Yes, alright, well done Rockstar. You've made a massive open world filled with dozens of scripted stories, activities ranging from deep sea diving to golfing, plus UFOs to summon, cars to tow, and much more. Sure, fine.
But where's the ability to fly? Where are the telekinetic powers? Where's the mode that causes all the pedestrians to become psychotically violent and armed to the teeth? Why can't I drive the trains?
The modding community answers all these queries with an emphatic "hello there" and a dangerous disregard for sense, reason and logic. I've dived into the fast growing archives of GTA5-Mods.com to find the very best on offer.
As with all modding, it's worth making backups of any edited files and to read install instructions carefully. If something does go wrong, you can likely verify the integrity of your Steam cache to replace just the disturbed files, but it's still not worth the risk of bricking your installation and having to re-download 60 gigabytes of male crime simulator on British internet. Many of these mods are also works in progress, so check back in the future for better versions.
The following three mods are all concerned with how to make GTA 5 mods work, or making them easier to install and manage.
By Alexander Blade
This is where it all begins, the mod that gets everything else to work. Other mods use this to make the vehicle-gun, whale-spawning magic happen. Earlier this month, Graham wrote a set of instructions on how to get it to work, as well as how to install GTA 5 mods in general. You'll also want the LUA plugin Graham mentions there, as it allows you to run mods written in that programming language. Script Hook also now comes packaged with Native Trainer, the generally accepted mod menu for spawning NPCs, changing models and activating cheats. Here's a nice showcase of all the things it can do:
This is likely to be more useful as we go along and you find more and more mods and discover that none of them want to work together or, sometimes, at all. It lets you select which mods to use and handles the jiggery pokery of moving folders around by itself. It also helps keep the mods inactive during online play so Rockstar won't be banging on your digital door and kicking you out of their Social Club. Developer Bilago has also made a development/feedback thread on the GTA5 PC subreddit.
By OpenIV Team
The last of the tools needed for set up, OpenIV is a long running tool for modding GTA 4 that's made the jump to Los Santos. It's required for some of the mods here to run and is also very useful for creating your own. Currently it's the best way to go digging around inside GTA 5's RPF files, proprietary archives in which all the textures and so on are stored. Here's what's been added in the latest update:
This mod unlocks the areas of the map that are normally only accessible during campaign missions and some that were cut from the game before release but are still hanging out in the depths of the files. They're in varying degrees of completeness, some populated with civilians and accessible through ordinary doors, others creepily empty corridors that must be teleported to by going to certain areas of the map. Here's a video showing off all their locations:
Obviously, since it deals with some areas from later in the game, this mod and video come with a small spoiler warning. If you're looking to win a Horascar, this should be very useful in getting some unique locales for Rockstar Editor videos. In a similar vein, the standalone version of Native Trainer comes with the ability to load and teleport to the prologue area, North Yankton.
The internet knows exactly how much you love driving trains you simulation-mad weirdos. There's a few scripts that allow for the driving of Los Santos' railed brethren but this seems to be the most fully featured and is still getting updates. Here's a nice night-time drive:
This mod also lets you drive the passenger metro trains. Developer stulleman wants to add support for derailing the train, rounding off GTA's horrendous tally of playable man-made disasters.
Both of these were created by modder Guadmaz who missed the classic GTA side-missions of savin' lives and deliverin' packages. He's bugfixed them to work together, so there shouldn't be any conflict issues. The former activates whenever you get inside any paramedic vehicle, including the hospital helicoptors. Here's what that's like:
Meanwhile the trucking comes with six pre-designed missions and a system for creating your own. It still involves some file editing rather than being all in-game but it's a step in the right direction for those who want to add a little purpose to their lorry driving.
Somewhat self explanatory if you've heard of a little indie title called Half-Life 2 and boy do I have some advances in physics engines to show you if you haven't. It allows you to pick up both cars and people before ejecting them away at extraordinary fast and, well, lethal speeds.
As you can see, it's a helluva tool for clearing traffic jams and getting people out of your way. It's even capable of picking up larger vehicles like tanks and planes, evening the odds a bit for when the army comes after you.
A set of smaller changes that combine to make adversarial forces more realistic. They'll find it a little harder to hit you and respond with more reasonable force, though the army will now deploy at a wanted level of 5 stars. It also diversifies the people and equipment that are sent after you rather than a lot of the same models and cars. They've also stopped the annoying habit of local cats and deer reporting your crimes to the police and stealth killing "now works, silencers are actually silenced." A must have for any budding chaos-causers.
On the other side of the law is Police Mod, which allows you to change your model to that of an officer and gives you cars and missions to match. Along with spawning gangs for you to fight it stops your wanted level going up to complete the illusion. It's a clever combo of a lot of different options within Native Trainer and some scripting. It's based on a larger GTA 4 mod called LCPD First Response, which is getting an LSPD version for which they've released a trailer:
No word on when there'll be a playable version of this but the Liberty City flavour offers high-speed chases, arresting, detaining and searching of crooks.
On the next page check out the ultimate apocalypse combination! Plus: the best of smaller scripts for little fixes and additions to regular freeroamin'.
Graham brought this one up a week ago but it's well worth mentioning again, just because it's so perfect. In previous GTA games there were cheat codes to enable a mode like this, where all pedestrians are homicidal and heavily armed, but the mod takes it a bit further. You can now organise gangs of "peds" (the slightly disturbing nickname the community uses for normally unarmed NPCs) into factions to work as teams and implement a bit of ordered chaos. Here's what Graham managed to get up to:
Graham's also using a smaller script, the Vehicle Cannon, which is part of our collection at the bottom of this page. Ped Riot is also the first of our apocalypse mods, a combination I've come up with that should create the most dangerous, least civilised Los Santos possible. But first...
It's important to get a bit of perspective on things, as well as a quick escape route from the various horrors we're about to deliver on ourselves. Even if you're keeping it calm the Nice Fly mod does exactly what it says, giving you an easy set of hotkeys for taking to the skies. Good as much for digital photography as it is for moving quickly around the city. Here's a taste:
No, not a high scoring mini-game for running down peds like an early evening police procedural's idea of GTA, but a mod that does, well, this:
Cars: like angry metal pedestrians. You can see how this fits with suddenly armed and frustrated civilians into our apocalypse scenario.
By Script Mods
It turns out that the bottom of Paleto Bay is as lovingly rendered as the rest of the world, just normally only safely explorable via the clumsy minisub. This takes all that awful, life-giving water away and lets you walk or drive around the sea. Here's what it looks like:
This mod also gives the option to cover the landscape in water, as well as plugins to delete the pedestrians so they won't get in the way of your serene swim, O'Connor style. The latest update also adds more sea-life to Los Atlantis. It's a standalone Day After Tomorrow to our cobbled together Mad Max. Since we're getting so cinematic, here's something to make it even more so:
This is a classic, modded into nearly every game engine eventually. I remember particularly well leaping through the air in slow motion, shotgunning Combine in the face while, for some reason, Ride of the Valkyries played. There's probably a classical music mod out there somewhere, now I think about it. The GTA 5 version will let you speed up and slow down time as you wish.
Along with all this bigger stuff, here's some shorter scripts I found that provide little bonuses, add single weapons or fix small problems:
Vehicle Cannon by flocraftMods - Graham showed this off last week. It's a gun that shoots vehicles. As effective as you'd hope.
Spawn GTA:O Heist Vehicles by PlasticTangerine - This spawns the unique vehicles from GTA Online heists around the single-player map to mess around in. Here's one that does it for vehicles from missions.
Ragdoll On Demand by sakratt - Gives you a hotkey to immediately make your character model go limp. Works in cutscenes - just try it.
Army At Five Stars by PlasticTangerine - This causes the army to come after you once you reach five star wanted level, rather than only in the army base area of the map.
Object Spooner by MAFINS - Increases the options for spawning things in the world, letting you edit their properties.
Mobile Radio by LaikeGlove - Gives the option to listen to in-game radio while on foot. Actually my favourite of all the mods here.
And that's your lot. What have you been adding to Los Santos to make it more unique? Any additions to our apocalypse combo you'd recommend? Are you a mod maker with your own slice of genius? Let us know below.