InstantPlay Clones Come to the GMC’s Forefront

The growing popularity of InstantPlay clones, and the heated discussions surrounding them, has finally forced the GMC staff to take action. In the past few weeks a slew of InstantPlay-type plugins of wildly differing qualities have been promoted at the Game Maker Community. After several days of public fighting among rival developers and critics, longtime GMC mod KC LC hid all of the plugin topics and created a single topic with a notice explaining why they were removed and that the staff was discussing the issue internally. She said the reasons were “a general concern about security issues, errors, and the growing flame war among supporters.”

The worst offender in security issues, Revel Quick Play, had several proposed and working exploits demonstrated. The creator, Revel, seemed to largely ignore concerns and kept posting buggy new versions. Several members besides the Author (including Smarty and NakedPaulToast) called him out in this issue. Revel did not address the issues. This, along with other problems, prompted another member, Caniac, to declare that he would create his own rival plugin following the same flawed protocol handler model (despite much better existing alternatives). His solution never materialized, despite large amounts of promotion pre hoc.

After KC LC hid the topics and announced that a policy was being decided upon, an extremely vocal debate ensued in the topic between various plugin developers, critics, and members of the community at large. While there was near-universal agreement that a competitor to YYG’s InstantPlay was needed, many members expressed strong concerns about security. The general consensus among consumers was that they did not want a ‘collect-them-all’ approach with dozens of plugins. They wanted a simple plugin that would work outside of YoyoGame’s own website. As the topic degenerated into a large-scale flamewar, KC LC hid that topic as well and created another notification post today, this time in a pre-closed topic.

The staff have not yet published their official decision.

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Yet Another InstantPlay Plugin

James Rhodes from roket-games.com has released a Firefox-only “InstantPlay” plugin much like Yoyogames.com‘s InstantPlay. This one has the capability to run any Windows application (not just Game Maker games) and allows you to embed a play button on any web page.

Installation is quick and smooth, and the progress indicator on ‘buffering’ games far less obnoxious than YYG’s, but one still has to wonder about the security implications of a plugin that allows arbitrary binaries to run with a single click.

A previous InstantPlay alternative is the Java-based GMBed (v2.0 beta released July ’08). Covac Software also published GmX, an ActiveX-based system, which has had no apparent activity since ’07.

InstantPlay Now Vulnerable to Decompiling

InstantPlay tab of the decompiler.

InstantPlay tab of the decompiler.

This morning an update to the GM Decompiler was released, this time with the ability to decompile InstantPlay games and extract GM7 extensions from games. The update also defeats some methods devised for protecting games from the old decompiler (typically using a hex editor to tamper with the PE).

InstantPlay decompiling automatically detects games you have used via InstantPlay, which are stored in a folder under My Documents. Users are presented a list of games detected and the rest is automatic.

Version two of the infamous decompiler is by the same author (Clam), and includes the same vengeful message about GMK encryption (which was designed to defeat third-party projects).

GMNews and Scorptek do not endorse copyright infringment. This news posting is for informational purposes, and links to the decompiler will be deleted.

Firefox 3 & InstantPlay

For those of you who use Firefox, you may be aware that Mozilla just held a world-record-breaking 24 hour download marathon for the newly released Firefox 3. This means about 7 million people are now running Firefox 3, many of which are trying to use YoYo Game’s InstantPlay system.

The problem is, InstantPlay is not yet compatible with Firefox 3, and this of course is causing some concern amongst users and game authors. What is even more concerning is the fact that Firefox 3 users can neither InstantPlay nor Download a single game from the YoYo Games website.

What we find strange is the fact that the plug-in itself appears to be fully compatible with Firefox 3. When you use additional Firefox add-ons to override compatibility of the plug-in it appears to run flawlessly. The only problem holding back the plug-in seems to be the fact it hasn’t been approved for secure updates. New Firefox extensions now require either an SSL secure certificate or an approval from the Mozilla team. Apparrently the extension has neither.

According to a new glog post, Sandy Duncan has announced that they are working on the problem and in fact they had requested a change (did not specify what) to Firefox earlier on in the beta to help ensure compatibility in the final version. Apparrently this change was not made, but as far as we can tell from our view-point, this should not have prevented the YoYo Games team from adding the required security measures to make the add-on compatible.