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May 07 2008
By: cmm26red~ Hekseville Citizen 312 posts
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GTA 4 Multiplayer: Information, Issues, and Suggestions (updated 5/6)

72 replies 13548 views Edited May 7, 2008

Current Opinion

 

Grand Theft Auto 4 multiplayer is still plagued with issues.   Long wait times, small matches, players dropping, and stats not recording are just a few of the problems online gamers are currently dealing with.  Periodic system and game freezes which is unresolved for many just compound the other problems and make otherwise awesome game play, inherently flawed. 

 

 

Online Overview

 

Online game play in Grand Theft Auto 4 can be accessed using the cell phone while in single player mode.  Selecting the option “Multiplayer” on the cell phone brings up “Games,” “Party Mode,” “Invites,” “Player Model” and “Tutorial.”  Party mode allows you to play with a group of up to seven friends in matches against other parties.  Invites is where you can view pending invites. The invites you have received to join friends in an online match can also be viewed while in single player mode using the cell phone.  However, invites can only be accepted once and your friends will be required to resend the invite if you decline it.    After you select “Game,” you have two choices, “QuickMatch” and “Custom Match.”  Quickmatch allows you to immediately join any type of game session and you get to select the mode; although you may or may not be a host.  Free mode does not earn you money, all other modes do.   Custom mode allows for the same options as in quick match, except you can reserve slots for your friends. You cannot view your friends who are currently playing while in single player mode, you must enter multiplayer to access this feature.  Once you have selected the type of online game, you will be brought to a game lobby screen where you can see the other players and match options. If you are the host, you can change a myriad of options for that particular online game.  If you want to change the game type, you can do so by selecting “start new game.”  You cannot access your cell phone while in the multiplayer lobby.  You must use the select button on your remote to access online navigation features and pressing the square button accesses invites.    Once a multiplayer game has started, you can access your cell phone for online mode navigation.  You can leave multiplayer mode at any time by pressing start on your remote and selecting “leave game.”   To stay up to date with online mode, forum users (you) can pin this thread by selecting the two up carrots on the right hand side ofthe screen once in the GTA board: (http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/board?board.id=gta)

 

 

Who to Contact

 

SCEA: http://www.us.playstation.com/Corporate/ContactUs

Take 2 Interactive: http://www.take2games.com/index.php?p=global_contacts
Rockstar: pr@rockstargames.com 

 

Resources

 

Speedtest: http://www.speedtest.net/(for those with connection issues)

PS3: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_3(for those who recently purchased a PS3)

Cell Notes: http://www.cag.csail.mit.edu/ps3/lectures.shtml(for those who know it all)

Youtube:  http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=gta+iv+online&search_type (for those who want to see it with their own eyes)

ISP Info: http://www.dslreports.com/ (for those with ISP issues)

 

Current Issues 

  • Cannot connect to online game play, returning to single player:  This issue occurs when you try to access multiplayer mode while in single player mode using your cell phone.  Your screen will go blank like it is going to multiplayer mode and this message will appear after a minute.  You will be told to press X for ok and are returned to single player mode.  If you attempt to view your network statistics while insingle player mode after this issue occurs, the game will state you’re not connected to the PSN.
  • Stats are not recording:  The money earned while playing online matches (excluding free mode) is not recording properly. Your rank and money will reset after you log out of multiplayer.  It is unclear if this issue affects just money, or a larger stats issue is present, such as kills and deaths not recording.
  • Game starting clock is buggy: The game countdown clock begins after the host indicates their ready.  The clock will count down from 10 assuming there are enough players present.  It has been noticed that the game sometimes starts with no countdown clock. 
  • Game freezes after online match: After an online match, the game will freeze.  Based on first hand experience, the audio continues to play, but the game is unresponsive to all controls.  You must push the PS button on your remote to quit the game. The PS3 will beep three times and the system will then restart on its own with the user being logged out. It is unclear if this issue is related to the game freezes during single player mode; nevertheless, this type of problem also exists in multiplayer.
  • Games starting with 2 or 3 players:  When an online match starts, the game will only have a few people in it. It has been observed that the majority of online matches start and end with just a few players.  Players can enter a game that has already started and those currently in the match can quit, however, the exact openness of the servers is not known.  
  • Games not starting with 10+ players:  Large games with 10 or more people in them fail to start.  This most often occurs when the host does not push X to indicate they are ready.   Other players in the match have the option of kicking the host, which can be done by scrolling down to the end of the game options while in the game lobby.   It is not known how many votes it takes to kick ahost; except more than four.  Large matches are also more susceptible to the “only player remaining” issue and this occurs immediately after the match starts and you will see each player left in the top left hand portion of your screen.
  • “Only player remaining”:  After the online match starts, all the other players will quit.  The match ends and you are stuck on a screen that says “Only Player Remaining” for up to one minute.  Some times a gamefreeze occurs and you are forced to exit the game through the PS button on your remote.   Only player remaining game ends can also occur towards the end of an online match.   If this happens, you will not earn any money and it is unclear whether stats are kept; regardless, you will be stuck on the previously selected screen for up to a minute.
  • System freezes while in match:During an online match, the system freezes.  Based on first hand experience, the audio continues to play, but the game and system are unresponsive to all controls. You must touch the power button to restart the PS3 and three beeps will be heard.  The system will then turn off and you must restart it by pressing the PS button on the remote.  It is unclear if this issue is related to the system freezes during single player mode; nevertheless, this type of problem also exists in multiplayer. http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/board/message?board.id=gta&thread.id=370613
  • Long wait times after matches:  After a match has ended, wait times on loading screens and the screen that shows the game score vary greatly.  Periodically, these screens will force you to wait for up to several minutes. Other times, these screens will only show for 30 seconds or so.
  • Long wait times in general:  Wait times in online game play vary widely.  Sometimes, screens will load and matches will start without much delay just to have all the players leave, except you.  However, sometimes users are forced to wait for what seemslike an eternity on loading screens. There has been no consistency observed in the time it takes to load these various online matches and it varies greatly. 
  • “Disconnected from game session.  Returning to single player”:  The game will be stuck on a screen saying this message.  The X ok button will be shown on the button right hand side of the screen.  Sometimes you are able to exit out of this by pressing X on your controller, other times, the game will freeze.   This issue also accompanies game freezes (three beep repeat except my console never turns off, I am simply logged out of my account and my controller needs restarted). 
  • Lack of clan support:  As it stands right now, GTA 4 lacks any clan support what so ever.  You can view your friends list while logged in to multiplayer using your cell phone and you can send them invites to join your game, or whoever is hosting the one your in currently. You can also reserve slots for your friends by playing a “custom match,” or meet up in a free play room and jump into “party mode” to throw down with another group. However, at least one user in your party must have another user from the other party on his or her friends list so invites can go out and everyone can meet up.  This has not been tested yet, but based on all available information; this is how rumbles between clans will have to go down.
  • Lack of support in general:  No information about multiplayer exists in the handbook that comes with the game. The strategy guide as well as some online resources contain information, however, it is sketchy at best.  It is worth noting that the handbook which comes with the retail PS3 box of GTA4 contains 8 pages of credits, disclaimers, warranty information, and other legal stuff.  This is significant in that the handbook contains about 20 pages total.  The strategy guide by Brady Games contains 1 page about the “General Multiplayer Features.” The strategy guide also has 5 more pages about online game types, online strategy and tactics. 
  • Game freeze (PS3 beeps 3 times):  When trying to connect to online matches, the game will freeze with the word “loading” flashing in the bottomright hand corner.  You can access console options by pushing the PS button on your remote, however, when selecting the option to quit the game, the system will beep three times and restart (after a minute or so).  No in game controls function during this event and the only current solution is to let your PS3 restart and try again.  It is unclear how often this error occurs, but I have experienced it several times and it is not just limited to a loading screen as I have received it after all the players quit and when trying to connect to online game play, but not being able to.

 

Past Issues

  • Intermittent freezing (non-model specific):  Log out of your PSN account and disable automatic log in through the xmb.  Launch GTA 4 and log into the PSN through “multiplayer” on your cell phone.  If this does not work, see the troubleshooting section, specifically Take 2’s 12-step method. 

Suggestions

  • Information from Rockstar as to the exact architecture of online game play:  Facts such as how games are hosted, server locations (are they country specific?), server types (PS3 racks or data center third party type setups (non-PS3)?) would be welcome and as far as I am aware of, no information has yet been provided.
  • The ability to host our own games: Much the same as in Warhawk, nothing would open up online game play in GTA4 more than the ability to host our own games.   The PS3 can function as a server, such as is the case when hosting a game in Warhawk, and providing adequate bandwidth on the hosts part, online game play would rock. However, with no information from Rockstar as to the exact architectureof online game play, it is unclear if this is even possible.
  • More detailed stats:  The multiplayer stats recorded in GTA 4 are about as complex as a 5th grade math course.  There is no ability to sort stats based on any set of variables and navigation between stats for each multiplayer mode is cumbersome.  A kill to death ratio stat would be nice and the ability to view stats based on any attribute and sort them just seems like common sense.  A “tab” type navigation system would be awesome and the stat box while in a multiplayer game could use a once over.
  • Improving online game play through future updates:  The PS3 marks the first generation ofvideo game consoles in which game play can be significantly improved though patches pushed through as updates. It is the hope of this gamer, as well as thousands of others, that multiplayer mode be constantly improved using this method.
  • Periodic updates from those in the know: Note to Rockstar/Take-2, "Contact Dylan Jobe,” he knows how to do it.
  • Navigating online play: Navigating online mode is cumbersome andc omplicated.  You cannot use your cell phone for navigation while in the online game lobby, yet in an onlinematch, it it your only way to quit that game while still remaining in multiplayer.  There should be one standard, cell phone or not, to access online matches and friends.
  • 16 players, is that it?: Liberty city is so expansive that the majority of online play is spent traversing from one destination to the next, looking for people.  One way to fix this is to play on the smaller maps and set the desired spawn distance.  Another more practical way would be for Rockstar to increase the max number of players per game; say to 32.      

 

Notes 

 

I will do my best to keep this topic updated and current.  This post has been broken up into categories and I ask that if you have anything you would like to add, please describe the topic in detail and indicate which category it needs to be placed in.  Be sure to check the related threads to see if your issue is discussed elsewhere. I ask that spammers post there one liners else where and if you have an issue, please indicate the category in bold to which it belongs as I will not go threw post by post looking for things to add.   For those of you who have not been fortunate enough to play in a large multiplayer game yet, you are in for a real treat.  The game play beats anything out there,period.  However, multiplayer right now has major issues and will never live up to its full potential unless fixed.   It is my hope that someone in the know will find this and use it to fix and improve multiplayer, with your help.  Maybe I had to high of expectations for multiplayer in this game.  Warhawk is the only other game I play online and it just works.  In my opinion, this is more than an ISP issue/end to end user problem.  That issue may contribute to the problem and compound the overall effect, yet a problem, most likely multiple significant errors in the multiplayer program code exists; which hopefully can be fixed through an update(we are on version “-“).   I would personally rather see single player and online game play perfected over the next several years, rather than a new game in the series.  The multiplayer developers could learn a lot from Warhawk’s online integration and I hope several things, such as the ability to host your own game, server lists, ping times, bandwidth test, clan support, and larger matches will be implemented once the major issues are fixed.

 

 

Hardware 

 

I have a launch 20GB PS3 (Nov06) connected to a Linksys game adapter, which is running to an Apple Airport Extreme base station.  My are cable Internet speed is 10 megs download and 768k upload.   I am located on the East Coast in the United States and I ping to DC in 40ms, LA in 100ms and Paris in 250ms. I find it hard to believe that this is a hardware failure on my part.  I have never experienced any problems with my machine prior to purchasing GTA 4.  My retail box copy of GTA4 has a disc identifier of A04.   My PS3 has a static IP address, the ports are forwarded and I am NAT type 2.  This, in addition to the 12 step method and logging into PSN while in game have not fixed my any of my issues.

 

 

Related Threads

 

PS3 Freezing Part 2: http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/board/message?board.id=gta&thread.id=413808&view=by_date...

Party Mode: http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/board/message?board.id=gta&thread.id=405799

More Multiplayer Problems: http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/search?submitted=true&type=message&sort_by=-date&q=gta+4...

Connection to one or more players is lost: http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/board/message?board.id=gta&thread.id=404157

On-line with NAT3: http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/board/message?board.id=gta&thread.id=411719

On-line with NAT2: http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/board/message?board.id=gta&thread.id=419706

What servers will Rockstar use for the Ps3 GTA4:http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/board/message?board.id=gta&thread.id=362846

Troubleshooting

 

Port Forward (setting up your router or firewall): http://portforward.com/

What is port forwarding? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_forwarding

12-step program to address frequent freezing: http://www.gamespot.com/news/6190279.html   
How to Fix & Prevent Grand Theft Auto Online & In-Game Freezing (does not work for everyone): http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/board/message?board.id=gta&thread.id=418968
Linking your Rockstar Social Club account: http://socialclub.rockstargames.com/
Turning off PS1/PS2 smoothing via settings (known fix?):  http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/board/message?board.id=gta&thread.id=422279
 
___________ 
Update 5/5: I have updated the current opinion, current issues, past issues and related threads categories.  I have also created a troubleshooting and suggestions section.  As of this date, there is still no fix for the issue affecting many of use that try to play GTA4 online.  I contacted Sony customer service on Wednesday, April 30th and reported the issues I am experiencing while trying to play GTA4 online.  Since then, I have contacted Rockstar, Take 2, and Sony again; all electronically. The only company I have heard from is Sony and in a response to my email they wrote: “Rockstar, GTA4's publisher, and SCEA are both aware of a possible issue with the title, and are currently researching a fix. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. We do not have any more information about this issue at the present time. We suggest that you check frequently on the PlayStation Knowledge Center at http://www.us.playstation.com/support for additional information as it becomes available.”  Needless to say, I am still highly ticked off over the lack of communication on their part.  The latest I am hearing is that it may be an issue with the emotion engine.  Why would GTA4 game code even enter a PS2 emulation chip; I do not know?  I am still convinced that the majority of you users who are experiencing freezing, this online freezing issue is your source.  You can tell the online portion was a list minute deal and it fundamentally shows.  These issues could be the result of a several smaller issues, yet compounded, affect many.  One question I keep asking myself is how could they have not found this in testing.  The reviewers played the PS3 version and none of them had this happen; give me a break.  Their test bench would have had 20 and 60 GB versions of the PS3, right?  Maybe the network wasn’t under load and all the protocols matched up, who knows... One thing is for sure; my game is still messed up.  I can play one or two games in multiplayer with long load times and then it freezes.  The game in general has been buggy, the whole time. We are on version “-“, so it will be interesting to see how quickly they push out a patch and what it will contain.  Long term, they will have to push out some pretty healthy upgrades to the multiplayer side in order for this gamer to have a winner. 
Message Edited by cmm26red on 05-05-2008 11:01 PM
Message Edited by cmm26red on 05-06-2008 06:00 PM
Message Edited by cmm26red on 05-07-2008 03:35 PM
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Sackboy
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Re: GTA 4 Multiplayer: Information, Issues, and Suggestions (updated 5/3)

May 3, 2008
Good thread.
Thanks!
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Hekseville Citizen
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Re: GTA 4 Multiplayer: Information, Issues, and Suggestions (updated 5/3)

May 3, 2008

sharrrk wrote:
Good thread.
Thanks!
You are welcome! 

 

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Ghost of Sparta
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Re: GTA 4 Multiplayer: Information, Issues, and Suggestions (updated 5/3)

May 3, 2008
Agreed.  Thank you  I will sticky this.
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First Son
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Re: GTA 4 Multiplayer: Information, Issues, and Suggestions (updated 5/3)

May 4, 2008

My mate is having a couple problems trying to get online.  The first is if he stays signed out of the psn and presses "Multiplayer" on the phone then when the phone screen goes to the screen where it has the options for Party Mode, Invites etc, the game freezes.  The other problem (I think this is what happens) is if he signs into the psn before accessing the game (from the XMB) then when he goes into the game it freezes (it possibly freezes at the loading screen where it says it loading your last saved mission).  Ive suggested to him to delete his game data and let it install again with no luck.  I suggested that he deletes his cookies and cache etc from the web browser without any luck as well.  He was also playing wirelessly at the time so I asked him to connect the connection straight to his ps3 instead (wired) but this still didn't work, and so I am out of ideas as to what could be wrong.  Any ideas?

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Re: GTA 4 Multiplayer: Information, Issues, and Suggestions (updated 5/3)

May 4, 2008

teddynlivia wrote:
Agreed.  Thank you  I will sticky this.
Me too. And replying to this I also get the thread updates. Very good job. R* should give you money for this. 

 

----
- I'm not a Playstation fanboy. I'm a Micro$oft hater. It's different.
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Uncharted Territory
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Re: GTA 4 Multiplayer: Information, Issues, and Suggestions (updated 5/3)

May 6, 2008

Very nice thread.. hope we get answers / fixes soon for all these "online issues"..

 

 

 

 

 

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Hekseville Citizen
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Re: GTA 4 Multiplayer: Information, Issues, and Suggestions (updated 5/3)

May 6, 2008
Updated 5/6
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Re: GTA 4 Multiplayer: Information, Issues, and Suggestions (updated 5/6)

May 6, 2008
got mine to work by linking my PSN name to my rockstar social club account now im playing problem free with a full server of people, and hosting games seem to run fine for me, just thought id say that, some people should try it if you get a loading screen freeze cause u are plugged in to the internet when starting ur game
What it be homie =D
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Hekseville Citizen
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Re: GTA 4 Multiplayer: Information, Issues, and Suggestions (updated 5/6)

May 6, 2008

Thanks


iFart wrote:
got mine to work by linking my PSN name to my rockstar social club account now im playing problem free with a full server of people, and hosting games seem to run fine for me, just thought id say that, some people should try it if you get a loading screen freeze cause u are plugged in to the internet when starting ur game

 

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