It wasn't just upgraded visuals and additional content that some PC gamers held off on playing Grand Theft Auto V for. If history was any indicator, GTA V was primed for a cavalcade of custom modifications (or "mods") once released on PC -- the platform of choice for do-it-yourselfers who want to take a peek under a game's hood and tinker with its digital innards.
The series' previous entry, Grand Theft Auto IV, has had a legacy of impressive mods ranging from the totally obscure to the absolutely gorgeous -- to the point where the game has the potential to graphically outshine most modern titles.
At only around a month old, Grand Theft Auto V's mod scene is in its infancy, but it has already opened the door for some over-the-top absurdity and limitless sandbox creativity. The video above shows the kind of bizarre chaos possible with just a few of them loaded.
So how do you mod GTA V? It's not a perfect science, but thanks to a dedicated community of active tweakers, altering GTA V's code is easier than you might think. There's two basic ways of going about it: manual modding or with the help of a mod manager, with the latter being the easier of the two.
On the surface, all modding really consists of is adding certain files to where GTA V is installed on your PC. With the help of a trigger script ("Script Hook" is the name of the popular GTA V trigger file), mods can be activated in-game using a predetermined shortcut key. The problem here is that your GTA V directory can really start to get messy and there's always a chance you could compromise your installation if you junk things up too much. If you're like me and will likely head down this path, perhaps using a mod manager is more your speed.
For the above video I used Bilago's Mod Manager, which lets you install and then pick and choose which mods you want to run during a GTA V gameplay session. Arguably the best feature of Mod Manager is that it temporarily loads mod files into GTA V's directory when the game loads up and then removes all the files upon exiting. Even better, it loads the game for you and even works with a Steam or standard installation.
GTA V's developer, Rockstar Games, has seemingly embraced the modding community -- just don't ever try and run a mod when playing Grand Theft Auto Online. Don't worry about using all the mods you want during single player action though, as Rockstar has come out and said you won't get banned from online play as long as you keep the modding offline.
Modding GTA V is an evolving hobby. Official updates to the game can break popular mods, or even the process in which they're applied. You'll need to stay current or risk incompatibility after a game patch. I frequent GTA5-Mods.com for news and mod downloads, but there are plenty of other unofficial sites that suffice.
A final word of warning, though: it's possible some mods have nefarious ulterior motives. A few weeks ago a mod called "Angry Planes" was found to have embedded malware. There's always a risk with this sort of tweaking, so keep that in mind.