Grand Theft Auto V’s Confusing Mod Situation

Grand Theft Auto V’s Confusing Mod Situation

Grand Theft Auto V players claim they’re getting banned on PC right now, but why? Well, it’s complicated.

Players are fairly certain that mods are involved, but that’s where things get weird. Ever since the PC version of GTA V came out, user-made mods have been the story of the game, breathing strange new air into a game that’s technically two years old. But no one’s really sure how developer Rockstar feels about them. Is Rockstar OK with mods, as they were when GTA IV‘s PC version became a hotbed for smoking hot graphics upgrades and drivable pop music pianos? Or are they taking steps toward banning them outright? It’s likely that the truth lies somewhere in the middle — single-player mods are cool, but multiplayer mods aren’t — but nobody knows for sure.

So people are worried. They’re posting all sorts of questions and claims, like this one from Steam:

Grand Theft Auto V’s Confusing Mod Situation

And these from Reddit:

Grand Theft Auto V’s Confusing Mod Situation
Grand Theft Auto V’s Confusing Mod Situation
Grand Theft Auto V’s Confusing Mod Situation

Will I get banned? What for? Why? If Rockstar is only opposed to multiplayer mods that might ruin other people’s fun, why do these claims of people getting banned for using mods in single-player keep popping up? You can’t skim a forum for more than a few seconds without stumbling across a question like that. For their part, Rockstar hasn’t really given a definitive public answer. As of writing, they had yet to respond to my request for comment.

Fans, then, are seeking their own explanations. Some point to GTA V‘s end user licence agreement (EULA) — which states that players agree not to “Reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble, prepare derivative works based on or otherwise modify the Software, in whole or in part” — as cause for concern. Others, however, note that GTA IV on PC had the same EULA, which suggests that Rockstar only reserves the right to throw people in the ban slammer for graffiti-ing up their code. As for when they exercise that right, well, that’s up to them.

The most convincing/prevalent explanation I’ve come across goes like this: due to the closed off nature of GTA V‘s internal architecture, the so-called “mods” that have made waves recently aren’t really mods in the traditional sense. They don’t add anything new. Rather, they tamper with pre-existing elements of the game — add or subtract values, put whales where they’re not supposed to be, etc.

Seems innocent enough so long as it stays confined to single-player, but there’s just one problem, according to Steam user Terk: it can’t. Or at least, it’s very, very hard to ensure that it will.

“That’s the point a lot of people don’t understand here, we’re not talking addons. We’re talking DLL files that have been modified to allow a user to run ANY additional code they want and have the game accept it and execute it. There are no limits to what can be run with this and the trainer that comes as the included demonstration of scripthook is a very benign usage of the potential.”

“To give you an example of the dangers of allowing DLL Injected clients to connect to multiplayer servers or any other client for that matter, until recently, in Reign of Kings, hackers using the same method that scripthook uses, were using injected assembly code into DLLs to modify files on the computers of other players on the servers they connected to and in many cases, even the files on the servers themselves.”

“When we’re talking about DLL Injection, there is no such thing as singleplayer mod or multiplayer mod. It’s just foreign code being run, anywhere the user wants. The only way to prevent it is to check the integrity of the DLLs of any client on connection and cutting the connection as soon as a disprecency is found. It may seem like overkill, but the alternative is a complete loss of security for anyone using gta online.”

Thus, it stands to reason that Rockstar might blanket block this method of modding the game, because it’s so easy for it to seep into multiplayer, even if many players never intended for it to.

However, as I said earlier, Rockstar isn’t talking. At least, not out in the open, where everyone can see them. Meanwhile, some players are claiming that single-player mods have brought them nothing but joy, rainbows, and guns that fire endless streams of luxury sports cars while others can only squirm beneath Rockstar’s banhammer. What’s actually going on here? Nobody is certain yet. It would be really nice if someone could clear it up, though. Actions might speak louder than words, but actions without explanation cause chaos. And that, by my estimate, is exactly what we’re looking at here. Well, that and sky whales.


  • Assumed I would find an answer to this question.

    Assumed incorrectly. 10/10 More confused than ever.

  • Is it because Rockstar doesn’t want Mods or they aren’t able to tell who is using hacks online and who isn’t?

    Like if someone uses a FOV Mod, do their systems detect its a FOV mod or does it just detect changed files and assume it’s a hack.

      • Speaking from my own development experience, Rockstar most likely runs CRC or certificate checks on all game files as part of the process of logging in to GTA Online. If anything doesn’t match, the file is either corrupt or modified and they can decide to either try to have the file reinstalled, or if it looks malicious they’ll just issue a ban.

        As someone in the original article says, there’s no such thing as single player mods and multiplayer mods, there’s just altered game files and for GTA Online, altered files means potential hacking so it has to be blocked.

        Because you can switch in to multiplayer almost any time, it’s possible these mods are being detected during single player as well (though it’s all just rumours right now). One way around that might be to just disconnect internet while playing single player with mods, so a connection to RSC is never attempted.

    • One Rockstar support person said that the way they implemented their sweeps was just to look at anomalous stat boosts, but don’t ask me for a source.

      But either way, people are saying their getting banned when they’re offline (from… the online portion they weren’t playing, I guess). IF true, and that’s a big (big) if, then Rockstar just might not have figured out a way to deal with it yet and are just blanket banning to be safe.

      I’m pretty sure Rockstar don’t care about mods if they’re harmless (ignoring the money issue, which I think is overblown)

  • At the end of the day, it should be as simple as whats been described.
    Let people mod the shit out of their single player experience all they want… but the moment they go to play online, when the modded files are detected it should simply disconnect and display a notification for doing so. This way the user knows to restore normal files in order to play online. NOT BAN PEOPLE for modding their single player experience.

    This does 3 things.. stops mods in multiplayer even being an issue in the first place.
    Allows people to enjoy their single player experience in any way they want.
    Prevents the need for bans because of the above in the first place.

    The way I see it… Rockstar are resorting to banning because they are not taking responsibility and being held accountable for their HUGE oversight. ITS A COPOUT.

  • Would be real nice if Rockstar would employ community managers who actually COMMUNICATE with the community….their PR department are a bunch of cock boys who invite YouTubers like RoosterTeeth crew to join them on live streams then proceed to take the piss out of them.

    Case in point –

    One of my favourite things I’ve ever heard Geoff say –

    “Thanks roosterteeth we had a great time with you guys.” -Rockstar PR cock boy
    “We had … a time.” – Geoff

  • The EULA is pretty damn clear in my opinion.
    The difference between IV and V is we are dealing with a very different beast both SP and MP wise.

  • you know this would be solved quite easily if Rockstar just patched in a FOV slider with a larger range…or at least announce that they’re aware and working on the issue…

    At least that’d quieten that portion of the complaints…(hopefully)

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