Chatterbox: GTANet Interview with Zoobz

Welcome to GTANet’s Chatterbox, our interview series where hosts uNi, Spider-Vice and Kirsty sit down and get personal with notable people from the GTANet and Rockstar Games community. From the well-loved to the unknown, Chatterbox is all-inclusive.

For Chatterbox #2, we sat down with snap extraordinaire Zoobz. First known to us on GTAForums through our GTA V/O screenshot topics, Zoobz quickly made a name for himself on social media as well by sharing his virtual photography skills with the community. In addition, he is host of a number of Red Dead Online themed meet-ups; merging character creation, wardrobe choices and location scouting into a single event.

uNi even had the pleasure of meeting Zoobz IRL a few years ago, at Rockstar’s Red Hook Crit cycle race in London, so it only makes sense he makes our Chatterbox shortlist.

Now over to the interview, say cheese!

GTANet: First things first, when did you first get into virtual photography? Was it GTA V or did other games inspire you?

Zoobz: Hey gang. Yeah, it was GTAV. Way back in 2013 on the Xbox 360 at the time. I remember travelling around the map thinking, this is one pretty open world with so much going on. I’ve actually checked back in the archives and found this old photo, taken using the in game camera. From what I remember I was flying around in a Lazer Jet at the time.

One of Zoobz’ first snaps taken on the Xbox 360

GTANet: Nice shot. Brings back memories of the first trailer! What are your favourite kinds of scenes to capture? Do you have a favourite snap of your own that you’ve taken?

Zoobz: I like to create somewhat unique and creative snaps, doing things not done before and thinking outside the box of what’s possible. I’ve taken a few favourites over the years, but one that stands out to me would by my “Inverted World” snap. It was made using the creator mode and the R* Editor. It got featured in a Kotaku article which was highlighting some of the community members who use the creator to create snaps with GTAV.

A snap by Zoobz that was featured by Kotaku in 2018

GTANet: It’s cool that virtual photography has really become it’s own community and that your work (deservedly) gets recognised. Do you have any favourite virtual photographers that you’ve met along the way?

Zoobz: Off the top of my head, I’d say @Chy_Visual_Arts , @Mach1bud and @TheKerles. All have created fantastic photos over the years, and who I’ve taken inspiration from. There are plenty of other photographers who’s work I love too, but those three stand out to me and my taste in photos. All subjective of course.

GTANet: Cheers, we’ll check them out as well! There’s rumours about a photography role in Red Dead Online, and we know everyone is wishing for the Rockstar Editor too; what do you think this would bring to the game? And from what we have on the GTA V version, what improvements would you like to see on the RDR2 one?

Zoobz: A photography role would be interesting. I presume it’ll be revolved around animals, landscapes or NPCs (similar to the current Fame Seekers), using the in game camera. Although animals would probably not let you get close enough to capture with the in game camera. The Rockstar Editor is a one of the highest requested features to be added to RDR2, a lot of fans myself included thought it would come on release. But, we’re still waiting. If Rockstar added the Editor, it would certainly ramp up the quality of content from the community in both photography and video productions. The Editor is a fantastic tool as it allows you record footage on the go and at a later date go back to edit as you please. For photography it means you can get almost any angle you want on the photo you’re going for. It also allows you to select an image from a single frame, frame by frame if you wish to get the best picture of the recording. Currently in RDR2 you have to either use the limited in game camera, the cinematic camera (which is widely sporadic), or the old school, asking a friend to use first person screenshot. In a way the Rockstar Editor eliminates these boundaries and unnecessary headaches RDR2 photographers currently deal with. If we ever do get the Rockstar Editor in RDR2, I’d hope it be would an upgraded version. Currently GTAV’s Editor has a limitation of how far the camera can move from the character, I’d like to see that range greatly increased or gone all together. A few old RDR2 themed filters would be good, some of which we already have in the RDR2 story mode photo mode. An overall increase in amount clips saved would be nice too. It’s not too much to ask. The Rockstar Editor is a powerful tool that the community has been asking for since day one. It’ll be nice if we do ever get it one day.

GTANet: Great answer, it’s always best coming from the perspective of someone who is deeply involved in the scene. Along a similar vein, if there was one Rockstar game you would like to see remastered with a photo mode, what would it be?

Zoobz: GTA IV would be interesting. Personally I’ve not played it in a few years, be nice to see Liberty City in high definition with a photo mode.

GTANet: That’s a personal dream of mine too. And now for some questions about your Rockstar history as a whole – when did you first become a Rockstar Games fan? Do you have an all-time favourite Rockstar game? Any wishes for GTA 6?

Zoobz: It must of been way back when GTA San Andreas released. I remember playing it on the PS2 at my cousins house. It definitely brings back memories of messing around and doing missions as CJ. I also picked up GTA on game boy some time later. That was a fun time, driving though the city of the top down game. A favourite Rockstar Game? Well they’re all so good, but think I’ll go with the Red Dead Redemption. The story, the gameplay and the sandbox was and still is fantastic. And we also got some of the best DLCs from Rockstar, I especially liked the Undead Nightmare. Like others I’m hoping we see a reprisal of such a DLC for RDR2 and / or Red Dead Online. RDR recently had its 10 year anniversary, and it’ll go down as one of the best games of all time. We all know GTA6 is going to be something special. I’m hoping Rockstar applies everything they’ve learned from GTAV and improves it in GTA6. I think they should maybe start a new fresh location, although being able to commute around older cities is highly requested too, with all the concept art floating around. Maybe Rockstar could embrace modding from PC to consoles. People can create content such as cars and they can be downloaded by players for Online, although that might be an issue with copyrights etc. We could also maybe see cross play, it works with other games currently. There are so many different communities within GTA Online that Rockstar can look to, to see how and what they would like to enhance their experience in GTA6.

GTANet: We’ve noticed you’ve hosted some cool meets in the past, including Arthur’s Journey recently, that looked fun, especially how you all followed the clothing styles and everything. Have you got any more planned soon?

Zoobz: Yeah the RDO meets have been great fun. I’ve been hosting them since the first weekend of the Beta. Try to keep them fresh with new ideas / themes for each one. Like you mentioned, everyone’s outfits were on point for the Arthur Morgan Meet, kudos to all who came out to that one. I do have a few ideas brewing. And plan to the announce the next soon hopefully. My only trouble nowadays is I’m getting busier with real life obligations, so I don’t have much time to do the meets as often as I used to. There is a lot of behind the scenes prep that goes into each meet, so can take some time to plan it all out. And it’s just me doing it all for the most part. Although I do ask friends if I need anything set up before a meet starts, such as gathering wagons to take up to Colter like we did for the previous Arthur Morgan Meet. (Highlights can be watched on YouTube).

GTANet: Is there any simple features you would like to see added to Red Dead Online to improve these community events?

Zoobz: I’m not sure how simple it’ll be. But I would love for an invite only / private friends lobby, similar to what GTA Online offers. In the current state of public lobbies, we often find lobbies become full with others players when we try to invite our friends for the events. We usually have to wait for the random players to leave the session before we can invite our friends. Private lobbies would also eliminate the interactions with random players and griefers in RDO who often disrupt the events. The Rockstar Editor is an ideal tool for capturing both photo and video productions of the event I’d like to see added. In its current state with group photos everyone has to squeeze together, and a few people with be taking group selfie photos. The issue with the selfie camera is that it doesn’t always work as the invisible tripod down has be placed somewhere and it doesn’t work on all surfaces, mainly on roads. People are always shuffling around to get an angle. This can be very time consuming when considering these events have planned activities as well. With the Rockstar Editor photos can be taken much quicker and with higher quality. Video production would also improve with the Editor. Currently we’re using first person no HUD technique, which can take away from participating in activities. With the Editor we can get involved in the activities with no pressure to run around trying to get video footage. Increasing posse size beyond 7 members would also be helpful, for both activities and travelling around the map with participants not being lost along the way. And lastly for now, I’d like to see a job playlist creator at some point. Similar to GTA Online I’d like to create playlists of jobs to play, either Rockstar created or better yet community created. This would mean we could go beyond trying to create mini games in free mode.

GTANet: I think a lot of people would agree with you on those, I’m with you on private lobbies and a photo mode especially. I think that just about rounds off all our main questions. Thanks for taking part Zoobz, you’ve given us some nice insightful answers. Hopefully we can join in on one of your meets sometime, you’ve got GTANet’s support regardless!

Zoobz: No worries, always nice to chat with you guys. Yes, it would be great to have you guys there, we should definitely make it happen soon. Thank you for the support as always, much appreciated.

Follow Zoobz on Twitter and YouTube !

Previously on Chatterbox