Grand Theft Auto IV mod looks better than real life
July 6, 2011

Life has its ways of proving us wrong  and altering our perceptions, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Today, it’s for the better. Recently, I was joining in on a discussion on VideoGamer.com – of whose homepage my ugly mug is currently featured – about photorealism in videogames and whether or not they’ll ever be able to convincingly recreate reality. I said no. Well, to elaborate, I argued that, unless we see some major advancements in the way that certain assets are modelled and rendered in the next few years, that developers simply can’t, and won’t, devote the man hours required to meticulously render the inside of a character’s nose, or the individual veins in leaves.

It seems that the community does what the developers can’t. In a move that has made me sorry for opening my big, stupid mouth, I have been stunned by one fan’s work. A community mod for Grand Theft Auto IV  has been released and it’s positively jaw-dropping. The mod uses something referred to as iCEnhancer 1.2, and whilst I’m not entirely sure what kind of technical witchcraft and wizardry is going on behind the scenes in this mod, I do know is that it looks absolutely gorgeous.

Sure, the foliage still looks a bit questionable and it’s still discernibly different from ‘real life’, but it’s mightily impressive; for that level of graphical fidelity to be achievable by technology that’s commercially available today fills me with excitement for the future of videogame verisimilitude.

– Rory

RUMOUR – Grand Theft Auto V to be announced at E3 2011?
May 4, 2011

Grand Theft Auto – Fox News’ favourite game franchise – is one of the biggest in the gaming world. With over 120 million sales worldwide, most people have at least heard of Rockstar’s carnivalesque sandbox success, for one reason or another. Safe to say, it’s a pretty big deal. With that being said, Rockstar are almost guaranteed to be working on a sequel to 2008’s Grand Theft Auto IV.

So, where best to announce one of the biggest games of the year? Why, at one of the biggest gaming expos of the year, of course – at E3 2011. Certainly, if GTAV were to be announced this year, it’d be at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles of June this year. That’s pretty much a given, but what evidence do we have, and what is the likelihood of seeing it there?

Well, let’s first look to the GTA series’ release timeline. Between what I would refer to as ‘main’ releases, – GTA, GTA 2, GTA 3, Vice City, San Andreas and GTAIV –  discounting handheld titles or those which may be regarded as spin-offs, – Chinatown Wars, Liberty City Stories, Vice City Stories, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony – then releases in the GTA series seem to come once every three or four years. As mentioned previously, GTAIV launched in late 2008, so a release in 2012 would seem to be very much on the cards based on the history of the franchise, so that’s a good, if somewhat flimsy, indicator – if a 2012 release was at hand, a 2011 announcement seems natural.

Along with recent evidence, a Tweet from superannuation who claims to have inside contact with several gaming developers, suggests just that.

It is my understanding that the new GTA will be unveiled at E3 in some capacity.

Again, it sounds pretty flimsy, and it should definitely be taken with a (un)healthy dose of salt, but if this guy does have the links he claims, then it just might hold some weight. What’s most exciting for us at least, is this rumour when taken and combined with several others. Firstly, Nintendo are apparently recapturing the hardcore market with the Café and there’s arguably no better title to do that than Grand Theft Auto. Secondly, Rockstar were apparently one of the first developers to receive the Café dev kit. Thirdly, after the securing of Chinatown Wars, Nintendo were apparently strengthening relations with Rockstar.

The information on the second rumour comes from 01net, the site who sparked the whole Café speculation and seem to be largely well informed. Bold statements such as ‘hope to have it ready for launch’ also seem to make sense – the new console has a predicted launch of Q2 2012 and GTAV would nestle into that timeframe quite nicely.

GTAV at launch of the Wii HD would already put it a huge notch ahead of the 3DS’ in my eyes.

– Rory