Mashing buttons since 1984
This is getting out of hand.
Oh, and Mr. Thompson — put this in your pipe and smoke it.
Update: Rockstar’s press release.
The whole situation makes me want to pull my hair out.
Yeah, this is definitely a bang-your-head-against-the-wall moment but I still think Rockstar brought this upon themselves.
Their pressing of a “hot coffee”-free disc is very telling.
Holy Crap! So now we are rating mods? Although Rockstar is totally at fault for hiding this in their code, this is hardly an easy to access mod. And how is this AO?
This isn’t a mod. This code was included with the game – a hack was required to access it, so a more accurate term than mod would be, obviously, hack. I do think all this is being blown right out of proportion though – like Sean said, it’s not like it’s that easy to access, you couldn’t just stumble onto it by accident. But Rockstar obviously left it there for a reason – it’s not like they would’ve just totally lost track of an entire section of fully functional code and forgotten it was there. Then again, I think do Rockstar as a company is retarded, so I guess anything’s possible.
Rockstar really thought that this wouldn’t come back and bite them in the ass. Come on, in this political climate, and considering that gamers enjoy taking a look at game code, they thought they could take such a risk? Shortsightedness…
I don’t think Rockstar left this in for any reason. Developers leave outdated code and materials behind pretty much 100% of the time. Some programmers probably played with the idea, possibly without much approval, and just never took out. Maylay has said he never did any of the voice work and was unaware that any of this had taken place, so they were probably just cobbling together.
I haven’t looked at the GTA stuff, but my guess is that the codebase is pretty goddamn huge. Missing something like this during version control would be sloppy, but’s very concievable. I’ve been on build patrol for software and a lot of time the philosophy of “does that build work? launch it” is what is needed to hit a deadline.
Remember, in the PS2 version the models aren’t even naked. So clearly whoever left this in at Rockstar never took it very far.
As for a “mod” versus a “hack”, that’s pure semantics. In a mod, you’ll go through the source code, find your entry points, write your own code and then distribute the changes. The changes might be as simple as granting unlimited lives or a whole new game. You could argue that total conversions are more than hacks, but a lot of mods are really just some hacks cobbled together.
Bottom line: the ESRB caved, even though they had no real reason to do so. The windbags in Congress had no real legal footing. PatrickW broke his EULA and released a mod which damaged Rockstar financially. So while everyone is busy crucifying, just remember that if they wanted to take him to court, they’d probably have a settlement in about three days. The only reason they aren’t doing it is because they aren’t jerks.
The only reason they arenít doing it is because they arenít jerks.
That, and he probably doesn’t have any money anyway.
I agree with you, Josh, that the code base for GTA is huge. Immense. But honestly, don’t you think one QA guy or something would notice the “Hot Coffee” code and immediately flag it for review? It doesn’t seem that hard. But then again I don’t know enough to make any kind of statement, so I’ll just keep my mouth shut.
You’re right, of course. The ESRB caved. We have a bunch of techno-retarded wind bags (politicians) who wouldn’t know the difference between a mod and a hack if it bit them where the sun don’t shine and even more clueless old guys (judges) that wouldn’t know how to judge subsequent cases. The ESRB was caught in the proverbial really hard rock and even harder hard place.
The mods I’ve worked on have been far more efficient because they were usually smaller projects and such efficiency was a concern (but there was still the occasional subsystem or nascent left intact … I’ve released mods with several gametypes which were inaccessible because they weren’t complete, or I had abandoned them). I can only say that I’ve been amazed by the material that gets left behind on projects I’ve worked on, and that’s just an e-commerce application. Probably about 1/1000th the complexity of the 3D computer game with minigames around every corner like GTA:SA. San Andreas was a gaming world of three complete cities, overlooking a few bedroom games is certainly irresponsible … but I think it’s far from criminal.
Could GTA:SA have been released with these minigames without QA knowing about it? Absolutely. The only suspicious part here is the fact that what unlocks it flipping a flag in the code. So that’s like a switch in a railroad track. Flip the switch one way, no porn. Flip it the other way – porn. Course, there could be literally hundreds of similar flags in a codebase like GTA, so that’s really not all that odd.
I hate to say it, but Take Two should have threated lawyers against the Hot Coffee mod as soon as it appeared. Force the modder back into complaince with the EULA. It’s their kindness in letting the mod community go on as long as they did with this that caused this debacle far more than poor version control.
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