forward rock star game‘ Official online view of Los Santos and surrounding areas has caused a stir GTA Online In 2013, many PC gamers had already brought chaos to San Andreas in advance, thanks to modifications that were far from ambitious.
Longtime GTA fans may remember — or still play — highly successful mods like San Andreas Multiplayer (SA-MP) and Multi Theft Auto (MTA). Somehow, after all these years, despite all the odds, they’re still going strong, attracting thousands of players every month – last year, there were nearly 4,000 SA-MP servers active, with an average of 25k to 40k players online at the same time . As for the MTA, at the time of writing, there are currently around 25,000 players online on 1,246 public servers.
These numbers are especially surprising when we consider that Rockstar’s official 3A alternative, GTA Online, has been running for nearly a decade, getting bigger and deeper with each major content update.
For research purposes (and because I’m a little nostalgic), I jumped into SA-MP earlier this month. To my surprise, the numbers haven’t changed much since last year’s report. Granted, I played it on weekends, but it was amazing to see several free roam and RP servers crammed with players who refused to travel to fancier ranches.
It’s easy to see why: both the SA-MP and the MTA have inherent chaos that the official online Grand Theft Auto experience cannot replicate. We’re all too familiar with how fan-made mods can become incredibly bulky and confusing — which happens both in single-player and online — and San Andreas’ once sprawling open world has long been a source of gamers and developers alike the perfect playground. in their hands.
Even after 15 years or so, SA-MP and MTA are far from reliable experiences; these modifications are unstable, network issues are common, and the quality of the overall experience is largely dependent on the server you choose to play on. Regardless, it’s hard to find multiplayer mods that slowly and steadily create like a tattered modding team (everyone who wants to help, actually).
When San Andreas loads up a heavily modified trick server full of custom assets, it might burst, but 200 (or even 300!) players are spending their lives bumping into each other and looking for someone to perform rad tricks A new approach. They may be lagging everywhere, but performance seems to be part of the charm.
Another key to the long-term success of SA-MP and MTA is how developers encourage and even support role-playing once the community starts setting up fairly complex servers with custom rule sets and commands. If you’re familiar with the modded RP servers on GTA Online, which have become very famous thanks to streaming, you should take a look at where it all came from. In the eyes of some players, the starting point is better than the ending point.
We tried to contact the SA-MP and MTA developers, but they didn’t communicate much. After all, the greatest people behind them come and go, and few of the original developers (who may have gone on with their lives and work) continue to improve code and redesign ideas with no end in sight. When you look at the current development status of both mods, the work structure doesn’t seem to be centralized. Oddly enough, it turned out to be very effective.
It’s not hard to jump into the “official” (there are many of them) Discord servers and chat with moderators and veterans who can point you in the right direction. Dig too deep, though, and you’ll find a lot of dead ends. Things get funnier and more fascinating when you ask who’s in charge, because no one knows for sure. I guess it’s the power of the people.
However, we can provide a fairly solid timeline of events for both modifications. In the case of SA-MP, the revolutionary mod stemmed from the development of Vice City Multiplayer, released in April 2005. Following the public beta, lead developer “kyeman” (later known as Kalcor) and his team continued to work on San Andreas while another group of developers opted for VC-MP – a modification that also proved successful , but it was inevitably overshadowed by the larger GTA.
Despite the difficulties posed by the larger world of San Andreas, work on the SA-MP is progressing fairly quickly. After all, SA-MP is built on top of the structure of VC-MP, so most of the code is the same. The first playable version was released in May 2006, but a fairly stable version was not released until June 20, 2007. When SA-MP 0.2 was officially released, modders and players were already given the tools to develop new modes and custom servers.
Unsurprisingly, cheats and exploits came quickly, and soon after the release of 0.2, the SA-MP team all but quit because they lacked the strength and ability to deal with people who just wanted to see San Andreas burn. However, in less than a day, a huge online petition gave them enough strength to crack down on cheaters, closing major loopholes and coming up with a built-in anti-cheat system. It’s an impressive team Kalcor once described as “just a bunch of GTA fans who thought it would be fun to play Sin City and San Andreas as multiplayer.”
SA-MP has continued to improve over the years with smaller but much-needed updates, but starting in 2008, its history became more obscure, with the main development team often quitting, only to return a few days later. As work on the massive popular modification progressed, it became clear that the idea behind it was overwhelmed by the success of what started out as an experimental project – Kalcor finally completed SA-MP in 2019. Today, development is fragmented at best, but servers abound, and the community still feels like one big family, always open to helping newcomers.
On the other hand, the history of Multi Theft Auto started in GTA 3 before it made its way to Vice City. Many players were surprised by its accessibility, a quality that the MTA development team has stuck to as it moves forward and into San Andreas. Additionally, MTA’s approach is always open source, which allows it to incorporate new ideas and improvements at a faster rate than SA-MP.
In the long run, the “let’s go in the direction the community wants” that dictates the evolution of the MTA has paid off – SA-MP works well as the most popular modification, but currently feels like a remnant of the old days, while MTA has become the most cohesive and flexible multiplayer game in the classic Grand Theft Auto game.
Big Deathmatch and RP servers are still the go-to destinations for MTA players, but seeing disparate maps and wacky modes, such as first-person survival horror, run on a hard-shell engine with relative ease from 2004, it’s heart-wrenching. terribly upset. Best of all, modular add-ons can be added to customize an individual’s experience with the MTA down to the smallest detail.
As we look forward to GTA6 – burning Los Santos over and over for millions of e-cash in GTA Online – we shouldn’t forget the series’ unofficial multiplayer past. Looking at some of the freer modes released over the years, it’s clear that Rockstar has learned a lot from it. And — with the 2022 scene looking happier and healthier than ever — perhaps the studio will continue to do so, too.