A skybox is a graphical option that can be switched "on" and "off" under "skyboxes" in the custom options for the game. The skybox although appearing to be of incredible size, is generally created by rendering a (usually) small cube which has been textured on the inside with a sky like image. To make it look as if the 'sky' is unreachable the skybox is positioned in a way that the player is always in the centre of it. The skybox is one of the graphical effects that was implemented into the RuneTek 5 engine in September 2009 but was not actually implemented in-game until nearly two years later with the Clan Citadel update on Tuesday, 26 July 2011.
Currently, the only locations that a skybox can be seen are the Clan Citadel, a cutscene from Ritual of the Mahjarrat, the top room of the bell tower in the Citharede Abbey, the roof of the Dominion Tower from several different times of day, all three levels of the runecrafting minigame Runespan, and the Gielinor Games. Exactly what skybox is shown at the citadel is determined by a clan member that has abilities to change those settings.
It is expected for skyboxes to be added into other locations at a later time, even the main land. Currently, the game uses a "fog" system to simulate a sky in the majority of locations. For a believable skybox to be implemented into the main world, the games draw distance (how far you are able to see in-game) will have to be increased a considerable amount which will require a progressive loading of environments rather than the current system of loading large "blocks" of environment. Due to the different environments in RuneScape, there will have to be different skyboxes too ranging from day and night and other elements. This is obviously a massive amount of work and it is thought that this is why it has taken so long to add skyboxes to RuneScape.
Skyboxes currently have limited locations, which are:
- Clan Citadels and Gielinor Games
- Battle for Annakarl cutscene (Ritual of the Mahjarrat)
- Dominion Tower
- Abbey of St. Elspeth Citharede
- Glod's cloud
- Diamond Jubilee cutscene
- Stolen Hearts cutscene
- Wizards' Tower roof