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About the future of GTA modding and the mentioned project by Underground Dev Team


Antonio Vision
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Antonio Vision

Hello, everyone! 😄

 

First and main of all, I feel like to tell you a little bit about my experience and first contact with the GTA series.

 

At those days back in 2003-2006 (maybe longer), games like Vice City came out to machines from local e-cafes, so kids and teenagers went to spend their hours enjoying it, especially banging even with cheat codes. I include myself.

 

Back in 2008 (was like 13-14), when I got my first desktop PC (low-end btw), I managed to get some games, especially San Andreas. I enjoyed the hell outta it, then I found the modding world. I started putting real-world cars I've seen in other games, movies and wherever they were, then Weapons followed, then Clothes, Props, Map stuff, etc. That's how I found this site, GTAFORUMS, kind of couple of years later, looking for stuff.

 

Despite sometimes I broke the game, it used to put joy smiles on me. Then got GTA III and Vice City together, tried kind of the same with them, and I was enjoying them too.

 

Got a laptop since 2014, and played GTA IV+EFLC (completed the storyline 4 times). I enjoyed a lot! Maybe even more than San Andreas, despite lacking features. Quit it because it was suffocating my laptop's Celeron 1000M with no dedicated GPU (ironically, it's a x64 CPU). Furthermore, this game wasn't extent from mods neither. Tried some, like Realistic Handling, Hotfixes and more.

 

Then outta GTA world, back in 2016-2019, I got vicious with Skyrim not just playing it but "consoling" it and then modding it to the death. Lost the game, my internet would take a lot to get it back, and my laptop can't handle graphics beyond Wii or PS-Vita references, with too little or no stress. And I'm way too short of budget to upgrade (horrible economical issues where I live). So I left it.

 

Now I got back to the classic GTA trilogy, with the same story. I just can't or don't feel like playing these games without screwing with them. But I really think that's the point of an Open-World Sandbox (with kind of a Roleplay on it): DOING WHATEVER YOU PLEASE ON IT! 😒


Now! About this whole issue with Rockstar and T2...

 

WTFH else can I say? On several media platforms I express my discontent and ideas of alternate actions or procedures wich surely would've been way better. I'm still frustrated or at least indignated. I mean, taking to the trash, near two decades of CREATIVITY onto one of the most iconic gaming franchises of the history, lord knows why... Something that I've been following for years and have been a cult between PC gamers, GODDAEMIT!

 

I really wish I could do something about this. If I only was designer or programmer... (I'm only an enthusiast, unfortunately, so I feel impotent) If only we could find something as great as GTA franchise (San Andreas, specifically), or even way better that was copyright-free and open-source.


Here's where all the guys behind UNDERGROUND get in.

 

When I've heard about the takedown of projects like RE:GTA, I also happened to see the last YouTube video of these guys pulling down their project. But then I heard (or observed in this case) they mentioned they're about to work on their own game. At beginning I didn't pay attention to it, because I really haven't clear how they pretend to cover all the features from their previous project.

 

SO!...

 

I have many questions, but mostly have some requests and ideas of concepts I'd love to see properly executed on a project like this. I'll be upgrading this thread as long as I manage to pull them all outta my head (I'll give examples with pictures if necessary). If this is not the right section to talk about this, then any administrator or moderator, please, redirect me to the right one.

 

There's nothing this ambitious I've ever seen before, so I can say I kind of have my hopes and trust in you. I would say on "EVERYWHERE" by Build A Rocket Boy, but since they splashed a warning of no modding...😩 Besides, if I keep this way until its release, even if I could manage to buy it, couldn't run it by the bloody heavy Unreal Engine 😩

Edited by Antonio Vision
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Antonio Vision

@dkluin @Yhdf @cj2000 @Braindawg @Silent @Deji @Dimon_gta @Redreaper666 @Voit Turyv @Fenton @Alci @Spider-Vice @Calvin.linardi

 

Anyone is invited to this conversation, and more to discuss about this project and its advancements. Want this thread private? Fine, just tell me how to set it.

Edited by Antonio Vision
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Antonio Vision

1) App Execution (regarding Modding and Multiplayer):

 

I'm pretty sure you'll work on PC first, and it's so comprehensible (how capable are consoles to load mods on catalogued games 😅 not even talking about a proxy-based multiplayer through dedicated servers). There's a way to handle both things I can only think of:

 

TWO EXE's: 1xSingleplayer & 1xMultiplayer

 

- The Singleplayer's (pretty offline, of course) can handle the part of the Mod Loader (better with a Load Order organization tool, like LOOT for Bethesda games), in order not to touch the vanilla data files (unless you don't mind it). Well, it'll depend on how you pretend to establish the mod distribution over the project. If the Load Order tool becomes true, would be better to pack any mod to equip, through a particular file extension (like .esm on Bethesda games) managed with a tool. A guide for users, where they learn how to create and pack mods, would be gorgeous coming from you.

 

- Now, about the Multiplayer Client, let's see... The best examples coming to my mind right now, are the Dedicated Server launcher from Valve GoldSrc/Source games (like Half-Life or Counter-Strike), but also the parameters on Terraria (despite this one's sticked to the Singleplayer EXE's). I've never touched MTA, SA-MP or UG-MP (because I'm not that much into Multiplayer gaming), so I dunno how's the deal there (I sure guess you clearly do, so I'll let this concept in your hands). The point is, the Multiplayer's must get separated from Singleplayer's, so this can't touch the Singleplayer's mod files at all (unless you don't mind, again).

 

I hope you keep this whole concept in mind, and wish you a pretty right execution of it 😁

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Trying to leave the original files unmodified (or, rather make UG more friendly towards mods) was one of the goals we had in mind for 3.3. One idea we had to achieve this was to release UG-MP as a standalone thing. It would work like this:

 

- UG vehicles, peds, and anything else that's actually in UG would be offered in a core package.

- The maps would be excluded. Server developers would have the option to use whatever maps they pleased. The size of this package would be even smaller than Snapshot 4.2 (I'm guessing somewhere around 1GB)

- This means there will be one big serverlist, and server A could for example only host the VC map, while server B could stick to SA. This means server developers don't have to worry about forcing a multi-gigabyte juggernaut on their playerbase. Synchronisation-wise this is certainly possible - anything required for that would be in the core package. It would be possible to bring it well below 1GB if you were to exclude the radio files (something we also had in mind as some kind of lite version)

- Continued expansions for DL would allow more and more game files to simply become available through DL. We were going to make DL offer as much as with ModLoader, and the UG maps would be available to download as individually released mods. They would hypothetically load on standard ModLoader, if you managed to get that working (however UG does tamper with IPL formats a bit so not everything would work out of the box). You could read more about this on the website, considering that it's still online.

 

However, singleplayer would keep the same structure, and would still be a sandbox experience. ModLoader was going to be made compatible as well (someone actually managed to do that).

 

As for the game, to be fair we haven't done much with it. I primarily worked on a streaming engine and did some experimenting with multiplayer (I had a simple server app working just a few weeks ago which could load gamemodes written in either LUA, or some other languages).

It certainly wasn't going to be related to GTA in anyway nor to UG. Just something new. Maybe things will pick up speed soon, who knows.

 

 

 

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Antonio Vision

Wow, didn't expect to be answered! 😅

 

So, lemme get this'trait. You're still getting based on the SA engine, but full-blown conversion with totally different intellectual property, right? I can only hope that the MFs of T2 won't step on this too 😕 I mean, this has the mechanics we need from a sandbox, y'know (course it does, almost 2 decades of modding proves it 😝)

 

Anyway, I'll still sharing more ideas if y'all are interested 😁

Edited by Antonio Vision
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1 hour ago, Antonio Vision said:

Wow, didn't expect to be answered! 😅

 

So, lemme get this'trait. You're still getting based on the SA engine, but full-blown conversion with totally different intellectual property, right? I can only hope that the MFs of T2 won't step on this too 😕 I mean, this has the mechanics we need from a sandbox, y'know (course it does, almost 2 decades of modding proves it 😝)

 

Anyway, I'll still sharing more ideas if y'all are interested 😁

No. I clearly stated I wasn't.

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Antonio Vision
37 minutes ago, dkluin said:

No. I clearly stated I wasn't.

 

Oh, ok, m'bad.

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Antonio Vision

2) System of Binaries

 

Ok, let's see...

 

When I was messing with San Andreas back in those times, I eventually was learning a bit about its data directory and distribution. As I said before, got illusions when I see a model that was outta the GTA series, what I liked to see in this game and ball with it.

 

But there was a little problem.

 

All the models I put into the game, not just doesn't appear in cinematics, but some of its elements (like textures) breaks after modding. Then I realized that one of the packages containing the models is called cutscene.img, wich is the package containing ALL the elements for cinematic cutscenes (while actual gameplay ones were in gta3.img), but I didn't know that before. Curiously, some of the cutscene elements depends on the gameplay ones.

 

But why the hell is this way? I can only guess that Rockstar North did never expect that PC version users would mess with the whole game files. And maybe did it to generate the highest quality as possible for cinematics, while the gameplay gets lower quality to gain performance on the platforms back then (can't conceive anything else), just like in GRAN TURISMO (at least in the latest titles).

 

Anyway, the data system in GTA3-era games was just fine and simple (at least when modders discovered it to work on management tools), but it's far from perfect as we'd like it to be.

 

So, what do I suggest for your future project if you ask me?

 

Since those technical limitations are pretty right surpassed, and you'll be working on PC first (obviously), THE ONLY THINGS that should be in a possible cutscene package (wich I don't think so, since I dunno where you're gonna get actors), are ANIMATIONS and MODEL LINKS. The model links are those scripts taking the actual gameplay required models to be included in the respective cutscenes.

 

Lemme put you a detailed example:

(Only if you feel like packaging vanilla binaries)

 

Possibly into a folder called bin:

 

Spoiler

- cuts.img: Like in GTA3-era games (anim/cuts.img), this would ONLY include the elements to make camera, body skeletals and objects to move sequentially in cinematics (.dat's, .ifp's and .cut's). With the very exception that all those scripts and more, will pick up the models from gameplay binaries.

 

As for the rest of binaries...(wich will be for gameplay)

 

Spoiler

- chars.img: Here you'd put the essential NPCs to interact with, along with the entire gameplay campaigns and cutscenes.

- gui.img: Instead to leave elements like fonts, HUD, loadscreens and anything related on the loose like in GTA3-era games, they would be packed here.

- ints.img: Straight like gta_int.img, but properly named. Only if you decide to separate internal spaces from the world map dimension (convenient if you aim at performance optimization).

- misc.img: Here you'd locate the mixed-category models like a simple cane for oldies and the famous cut skateboard from San Andreas (wich was about to work as vehicle and weapon at the same time), or non-categorized ones that would be needed for something in particular anyway.

- peds.img: As you can guess, all the generic and dispensable pedestrians to make presence with actions included (like allies, enemies, neutral operators, and more), just to fill up the world map.

- player.img: No explanation needed, protagonist's body properties and clothing.

- props.img: Any object located on the map that can be moved (maybe destroyed too, like a rock to throw at someone else) and picked up but nothing more.

- utils.img: Items with detailed and/or specific interactions for any purpose (not weapons). Utilities, basically.

- vehs.img: Just like in GTA IV (vehicles.img).

- weaps.img: Just like in GTA IV (weapons.img).

- world.img: Basically, the entire static world map (unless you pretend to go voxel, wich would increase technical loads). The other thing you can do here, is to create a folder with the same name, and add the packages with the respective world map elements (i.e. midway.img or something).

 

Instead of III-era games, each model will mantain its own binary group (basic animations, data, model, texture, etc). That means, each model itself would be not just interactable but also modular. And for easier modding, their basic properties must be together to be adjusted or recreated at once (or maybe just some of those properties, like for a hotfix in particular).

 

The rest of binaries would be simple one or a couple of files to manage the memory and stream limits (y'know, a built-in Limit Adjuster).

 

If you don't mind to leave each model unpacked, just use the following package names for folders, and each model must have sub-folders for its modules and properties (like in Need for Speed Underground saga, specifically on vehicles).

 

But if you decide to pack the binaries, it would bring you more order if you subpack each model into a bank, that will contain all the folders for each module and property.

 

Whatever the case, it's up to you. I hope you keep this in mind at least 🥺

Edited by Antonio Vision
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Antonio Vision

@dkluin this is just an example I used with the usual games here. Doesn't have to do with GTA series.

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Antonio Vision

I found something interesting, I dunno if you already knew:

 

Spoiler

 

You could use it if your current engine doesn't take you any further from where you are. Since almost the R* 3D-era is clearly based on this (and this is the latest sub-version of that engine), you could get pretty familiar with it. I hope you find it interesting, @dkluin

Edited by Antonio Vision
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  • 3 months later...
silent fan
Posted (edited)

dkluin, I think that rockstar games stopped taking down mods, why don't you go back to GTA underground again ?

 
On 1/18/2022 at 11:06 AM, Antonio Vision said:

2) System of Binaries

 

Ok, let's see...

 

When I was messing with San Andreas back in those times, I eventually was learning a bit about its data directory and distribution. As I said before, got illusions when I see a model that was outta the GTA series, what I liked to see in this game and ball with it.

 

But there was a little problem.

 

All the models I put into the game, not just doesn't appear in cinematics, but some of its elements (like textures) breaks after modding. Then I realized that one of the packages containing the models is called cutscene.img, wich is the package containing ALL the elements for cinematic cutscenes (while actual gameplay ones were in gta3.img), but I didn't know that before. Curiously, some of the cutscene elements depends on the gameplay ones.

 

But why the hell is this way? I can only guess that Rockstar North did never expect that PC version users would mess with the whole game files. And maybe did it to generate the highest quality as possible for cinematics, while the gameplay gets lower quality to gain performance on the platforms back then (can't conceive anything else), just like in GRAN TURISMO (at least in the latest titles).

 

Anyway, the data system in GTA3-era games was just fine and simple (at least when modders discovered it to work on management tools), but it's far from perfect as we'd like it to be.

 

So, what do I suggest for your future project if you ask me?

 

Since those technical limitations are pretty right surpassed, and you'll be working on PC first (obviously), THE ONLY THINGS that should be in a possible cutscene package (wich I don't think so, since I dunno where you're gonna get actors), are ANIMATIONS and MODEL LINKS. The model links are those scripts taking the actual gameplay required models to be included in the respective cutscenes.

 

Lemme put you a detailed example:

(Only if you feel like packaging vanilla binaries)

 

Possibly into a folder called bin:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

- cuts.img: Like in GTA3-era games (anim/cuts.img), this would ONLY include the elements to make camera, body skeletals and objects to move sequentially in cinematics (.dat's, .ifp's and .cut's). With the very exception that all those scripts and more, will pick up the models from gameplay binaries.

 

As for the rest of binaries...(wich will be for gameplay)

 

  Reveal hidden contents

- chars.img: Here you'd put the essential NPCs to interact with, along with the entire gameplay campaigns and cutscenes.

- gui.img: Instead to leave elements like fonts, HUD, loadscreens and anything related on the loose like in GTA3-era games, they would be packed here.

- ints.img: Straight like gta_int.img, but properly named. Only if you decide to separate internal spaces from the world map dimension (convenient if you aim at performance optimization).

- misc.img: Here you'd locate the mixed-category models like a simple cane for oldies and the famous cut skateboard from San Andreas (wich was about to work as vehicle and weapon at the same time), or non-categorized ones that would be needed for something in particular anyway.

- peds.img: As you can guess, all the generic and dispensable pedestrians to make presence with actions included (like allies, enemies, neutral operators, and more), just to fill up the world map.

- player.img: No explanation needed, protagonist's body properties and clothing.

- props.img: Any object located on the map that can be moved (maybe destroyed too, like a rock to throw at someone else) and picked up but nothing more.

- utils.img: Items with detailed and/or specific interactions for any purpose (not weapons). Utilities, basically.

- vehs.img: Just like in GTA IV (vehicles.img).

- weaps.img: Just like in GTA IV (weapons.img).

- world.img: Basically, the entire static world map (unless you pretend to go voxel, wich would increase technical loads). The other thing you can do here, is to create a folder with the same name, and add the packages with the respective world map elements (i.e. midway.img or something).

 

Instead of III-era games, each model will mantain its own binary group (basic animations, data, model, texture, etc). That means, each model itself would be not just interactable but also modular. And for easier modding, their basic properties must be together to be adjusted or recreated at once (or maybe just some of those properties, like for a hotfix in particular).

 

The rest of binaries would be simple one or a couple of files to manage the memory and stream limits (y'know, a built-in Limit Adjuster).

 

If you don't mind to leave each model unpacked, just use the following package names for folders, and each model must have sub-folders for its modules and properties (like in Need for Speed Underground saga, specifically on vehicles).

 

But if you decide to pack the binaries, it would bring you more order if you subpack each model into a bank, that will contain all the folders for each module and property.

 

Whatever the case, it's up to you. I hope you keep this in mind at least 🥺

You are too right

Edited by silent fan
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DodgeSomrs
Posted (edited)
On 5/8/2022 at 8:30 AM, silent fan said:

dkluin, I think that rockstar games stopped taking down mods, why don't you go back to GTA underground again ?

It's still a risk that Take-Two's still taking mods down. Zelprick loses money because if we make mods, no one's gonna buy that POS defective edition trash. But I think they must've stopped, so we're safe for now.

 

And if dkluin's going to revive UG, then I wish we have a complete (or at least, a near-complete) version of Midway. That city, for me, doesn't use as much R* properties. Look at some buildings and road textures, they're all unique compared to R*'s 3d era games. The cars are the only problem, as some of them use base SA textures.

 

And if there's a new city coming at a revived UG, I would think of a city north of Midway. It's based in Milwaukee, Racine, and Waukesha, Wisconsin. I would call it with these names; Deer City (a reference to the Milwaukee Bucks, one of the city's most popular sports teams), Brew City (a reference to Milwaukee's beer brewing heritage) or Dairy City (a reference to Wisconsin's slogan, America's Dairyland). 

Edited by DodgeSomrs
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