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Unreal Engine Exploit & Patch Plans

A recently posted BugTraq listing (thanks 3DGPU) outlines a vulnerability in Epic's Unreal engine that's susceptible to DoS, DDoS and bounce attacks with spoofed UDP packets. The report outlines the problem, which affects dozens of games from Unreal through UT2003, and describes how the author of the report held off on publicizing this for almost three months to give time for Epic to devise a fix. I contacted Epic's Mark Rein to ask about this and he was very frank about how this had indeed been brought to their attention, but had unfortunately fallen through the cracks. He sent along a list of changes for the next planned UT2003 patch which will now address these vulnerabilities, and says it's likely that a small patch will be issued to address these in the original version of Unreal Tournament as well. As for other games using the Unreal engine, he says that fixes like this are always made available to licensees, who will then be able to issue patches of their own should they so choose. Here is Mark's no-holds-barred assessment of why this went unaddressed after being brought to their attention:

I won't sugar coat this. We f***ed up on this. Yes this is real and yes this was brought to our attention and yes we should have fixed it by now. We are working on fixing this now and we will have this fixed in an upcoming patch before too long.

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70 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 1.
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70. Re: Putting this discussion back on track Feb 12, 2003, 12:43 MindTrigger
 
(mr. nice guy)

This comment was edited on Feb 12, 16:50.
 
--
He cut the possum's face off then cut around the eye socket. In the center of the belt buckle, where the possum's eye would be, he has placed a small piece of wood from his old '52 Ford's home made railroad tie bumper. Damn, he misses that truck.
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69. Putting this discussion back on track Feb 12, 2003, 11:13 [DFA]Ozymandias
 
This is getting old when people side track onto something that doesn't have to do with the subject at hand.

Anyway, THIS shows a big problem in large software manufacturers. What the PR says and what is/would have been done would be different if that security hole hadn't been placed on bugtraq. They obviously didn't think it would be made public so they didn't take the time to fix it. This is called security through obscurity. People like myself that run ISPs and gaming servers (yes you can rent them also) have gotten so tired of this very kind of problem. Which is one reason why Windows servers aren't an option on my network. Now I have to deal with it from game producers?!?!?!?!

All I can say is things like this explains to me why the Unreal engine isn't more popular than it is. If they can't even secure their gaming engine from DoS and DDoS attacks, how are they going to stop cheaters. Oh wait...I don't think anyone stops cheaters anymore, they leave that up to the server admin to ban those players....real helpful there people

 
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68. patch Feb 12, 2003, 05:05 Ouch
 
So what about a patch for Unreal 2 ? Crash burn tinkle. It crashes as soon as I select difficulty. I wasn't going to buy it since there is no demo but I thought I'd make an exception. Big mistake. No wonder they didn't release a demo, the game doesn't work. I've been waithing for days to hear from tech support. I'm pretty much assuming that I can give up on them.You should read their discussion board, even though they are limiting posters now. P.O.S. There's no excuse for this. Don't buy it.

I agree that UT 2003 was lame. I didn't buy it because there is no excuse for the lack of mission based multiplayer at this state of development of the industry. Death match is getting very old.


This comment was edited on Feb 12, 05:09.
 
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67. Re: I just dont get it. Feb 11, 2003, 23:48 pancreas
 
The story wasn't so bad as long as you ignored the lack of emotion and tension between the characters. Something I could easily do as I had very poor expectations for the story.

Despite that, by the end of the game I could understand how the motivations of my crewmembers came to be, and how these influenced their actions in the plot. With some interpollation, you could also draw a couple of overarching themes from the storyline (I won't bore you guys by discussing them.)

Regardless of the perceived relavance or quality of the story, I think the key point in all this is that Unreal 2's gameplay is not just unimaginative, it is simply lacking.

Exploring the environments gains you nothing (Other shooters would give you secret areas or other special bonuses), most of the unique weapons aren't really rewarding to use, there are very few tactical considerations when fighting (Other shooters have larger nods to realism games and better enemy placement), the AI is only believable at evading you (And barely so), etc. Simply put, there is no PLAY in it's gameplay.
 
"Nothing livens up a robotic hymn of doom more than an amazing pair of jugs." - Brak
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66. Re: I just dont get it. Feb 11, 2003, 17:32 MindTrigger
 
Yeah, the main thing that bothered me about carrying too many weapons was that you had so many weapons you could spray all you wanted without having to use your head and conserve ammo. It's a minor detail, but one that bothered me nonetheless.

The first 3 are big ones for me. The look and feel of the engine is awesome. The gameplay sucked....bad.

 
--
He cut the possum's face off then cut around the eye socket. In the center of the belt buckle, where the possum's eye would be, he has placed a small piece of wood from his old '52 Ford's home made railroad tie bumper. Damn, he misses that truck.
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65. Re: I just dont get it. Feb 11, 2003, 15:34 vajbern
 
I agree with almost everything you said up until point 4. Who wants to overanalyse about how much weapons and ammo you are virtually carrying? I'll help you by saying that maybe the suit gives you the strength to carry the extra weight. Also, look at your running speed in the game. Obviously that weight is slowing you down. So it is having an effect.

My biggest complaint about the game is that it takes way too long to load. It doesn't matter if you are starting the game up or loading a saved game. It takes my computer (Athlon 1600+ with 1/2 GIG DDR RAM and GF3 Ti200 (128 MB DDR RAM)) at least 30 seconds to quickload a quick saved game, and depending on how frantic thegameplay is when you saved you may only last a few seconds before having to reload again for another 30+ seconds.

Does anybody know how to minimise these excrutiatingly long load times??

vajbern

 
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64. Re: I just dont get it. Feb 11, 2003, 13:06 MindTrigger
 
Alak said:
Unreal 2 is fantastic and theres no real excuse that I've seen as to why it blows.

(LONG, OPINIONATED POST WARNING)

Alak, I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you are fairly new to gaming. What, 1 - 2 years? This is my 7th year of gaming online FPS(this doesn't include doom and all the stuff I played prior to online gaming). No, I don't think I'm special, but if you put 7 years or so into anything, you are going to gain some valuable insight and experience. My time spent in the FPS gaming world has gone past just gaming. I read the reviews, I read the tech articles the developers write, I hang out in a gaming crowd online. Just for the record, I do have a life outside the game. I rock climb, hike, jet ski, build performance engines, and keep up with world politics. Oh yeah, and I'm a web developer.

I will briefly discuss, from my point of view, why Unreal and UT2003 are disappointing for me. (since you are confused)

Everything that follows is my OPINION. Nothing more.

Unreal 2 - First let me say that I like the Unreal Engine. I think it's damn good stuff. It's a little cartoony for my taste, but it's still a monster engine that deserves props. I have no complaints directly related to it.

The game is where my issues come to the surface.

1. The story straight up sucked. It had every known cliché for a sci-fi FPS game, and a sci-fi "B" movie. The character development crap they tried to pass off during the times you were on your ship was a complete waste of time. Don't get me wrong, I am all for story and character development. I think they are key. In Unreal 2 these elements seemed like an afterthought. Like they created the entire game, then sat down and tried to weave a bad story into it afterwards. They tried to develop these complex characters, but then they still had no personality. For example, the "tension" between the chick with the tits and the weapons guy (they were so boring I can't remember their names). All through the game they hinted at this problem between these two, yet it had ZERO to do with the game. Had the weapons guy gone nuts and tried to destroy the ship or something, it might have been useful.

That was just one example. Most of the story was a bunch of crap that didn't even tie in together. The fact that the story sucked so bad really made it hard for me to be immersed in the game. Most of the time during the endless cut scenes and scripted story crap I was rolling my eyes wishing they would at least get on with the battle. My standards for the story are not insanely high. I’m a huge movie fan and I even like a lot cheesy ones.

2. Linear/Forced gameplay. One thing I am sick and tired of is being forced into battle after battle. Let me explore the game world like I did in Unreal. That is one of the things that made Unreal worlds better than Unreal 2 for me. In Unreal, I could explore the game world and enjoy the kick ass work of the artists. I really felt like I went somewhere in Unreal. When I was ready to progress through the story, I would have to go FIND the bad guys. In unreal 2, as I said before, I felt like I was strapped into a carnival ride and driven into battle after battle. I didn’t get much time to explore and the maps weren’t made for exploring really. A well designed game, in my humble opinion, will allow the player to make his own decisions. If they want to go cliff diving near a waterfall…let them. If they want to kick back and mess with the animals or check out the word, let them. They will get to the battle when they are damn good and ready. Not only that, but they should have multiple choices for how to engage in the battle. Unreal 2 was like walking through a dark tunnel, waiting for stuff to jump out at you. You knew it was coming. Predictable. Boring.

3. Interactive? The fact that the HUD would highlight everything I was able to interact with was bothersome. I didn’t need to do much thinking because the game made it idiot proof. Every once in a while you would run across stuff that was interactive for no reason at all…which would be fine if there were MORE things like this. Having the rare, interactive locker door or hatch (which have no significance at all) is hardly worth the effort.

Something else that made the world less than immersive was the fact that the environment didn’t react to my gunfire. If I am in a building firing a high powered assault rifle (or rockets), I should damn well expect some broken glass, exploding electronics, punctured pipes, etc. I remember firing my gun at lots of things in the game to see how they would react. Many times I didn’t get so much as a damage decal. On the snow maps, I shot at some big ass ice cycles, and nothing happened AT ALL. No indication whatsoever that I shot at them. This was true throughout the game maps for all sorts of things that would normally be easily broken.

Some of you might think I am nit picking here, but I don’t think so at all. I don’t expect the world to “be real” so that everything I shoot at explodes into pieces, but I do expect A LITTLE FEEDBACK from the game environment, telling me I am ripping shit up. At least throw some damn particles if nothing else. That’s not much to ask from a game engine like Unreal.

4. How did my player character carry so many weapons? Again, it’s hard for me to get immersed in the game when I take a look at my load-out and see that I am carrying roughly 500 lbs of weapons. That doesn’t even include the maps where I was carrying 500 lbs of weapons and 3 turrets larger than I. The fact that I did have so many weapons also made the experience less enjoyable. I didn’t really have to conserve ammo or carefully choose the right weapons to carry for a given job. At least Halo did that and you had a sense of “oops, I should have grabbed a different gun”. This adds depth as you have to learn which weapons are more effective for different “enemy combatants”. With Unreal 2 you just cycle through the biggest stuff you have and let it rip. I didn’t even NEED half the weapons.

This post is already a mile long, so I will cut it short here. The main point is, the game felt mechanical. I didn’t ever get immersed in the game world like I should in a good single player fps because the game didn’t give me the appropriate feedback. I certainly don’ think the game is worth $50, given the low replay value, and the lack of multiplayer. If I had to give it a star rating from 1 to 5, I would honestly give it 2.5 stars. Again, my opinion.

*******************

As for UT2003, this is short and sweet. The weapons are spammy and the players move way too fast. The maps are beautiful, but they aren’t all that fun. I honestly tried hard to get into this game because I figured it would keep me busy over this next year. However, I quickly became bored with it. Biggest complaint would be the weapons with the most hated weapon being the lightening gun. What a waste. Energy based sniper weapons are rarely rewarding.

 
--
He cut the possum's face off then cut around the eye socket. In the center of the belt buckle, where the possum's eye would be, he has placed a small piece of wood from his old '52 Ford's home made railroad tie bumper. Damn, he misses that truck.
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63. Re: I just dont get it. Feb 10, 2003, 23:00 pancreas
 
So basically,

Unreal 2 = Glorified Tech Demo

A highly glorified and polished one at that (There were several good moments), but the tech demo part explains the overemphasis on aspects other than gameplay.

Nothing livens up a robotic hymn of doom more than an amazing pair of jugs." - Brak
This comment was edited on Feb 10, 23:24.
 
"Nothing livens up a robotic hymn of doom more than an amazing pair of jugs." - Brak
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62. Re: I just dont get it. Feb 10, 2003, 01:05 DrEvil
 
why the big uproar over epic making a great engine, but shitty games with it.. that sums up basically what idsoftware has been doing from the start. other devs end up making good games using their engine, but as far as the game that they make themselves, they are never all that good. I'm not gonna whine at the poor quality of Unreal2 or UT2003, I'm just gonna keep an eye out for either other developers or modders to make some really kickass stuff considering the flexibility and modability of the engine. Licensing the engine is probably the main moneymaker for unreal/quake3 devs, and the games they put out may be disappointing from a gamers point of view but they illustrate the capabilities of the engine pretty well. I'm personally anxious for a vehicle-centric mod to come out for UT2003, since the capability is there.

 
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61. Re: I just dont get it. Feb 9, 2003, 22:54 pancreas
 
I think it has everything to do with the expectations generated by the hype machine and the supposed legacy of Epic games. Apparently U2 failed to achieve them on most accounts.

Remember all that press about U2 being one of the most anticipated games of the year? Hah. (I personally like UT2003 though.)
 
"Nothing livens up a robotic hymn of doom more than an amazing pair of jugs." - Brak
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60. I just dont get it. Feb 9, 2003, 19:24 Alak
 
I dont understand how people could absolutely hate Unreal 2 and UT 2003. I mean its new, it has cool weapons, it has huge maps and good graphics. I cant see anything wrong with that. Of course people hate things they dont understand and most become desensitized to change and nothing blows them out of the water or impresses them anymore. They could have just put beefier graphics in regualer UT, but people would have hated EPIC for that. But then they could create a brand new game and concept and load it with brand new stuff that was innovating and impressive and call it UT 2003. But then people would hate EPIC for that too. Unreal 2 is fantastic and theres no real excuse that I've seen as to why it blows. People complain about the engine, thats no excuse - 50 other games use the same engine and they are fine. Play the game and complete it, then you wil enjoy it.

 
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59. No subject Feb 9, 2003, 16:38 teh mane mahn
 
That Die Hard game sucks...

Oh, and kudos to Epic for fucking up severely... again.

Strike 2.

_____

The possible pain, suffering and sacrifice of discovery are by no means an excuse to remain ignorant.
 
_____

The possible pain, suffering and sacrifice of discovery are by no means an excuse to remain ignorant.

The bartering of things sought earned are by a means which only little men can abide by and hope to achieve.
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58. Re: eh... Feb 8, 2003, 18:11 -SI-Optimus
 
For Bronco...

Based on all generations of the engines...
I'm also ignoring add-ons... I am including games still in production...

Quake -
Quake
Quake 2
Quake 3
Half-Life
SiN
007 Nightfire (PC version is apparently based on some whacked out hybrid of Q3 and HL tech)
Alice
Heavy Metal FAKK 2
Soldier of Fortune
Soldier of Fortune 2
Jedi Knight 2 : Outcast
Voyager Elite Force
ST Elite Force 2
Hexen 2
Heretic 2
Take No Prisoners
Mageslayer
Daikatana
Anachronox

Unreal -
Unreal
Unreal 2
Unreal Tournament
Unreal Tournament 2003
Deus Ex
Undying
Rune
Wheel of Time
Nerf Arena Blast
America's Army
TNN Outdoor Hunter Pro (stupid american hunting game I assume?)
Klingon Honour Guard
Duke4Ever

Lithtech -
Shogo M.A.D.
Blood 2
No One Lives Forever
Aliens Versus Predator 2
Die Hard : Nakatomi Plaza
No One Lives Forever 2
Tron 2.0

As you can see, its a case of quality, not quantity, and whilst Blood 2 can't really be forgiven, Lithtech has given us some of the best games of the last few years (and a Die Hard game :))...

 
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57. Respect! Feb 8, 2003, 12:12 G
 
This is me.

Respect!


 
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56. Re: No subject Feb 8, 2003, 03:31 hebrew_national
 
The biggest joke is then saying they should publicly apologize for it? You're kids are going to be exposed to words worse than fuck that you shouldnt worry about a damn f word on a web site. Letting your kid surf the net is asking for trouble anyways, its nobodys responsibility to make sure theres no potty mouth talk for idiots like you who take offense to every little insignificant thing.

AMEN BROTHER!

I am a conservative guy who does not like swearing either, especially in family situations. If one of my siblings uses a foul word or makes a bowel movement joke at a family gathering, I severely chew them out for it, and rightfully so.

On the OTHER hand.... who gives a shit about websites? Take a look at the CONTEXT.

 
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55. Re: At least they're honest Feb 7, 2003, 23:00 Creston
 
"I assume quake2003 is a typo for ut2003."

Yes, but a deliberate one. I see NOTHING of the original UT in UT2003, and every attempt to emulate Quake3. Hence I refer to it as Quake2003.

And it's sad that they chose to go that way, since everywhere I looked at the time, it seemed that people enjoyed UT better than Quake 3.

Yet another death of what could have been a great franchise.

Creston


 
Avatar 15604
 
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54. To those who object... Feb 7, 2003, 22:05 Roshambo
 
...to the "f word" fuck:

Yet more wastes of air that likely use the internet to babysit children. It's fairly clear a lot of these people (select all applicable) /haven't been around gaming sites or the internet outside of www.cc.org/haven't reached puberty/still live in Mommy and Daddy's basement/are obviously retarded/crave attention.

To see a developer deliver it bluntly and without the usual dose of bullshit and waffling is a good thing, especially when they don't pass the buck onto someone else. It's a rare thing, even rarer than anyone admitting fault at all (particularly Interplay/Titus). It's even more comical when people complain when it's a game among many others that features swearing, blood, and killing.

Get a clue or please get out of the fucking gene pool.

-Rosh, the lovable asshole from www.nma-fallout.com
This comment was edited on Feb 7, 22:24.
 
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53. Re: No subject Feb 7, 2003, 16:37 MindTrigger
 
I don't blame Epic for this either. It happens. If you want to blame them for something blame them for creating a kick ass game engine and then passing off crap like UT2K3/Unreal2. lol.

 
--
He cut the possum's face off then cut around the eye socket. In the center of the belt buckle, where the possum's eye would be, he has placed a small piece of wood from his old '52 Ford's home made railroad tie bumper. Damn, he misses that truck.
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52. Re: No subject Feb 7, 2003, 15:58 DrEvil
 
Im shocked at Mark Rein's foul language, as a parent myself, i feel the use of the 'f' word to be totally unacceptable i don’t really expect the offending word to be removed, but at the least Epic should make some sort of public apology, this would ease the situation a little.

Are you serious? Thats about the stupidest shit I have ever read. Look around in the world you live in, if you think you are going to be able to shelter anyone from words you are an idiot. The biggest joke is then saying they should publicly apologize for it? You're kids are going to be exposed to words worse than fuck that you shouldnt worry about a damn f word on a web site. Letting your kid surf the net is asking for trouble anyways, its nobodys responsibility to make sure theres no potty mouth talk for idiots like you who take offense to every little insignificant thing.

This comment was edited on Feb 7, 16:00.
 
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51. Geez... Feb 7, 2003, 14:30 aguita
 
If you know anything about companies, you know how easy it is to have something "fall through the cracks". Shoot, I work for a small company, and entirely too much falls through the cracks because someone was notified, meant to tell others, but got distracted. When you trace it back, yeah, the company was notified but it falls down to an employee not fulfilling their duty/job/whatever they were supposed to do.

I don't blame Epic for the mistake, it is no big deal. The matter is that they are aware of the problem and are fixing it.

If you look at the other posts, it is common knowledge that a lot of companies don't do squat about things like this.

In my opinion, as long as the item is fixed, and fixed as fast as they can, then that is what counts.

 
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