the unnecessary parameter only_bytes
    • text_to_valuetype is a bad design pattern. Store the information inside the items of tableWidget_AddressTable instead
    • read_multiple_addresses follows a bad design pattern, use named tuples or something like that
    • Provide an option to cut BOM bytes when writing to memory with the types UTF-16 and UTF-32
    • Put a warning for users about replacement bytes for non UTF-8 types
    • Extend string types with LE and BE variants of UTF-16 and UTF-32
    • Change comboBox_ValueType string order to be ... String_UTF-8 String_Others Array of Bytes
    • Implement a custom combobox class for comboBox_ValueType and create a context menu for String_Others item
  • Indent docstrings properly like GDB_Engine.get_breakpoint_info does(independent from other steps)
  • Implement "Investigate Registers" button to gather information about the addresses registers point to(independent from other steps)
  • Implement selectionChanged signal of lineEdit_HexView
  • Implement multi selection for HexView
  • Add the ability to track down registers and addresses in tracer(unsure)(independent from other steps)
  • Implement CE's Ultimap-like feature for tracing data, dissect code data and raw instruction list. Search for calls and store their hit counts to filter out the functions that haven't or have executed specific number of times. Implement a flexible input field for the execution count. For instance, 2^x only searches for hit counts 2, 4, 8 and so on, 3x only searches for 3, 6, 9 etc.(try on Torchlight's loot function first)(independent from other steps)
  • Extend search_referenced_strings with relative search
  • Move GUI classes of to their own files
  • Implement libPINCE engine
  • Extend tagging system to PINCE GUI functions
  • Implement inject_with_advanced_injection(independent from other steps)
  • Implement single-line code injection
  • Implement multi-line code injection
  • Break on/Catch signals and syscalls
  • Execute custom libPINCE scripts on breakpoint/watchpoint trigger
  • Flowcharts based on disassembled output
  • Automatic function bypassing(make it return the desired value, hook specific parts etc.)
  • Implement speedhack(independent from other steps)
  • Implement unrandomizer(independent from other steps)
  • Implement non-stop Continuous Address Table Update feature
  • Implement memory search(with scanmem)
  • Implement pointer-scan
  • Write examples for every function in libPINCE
  • Embedded tutorial videos
  • Super-Uber-Rad credits roll with chiptune tunes
  • Implement extra MemoryViewerWindow tabs(independent from other steps)
  • Extend process_stopped signal to separate GUI and libPINCE execution for optimization. Performance tests are required
  • Consider removing the command file layer of IPC system for GDB_Engine.send_command to speed up things(independent from other steps)[Update-29/04/2018 : Delaying this until GDB/MI implements a native multiline command feature or improves interpreter-exec command to cover every single multiline command type(including define commands)]
  • Implement toggling of arrows for easier navigation for dissected regions(independent from other steps)
  • Provide information about absolute addresses in disassemble screen(independent from other steps)
  • Give users an option to toggle GDB logging(independent from other steps)
  • Give users an option to set IPC path(independent from other steps)
  • Implement settings system for libPINCE like Qt does(independent from other steps)
  • Consider giving users an option to disable specific GUI parts of PINCE to gain performance on low-end machines(independent from other steps)


GPLv3+. See COPYING file for details

Contact Information

Korcan Karaokçu
Çağrı Ulaş
Jakob Kreuze

Supported platforms

  • Platforms tested so far:
    • Kubuntu 14.04 & 16.04(Also tested on x86 variants)
    • Debian 8.5
    • Linux Mint 18.1(install the package "python3-psutil" if you encounter ImportError or NameError, thanks Gibus)
    • Archlinux(contact with Çağrı Ulaş or Jakob Kreuze)
  • Games&Applications tested so far:
    • KMines
    • Torchlight 2
    • Skullgirls
    • Amnesia: The Dark Descent
    • Steam
    • Firefox
    • WINE Games
      • FTL
      • Undertale
      • Hearthstone(It interrupts itself with SIGUSR1 whenever continued, implementing signal passing on PINCE might be very useful in future)[Update-23/04/2017 : Fixed, please check here for instructions]

Trusted Sources