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.

5 Responses

  1. Almost every software company, especially those with free updates, stops supporting old software.
    Why should a software vendor spend time fixing an outdated software version when they can also spend that time fixing the current release.

    Also, from my understanding, it is next to impossible to fix the security against decompilers within Game Maker currently. They could create a fix but sooner or later it will be broken. A fix would in my non expert opinion require an entire rewrite of the runner. This is something which will take a very long time and which I believe they are trying for Game Maker 8. Many companies before them have proven that rushing security fixes doesn’t tend to work. YoYo Games is probably very well aware of the quick fix Microsoft did on the original Xbox:
    The Xbox only became secure after a total rewrite of the hardware and software.

  2. I really want them to start working on new versions of GM. There are a lot of features the program can use. The lack of real updates just makes you feel like Game Maker is standing still while all the other technology is moving on.

  3. I don’t see a reason why GM6 would have to be patched in order to work. GM7 is exactly the same thing as GM6 with some extra features and bugfixes. Maybe what has to be fixed is the DRM system, so that people can finally upgrade with no problems like they did with GM6.
    I’d like to see some patches about the security issues though.

  4. @Simon, I understand that some software providers would not want to support old versions (although many do anyways, mostly for people who purchased old licenses, or are unable to run the newer version).

    But the precision bug was found early on, and no attempts were made to fix it. And if I remember correctly, Mark discovered the reason for the bug shortly after releasing GM 6.1, however no patch was released for 6.1 (i.e. the [i]current version[/i]), and the fix was only availble in GM7 which came out months and months (maybe more than a year?) later.

    @Sindarin, it’s not the same. GM7 has much higher requirements than GM6. GM7 doesn’t work on Windows 98 or ME at all to my knowledge, and believe it or not there are still a lot of people (and Game Maker developers) on those Operating Systems that can’t run GM7.

  5. Listen, I’m the one who helped Mark find the cause of the precision bug, so here is REAL story behind it. The problem was discovered not long after GM6 was released. The cause was unknown until a few days before GM7 was released. It was not simply a matter of selecting the wrong data type. There was an undocumented “feature” that causes Delphi to change precision from double to single when DirectX is enabled, reguardless of the selected precision. Not such a simple matter to track down.

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