Artificial Life: Grand Theft Auto V’s Live Deer Webcam

Even as I begin the long process of writing about all of the games I saw and the people I spoke to at GDC, I’ve found a new distraction. The San Andreas Streaming Deer Cam is a live feed of a modded GTA V [official site] that “creates and follows a deer wandering through the fictional state of San Andreas”. The deer “is autonomous and will wander and respond to it’s surroundings, interacting with the existing GTA V artifical intelligence”. Over the weekend, the deer wandered through a gunfight between two gangs, caused a traffic jam during rush hour and evaded the police. This is the best version of GTA V.

The stream is down at the moment but it will be back tomorrow at 3PM Pacific (that’s 10PM GMT). In the meantime, you can watch some footage from the magical leap day of February 29th. Around the 57 minute mark, a guy starts beating on the deer, seemingly offended that it is occupying his spot on the beach. His most distinctive item of clothing is a red cap, which just goes to show that even an artificial simulation of an immortal deer wandering through a computer game about cars and violence struggles to maintain political neutrality. Skunk Anansie knew the score.

I love this deercam. Genuinely, deeply and completely. The most fascinating aspect of GTA, for me, has always been the blurred edges of the simulation. I spend so much time watching traffic react to an accident or pedestrians jostling one another and losing their patience. GTA V in particular is a wonderful game for people-watching and until the deercam, I hadn’t found anything that summed up my enjoyment of it better than this photojournal.

The live nature of the deer streaming, along with the ability to observe the artificial intelligence at work, just about puts it into first place.

Creator Brent Watanabe has more details here and you can watch the livestream, when it returns, here.

If you want to see more of GTA V’s wildlife, look no further than these nature documentaries.


  1. MrFinnishDude says:

    I wonder what would actually happen if a deer just walked down the busy downtown streets. I guess most people wouldnt care because its “someone elses problem” but they would occasionally take vines of it and post it on social media.

    • brucethemoose says:

      Depends on the downtown.

      If it was, say, in the middle of New York City, it would probably attract some attention and animal control would pick it up pretty quickly.

      In downtown Fort Worth, closer to the stockyards, it wouldn’t be as big of a deal.

      And I’m sure there are other big cities where people wouldn’t even bat an eye.

      • myelbow says:

        Logged in just to say hi to the other person in Fort Worth I presume based on your comment?

        Speaking of not really batting an eye…I work in north Fort Worth at BNSF Railway. It’s a big open campus and hell…I see deer at dusk while I’m outside smoking. Most recently, meaning last night just before sun down, there was a turkey that wandered out of the trees and into the parking lot. She jumped up on top of someone’s car and hung out for a while until a greedy photo taker from my building got too close. I’ll tell you this though, I never knew a turkey could run so fast or fly so well. You’d have thought it was a roadrunner the way it scooted out of there as fast as possible.

        Texas for the win!

        And for the rest of you….yes I ride a horse to work, wear chaps and spurs, and watch tumbleweed blow around the dusty landscape. That’s what we all do in Texas. ;)

  2. Marblecake says:

    I’m surprised you pointed out that 59-minute-mark, because it seems that this specifically is a point where the simulation doesn’t work at all. I mean, the guy starts beating up on the deer and the deer doesn’t move?

    • Moonracer says:

      I thought the same. The conflict was interesting, but the AI seemed to freeze up at that point. skipping ahead to the end, the deer stays right there. The wander and flee commands stop coming happening I guess.

  3. gbrading says:

    Genuinely awesome. Looks like the deer is on some kind of behaviour loop judging by those messages popping up in the corner. How it ended up being continually punched by that guy in a red cap I still don’t really understand.

  4. yonsito says:

    Somehow, this looked better on paper.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Serrit says:

    Haven’t listened to Skunk Anansie since me youth…
    Thanks for reminding me Adam, good to know they’re as good today as I remember. Time to head to the Amazon store (missed affiliate link opportunity? :-) )

  6. caff says:

    This is something rather wonderful. The twitch channel is back online now. He’s been hit by a car a couple of times, and appears to have the adopted name of Edgar now.

    link to

  7. Skabooga says:

    I watched more of that than I intended. Strangely mesmerizing. And I love the way people yell when the deer scoots past them, as I have in real life.