The Steam platform is a Godsend for non-major video game developers because it allows the best product, regardless of who made it, to rise to the top and find a productive means of distribution. That’s not to say that any piece of garbage software will be approved, but for a short time this weekend, it sure did seem like the bar was not that high.
For a short time, there was a new game available on the Steam store called Watch paint dry, and it was about as exciting as its title suggests. The reason the game was so bad, aside from its terrifically boring concept, is because Ruby, who created the game, is not a game designer at all, but a web developer, and he only uploaded the game onto the store to show Steam that he could after finding a relatively easy way to exploit the game approval process.
Ruby wrote about and explained his experience in a Medium post. Without getting to technical about the details (we’ll let you read Ruby’s post for all the technobabble), Ruby gained access to the Steamworks Developer Program, which is the publishing platform and backend for Steam. From there, he looked for vulnerabilities in the system, then he was able to make it appear like Steam had reviewed his game’s trading cards. He used information from that process to make further edits, and ba-da-boom, the game was online and ready to be an absolute drag.
The reason for this experiment was because Ruby had tried to alert Valve about these vulnerabilities. His messages went unheard, so he found a hilarious way to get their attention. There’s a lot more detail about this process, including how Ruby could have sent the internet into a frenzy by naming his game Half Life 3, on Medium.