Intro & some ranting
So I bought Grand Theft Auto V on PC, mainly for the single player. I also like using some mods. But, there's a bit of a problem. Every time there's an update for GTA V, I can't play unless I allow the update to install. Why? Well, because Steam is stupid. And so is Rockstar Social Club.
Even if I keep Steam in offline mode to play GTA Story Mode, Social Club has this idiotic thing it does where it will insist that I log in and "activate" the game again, every once in a while. I think it's once a week or so. If there is an update available for the game, it will also insist that I install it before it will allow me to play, even Story Mode. Obviously, updates will often mess up mods. So basically, it makes it unnecessarily hard to keep a modded copy of the game intact for playing single player whenever I want.
So I have developed a workaround so that I can play MY modded copy of story mode pretty much whenever I want, without Steam messing with it. The only drawback is that if there's an update available for GTA V, I won't be able to play until it's finished updating. But after that, I can just switch back to the modded copy and play that again.
How to switch between multiple installs of GTA V
With this setup you could have one installation of GTA for story mode with mods, and another for playing online, and/or several older versions of the game with different mods... all of which are standalone and can't be ruined by Steam's updating. Yep, each one still needs the full 60GB+ of space though. We're going to use symbolic links.
Here's how to set it up:
Make 2 GTA V folders, one for your modded version, and one for a vanilla version that you can allow Steam to update, to keep both Steam and Social Club appeased. You can also use this vanilla version to play GTA Online.
You can also make more copies of GTA 5 in more folders if you have that many different ones you want to switch between, but for now I'll just explain how to use 2.
This assumes you've already got a modded copy of the game that you want to keep using, and keep it safe from future updates.
Make 2 folders for GTA V. Example: "GTA V Mods" and "GTA V Vanilla".
Move your current copy of the game that you want to keep intact from Steam to "GTA V Mods".
Get an unmodded copy of the game for the "GTA V Vanilla" folder - or just make another copy of your current one in that folder too (you can later use Steam's "Verify Cache" feature to make this vanilla again).
In the folders with modded or older versions, you will need to have a text file in the folder called commandline.txt, with this text inside it:
The commandline.txt file goes in the same folder that has GTA5.exe in it. This will force Social Club into offline mode while playing the game. This seems to be necessary to get it to work.
Also, obviously, you can't play GTA Online from a modded or older version, but that's not the point of this anyway.
Set up batch files for switching between them.
Example batch files:
Contents of "Switch to Modded version.bat":
rmdir "C:\path\to\Steam\steamapps\common\Grand Theft Auto V" mklink /j "C:\path\to\Steam\steamapps\common\Grand Theft Auto V" "C:\path\to\GTA V Mods" pause
Contents of "Switch to Online version.bat":
rmdir "C:\path\to\Steam\steamapps\common\Grand Theft Auto V" mklink /j "C:\path\to\Steam\steamapps\common\Grand Theft Auto V" "C:\path\to\GTA V Vanilla" pause
You'll need to change the folder paths to match where you keep your own Grand Theft Auto V copies.
After you run the batch file, you can just start GTA V normally from Steam.
This is my setup, along with more of an explanation of how it works:
I have my modded GTA V in "C:\Games\Grand Theft Auto V", and my vanilla GTA in "G:\Games\GTA V Vanilla Up2Date". My Steam games GTA V folder is at "D:\Games\Steam\steamapps\common\Grand Theft Auto V" - but this is not really a folder - it's a symbolic link that I can change to point to one of the other folders, depending on whether I want to play modded Story Mode, or Online (or just the unmodded latest version).
It doesn't matter if you have these folders on seperate hard drives or the same one, it will work fine regardless.
So, when I want to allow Steam to update GTA V, I run the batch file that changes the symbolic link to point to the vanilla GTA, and then Steam can update that. After it's updated, I will run the newly updated version just to make sure Social Club is still happy, then I exit.
Then I'll run my other batch file, which will change the symbolic link back to my modded Story Mode GTA folder, and then I can just start it up and it will work. Even offline.
I also keep a backup copy of my modded GTA V on another hard drive, for just in case I accidentally somehow allow Steam to mess it up.
I hope this works for you. 🙂
Unfortunately this is not a solution for people who don't have internet for long periods of time, or who have download caps and would rather not update the game at all. For that, you'll probably have to get an "unofficial" version of the game on a torrent or something. But I can't help you with that. 😛
If you have a better solution than that, please leave a comment below.
Also, if any of my instructions are unclear, please let me know.
Thanks for reading, here are some random screenshots:
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Tags: Grand Theft Auto V