It’s nearly two weeks since the HTML5 closed beta began, so we wanted to talk about how it’s been going and discuss our plans for the next few weeks.
Even with such an early beta, the response from testers has been great and really helpful for us. On the first day alone, the HTML5 client logged over 100,000 sessions. You've also submitted thousands of bug reports, and we've gathered lots of data about lag and frame rate. This will be invaluable for improving the stability and performance of the client.
Working with emerging technologies like HTML5 and WebGL is exciting for us, but also a bit nerve-wracking! RuneScape is the first browser game of its size and complexity using this technology, and while we’re proud to be pioneers in this field, it also makes development a real challenge. We really appreciate you helping us.
Right now, we’re focussing on fixing the crashes and other major bugs. We expect, after another week or two, that the worst bugs will be fixed and you’ll have a much more stable client to test. Fixes are being released frequently, so it’s worth keeping an eye on Mod Chris E’s HTML5 Beta patch notes thread in the Beta Feedback and Discussion forum if you're playing the beta.
In a couple of weeks, we’ll turn our attention towards optimising the client. Right now ,the lag and low frame rate are making the beta awkwardly slow for some players, which obviously gets in the way of a fun experience. Interestingly, performance isn’t just affected by how powerful your computer is - even seemingly small differences in graphics driver or computer spec can have a big impact on frame rate. Similarly, some in-game locations can run fine, but others can really lag the client. These are examples of the issues we have to iron out, and demonstrate why your feedback is so useful. We’re confident we’ll get there – we’ve seen certain mid-spec PC configurations which run the HTML5 client at a good frame rate, so we're on the right track!
Over the next few weeks we’ll also be working through fixing the graphical glitches; making sure all of the game’s water looks right, and that all the sky environments are properly implemented. The water you see in the beta client now is created with only a basic version of our new water shaders, and you’ll see further improvements as we implement more of this new technology.
Last week we also launched the first alpha version of the New Interface System. Your feedback has been superb – very constructive, creative and insightful. Mod ThatJim has posted in the NIS Feedback and Discussion forum with an outline of the features the team are tackling next based on your suggestions. More information to come when the NIS alpha build is updated later this week.
It’s still early days, and the HTML5 client has significant improvements to come in the next few weeks and months. You’re helping bring this new technology to life and making RuneScape a better experience, so thanks to all who’ve got involved!
If you want to find out even more about the RuneScape Beta Programme, why not come to our next Around the Campfire event this Wednesday? JMods from the beta team will be there to answer your questions on all things HTML5. So, join Mods Conor, Brain and Chris E, along with the Community Management team, on 1st May 16:00 GMT – we’ve set up a forum thread with more information here.