20 years ago in April 2001, our website owner Tank (who is still very much with us, by the way!) started out a website and a forum straight out of his love for the GTA series and how a fully 3D game was finally coming out. Having owned a site for the 2D era games and for the anticipation of a 3D GTA before (now gone unfortunately), it was time to make something bigger. Not only a forum, but also a fansite to speculate about what GTA3 had to offer, the modding possibilities, everything! The very very first version is so broken up because of Internet archive fairy dust, that we’ll leave you with merely a link: GrandTheftAuto3.net
Welcome to GrandTheftAuto3.net
Although we haven’t officially launched yet, Today is our opening day[Posted by: Tank] [At: Friday, April 6, 2001]
GrandTheftAuto3.net is here to provide everyone with a premiere resource for news, information, downloads, and tons more for the game.
Anyway, I’m Tank and I’m the lead webmaster at GrandTheftAuto3.net.
This means that today GTANet/GTAForums is a whole 20 years old! Not quite old enough to drink in some states of the US, but we’re 20! A whole two decades. Whee!
At one point on our 11th anniversary, fellow staff member AndyGanteks made a great topic about what has happened in GTAForums/GTANet since its inception. From great database crashes in 2001 that made us lose the little we still had, to the site being reopened on a fresh slate (working on that same slate since then!), to new sites within the network opening up with news, screenshots and all kinds of goodies about each game, and more. Obviously, this all including typical community drama and gossip, even before social media like Twitter was a thing!
Real life has put a bit of a toll on all of us over the years (especially in the past year for obvious reasons), and we haven’t been able to neatly document as much as we wish we could have in the same way.
We obviously have participated since always, but we’re sure more seasoned members will remember the glorious moments of GTA V’s pre-release, the thread simulators made by ThirstyHyena (a couple of us like Spider-Vice and Kirsty are spotlit there too!), trying (and successfully!) to make a map of GTA V just based off of trailers, custom groups made for believers (Beliebers, even, who had to wear Justin Bieber avatars!) and non-believers about Rockstar giving us info in time (god damned Unsaveables, praise be Kifflom!), the madness of Red Dead Redemption 2’s pre-release period with trying to analyse trailers to understand the allegedly leaked map and looking for CV’s from voice actors that could reference the game, good good old hype times and so many more memories that it’s impossible to list them all here. And we’re obviously expecting plenty more of that whenever the next Rockstar project comes along! 😉
During this time, we have been recognised as an official fansite, appeared in game manuals (pics by uNi, look at us as gtavice.com, gtanet.com and gta3.com!), gotten plenty of sweet goodies and attention from the lovely people at Rockstar, we’ve attended multiple fansite events for games like GTA IV, RDR, L.A. Noire and Max Payne 3 with other fansite friends, attended community gameplay sessions, and much much more. Our GTA4.net Street View has been featured on the Newswire, and so was uNi’s massive massive Rockstar goodies collection, for instance. It’s been a very very wild and enjoyable ride this whole time. But we’ll be leaving all the emotions to the end. As for the rest of this article…
If you need a bit of a nostalgia trip, here’s how GTAForums.com looked back in the day, enjoy! Perhaps you will remember some of them if you were a member back then, perhaps you’ll be impressed at how basic it all was, in the days where a lot of us still had dial-up internet and screenshot topics with titles yelling “56K WARNING!!!”. Some of them have missing images, again, Internet Archive fairy dust… But if you look back to some of our (still intact!) legacy sites like our GTA3 site, you might be able to imagine how some of them looked! Click to make bigger.
Increasing traffic demands with all the GTA IV and GTA V hype (where we broke our concurrent online users record at about 15K, with hundreds of posts per second), and security concerns over the years, led us to start changing our styling a little bit as we upgraded the version of the underlying software that powers the forums, that was becoming full of cobwebs and magic code hacking dust that could explode any moment. This led us to our current look, and to some of our exciting new announcements for the celebration:
ALL NEW GTAFORUMS THEMES!
Back in the day, GTAForums had a wide selection of themes maintained by different staff members (some even downloaded from theme sites back in the day when that was a thing…), that looked from pleasing to the eyes, to absolutely retina-burning. Real life demands along with forum updates over time meant that we preferred to stick to the tried and tested GTAForums classic colours, but, this is about to change with a couple of brand-new themes we have to announce, with a chance of more to come in the future…
GTAForums Nightshift – This should be self-explanatory. We’ve reached the modern age of the Internet and turned off the lights. You’ll be missing out on the colours that GTAForums has brought to your CRT, LCD and now even OLED monitors over the years, but if your jam is the darkness (or the occult, or a spoopy version of GTAForums…) you can now switch to GTAForums Nightshift and feel at home! Perhaps we’ll even add some pentagrams,
Weegie Ouija boards… okay maybe not.
ScotForums – Speaking of that horrible pun (apologies to all Glaswegians) that probably didn’t even work… The popularity of this Irn Bru flavoured theme could’ve fooled us, so we’ve brought this special guest back in all its Scottish glory, and with a few new additions! It looks like a lot of our members loved the wee cone as a forum Reaction, so we just made the GTANet logo suffer with one atop its heid. Do remember this was originally an April Fools theme so don’t expect it to be maintained too much in terms of your suggestions, etc! If that’s your jam and you want to rock the colours of Scotland and the colours of the nation’s favourite drink, you can now do it!
Editor’s note by Spider-Vice: I was absolutely flabbergasted at how popular this Scottish-themed abomination I made in a few hours was, just out of inspiration of a few things, such as Rockstar North & Dundee being in Scotland, uNi now living there, among other things. I’m very glad we’re gonna keep it! 😂😂
We’ve always been nostalgic folk, and most of our themes, including the myriad of themes we had back in the days of GTAForums v1, had very nostalgic old-school banners, some related to the games they were about (we had a GTA LCS theme, an Afterfuture GTA2 theme…). But things are changing, we now have so much more to see in Grand Theft Auto, we have a Red Dead section, and well, it’s all very overwhelming since the last time we’ve updated our banner. We feel like we’re getting old here…!
Let’s go for a change! We want YOU to design us a proper banner for each of the theme versions we have announced, that is, the main theme we’ve always used, the GTAForums Nightshift Theme and the ScotForums Theme! Obviously we want both main theme and Nightshift to be the centre-pieces, and, should we add, we have no rush for a ScotForums banner specifically, but if you want to give it a shot, it doesn’t necessarily have to be images of the games, just make it as Scotland themed as you can! Could be icons, could be Scottish easter eggs from Rockstar’s games… Let’s give it the look it deserves!
The requirements are simple – dimensions should be about 1920×200 (height can vary a little, but not too much because we don’t want to have too wide of a gap between the banner that says GTAFORUMS and the actual forums), or 3840×200 if you want/are able to fit more images/icons/what have you on the width axis for those with larger/ultrawide monitors. Action should be centred at the top of the banner so nothing is cut-off by the fade-out into the forums at the bottom! As you may imagine, the banner for Nightshift probably should focus on darker scenes. You may try using black and white, or a nice nightly scene in a GTA game or even a little bit of Red Dead, logos, patterns, it’s all up to you, go wild!
Slogans have been a part of our forums since we’ve revamped them and updated them to a fresh new version a few years ago. For the longest time we’ve had only a few, cycling every so often. Now, we have a much bigger selection, from GTA and RDR game quotes, to GTAForums jokes, to inside jokes, easter eggs and many other things! But we want MOAR! We once again enlist YOU to give us ideas for the slogans that appear in the banner at the top of the forums, they could be related to GTAForums in-jokes, to Rockstar community jokes and easter eggs, to anything you think is funny that comes to mind.
Just a few rules that should be very obvious to most and we expect you to cooperate with us on this, pretty please:
- Avoid swearing. We censor part of it on the forums due to ads and page ranking, and we can censor swearing on the slogan, but perhaps be a bit more creative than just using swear words in a slogan;
- No insults, that is to other forum members, to the community at large, or to Rockstar Games/Take-Two. Be civil and creative, don’t use these slogans to let out your personal hate of a feature, game or company. Making jokes about stuff like Oppressors and using other harmless GTA Online memes is fine, as we do already have a “flying brooms” slogan for example, but don’t make it about “griefing” and similar toxic subjects either, we want fun, not picking fights with these;
- Please don’t make them too long due to mobile users, the maximum size for a slogan would be something like the “All we had to do, was follow the damn train!” slogan we already have, that already looks pretty wide on a regular 16:9 phone screen in portrait mode;
- The slogans cycle through a list every 20 minutes, don’t be surprised if you don’t see one of your selected slogans straight away on the forums, you may just be missing it.
THE GTAFORUMS CENSUS – COMING SOON!
There can’t be a GTANet celebration, whether it be the awards or anything else, without our census master Slohbur’s numbers about the community. We will be posting some interesting stats from over the years (although not as many as we would like due to software limitations and data format differences over the years), all very nicely formatted and modern, so you can gasp at how much time you’ve wasted speculating about the next Rockstar project and talking about GTA Online and Red Dead Online on GTAForums. Seriously, time here goes by at a completely different pace!
We don’t have an ETA for you yet, but we will be doing these things within the next few days along with the slogan and banner contests.
Calling all karmawhores… By popular request over the years due to hamster shenanigans and Invision being a bit of a pain, Spider-Vice has been busy under the hood with every single one of his 8 legs, and after some tweakage and tunage, we can reveal that Medals on GTAForums are back! You’ll find the familiar flashy icon under the avatar area; just hover over it to check out your awards list.
Don’t have a medal? Never fear, there’ll be chance to prove your forum worth in our Annual Awards, which will be back after hiatus later in 2021!
FINAL WORDS – THANK YOU!!!
Now… we all absolutely suck at being sentimental, but…
Thanks SO MUCH to everyone who has stayed with us and supported/supports us and still chooses us to discuss Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead and Rockstar at large. I don’t think any of us imagined we’d be here after 20 years, and it’s just wild to know that Tank’s little creation due to being a fan of the top-down GTA’s became one of the main hubs for Rockstar discussion and much more.
Thank you to our members and staff, both old and new (including the banned ones and troublemakers!) for staying and for creating discussion, and thanks Rockstar (and many of their lovely employees that have positively influenced us, and that we wish we could thank personally for many reasons) for the support, recognising us and even including us in the good old manuals of the old times of gaming, for sending us goodies for being a recognised fansite and much more!
Thanks everyone for all of the memories, good, bittersweet and even bad that everyone has given us in the past 20 years, as we continue hoping to be here for 20 more! Let there be more game pre-release madness and all the things that make us such a dynamic community!
An also very obvious thanks to all the other fansites and the R* community, especially the OG fansites who have supported us over the years, sometimes by sharing news in the good old days of running news sites like these before social media to get the word out there, among other many things and good times at official Rockstar fansite events like the ones mentioned above.
We are also sure that many of our longer-standing members will remind us of even more moments we may have gone through together that are just too many to list in a news article or forum post; please share your memories with us as a we revel in our own nostalgia.
From the GTANet/GTAForums/RedDeadNet Team, we wish we could have a gigantic list of names BUT,
WE LOVE YOU ALL AND THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN! 💘🥰