GTA Creator Is Building Liberty City In Game Maker

Not quite as pretty as GTAV, mind you.

Michael Dailly created Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings in his time at DMA Design, and is now Head of Development at YoYo Games, the company responsible for entry-level game creation tool Game Maker. To help illustrate the power of Game Maker: Studio, the modern version of that tool, he’s doing something cool. As reported by USGamer, he’s re-building the world of Grand Theft Auto 1 in it, in 3D.

Over on Dailly’s Twitter account, he’s posting regular photos of his progress in re-creating the original game’s Liberty City. There’s nothing playable yet, and he’s unsure what he’ll do with the city when it’s done. It’s currently running in HTML5 and WebGL, which means whatever he does release should work right out of your browser without the need to install any extra plug-ins.

The camera angle meant there was never any sky in GTA1.

Game Maker has become increasingly popular as a game development tool over the past five years, but mainly for the creation of 2D games like the original Spelunky. Unity tends to hoover up most of the 3D game development, so Dailly’s work with re-creating GTA is an obvious and good advert for the tool’s power with polygons.

If you’re like me, you played Grand Theft Auto 1 as an eleven-year-old, after talking your mother into going to the game store to buy the 18-rated game for you. If you’re like me, you’d write this sentence only to make some of the other people who write for this site feel old.

More biggerer screenshots can be found at Dailly’s Twitter.


  1. Gap Gen says:

    The first shot reminds me of Sim City 1. I wonder at what point the entire city will catch fire.

  2. LarsBR says:

    Not just the other writers, you bastard.

    • melnificent says:

      I have no words, other than you’ve made me feel really old.
      I was 18 when it came out so picked up a copy for my younger brother :D

      • chabuhi says:

        I was 28 … And picked it up for my grandson. Have half a mind to hit him over the head with my Magnavox Odyssey. No, seriously … at my age one only has half a mind.

    • Zaxwerks says:

      Yeah, I’ve half a mind to beat him the death with my Commodore 64… seriously those things were quite hefty and can produce quite a wallop if you get your weight behind them…

      If it’s any consolation whilst he was 11 the people that can NOW legally buy a GTA game were 2… bugger, now I feel even older…

    • edwardoka says:

      Get off my lawn. Damn kids these days…

    • Panda Powered says:

      We are the wise old sages of gaming. Our beards longer than wizards’ and Our knowledge of the dark arcane eras of the past is revered by all. Or maybe not.

  3. Stardreamer says:

    Man, that takes me back. Drifting ’round corners in my Penetrator, Head Radio blaring ‘complications’…and a huge red skidmark behind me as I hit a perfect Gouranga bonus. Bloody brilliant.

    A full 3D version of the first game would be amazing. Get on it, R*!

    • Ross Angus says:

      I read somewhere once that Rockstar did create a version of the original game from a different perspective, but it wasn’t as much fun.

      (Just to clarify – I’m not making a sarcastic point about the later GTA games – this was way back “in the day”)

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        I remember looking at the first screenshots of GTA3 and thinking “they’ve followed the fad and made it 3D, this’ll either be great or really, really terrible”.
        Fortunately it turned out to be the former.

    • Panda Powered says:

      I wonder what modder could have done with Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars if it got a PC release.

    • pez2k says:

      The city was already 3D, and someone made an effort a while back to port it over to the GTA: SA engine. I’m not sure if the port was ever released, but there were previews shown and it was in at least a basic state of playability.

  4. Skull says:

    I remember this being one if the first games I really wanted which my parents would never allow me to have. The name didn’t really help this and the 18 certificate on the box pretty much ensured I wasn’t getting this game under the age of 10.

    I think it was around the 5th time I tried buying the game in the hope I would’t get ID’d that I managed to get lucky. I was with my Grandad at the Game in Bluewater and being a Christian gentleman of the older generation, I didn’t much fancy my chances of him buying me such a controversial game. Fortunately, the wide spread belief amongst old people at that time was video games were all made for children and he did not even question the rating or games name when completing the transaction.

    I then had to play it in secret in case my parents found out but it was pretty easy to pass off as a racing game unless they read all the swearing that kept being written at the bottom of the screen.

    If I was a little kid now and my parents came across me playing some of the games that are out today, they would probably have had a seizure. GTA 1 looks so tame and cartoony compared to the GTA of today.

  5. Mashakosha says:

    I also remember taking a parental unit into a games store to buy GTA for me. I may have been around 10 years old at the time. In hindsight, it was a terrible idea on their part. Still, I remember getting more fun out of just driving that Beast GTS around than anything else. Didn’t bother with the missions, just drove around.

    And that was when I discovered the Gouranga Bonus.
    Good times.

  6. JD Ogre says:

    “There’s nothing playable yet, and he’s unsure what he’ll do with the city when it’s done.”

    Well, obviously he should try and get Rockstar to allow a full 3D remake of the original GTA using this as its base… :)

  7. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Too young for GTA1, we were more into GTA2… Though it was in a Classics Range box so probably well past its sell-by date by then, tee hee.

    Ahh, vehicle landmines… Trolled my brother silly with those playing deathmatch over the serial cable I got with with original Lego Mindstorms. True 3D remake(s) would be totally imba.

    • gorgonaut says:

      Ever since I played GTA2, I’ve been dreaming of a 3D version. So many people completely missed the near-future setting. The car designs were outstanding- like a mix between Fifth Element and Fallout.

      I’d imagine walking around in the city at night, neon signs, people and futuristic touches all around.
      I’m still hoping, though the hope is waning.

  8. LordMidas says:

    Lol @ you younguns. I was 25 when GTA first came out (for everyone else this was back in 1997). It was naturally amazing. Gouranga to you all!!

  9. Zekiel says:

    That makes me feel really old. GTA1 was the first game I got ID’d for. I was legitmately 18 so got to buy it. It was brilliant. Don’t know why everyone bangs on about 3D….

  10. DrScuttles says:

    Eleven? Eleven? I was 12, you young pup. And I seem to recall ‘borrowing’ it from a friend as we used to be able back then, only I had to insert my own soundtrack once I returned the disc. Most often the Presidents of the United States of America.

  11. Jackablade says:

    I was 16. Luckily the game was only rated MA15+ in Ausralia because having an R18 rating would have allowed minors to play unsuitable video games.

    We had another 15 years of that particular logic.

  12. LogicalDash says:

    Game Maker Professional (twice as expensive as Studio) can evidently *export* to a format playable on Linux, but can’t actually run there. Weird…

    • RobF says:

      Not really weird. The editor runs on Windows due to its Delphi legacy. As YYG found with the Mac version, it’s not a trivial task to get that running elsewhere.

      It’ll come in time, I’m sure. Just not for a while.

    • LarsBR says:

      No different from Unity3D then.

  13. lowprices says:

    That reminds me, I should actually start using that copy of game maker studio I upgraded to when it was on sale…

    Also, I was 13 when GTA1 came out. Just one of many games for the ps1 I wasn’t old enough to play that my parents bought without looking at the age rating. Would love to play a modern version with less clumsy controls.

  14. Spoon Of Doom says:

    I remember, before I got the game, there was a time limited demo, where you could play for five minutes or so at a time. I took turns with my friends playing this five minute demo for hours, and I could hardly wait to get my hands on the full version. Lucky for me that my parents could easily be persuaded into buying it for me, as I hadn’t hit the magic age number yet. Ah, good times…

    • edwardoka says:

      Excuse me, you appear to have borrowed one of my memories. My friend and I took turns on the GTA1 demo for god knows how long, trying to beat each other’s high score. (I won out in the end, of course :P) The actual game, when we got it, was utterly brilliant, but lost a lot of tension without the time limit. I wonder if they’ll ever make a sequel…

      • Spoon Of Doom says:

        I’m sorry, but I’ve used this memory for years now. I didn’t know it belonged to someone else, or I would have returned it to its rightful owner.
        It also includes that immediately after starting the game, we all jumped over the parked car onto the street, because after only a couple of seconds one of those blue sport cars would appear there that you could hijack, and then drive vaguely north where there is a crate with a machine gun on a sidewalk. It was as if the first 30 seconds or so were on autopilot for everyone as to achieve the most effective start into the five minute rampage, with only very occasional diversions from the plan.

        • Skabooga says:

          Excuse me, I believe you are both clamoring over one of my memories. Except you left out the part where I eventually searched and found a crack which disabled the timer for the demo and allowed me to go around committing uninterrupted vehicular manslaughter.

  15. Tams80 says:

    It looks very good. GTA: London was better though.

    I just found out they’re based in Dundee and now know where there office is. Mwuhahahaha! On a less creepy note, I’ve passed it hundreds of times and had no idea it was there.

  16. Moraven says:

    In other news, Dundee just got Lemmings bronze sculptures as public art.

    link to

  17. adonf says:

    I remember playing this game with my (then) gf’s 13 year old brother then watching Scarface. Last time I heard about him he was in a gang. I feel kind of bad about it.

    (This is mostly true)

  18. Nick says:

    I was 12 and just bought it from the shop myself, no one other than nerds cared about vidja games back then. Well, this did get on Newsnight iirc, but I don’t think the shopkeeper watched that.

    I frigging love some of the music from it too, mostly Head radio. I also hear the police radio chatter it used in so, so many films and TV shows, one of those stock SFX packs I assume. Just like I occasionally hear fx from Magic Carpet and Daggerfall.

  19. Spacewalk says:

    My GTA memory was playing against a mate over the phone lines. Those were the days.

  20. Orbicularis says:

    Anybody else still say “Gimme all ya muney” a la the GTA2 pickpockets?

  21. dethtoll says:

    11? I was like, 15, 16, something like that. Now *I* feel old.

    Never did really like the game much, though. It’s more of a curio than anything else — too hard, too repetitive. I don’t think the series really shined until 3 when you could actually see where you were going.

  22. E_FD says:

    …I never realized Lemmings and GTA were created by the same company before. My mind is now blown.

  23. Csirke says:

    You were already 11? I didn’t realize this site was written by old people…