Mark’s Love for Diving

Mark Overmars Quotes:

I am a reasonable fanatic diver and since 2001 I make underwater photos with a digital camera. On these pages you find a number of the pictures I took on some of the diving locations. Till 2004 I used a Canon PowerShot A20. Since 2005 I use a Canon PowerShot A95. I simply used the standard housing and no additional flash or anything. Some picture have been slightly adapted using Paint Shop Pro in particular to improve the color balance.

From http://www.cs.uu.nl/~markov/diving/ a site by Mark, devoted to his love for diving underwater and taking pictures.

Here are some sample photos Mark has taken on his underwater adventures:

Pretty nice eh? I didn’t realize Mark had a diving hobby, how on earth does he manage to fit time for everything in his life.

4e5: Four Elements

Yes, this competition came out about 15 or so days ago, but its not old news.

Smarty's Post:

Dear members,

We have been contacted concerning a grand competition held by GameDev. We feel that this competition deserves extra attention from our members, that's why we announce it here.

Here are the details from Superpig:

QUOTE(Superpig)

Hi folks,

My name's Richard Fine, I run the contests over at GameDev.net these days. We've just launched a new contest that some of you might be interested in.

Four Elements (or "4E," as many of us call it) is GameDev.net's biggest annual competition, running for about half a year. We give you four "elements," and you go off and make a game based around them. When the six months are up, you submit your game, we score it over a number of different criteria (grouped broadly into "gameplay", "production" and "technical"), and then award prizes. In past years we've given away top-of-the-line graphics cards and 3D modelling packages; the prize pool is open right up until the end of the contest, so you never know what's going to show up smile.gif This year, EJoyStudio have already said that they'll donate a copy of their video capture software to every person who takes part – so you're guaranteed something simply for submitting something, even if it doesn't do very well (unless you do so badly you get disqualified, but hopefully that won't happen).

This year's four elements are Emotion, Economics, Emblem, and Europe.

One of the things we really encourage is that people use the most efficient tools and techniques to get the job done – why code everything from scratch when there's an open-source engine that does what you need? We don't reward people for wasting their time. So if you want to submit an entry made in Game Maker, that's great! By using existing technology instead of writing things from scratch, you'll have more time to spend making sure your game plays well and looks good.

To top it off, the winner of last year's contestNinja Loves Pirate – was made in Game Maker. While it was not as interesting as others from a technical point of view, it was very polished, very well written, and very fun to play. So it's definitely possible to compete with all the guys doing shader-heavy glorified tech demos wink1.gif

If you're interested, the contest site has all the rules and regulations, plus, of course, the elements themselves. If you've got questions, our forum is a good place to look for answers – though I'll be happy to hang around here for a bit and answer questions too.


We would like to make it known that Mark Overmars and The Game Maker Community staff have no part in the organisation of this competition and that we are not, in any way, affiliated or associated. Full responsibility is with GameDev.

Additionally, Richard made it clear that the choice of the development tool is entirely free – your GM entry might be competing with games from both more and less sophisticated engines. Judging will take the quality of the game in account, regardless of the tool used.

Therefore, you cannot blame your game's failings on Game Maker's limitations.

Now, go ahead and defend Game Maker's honour. wink1.gif

The GMC Staff

 So here is a competition to look forward to if you like Game Design, lots of prizes too, to keep you motivated :). Good luck if you decide to enter the contest, and remember to use Game Maker to the best of your abilities to make something we're all proud of.

GM6 EXE DECOMPILER

Yes, it is finally here…

It’s both an exciting and fearful moment of truth. Now any user without effort can decompile your game or program. There is No GUI interface for the decompiler yet and it involves two steps to extract the resources. Each part of the program was created by a seperate individuals, both can be found posting on the GMC.

While the creators of the decompiler/resource extractor are to be kept anonymous, there are some secret details which have been released. The current program (or part of) extracts the following resources:

  1. Sprites
  2. Backgrounds
  3. Scripts!
  4. Object Names

On a private interview with the creator, s/he mentioned working on an update to the program which could extract other resources such as paths.

The program is not available for download as it DOES breach the Game Maker License agreement. The program is only intended for users who have lost their game to corruption and are seeking ways of recovering some of their code and resources. This is only a very recent creation (last 2 days) although the concept of GM’s hacking vulnerability has been around for a while now.

Unfortunately, Mark has made a couple of boo-boos if you wish, which have left GM executables vulnerable to resource extration. Currently there are two known methods for extracting certain resources from an executable, one involving memory, and another involving a slight security hole found in the GM executable. The current resource extracter takes advantage of the latter.

The ironic part of the story is over the past couple of years there have been “hackers” trying do decrypt Game Maker’s executables with advanced decryption algorithms, and this simple method of resource extraction only requires a few lines of straightforward, simple function calls.

So be-warned, your games and programs aren’t safe anymore. People may now cheat in your games and screw stuff up (especially online highscore tables), and more importantly they may access all your precious coding, which may even contain passwords and secret information. So think twice before releasing your program as someone is likely out there ready to decompile all your hard work.

Also note, your Object Code and D&D information is also not safe, just because this extractor doesn’t have this capability, there are methods to retrieve this information and coding, and much much more.

GM Not Liking Vista

Looks like GM is having a major issue. Apparrently for some odd reason, in the time between the last BETA build, and the latest Stable Public Preview release of Vista, there has been some major change in the soon to come Operating System that is preventing Game Maker from running.

Game Maker has run fine so far on the previous builds of Vista (& Longhorn), however Microsoft's latest [STABLE] Public release (Build 5384.4) apparrently will not run Game Maker at all. Opening GM's EXE will result in your computer freezing as the processor usage will jump to 100% and the only way to resolve the problem is to kill the process through task manager.

Conclusion, don't upgrade to Vista just yet, use it on a test machine first otherwise you'll be left without Game Maker for a while. My personal thoughts are: Microsoft has been contacted about the issue, and they may or may not release a patch / have a solution for this problem. However, I beleive if they do attempt to make the application compatible it won't be until a Service Pack is released, and this will not be until months after Vista's final release, causing a fairly big issue for new users, customers purchasing Game Maker Games, current GM users who upgraded without knowing the GM issue.

So far it looks like there is little hope. Trying to run the program in compatability mode makes no difference. Microsoft suggests it maybe something to do with the program using Direct X 9, but not a lot is certain at this point. But there is one thing that is for certain, Vista is just around the corner and will be released in just a few months time, and the current build with the problem was not really intended on being changed much, Microsoft is just working on last minute OS tweaking, and are assuming all programs are functioning correctly and don't plan on making any major changes to the OS in the near future that may enable GM to run.

So, should Mark Overmars receive obtain a copy of the currently available Vista Preview and start working on a Vista compatabile Game Maker? Or should he wait it out and just hope that Microsoft will try and work something out and get Game Maker to run on Vista some how without the need of reprogramming certain aspects of the program?

What are your thoughts? 

GMC Stripped of it’s skin

Lately there have been many, many users with the same problem; including myself I may add.

When visiting the GMC (for an unknown reason) the images just decide not to load. For some users flushing their cache fixes the problem, for others their Firewall seems to be blocking the connection, and for the rest of the group the mystery is still unsolved, and seem to be stuck without images… forever.Within only a few days, over 5 topics about this issue have found their way on to the community forum.

An anonymous user posts a screenshot to give an idea of what it looks like:

The problem seems to be independent of the user's browser showing up in both Firefox and Explorer.

Side note: There is a new GameDev Game Competition (4e5: Four Elements) for game programmers. Its for any programming language and that includes GM. In fact a GM user won the competition last year! So stand up for your program, this is your time to show off what GM can do! Great prizes for the winners, plus bragging rights :D. Good luck.

Sig Puzzle 3

It is that time again! A new Sig Puzzle from Scorptek has been released.

There are no rules or guidelines for solving the puzzle, except for no cheating.

Basically something in the image is a clue and indicates what you should do next.

The HALL OF FAME is here, and the PUZZLE PAGE is here.

I will not allow comments now, however I will turn the comments feature back on AFTER the sig puzzle is finished, please do not discuss solutions / strategies / tactics / answers to do with this puzzle with anyone else. Its individual work, you may solve with a friend, but only one entry will be allowed.

GOOD LUCK 🙂 

Book on shelves

Mark Overmars says:

 

Our book The Game Maker's Apprentice is on schedule to appear at the end of this month. On the book webpage http://book.gamemaker.nl we now added a pdf version of Chapter 3 of the book and a pdf version of the full front matter (foreword, table of contents, introduction, etc.). You can download them under the Extra tab on the site.

Mark Overmars

Well I found that Chapter 3 PDF a long time ago (see the news article posted last month I think) but this is good news, I know a lot of users who are looking forward to the release of the book.

PS. Secret Project updates… what is going on you may ask… I've been busy with exams and all and havn't had much time to work on it. I'll try and get everything working sometime soon. There is however a small issue with it in Firefox which I cannot find a solution for, it works fine by itself, it works fine on Windows Live, but chuck it in on Google and the page never stops loading. Aside from that I'm working on an addition to the Secret Project, which in itself is also a large project. Hope it turns out well.