A hefty GTA4 patch has been released, which promises less-memory intensive (and better looking) shadows and performance boosters and... oh, this is minor, but splendid patch stuff. What makes this posting is what the patch actually removes. As in, the Rockstar Social Club application is no longer necessary to play the game - you log in on a web interface without another program sitting there eating your computer's thinky-time. In short, you need a Social Club log in, but nothing else. It also allows you to buy the just released Grand Theft Auto episodes in-game, though The_B reports errors trying to buy in the UK, but we suspect that's because of - er - something or another. Full change list follows.
GTA IV Title Update 220.127.116.11 18.104.22.168 22.214.171.124 (Patch 6)
* Rockstar Games Social Club
o Remove Rockstar Games Social Club application
o Separate RGSC application no longer required to launch game
o Social Club login now occurs during the launch process
o A new, less memory-intensive, and better-looking scalable shadow solution has been implemented
o Enhanced Night Shadows added with user-selectable level of detail (replaces Shadow Density)
o Rendering optimizations have been made to improve performance, particularly when enabling shadows
o User-configurable graphics settings have been added for shadow control
o Improved memory management
o Enhanced security to isolate users from cheaters and hackers
* Episodic Content
o Provide in-game support to purchase "The Lost and Damned" and "The Ballad of Gay Tony" (Not available in Russian/Japanese Versions)
* Bug Fixes
o Vehicle shadows re-enabled between 8pm and 6am
o Fix floating street textures
o Pedestrians in vehicles appear further out from the player to allow for long range sniping
o The Moon has been implemented with simulated lunar phases
o Fixed garbled text in Japanese Multiplayer menus
o "RESC 10" error fix for specific hardware configurations
GTA4 was annoying in a lot of ways on the PC - if you actually had it running at a decent speed, it was a wonderful experience, but that initial experience has soured its rep - I suspect - forever.
We probably should do some coverage on the episodes, yeah? Anyone play them on the consoles?
UPDATE: STAY TUNED FOR A WOT I THINK? NEXT WEEK!