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This Developer Blog is copied verbatim from the RuneScape website. It is copyrighted by Jagex.
It is written by Mod Chris E and is dated 26 August 2009.
RuneTek 5

There are now six of us working in the Game Engine team, including Andrew himself. For the past eight months, two of us have spent the majority of our time completely rebuilding our graphics engine from the ground up, under Andrew's direction; we are calling this 'RuneTek 5' (RT5)*.

RuneTek

The primary goal of the rebuild was to allow us to target different graphics platforms (such as DirectX, OpenGL and the various consoles) with just one game engine. Previous iterations of the graphics engine were not designed this way. This meant that when we came to design RuneScape HD's technology, we ended up creating, in effect, two parallel game engines to render the game in two different ways - the current client has both the RuneTek 3 (Standard Detail) AND RuneTek 4 (High Detail) engines built in! This doesn't scale well when we come to target even more platforms, so this change was definitely necessary.

You may be wondering how this will affect RuneScape. Well, during the rebuild of the graphics engine, we have taken the time to almost completely rewrite both of our existing platforms to make them compatible with the new cross-platform technology. (You know them as Standard Detail (SD) and High Detail (HD); internally, we call them Software and Hardware.) This has totalled around 40,000 lines of new or improved code, not including the RuneScape game engine changes required to support the new graphics systems, or the changes made by the RuneScape Content teams to support the new options!

Revamped SD

Runetek 5 sd screen

An RT5 SD screenshot

The most immediate impact you will notice is the revamped SD. Many of you will have known we've wanted to do full screen and resizable window modes for SD for a while; RT5 finally makes this a reality. We've also been able to squeeze some other features into SD during the update, including:

  • Distance fogging and sky colour
  • Ground-/Path-blending and smoothing
  • Underwater visibility

As these features have a trade-off for performance, they're completely optional and can be toggled on and off in the Graphics Options menu in the normal way.

Benefits for HD

Runetek 5 hd screen

An RT5 HD screenshot

We've also improved the minimap in both modes, and added further shadowing to HD mode, such that shadows show up across all world levels (if your hardware supports it).

There are also a couple of other larger features we've integrated into the graphics engine, which you won't see immediately, but we may be introducing into the game over the coming months, including:

  • Sky boxes
  • Particle effects
  • Bloom lighting effects (HD only)
  • Water reflections (HD only)

What next?

The impetus for some of these improvements has come from the development of "Mechscape", and RuneScape is now able to benefit from these too.

Development is still continuing; another member of the Game Engine team has just commenced work on the DirectX RT5 implementation, and we have several awesome features in the pipeline.

For a variety of reasons, this RT5 update also finally allows us to fix the long-standing mis-click bug in the Grand Exchange (unwanted walking/friend adding, etc), along with any number of smaller long-standing issues.


* Major iterations of the Jagex graphics engine have included:
  • RT1: Original Jagex 3D engine used on gamesdomain games (1998)
  • RT2: RuneScape Classic (2000/2001)
  • RT3: RuneScape2 SD (2003/2004)
  • RT4: RuneScape2 HD (2007/2008)
  • RT5: Cross-platform version that runs both SD and HD on the same engine (2009)

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