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Grand Theft Auto RPG interview

Rockstar is known for its attention to detail and creating massive worlds for players to explore and exist in. Red Dead Online makes it easy enough to play an outlaw with the tools provided by the company, but GTA Online needed a little boost to live that virtual fantasy. That’s where NoPixel comes in, a volunteer community of developers and players who build and participate in GTA RP, a collection of PC servers where the imaginations of cops and robbers really come to life.


Danny “DW” Tracey, Co-Game Director for NoPixel, tells me that he and other volunteer developers are modifying GTA Online on the NoPixel servers to provide an experience that is both compelling and fun for streamers, while also providing opportunities creates for role-playing games. The developers do this by looking at what creates interactions because “we don’t want someone talking to an NPC to complete or complete an objective when they can talk to another person,” says DW.

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To encourage players to take on civilian jobs such as waiters, mechanics, and salespeople, many roles act as intermediaries for criminals. Do you need chemicals to make explosives? Off to the seedy pharmacy. Do you want a big truck to turn into a pile driver? You have to bribe builders and pay mechanics. “If there’s no civilian to fill that role, the criminals can’t get what they need,” DW explains. “So that’s a forced civilian role, where we as developers create that interaction.”

While populating the world with believable characters and jobs is important, every GTA player dreams of doing heists and robbing high-value targets like banks and casinos. “Without a doubt, it’s number one [to GTA RP]’ DW tells me. The NoPixel servers do not use vanilla GTA Online raids.

Besides the high-risk, high-reward heists, players can also rob businesses. NoPixel 3.0 – the latest iteration – had a real focus on the industry, meaning more restaurant and shop owners than ever before. Restaurants have a safe in the back for the robbers to steal cash from, but a line cook can set off a silent alarm in the kitchen and alert the police, leading to a hostage situation or a chase.

As funny as this all sounds, it’s very important that the NoPixel team make sure they have a healthy and active community of players. For even a simple burglary to work, you need a gang, a store owner, workers, people frequenting this store to deposit cash in the safe, and cops to catch the robbers. “It’s not like you’re playing a cop in this scenario,” DW explains. “You play a cop and this scenario can happen. It’s a living, breathing world where these characters exist permanently. The person who owns the restaurant always owns it, and the person trying to rob it is most likely always a criminal.”

Whenever a content creator or player decides to take an extended break, their character is considered dead. This allows others to take on the role they left behind. There is also an in-game justice department that oversees all business and civil aspects. DW tells me that the developers sometimes have to step in to replace characters with access to high-tech weapons and more unusual assets, but for the most part they just let the players do it.

Now that we’ve all seen the leaked footage of GTA 6, what DW is most looking forward to is new maps to work with. “The background of the GTA 5 map has been in people’s lives for almost ten years now. A new environment would be something that would be incredible for NoPixel.”

Rockstar, a notoriously litigious company, has worked with the FBI to take down the hacker who leaked the upcoming GTA game. It also recently issued DMCA strikes against GTA 4 modders working on improving the PC port, so it seems odd that it’s leaving the GTA RP community to its own devices. If DW knows why Rockstar didn’t intervene, it won’t say so. “It’s not something we really want to discuss here,” he tells me.

Whatever the case, NoPixel is certainly not concerned about retaliation from Rockstar, as it has its sights firmly set on another of its properties: Red Dead Online. DW says an RDO RP server will be launching “fairly soon,” and he’s excited about the new opportunities it will bring to the community.

So, a gameplay trailer for RDO RP is coming “very soon”. keep your eyes open for it, especially if, like me, you’re bemoaning the game’s death. It sounds like DW plans to stick with Rockstar games for the foreseeable future “when you think about GTA and Red Dead,” he says. “They are more home than fantasy.”

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