If you’ve ever played Rockstar’s most successful title ever that they somehow have sold multiple times already, then you’ll know about the loading times. And we’re not talking about console players either, even PC players have to wait an unlawfully long time to boot Grand Theft Auto 5.
That frustration caused one particular user to delve deep into the game’s source code to figure out exactly what was going on and if there was any way to fix it. Well, lo and behold, they have now managed to cut the loading times of Grand Theft Auto Online by nearly 70%. And what’s worse, is it actually seems pretty easy from a developer’s point of view.
“GTA Online. Infamous for its slow loading times. Having picked up the game again to finish some of the newer heists I was shocked (/s) to discover that it still loads just as slow as the day it was released 7 years ago,” said user tostercx, who discovered the loading time fix. “It was time. Time to get to the bottom of this.”
*Line 3 gets cut off but says: "Startup menu disabled, time from R* logo until in-game (social club login time isn't counted)."
Breaking down the process, tostercx found that loading into Grand Theft Auto V’s story mode took around 1 minute and 10 seconds. Loading up GTA Online however took an astonishing 6 minutes flat, even on a decent PC setup (tostercx is running the game on a GTX 1070, AMD FX-8350, and a decent SSD).
tostercx then ran a poll online, and found that more than 80% of those who participated experienced wait times in excess of 3 minutes, with some even reporting load times longer than 15 minutes.
One of the reasons for this lengthy load time is apparently due to a 10MB JSON file which contains around 63,000 item entries. Unfortunately this file has been terribly optimized apparently, and as soon as 1 item is found, the entire check then starts again, resulting in a total of around 1,984,531,500 checks.
That’s just 1 of the problems though, as the game apparently bottlenecks on a single core of the CPU. tostercx claimed that there their disk, memory, and GPU usage was at zero, with a little network usage here and there. “What, is it mining crypto or something?” they said. “I smell code. Really bad code.”
After applying a few fixes to the code, tostercx managed to reduce that initial 6 minute loading time down to 1 minute and 50 seconds, which comes to about a 69.4% improvement.
What’s really interesting about this whole situation is that a single user online managed to find this issue and fix it, and even claims that it wouldn’t take “more than a day for a single dev to solve.” tostercx even left some suggestions to the Rockstar devs on other ways to go about fixing this supposed bug.
tostercx has uploaded the code to GitHub in case you want to try it out yourself. However, they do state that it is more of a proof of concept and is “not meant for casual use”. Additionally they warn that “modifying your game while in online mode might get your account suspended, proceed with care.”
What do you think? Have experienced long wait times for GTA Online? Is it frustrating? Or is it a good moment to quickly do something else? How do you feel about long load times in general? And should Rockstar apply this fix themselves in an official update? Let us know!