I am a big fan of Grand Theft Auto. I’ve had every one since the original top view on PC. It’s not that I like stomping on babies… I just love crashing cars. I like demolition derby games too, so the added story and other tasks just make it all the better and with GTA III onward, I love the real word feel to it. You can just as easily drive along with traffic as weave through it trading paint with all the cars along the way. It’s always the best test of new hardware, and when a new one is released, all the latest hardware begs for mercy.

In that vein a user created a pack to push the limit ever higher. GTA IV has a great engine behind it, but to no fault of the developers, some stuff just wasn’t available, and certainly not to everyone, when it came out. This pack adds realistic lighting, not so realistic lighting, modifies the sky (night/day) and uses field of view so subtly, you won’t quite know why it all looks so realistic.

It lays on top of your existing version, so go buy a copy if you don’t already own it, it’s $20 or less. Next, download the pack. I’ve rehosted the current version (as of today) here:

It works with 1.1.7 which is the current version for Episodes from Liberty City (EFLC) but has some limitations. EFLC is a phenomenal game in itself with just as much depth (if not twice as much) as the original game. Playing both Lost and Damned and Ballad of Gay Tony will give you 2 additional sides of insight into several of the major plot points in the original story line.

1.0.4 is where it truly shines. You’ll get this with the original GTA IV but if you haven’t bought it and only have EFLC, you’ll still see some great improvements.

If you are looking for 1.0.4 (using the patch via Games for Windows will bring you up to 1.1.7) you can get it from here.

So once you have your fresh install and your version patch down, you need to get iCE. It comes with both versions, so copy and paste the included files as they are, overwriting anything that already exists. These files are the improved textures, call handling, and additional files needed to tweak the lighting.

I also suggest a car pack. I had tried a couple but none gave me the physics practicality (read: actually able to drive SUVs without flipping them onto the roof at a corner) of this particular 100 car pack. It replaces the base models of cars in the game with some much improved (again community created) models and handling settings. You’ll see actual BMW SUVs, M3s, Lamborghinis, Ford Interceptors, and all around general realism.

I also installed this pack for more realistic car colors and updated some of the lighting settings in the iceconfig.ini file which you can download here. The original settings are a little bit too bright, and by a little bit, I mean looking into a lit area is blinding. You can’t even see the sky because the brightness of the sky is 100%. I turned down the sun intensity and tweaked a few more items. Daytime is a bit more realistic in this INI for me, you probably want to give the original a try before downloading mine. I left the dark alone, but you may wish to brighten it up a bit – it’s literally blackness wherever there is no light source, so once you’ve smashed the headlights on your car, you either need to stay on a well-lit street, or find fresh ride.

You also need something called a launcher. It’s a dll that gets loaded by the game with instructions that point to all around mods created by anyone on the internet. It is technically an exploit of the direct sound dll (dsound.dll) but it does a few extra steps to tie in the modifications and makes them easy to install – if they exist in the root dir, they get loaded.

I tried these fixes as well which supposedly block the exploit in 1.0.4 – I believe it was undone in 1.1.7 once Rockstar realized mods were further driving sales of new copies. It’s a good thing, and doesn’t infect legitimate online players since the checks for modified handling settings and trainers in multiplayer still apply.

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