A Grand Theft Auto Online fan that goes by the moniker t0st posted an investigation into the game’s infamously slow load times on PC, with a solution that improved things by up to 70 percent. And it seems that Rockstar was playing attention: the company has confirmed to PC Gamer that t0st’s fix is legitimate, and it will be implementing their suggestions in a future update to the game.
“After a thorough investigation, we can confirm that player t0st did, in fact, reveal an aspect of the game code related to load times for the PC version of GTA Online that could be improved,” the company commented to PC Gamer. “As a result of these investigations, we have made some changes that will be implemented in a forthcoming title update.”
In an update to their original post, t0st has confirmed that Rockstar has awarded them $10,000 through the company’s bug bounty program for discovering the issue (in spite of the fact that its bounty program typically focuses on security vulnerabilities.)
According to t0st’s detailed post explaining the issue and their solution, they were first motivated to explore the problem after noticing that it took nearly six times as long to launch into the online mode for Grand Theft Auto than it did the story mode.
After examining the code of GTA Online as it launched, t0st determined that a main bottleneck was due to single-threaded CPU processing of a 10MB file that appears to contain a list of every item that can be bought with in-game currency. The fix is twofold: it reduces both the time it takes GTA Online to check that list and provides a far more efficient method for checking for duplicates by using a hash table. Together, t0st’s fixes managed to cut down load times from roughly six minutes down to just under two minutes on their test machine, an improvement of about 70 percent.
Rockstar hasn’t said when it’ll be implementing t0st’s updates to the game, but GTA Online fans frustrated by lengthy load times should hopefully see some relief soon.
Update March 16th, 12:12pm: Added additional information on Rockstar’s bug bounty program award to t0st.