Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas/Game Mechanics and Glitches

From SDA Knowledge Base

Jump to: navigation, search

Game Mechanics

Movement on Foot

There is running, where you just press the forward key. Jumping is about 13% faster than running, sprinting is a lot faster. Tap the sprint key repeatedly to sprint faster.


When you enter an occupied car, CJ beats up the occupant. If there's not passenger it's usually faster to get in through the passenger door, because CJ just pushes the driver out. If both seats are occupied it's often faster to shoot the driver.

Leaving the door open

While entering a vehicle, keep JUMP or SPRINT pressed to prevent CJ from closing the door. If you do this when entering a car from the passenger side and push the NPC driver out, the NPC dies.

Getting in through the passenger seat door and leaving it open can be useful when a NPC enters the car after CJ, the NPC can get in instantly.

When getting out of a car, you leave the door open by moving away from it instantly. Open doors don't have collision (CJ just walks through them) but are affected by gravity. If you park the car on a slope or even just partly on a sidewalk, the door swings open/closes accordingly. Open doors also swing when you accelerate/brake.

Leaning on bikes

Tap the lean forward key repeatedly to lean forward on the bike, which makes driving the bike a lot faster. This doesn't work when a passenger is on the bike with you though.


Vehicles are often despawned by missions, which can have areas that are set to despawn during a cutscene. Vehicles also can despawn if you get too far away from them. Please see the Missions List for Safe Parking during specific missions.

  • The savepoint at the garage in San Fierro can despawn vehicles that are parked where CJ will spawn after saving (in front of the savepoint towards the road). This might also apply to other savepoints that are outside.



When CJ gets busted or dies he is teleported to the nearest Police Station/Hospital. The idea behind a Bustedwarp/Deathwarp is to use this to reduce travel time. One important factor though is that CJ looses all weapons when doing this, so it is only useful on occasions where this doesn't matter.


Lung Capacity

CJ trains Lung Capacity when he is underwater, what counts is the time underwater, not the breath that is used. Swimming around underwater drains the breath faster, swimming around on the surface makes it regenerate slower, so this should be avoided if possible.

Weapon Skills

Some weapons have a weapon skill that is increased when you hit something that takes damage. So just shooting in the air or shooting walls doesn't work. There are basicially 3 skill-level: Poor, Gangster and Hitman. Poor starts at skill 0, Hitman is reached at 1000. Gangster is different for different weapons. In between levels there are info displays that tell you to keep practicing to reach the next level.

The following table shows at which number of skill points gangster level is reached, how many points one shot (approximately) increases the level and at what points an info appears:

Weapon Points per Shot Gangster Infos
Pistol ~0.5-1 40 200, 400, 600, 800
Tec9 / Micro-SMG ~0.5 50 200, 400, 600, 800 Tec9 and Micro-SMG share the same skill
M4 2 200 400, 600, 800
AK 3 200 400, 600, 800
Desert Eagle 3 200 400, 600, 800
Shotgun ~4-9 200 400, 600, 800
Combat Shotgun ~3-5 200 400, 600, 800
Sawn-off Shotgun ~3-7 200 400, 600, 800
SMG 1-3 250 400, 600, 800
Silenced Pistol 5 500 200, 400, 600

The numbers are based on the display in the stats menu when you hold a weapon that has a skill level. How much one shot increases the skill is a bit difficult to say, especially with the shotguns, so don't take those numbers too literally.

Skills/Stats Progress/Exp

Some Skills/Stats have some sort of progress or Exp in between upgrades, which is increased by performing related actions (e.g. Lung Capacity Exp is increased by being underwater). These Exp Points are not visible to the player. At a certain number of Exp Points the associated Skill/Stat is upgraded and the Exp Points reset to 0.

Exp Points are normally reset to 0 when you start a new game through the menu or load a save, which means all progress to the next Skill/Stat upgrade is lost when you save and then load that save. However Lung Capacity, Max Health and Bicycle Exp doesn't get reset, it just stays in memory as it is and isn't touched by the game when you start a new game through the menu or load a save. Only restarting the game will reset those values.

Frame Limiter / FPS Dependency

On the PC Version there is the Option to disable the Framelimiter (which normally limits the FPS to 25). However in this game the FPS affect many game mechanics, which is why it was agreed on to speedrun on 25 fps (Framelimiter enabled).

Higher FPS change a few things, including:

  • Driving physics are different, vehicles seem to have more traction however push bikes seem slower to accelerate (for both the player and AIs)
  • CJ can sometimes randomly die when climbing things
  • Swimming/Diving is a lot slower up to impossible on higher fps (e.g. swimming 28.8s [25fps] vs. 33.9s [30fps], Comparison Video)
  • You move further while freefalling
  • The Sliding Glitch is a lot harder to perform
  • Spraying Tags is faster
  • Grab detection seems to be fps-dependant, making some hard jumps easier/possible (like the Tagging up the Turf jump)
  • Loading times may also be slightly different (Forum Post)
  • Weapons apparently shoot faster on 30 fps compared to 25 fps. Test performed shooting one clip, starting with the frame when ammo changes max -> max-1, ending with the frame when ammo 1 -> 0, both recorded with 30 fps (may be 1 or 2 frames off):
25 fps 30 fps
MicroSMG 50 Bullets 236 frames / 7.8s 196 frames / 6.5s
AK 30 Bullets 139 frames / 4.6s 117 frames / 3.9s

Harder AI after having been in a car

Getting into a car apparently makes the AI aim better to offset the increased protection the player has. Some missions are a lot harder, because the mission enemies' AI doesn't get reset, even if the mission is on foot. Getting on a bike lowers the accuracy again.

Missions that are known to cause problems because of this:

  • Sweet's Girl (You don't necessarily have a bike for this, but if one spawns, it's safer to take it.)
  • A Home in the Hills (Gets very difficult if you use a car to drive to the house instead of parachuting/running there.)
  • Green Goo (Gets a lot more difficult if you use a car before starting the mission. You can get on the bike near the safehouse before starting the mission to reset the AI.)
  • Toreno's Last Flight (Has a bike in front of it that you can use to reset the AI if you had to drive there in a car.)
  • Pier 69
  • Vertical Bird (If you drive the boat into the back of the ship the soldiers have better accuracy.)
  • Beat Down on BDup (The enemies in front of the house you kill at the end of the mission are a lot more accurate when you were in a car instead of a bike before.)
  • End of the Line (Only if you die after killing Big Smoke and respawn to that checkpoint when restarting the mission.)


  • Every territory gives the same percentage, it doesn't depend on the size (you need 35% to start the last mission, which usually are 19 territories).
  • Waves always spawn where you don't look, so you can manipulate spawns by pointing the camera where you don't want them to spawn.
  • Waves spawn at a fixed(?) distance, at least they always spawn at a similiar distance, so that's another way to manipulate spawns. If there is only one spot they could spawn in, they all spawn in one bunch and are easier to kill.
  • If you think you might not be able to spawn them in one spot, try to stand in intersections so you don't have to move to kill them.
  • There are about 10 seconds between every wave, use that time to get armor or move to the next spot.
  • About 20 seconds after you get the message to get back into the war zone, the gangwar is canceled. If you are at the last gangwar for this section, you can already drive towards your next target after the 2nd/1st wave (depending whether you have to take the full territory/use the Half Territory Skip), then let the 3rd/2nd wave spawn further away of the warzone and kill it there. This way, you can save some driving time.
  • When you have to start a gangwar, don't only look out for gangmembers on foot, but also gangmembers in cars, which are always in the same car type depending on the gang.

Dealing with Police

  • If you only have one wanted star, then the cops will only shoot you when you are holding a gun. So it often makes sense to put your gun away.
  • Honking your horn makes cops stop for a second. Simply honking continuously will make cops approach you a lot slower, reducing the chance of getting arrested in a car. This also works in helicopters, even though the honk key doesn't actually honk.

Wanted Level / Bribes

The game internally has some sort of wanted points which increase when you do something illegal and cause the different wanted levels:

Wanted Level Required Points (at least) After picking up a bribe
1 star 50 0
2 stars 180 70
3 stars 550 200
4 stars 1200 570
5 stars 2400 1220
6 stars 4600 2420

As long as the wanted level is restriced to 5 stars, the points are capped to 3500.

There are different ways of decreasing the points:

  • They can decrease on their own (if you are not in a police vehicle or currently directly chased by cops):
    • In cities by 1 every second, but only if you have no more than 1 star
    • In rural/more isolated areas by 2 every second
  • Picking up a bribe will reduce the points to 0 (1 star) or to 20 over the next lower level, which means the wanted level will decrease again after 10-20 seconds depending on the area
  • Finishing a mission usually removes the wanted level

The wanted points decrease in rural areas is used during Against All Odds to get rid of the wanted level using bribes. The wanted points are set to 1220 after leaving the Betting Shop, so the first wanted star goes away on the drive to the two bribes, which reduce the wanted level to 1, which then disappears after about 10 seconds.


The weather changes based on the playing time, so it will probably be the same weather after playing the same amount of time after "New Game". If you save and advance the ingame time, this doesn't necessarily change the weather as if it was 6 minutes later.

Traffic Lights

Traffic lights are green for 10s and red for about 20.8s (+2s for the switch to red). The cycle seems to be based on the playing time, similiar to the weather. If you start a New Game or start from the same savegame, it will always switch at the same ingame time.


Information on phonecalls is on an extra phonecalls page.



Sliding is a form of movement that allows you to move faster than normal running or jumping (but slower than sprinting).

To start the slide, you have to start aiming in the transition between crouching and standing up while moving. So you have to crouch, move, stand up and aim. You can stand up by pressing crouch again or by pressing sprint. Sprint also gives you an extra boost, so that the way to go, so:

Crouch, Move, Sprint, Aim

You have to keep aiming and moving for the slide to keep going. If you stop the slide is interrupted.

Suitable Weapons

Any weapon that slows CJ down while aiming can be used for Sliding. This excludes all melee weapons and explosives because you can't aim them. See the table of sliding speeds for a list of weapons that can be used.


You can fire weapons without interrupting the slide, if the weapon can be fired without CJ stopping.

  • Weapons that can be fired without stopping: Minigun, Fire Extuingisher, Spraycan, Flame Thrower
  • Weapons that can be fired without stopping once you reach Hitman Skill Level: AK47, M4, SMG, Combat Shotgun, Pump-Action Shotgun, Desert Eagle, Silenced Pistol


The sliding speed depends on how you start the slide as well as the strafe speed of the weapon you slide with, so different weapons have slightly different sliding speeds.

When you aim, CJ slows down to strafe speed. Sliding apparently kind of combines the strafe speed and the speed you have when starting the slide. Starting the slide while not moving means you slide with strafe speed, starting while moving but without using sprint is a bit faster and using sprint when starting the slide is the fastest.

Table of Sliding speeds in comparison to running speed. Note that the percentages might not be exact, even one second timing error can change the percentag by 1-2 percentage points.

Weapon No Skill Hitman Level
Running 0%
Jumping 13%
Silenced Pistol 23% 49%
Desert Eagle 23% 51%
Pump-Action Shotgun 25% 45%
SMG 29% 51%
AK-47 18% 33%
M4 18% 33%
Sniper Rifle 23%
Rifle 38%
Flamethrower 25%
Rocket Launcher 22%
Heat-Seaking RL 22%
Minigun 25%
Fire Extinguisher 23%
Spray Can 23%
Camera 23%


Half-Territory Skip

To do this during gangwars, you need a vehicle that allows you to start a sidemission, for example a police bike (which is probably most convenient).

  1. Start a gangwar and kill wave number 1 and 2 normally
  2. Wait for the 3rd wave to spawn, then while being on the bike, start and cancel the side-mission, which will cancel the gangwar
  3. Use the enemies that spawned for the 3rd wave to start the next gangwar while standing in the next territory

Even though you cancel the gangwar after killing the 2nd wave, the territory still counts to the percentage you need for the last mission.

This doesn't work during missions where you have to take over gang territories (Grove 4 Life, Beat Down on Bdup, Doberman) because you can't start any sidemissions and the mission probably checks if you have actually fully taken the territory.


  • The explanation/resources for this are on a seperate Duping Page
Personal tools