Multi Theft Auto (MTA) is a modification for the PC versions of Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas that allows them to be played online against other players around the world, in a manner similar to that of other popular online games, such as Counter-Strike.
Although often referred to as a mod, MTA is mostly based on the trainer and code injection methods of manipulating the game through its own memory and does not alter any original files supplied with the game itself.
MTA was ranked as one of the top online games according to CSports.net. Current player numbers can be seen at Game-Monitor.COM, which records and displays information including number of players, player names, scores, and other relevant data from a reasonable percentage of all public servers (with reporting enabled).
Previous statistics (measured with The All-Seeing Eye) of GTA3:MTA and MTA:VC have shown steady amounts of players up to roughly one thousand people playing simultaneously online. MTA's first San Andreas version, MTA:SA R1.0, even showed peaks of up to roughly 1500 players up until weeks after release.
There is a team of developers called Project Redivivus (Latin for revived) which are currently working on re-building MTA III and MTA VC (MTA 0.5). They believe this will bring back a few players to the older editions of MTA.
Multi Theft Auto was first released under the name/acronym GTA3AM (GTA III Alternative Multi-player) on February 8, 2003. This allowed two people to play GTA III against each other after pressing a key combination (ALT+F12). Only in-vehicle play was supported at the time; when outside the vehicle the user was invisible to the other player.
As time has progressed, MTA has improved considerably and now allows users to play GTA Vice City as well as GTA III on the 0.x core, supporting dozens of players and including many of the features of the original games. Currently, the old MTA core for GTA Vice City and GTA III is currently at version 0.5, while the new core supporting GTA San Andreas is currently at version 1.3
0.5 offers two game modes for GTA Vice City: Deathmatch and Stunt. Deathmatch offers several character classes that players can spawn as, each with advantages and disadvantages. Stunt offers players the opportunity to race and perform stunts over ramps that are added to the map.
GTA III players are offered a "drop-in" style of deathmatch gameplay on Portland and Staunton Island, where the player spawns with limited weapons and has to purchase more at Ammu-Nations with money earned from kills. There are no classes; each player has exactly the same advantages as the next. Shoreside Vale builds on this by offering the player a choice of skin and primary weapon to spawn with.
The team had originally planned an extra 0.5.5 release with bug fixes, a new style of deathmatch for GTA Vice City and several enhancements to GTA3:MTA. They decided, however, to focus on their next-generation technology "Blue", better known as MTA:SA.
Multi Theft Auto San Andreas features a new game mode called "race" where you race against other players in GTA San Andreas. You must to go through all of the checkpoints/coronas to finish the race. It also offers a map editor that allows you to create your own maps for different styles of gameplay. A very popular map is Destruction Derby, in which you have to destroy the opposition.
Multi Theft Auto San Andreas Death Match is currently known as MTA:DM dp2.3 (developer preview 2.3), in death match there are many servers on offer with up to 128 players at any time! The scripting for death match is done in a programming language called LUA with added MTA functions, this scripting gives a lot of flexibility and means that no two servers will be the same, the most popular game mode in death match is "Freeroam" which lets the players do what they want within the rules of each server and MTA. The second most popular type of server is "Roleplay" where players take on the role (hence the name) of a member of the server society and try and be as realistic as possible. The scripting for MTA (LUA) is much more flexible than any other third party multiplayer modification for the GTA games, there are also many map editors for MTA which means that any GTA:SA object can be added to the servers.
MTA: San Andreas
Recent releases of MTA are for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and are built upon a new core codenamed "Blue" which has been in development for over two and a half years. This represents a major shift in the team's focus because they will be providing users with all the tools they need to create their own game modes and leaving much of the game mode creation to third parties.
The first release of MTA:SA featured a vehicle racing mode and an accompanying map editing mode that allowed users to create custom environments and races. It has since been updated to a current version of 1.1.1.
The next release of MTA entitled "Deathmatch" adds a deathmatch mode along with a new kind of expandability. the developing team's website. MTA "Deathmatch" is very popular and has many gamemodes such as Stealth, Assault, Race, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and many more... MTA:DM has been released to the public as an open source project, meaning that the development will speed up considerably, and the next release will be the first not to be titled as "Development Preview" and should have full sync for all players, and with more flexibility for scripters meaning that anything possible in the world of GTA (and some not so possible) will soon be implemented into the servers.
- Optimized netcode which results in less lag and better accuracy/hit registration.
- MTA:SA's own custom dynamic GUI (Graphics User Interface) that replaces the original Grand Theft Auto "menu" GUI and allows control from any game mode running on the server. This allows MTA to draw its own windows and widgets for any in-game user interaction such as the new server-browser.
- MTA:SA uses a modular platform and loads several of its module DLL (Dynamic Linked Libraries) (e.g. core, net, GUI, deathmatch) into the game instead of injecting code into its memory process as with other versions. This improves stability, speed and allows a better file management.
- Fewer glitches. This is achieved by synchronizing every animation, implementing a custom pause menu so that people can't pause to escape death, forcing the frame limiter on so that everyone's game runs at the same maximum speed, and a controlled memory management through the Blue platform.
- Greater synchronization means that all native elements such as animations, explosions, particles, skins, weapons, vehicles, objects, players, etc. as well as new elements such as custom 3d models are available and controllable.
- Modification support through, but not limited to, C++ means that complex game modes can be created, unlike the rudimentary ones possible with MTA:MA at the moment. This may include any tools needed in the process. For example, combined with a powerful map editor, this would allow all kinds of custom modifications in totally new maps taking place in completely new scenarios to be created. The user could code new modes and create new maps for a completely dynamic, fully customizable game mode
The advanced nature of the Blue core has allowed the developers to place a sophisticated WYSIWYG editor into MTA:SA for adding checkpoints, spawn points and power-ups. It also allows users to place extra models into the game such as ramps, roads, trees and exploding barrels.
Upon the next release of MTA:SA, the map editor will be completely renewed to work with all the extra features MTA:SA "Deathmatch" will include.
The Gangs of Multi Theft Auto
Since the release of 0.1, gangs (commonly referred to as "clans") have emerged to attempt to become the best in MTA. They operate very similarly to clans in other popular multi-player games, usually having their own servers and websites, advanced leadership and recruitment, and position systems, and gang wars, or clan matches (Sometimes called "Scrimmages" or scrims for short), with other gangs regularly.
For more information, please visit the Gangs forum (you must be logged in to view this board) on the official website.
Multi Theft Auto mIRC Admin (MTA:mA) is an administration client for MTA made using mIRC (developed by "Aeron"). It has the possibility to create and run custom-made mIRC scripts on MTA servers, useful in authoring game modes, advanced cheat detection/protection, and linking to other programs. One popular script is MTA:mA:GRS (General Release Script, developed by Oliver Brown - [FMJ]Oli, who has since become a Multi Theft Auto developer), which is widely used in both GTA3:MTA and MTA:VC servers.