GM for Mac – Soon…ish

In Sandy’s latest post on the official YoYo Games glog, there has been some discussion about the on-going Mac version of Game Maker that was first expected to be released as a beta way back in March.

According to Sandy, he has an alpha version of the software running on his mac right now and it’s ‘going very well.’ Apparrently there are still a few bugs that need to be worked out with the Lazerus team before its release, but Sandy hopes that it will be available soon (as a beta), possibly as early as next month. He does however say ‘don’t quote me on it’, so no guarantees at this point.

As we understand it, the Mac version will be identical to the Windows version of Game Maker in every way except that the former will lack support for third party extensions and DLLs as these run only on Windows. What this means is most games built to run on Macs will run fine with the Windows counterpart, but some games built for Windows that do use the extensions and DLL functionality won’t run on macs. There is no information at this point on whether an equivalent functionality will eventually be built-into the program for mac users.

It is also unclear whether each GM program will allow you to create binaries for both Windows and Mac or whether you will need to physically have a Mac and Game Maker for Mac to create a Mac version of the game (or vice versa). The licensing of the software also has not yet been revealed, there is still speculation as to whether the purchase of 1 license will grant use of both GM for Windows and Mac or whether users will have to purchase each software package separately.

GMC Malware Attack

It’s not often that there is headline news for GM, but this story is unlikely to go down unnoticed.

According to several users on the GMC (which we will not link to for reasons explained below), a malicious piece of code has been embedded in the forum software code. The code, which allegedly creates an iframe that secretly loads a malicious website and downloads a virus is said to be found in every forum topic.

Until there are further developments on this story, we recommend that you DO NOT visit the GMC.

According to one user, Google Chrome warns users prior to visiting any GMC page to say that the site contains malicious code with a recommendation of not continuing. Internet Explorer on the other hand seems to be most affected by the attack (not surprisingly).

According to Phil Gamble on the Game Maker Blog, it may be possible that the forum code was altered by the use of a technique called ‘MySQL injection’ whereby a hacker finds a vulnerability in the website which allows him or her to modify or add new code directly into the forum’s database without needing Administration access to the whole forum itself.

KC, a moderator of the GMC, was quick to say users shouldn’t be too worried despite all the virus warning pop-ups users have reported. “ [the malicious website] has been listed as a malware site before. It’s probably being generated by one of the advertisers on YYG. I wouldn’t worry too much about it.” Nevertheless, we recommend taking all pre-cautions necessary to ensure your computer’s safety.

Update: Thanks to NakedPaulToast, it appears the security flaw in the forum software that may have allowed this attack to occur has been identified, click here for more details. According to the website, a patch has been available

Update: One user warns that the virus is also affecting Firefox users, and that he/she received a warning from their anti-virus software to say a virus named “HTML:IFrame-BL [Trj]” had been detected.

Update: Screenshots from users:
Using Google Chrome from Jangos_Legacy
Using Internet Explorer & AVG from Jangos_Legacyo
Using Firefox & Google Toolbar from Revel

Update: For those who want to keep up to date with what’s happening, click here for the GMC virus topic in low-fi mode, this will allow you to view the topic without putting your computer at risk (at least for now).

Update: Internet Explorer users are reporting that the GMC is now asking to install an ActiveX control called “Microsoft works imaging server” from an unverified publisher. There is also a report that the website is automatically running Microsoft Outlook

Update: The Game Maker blog has been updated to confirm that the security vulnerability on the GMC still exists and the iframe is now loading different malicious websites to those from before. Until now, there hasn’t been any signs of major virus damage as the result of visiting the website, however if the URL continues to change, it’s probably only a matter of time before it forces dangerous executables to run on the end-users computer.

Update: Mark overmars is now reading the Virus and Malware releated topics on the GMC forum. As an administrator he has more control over the forum than other users and can choose to close the forum until it is safe for users to come back. It is unknown however if he has the server-side access required to patch the forum software to fix the security vulnerability.

Update: The GMC is reportedly now asking users to run and download various Java applets and Active-X controls which are damaging to your computer. Most of them say they are from “Microsoft” but the source is in fact from an unverified/unsigned publisher trying to mask itself under the company’s name.

Update: It appears things are just getting worse. As the end of the day closes (in North America), any attempt to access the GMC in Firefox is denied with a “Reported Attack Site!” message. Previously, this only happened to users who also had Google’s Firefox toolbar extension installed.

Update: The GMC has now been given the all clear by forum administrator chronic. It’s expected to take a couple of days before the google/firefox warnings clear – From my iPhone.

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.

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.