GTAgate: How Was It For You?

By Alec Meer on December 4th, 2008 at 5:00 pm.

That Spore kerfuffle earlier in the year sure seems like spilt milk compared to Rockstar’s GTA IV balls-up. The multiple DRM systems have proven to be the least of the troubled port’s problems – seems Kieron was lucky to even get into the thing, never mind that half his graphics were AWOL.

Everyone’s having their own miseries with it, it seems. So, below the cut: a quickie poll to see how many of you lot are having problems with the game. That’s along with more ranting from me, and a list of the many fun Fatal Errors players are running into. I’m a victim of RMN40, which apparently means I need to install XP SP3. Problem is I’m running Vista. Nice!


Eventually I established via forum-trawling that manually installing a .NET update might fix it. Why .NET is vital to the game running I don’t know. Another 20 minutes of downloading, installing and screaming later, I was past the mysterious fatal error, and amazingly this managed to be the first ever Games For Windows Live game that accepted the Live login I have for my Xbox. Hooray! Achievements, or something. Then it started repeatedly telling me that it needed to restart due to some account change, but would just just carry on regardless when I pressed enter. Huh.

Finally, after a tortously long loading wait, I get to watch the intro. It looks great and runs smoothly. Then, at last, I’m in car, ready to drive. Except it’s now only running at 1fps. As a final indignity, it crashes to desktop 10 seconds later. And there I rest. I suspect I’m now beyond caring.

It’s interesting that none of us who reviewed it (my write-up’s in the latest PC Format, where I’m significantly less forgiving of the multiple login doormen than others were) didn’t hit these tech problems in the code we were sent just a couple of a weeks back. The performance was unacceptably sluggish unless I dropped everything way-low, but there was none of these bewildering impasses. We were on a different clutch of activation etc servers and, I think, had a different version of Securom, but the Fatal Errors seem unrelated to that. So did bugfixing after the review code introduce new problems?

What an ‘orrible turn of events, at any rate. So much so that Valve are reportedly offering refunds for folk who bought the thing off Steam and can’t get it to run. Rockstar themselves say they’re working on a fix, but are reliably distant about it:

“We are aware that a small number of fans are having problems running GTA IV on their PC’s (sic) and we would like to assure them we are working to help solve these as quickly as possible.

We would ask anyone that is encountering difficulties to contact their local technical support helpline for advice and recommendations. These telephone numbers can be found in the game’s manual.

There is also a regularly updated technical support page available on the Rockstar Games website http://www.rockstargames.com/support/ where there are many useful faqs and information on how to resolve some common problems being encountered.”

“A small number of fans” and “half the internet, apparently” are, of course, one and the same. Let’s see, shall we? Please check one of the below options and we’ll see what the RPS average is. Please note we’re talking only about what you genuinely experienced first-hand when installing and running the game, not that you consider anything with DRM in or GFWL nag screens unplayable on principle or anything like that. (Oh, and apologies for the errant ‘n’ – it’s a bug in the voting plugin. And, observes Kieron, if bugs are ok for Rockstar, they’re ok for us).

n
{democracy:19}

Hopefully we can expect a patch sharpish, anyway. For some extra light reading, here’s Bit-tech painstakingly comparing the PC and console versions. The PC version, suffice to say, doesn’t come off well. Of course, anyone thinking of blaming this mess on the platform itself deserves a thump in the eyelids – the problems with GTA PC are almost unprecedented.

Oh, those fatal errors. Gotta catch ‘em all!

RMN20 – Windows Vista: Need to have Service Pack 1 or higher to proceed.
RMN30 – Windows XP 64 / Server 2003: Need to have Service Pack 2 or higher to proceed.
RMN40 – Windows XP: Need to have Service Pack 3 or higher to proceed.
DD3D50 – D3D Error – DirectX 9 video card required
TEXP110 – D3D Error – Failed to create texture – Please restart the game
DWIN20 – D3D Error – Failed to query memory. Please re-start the game.
DD3D10 – D3D Error – Please re-boot your system
DD3D10 – D3D Error – Please re-boot your system
DD3D30 – D3D Error – Please re-boot your system
DWIN30 – D3D Error – Please re-boot your system
DD3D20 – D3D Error – Please re-install the game and/or re-install DirectX
DWIN10 – D3D Error – Please restart the game
DD3D60 – D3D Error – Shader Model 3.0 or higher is required
DD3D70 – D3D Error – Unable to retrieve D3D Device. Please re-boot your system
GPUP10 – D3D Error – Unable to retrieve D3D Device. Please re-boot your system
TEXP20 – D3D Error – Unable to retrieve D3D Device. Please re-boot your system
TEXP30 – D3D Error – Unable to retrieve D3D Device. Please re-boot your system
TEXP80 – D3D Error – Unable to retrieve D3D Device. Please re-boot your system
DD3D40 – D3D Error – Unable to retrieve device capabilities. Please install latest video card driver and/or re-install DirectX
TEXP10 – D3D Error – Unable to retrieve device capabilities. Please install latest video card driver and/or re-install DirectX
DD3D80 – D3D reset failed – Please restart the game.
STRB10 – Failed to delete file – Please re-boot your system
RMN10 – Failed to read file – Please re-boot your system
STRM10 – Failed to read file – Please re-boot your system
STRM20 – Failed to read file – Please re-boot your system
BNDL10 – Failed to write file – Please re-boot your system
STBF10 – Failed to write file – Please re-boot your system
VOIC10 – Fatal voice chat error – Please restart the game
RESC10 – Out of video memory – Please re-boot your system
BA10 – Out of virtual memory – Please re-boot your system
EA10 – Out of virtual memory – Please re-boot your system
TEXP60 – Unable to create color render target – Please re-install DirectX and/or install the latest video card driver.
TEXP70 – Unable to create depth render target – Please re-install DirectX and/or install the latest video card driver.
AE10 – Insufficient Memory to Start Game – Please close some applications and restart the game
PC10 – Unable to retrieve D3D Device – Please reboot your machine or reinstall your display driver
TF10 – Unable to write to disk – Please restart the game
WS20 – InitWinSock failed – Please re-boot your system and/or re-install the game
WS30 – InitWinSock failed – Please re-boot your system and/or re-install the game

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146 Comments »

  1. RedBrain says:

    I truly suspect this is entirely the fault of the DRM that was put in place. Awesome.

  2. Pavel says:

    Nice one there, Sony (and MS and Rockstar).Why Sony? Because they are the one behind SECUROM. Their quest to destroy PC gaming continues onwards, BUT WE WILL PREVAIL!

  3. Monchberter says:

    Pitchfork and blazing torch duly lit. Mob mode on.

  4. Meat Circus says:

    So, just to reiterate: smug, lazy cunts doing an amateurish and rushed port, saddling it with crippling DRM, pissing all over it with the crime against humanity that is Games for Windows Live, strangling it with their own broken lobby system, making all this compulsory, failing to test any of it, and then pushing the entire aborted fetus out of their corporate vulva to get it out in time for Christmas?

    Who would have thought that could rebound on them? NOT ME, that’s for sure.

    Maybe that’s why I’m not a highly-paid PR executive.

  5. Gap Gen says:

    Well, I’m not sure that SecuROM has ever fucked up this badly? I smell a large fraction of the problem is just a bad conversion.

  6. blargy says:

    I am glad to hear that Steam is doing refunds, I just bought it last night, and it should be done downloading when I get home. If I get a ton of bugs I might just get my money back untill they fix it up.

  7. RichPowers says:

    Gamespy awarded give GTA IV 5/5 stars, casually mentioning “occasional graphical glitches and framerate issues” in a little “cons” box.

    Should reviews be updated in light of widespread technical problems, glitches, snafus, desktops crashes, etc.? I think so, if only so readers get the full picture…after all, they’re not playing a review copy. If nothing else, the writers should add a footnote saying that GTA IV has a higher frequency of technical problems and then providing a link to the appropriate forums.

    The last two errors — WS20 and WS30 — sound especially cruel, since the game apparently takes decades to install.

    Edit: Ha! It appears the GTA IV PC review is the same as the 360 review from April. Gamespy = worthless.

  8. macc says:

    No it’s not the DRM, it’s the damn Social Club thing. When I start the game without logging in, the errors stay away.

    Btw, my performance was better when I turned off video recording (in-game press ESC, then go to “Game” and turn off video recording).

  9. Dude says:

    Yeah, and then they will say the game is not selling on PC, and then they will say the platform is dying…

  10. The_B says:

    So anyway, I live just down the road from Rockstar Lincoln. Anyone want me to take any suspicious packages or angry mob justice?

  11. FP says:

    I think I’ve been lucky so far, only had two problems, a hang the first time it asked me to log in to GFWL (GTA was minimized to open my web browser but when I restored it it was just a blank screen) and the fact that the bowling controls are horribly broken with my mouse.

    I think somewhere in there is a pretty decent port trying to get out, shame it’s buried amongst useless stuff like Securom, Social Club and GFWL.

  12. JS says:

    I got GTA4 on Steam and it has been nothing short of a catalogue of horrors.

    The main problem for me was the installation of the bloody Social Club and Windows Live and some sort of integration between the two. You are forced to install them both, give over personal details and then have no other option than to deactivate them to run the damned game! You are also forced to install SP3 in XP, update your .Net framework, install something called “User-Mode Driver Framework Feature Pack 1.0″ and that’s before we even consider the SecuRootkit.

    Once in, Rockstar deems you too stupid to set your own settings and actively limits them. It is unimaginably condescending and infuriating.

    I have asked for a refund through Steam and sent a looong and detailed email of my experiences to Rockstar.

    I find it hilarious that devs say piracy is killing the PC. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Releases like this must do more than anything and surely drive people towards piracy.

  13. Putter says:

    I’m a huge fan of GTA and really wanted to play this game right when my Christmas break starts (next Wednesday). Now I guess I’ll just play one of my many other games until they get this sorted out.

    I should mention that the San Andreas PC initial release had a few hiccups, but nothing this major. Not being able to play on High or even Medium detail level on a supposedly capable system sounds familiar, though.

  14. Rook says:

    You can only really review the experience that you have. You just don’t have any idea whether other people keep their drivers up to date, patch windows, are running legal copies of anything etc.

  15. qrter says:

    Once in, Rockstar deems you too stupid to set your own settings and actively limits them.

    Besides all the insane DRM/social network ridiculousness, this truly baffles me. I can’t think of any other PC game that does this.

    (Isn’t there a config file somewhere, where you can change a line, etc.?)

  16. jamscones says:

    This is just dreadful. I loved GTA4 on 360, and was fully intending to buy the PC version day 1. The reports last week of the two (or three if you include Steam) apps required to be running just to start the game put me off a little. The reports this week of all these performance issues, graphical glitches and crashes have completely killed any desire I may have had to pick this up.

    Do Rockstar *really* think it’s reasonable to expect people to have additional applications running in order to run another – and we’re not talking device drivers or an OS here. There’s no good reason for this at all.

    And all of this is before we get to any discussion of DRM! What a horrific mess.

  17. subedii says:

    Is it cynical of me to suggest that resulting lower than expected sales will be solely attributed to (the character archetype humorously portrayed by Johnny Depp in the movie rendition of a Walt Disney theme park ride), and not in fact the fault of anyone directly involved with this project ?

  18. phil says:

    Rockstar seem to strongly support Stu Campbell’s argument that people should pirate cracked games simply to get a better user experience. Either that or they are astonishingly incompetent. Or that they just knew the game HAD to be out by Christmas to be profitable, even if it is stuffed with the proverbial flying jaguars.

  19. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Blimey, and I thought the GTA3 port was bad.

    I was thinking of picking this up for PC down the line in addition to my 360 copy, mainly to sample mods and have properly integrated mp3 radio stations, but this fiasco has pretty much put paid to that idea.

  20. Deadpan says:

    Amazingly. SecuROM has never caused a problem for me.
    Now… RSC bombing out with an MMA10 after I spend an hour installing, registering, validating, praying, etc nearly made me drive to Rockstar’s office and molotov the place.

    A quick googling sorted that out.

    Now if we can just get local saves and mouse steering.
    and custom phone skins.

  21. JS says:

    @qrter
    I cannot think of another game like it.
    There are ways round most of the issues certainly, but I bought this game to play. Not spend countless hours, filled with anger and frustration trawling through forums to find out how to get it to work. It is truly a shocking release and I cannot express my distain for it, the company or my recommendation to all who read this NOT to buy this game, more forceably.

    @Rook
    My XP install is brand new. Drivers for XFI and GPU can be a week old at the worst. Regardless, what they have released is unforgivably poor.

  22. Paul Moloney says:

    Hmm, I was lukewarm about getting it anyway, and I have enough games to be getting on with, so I think that’ll be a no them.

    I mean I don’t even mind GFWL; it’s working fine for me with Fallout 3 now, and I think I am an achievements whore.

    P.

  23. Bidermaier says:

    Its really not that bad.
    Some people just need to have an excuse to download pirated games.

  24. TentSalesman says:

    I’m still downloading, and have been for 24 hours now. On a 10mb pipe. Sigh.

    It would be quicker to download illegally, nice one Steam :(

  25. Lim-Dul says:

    Good that I’m pretty much uninterested in the GTA series ever since it took to 3D and pretty much re-established the “sandbox game” genre in the 3D generation. =)

    I’m like Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw – for me linearity in games is not necessarily a downside. I like my games to be like interactive books or movies. =)

  26. subedii says:

    Bidermaier: I think you mean, that it’s not that bad for you. Like it or not, people ARE having issues with the game, and this does not automatically make them freaking pirates. Grief!

  27. Downloads_Plz says:

    Some people just need to have an excuse to download pirated games.

    Reading far more stories of the install going badly and/or the game just plain not working than stories of the game working perfectly (of which I’ve read none…) is more than enough reason for me.

    I’ll be downloading this as soon as the pirates are done.

  28. crozon says:

    ok it all runs now on my quad core pc. And i like it. Multiplayer is a blast and just works. I also like GFWL. Handy way to invite people into your multiplayer game.

    BUT for fucks sake i want to play this on my TV as well which is connected to a x2 4400, 8800gts (640mb), 2gb ram PC. Every game runs on high. Dead space no problem, fallout 3 no problem. But gtaiv it runs at 22fps and goes down to 15. I have given up. Nothing i change makes the game run faster.

    On the brighter note on the other gaming PC, mouse works great, multiplayer fun, replay system brilliant and the game is just fun fun fun

  29. Theory says:

    I’ve decided not to buy it due to all this not-working Kerfuffle.

    I decided not to buy it in anticipation of the not-working kerfuffle. :p

    I’ll probably pick it up a few patches down the line.

  30. Hi, I blurgh says:

    The DRM is nothing. A simple keycode and online check. It’s all the other shit that’s causing trouble.

  31. Funky Badger says:

    Reminds me of the Neverwinter Nights 2 “release”.

  32. Gurrah says:

    A couple of people wrote they already own the game on the 360 and would have bought it a second time for PC, if it wasn’t such a mess. I’m forced to ask: are you people millionaires or stupid? I can understand having multiple platforms to be able to play a broader range of games, but I can’t understand having multiple platforms and then buying the same game for each platform… seriously, what is up with that? Someone mentioned mods, is mod-support really worth 50€?! I don’t think so.

  33. Flappybat says:

    Unfortunately I find it very believable that reviewers strongly downplayed bugs because of assurances from Rockstar or Microsoft that it was “review code” and eagerness to land launch reviews of one of the biggest games of the year.

  34. Alec Meer says:

    Flappybat – I’m no doubt that less reputable organs are sometiems guilty of that kind of thing, but in this case I can honestly assure you that the review code and the release code were dramatically different. The DRM shit was the DRM shit, but all these crashes just weren’t there.

  35. unclelou says:

    This is very interesting, Alec – I read a few of those “hardware charts” German PC mags like to publish in their reviews, and they all said the game ran generally pretty well – no crashes, and good performance with any C2D and a reasonably up to date GPU.

    What in Zeus’ name has happened between the review and the release versions?

    I’d like to add that the game runs fine for me, but the perfromance could definitely be better.

  36. Larington says:

    Hmm, theres probably like, 1 old file that somehow got accidentally transplanted into the retail release candidate, probably by someone from Microsoft or Sony (Ok, probably not, but the temptation to speculate is very high, especially considering I’d like to believe that incompetence happens rarely, rather than the alternative – all the time).

  37. JS says:

    For reference on my C2D e6400, 4GB ram (less in XP obviously), overclocked 8800GTS, the game ran fine at 1152×864 with medium textures or 1280×1024 with low textures and practically all sliders at the bottom (those were the choices I was given).

    But this was no longer the point. The 25 hours it took to download on a 24mbit connection, the littany of superfluous and wholly unwanted installations before getting anywhere near the bugs, the bugs when I got there, the handcuffing of the settings. By the time I was playing, I had experienced so much frustration and anger that I quite literally hated the game with a passion and had long since resolved to get a refund and complain to Rockstar.

  38. runcrash says:

    Other than the MMA10 bug the only other issue I had was that if I put textures to high the game becomes unplayable no matter what my other settings are. Right not I have everything maxed except for textures which are at medium. By the way, the auto-configure puts textures at high and the benchmark for the auto-configure says I’m getting 50 FPS. But if I set textures to high then the game will lock up, crash, or at best stutter every time I move or turn around.

    Pretty sad considering my computer could run Crysis and Far Cry 2 with everything maxed (except AA in Crysis).

    Not to mention the game has 3 different kinds of DRM (4 if you got it through Steam) one of which breaks the game outright (Rockstar Social Club, you cannot be logged into that if you want to play).

  39. TychoCelchuuu says:

    My friend bought the game and it works perfectly well. The huge amounts of people who aren’t having any problems don’t go onto the Internet and whine about it.

  40. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    @ Gurrah: I was never intending to buy it at release, as was implicit in my previous post, since my rig is currently spectacularly rubbish. Not to mention that, as you say, buying the same game full-price for two different formats is a little silly. Most likely I would have picked it up when it hit the £10 mark.

  41. Wookie_Wookstar (Big D) says:

    It works on now, but I had to force Social Club to quit before I played, that was the only way I got past the insta crash bug. Graphics seem ok but I will wait for patch before I play as Rockstar have really Slapped PC gamers in the face on this one, it was born on the PC so should now shine on it!

    Meh!

  42. RandomEngy says:

    No crashes for me. Though the game is a CPU monster and runs at a CPU-bound 20 fps on my Core 2 E6600 Dual-core machine. And the rockstar social garbage just will not shut up. Prompting me about signing in every time I start up and staying around like a smelly stain after I close the game. I have 4 big problems with the game:

    1) The convoluted after-steam-install install (DRM may be part of this annoyance)
    2) Rockstar social annoying-ware
    3) Menu mouse speed (argh)
    4) Insane CPU requirements

    This is not just about DRM. I suspect a majority of the crashes are just a symptom of a sloppy job stabilizing the PC port.

  43. StalinsGhost says:

    The image at the top of this article is priceless.

  44. Devan says:

    @TychoCelchuuu
    You’re right, people who don’t have problems don’t complain. That’s what this poll is for; because people who don’t have problems still read RPS. :)
    So far the numbers don’t look very good.

  45. spirit7 says:

    For those Vista owners getting the RMN 40 error, I solved it by making sure both the GTA IV shortcut and the steam shortcuts were not running in Win XP SP2 compatibility mode.

    So if you’re getting it:

    - Make sure everything installed properly;
    - Get the .NET Framework 3.5 from the MS website;
    - Make sure compatibility modes are disabled;
    - Pray.

  46. Dave L. says:

    RE: Review Code vs. Release Code:
    It’s possible that the wrong release candidate was sent to manufacturing, or manufacturing had both candidates, and started pressing the wrong one, or the file on the retail authentication server is the wrong version. It’s happened in the past, but usually things like that get caught pretty quickly and a recall is sent out (but given how Rockstar reacted to Hot Coffee, I wouldn’t put outright denial of any problem past them).

  47. Pags says:

    Have Rockstar ever had any success porting the GTA games to PC?

    It saddens me that they decided to shit on this game from a great height, seemingly just to meet some artificial christmas deadline.

  48. Tei says:

    Again. I suffer this crap with my commodore 64. The dev’s creating games for the Z80, ignoring the superior 6510 processor, and using a damn emulator to move games from Spectrum to Commodore 64. So you have games on the C64, with the strict limitations of a Spectrum. Insane.

    Now, some big game dev’s have move to the consoles, and make games for consoles. And we get poorly ports, with all the lame limitations of a console (like not easy quicksave), Xbox live, etc..

    Please, no, no again!.
    AARGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    I curse you, Microsoft, I curse you all .NET, GFW, XBox Live!.. all of you!!! *planet-of-apes-ish fist shaking*

  49. Frans Coehoorn says:

    And this is why I am a pc AND Xbox 360 gamer. Oh and by the way, publishers always send out the non DRM release codes for the (early) reviews nowadays, so it seems. I had a Mass Effect release code from EA/BioWare without the damn DRM crap a few weeks earlier before release – before the whole DRMgate started at the BioWare forums (and thus the denying of it) as well. Rockstar probably did the same with GTA IV. Actually pretty mean, innit?

  50. Blaxploitation Man says:

    Man, I was saving up some money to get this off steam, but I think I’ll buy TF2 instead now.