Track GTA 5’s Citizens Through Livesteam

It’s like virtual big brother

It seems like every two posts or so we find ourselves praising Rockstar’s impressive feat of design when it comes to the lively and vibrant open world they created for GTA 5. Here we are once again, reporting on a livestream that tracks the lives of the game’s NPCs as they traipse around Los Santos and Blaine County without the disruptive behavior of a player messing with their peaceful day.

The stream comes courtesy of Bwantanabe, who ran the experimental and entertainingly unique deercam last year which followed one of the random deer NPCs and documented its adventures. Unfortunately the deercam went offline relatively quickly in spite of the quaint shenanigans the poor caribou got into.

However, the cam is back, but this time it’s aimed at the human NPCs instead. Titled the San Andreas Community Cam, this livestream follows a handful of specific NPCs as they conduct their daily ‘lives’, switching between them cyclically. Occasionally, the NPCs are switched out for new subjects.

A number of odd occurrences have already taken place in the first few hours, proving once again that there is a lot going on under the hood that most players don’t notice. One time an NPC “spawned” in a new location, which involved them falling through the floor texture into the blue abyss and then suddenly appearing elsewhere on the map.

Among other things, this stream revealed that when not in the proximity of the player the AI is devolved, likely to reduce the load on the hardware, however assets aren’t unloaded to facilitate the seamless nature of the open world. When the player isn’t around, PEDs no longer have complex pathfinding capabilities, leading them to veer off walkways into walls or onto roads.

The spawning of the NPC also shows that there is always a set number of loaded PEDs in the game world, they just have a lower population density in places where the player can’t see and are teleported to whatever location they are needed.

Bwantanabe uses a special mod developed solely for this purpose to track NPCs, whose actions are entirely unscripted and generated by the game’s AI. All the mod does it attach a third-person camera much like that seen when playing to random NPCs and alternates between them.

Due to the relative inactivity of the NPCs and the rather creepy constant crying (what the hell, Rockstar) watching this particular stream isn’t quite as entertaining as the deercam was. The comment section reflects this, as new messages arrive infrequently and are usually some variation of “what’s with the crying?” and “what the hell is this?”.

Maybe for his next project, Bwantanabe will want to attach his little camera on a different kind of NPC in GTA 5. Maybe a mountain lion this time. Or Chop! A rabbit? Pretty much anything other than your average PED will do. The programming of these NPCs just makes such a stream pretty bland in the long run. Nonetheless, interesting experiment for sure.

Have you been watching Bwantanabe’s GTA 5 NPC stream?


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