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NXT is Jagex's internal code name[1] for a downloadable client written in C++ that was released on 18 April 2016. It supersedes the Java-based Game Client, which will eventually be phased out.

HistoryEdit

NXT was first teased at RuneFest 2014[2] as the evolution of the scrapped HTML5 client, though work on NXT had been underway for around two and a half years.[3] NXT aimed to deliver better performance over the existing Java-based client, better graphics than the previously planned HTML5 client, and more platform and operating system support.[4] One of the core design goals of the new client was the ability to load a larger map area and preload maps in the background.[5]

There were weekly Developer Blogs published in early 2016 to show the progress of NXT's development.[6]

Beta weekendsEdit

Beta weekends to test out NXT were held ahead of the new client's release. These were only available to Gold Premier Club members, players who had continuous membership since 31 January 2012, and players who had [Name] the Gamebreaker title from contributing to previous RuneScape betas. The first beta weekend took place from 19 February to 22 February 2016.

There were no limitations or non-disclosure agreements associated with the beta.[7]

ReleaseEdit

To display NXT's capabilities, a showcase of in-game areas called Benedict's World Tour was added into the game on release. It was started by talking to Benedict Encumberyak in Burthorpe or Prifddinas. To complete the tour, players had to follow a scrapbook of clues, which led them to stand in specific locations and collect objects. Players had to use the NXT client to take part in the tour.

After the release of NXT, Jagex plans to phase out the use of the Game Client to free up resources to make further improvements to NXT, rather than continuing to maintain two clients. The timescale for phasing out the Java client will be based on beta data.[3] Players using NXT will be playing with users of the old Java client, and will keep their progress.[7]

FeaturesEdit

Graphical improvementsEdit

  • Increased draw distance and ability to see players and NPCs from further away than before. The player will be able to see a bit less than the "size of Lumbridge Castle around you in a square" when playing on maximum settings.[3] The maximum draw distance with NXT will be 4x more than that of the Java client. Loading for distant map squares will be based on rendering most important objects first.[8]
  • Fully dynamic lighting and shadows. Shadows will be cast in real time, rather than being spot shadows, and will fall onto the player's character and other scenery rather than being cast onto walls and floors.[3]
  • Improved water with normal mapping of waves; real-time reflection of objects and shadows, including the character's shadow, in the water; and refraction (seeing objects through water when objects are underwater).[3]
  • Fog augmented with physically correct atmospheric scattering. This will remove harsh cut-offs in fog, with a fade to "haze" in the distance.[3]
  • Use of MSAA anti-aliasing rather than the previously used FXAA anti-aliasing.[3]
  • NXT will be going back to using Java sky domes, rather than the current cubic environment maps from HTML5, so that the Art Team do not have to maintain 2 sets of sky boxes.[3]
  • Will support normal mapping.[3]

EnvironmentEdit

  • Ability to zoom in and out on the minimap. The minimap will be rendered from above rather than being built out of metadata.[3]
  • The world map will look the same but will have faster loading times.[3]
  • Audio aspects will still be distributed in the same way but they will be streamed dynamically, eliminating some of the lag between audio being downloaded and it being played.[3]
  • A full screen client option will be supported for all operating systems. There will be a borderless full screen window mode.[3]
  • Expected not to have any loading times when moving between areas - loading will happen in the background through asynchronous/streaming loading.[8]
  • Faster loading of login screen and preloading of the world and shaders (programs performing rendering calculations) in background before the player logs in.[8]

TechnicalEdit

  • Better performance and visuals than Java-based client on all machines. More capable PCs will have exponentially better performance.[3]
  • No difference between DirectX and OpenGL graphics modes. OpenGL will be the preferred display mode, but DirectX will be indirectly supported as a fallback for OpenGL when graphics cards are not able to work correctly with OpenGL. OpenGL has been selected due to its superior cross-platform support and backwards compatibility - OpenGL 2.0 will be the minimum possible supported.[9]
  • More efficient processor core management. Multiple cores will be made use of in loading and creating new rendering assets as well as helping with increased draw distance.[3] Focused on SIMD and memory/cache optimisation so that even players with single core CPUs can experience good performance and players with 2 cores can achieve ideal in-game performance. Loading times and stutter when moving between areas will be improved further on machines with more than 2 cores. A CPU supporting at least SSE 2 will be required.[9]
  • Will support dedicated and mobile graphics cards, automatically using the dedicated graphics card when possible.[3]
  • NXT will have support for 32 and 64 bit Windows, with its installer automatically detecting which version is needed. Performance may be slightly better using 64-bit. Initially there will only be support for a 64 bit version for Linux. Windows XP will be supported.[3][9]
  • Will be possible to run multiple clients at the same time, but this will affect performance, especially on older, single core PCs.[7]
  • Players can enable Vsync to lock the FPS to the monitor's refresh rate; however, this can be turned off to provide an uncapped FPS.[7]
  • Equal performance between equivalent Nvidia and AMD GPUs. A Radeon HD 7770 or a GeForce GTX 460 will be able to max out NXT at 1080p 60 fps. NXT even works on cards like the Nvidia GeForce 6150 from 2005 and the ATI Radeon 9800 from 2003.[9]
  • With Intel HD graphics and an Intel Core i3 or better CPU players will be able to play at 60 fps with better graphics quality than in Java. Intel GPUs from before the HD series, e.g. X3100, GMA 945 or the Intel 4 series should be able to play at 10-15 fps.[9]
  • Currently 2 GB of RAM is enough to run NXT at lower draw distances, while 3 GB is necessary for higher settings. Actual system memory consumption is around 1GB, at lower settings, to around 2GB, at max.[9]

LimitationsEdit

  • No browser version will be available on release. This is due to lack of support, e.g. lack of support for threads, and performance problems when using browsers.[3]
  • NXT will not be supported on tablets and mobiles.[3]
  • Uses more storage space because more data is stored uncompressed. It will use at most 10GB of space, compared to 4GB with the Java client. NXT will have more offline processing of assets.[3] As with the current client, players will be able to play the NXT client immediately after downloading it. The 10GB cache will be downloaded in the background. The download size will be around 1.9GB as data will be compressed during transmission.[9]
  • It will not be possible to see players on other levels. Though it is possible for this to be enabled, Jagex has decided not to do so as there are some graphical glitches. Summoning familiars like Steel Titans and enemies like Gargoyles, for example, would poke up through the floor. Thus, it will not be activated until this and other issues are fixed.[3]
  • Support for modding will not be added to NXT.[3]
  • Dynamic weather will not be added as this would interfere with the themes of different areas e.g. area lighting.[3]
  • 4K monitor support will not change: as currently, interface sizes will not scale up.[9]

System requirementsEdit

Jagex recommends at least the following system specifications for NXT on Windows:[10]

CPU Dual Core, AMD Phenom II or Intel i3/i5 CPU, 2.4+ GHz
RAM 4GB or greater
GPU GeForce 400x series, Intel HD 4x series, AMD Radeon 7xxx series
Disk Drive A very fast HDD ideally a Hybrid HDD or SSD
Storage At least 8GB of storage space available for the NXT cache

Client changelogEdit

Release date Changes[11] [12]
10 July 2017
  • Fixed sprite edge artefacts.
  • Made audio system more robust and reduced chance of crackling/dropouts.
  • Fixed an issue that causes celestial dragon dungeon to never finish loading.
  • Fixed broken shadow rendering on Intel HD 2000.
  • Fixed a NaN (not a number) bug with particular models.
  • Removed dependency on Visual C++ 2015 redist and KB2999226 windows update.
  • Fixed medium+ water and SSAO on compatibility mode.
  • Certain particle physics should now work correctly.
27 June 2017
  • Fixed a common freeze related to clock adjustment that mostly affects MacOS devices but may also affect Windows.
  • With the exception of the Dominion Tower, lighting over map squares should now be consistent.
6 June 2017
  • Fix a rare issue where locations would fail to load in Shifting Tombs/Dungeoneering.
  • Fixed the issue with strange artifacts when logging from the lobby or hopping worlds.
5 June 2017
  • A new graphical feature: Volumetric lighting have been added to the game. Make your way to Menaphos to check them out!
  • A new graphical feature: Caustic water effects have been added to the game. Turn water details to “Ultra” to enable.
  • Added water light extinction effect.
  • Fixed terrain sometimes appearing solid black on old AMD GPUs and/or old AMD drivers.
  • Fixed flickering artefacts with textures disabled on certain GPUs (mainly Intel).
  • Animations with random start points have been fixed so the animation does not end prematurely.
  • Refactored a subsystem to save some memory.
  • Added invalidation to OpenGL resources which may improve multi-GPU performance.
15 May 2017
  • A crash/freeze during/after playing certain cutscenes has been fixed.
  • A crash due to array overflows has been fixed.
  • OSX input fixes:
The Cmd+Q hotkey has been fixed.
Various Cmd hotkeys (especially Shift+Cmd+4 and Cmd+Tab) leaving Shift/Cmd buttons held down on OS X and blocking 
mouse input until they are pressed again have been fixed.
  • Slow scrolling with mouse wheel is no longer ignored, and scrolls by a small amount as it should.
  • A black bar at top in fullscreen mode on OSX has been fixed.
  • A rare script-related crash has been fixed.
  • A crash caused by NPC hint arrows has been fixed.
  • Several potential crashes in the audio system have been fixed.
  • Distance fog no longer turns objects white in the background.
  • The mini-menu now has the correct priority for certain camera angles.
  • The client icon no longer appears as a terminal on OSX.
  • A crash caused by dragging certain interfaces has been fixed.
  • An animation subsystem has been optimised.
  • Model loading has been optimised.
  • An issue where some wall pieces were not correctly lit has been fixed.
  • Compact install on the NXT launcher has been fixed.
  • Drawable elements have been optimised.
  • Particle rotation has been fixed.
10 April 2017
  • Removed launcher frame
  • Changes to the client to deal with its own window, including save, restore of position, scrolling, access to launcher options
  • Change to OSX and Linux client to binary executable
  • Fixes to OSX and Linux crash reporting
  • Added the ability to turn off terrain blending
  • Added the ability to turn off ground decor
  • RAM and video memory usage has been reduced
  • Optimised script functions
  • Fixed audio related crash
  • Added compression to disk cache; size reduced from 12GB to 3–4GB
  • Optimised performance of disk cache validation
  • Optimised performance of loading for non-SSD users
  • Fixed a crash that would primarily occur during disk cache download at high speed or on a bad connection to the server during gameplay
  • Added a minimum width and height to the NXT client
  • Fixed a freeze some players experience after re-logging from the lobby
  • Fixed particles from looking washed out
  • Fixed an issue that resulted in hint markers to sometimes cause freezing and crashing
  • Fixed an issue with low spec machines crashing before start up
  • Fixed inconsistent normals
  • Fixed a race condition with audio
1 March 2017
  • Improved the robustness of particle systems which lacked textures
  • Fixed a possible issue when changing texture quality while inside an instance
  • Fixed a bug that caused a crash on certain obscure interfaces
  • Fixed an issue that caused extended load up times on Mac
  • Ensured the locations of far away animations load and appear at the same time as their associated models
  • Fixed a memory leak and possible crash in OS X custom cursors
  • Fixed an issue with a-sync animations
  • Reduced RAM usage by approximately 30% (depending on settings)
  • Various fixes for shadows and graphics options
  • Prevented some teleport aims from going out of sync (Shadow and Fire Drake, Gossamer, and Shadow Gorilla)
  • Fixed the animation looping on some skill overrides from incorrectly looping parts of the animation (Easter Cooking/Arcane Cooking/Agile Divining)
  • Fixed a rare NPC head icon related crash
  • Fixed some potential cases of graphics artefacts
30 January 2017
  • Fixed some rendering issues/crashes that might appear on older drivers or graphics cards.
  • Improved apperance of water at extreme camera angles.
  • Added support for SSAO in compatability graphics mode.
  • Added support for soft particles in compatability graphics mode.
  • Fixed water refraction on compatability graphics mode.
  • Fixed particles not interacting with bloom.
  • Fixed 'protesting' Edgeville guards (This also fixes the odd issues seen with stretching bones).
16 January 2017
  • Audio not playing correctly on some types of NPCs has been fixed.
  • Environment particles should no longer sharply cut into the terrain.
  • Dragging item stacks inside the player inventory while large bank tabs are open will no longer cause dramatic FPS drops.
  • The World Gate now renders correctly on the World Map.
  • A rare audio-related crash has been fixed.
  • Incorrect interpolation in certain cutscenes has been fixed.
  • A bug with shadow occlusion has been fixed.
  • Certain particles that were being reflected on water despite being below the water's surface have been fixed.
  • Roofs are now removed properly with water on low, shadows on and ambient occlusion on.
  • An error with shadows that stopped rendering certain animations has been fixed.
  • Added fixed screen support (Windows only).

Launcher changelogEdit

Version Release date Changes
2.2.4 10 April 2017
  • Modernise Launcher appearance
2.2.3 8 December 2016
  • Add auto-update ability to NXT Launcher
  • Allow macOS to run multiple instances of RuneScape
2.2.2 13 April 2016
  • Removed old registry keys correctly in installer
  • The "old graphics drivers" warning will no longer display if unable to tell how old they are
2.2.1 12 April 2016
  • Installed for all users on Windows to avoid issues with icons not appearing if installed by an elevated user (and other similar problems)
  • Improved behaviour when closed before the client has started up properly
2.2.0 11 April 2016
  • Fixed crash on startup when graphics drivers are out of date
2.1.9 10 April 2016
  • Made Cmd+Q and Quit menu/dock options close the launcher correctly on OSX (and Alt+F4 on linux)
2.1.8 7 April 2016
  • Added a display prompt to update GPU drivers when they are old
  • Allowed users to hold down S to select default graphics options on startup
  • Allowed users to switch between ANGLE and OpenGL manually
  • Improved error reporting a bit on Windows
  • Fixed some shutdown bugs on OSX
2.1.7 7 April 2016
  • Fixed keys being stuck down when switching focus on OSX
2.1.6 6 April 2016
  • Intel Westmere chipsets now auto-detects to run under ANGLE
  • Installs Visual Studio Redistributable 2015 Update 2 in installer, rather than Update 0 (and require it to be installed)
2.1.5 30 March 2016
  • Launcher now remembers Window positions per instance
2.1.4 22 March 2016
  • Removed UAC checking in favour of better validation of permissions
  • Improved timeouts when downloading the client (fixed error (13,28))
  • Made the installer reject Windows XP < SP3
  • Installed DirectX 9 in more cases when it is needed
  • Fixed various linux graphics problems
2.1.3 16 March 2016
  • Improved error reporting slightly
2.1.2 15 March 2016
  • Made some tweaks to the Ubuntu package
2.1.1 7 March 2016
  • Updated detection for Skylake Intel HD GPUs and force the use of ANGLE due to various artifacting issues exhibited by OpenGL
  • Allowed the Windows installer to remove the cache on uninstall
2.1.0 1 March 2016
  • Fixed issues with paths and filenames with non-latin characters
  • Fixed issues with creating cache folders in root of a drive
  • Fixed problems with fullscreen blocking Start Menu and Alt-Tab
  • Fixed some UAC problems on older versions of Windows
  • Gave more informative error messages when there are Launcher problems
2.0.9 1 March 2016
  • Added an x64 ANGLE build for Windows
2.0.8 29 February 2016
  • Fixed a crash on Mac
  • No longer allows startup if the process is in an elevated UAC state on Windows
2.0.7 18 February 2016
  • Fixed the language selection for Dutch and Spanish computers
2.0.6 15 February 2016
  • Fixed an issue with going back to fullscreen the next time you load the client
  • Fixed an issue where first visit to fullscreen would leave client in odd size
2.0.5 4 February 2016
  • Improved backwards compatibility
  • Fixed language and cache/settings folder configuration
  • Improved progress bars
2.0.4 19 January 2016
  • Allowed configuration of cache and settings folders
  • Improved speed of Launcher initialisation
  • Added quit confirmation when logged into game
2.0.3 18 January 2016
  • Auto-detects whether ANGLE build is required, and runs it accordingly
  • Fixed detection of C++ runtime in Windows installer
2.0.2 5 January 2016
  • Made Linux version work
  • Better loading progress
  • Fixed some focus issues
2.0.1 12 November 2015
  • Initial release

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Jagex. Mod Pips's Twitter account. 31 December 2014. Mod Pips: "It's just an internal code name."
  2. ^ RuneFest 2014 - Runescape 2015 - Future Content. 15 October 2014.*
  3. ^ a b RuneScape - NXT (New Game Client) Showcase, Christmas 2015. 22 December 2015.*
  4. ^ Mod Lordgit. "New Runescape Client." 26 March 2015. Developer Blogs Forums.
  5. ^ Mod Philip. "New Runescape Client." 27 March 2015. Developer Blogs Forums.
  6. ^ Mod William. "Dev Blog | Dealing with Draw Distance." 26 January 2016. Developers' Blogs.
  7. ^ a b RS3 NXT Showcase #2 (with a sprinkle of Invention). 19 January 2016.*
  8. ^ a b Mod William. "Dev Blog | Taking a Load Off." 9 February 2016. Developers' Blogs.
  9. ^ a b Mod William. "Dev Blog | NXT - Can I Run It?." 2 February 2016. Developers' Blogs.
  10. ^ Jagex. NXT on Windows–Support.
  11. ^ NXT Update. 1 March 2017.
  12. ^ NXT Patch Notes Mega Thread. 1 March 2017.

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