On December 12, 2003 the GTA:LC mod was born. With this post Demarest began something that changed my life dramatically. I came along shortly after just looking to help out with the few changes I made to my own copy. Back then I was just out of college and delivering pizzas to pay the bills (which weren't much as I was living at home).
In February 2004 we were given our own subforum here at GTA Forums. This helped the work dramatically as there were sometimes scores of posts in the same day and searching through one thread made it quite difficult to follow along. Having the organization where all of the coding posts were separate from the mapping posts was awesome.
In the early days, Demarest was not only the leader of this mod, but easily the biggest name at GTAF. Nobody posted more than he did and when this began he was very well respected. I remember many nights long ago chatting with him via IM and enjoying the conversation. We didn't agree on everything, but I respected the hell out of that guy. I still do. Since he was banned from the forums, I have not heard from him and often wonder what he's up to these days.
There were a few otherr very important members in the beginning that deserve a shout out. Forgive me if I forget anybody. It has been 10 years after all. PineCreek-Skidz was the one that took the GTA3 map and put it into Vice City's engine. That was the base that a few other mods began with. Some of those had very lofty goals, but ours was simple: just recreate GTA3 on the newer engine. If other people wanted to add their own bells and whistles they could use our files and make their own mod. killer.ip was the first forum moderator that Demarest appointed. I think he touched every single file (besides the scm) in the time that he was with the mod. Hammer83 was the first miracle man I worked with on this. There have been many people much smarter than me that have contributed here and Hammer is the first guy that truly surprised me with what we could do. When we started the term "hard-coded" meant it could not be changed. That was not the case with our team. It took quite some time for certain aspects of the mod to be altered, but I think over the years we have figured out just about everything that needed to be changed to make a complete port. Guys like Mark Pagliaro, spaceeinstein, Knux, and PatrickW were also extraordinarily helpful in the early days. I can't imagine how different the project would be if just one of those people never helped out.
In June 2004 Demarest stepped down as team leader and appointed me to take the position. Around that time I was as basic of an scm coder as there was. But I had one thing going for me, outside of my job, this was all I cared about. I never had many friends after high school and certainly never went out to the bars at night. So I had lots of time to dedicate to this mod. This was also about the time that the scm conversion started to get going. I had no idea how to convert a mission. Hammer did the Marty Chonks missions and DaEllum67 did some of the Donald Love ones. I believe sleeper777 did the el Burro racing mission. After seeing a few examples, I decided to convert a few of my own. And within a few months, I was converting 1-3 missions per day. Sure they were buggy as hell and a lot of them couldn't be completed until Hammer converted some GTA3 opcodes for me. But the game was slowly becoming more playable.
After Hammer decided to step away from the modding world, ModelingMan stepped into his shoes and became my go-to guy for breaking the hard-coded limits. He also figured out how to convert all of the player models from GTA3 to Vice City's format. The mod felt so much more complete when we didn't have to have Candy Suxx standing in for Asuka in the game. If anybody knows how to find ModelingMan, I'd love to get a hold of him. He was able to figure out how to convert the cutscene heads and actually had them working in game. But before we could get the bugs worked out of that version, his computer crashed and I've heard very little from him since.
In April 2007 I met the woman who is now my wife and the mother of my 2.9 children (our 3rd is due Jan 17) so shortly after meeting her I decided to pass the torch down to Ben as he was the most active member at the time. He kept the ship sailing for about a half year before Real Life™ took him away SteaVor then took the reins and some nice work was done for a while. I never really left the project, but I did take quite a bit of time away to avoid burning out and to focus on my family/career. And as time went on, I saw the progress of this project slow to a near halt.
So in March of 2010 I decided that I was jumping back in as Team Leader and giving it one last push to get this thing completed. For quite a few months, I was able to fix some long lingering bugs in the mission script, and ModelingMan did some of his best work in rewriting the launcher files and getting the cutscene heads working.
Things really took off when SilentPL found his way to this project. He had some interesting ideas and I was very invigorated seeing what he was able to do. Finally after almost 9 years, we were able to watch the opening cutscene with the cars on the bridge. He also introduced me to the new coding syntax that Sanny Builder could compile and showed me the GTA3 source files from the mobile version. With that I set out to completely rewrite the scm with the variable and label names that Rockstar used as well as convert the code to a high level syntax. No longer were there jump_if_false commands, but nice looking while loops and if statements. The files are also split up much like Rockstar did so it not just one long 100,000+ line text file. It took a LOT of work to convert that code, but I'm very happy I did.
So that brings us roughly to the present. I was hoping to have a new version of the mod out for the anniversary, but between work being extremely busy, my two sons and pregnant wife, and buying our first home (we close within a few weeks) I have not had time to do anything with this. It is my hope that Silent can spare some time from his other projects to help flesh out whatever minor bugs are left and package the mod up with an installer. It's also my goal to include all of the GTA3 audio in the download as not including it does cause some issues for some people. There's pretty much just one thing left to fix before I am comfortable calling the mod "final" and that's the cutscene heads that ModelingMan figured out for Beta 3.2. But even if that part never gets done, I am very proud of what this mod is. It's been around for a damn long time and it's by far the most complete conversion that there is for GTA.
Thank you everyone for your years of support. We've come a long way, and there is at least one more release that we will do. The best thing about this project is it is completely open. So if there's anybody out there that wants to port the cutscene heads over, there's a spot on the team just waiting for you!