This week sees the release of a massive upgrade to several elements of the RuneScape game engine. These include the RuneTek 5 graphics upgrade described in last week's developer blog as well as key parts of the game server and RuneScript systems.
The graphics engine update brings with it a complete revamp of the Standard Detail option, bringing resizable window (for everyone) and fullscreen (members only) modes, as well as optional new features that include:
- Distance fogging and sky colour.
- Ground blending and path smoothing.
- Underwater visibility.
We've also improved High Detail mode with shadowing across all world levels (if your computer can support it) and an improved minimap in both versions. You'll also be pleased to know this upgrade has allowed us to fix several long-standing bugs, including:
- Mis-clicking in heavy load areas (such as the Grand Exchange) causing unwanted actions.
- Progress bars on Grand Exchange interfaces not working on several graphics cards.
Less visibly, we've also taken the time to heavily update parts of the server action and scripting systems. This follows on from work we did earlier in the year which Andrew described in this blog. The aim behind this batch of changes was to try to make the timing of actions more consistent across the game, which will help to make future content bugs less likely. We have done weeks of additional testing on these server updates, however, they are quite extensive and incredibly wide-ranging, so if any bugs have managed to slip through the net, we encourage you to submit a bug report.
All told, we have written or re-written around 50,000 lines of the game engine over the last few months to really improve these key areas and allow us to create a whole new set of exciting upgrades over the coming months and years.
This update to the game engine has allowed us to pull both the SD and HD versions of the game into the same applet. As such, we have updated the home page of the website so there is now only one 'Click here to play' button. If you wish to switch between using free or member worlds, this can be done using the 'World Select' feature, which can be found on the game applet's main menu.
Whether you see an advert above the login screen or not is dependent on whether the last world that you logged in was a free or a members' world.
Mod Chris E
In other news...
One thing the new engine has allowed us to do is create context-sensitive cursors. If you choose to turn this option on in the Game Options menu, your mouse cursor will display a small icon of the default interaction with any object, location or NPC - e.g. "Open Door" will change your mouse cursor to an icon of a door opening. These cursors have not been added for every default interaction just yet, but we will be looking to expand upon them in future.
The Special Attack bar in the combat interface now also displays the amount of special attack energy you have remaining as a percentage.
We’ve made some changes to the World Select page. Firstly, you’ll notice we've removed some of the information to clean it up a bit. The Quick Chat and PvP columns have moved into the more general 'Activity/Location' column. This column will now only specify a flag and country if the world doesn’t have a theme, and we’ve created a RuneScape flag to go with the latter. On the right-hand side you’ll notice a 'Ping' column. This displays the response time between you and the servers - lower is better, so this should help you find a lag-free world near you. Note that some of your preferences may have changed if you were previously sorting by some of the removed columns. Simply select your new preferred choice(s) and it will store those for next time.
Mobilising Armies themed worlds now come in two varieties: worlds where games require four players for a game to start, and worlds where games require 20 players to start. Visit the Themed Worlds page to see how many players are required to start a game on each world.