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Grand Theft Autorun

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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Kieron Gillen

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Kieron Gillen is robo-crazy.

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