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Grand Theft Auto deer causes chaos in game world

Media captionWATCH: AI-powered deer rampages through GTA V

An indestructible, teleporting deer is causing chaos in a version of the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) V game.

Artist Brent Watanabe has programmed the virtual deer to wander around the large San Andreas game world.

In its first few days of wandering, the deer has been caught in a gangland gun battle, invaded a military base and been chased by the police.

More than 200,000 people have tuned in to watch the deer via a video stream on the Twitch site.

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The project uses a modified version of GTA V that let Mr Watanabe change the player to look like a deer. The animal wanders around the virtual 100 square miles of the San Andreas world in which the game is set.

"The most difficult thing during the creation of the project was simply teaching myself to modify GTA V," Mr Watanabe told the BBC. "There is an incredibly active modding community and I figured out how to programme the mod through a lot of forum searches and trial and error.

Image copyright Brent Watanabe
Image caption The deer has regularly got into fights with other virtual inhabitants of the game

"The biggest difficulty was getting it stable enough to run for 12-14 hours at a time without crashing," he said.

He made the deer impervious to harm so it can keep on wandering despite being regularly shot at, beaten up, run over by cars and trucks, shelled by tanks and falling off buildings.

The trouble it has caused on military bases, beaches and on city streets led, at one point, to it having a four star wanted rating.

The deer regularly teleports to a new position on the game map so it does not get stuck in one part and to make sure it samples the games's many different environments and meets lots of its artificial inhabitants.

"I was really drawn to the project because of the slapstick but tragic nature of it," he said. "And then there is an odd draw to simply keep watching, to see what the deer is going to do next."

Mr Watanabe said he was "surprised and thrilled" by the popularity of his creation.

"This is the best version of GTA V," wrote Adam Smith on the Rock, Paper Shotgun game news website. He said he enjoyed the stream for the way the AI-controlled deer triggered responses from the other computer-controlled elements of the game.

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