MarkUp 13 & No GM Patches?

MarkUp 13, an ongoing popular Game Maker magazine has just released its 13th (unlucky?) issue.

With 26 pages of comprehensive content, it is a quality magazine worth the read, although not nearly as large as some of it’s competitors.

It comes in 3 formats which can be downloaded here:
High Quality, Low Quality, XPS

An interesting and valid point this issue brings up has to do with YoYo Games’ (and I would say also Mark Overmars’) inability to patch current/previous versions of Game Maker to correct security or performance flaws.

So far YoYo Games has yet to show any evidence of working on a patch for Game Maker 7 that could render the current decompiler tool inoperable or at least help prevent or secure the executables from such exploits.

Two other examples involve Game Maker 6. It was a well known fact that GM6 contained a serious precision bug which caused it to be so imprecise with calculations that for some users, GM5 was the only feasible option. Mark & Xot discovered the reason behind the precision bug while working on Game Maker 7, but never released a patch for version 6 of the program.

The second example is when the final Vista RTM release was made public. It was obvious at that point that Game Maker 6 was not going to run on Vista. To this day however, GM6 has not been patched to work with Vista. Finally, after much demand, a converter to make GM6 executables Vista compatible was released, however it still left GM6 incompatible with the new OS.

What are your thoughts on this? Should YoYo Games change their (non-official) policy of ‘We don’t update Game Maker, you’ll just have to wait for the next release’ to be more accepting of the fact that many users won’t always want to (or be able to) use the latest version of a program?

Hat tip to Xot for providing more information about the precision bug.

YYG Delay & Competition Pushback

Sandy has kindly informed us on the YYG Glog that due to the unforeseen delays in the server move, the second of the company’s competitions will have have it’s deadline pushed back (new deadline is not yet set).

This has come as a relief to many concerned participants of the competition who were finding it difficult to make sure the game was submitted before the deadline was reached. Other users were having trouble communicating with their own team members since they relied on the YoYo Games’ (now non-functional) personal messaging system.

If all goes well, the server will be back in full operation later today/early tomorrow (Friday GMT).

UPDATE: Server still not up and running normally (Since it’s the end of Friday, the last business day of the week in the UK, the server may not be fully restored until Monday). Also, the competition deadline has now been extended to Wednesday (April 30th) at midnight  GMT.

YYG Server Upgrade

It’s good to see that YoYo Games (YYG) is upgrading their servers to provide a better quality service to users, however they picked a very inconvenient time for some.

User’s participating in YYG’s own Competition 02 are meant to be submitting their programming masterpieces for judging in just 3-4 days. According to YYG’s official ‘Glog,’ the server upgrade shouldn’t take more than about 48 hours (and that was said to be an estimate on the safe side). However YoYoJim, an Administrator of the GMC notes that the transition between servers is taking longer than expected and there is no word at this point how long it will take before everything is in operation.

YoYoJim did make a statement:

If this ends up being a problem for the competition then of course the deadline will be moved back a bit. I’m not going to change it just yet as there are still four days left to submit games and we still don’t know how long the server upgrade is going to take.

It basically says the competition will not be pushed back unless the downtime interferes with user’s ability to submit their games. For some, the downtime has already interfered with the submission, and Chronic (anotherGMC administrator) said, “I also agree very much that there should be an extension to the submit time due to maintenance” and encouraged users to “email YYG and let them know [about their submission].”

Meanwhile, the ‘Share’ feature on the YYG website (where game creators go to submit and upload their games) is not available until the server upgrade is complete.

YYG Competition 3

YoYoJim, a somewhat new staff member to the GMC forums has announced the third of YoYo Game’s competitions.

The competition will have a large focus on gameplay and replay value, much like the previous ones. The theme is still pending a final vote count from the Game Maker Community (will be decided upon based on nominations given in this topic).

So far it looks like Freedom could be the theme of choice.

Stay tuned for updates.

GM7 *Is The* Decompiler

By now all of you are most certainly aware of the GM decompiler floating around, but what Caniac discovered today may come as a bit of a shock to some readers.

The user discovered that GM7 in fact ‘decompiles’ packaged extensions for Game Maker 7. This allows any user to view the source code to any Game Maker extension and possibly steal and modify said code without permission from the extension’s author.

You may know that the GM7 decompiler can already ‘decompile’ such extension packages, however this is a bit different. This method of extracting the contents of the package does not require any additional decompiling software, tools or hacking methods. In fact all that is needed is notepad to remove a single line from the extension file Game Maker outputs after the package has been installed in the program.

This is just a small warning to those Extension Makers who are perhaps concerned their work could be stolen or modified without permission. One use of Extensions (prior to this discovery) was to release a secure library of functions to perform various programming tasks which could only be called by the programmer, not viewed or modified. Now it is no longer possible to share programming functions with other developers without also exposing the source code behind them.

YYG Forum Abuse

The Game Maker Community decided from early on not to have a ‘general discussion’ or off-topic area on the board. The assumption was it would be abused by immature users and would create way too much work for the moderators to cope with.

It looks like that assumption is not at all far off. Contrary to the decision of the GMC staff, the YoYo Games staff decided it was in the best interest of the community to have a general discussion forum at forums.yoyogames.com.

This poor decision has left some disturbing and immature posts left throughout the board.

One user writes: “Post weird funny things you did. // I’ve farted in an elevator.”

Another writes: “If you want, type here weird ways to die. // I don’t know where this idea came from, so don’t ask.  // For example: being pelted to death by anchovies.”

So for all those users who keep complaining about a lack of a general discussion area on the GMC, you should be thankful. It serves very little (if any) purpose as shown above, and if you wish to talk about random unrelated topics, there are several chatrooms and forums out there to do so. 

Also, if you are mature enough to make contributing forum posts to the community, there is a general off topic board (and chat) set-up for GM users to check out here.

GMac/Linux Nearing Beta

Sandy Duncan has informed us that he saw a demo of the Mac version of Game Maker yesterday. Mark Overmars is currently in the process of deciding whether it is beta-worthy, and if so when the beta release date will be.

One thing Sandy does note is that Leopard (OS X 10.5) may be required to run the software when it is released as a beta. This could pose a problem for a lot of Mac users since it’s similar to saying ‘only works on Vista’ for PCs.

For the first time we know of, Sandy also gave a short statement of the possibility of a native Linux version of Game Maker coming out sometime this year. This is likely dependent on how well the Mac version of Game Maker performs, and is unlikely to have a release ready before the Mac version is public.