The creator of one of the most anticipated Grand Theft Auto 5 mods has been accused of "ripping off" the work of other mod makers.
GTA 5 Redux is designed to revamp Rockstar's open world epic with improved visuals, graphics systems and environmental effects. Check out how it changes the game in the video, below.
Redux came out on Friday amid much fanfare - but the launch has now been dampened by troubling accusations that emerged from the GTA 5 mod community.
Josh Romito, creator of the GTA5 Redux mod, was accused by the creator of another mod of stealing work and failing to properly credit.
In a post on GTAForums.com, CP, creator of a GTA 5 mod called VisualV, expressed his disappointment in Romito and called on him to respond to the accusations.
In the post, CP points to the values used in the visual settings file for Redux, and compares them to the values used in the visual settings file for VisualV. They are identical, and CP uses this as evidence to back up the claim that his mod files were stolen.
There are other files CP digs into to show similarities between the two mods, including the main core of the weather files. Values here are slightly different.
CP concludes his post: "Et cetera, et cetera. Could you explain it, Josh Romito?"
CP isn't the only modder to complain about GTA 5 Redux. "Mkeezay30", creator of the Realism mod for GTA 5, also chimed in to accuse Romito of having form when it came to benefiting from the work of other mod creators.
Romito pulled a previous mod he created, called The Pinnacle Of V, following similar accusations of stolen work. Romito put out a statement at the time:
Over the past week or so, I have been informed that parts of this project have been directly stolen from other developers, and handed to me as additions to my work. I have been made a fool of due to the motions of my peers, and I am taking action to try and preserve any honesty and integrity with the community I can. I apologise to everyone who was stolen from, and I wish there was a way this could be reversed.
Mkeezay30 said he toyed with Romito in an attempt to flush out the modder.
"I actually suspended work on my mod simply because Jrom had a history of waiting for me to update Realism before he'd add new features to Pinnacle," Mkeezay30 said.
"And then Redux, just for fun I announced I'd be releasing soon, and he delayed his mod, claiming he had been hacked, well going through 'his' physics changes, it's still a bunch of my old stolen work, he was waiting for new stuff, but never got it."
(The reference to Romito being hacked has to do with a recent delay to GTA 5 Redux.)
Mkeezay30 continued: "His theft of various mods is unacceptable, he has clearly done as much stealing as he could to make Redux, his visuals are such small changes from VisualV's work it's embarrassing he even thought he'd get away with it, what really pisses me off is how he's pulled this scam twice now, and both times got more coverage than any other V mods that were more deserving, somewhere along the way Jrom paid for his exposure on both Pinnacle, and Redux, I have no doubts."
Romito has yet to respond to the accusations so far on Twitter and the GTA 5 Redux, but did take to Reddit to defend himself.
You all can take this how you want, but he's showing us different values? Does that mean they are the same... ? Absolutely not. I did not come here to defend myself, because what he is providing as "proof" is evidence enough that the files, and values inside of them are different.
Where there are similarities, it's in the case of enabling something, which is simply changing from 0.0 to 1.0. Yes, big surprise we both wanted to enable certain visual enhancing features. Fact is, our projects are totally different, on the surface, as well as in the numbers. The use of similar values comes down to the fact that we are trying to achieve similar goals.
There is some debate among the GTA 5 modding community as to whether lifting parameters for visual settings from existing mods constitutes "stealing" in the first place. They're just parameters, after all, and all mod makers use Rockstar's code as the foundation for their work.
As GTAForum user LtShadow says:
Just because someone other than you finds that these settings look the best, automatically makes those values your own work? I mean, sure it took you time to "find" those specific values, but did you think for one second that Romito also took the time to find values/settings he also thought looked the best?
Mod makers, typically, do not earn money from their creations, although many accept donations. So the modding community values proper accreditation, where others' work is used in the creation of new mods. It is one of the few ways mod makers enjoy recognition from their work.
But there is more to the GTA 5 Redux story. Here we have a mod for the biggest game in the world that has enjoyed much press attention online (indeed Eurogamer has reported on it a few times). Trailers for GTA 5 Redux have seen millions of views on YouTube, and there was huge expectation that it would breath new life into the game.
Reddit user RPG addresses the issue:
When you create very specific values for timecycle changes and then see another mod with the same set of values, although slightly altered, you immediately know that it was "stolen" from you.
You have to look at it from a creators perspective. Sure it's Rockstar's code, but making a nice visual mod takes a tremendous amount of time and it's difficult to edit GTAV's timecycle files as is.
It's not so much about holding a "copyright" to the stolen values, it's more about someone disrespecting your hard work.
So, mod makers who feel GTA 5 Redux rips off their work are doubly upset. From their point of view, GTA 5 Redux does not deserve all the attention it has received - and it looks like they're out for blood.
There are calls for Romito to pull GTA 5 Redux, as he pulled The Pinnacle of V. But going by his comment on Reddit, this seems unlikely.
"Redux is not going anywhere, and you're not going to pressure me to take it down with your overzealous reactions," Romito said.
"Similar values means nothing. Actually, it means they are different.. = not stolen. I won't respond on this topic again. Waste of my time!"