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The Legacy Collection is a look back at some of the mods I have created, giving a bit of insight into how they evolved and why they were created.

Auto-Snap is a photo taking mod for taking screenshots of cars and motorcycles.

This mod was never released as a public mod.

Current version number of this mod is v1.2.9

 

Legacy Collection: AutoSnap - Screenshot spontaneity.


This mod ended up as the result of a bizarre request thread on 5Mods. Someone posted a request for a mod that would spawn several vehicles and allow them to take the same screenshot of each one. Sounded intriguing and was another chance to learn more about GTA V cameras. Sounded like just the thing to get involved in...

The first thing I had to do, was to create a FreeCam system to allow me to pose the camera relative to a car. My maths skills are pretty woeful when it comes to 3D but I managed to scrape together something that seemed to work. Here's one of the first prototype videos I created. You can see the menu has the name "Auto-Spawner" which is what the mod was originally intended to be.

 

By this point, the requester of the mod had disappeared, they made the single post and then never came back but I decided that I was going to keep this going. I created a WIP thread and the response was, on a scale of 1 to 10, about a -5. It seemed nobody was interested in this type of mod but I kept the WIP thread open as I enjoyed taking people through the development of a mod from conception to completion. People don't often get access to the thought processes of a creative person, so it seemed a good idea to share how ideas were brought together, how decisions were made and how bad ideas were rejected.

I had already decided that the way I wanted to place the camera, was relative to certain vehicle bones. The main reason for this, was to cater for different sized vehicles. If you placed the camera based on a small vehicle, then moved to a bus, the camera would get lost inside the model. So by making it relative to bones, it would adjust itself to suit whatever vehicle you chose, which seemed to work perfectly... for the default game vehicles. Addons proved to be a complete crapfest, due to the vehicle modder's inability to follow game standards and put required dummies in either the correct place, or in some case, in any place whatsoever. "chassis_dummy" is a 100% guaranteed dummy in Rockstar's vehicles but it isn't guaranteed in an addon. When I started seeing lights in doors, engines in the air and dummies under the ground, I decided this was only ever going to be a private mod. It's not a scripters job to cater for badly made models, especially when the people making them didn't care, couldn't be bothered fixing them and seemed more interested in getting donations.

But anyway... having got the camera placement sorted, as well as the ability to create multiple positions and save them as a preset, I turned my attention to playback. I have always been a photographer and one of the things I loved about that, was how spontaneous you had to be. You couldn't plan nature, you can't plan people and you couldn't plan which configuration of a car you might encounter. So that was how I decided to continue the mod... if you wanted precise time and weather conditions, then you could have that... but equally, you could leave it all to chance, if that's what you wanted. If you wanted doors open on the car, bonnets lifted, lights on, you could have that as well. But the overall appearance of the car, that was the chance factor.

So by this point, the mod had reached this state. You can see that it now has its final title of Auto-Snap and there is a full setup menu with lots of customisation options, time, weather, screen effects etc...

 

So that was the config sorted but how to actually play things back. I could display each picture and press a key to advance but that wasn't how photography worked. In many cases, you have a fleeting moment to capture the perfect shot and then it's gone. So that's what I decided to recreate, that split second decision of "Is this a good enough shot?". So the screen faded to black, back to a normal screen, waited for 3 seconds and then faded ready for the next image. The cars you wanted to use were stored in a text file that was read when you entered playback mode. You just gave it a list of spawn names and it read through them one-by one.

Because of the dummy issue I mentioned earlier, I had to add verification code in that said "If the bone doesn't exist, then skip to the next preset". Along with that I also had to add bone-substitution code for motorcycles, so that they could be used as well. Cars might have "wheel_rf" but motorcycles only had "wheel_lf". There was also an issue with some motorcycle bone positions being returned as offsets, rather than world coordinates, so I had to check for that as well. So the whole validity checking process got quite complicated, because the end result was to have something that tried not to fail. The final thing I added with regards to bones, was the ability to adjust for rear-engined vehicles. Rather than having the camera near the bonnet, or stuck in the interior, I flipped the relative position, so that it was at the same relative position to the engine, just at the back instead of the front.

The mod had now reached this stage.

 

You can see that cars and motorcycles can all be displayed from the same set of presets. If you noticed the presets name, that's the one used in the previous video. This also demonstrates the other feature that added to the whole unknown side of the mod. The presets were created in a specific location but because they were relative to the car, they could be played back anywhere. This meant that you had no idea what was going to be in the background, especailly if you had time and weather set to random. After loading a set of presets, you could edit them to be location specific if you wanted that extra bit of control.

So you were faced with a completely unknown scenario and had just 3 seconds to decide to "press the metaphorical shutter button". Given the amount of permutations possible, that one shot could really be a once in a lifetime occurrence. It was actually around this time that I calculated the number of permutations based on time, weather, screen effects/levels, camera position etc... Even with the limited tuning parts options I had added at this point, there were still potentially 4,861,296,000,000 possible permutations of a shot. That doesn't included external influences like people, other vehicles (including aircraft shadows), weather variations (shifting cloud cover) ambient details. The mod truly had become exactly what I had intended it to be, a capture the moment mod, just like that fleeting second where you have to take that perfect picture, or miss it forever. And unlike the Rockstar Editor, if you really did want to dictate the exact conditions, then you could, without having to record a whole new video to get them.

During the development of this mod I also started on my own Menu system. I had intended on releasing this as a replacement for the performance sapping NativeUI but it was always going to be a task and a half for me. Sadly, it became too much of a task and even to this day, whilst the menu system works, I am constantly finding things that need fixing. All of the videos here are using the early NativeUI based menu. Also, more options have been added for the vehicle, like additional tuning parts, the ability to have the front wheels set at an angle... and of course, my unique Auto-Snap Logo that appeared on every image I posted.

Here's a small selection of some of the images created with this mod. The graphics mod used is QuantV V1 and my own ENB settings.