Valve Games Were Vulnerable to Software Exploits When Your Character Died

The One Up Security firm, who must be very new because this is their only published research article and their domain name appears to have been registered about 8 months ago, has released information on a vulnerability that Valve patched in their Source engine back in June.

It’s an amusing vulnerability because the exploitation of it occurs when your character dies on a game server, and your character model’s ragdoll is replaced with an exploitative payload that the researcher was able to exploit because certain security flags weren’t set on portions of Steam. This is what you see in action when you watch One Up Security’s video embedded above.

Telling Lies

Sam Barlow of the incredible Her Story FMV game is working on something new, it’s called Telling Lies. Todd Spangler has the exclusive over at Variety:

“Telling Lies” is a “spiritual follow-up” to “Her Story,” he said, but will have a completely new story with more characters and locations. Shooting will likely begin at the end of 2017 or early 2018.

Barlow is tight-lipped on what, exactly, “Telling Lies” is about but said it’s in the vein of a political thriller with 3-4 key characters. A movie he’s watched extensively for reference is Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 mystery thriller “The Conversation,” starring Gene Hackman.

“Imagine Steve McQueen’s ‘Shame’ mashed up with ‘The Conversation,’” Barlow said. For movies, he said, the 1970s “were such a golden age exploring the intersection of government, society and individuals.”

Indie Video Game Stores in 2017

Matt Leone of Polygon has this incredibly in-depth feature on the stories of video game stores that are still operating in 2017:

…we recently dug into the specific costs of running an independent game store in the U.S., and talked to more than 15 store owners and managers about the process. From telling stories of Amazon selling games for less than wholesale distributors, to opening their books and showing the costs of everything from insurance to paper towels, they paint a picture of an industry doing its best to keep its head above water.

It’s one of those things that I imagine a lot of people have thought about doing, and then dismissed. The photography in this article, by Jonathan Castillo, is just as good as the writing. This is probably the best game-related article I’ve read all year, strong contender for SOTY.

Nine Inch Nails Collaborated With Llamasoft’s Jeff Minter and Twin Peaks

This is frankly insane, there’s a new video out from Nine Inch Nails and it’s got footage from Llamasoft’s Polybius.  Jeff Minter is Llamasoft and he has made many other trippy and intense action arcade games, most people would know him for Tempest 2000. Although Polybius is only available on the PlayStation 4, a Windows version is in development. The track in the collaboration video above, Less Than, will be on a new EP called Add Violence on the 21st of July. Less Than is available right now on Apple Music.

This is after Nine Inch Nails also appeared on the renewed Twin Peaks:

Elite: Dangerous on PlayStation 4 & Discounted for Xbox One & Computers

Frontier’s extremely long running space explore-em-up, Elite: Dangerous, is finally out on the PlayStation 4 after the Xbox One version became a thing last year. It’s $30 for the base game, or $60 for the version that includes the season pass and other goodies.

The Xbox One port of Elite: Dangerous is also $30, but the upgraded edition is temporarily on sale for $40.19 for the next few days.

Of course if you want to get truly ridiculous, the Windows and macOS Elite: Dangerous on Steam is only $15 right now. It has some negative reviews there, but they’re from people who have put 200+ hours into the game. Do you hate-play a game for 200 hours? Hilarious demonstration of why the Steam review system still sucks.

SNES Classic Edition Announced with Star Fox 2; Out September 29th in US for $80

Rumors have been pretty clear that Nintendo would announce a Super Nintendo Classic Edition as a successor to the Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition, and it turns out that the reports were true. The SNES Classic Edition will be available at the end of September on the 29th for $80, $20 more than the NES Classic Edition. It’ll have 21 games built-in total, 9 fewer than the NES Classic Edition.

Just like the NES Classic Edition, the SNES Classic Edition will hook up via HDMI, and won’t support cartridges or any other official method of loading new games onto the system. This time Nintendo are including two controllers and one of the games on the system will be the previously unavailable Star Fox 2. Although Star Fox 2 was never released, some footage was available and some versions of the ROM leaked, but this will be the first legitimate release of the game. There’s an old interview on Arwing Landing with Dylan Cuthbert who worked on both Star Fox 1 & where he discusses why the game was never released:

Starfox 2 was fully completed. I was lead programmer and whilst Giles made Stunt Race FX, myself and the rest of the original Starfox team (ie. Nintendo’s artists and designers) expanded Starfox into a full 3D shooting game. We used state-of-the-art technology such as arbitrary plane clipping (which has only been seen recently in such games as Crash Bandicoot 2 & 3) to create some rather spectacular effects. (for the time)

The reason for non-release was the then impending Nintendo-64 which of course was intended to be released a lot sooner than it actually was. Miyamoto-san decided he wanted to have a clean break between 3D games on the SNES and 3D games on the new superior 64 bit system. In retrospect, he could have released Star Fox 2 and there would have been over a year and a half before the N64 came out. But hindsight is always 20/20.

Starfox 64 incorporated a lot of the newer ideas we created in Starfox 2 but it didn’t, in my view, take the genre a full step forward. Starfox 2 really was a different direction of gameplay.

Here’s the full list of games that’ll be in the SNES Classic Edition:

  • Contra III: The Alien Wars
  • Donkey Kong Country
  • EarthBound
  • Final Fantasy III
  • F-ZERO
  • Kirby Super Star
  • Kirby’s Dream Course
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  • Mega Man X
  • Secret of Mana
  • Star Fox
  • Star Fox 2
  • Street Fighter® II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
  • Super Castlevania IV
  • Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts
  • Super Mario Kart
  • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
  • Super Mario World
  • Super Metroid
  • Super Punch-Out!!
  • Yoshi’s Island

This collection looks great to me, Super Mario RPG is still my favorite RPG, but just as I said when the NES Classic Edition was announced you could buy a Raspberry Pi for $36 today. Load up that Pi with all kinds of emulators and use whatever controllers you want. Which feels even more reasonable when Nintendo plans on ending SNES Classic Edition manufacturing at the end of the year, which will probably make it just as difficult as it was to get an NES Classic Edition when that was discontinued.

 

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds: Solo Squad

I’m still playing so much Battlegrounds, more than anything else it draws me back with it’s subtleties in strategy. Deciding if you want to get more combat experience and seek out fights and other players or find some gear and camp in the second floor of a house.

Lately I’ve been trying something different, playing on four-player servers as a lone wolf. It’s the most extreme challenge I’ve found in PUBG, and Cameron Kunzelman has an article expounding the virtues of solo squad up on Waypoint:

The game plays differently in Solo Squad mode. There is no running and gunning. You can’t win any encounters by rushing your enemies and yelling. You can take one player when they’re off guard, but sneaking up on four people is next to impossible. Taking a long-range, tactical encounter is usually your best bet if you’re trying to fight at all, although a shotgun can make much quicker work of a team than you might think if you’re waiting around the right corner.

Cameron’s strategy of fighting instead of hiding in order to better learn PUBG’s combat systems is also recommend. I’d add one more tip: play in first-person. You lose the ability to cheat around corners and will have to keep in mind that other players are able to do so, but I’ve gotten way closer to a chicken dinner by playing in first-person.

“Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!” Gets a Gameplay Trailer Before It Comes Out August 24th

Cook, Serve, Delicious! instantly lets me know that I’m old and can’t keep up with modern process-oriented games beyond Diner Dash. If you’re still young enough to keep up you can play the sequel on Steam for Windows on August 24th, although the game’s Steam page already has system requirements for Linux and macOS as well.

The Hitman That Owned Himself

Square-Enix recently decided to drop IO Interactive from their portfolio of development studios, which left IO’s series of Hitman (and other games) up in the air. Good news. IO is now the company that owns themselves  and also owns the Hitman “Intellectual Property” according to the CEO’s statement. I have a few questions as to who owns the previous games and the right to publish those, and what this means for the remaining staff at IO after they recently had to lay off some, but I’ll be looking forward to playing the next elusive target.