Digital Foundry explains how a clever programmer cut GTA Online load times by 70%

March 1, 2021
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GTA Online remains a popular (and incredibly profitable) game seven years after launch, thanks to the steady influx of new content, but one thing Rockstar seems unable to improve is the game’s famously long load times. Over the weekend, an enterprising developer called t0st finally discovered why GTA Online takes so long to load – even on machines with fast processors and storage such as the PlayStation 5 and PC – and fixed those issues, reducing his load times by 70 per cent.

The blog written by t0st explaining the issues and fixes is brilliant, complete with excellent MSPaint illustrations, but it’s a little hard to follow if you don’t have programming experience. I’ll try to summarise it as best I can!

So: after struggling through a six minute load for GTA Online on his mid-range PC, t0st opened Task Manager the next time he loaded up the game and noticed something odd: after the one minute mark, his computer’s CPU usage spiked up dramatically, but storage and network usage were nearly non-existent. That suggested that the lengthy load times weren’t caused by Rockstar’s servers or data being read off a drive – instead, something¬†was running on the CPU. Something that required a ton of processing to complete, and only used a single thread.

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