Independent developers go through a long, arduous process in order to get their game into, perhaps, the biggest gaming network worldwide, Valve Corporation's Steam. They have to first submit an application, together with a one-time fee of $100, and media that can attract voters' attention. The game has to garner a specific number of votes in order for it to be "Greenlit" which means that it has been approved by Steam and will be available for download soon.
However, this teenage prodigy didn't go through any of the necessary procedures, and yet managed to make his weird 45-second long game, Watch Paint Dry, on the gaming website.
Ruby's Better Than Diamond
At the age of 16, Ruby Nealon is the youngest Computer Science student in the UK. He is also a multi-instrumentalist and possibly the youngest OSCP (Offensive Security Certified Personnel) in the entire universe.
He graduated high school two years ago just by taking Open University courses, and 3 years before that, he was already acknowledged as a security researcher by Microsoft itself!
Wow. Just wow.
On top of that, he's a certified gamer and a Manchester United fan.
Well, we can already tell that this he's a fun-loving young genius and there's no question about that.
But how did he do it?
In short, he managed to obtain a Steamworks (tools that let developers prep their games for Steam, basically) account in February through, as he puts it, “social engineering,” and he started poking around in its innards.
There is actually a three-step approval process which involves getting a developer's store page approved through trading cards, getting the game's final build approved by Steam, and finally, launching it. Nealon was able to do everything with just his brain, fingers, strings of commands, and probably, candies... lots of it.
And how did the folks on Steam respond to this?
Of course, many were annoyed by this, especially because they thought that he's making money out of it. On the other hand, Nealon responded:
“I’ve been happy with people’s reaction to it,” Nealon said. “People are pissed off about it, and I wanted them to talk about it. I wanted people to realize that this is one of the Internet’s biggest websites, and this is the back end. A fucking 16 year-old did it in two nights.”
You might be thinking that he's some brainy jerk who wants to brag about his mad skills and benefit from it, but you're wrong. Nealon here did it for a positive cause.
Ruby's The Robin Hood of This Generation
Nealon's what you can call a "bug hunter". With his skills, he's managed to discover numerous vulnerabilities in the services provided by large companies like Microsoft and Valve. The thing is... these high and mighty guys don't really acknowledge his help.
Previously, he sent multiple emails to Valve about these bugs but he didn't receive any response, and that was why he came up with this massive prank in order to get the company's attention.
By not offering a bug bounty, you’re missing out on hundreds of things that could go unnoticed and could even be being exploited right now by the wrong people, just because researchers don’t want to take the time because they can’t afford to spend their time on work that won’t pay.