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GTA Online player claims to have figured out why the game loads so slow, offers fix

A GTA Online modder has apparently been able to reduce loading times by up to 70% and has offered the fix to players wanting to cut down their own loading times, too.

Modder T0ST has published an article digging into the infamously appalling loading times in GTA Online. After doing some research and writing a unique program to interact with the game files, T0ST managed to reduce loading times by as much as 70%.

Turns out that the game doesn't necessarily struggle to load thanks to its open-world nature, but because there’s a CPU bottleneck that will be most felt on low- or mid-tier PCs, as well as a JSON parser that is apparently poorly implemented and can't really deal with the 10MB JSON database the game needs to read in order to open up properly. This database contains a whopping 63,000 items and is scoured by the parser each time the game opens up (as per Digital Foundry).

What's worse, once the "poorly built/naive" JSON parser has finally made it through the file, Rockstar's item de-duplication routine also runs particularly slowly.

T0ST has been able to write a .dll file that can be imported into the GTA Online file and used to improve the loading times by a significant margin.

The file contains a library of functions and other information that can be accessed by a Windows program for easier comprehension and parsing. In creating this new .dll file (and making it available for the public to download), T0ST has essentially made the loading time improvements they've managed to achieve in their own game available to everyone.

Just be aware, of course, that if you don't really know what you're doing here, you could stand to mess up your save game, your data, or even risk a ban from Rockstar for manipulating official in-game files. You've been warned!

In T0ST's preliminary research, the modder discovered that over 80% of users complained of a 3-6 minute loading time when trying to boot up GTA Online, with over 35% noting that they tend to wait 6 minutes or more to get into the game.

T0ST called on Rockstar to fix this issue, as they don't believe it'll be too much of an issue to confront. "If this somehow reaches Rockstar: the problems shouldn’t take more than a day for a single dev to solve," the modder concluded in their post.

Speeding up loading times should be a popular call for many players; after all, GTA Online had more monthly players in 2020 than any other year to date.

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Dom Peppiatt avatar

Dom Peppiatt

Editor-in-chief

Dom is a veteran video games critic with 11 years' experience in the games industry. A published author and consultant that has written for NME, Red Bull, Samsung, Xsolla, Daily Star, GamesRadar, Tech Radar, and many more. They also have a column about games and music at The Guardian.

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