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  1. Github Restores Reverse-Engineered GTA Code Following DMCA Counter Notice GitHub has restored a fork of the fan-made “Re3” project that published reverse-engineered code of the popular GTA 3 and Vice City games. The action follows a counter-notice sent by a third-party developer in response to Take-Two Interactive's takedown. Github followed the DMCA procedure and isn't publicly taking sides. In February, a group of developers released a project that had many passionate GTA fans excited. After years of work, they published “Re3” and “reVC,” two fully reverse-engineered releases of the GTA III and Vice City games, which were originally released two decades ago. The reverse-engineered code opens the door to many tweaks and modifications that make the old games much more playable on modern computers. Importantly, however, an official copy of the games was still required for the code to work properly since game assets are not included. Take-Two Takes Down Reverse-Engineered GTA Code GTA fans welcomed the releases with open arms but the same can’t be said for Take-Two Interactive. A few days after “Re3” and “reVC” were posted on GitHub, the game publisher took them offline, claiming copyright infringement. “The content in the links below consists of copyrighted materials owned by Take-Two. The use of our copyrighted content in these links are unauthorized and it should be removed immediately,” Take-Two Interactive wrote. When the news first broke, project leader “aap” said that the team was considering possible options to restore the code. That is not without risk. Under US law, reverse-engineering can be seen as fair use, but this area is a bit of a minefield that could open the door to an expensive legal battle. The DMCA takedown notice didn’t just target the official GitHub repository. There were more than 200 forks that were pulled offline too. One of these forks was created by a New Zealand-based developer named Theo, who, unlike the main developers, decided to take a stand. Fork Owner Sends Counter-Notice Last month, Theo submitted a counter-notice, arguing that his fork was taken down without a proper reason. “This should not have happened,” he informed GitHub. Speaking with TorrentFreak, the developer says that the reverse-engineered code is not completely identical to Take-Two’s original. Since it’s not copied verbatim, he believes that the game publisher can’t claim it as theirs. “It would appear that the code in the re3 repo is reverse engineered, not a straight decompilation. I believe Take-Two’s claim to be wholly incorrect if this is the case, since the code may be functionally identical, but not exactly identical, they hold no claim to the code. “I do not agree with how Take-Two handles events like this,” Theo adds, referencing an earlier debacle when Take-Two targeted the OpenIV modding tool. “Taking down code that does not belong to them is abhorrent.” Github Restores Forked Repository While this may seem like a David vs. Goliath battle, the developer’s counter-notice was successful. After two weeks, GitHub restored the fork, which is now accessible to the public again. This doesn’t mean that GitHub has taken sides. The DMCA rules simply dictate that disputed content has to be restored between 10 and 14 business days, unless the rightsholder takes legal action. Theo tells us that he hasn’t heard from Take-Two in response to his takedown notice. While he’s aware of the legal risk that he faces, the developer doesn’t expect the game publisher to pursue this any further. This would mean that the reverse-engineered code remains online. Github Restores Reverse-Engineered GTA Code Following DMCA Counter Notice
  2. GTA Online New Hack Cuts Down Load Times by 70% GTA Online has had some very long load times since its release, but it seems like it's possible to cut them down by a huge margin with the right tweaks. Modder t0st recently took a good look at why the game loads so slowly, discovering that there's a CPU bottleneck that's causing the game to load slowly on most systems, alongside a poorly-implemented JSON parser. As the database includes over 63,000 items, the parser takes a long time to go through every single one of them every time the game loads. Digital Foundry provided a clear explanation of the JSON parser issue: First, the game was reading in a text file of all purchasable items in the game - and after every one of 63,000 items, it counts every character in the 10MB text file afresh. Doing this count once is no big deal, but doing it 63,000 times adds up to a whole lot of wasted CPU time. Second, to prepare all of the item data that's been read in, the game records both the data associated with that item (eg its name, price, category, stats) and a hash of that item (essentially a calculated 'fingerprint' that uniquely identifies it). Each time the game stores an item from the list - which, remember, happens 63,000 times - it checks the hash value of the item being stored against the hash value of every other item that's already been stored. To solve the issue, t0st wrote a .dll file that improves GTA Online load times considerably by fixing the issues detailed above. After patching the game, it loads in 1 minute and 50 seconds instead of 6 minutes. t0st provided the source code for his GTA Online fix, which can be found here. Modifying the game while in online mode may lead to account suspension, so attempt to install the fix only if you are absolutely certain of what you are doing. Source: GTA Online New Hack Cuts Down Load Times by 70%
  3. Rockstar loses its rock star GTA game producer Dan Houser, the creative force behind the Grand Theft Auto video games, will leave the Rockstar Games firm, the company says The creative force behind the Grand Theft Auto video games, Dan Houser, will leave next month the Rockstar Games firm he cofounded, its parent company said. Houser produced and helped write the GTA games, one of the most lucrative video game titles ever, and made a succuss of the Rockstar Games studio he built with his brother. GTA 6 is expected to be published by the end of the year when the next generation game consoles PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are released. "After an extended break beginning in the spring of 2019, Dan Houser, Vice President, Creative at Rockstar Games, will be leaving the company," Take Two said in a statement late Tuesday to US market regulators. It said Houser's last day of work would be on March 11 at the studio that is also known for the game Red Dead Redemption. After the release of Rockstar Games' last title Houser stirred controversy by speaking out about working conditions in the studio and the video game publishing industry at large by saying that certain developers had worked as many as 100 hours per week to meet the release date. Take Two's shares were down 3.6 percent in midday trading while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was up 0.24 percent overall. Source
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