Who am I?

Who I am is Lee Cawley, a 25 year veteran of the games industry and 30+ years as a games/software developer. I started in 1982 on the ZX81, with my first professional game job in 1985.

I am an artist, designer and programmer with a portfolio of almost 70 games, numerous development tools and even some award winning software for Ericssons when I was a telecomms engineer.

I have Assembly language experience on four processors, 6502, Z80, 68000 and 8086. Actionscript 2.0 and 3.0. Lingo, Java (J2ME), VB6 and .Net, along with C# for applications and some XNA games programming... plus a small amount of C.

3D experience with 3DS Max since version 3 and to a much lesser extent, Maya. 2D experience mainly in Photoshop and Pro-Motion (for 2D sprite-work and tile based level maps).

Other Pages:

Rockstar Logic

Internet Protection

Mod Thoughts

Big Steaming GTA V Bloopers

Map Location Images

Modding Tips:

Purple & Green Textures - When Black isn't really Black

Vehicles - Why Size Matters

Blips - Manage Your Blips

Textures - POT vs NPOT

Keys - Modify Your Behaviour

Collections - Lists and Dictionaries (Includes full sample script)

Angled Areas - What's Your Angle?

Performance - Manage Your Time
(Includes full sample project)

Quadrant Search Manager
(Includes full sample project)

Legacy Collection:

Tracker Mod & App
*NEW*

On-Foot Cinematic Camera

Pick Your Ride and Pick Your Ped

Auto-Snap

Vehicle Effects

Air Vehicle Effects

Ground Vehicle Effects

Vehicle Effects Pool

World Guide System

CCTV Watcher

Bro-Tec DIS

Car Services

Glowing Brake Discs

Players Extended

Lights, Camera, Action
*New* second Page added

Mini-Games Extended

MGE - Courier Services

Vehcle Spawn Factory

Creating a Racetrack Overlay

Airbags
(Includes full barebones project)

Miscellaneous Scripts

GTA V Modding


I wanted to leave this space blank but I am going to make a contraversial prediction (on the 24th of October FTR)... the December DLC will not be an island. Why do I say that? Let me explain...

Let's start with the Prologue.

Question: What do you think happens during the prologue?

Any PC user with mods installed knows exactly what happens... the North Yankton map gets loaded, you are teleported onto it during the prologue and teleported to LS when it's over, nothing surprising there, so let me switch the question around...

Question: What do you think happens to Los Santos when you are doing the prologue?

For reference, the NY map is just South-East of the main map, about 100m above sea level.

As you can see from that image, absolutely nothing happens to Los Santos. It exists in the world like it always does, you just can't normally get to the edge of NY to see it, you're only ever in cars and all access is blocked. Also, the typical NoClip mod (if you try to mod yourself out) moves the player, which will cause a Mission Failed to occur because you've moved too far away from the other characters. Luckily, my freecam mod can optionally detach from the player, so I can leave them all fighting cops while I am flying off across the map.

So NY is above the ground, surrounded by mountains and guarded by mission failure to keep you there. Now imagine an island at sea level and consider how the NY process would fall apart at that height, because of the next point.

Note: Before I move on, I should also add that the problem with NY would also rule out any heist on that part of the map, unless they imposed the exact same restrictions as the prologue. I.e. no planes, no helicopters, no flying cars etc... I don't think people would go for that, they like their toys too much. But if you could just fly over the mountains into LS, it would kill the immersion stone-dead.

Question: What are map boundary limits.

Again, most PC users will know about the map boundaries and will have the mod installed to take them away. They keep you confined into a specific area to stop you from flying off into infinite space. What the mod doesn't take away though, is the problems caused with traffic paths if you go beyond those boundaries. This is why map addons with traffic are typically located very close to the main map, so the traffic still works. But anyone who plays online will be all too familiar with the map boundaries, as there is a particular Casino Heist prep mission that frequently fails because one vehicle flies off beyond the map boundary, so you can't get to it.

So you have now discovered an area where any additional map content has to exist inside. This is an important fact because to make any island believable, it would have to be out of view under normal conditions. You can't just dump an island into the map and say "It's always been there, you just didn't notice it", like Rockstar would try and do. If they actually do that, then they're more stupid than I ever thought.

Question: What is the answer then.

You can't put an island far enough away that you'd have to teleport to it, because of the map boundaries. You can't hide an island under the map like an interior, because it needs to be surrounded by sea. You can't put an island too close to the main map to be within the map boundaries, because its appearance would be pretty stupid to try and explain away.

So what options do you honestly have, to add an island in a way that doesn't break things and makes sense?

I can't see any. You would have to make a ridiculous design decision to just dump it into the sea and go "Da-daaaaaaa, it's an island". Yes, a bad answer is still an answer and part of me would not be shocked if Rockstar did that, because I just don't think they care anymore. I think they will be as stupid as is required, if they think it will convince some gullible sap to hand over real money for a S***k C*rd.

Question: What do I think it will be then?

Well the other things I don't think it will be, are anything involving construction sites that play an active part in existing missions... so you can rule the Mile High Club out for a start.

Interiors make sense, because they can be hidden under the map, are self-containing by design and can be linked from absolutely any location they choose. Mount Chilliad for example, has a huge space underneath, has an existing mystery/story attached to it and there are rumoured UFO related files added in recent updates. There is also an underground entrance inside Fort Zancudo, prime real estate for a military based heist to steal something unusual.

I am tempted to lean towards the inner workings of Mt Chilliad as the location, with Ft Zancudo running a close second. I also like the idea I heard of using the Kortz Centre, again it's prime target for something entirely different.

Could they add an island anyway? Of course they could. Would it make sense the way they'd do it if they do? Probably not... Rockstar doesn't do sense in any way shape or form. Bodge-it & Co should be their name.

If anyone ever wondered how the GTA V map sits within its boundaries... here's the answer. This took 4 flights to work out and it's maybe a few metres out in each direction. The things you do to alleviate boredom eh? I was pretty shocked at how little room there is above the map. There is a lot of room at the bottom, so maybe putting something down there was always a plan from the concept stage. I still think adding a permanent landmass down there would make no sense though.

Okay... so I was intrigued by this idea, so research mode was activated. A quick trip to Terrain Party got me a heightmap of the real Santa Catalina Island. Jump into 3DS Max and I created a 10% scale (approx) based on the Catalina heightmap. Exported that as a prop, fumbled through some settings to get it to appear and ended up with this.

That's positioned at 3000, -5000, -10, which pushes the SE corner to within about 2Km of the map boundaries, which is kinda tight to be honest... although that's more than the map-top boundary. But this is a map built in a 2.5Km x 2.5Km square, so probably 2.8Km from end to end and that feels incredibly small. Despite it being that small, it's still clearly visible from the main island and that's my concern. You could probably tweak the visibility bounds to push it out of view but when you are over the island, the main map is clearly in view, so that's a massive visibility discrepancy and certainly adds doubt to any teleporting validity if they went down that route.

Could they remove the map boundary limits? Of course they could but what happens to every mission where those limits are a controlling factor? It's a high-risk move for a game that is already teetering on the brink of failure in my opinion.

What I hope this page shows, is the power of being able to speculate based on experience and to then equally use that experience to try and disprove your own theory. You gain nothing from ignorance and if you're unwilling to test (and debunk) your own theories, then it means you lack belief in your own ability. Always be willing to be wrong because it's something you inevitably have to get used to.