Over the past few years, a few fans have managed to reverse engineer GTA 3 and Vice City. The fan-created source code was also available on GitHub, allowing anyone to play those games on PC. This also gave rise to Re3 (reverse-engineered GTA 3) and reVC (reverse-engineered Vice City), which have added tones of improvements to the original games.
Unfortunately, it was hit with a DMCA takedown only a few days after Eurogamer put out a story about the fan project. The project’s primary creator, “aap”, informed Eurogamer about the takedown, which has taken both Re3 and reVC offline. “It’s not impossible it’s just a troll,” he said. “Hard to tell. But better to assume it’s real.”
While aap had stressed on GitHub that the source code should only be used for educational, documentation and modding purposes, it didn’t stop Rockstar and Take-Two from swooping in with a DMCA takedown. “Yes, we were very much worried about that and tried to stay under the radar for as long as possible,” said aap.
Re3 and reVC include a whole bunch of new features and improvements to the game. To start off, a number of bugs have been fixed and a debug menu and camera were also added. Additionally, the games are now instantly compatible with current controllers and also have no loading screens between islands. Widescreen support with a scaled HUD and improved visuals were among the other changes. Unlike the original GTA 3, Re3 even contains a map of Liberty City in the pause menu.
“Open source GTA has probably been a dream for many of us GTA fanatics,” aap told Eurogamer. “We’d been injecting our code into the games for many years for modding but of course that’s sort of tedious and you’re still limited in what you can do.”
aap began to reverse engineer the GTA 3 code sometime in 2016. He reached a point which enabled him to fly around the map. He then got to work on the collision and physics code, which he later put into the game for testing. He continued with the process over the next two years, until every function was replaced by spring 2018.
“I had no idea if this project would ever be finished,” they said. “I was still working on it alone at the time, but it seemed like the most promising route to an open source GTA.”
Unfortunately, this DMCA takedown means that aap’s current project, a reverse engineered version of the PlayStation Portable game, Liberty City Stories, is currently stalled.
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