Hey all and welcome to the first ever developer diary for our GTA V Project. I wanted to use this opportunity to provide you all with an update on where we are at and what our grand vision is for V.
Not An MTA Clone
Owl V will not be a direct copy of MTA. While the server will feature a familiar experience to MTA, the script is not a port of the MTA script and will offer new features & different features. Everything we do falls under one of two categories: New or Upgraded.
For new, we are looking at implementing new features which may not have been possible on GTA SA. For upgraded, we are revisiting & modernizing every feature as we code it on a high level and asking ourselves questions like How do players buy a house? How do they interact with their inventory?
Not An MTA Replacement
Some may be concerned that V will supersede MTA and we will close MTA down, others are spreading this around as factual. However, this is not the case and this is not something that has even been discussed or entertained as a possibility. When we think about V, we think about how can we grow Owl - right now we peak at ~80 players - how do we get that to 200 across our community? How do we bring extra, high-quality players into our community?
MTA as a platform is not attracting many new players at this point which makes acquiring additional players difficult - you essentially have to acquire them from the existing pool of players in MTA / on other servers, whereas V is still an active/frequently updated game with a wider demographic of players who are currently not in our ecosystem.
On the other hand, people will continue to play MTA and we don't see it dying out anytime soon. MTA has a very feature rich script with a strong history, lore and excellent game world and a lot of people enjoy playing in San Andreas to this day.
The above is partially why we have chosen to expand into V, whilst continuing to not just support but also actively develop MTA. We want to get as many people into the OwlGaming ecosystem as possible.
Modern & Clean
Modern day gamers don't expect to open up a console and enter a bunch of commands, with mastering the syntax of them being critical to enjoying the game. With V we are aiming to make gameplay as fluid as possible. Do you want to use the bank? Hit one key. Want to interact with a player (e.g. to arrest)? Right click on them, move your mouse over the option and let the button go. We want learning our script to be something that takes minimal effort so that you can spend more time enjoying your roleplay.
Reliable & Efficient
We have spent a great amount of effort in optimizing our code base to make use of modern day PC capabilities such as multi-threading. This will help speed up portions of the code which previously on MTA had to be single threaded and would slow the response time down for other players until that task was complete. With this, we hope that even with a large player base, players will still receive timely responses to any action they perform on the server.
We've also made efforts to reduce the amount of bandwidth being used by our script and also to reduce the complexity of code running on the client side so that our script will have less impact on the framerate of V.
Easy to Start, Harder to Master, Less of a Grind
We have been investigating how we make roleplay easier to get into. Currently, even as an experienced roleplayer, joining a new community is tedious. You have to grind to get your money back just to be able to afford a simple car or property. It's hard to get into your first faction, which is where a lot of roleplay stems from.
We are looking at ways of decreasing the 'time to achievement' as I like to call it. That is, how long after I register do I have to wait before I can afford my first entry-level property? my first entry-level car? How soon can I join a reputable faction and start contributing to roleplay throughout the server? What does the first hour, day, week, month look like for a new player? We are aiming to make this more accessible, more engaging & more fun so that a new players first month is not one big grind with little time to actually roleplay and contribute to the experience of others.
However, the end game is important too. Achievements have to be earned on a curve, the longer the time I invest in the community, the better my gains should be. We don't want a new player to tire out just to acquire a 20-year-old car, but we want it to be an effort to gain a large luxury automobile so that users feel rewarded for the many hours they spent as a police officer, medic, gangster, etc.
More on this will follow in the future.
Transparent & Approachable
I want to be clear that it is a priority across Owl, not just V, to be transparent and approachable. Over the coming months, I am going to do my best to be as open with you guys as I can without giving away information which may impact/limit our success compared to competitors.
In line with UAT policy, I am completely approachable and if you have any suggestions we can discuss them & I will take them on board. The same applies if you have any questions or concerns, I will do my best to answer them as transparently as possible.
My discord is always open, just like the rest of the UAT.
We are happy to announce that Eloquent has joined the development team and will be helping out Chaos & myself with scripting, as well as helping out on MTA.
Which modification are we using?
We are using RageMP (www.rage.mp). I recommend that you go check it out, it's the closest thing to MTA for V right now and during testing, we've found that it provides a stable client with good sync & performance as well as strong scripting functionality. RageMP is updated frequently and the team behind it are currently working on & showing off more advanced features like adding new synced models to the game.
Which city will be used for Owl V?
We are going to be roleplaying in the Paleto Bay area. Our reason for choosing this location is due to Los Santos being very large in GTA 5 and we feel that having a smaller area will result in more interaction. We may revisit this in the future if the player base becomes large enough to support a larger area.
Who is Daniels?
I made the original script that Owl and every other RP community uses as their base, 10 years ago. I'm also the newest UAT member here at Owl and I deal directly with V in terms of both development & administration.
Will my MTA/OwlGaming account work for V?
Yes, your account is shared across both games.
Will there be stat transfers from MTA to V?
No. Whilst your core account data is shared (e.g. username, password), nothing else is.
Will the admin team be the same for V as it was on MTA?
For the most part yes, Admins will be able to switch between both and we will have to load balance between servers as required.
Will V have all the same features as MTA at launch?
No. MTA has had 10 years of development, V will not have had that. We have a very active development team with aggressive goals though, so expect development iteration to happen fast, like the early days of MTA.
Will there be a beta phase?
There will be a few staff betas as we test our script for both bugs & feature support (e.g. does it have what we need to roleplay fully?). There are currently no plans for a public beta.
Will my GC be usable on V?
Existing donator perks will not transfer over. However, any GC acquired, even prior to release, can be redeemed on V.
General Store Interface (and feeding our taco habit)
World Interactions & Banking
Vehicles will build up dirt over distance, depending on your driving style, driving location (e.g. road vs off-road) and current weather. Rain will reduce your vehicles dirt.
Thanks for taking the time to read the first of many development updates. 2018 is going to be a great year for Owl across the board and we look forward to going through this journey with you.