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A recently discovered hole in Valve's API allowed observers to generate extremely precise and publicly accessible data for the total number of players for thousands of Steam games. While Valve has now closed this inadvertent data leak, Ars can still provide the data it revealed as a historical record of the aggregate popularity of a large portion of the Steam library.

The new data derivation method, as ably explained in a Medium post from The End Is Nigh developer Tyler Glaiel , centers on the percentage of players who have accomplished developer-defined Achievements associated with many games on the service. On the Steam web site, that data appears rounded to two decimal places. In the Steam API , however, the Achievement percentages were, until recently, provided to an extremely precise 16 decimal places.

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This added precision means that many Achievement percentages can only be factored into specific whole numbers. This is useful since each game's player count must be a whole number. With multiple Achievements to check against, it's possible to find a common denominator that works for all the percentages with high reliability. This process allows for extremely accurate reverse engineering of the denominator representing the total player base for an Achievement percentage. As Glaiel points out, for instance, an Achievement earned by 0. But this method only works for games with developer-defined Achievements, so it covers about 13, of the roughly 23, games now on Steam.

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It's not exactly clear how Valve defines this "Achievement denominator," which approaches but doesn't precisely match up with the "players" statistics provided to individual developers. The new data also gives no indication of how many people own the game without having played it. And, in very rare cases, this method could come up with a denominator that's off by a factor of two, thanks to common factors though this chance becomes vanishingly small in games with more than a few Achievements.

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That move comes just months after Valve started protecting individual Steam usage data by default , cutting off the previous estimation method used by Steam Gauge and Steam Spy. Valve Head of Business Development Jan-Peter Ewert said the company is currently working on a "more accurate" way for users and developers to "get data out of Steam," though apparently this kind of Achievement-derived data set wasn't what he had in mind. This was the first part of a continuity-heavy four-part story arc- Busiek was drawn to the copious history and cross-connections with other series.

Throughout high school and college, he and future writer Scott McCloud practiced making comics. During this time, Busiek also had many letters published in comic book letter columns, and originated the theory that the Phoenix was a separate being who had impersonated Jean Grey, and that therefore Grey had not died—a premise which made its way from freelancer to freelancer, and which was eventually used in the comics.

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During the last semester of his senior year, Busiek submitted some sample scripts to editor Dick Giordano at DC Comics. None of them sold, but they did get him invitations to pitch other material to DC editors, which led to his first professional work, a back-up story in Green Lantern Mar. Busieks tenure culminated with the Kang Dynasty storyline. Busiek was the writer of Superman for two years, before followed by James Robinson starting from Superman Each issue except for issue 1 featured a page main story by Busiek, with art by Mark Bagley, and a ten-page backup story co-written by Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, with art from various artists, including Tom Derenick, Mike Norton and Scott McDaniel.