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

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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.

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Adam Smith

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