Why Won’t the Cops Fight Each Other in ‘Grand Theft Auto 5’?

Last year, the video of Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd sparked another wave of of protest against police violence and its role in upholding systemic racism. Like many people, artist Grayson Earle was deeply affected by the protests playing out in the streets as part of a broader, ongoing struggle for black lives and police accountability. Seeking an emotional outlet, he turned to his favored medium of video games, with a simple goal: to hack Grand Theft Auto V and make the cops beat the crap out of each other, for once.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/epn9ka/why-wont-the-cops-fight-each-other-in-grand-theft-auto-5

Computers are both blessed and cursed by the fact that they are completely and utterly literal. It’s one of my favorite things about programming. If something doesn’t work the way you expect, it’s because you misspecified something and you need to look through your code again to see what caused it. A computer cannot intuit your intentions. It will execute the line, whatever you put there, no more and no less. It is a machine of inputs and outputs.

All this is a needlessly long preamble to stating that there is absolutely a line of code somewhere that defines this behavior. It might not be as easily accessible to a modder compared to someone with the source code. It may be the interaction between multiple lines or some even more esoteric epiphenomenon of the code, but it’s there somewhere written down in digital ink. And if it’s there, it can be changed. You just need to find the right module.

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