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Road nerd mods and help needed


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I was originally going to post this in the big request thread when it was just the GPS changes, but seeing how people have added interiors, map markers, and a lot of other content right into the game world, I began to think of how I would like to improve the immersion and ability to find my way around the city. I like to drive in first person mode and learn my way to places without being glued to the minimap, but the mixed-up signage makes it tough. Don't get me wrong, I think Rockstar did a great job in general with the game map and the signs in general, and the only reason I am being this nit-picky is that I think it could be near perfect. I might also be the only player looking for this sort of stuff, but I am looking more for help with things like hooking GPS and map information in a mod so I can start working on this myself, and I hope that the discussion will be useful to other modders as well.

I'd really love to see the navigation and general ability to find your way around the game world get a usability boost. I am a big nerd, and would like to learn the streets of San Andreas, but I have to constantly look at my minimap to see where I am going. And then, in places where highways split to multiple exits, I will sometimes end up on the wrong fork, usually while playing a time-sensitive mission. I know a lot of people hated the voice nav from GTA:IV, but the current system makes it hard for me to really learn my way around similarly to the way I drive in real life. The signage is sort of goofy, but I'm not sure how much of this could be changed without major work, so experts please let me know if any of these seem unreasonable. I have done mods on other games, and I am getting into the documents to try to learn how to do some of this myself, but if anyone else wants the same thing or any experienced modders want to point me in the right direction, I would be extremely grateful.

I would like to see:

  • Upcoming turn notification as a small bar over the minimap. Just the distance to next turn, name of the next roadway, and direction to turn would be a great start. Ideally, it'd include the lane information - see https://9to5google.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/google-maps-lane-guidance.pngfor an example, on a multi-lane or complex intersection it shows the lane to be in and a finer grained arrow than just left or right.
  • The signs in game are hard to read. FHWA standards haven't been followed in San Andreas I suppose, but having the sign textures have a retroreflective effect would make it easier to read. In general, I can't read signs in first person mode while driving in most situations until it's too late to slow down, so I have to either use the GPS as a crutch, or slow down at every junction until I learn the map better. I'm not sure if this could be done with an effect (i.e. the rain makes streets shiny, so using that effect to make the signs themselves shiny), a pallete replacement, adding lights to signs, or what.
  • There are not many signs regarding upcoming interchanges, and where they lead. A good example is the Strawberry and I-4/I-5 interchange. There are no signs at any of the surface intersections in the area pointing to either major road, and at the actual interchange there is no signage telling which ramp heads in which direction, nor does it say anything about where the roads go. In real life, there would usually be two big signs hung from the overpass for each interchange with the pertinent info. At least having the direction that a ramp leads to would be a good first step here.
  • There are occasional reassurance shields (the signs on the side of the road that tell you what route you're on and direction you're heading), but in-game they are not as frequent as they would be in real life and lack the direction sign above the route marker. I'd also really like to be able to add stuff like mile markers and street signs with the names on them, but my guess is that if the signs are baked into the world this would be a tall order and more work than it's worth, unless there is some sort of script in place that does the signs dynamically which could be modified.

Thanks to anyone that can help me out here, anything I make in general is released in the public domain with source code, so whatever I make will be available for other modders to pick apart and use as well.

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