The graphics in RuneScape have been continuously evolving, from the simple RuneScape Classic graphics to nowadays' RuneScape HD. This evolving is made possible thanks to fast internet connections and the improving performance of players' computers and Jagex's technology.
DeviousMUD & RuneScape ClassicEditDeviousMUD was the predecessor of RuneScape Classic, written in 1998 and then rewritten and released as a public beta, for only one week, in 1999. There are very few screenshots of it, from which very simple, isometric graphics can be seen. RuneTek 1 was used to develop it. RuneScape Classic, which RuneScape members can play today, is the newer version of DeviousMUD, released in October 1999. It has four separate views, one in each of the cardinal directions (North, East, South, and West). The players, NPCs and monsters are 2D sprites in a fairly low-detailed world.
Release of RuneScape 2 and afterwardsEdit
With the release of RuneScape 2 on 1 December 2003 as beta and on 29 March 2004 as full release, Jagex unleashed a 3D engine, which brought many graphical improvements. Two detail levels were available: Low Detail and High Detail (not to be confused with the graphics option called High Detail). High Detail offered, among other improvements, musical effects and more texture than Low Detail. As the RuneScape map expanded with the release of new areas, many new visual effects, such as snow on Trollweiss Mountain and the electrical effects in the Killerwatt plane, were added in-game. Also many old and more visited locations, such as Varrock, Falador and Lumbridge, were updated among other graphical updates.
RuneScape High Detail and RuneTek 5Edit
RuneScape HD was mentioned for the first time in An Image of the Future and in the following An Image of the Not-Too-Distant Future newsposts. More information was included in A New Look RuneScape: Part 1[ ] and A New Look RuneScape: Part 2[ ] Development Diaries.
|“|| We've considered a hardware-rendered version of RuneScape a number of times in the past, but it was only two years ago that we felt Java was mature enough.
-Andrew, Lead Developer
RuneScape High Detail came out on 1 July 2008 as a beta for members and was released on 14 July 2008 as full release for all players. High Detail offered, for the first time in RuneScape history, the full screen mode, although it could also be played in the fixed mode. HD was updated to offer also the resizable window mode on 5 August 2008.
Other numerous upgrades from High Detail included:
- (Improved) textures and better blending.
- Fog effect, causing objects at a distance to gradually come into view, instead of causing them to "pop" into view.
- Sky colour
- More realistic, translucent water, allowing for view of the sea floor.
- Smooth and realistic light effects.
- Dynamic shadows, which change position based on the time of day
- Improved interfaces, animations, cutscenes and emotes.
- Reworked NPCs, chatheads and player kit.
- Particle effects - introduced on 21 December 2009;
- Skyboxes - introduced on 26 July 2011;
- Bloom lighting effects - introduced on 28 November 2011
- Water reflections ("HD" only).
Particles were introduced for the first time into game during 2009 Christmas event by using them to create snow effects.
On 8 February 2010 SD was further updated with improved performance, textures, shadows, and lighting, making it similar to HD. This new version was intended for people with fast CPUs but poor graphics card and, in fact, new SD used more CPU than HD. The old SD was named Safe mode for people who wished to continue use of that mode.
DirectX support was added on 13 May 2010. It looks identical to OpenGL HD mode but gives fewer compatibility problems for those who use Windows. With this update, the graphics option system was overhauled to allow for ease of use. Auto configure option was also released, but with the manual setup still there.
On 15 September 2010 Z-buffering was released, which brought graphical and performance improvements to all graphic modes. This update made possible the modeling and animation of players and NPCs outside of the 'square' on which they stand, allowing for more complessive appearances. In addition, more impressive area sceneries can be released due to this update.
On 24 November 2010, Graphics Options got changed by completely separating the mode in which the game displays from the specific graphical effects you can set. More players are able to run Open GL and DirectX modes, while Mac and Linux users can play in Open GL and Software, respectively. Safe mode was removed completely, with the only way to enable it being to hold "S" while the game was loading. Also, the interface was updated significantly. Found out later, you can still enter Safe mode by turning on a setting that your graphics card cannot handle and an option for it will come up next to other modes. On 15 March 2011 Lumbridge Swamp received a graphical update including a darker look, new trees, graphically updated mining rocks and ambiental sounds.
On 4 April 2011 The area south of Falador received a graphical update including initial Clan Camp, new looking trees and some other ambiental elements which use Z-buffering. There's also a new kind, light-blue coloured, fog use, and new ambiental sounds. Clan Camp was fully released on 12 April 2011.
Draynor Village received a major graphical overhaul on 25 May 2011. With the update, location received a darker, nightly, look, with lanterns around. The fog within the area was tinted to dark-blue and the map layout, with NPCs, was changed. To be noted is that the only trees to change were dead ones.
Another important update was the release of Clan Citadels on 26 July 2011. Other than including new gameplay options for clans, hundreds of customisation options and new graphics, it also introduced skyboxes, which 'surround' the Citadels. Other than that, Citadels may be chosen to have day- or night-time environment.
9 August 2011 saw an overhaul to two popular Misthalin locations - Grand Exchange and Edgeville. While the first one got a major update, making in better-looking and easier to use, the second one got graphical improvements such as visual props and new lighting effects. Also, all young Spirit trees got visually updated and audio improvements were made to magic spells, agility sound effects and few locations, such as Mort Myre swamp, which got ambient sounds. On 17 August whole Morytania, including it's swamp and inhabitants, got major graphical overhaul, with also most trees in free-to-play cities and surroundings getting visual improvements.
In the Ritual of the Mahjarrat quest, released on 14 September 2011, there's a cutscene which involves graphics never seen before in-game, similar to ones seen in RuneScape trailer. On 4 October a technical update was released thanks to which camera angle can be rotated 360-degrees by using middle mouse (scroll) button.
With the update on 25 October 2011 RuneScape requires Java version 1.6 update 10 to be played, as announced the week before. This is not only required to improve the game's graphics and sounds, but also to fight botting - in fact it was called Bot-Nuking Day.
|“||We've made some improvements to our graphical engine which will aid us in the future development of RuneScape's look and feel. Players using Direct X mode will notice palette consistency for the first time with Open GL. Other visual improvements under development include our new water shader. We'll be continually improving the look of the game over the months to come.||”|