Grand Theft Autorun

By Kieron Gillen on December 4th, 2008 at 12:23 am.

Hmm

So – GTA’s out and its multi-step installation program is causing gnashing of teeth. Take this proper-AIM growl-piece, for example. As is only right, as it’s incredibly annoying. However, the main reason to justify the post was to stress… well, you only have to do the Rockstar online club thing if you want to play online games or upload stuff. After installing, you can skip a log-in to it to just play, saving a little time. Good luck. Of course, that doesn’t help my own particular problems…

And before I go into this, my problems are my problems. My PC has been loaded up with every dirty piece of Beta code the PC games industry has waved in my direction. But my GTA4 installation procedure has been a little tiresome, shall we say. Which may surprise you, as I went through the review-code procedure to review the fucker, but that could be… well, anything (the protection on the review code was tougher than the release version, though I did uninstall the thing. Another conflict? Oh, who can tell. PCs are special). Anyway – took a couple of hours to install from DVD, including times where the installer stopped to have a think before moving onto another section. I was off working in another room, so returning every half-hour or so to see what was changing was quite interesting. For me. I’d imagine if I wanted to play swiftly, it’d have been a pisser.

But I had work to do, so my problems only really kicked in when I tried to play it. As expected, my save games from the review code were lost to the abyss (review code’s saves often don’t translate to retail). As was less expected, about eighty percent of my textures or so were lost to the abyss too. Which means my game looked like the screenshot I stole from the GTA3 forums. Let’s repeat it..

Also hmm.

Yeah, very annoying. However, the GTA forum folk have apparently found a solution to this problem, as explained in the thread. That this solution involves Safe Mode doesn’t exactly encourage me to try it rather than cracking on with some more Far Cry 2 or Fallout 3, which I’m desperately behind with. Or even some work.

Actually, one more thing about GTA4 before we go further – one interesting thing about the conversion is (as I said in the review) the PC specs are seriously beyond anything in existence. One comments thread I note claims that 10 on the draw distance (on a scale to 100) is what the console was set at. I’ve never moved it beneath 20…but still, for a relatively modern PC, it’s an odd feeling to see you that far down the scale of what the game is capable of. And it definitely seems to annoy people who play the game.

Which makes me think about the nature of PC Gamers… that the system isn’t set means that you feel as if you’re missing out if the game is claiming it can do much more than you can. It’s a failing of gamer-psychology to set it up with that big gap where The Future is meant to fit. I suspect they’d have been better with a standard graphics option menu (going up to about 25 draw distance on the current scale) and a second advanced graphics menu to access the hyper-high statistics, with more warnings there about its use. Because otherwise, I suspect it’s a bit like being introduced to a highly attractive person and told you’re not allowed to have sex with them. We don’t like that, it seems.

Anyone else playing GTA4? Enjoying it or have you tripped over any of these problems?

Links mostly from Qt3’s GTA4PC thread.

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136 Comments »

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  1. Alec Meer says:

    I found not signing into the Social Club thing was even worse, as it just meant it kept pestering me.

  2. leeder krenon says:

    you can’t use a gamepad unless it is one of these:
    Currently Supported Controllers
    We are actively working on adding support for a larger variety of gamepads. For now here is a complete list of all controllers compatible with Grand Theft Auto IV PC:

    * XBOX 360 for Windows (Controller)
    * Wireless XBOX 360 Controller
    * Joytech 360 pad (Controller)
    * Pelican TSZ360 Pad (Controller)
    * MadCatz 360 (Controller)
    * MadCatz 360 Pro (Controller)
    * MadCatz 360 MicroCon (Controller)
    * Bigben Controller BB7201 (Controller)
    * MadCatz Arcade GameStick 360
    * Logitech Chillstream

    rubbish.

  3. akbar says:

    Damn game’s been downloading off steam since 8.30 this morning (like 16 hours ago!) and is only 77% done.

  4. eain says:

    Crap like that mentioned in the first link just makes me want to pirate it. I won’t, becuase I have very little interest in GTA4 anyhow, but sheeeesh. At this point, even when I buy a game, I’ll often go and download a cracked version at the same time just so I don’t have to deal with the stupid DRM.

  5. leeder krenon says:

    I suspect it’s a bit like being introduced to a highly attractive person and told you’re not allowed to have sex with them.

    You suspect? So this has never happened to you? Life is not fair.

  6. Pags says:

    The amount of time it takes to install the thing must surely be a bit of a piss-take considering you need the disc in at all times to play the game (or so I’ve read, correct me if I’m wrong). 16gb on your hard-drive is most certainly not to be sniffed at, if I have to have the disc in at all times then what is that space being used for? Granted it’s a big game, but it still strikes me as unnecessary.

    As for the the specs thing: it’s Crysis all over again. Granted with Crysis there was a serious optimisation issue there as well, but throwing in settings that even some super-duper computers might have trouble with is a bit of a tease. What GTA4 would’ve really benefitted from is having little markers on each sliding scale saying “approximate console setting” and “too awesome even for your computer”. That way PC gamers could’ve felt superior while also having some sort of clue as to where to stop scaling up.

    As for the Social Club/GFW Live thing… well, it’s just a right ol’ bastard move. Thing is, compared to Starforce (which has actually chewed up several of my disk drives) the DRM is pretty soft touch here, but they just pile on so much useless bloatware with it, it ends up clogging your system even worse. The phrase ‘jumping through hoops’ has been used a lot but in this case it’s entirely apt.

    I hate bashing GTA4 because honestly it’s a fantastic game which I’ve been enjoying all year. I also don’t want to seem like a regular grumpy bastard who likes shouting at DRM and bemoaning the state of PC games these days because frankly there’s enough out there for me to still enjoy PC gaming without thinking the whole thing’s crashing around our ears. It just saddens me that some people won’t be able to enjoy this game nearly as much as I did.

  7. Mickiscoole says:

    I’m having the texture problem, its quite fun to go driving around LC with only lamp posts to guide you.

    Oh and the Rockstar Social Club was having server problems so if I was signed in, it would take 2 minutes to go through the intro (which can’t be skipped) and then would crash. The only way to fix this was to log out of RSSC, but then you get tonnes more dialog boxes etc.

  8. Bhazor says:

    Erm, anyone here ever heard of patches? Anyone? Patches? No? Anyone? Patches?

  9. Saflo says:

    I was really looking forward to this as a PC release, too, since 32-player GTA sounds like ridiculous fun.

  10. toler says:

    It’s pretty funny that a Games for Windows game doesn’t work on Windows Vista 64.

  11. Y3k-Bug says:

    @Bhazor

    I don’t get what that post is supposed to be saying. We’re wrong for complaining about a game shipping nearly broken?

    You’re talking about patches that are coming out later. I’m talking about the game I paid for today.

  12. Pags says:

    @Bhazor: anyone ever heard of not having to release broken games in the first place?

  13. born2expire says:

    mine installs fine, i get the error when connected to the social club, but the game dumps to desktop with no explianation of error once i get to the GTAIV splash screen.

    I’m not a happy camper.

  14. born2expire says:

    “It’s pretty funny that a Games for Windows game doesn’t work on Windows Vista 64.”

    works just fine for me.

  15. Lavitz says:

    There are alot of optimization issues. For cpu and gpu’s its really funny how $2000 pc (being top of line every thing maxed out ) can’t run the game. I really don’t rockstar did any optimization at all. I was going to pick it up but not after i heard my friend who can max CRYSIS WARS struggling to run the game 800 x 600 with an 9800 gtx 4gb , with a core 2 duo. So excited about the game to come to pc so many plans in my head gone to shit ! PC GAMING FTW !:( STREET FIGHTER 4 GONNA HAVE THE SAME FAITH :(

  16. Deadpan says:

    @Born2Expire, log out of Social Club, ‘skip login’ then hit play. Worked for me. read below..

    At the point I was allowed, after much trudging and updating and making two new accounts for services I would typically opt out of, updating again, manually typing in a long-ass serial with ‘-‘s that weren’t specified…. I hit play, and got an MMA10 error.

    This error is not very helpful, thankfulyl Google now index the internet every five seconds, and I was able to find you can play without having to log into RSC.

    But I still had to sign into GetFuckedWithoutLube in order to SAVE MY PROGRESS? WHAT THE COCK… IS THAT SHIT!?!

    Does this mean I’m hosed if I try to play the game from a save if my internet is down?

    The refeshing news is that, thankfully, the GAME ITSELF ran like hot buttered silk on my rig, which to be honest, was build to play this and every other big name RP-FPS title coming out this season.

    I both want to kiss and suckpunch Rockstar. With a knuckleduster… with spikes on it.

  17. born2expire says:

    @Deadpan, opps meant to say i get this error when NOT connected to the Social Club.

  18. Deadpan says:

    D’oh!

    Don’t you just LOOVE launch weeks?

  19. RichP says:

    Hopefully by the time it’s $20, Rockstar will patch it to an acceptable condition, and maybe some enterprising souls will find a way to eliminate Rockstar Social Club and GFW from the equation. Once again, the publishers encourage people to wait on buying games: pay less money for higher quality.

    I’m still working on GTA: SA, which I purchased during the Steam sale a few months ago.

  20. Tom says:

    I’m going to pirate it, I’m going to pirate it, and nobody can stop me, oh wait, my pc’s rubbish, can’t even play san andreas properly, oh bugger…
    I’m still going to pirate it though, yes I really do like that word, ‘pirate’…

  21. James T says:

    Tom’s an RPS plant!

    Meanwhile…

    “Please don’t buy our game.”
    Okay.
    “OH MY GOD, SALES SO LOW, PC IS DEAD.”

  22. Tim says:

    I bought it on steam. When I loaded up it told me I had to install game for windows from an external download they linked to because of some problem. “sorry”. Then I had to go through this ridiculous process of signing up for games for windows /and/ rockstar social club. Then ‘link’ them… gahd.. what a waste of time.

    Didn’t they do any usability tests or anything? just take one user who doesn’t have any of these accounts and tell him to install the game.. oh oops! it’s a bit crap!

    Then starting the game crashes with a mystical error message. Steam forums to the rescue again. Apparently in the steam version you have to start the game /without/ logging into rockstar social club. Then it works. (At least for my issue). You can login by alt tabbing out, if you so desire. For the amount of money they spent on this game, it’s pretty pathetic just starting the game is so buggy. Lucky for me I didn’t have the texture problem.

  23. Shadowmancer says:

    This will be a game that I’ll get on my xbox at Christmas mainly cos I dont want to download over 18GB from steam for the whole game I’ve also heard that it requires a BEAST of a computer just to run it at bare minimum levels of play.

  24. Eli Just says:

    Waiting for the download on Steam. 51% done. I kinda feel stupid for buying it now, seeing all the problems. I even upgraded from the 8600 GT to the 8800GT just to play it. Took 15min to just download the drivers, and it looks like I might have to download MORE drivers because the new ones don’t work. I feel sorta ripped off.

  25. Rob Merritt says:

    After the 90 minute install, and reading all the horror stories, i was prepared for the worst buty the game runs and looks good on my rig. Whew.

  26. DAT500 says:

    I had a problem when I first played it with the missing textures and it ran like a dog, but I’ve since updated to the latest nvidia drivers for my 8800GTS and the recommended settings are fine with no texture problems.

  27. born2expire says:

    Well, I called Rockstar’s support hotline, and after almost an hour waiting for someone I got a delightful chap named Ian. He was nice and seemed genuinely concerned, tried a few of his suggestions to no avail, I’ve emailed him my event viewer errors a my dxdiag.txt and hopefully they can help me to get things running.

  28. wyrmsine says:

    Not much I can say about the install procedure, except that I now have a full belly, a week’s worth of pressed shirts and lunch for tomrrow. Hey, that actually qualifies as a feature! So with the Social Club installed, it was time to move onto the actual game. The installer hung at the very end, unless an hour and a half is the expected waiting time for the very final bar to finish. Now, I can try running the game (“This game needs a sound card to run”. Pardon?), or joining the Social Club for answers (“Service unavailable”), and there is absolutely no option to uninstall the game. Nor can I reinstall the game – I can deactivate my license, but that’s about it. This is insane. I’ve got no doubt it’s a great game, but I really wish I hadn’t spent money, and the last two-and-a-half hours, on it.

  29. DigitalSignalX says:

    The difference between Crysis and GTA4 is that no matter what PC you had after the minimum spec, you could still run it at low settings and low resolution and get decent frame rate to enjoy the game. GTA forgives nothing. My medium range XP system exceeds minimum spec and is still dogging like mad at 1024x and low graphics with minimum draw range. Absolutely ridiculous.

    grrr.. rockstar has made me SO MAD. Hopefully whenever a working crack comes out this will improve and I can kiss the retail install goodbye.

  30. Nick says:

    I’m glad I can’t afford to buy it yet – now I probably won’t at all.

  31. rob says:

    I’ve spent almost 6 hours trying to get GTA 4 running. due to all the stupid windows updates, GFW live, windows SP3? and all the fatal error. Come on.. are you serious Microsoft? LET US PLAY THE F$#KING GAME!

    The Rockstar social club thing I can take it, I mean it’s their game, it’s their right to protect their own product. My main problem is with “Games for windows live”. forced you to install all these un-necessary things. ughh..

    I think this might be the last time I purchase anything with “Games for windows” tag on it.

    Anyway, the game ran like ass on my PC. [e8200, 8800GT OCed, 3G Ram], I have to tune it down to get stable frame rate.

  32. Nick says:

    Woah, waitasec, it makes you install SP3 to play? WTF? =(

  33. Francisco says:

    There is the extra fact that people that aren´t in NA or EU can´t buy the game at all. No direct2driver, no steam, not even on online stores.

    And the whole piracy and pc gaming is dead talk is their fault.

  34. O.G.N says:

    @rob, Games for windows by itself is rather harmless. Its GfW Live that’s troblesome

  35. Rob Zacny says:

    You know, sometimes I hate the self-righteous twits who can’t wait to hear about some DRM system just so they can proclaim, “Well, So-and-So has lost my business forever! I will not pay money to be treated like a criminal.”

    So imagine my frustration when I find myself saying the same thing about GTA 4 on PC. Mind you, this was a done deal. This was going to be my Christmas game. But what I object to is not just the DRM, but the sheer hassle of it all. I dislike that Rockstar feels its game is special enough that gamers should be compelled to install two other programs in addition to the game.

    I think Gabe Newell hit the nail squarely on the head when he said that the problem with most DRM systems is that they reduce the product’s value for consumers. $50 for GTA 4 was a fine price, but now it’s $50 plus the money I would have paid to not have RSC and GFW Live.

  36. well says:

    I’m having absolutely no problems with this game – after accepting that i can’t max out everything, I’m enjoying the game.

    Social Club is annoying, but I don’t see what the big deal is. You don’t have to sign in, and it running in the background is stupid but whatever. And you can’t test for every possible configuration on pc for obvious reasons – you just have to hope a majority of systems run it fine, and deal with what happens after release. Though of course that now gives people looking for a piracy justification a nice self-righteous reason for pirating the game, adding to that annoying sense of entitlement even further. Ah well.

    Hopefully the people who aren’t having problems aren’t posting because they’re playing the game. Either that or the internet is, as usual, creating shitstorms that feed off each other.

  37. dreamhunk says:

    wow rockstar really droped the ball on this one they said that the game was perfect for pc gamers. DRm and and aother attack on pc gaming

  38. wyrmsine says:

    The game runs! Holy crap, that title sequence is something else. The game’s attempt at immersiveness is over the top – I instantly despise, then grudgingly like, my liason into the world. I hope he dies by my virtual hand. A short time later, I’m informed that I have to log into Windows Live to save my game. I hope the people who made that decision get raped to death by chimpanzee hobos. Actual chimpanzee hobos. Piracy:2, Paying people for outstanding work : 0.5*

    * it’s pretty outstanding – watched television in-game for five minutes, and had to pull my virtual ass off the couch.. Still, Piracy wins, so far. Game is chugging with all the useless backend going on. Nice that I can alt-tab out to look. Piracy :2, Paying devs: 0.75.

  39. Tim James says:

    i really dont get the massive hate for games for windows. I think the publishing brand is excellent. I think it is Microsoft’s place to help advertise PC games and buy shelf space for pc games, after all Windows is there platform.

    I also quite like the games for windows live client, the new version is great. I didnt have a problem with it before, as i have an xbox live account, so i was already playing, but thats not the point. Dedicated server play was always free, pc user vs pc user was always free. matchmaking cost and multi platform cost. Maybe the spit in the service was a tad arbitrary. Now that its all free it helps clear the water, but there is still incredible bile against it. Why is there so much hate in games community? fanboys all over the place declaring there system of choice is superior and all others are rubbish, the anti drm people, the anti steam people (although, its much rarer to find someone who hates steam nowerdays admitidly). it really gets me down, there dosnt seem to be alot of clear thinking in the comments section of sites i frequent (RPS seems to be alot more mature and clear thinking comments wise than most sites, recently ive really lost faith in places like kotaku, i feel that’s gone downhill with both comments and artical quality)

    Anyways im not really sure where im going with this any more, and for that i apologise. a few closing points.

    The bit about games for windows not running on 64bit windows is suspect, every time ive tried it (most recently with fallout) its worked flawlessly.

    There seems to be some people complying about having to update windows to run the game, it seems odd to me that there windows install isnt up to date. that’s what’s windows update is there form. but it also seems strange for the game to require XP sp3. i wonder if this is true or a misunderstanding?

    Lastly, the design for rockstar social club seems flawed. Alot of this grumbling comes from the multi account issue, im sure rockstar could have worked with Microsoft to use a Windows Love account as a login for the social club, i’m pretty sure Microsoft offers an API for it, and its also an openID provider. there seems to be loads of ways to tie a rockstar social club account to a games for windows account without resorting to a separate login. if this was though of right at the beginning, back when they were building it for the console release of GTA 4 (where it acted as a stats gathering site), it would have solved a few of today’s grumblings.

  40. Garrett says:

    @leeder krenon: This is because Rockstar has apparently not implemented legacy DirectInput support; only XInput devices will work. This will only be more common in the future, however.

    Ultimately, Microsoft wants XInput to replace DirectInput. XInput is a lot easier to program for and allows all current and future Xbox 360 controller designs to automatically work with all XInput-compatible games (this includes wireless controllers, for which you simply need to buy a receiver); it also allows developers to easily use Xbox 360 controller code in their Windows releases. XInput support is a requirement for Microsoft’s ever-growing Games for Windows initiative, so proper controller support will eventually become a standard feature of all PC games.

    Unfortunately, XInput isn’t backwards-compatible with DirectInput-only devices, so it’s up to the developers to choose to include legacy support. Controller manufacturers can also help by updating their drivers to make their devices recognised by XInput. Eventually, all developers will shift to XInput.

  41. Stijn D says:

    May I advice a bottle of good old fine whiskey to pass the time in a comfort way ^_^
    I was thinking to buy this game, but after tis story I just going to wait, mostly because my PC is getting old. I can barely play Tomb Raider: Underworld :-p

  42. Tei says:

    Microsoft is damaging PC gaming. All the “Games for Windows” program is to promote his XBOX 360 platform XBox Live.
    Having another program on backgrounds that eat resources and required another hop to play a game is bad for gamers, for PC gamers.

    GFW sould be Opt-in, and not Opt-out, or forced. And sould be really easy, not a hassle.

    I am not buying console ports, for his very low quality, and forced crap. It don’t seems console game componies need my money enough to be sensitive about this facts, and feel making Microsoft or Sony happy is more important than making me happy.

  43. Krupo says:

    Lollipop girl didn’t mention any of this garbage! Screw it, I’ll wait for it to get patched up real good. And I’ll try and finish GTA:SA while I’m at it.

    If it’s any consolation to you angry PC Gamers, one of my PS3 friends was playing GTA:IV earlier this year…. AND THE PS3 VERSION HAD SIMILAR PROBLEMS.

    I was baffled and amused.

    And at the same time realized I wasn’t going to buy GTAIV anytime soon, knowing the sheer amount of b.s. that was likely if the PS3 version was bug ridden (if I remember the story correctly, Social Club or whatever is somehow integrated with the console game and that too had trouble at some points – unable to save, or load saves, or something like that).

  44. Darkelp says:

    The game took roughly twenty minutes to install, five minutes to install Game’s For Windows Live, and about twenty minutes to figure out why it kept crashing to desktop.

    Ahha! Trust it to be Rockstars own social club program crashing the game.

    But seriously, it was pretty much a breeze for me and I have been playing it and very much enjoying it.

    Waiting about fifteen minutes for it to full scan my music was all my fault, so I won’t complain.

    But yeah, abit of a dodgy launch, but the game is so good that I’ll let them off.

  45. Nameykins says:

    Well, I’m glad that I had the chance to read about this before I made a purchase. Frankly, I’m going to wait for the pirates make a working crack for the game, then buy it and run the crack on my legit copy.

    Both ethical and convenient!

  46. Hi, I blurgh says:

    The SP3 thing is my main problem as well. Yeah, okay, it says it needs SP3 in the requirements, but who the heck reads those when they’ve got a decent PC?

    I blame Microsoft, though. It’s their Games for Windows crap that’s fucking everything up. I wish they’d just leave PC gaming alone.

  47. Dreamhacker says:

    I cant even install SP2 without my computer BSOD’ing on Windows startup, much less install SP3!

    I suddenly look quite a bit less forward to buying GTA4… :(

  48. Zoso says:

    Games for Windows I’ll grudgingly accept, on the grounds I thought Steam was a waste of time when HL2 first came out and it hasn’t turned out so bad, though it would help if the website didn’t say “Hey XBoxy person with your XBox Gamertag here on XBox live, how’s your XBoxing going those XBoxen are great aren’t they?”

    What the buggery sod is the point of the “Social Club”, though? More like an Antisocial Club, if you ask me (HAHAAHAHAAHAHA Antisocial, do you see what I did there?), high scores and user created videos? Restrain me, lest I start physically caressing the monitor in excitement at such features. Tsk.

    AND THEN! I know my PC isn’t right on the cutting edge, but it’s not awful (Athlon 64X2 and 8800GTS and all that), I don’t want to turn every slider right up to the hypothetical “at the current rate of development you’ll be able to use this setting in the year 2038″ maximum, but I wouldn’t mind being able to move one or two settings just a touch off the rock bottom 800×600, no textures, render everyone as a stick figure options without the game screaming “WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE PLAYING AT”, slapping your hand, and turning it all back down again. Tsk again.

    Still, once you get past all that it’s quite a good game…

  49. catmorbid says:

    I’ve the steam version. I first installed on vista 32bit, but i had left steam on a compatibility mode for xp since i played vice city just before (which is pretty funny because i got vice city because i bought gta iv), but when i tried the game in xp it ran flawlessly. Then I tried it on vista again, and got it to run after unchecking the compatibility mode, but had messed up textures. Updating gpu drivers did the trick, and now it works just fine, albeit a bit laggy.

  50. Alex McLarty says:

    @ Toler: “It’s pretty funny that a Games for Windows game doesn’t work on Windows Vista 64.”

    Works for me!

    Loading is a painfully slow at times and yes, the install was a bit of a fanny. Working OK-ish now, apart from the odd ‘FATAL ERROR’ message.