A First Hand Account of San Andreas PC

NavOmicron, the bloke who was able to purchase GTA San Andreas for the PC and take some screenshots, was kind enough to answer some questions for us. Since everyone is curious about the PC those screenshots were taken on, it is a Pentium 4 3.4GHZ with a GeForce 6800 graphics card and 2GB of RAM. Apparently there were no performance problems in 1280x1024x32 with max view distance – with frame limiter on the game hovered at around 25fps. Without frame limiter at 1280x1024x32, 2xAA and all visual options maxed, the game played at around 35-50fps.

Nav bought the game at a Wal-mart in Garland, Texas after having heard that someone else had managed to purchase a copy there. Here is a brief Q&A with him.

Have you been following San Andreas news prior to the release before you saw the game?

Yes, it made holding off buying a PS/2 hard, I liked the first 2 a lot, I have them both on PC and Vice City for the Xbox.

How did you end up finding the game in Walmart? Were you there just by accident?

No, it was mentioned in a SomethingAwful post, I’m looking for the original poster. “Krakken” picked it up Friday night at his local Wal-mart. I was there and thought I’d check just on a whim, I got lucky-they had probably 6 copies right underneath a big sign proclaiming the June 7th release date. I grabbed 2 and verified they were the real deal and then I checked for Xbox versions, they had none out.

What was your initial reaction? You knew someone else had gotten the PC version at Wal-mart but were you still surprised?

I was really surprised since I had only seen that one other guy had posted about finding it. I called up a friend of mine and asked if he wanted me to buy him a copy, he didn’t believe me. Another friend went tonight after seeing me play and called me from the store, either they had pulled them or sold them all.

Is there still a frame limiter option in the display setup?

Yes, the frame rate is locked at 25 with it enabled.

Have you tried switching it off and do you experience any slowdowns?

Game fluctuates between 35-50 with the Limiter disabled at 1280x1024x32 with all options maxed and 2x AntiAliasing.

Do the textures load alright in the game? In Vice City PC particularly with powerful graphics cards and at high resolutions the textures take a few seconds to load.. is this also the case with San Andreas on the PC?

You have to really look for it to notice it usually. Some spots it’s worse then others (like the countryside where there is less visual clutter then the cities). Pop-up doesn’t really bother me, but San Andreas fades things in from the fog plane so it’s a lot smoother on your eyes.

What does the packaging look like? From the scans you posted earlier it looks like there is a hardcover manual?

Yes, 78 pages, it reads like a travel brochure-suggesting where to eat and what to see. There is also a single DVD and a big poster with CJ holding a gun on the front and a world map on the back.

Any gameplay observations you would like to add?

Well the cars like to fishtail a lot, but I’m going to assume that’s because I have a very low driving skill, I’ve spent all my time on the bicycle so far. I like the motorcycles better in San Andreas, it’s a lot easier to stay on the bike then it was in Vice City. Unlike Vice City you can destroy a good number of objects-fences break apart, light poles will break down into their components.
I guess the cops don’t care about gangbangers as much, I noticed I can get away with a fair amount of mayhem as long as a cop doesn’t physically witness me committing crimes.

Oh, and there is something else I haven’t mentioned so I haven’t seen it anywhere else, the controls are way different from Vice City. You have full control of the mouse when driving (unless you have mouse steer on) so you need to recenter your camera while driving. It takes some getting used to.

We have also put up the PC directory map in a small file. Notice the massive differences in file sizes compared to Vice City PC. Also, files such as popcycle.dat should give you an idea of how customisable the game is. Rockstar has given us the possibility of, among other things, customising the number of objects that are shown on-screen at a certain time of the day. Thanks a lot to NavOmicron for taking the time to answer our questions!