Fans do the coolest things sometimes. A dedicated group of Grand Theft Auto 4 lovers at GTA4.net spent two months putting together an interactive map for Rockstar Games‘ latest iteration of Liberty City, as seen in GTA4.
If you’re familiar with Google Maps and Google Street View, then you should feel right at home navigating the interactive map, as that’s the model it uses. It’s not quite as streamlined — for example, there seems to be no way to switch back to the main map once you’re in Street View — but it’s a neat project that serves up all of the info a GTA4 player might like, including location filters for weapon pickups, pigeons, diversionary activities and other elements of the game.
Giant Bomb chatted with Nick, one of the map’s creators, who revealed that the entire effort consumes a whopping 125 GB of disc space. That includes 78,494 screen shots, 3,019 equirectangular panoramas and 1,029,000 tiles. The map has pulled in more than 2.1 million views since it launched.
“Rockstar had done a great job making Liberty City feel like a real, living, breathing place so the idea of adding a ‘street view’ feature followed on naturally,” Nick told Giant Bomb. “At the time, it was just that: a nice idea but not something we could actually do.”
That attitude change when Google granted developers access to Street View within the Google Maps API. “The scale of it was a bit of a worry, mainly the cost of hosting and serving so many images,” Nick said. “Luckily ‘Tank,’ owner and bill payer for all our GTA fansites [at] gtanet.com, was all for it.”
Much of the photo-snapping was relegated to process-automating scripts, though humans had to get involved eventually to photograph more than 3,000 locations and stitch them together. The result, as you can see at the above link, is pretty impressive.