Gearbox Had A Hilarious Response To The Aliens: Colonial Marines Bug

Gearbox Had A Hilarious Response To The Aliens: Colonial Marines Bug

11:39pm, 18th July, 2018
Last year a modder discovered a bug in the initialization file for Gearbox Software's Aliens: Colonial Marines. The bug was actually a typo in how the initialization files. Well, Gearbox Software has responded to the recent news about the typo and the company did so in a way that is...
Roblox responds to the hack that allowed a child’s avatar to be raped in its game

Roblox responds to the hack that allowed a child’s avatar to be raped in its game

7:19pm, 18th July, 2018
There’s a special place in Hell for people who think it’s funny to rape a 7-year-old girl’s avatar in an online virtual world designed for children. Yes, that . Roblox, a hugely popular online game for kids, was hacked by an individual who subverted the game’s protection systems in order to have customized animations appear. This allowed two male avatars to gang rape a young girl’s avatar on a playground in one of the Roblox games. The company has now issued an apology to the victim and its community, and says it has determined how the hacker was able to infiltrate its system so it can prevent future incidents. The mother of the child, whose avatar was the victim of the in-game sexual assault, was nearby when the incident took place. She says her child showed her what was happening on the screen and she took the device away, fortunately shielding her daughter from seeing most of the activity. The mother then captured screenshots of the event in order to warn others. She described the incident in a that read, in part: At first, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My sweet and innocent daughter’s avatar was being VIOLENTLY GANG-RAPED ON A PLAYGROUND by two males. A female observer approached them and proceeded to jump on her body at the end of the act. Then the 3 characters ran away, leaving my daughter’s avatar laying on her face in the middle of the playground. Words cannot describe the shock, disgust, and guilt that I am feeling right now, but I’m trying to put those feelings aside so I can get this warning out to others as soon as possible. Thankfully, I was able to take screenshots of what I was witnessing so people will realize just how horrific this experience was. *screenshots in comments for those who can stomach it* Although I was immediately able to shield my daughter from seeing the entire interaction, I am shuddering to think of what kind of damage this image could have on her psyche, as well as any other child that could potentially be exposed to this. Roblox has since issued a statement about the attack: Roblox’s mission is to inspire imagination and it is our responsibility to provide a safe and civil platform for play. As safety is our top priority — we have robust systems in place to protect our platform and users. This includes automated technology to track and monitor all communication between our players as well as a large team of moderators who work around the clock to review all the content uploaded into a game and investigate any inappropriate activity. We provide parental controls to empower parents to create the most appropriate experience for their child, and we provide individual users with protective tools, such as the ability to block another player. The incident involved one bad actor that was able to subvert our protective systems and exploit one instance of a game running on a single server. We have zero tolerance for this behavior and we took immediate action to identify how this individual created the offending action and put safeguards in place to prevent it from happening again. In addition, the offender was identified and permanently banned from the platform. Our work on safety is never-ending and we are committed to ensuring that one individual does not get in the way of the millions of children who come to Roblox to play, create, and imagine. The timing of the incident is particularly notable for the kids’ gaming platform, which has more than 60 million monthly active users and is now up to $150 million to grow its business. The company has been flying under the radar for years, while quietly amassing a large audience of both players and developers who build its virtual worlds. Roblox stated that it expects to pay out its content creators $70 million in 2018, which is double that of last year. Roblox has a number of built-in controls to guard against bad behavior, including a content filter and a system that has moderators reviewing images, video and audio files before they’re uploaded to Roblox’s site. It also offers parental controls that let parents decide who can chat with their kids, or the ability to turn chat off. And parents can restrict kids under 13 from accessing anything but a curated list of age-appropriate games. However, Roblox was also in the process of moving some of its older user-generated games to a newer system that’s more secure. The hacked game was one of several that could have been exploited in a similar way. Since the incident, Roblox had its developers remove all the other potentially vulnerable games and ask their creators to move them over to the newer, more fortified system. Most have done so, and those who have not will not see their games allowed back online until that occurs. The games that are online now are not vulnerable to the exploit the hacker used. The company responded quickly to take action, in terms of taking the game offline, banning the player and reaching out the mother — who has since agreed to help Roblox get the word out to others about the safeguards parents can use to protect kids in Roblox further. But the incident raises questions as to whether kids should be playing these sorts of massive multiplayer games at such a young age at all. Roblox, sadly, is not surprised that someone was interested in a hack like this. YouTube is filled with videos of Roblox rape hacks and exploits, in fact. The company submits takedown requests to YouTube when videos like this are posted, but YouTube only takes action on a fraction of the requests. (YouTube has its own issues around content moderation.) It’s long past time for there to be real-world ramifications for in-game assaults that can have lasting psychological consequences on victims, when those victims are children. Roblox, for its part, is heavily involved in discussions about what can be done, but the issue is complex. laws prevent Roblox from collecting data on its users, including their personal information, because the law is meant to protect kids’ privacy. But the flip side of this is that Roblox has no way of tracking down hackers like this. “I think that we’re not the only one pondering the challenges of this. I think every platform company out there is struggling with the same thing,” says Tami Bhaumik, head of marketing and community safety at Roblox. “We’re members of the , which is over 30 companies who share best practices around digital citizenship and child safety and all of that,” she continues. “And this is a constant topic of conversation that we all have – in terms of how do we use technology, how do we use A.I. and machine learning? Do we work with the credit card companies to try to verify [users]? How do we get around not violating COPPA regulations?,” says Bhaumik. “The problem is super complex, and I don’t think anyone involved has solved that yet,” she adds. One solution could be forcing parents to sign up their kids and add a credit card, which would remain uncharged unless kids broke the rules. That could dampen user growth to some extent — locking out the under-banked, those hesitant to use their credit cards online and those just generally distrustful of gaming companies and unwanted charges. It would mean kids couldn’t just download the app and play. But Roblox has the momentum and scale now to lock things down. There’s enough demand for the game that it could create more of a barrier to entry if it chose to, in an effort to better protect users. After all, if players knew they’d be fined (or their parents would be), it would be less attractive to break the rules.
Fortnite maker Epic Games beefs up its Unreal game engine in new update

Fortnite maker Epic Games beefs up its Unreal game engine in new update

5:10pm, 18th July, 2018
After a wildly successful last few months thanks to Fortnite, is delivering some substantial new updates to its Unreal game engine, which supports a variety of cross-platform titles and experiences. Some features like smoother compatibility on mobile and better support for Switch come directly from the fact that they’ve had to iterate so quickly on building such a massively successful cross-platform title. “Our engine is as good as it is because we ship games,” Epic Games CTO Kim Libreri told TechCrunch. “How many clicks an artist has to do to be able to change the color of something or adjust the look of something is all highly optimized because the artists scream at us day-in and day-out on the engine team if it’s not efficient.” The engine enables indie developers to gain access to a system for environment building and rendering that is on-par with the major studios. A lot of the new features come from tools that Epic Games built because it needed them for its own titles. The latest 4.20 update is fairly notable for the engine, bringing some performance bumps but also a new visual effects engine and some other new stuff. One of the bigger highlights of this update is a system for rendering objects at reduced polygonal complexity when need be. The engine’s Proxy Levels of Detail tech competes directly with some of the technology built by Simplygon, which Microsoft . The tech basically allows objects to render in low-poly mesh versions rather than a soft or all-or-nothing scenario, whereas you traverse an environment, objects will just appear out of nowhere on the horizon as they render. The company says that this tech was essential for ensuring that Fortnite players are on an even footing even when on lower-power devices. The feature has been available in an experimental build since the most recent update, but it has been honed to be more reliable in this new release. Another heavy hitter of the release is the early access release of Niagara, a long-awaited visual effects editor that the company talked about a lot at GDC. The tool allows developers a lot of control over particle physics for something like an explosion or fire and will eventually be replacing the engine’s existing Cascade system. In addition to visual effects looking more realistic, Epic is looking to give cutscenes a shot in the arm with tech that allows developers to deliver some pretty top-notch movie-quality shots via depth-of-focus bokeh-like enhancements that draw attention to what matters in a scene. On a similar note, Epic is releasing the tools they have been using in their work to create more realistic digital human characters. There’s a lot of other new functionality in this release, including updated AR support for Magic Leap One and ARKit 2, as well as some mixed reality capture functionality in early access. All of these features are available to devs now in the 4.20 update.
Microsoft will introduce new Xbox hardware and accessories next month

Microsoft will introduce new Xbox hardware and accessories next month

10:57am, 18th July, 2018
Three years later, Xbox’s backward compatibility for older games has become one of the console’s defining features. (GeekWire Photo) Microsoft will introduce new Xbox hardware and accessories next month at the gamescom event in Germany. The tech giant teased the news in a today, with the announcement starting at 7:30 a.m. PT on August 21. It likely won’t be a new Xbox console, although the company did last month that it is working on the next version of Xbox, with will . noted that Microsoft could debut the successor to its popular Xbox Elite controller. Microsoft last month ramped up its gaming arm by and creating a new studio of its own as it plans to create more first-party titles. The company is also investing AI and cloud resources for a game streaming network.
No Man's Sky Next Trailer Shows Real Multiplayer

No Man's Sky Next Trailer Shows Real Multiplayer

10:21pm, 17th July, 2018
No Man's Sky is about to take its next giant leap forward with the introduction of enhanced ships, base-building upgrades and legitimate multiplayer support, all on display in the game's latest trailer.
Niantic acquires Seismic Games

Niantic acquires Seismic Games

7:40pm, 17th July, 2018
Niantic — the company behind Pokémon GO — is back at it with another acquisition. After acquiring back in February and back in June, this morning the company announced it’s acquiring Seismic Games. is probably best known for its work on Marvel: Strike Force, a mobile, turn-based RPG that has players build battle teams made up of all the big names from the Marvel comic universe. Niantic’s two biggest games of the foreseeable future — Pokémon GO and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite — both rely heavily on licensed IP. So acquiring a team that already has a wealth of experience with licensed IP — specifically, a team that can walk that fine line of building enough new content to keep the players happy without doing something that sets off the IP owners — makes sense. No terms of the deal were disclosed.