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This Developer Blog is copied verbatim from the RuneScape website. It is copyrighted by Jagex.
It is written by Mod Alex R and is dated 3 September 2012.
Implementing Graphical Updates

Stage 1

Choosing the order in which to update the older environments in RuneScape is always a difficult task as there are plenty to choose from. However, priority is usually placed on the areas that have perhaps not aged as well as others and are also popular with the players.

A performance check is always made before we begin this kind of project so that we can compare the before and after frame rates and map load times - ensuring that a new area plays smoothly is an important consideration.

The God Wars Dungeon was chosen for this update as we felt it had a lot of potential that wasn't being realised.

Stage 2

The first thing we do when updating a new environment is to strip out all of the old assets and re-map the area with simple placeholders. This helps us to get an idea of the final layout while also allowing us to create a blocking plan that will work with all of the NPCs in the area. All of the lights and environment maps are also removed so we have a clean slate to work from.

Stage 3

As the new asset models are made they are mapped into the environment in place of the placeholder graphics. This will be done in stages so we can see the map build up gradually and resolve any potential problems as soon as they appear; the key dungeon features first, wall kits second, ground decor third etc. etc. until all of the core pieces are in place.

Stage 4

The final stage is to add in all of the finishing touches that really tie the environment together. The final lighting settings are applied and extra cosmetic details are mapped in (ice patches, rubble, broken weapons and the like). As well as the little flourishes like particles and volumetric light to finish the environment off.

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