What Makes the Technology in Grand Theft Auto V So Great

Darkness665

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Good article, Shamus. You even attracted the usual haters, how sweetly their ignorance flavors the comments.

Regardless of any other topic any GTA version is the base level of the NEXT generation of games. GTA 3 for its time was miles above, as was GTA 4 and now GTA 5. Yes, we will all discover odd bits and they will irritate. However, the naysayers here bring up issues that are not mentioned in any review or YouTube presenter I have seen. The bloody game works and works well. And it is huge. Compare that with Wolfenstein. 50GB loads with over thirty being audio! A good game, but true to form you cannot kick over a chair or jump on a table. Pretty skyboxes though, nearly as good as Rage.

My favorite GTA 4 moment was learning that you could use a sniper rifle to shorten up killing a drug lord, gang leader (whatever). I don't recall which one but his thugs were numerous enough that I was having a tough with the mission. I finally got it then found out about the sniper solution. Just move out a block and shoot the guy. No gang members, no cops and no worries. Yes, I definitely did that on my next play though. Well that one and just driving around in Liberty City on their version of a Hog. Great motorcycle and fun just to ride around and see the sights.
 

PG

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LoD is becoming the real sticking point in open-world games for me. With improving resolution and draw distances, distant objects still look *really* terrible. Even in the recent PC screenshots of GTA V, the distant buildings look muddy and horrible.

There just hasn't been any advance in the management of LoD quality in 20 years, you have high detail within 50 metres, a bit lower at 200 metres and then brown boxes beyond that until they disappear entirely. That was fine when the distant areas were too small and blurry to make out anyway but nowadays it just doesn't work. GTA V has more variety but it's more variety of brown.
 

Darkness665

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Charcharo said:
The more complex a system, the more faults it will have.

Technically if you want more stuff I can send previous build info and what modders have discovered.
It... truly IS the best ever made for a game. And ...one of the more buggy.
Good articles so thanks for the links. And from a technical standpoint the AI is not very advanced. However, it is very effective. For gaming that is actually the more important aspect.

The main improvement over others is two major areas:
The first is LOD type of adjustment between Online and Offline modes the AI driven characters. This simplifies the system requirements dramatically. The radius around the player that determines if a NPC is on or offline is 150m. Again, dramatically reducing system requirements as there is actually very little AI going on in offline mode. It just gives the appearance of a lot of activity when it is merely reporting the conclusions of end point activity. Simple yet effective.

The second is they used a very complete debug solution to fine tune the AI. I was unsure if that meant for each unique character or simple character types. The debug view allowed the developer to see what the NPC could or could not see and allowed tweaking such that the NPC worked in the scenario. Be that scenario was storyline or open.

An additional item often ignored is once a storyline was completed in an area the area become open, it was no longer a storyline location. Prior to that event the storyline had priority and other NPCs weren't allowed to interfere with the storyline. However, once the storyline was done those in the area were no longer restricted and thus would give the impression of a more complete AI experience. The reality was the storyline characters were now used to add in as background characters. That results in a more rewarding player experience than the oft repeated NPCs all being in one location waiting to interact with the player, as in Mass Effect et al.
 

SandroTheMaster

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Seth Carter said:
deathmothon said:
I was resisting getting into the next gen consoles, but my roommate bought the PS4 bundle and I had to play the one game I'd been looking forward to. I wasn't disappointed. The attention to detail in that game is insane. Orders of magnitude better than anything else I've ever played. The only detail style complaint I had was the rearview mirror doesn't work in first person mode. Everything else was top notch and made me "wow" more than once.
The rearview was literally the first thing I noticed in first person mode, lol. It becomes a glaring problem once the car chases begin and you kind of need to know where the guy trying to kill you is while driving.
Games and mirrors, eh? Yes, it is glaring in more modern games, but mirrors are a HUGE pain in the ass to include into a game.

"But even as far back as Duke Nukem 3D had working mirrors." No it didn't. It had a mirrored room on the other side of an unbreakable transparent wall where a sprite of Duke followed your position. And it is not only Duke Nukem, almost EVERY mirror you'll see in a game uses a similar trick. Most of the time they're not reflecting anything, they just show a static texture that's larger than the mirror so it changes when looked at from different angles. Here's a fun exercise: Try to find a real reflecting surface in Deux Ex: Human Revolution. Even though everything is shiny in that game, none of the mirrors, windows or metallic arms are actually reflecting anything.

The reason for this is simple: Mirrors in real life just reflect photons back. Mirrors in a game would need to render EVERYTHING it might reflect, even if just to reflect a little portion of it on it's surface. Now, add two mirrors in the same area, and the possibility of them reflecting each other, and you have the perfect tools to make a coder commit suicide.

Now, of course GTA could make FUNCTIONAL rearview mirror. Racing games have had tricks to make rearview mirrors for a long time. I even remember the rear-view mirror of Interstate 76. But I guarantee that making a mirror that looks right would be orders of magnitude harder than just rendering the inside of a car for first-person mode.
 

J Tyran

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vun said:
Eh, it seemed to struggle quite a lot on the 360. Not seen it in action on the PS3, but the 360 version could've been made in powerpoint for the few frames it managed to squeeze out when moving around town. Not to mention pop-in that was about 5 minutes late to the party.
I played it on the 360 last year and at times it really did struggle, item pop in killed me a few times on Jet Skis and in planes. A tree, radio tower or post/buoy that wasn't visible popped in right before you hit it and die.

I'm amazed Rockstar got it running on the last gen consoles at all, they optimised it well even if it had some issues. Now I have the PS4 version and on occasion it still has frame rate issues if you have just finished or started a mission for example and its loading something as you drive fast the frame rate dips for 10 seconds or so, its a much nicer experience on the current gen consoles all around.
 

Zagzag

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Charcharo said:
Zagzag said:
Charcharo said:
How come a bunch of mostly drunk Ukrainians with a budget of 3 Adidas tracksuits are still unsurpassed in Video Game AI, warts and all?
Were we playing the same STALKER here? I love the games to bits, but I'd hardly say there's anything revolutionary in the AI.
The more complex a system, the more faults it will have.

Well Written - Link1:
http://aigamedev.com/open/interviews/stalker-alife/

Well Written - Link2:
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/108781/Interview_Inside_The_AI_Of_STALKER.php

Technically if you want more stuff I can send previous build info and what modders have discovered.
It... truly IS the best ever made for a game. And ...one of the more buggy.
Well, this is news to me. I hadn't realised that the AI was anything special. Thanks!
 

sXeth

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SandroTheMaster said:
Seth Carter said:
deathmothon said:
I was resisting getting into the next gen consoles, but my roommate bought the PS4 bundle and I had to play the one game I'd been looking forward to. I wasn't disappointed. The attention to detail in that game is insane. Orders of magnitude better than anything else I've ever played. The only detail style complaint I had was the rearview mirror doesn't work in first person mode. Everything else was top notch and made me "wow" more than once.
The rearview was literally the first thing I noticed in first person mode, lol. It becomes a glaring problem once the car chases begin and you kind of need to know where the guy trying to kill you is while driving.
Games and mirrors, eh? Yes, it is glaring in more modern games, but mirrors are a HUGE pain in the ass to include into a game.

(snipped for length)

The reason for this is simple: Mirrors in real life just reflect photons back. Mirrors in a game would need to render EVERYTHING it might reflect, even if just to reflect a little portion of it on it's surface. Now, add two mirrors in the same area, and the possibility of them reflecting each other, and you have the perfect tools to make a coder commit suicide.

Now, of course GTA could make FUNCTIONAL rearview mirror. Racing games have had tricks to make rearview mirrors for a long time. I even remember the rear-view mirror of Interstate 76. But I guarantee that making a mirror that looks right would be orders of magnitude harder than just rendering the inside of a car for first-person mode.
Yeah, the main reason I cited GTA for it was the gameplay is designed around you being able to see the pursuers. It has similar issues with all the defensive cover methods in first person. Hitscan weapons+Sharpshooter AI+Inability to see surroundings to maneuver or dodge+the incredibly limited defense being in a car even gives in the game, and asking for a mirror is mostly a reaction to it.

Don't get me started on trying to use the first person when it expects you to shoot and drive simultaneously.