LowSpecGamer: how to run Grand Theft Auto 4 on a low end PC
Ever before Grand Theft Auto 5 was taking headlines the previous game on the series was getting a lot of press.. for a very different reason. Grand Theft Auto 4 was a brilliant analysis into the underbelly of the concept of the american dream. it is also a terrible PC port for everyone… not just people with low end computers. But, thanks to an active modding community, we may be able to downgrade it… maybe a bit too much? This is the LowSpecGamer where we sometimes spend hours just figuring how to get a game to boot up without a dedicated video card. So forget about… am… details on cars, NPC and tress because we are making this game run. Nico: Oh, I hope that didn’t turn as badly as it looked. I wish I could show you how GTA4 runs on this computer, but I can’t because the game will simply not start on some integrated GPUs. Here is how I solved it, maybe it can work for you too! First, you need to go the installation folder of GTA4: for steam this is located at your Program Files, Steam, steamapps, common, Grand Theft Auto 4, GTAIV.
Inside you can create a text file called commandline.txt where the game will read commands on startup. You need this command, availablevidmem where you can specify your video memory. To find out how much to put here you need to go to your control panel, display settings, advanced and it will be in megabytes under the dedicated video memory. You need to put a number that is under that in the command. Be sure to include the decimal point and the zero. It will not work otherwise! Now the game will be able to open and it will drop us into the minimum settings possible, the only thing I have changed is the resolution to 720p Testing this does not seem that good at first, but it becomes obvious that we can barely pull over 25 FPS… sometimes. Let’s see what we can do. If you have something like the Steam version of this game, chances are you are using the latest game version. Some people report an slight performance difference on previous versions and some mods will not work on the latest one.
To downgrade we will follow the instructions on pc gaming wiki, which are linked on the description This involves downloading the 1.update and installing it, renaming the GTA4 folder with all your files, installing social club and then moving all the files from your renamed folder to the GTA4 folder that should have been created when you installed the social club Follow the instructions on that wiki and you shall be fine. Also, remember to set the properties of the game on steam so the game does not update automatically And create a shortcut to the GTA4 launcher to your desktop so can play it without it updating And now, before we move into mod territory I highly suggest you backup your common and pc folders from the gta4 directory… That way you can revert the effect of any mod. The first 2 mods I am going to try make very slight changes and they give you a slight boost in performance. The first is called FPS Boost For Low Specs and the second one is the GTA IV optimizer.
Try this 2 mods separately and keep the one that works best for you! To install the first one you need to copy the timecyc.dat to your pc/data folder, replacing the original file and then copy the visualSettings.dat to your common/data folder, also replacing and original file. If you decide to try the second one, then, inside the mod folder you just need to copy the pc and common folder and paste on the GTA4 directory, merging and replacing all necessary files. I pretty much saw the same effect with both mods + the version downgrade. FPS is slightly more stable now and seemed to be between the 28 and 30 in the good moments.
However, if you are truly desperate, There might be a more… interesting option. Behold, the appropriately named GTA IV for Extremely Low PCs, a mod with some dramatic changes to the regular game. The link is in the description. The download leads to a collection of mod assets that you can use. I recommend the Extreme Low PCs base package, the props removal and the no car deformation. To install the base package, copy the common and pc folders on the downloaded mod files to your GTA 4 folder, overwriting everything that it needs to. There is also a commandline.txt that you may add to your existing command list. In my experience beyond lowering the resolution the commands did nothing special, but experiment with each one of them if you still need additional performance. For the no car deformation mod simply copy and paste the common folder included in the mod And the same for the pc folder for the props removal, you probably have the grasp of this by now. Let’s see what it did.
Okay, um so the door’s gone. It’s not that it’s open, there’s just no door but, who needs those anyway? Yep, no doors and okay.. Oh my god. Is that the draw distance? That is absolutely the draw distance. Holy Sh-[BLEEP]. Is this how an Age of Empires soldier feels? Right, so. If you are not desperate enough to use that draw distance you can try one last thing. This draw distance mod includes file for different in game draw distances.
The shortest one included seems to work very well with this mod. Otherwise, you can just copy the timecyc file from the backup I told you to create. You did backup your files, didn’t you? In any case, I am going to use the shorter one in the mod and copy it to pc data. I am going to delete the super short one and rename the moded one to simply timecyc.dat so the game can recognize it. Done, time for some testing. So, as you can see, the draw distance isn’t that bad this time. Ah, you can still see when it cuts in the distance but it’s not as “dramatically bad”, isn’t it? The- Woah… The NPC’s (Non-Playable Characters) look interesting… Look at this car, isn’t this a beautiful, exciting car? Don’t you want to drive this kind of car? Now, check this out.
If I try to use this car… Wait for it, so I get into the car – POP – and it morphs. Beautiful. So that way, you know that details are loaded only on the car that you’re driving, that’s how you make maximum performance, people. And we’re getting one hell of a performance boost, compared to before. Is magical. Ah! I missed my exit.
Typical. Woah, Also the trees- I had not realized that. Nice looking trees. [LAUGHS] Oh, that’s even better. Time to integrate myself into this car. [WOP] [LAUGHS] Never gets old. Time to go for the bridge. This is usually where my performance drops the most and, well, check it out! Much better than I expected. Oh, I didn’t see that! Ah, crap, it’s the graphics police! I have gone too far, I have downgraded this too much and now they’re out to get me. Look at their cars! How are you supposed to catch me when your cars aren’t even rendered? Ge- Get out of my way! [READS INSTRUCTIONS] Follow the dealer to his supplier on foot. Stay behind him and try not to be seen. Oh! Well that was bad.
Do I have to catch him or I have to kill him? I don’t remember. Oh, that works! [SHOT] Oh crap! [SHOOTS] Looking nice. Hello! [SHOOTS] That’s one intimidating looking enemy. Hello Mr. Tree. Woah! Okay, umm… I guess they did remove trees. I knew the mod mentioned the trees were removed and I saw these and thought, “Eh, they didn’t really remove them”, but, well, I was wrong. Woah! [LAUGHS] this is so bizarre-looking. [POP] Ah, never gets old. Never gets old! Am I being chased? I think I am. Oh s***! Wrong button, wrong button! Crap, aaah! Ouch. Aah, and the car returned back into its low model almost immediately. Out of my way! Shoot! For a one star chase this is sure hard to shake… That is all for this video. Boy am I glad this is finally done. The demand for this video has been overwhelming. As usual, thank you to my very generous Patreon contributors. If you want to support me and help me achieve some exciting goals like an exclusive sound track and tweaking games on Mac, this is the best way! And now LowSpecGamer giveaway Last time I asked if you like to finish the basic game or go for completion and the winners are: Kigiro Kuro, Stuff Plays Luke and the Original PSY Congratulations The question for this week is the following: Do you prefer to play games in the original state or do you always mod the f*** out of everything? For this week the prizes are Not GTA V for comments, yes, hilarious, I know, and two copies of Gunstar heroes for twitter and the steam group… and for facebook… oh wait, right! LowSpecGamer is now on facebook, because too many people complained about not having twitter.
Help me share these videos on your social platform of choice. To celebrate this wondrous occasion if you answer the question on the comments of this video on Facebook you can win a copy of GTA IV, this very same game so you can try this yourself. Thank you to all the game donors. See you on the next video..