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This Developer Blog is copied verbatim from the RuneScape website. It is copyrighted by Jagex.
It is written by Andrew and is dated 3 September 2009.
Andrew Gower's Answers

Phox1515 asks: If there was 1 thing you could change without limitations of java, abilities, ECT... any 1 thing with no restrictions at all (like we'll ever have a world like that) what would it be?

The one technical limitation I’d most like to be without is the massive amount of inconsistency between different PCs and the compatibility problems it causes. At the moment, every time we do a game engine update we have to test it on multiple operating systems, multiple browsers, multiple graphics cards, multiple Java versions and multiple speed/memory computers with multiple anti-virus programs. The number of possible combinations is insane!

We have a whole stack of computers just for testing but even then we can only cover a tiny fraction of combinations. To be able to write the code just once and know that if it works on my computer, it will work on everyone else’s as well - that would be wonderful.


Pur35 Ownage asks: Would it be possible to make the clan chat into real chat with microphones, this would be much better for pk situations when you can’t click and type.

Voice chat is something we have been thinking about doing. It’s certainly possible but has all sorts of challenges e.g. bandwidth use, making ‘report abuse’ work, etc. so isn’t likely to happen in the imminent future.


Vannakius asks: Throughout the forums they are suggestions that we would like the old graphics back. Will you be doing that? Would it be possible to have maybe a "third option" for graphics? In this case, it's similar to standard, but as in the older graphics - and will not be touched?

The graphics have been changed repeatedly throughout the history of RuneScape and every time people have asked if they can have an option to keep the old ones. I’m not even sure which particular set of graphics you consider to be the ‘old’ ones!

If every time we were asked, we had put in an option to keep something (not just graphics) the ‘old way’, the options page would probably be a truly enormous mess of about 1,000 options by now! It would be completely boggling and a huge amount of work to maintain as we’d then have to test against those thousands of options with every update!

Even as it is we now have to test every update in both SD and HD mode, in resizable mode and windowed mode and against all the options we do have. To have an options screen with thousands of options would be stunningly impractical.


Samywamy10 asks: Do many people know how to code RSC or is it just Andrew and Paul?

Not many. There are about three people who understand the RS Classic engine at the moment. Until recently there were only two but Mod Jack H has been doing a lot of work on it in preparation for relaunching it. There are also probably only about five people here who still know how to write scripts for RS Classic. It’s very, very old and most of our staff were employed after it was no longer in use.


Magimage60 asks: Will there be further updates being released to help the lag on computers be fixed?

Depends what you mean by lag. We have a big update in the works that should make the graphics use less CPU and run smoother without reducing the quality. It should also mean more people will be able to run HD mode.

If you mean network lag, there isn’t a lot we can do about that as it is usually caused by problems on the Internet, not problems on our servers. We do, however, try to design our games as much as possible so the occasional bit of lag isn’t fatal and we will continue to try to improve that.


Mikeboi101 asks: What are you personally concerned the most about today in RuneScape? Lately there has been the "Merching" epeidemic, how concerned are you about this and do you feel that further actions will be necessary to contain the damage(s) they are causing?

The attempts to price manipulate on the Grand Exchange are annoying but not a massive concern in the grand scheme of things. They are fairly easy to spot heuristically and we already have updates in the works to make it so this sort of thing doesn’t work (the price just won’t change).


Cantristenon asks: Are you planning to add a new Continent? The one we live has started to reach its borders and seem like finished. RuneScape's world map is also pretty small compared to many other MMORPGS so it would make sense to enlarge it in that way.

Yes, a new continent seems likely...eventually!


Tito39 asks: Are you considering day/night in RuneScape?

Not at the moment. While it would be graphically attractive, it wouldn’t really give more than a few minutes of enjoyment if it was purely cosmetic. We could add it and make it affect the actual game (e.g. certain shops only open at certain times), however,

I experimented with that once before and making it so you had to wait until the right time to do certain things mostly just proved rather annoying. It might happen one day but there are other things we can do first which I think are more exciting.


Nizze 20 asks: Do you think luck is too dominant in RuneScape? I’m especially thinking of combat, since a level 100 could easily beat a lvl 130 with a stroke of luck. Personally I don’t think that is fair, but I'd like to hear your opinion.

I don’t think luck is too dominant but I can understand how people get frustrated when they get a sudden run of bad luck. Unfortunately, statistically, a sudden run of good or bad luck in a truly random system is a lot more likely than you might think. This is why you can sometimes not get any good drops for far longer than you expect and then suddenly get two good ones in a single go.

I’ve wondered about making it less random by using random number tables rather than making each random decision in isolation, such that after a roll of the die is ‘used up’ you are less likely to get that result again until you have also had the other results the die can give. This would leave it somewhat random but make it impossible to get a run of bad or good luck. However, I’m not sure, and wonder if removing that would take something away from the game.


Djpailo asks: A long time ago, a RuneScape classic high scores WAS promised. This was promised in a news article dating back to "31st January 2004 - RS2 progress report" where you were planning to have separate high scores for both. No new information was then provided. Will we ever get a separate high scores for RSC?

That was a progress report of what we were planning at the time, not a ‘promise’. Unless the sentence starts with "We promise..." then you should assume we are simply being open about our plans and trying to involve and inform our players but that our plans might, of course, change.

Trying to claim we promised something we didn’t just puts us off being open and talking about the future.

RSC high scores are not currently planned.


Djpailo asks: With the plans to move onto DirectX, what contingency plans are in place to ensure RuneScape will still be playable on even the most basic computers?

DirectX will be offered in addition to the existing graphics modes. The existing software and OpenGL modes will remain available as well. In fact, we are currently also working on an update that should make RuneScape work better than ever on basic computers.


Burvis99 asks: Would sailing, sea battles etc be possible to make on Java; in RuneScape?

Yes.


A Cole asks: Now Mobilising Armies has been released, what future updates are you thinking about which can use the technology developed in Mobilising Armies?

Some of the technology has already been used in other updates. A lot of the time you can’t tell but taking just one (of many) examples, we added a feature to allow players to interact with things without having to have a visible line to them. This has already been used in the Chosen Commander (yes, I know it came out first - we used it before Mobilising Armies was even finished!) and Missing My Mummy quests. That’s only one example of many improvements we added to the engine for Mobilising Armies being used elsewhere. I’d personally like to see the NPC stack icons used in more places, as I think they could really help keep things clearer in crowded areas in general.


Masoondragon asks: Will the maximum experience or even maximum level cap ever be raised as currently there are only three skills (summon, slayer and rcing) that don't have maximum experience.

Maximum experience is unlikely to rise. It’s already a long way above the maximum level cap.


Zhang Fee asks: A lot of players did mentioned, that your IP (internet Protocol) has effect on several things in RuneScape. If Players click in the same tick rate on something the Player with the better IP gets it. For example: Flag at Castle Wars, Attacking a Monster in non-multi area, closing and opening doors/gates. Are you going to change this in the future?

Yes, we are planning on fixing this shortly.


Aracaurd asks: Will you be updating us on the encrypted flash-drive? I would like to know more about this, and will gladly buy one regardless of more bank space.

This idea is currently on hold because it was made pretty clear by our players that they didn’t want us to incentivise it and without that it isn’t likely to be economical. We are looking at alternative methods of enhancing your security instead.


ShamusHand asks: In your opinion, do you think RuneScape will ever surpass it's current engine limitations, like having our characters walk in a grid, or having the game run in 600 millisecond 'ticks'? Do you have any more advanced graphic features planned (bloom, Depth of Field, etc)? Do you think we'll ever have the ability to control our characters with the keyboard, like some other MMO's?

Have you been spying on us? Are you one of our staff in disguise? :P These questions are remarkably similar to questions we have been asking ourselves internally. To answer your questions: maybe, yes and yes.


Dragoon Dex asks: This is the year of upgrades/updates, what is your planned theme for next year?

Well, I think having a theme for a whole year may be overdoing it a bit. Next year will just be the year of awesomeness.


Naruto511111 asks: Is java programming hard (or 'rune scripting')?

Depends on how much practice you’ve had.


Lol A Pic asks: Andrew, if you could thank anyone (besides you) for the success of your mmorpg game, who would it be and why?

Well, all the hardworking staff here who have created the game, of course! I just made the game engine, everyone else has made an awesome game using that engine.


Lol A Pic asks: Andrew, if your attempt to create an mmorpg game failed, what occupation would you have right now?

I’d either still be trying (I don’t give up easily!), or I’d be making a different computer game instead.


Arengeir asks: What advice would you give to students going into the field of programming and game development?

Someone else asked me this in an interview recently, so I’ll cheat and use the answer I gave last time.

What worked for me was sticking to what I had a real passion for and what I was good at. I never sat down and said to myself "I want to make a hugely successful game and make lots of money", that was never the aim and I think if it had been it wouldn't have worked.

I also think it is important to have realistic goals. If my initial objective had been to create a game as massive as RuneScape, it would have seemed like an impossible task. I'd have been totally daunted and would never have got anywhere. Instead, focus on what you can realistically do - make a simple game, certainly don't start with an MMO.

Most importantly, set an achievable goal you will enjoy. Make a simple game for the love of making that simple game as well as you possibly can and seeing just how well you can make it. Just because it's simple and achievable, doesn't mean it can't be beautifully crafted and something to be proud of.


Boboyobo asks: What was your parents reaction when you told them that you were going to create a company to manage your video game?

It wasn’t really a sudden, overnight decision. I’d been working on a self-employed basis for a while, so moving to running a company and employing a few other staff wasn’t actually a massive transition, so I don’t think anyone was hugely surprised.


Boboyobo asks: Do ya'll still have devious mud somewhere?

Yes, I still have it - it still runs. Not anything like finished enough to put on our website but one day, I really should post a YouTube video of it running.


Big Boss1254 asks: Aside from working on the game, does anyone at Jagex actually have time to really play the game? (as in skill, quest**** etc.)

Yes, definitely. Lots of our staff play the game for fun in their spare time on ordinary (non-Mod) characters (e.g. at weekends and evenings). Some of them are surprisingly high-level. I have an in-game character which I use to play the game normally, the way everyone else does. Very few people know it is me, not even the people on my Friends List.


Ishootguthix asks: Do you have any plans with RuneScape classic?

Yes, thanks. Watch this space...


Str Ftw155 asks: Andrew You were such a great owner why did you leave?

Eh? I’m still here!


Vaporage2020 asks: Do you think you will ever be able to higher the max amount of money we can have? If so to how much, 10b?

Technically it is possible, but there isn’t really any point having any more than 2 billion, so it’s really unlikely to become a high enough priority to happen any time soon.


Deathgodlink asks: Are you guys ever going to make it so ex members can still play the f2p game without having to drop their members stuff?

Yes, we have plans to fix the bank so members’ items go into a members’ section when you go back to F2P and so your bank doesn’t get messed up.


Sliferdude24 asks: How often do you go in your CC for Q&A? I've seen you there once before (and hunted for you in-game ) but is it planned or just something you feel like doing?

Not that often, I have to admit. It isn’t planned, it’s done in my spare time so just happens when I feel like it. I haven’t had much spare time lately, though.


Blackdog5100 asks: How do you react to everyone overreacting about every single update?

I, of course, read the comments to find the constructive criticism and to get ideas for what can be improved but the overreaction I totally ignore. Ranting mindlessly without even trying the update obviously doesn’t achieve anything, only well-reasoned comments do.


Daz0490 asks: Why is Jagex, as a company, so secretive about RuneScape?

We’ve been trying to be a lot less secretive lately. We’ve never really meant to be secretive, we were just very busy working on the game! We’re now trying to take a bit more time to talk to you also, however, we do still like to keep some surprises in store and have to be careful not to promise things we can’t or might not be able to deliver.


X Puriakas X asks: Why are you into cabbages so much?

Just for fun.


Emg Blue asks: Are FunOrb games and MechScape developed in funscript/mechscript respectively? RuneScript? directly in Java?

Directly in Java.


Emg Blue asks: What Java platform does RuneScape use? Java EE, Java SE? Or are the servers on EE and clients on SE?

Java SE for both client and server.


Emg Blue asks: And finally, what Java application framework do your servers use(WebSphere, JBoss, etc..)?

Our own custom framework.


Gold Mage148 asks: The code: RuneScript. Was it developed by Andrew, or it some form of modification of an existing code? (c++ for instance.)

It was developed originally by me and has since been worked on by a few other people at Jagex. It’s a continually evolving language. The RuneScript used by RuneScape these days is totally different to the RuneScript used by RS Classic. It has similarities to various other languages, but is unique.


Lpfreaky90 2 asks:

  1. What is your daily job? Are you content developer? Game engine writing? Thinking about new skills? Eating cabbage?
  2. What content would you like to see in RuneScape?
  3. How do you feel about MechScape?
  4. What do you expect from MechScape?
  5. What skill do you think should get the biggest update?
  6. How different is the game engine 26-aug-2009 vs game engine 1-jan-2009
  1. Game engine developer and also some management and design overview.
  2. More penguins! Lots more penguins!
  3. Excited.
  4. I think it’s going to be big!
  5. At the moment, Smithing seems overdue, but I want to update most of them.
  6. We have changed thousands of lines of code!


Darkdeeje asks: In the last Q&A I think you confirmed that RuneScape will be ported to consoles in the near future. Any news on that?

We are currently focussing on making the 3D engine more platform independent, so it is easier to port in the future. Our new 3D engine, RuneTek 5 (RT5), has been heavily rewritten to make this possible.


Yevano1 asks: Why has the title on the homepage been changed from Jagex Ltd. to Jagex Games Studio?

We think it better reflects our values, which have always been about making great games.


Cremeans0 asks: Where are the remaining Classic servers being housed? Before the labelling was removed it showed them as being located in London.

They are currently in Nevada, USA.


Purely Pure5 asks: Would Jagex ever be open to allowing players to transfer their possessions from account to account if it could be proved that they were both owned through one person?

No, this is unlikely to happen.


Lol A Pic asks: Andrew, what do you consider to be your favourite game?(besides RuneScape)

Wow, it’s difficult to choose just one! I’ll be blatantly biased and say Arcanists on FunOrb.com. If you want me to choose a non-Jagex game, I still think the original Half-Life 2 is hard to beat.


Mage 2 Grave asks: When you first started RuneScape, all those years ago. Did you ever imagine it to turn out how it has? And are you truly happy with how it is today, and where it’s heading?

No, I had no idea. I thought it was just another game, that like all the ones before would be ‘done’ in a few months and I’d be on to the next one. I never imagined I’d still be making it nine years later! I’m happy with it, but there is still a LOT more I want to improve.


Perduta asks: Andrew, I know you passionate are about PvP. But Pk-ers need someone to pk yet there no incentive for ordinary players come PvP world, is there? I quite happy am, risk in PvP if Jagex gives skiller way to realize EP without usin "tricks". I also enjoy PvP when it involves strategy and skill not just depends on acquired levels. Please tell us more of your inspirations for PvP.

PvP seems to be one of the hardest areas of the game to get right and certainly one of the most controversial areas to adjust even slightly. It’s difficult because any change will inevitably slightly help one player, but at the expense of another and the person who loses out WILL then complain, loudly! I don’t think PvP has been through particularly more revisions than many other aspects of the game but unavoidably, every time it’s changed, it’s controversial and a big deal!

I’m still determined to get it right, though. At the moment, I’m happier with the state of PvP in the game than I have been for a long time and the number of people we see currently choosing to PvP backs up that it’s more popular than ever.


Stefan456 asks: Do you ever feel you get credit for things other employees at Jagex deserve?

All the time. :P


Timdcz asks: Is there going to be a RuneScape Movie? I found some info that may lead to one somewhere on these forums.

I’d love to do a RuneScape movie. It would be very good for my ego! Not sure if it will ever happen, though, it would be a truly enormous undertaking! Not something to do lightly.


Gildroy7 asks: How do you (Andrew) as one man think you have progressed since the days of Devious MUD in your Attick? Can we expect a Devious MUD Release on FunOrb? I understand it's old, but I am very interested in your early work.

DeviousMUD isn’t really playable; it was more of a tech test. It runs, but has barely any content. It certainly wouldn’t be possible to release on FunOrb. I keep meaning to post a video of it but haven’t got round to it yet!


Ivl 3 Man asks: Has growing up In the UK inspired you towards medieval type things, such as the basis for RuneScape’s overall theme?

I suspect the inspiration has more come from other fantasy books, games and films. It’s hard to be sure - it’s just what feels right!


Makoto D asks: When will the RS client/server be ported to a 64-bit platform, and when will 64-bit operating systems be supported in an official capacity?

The client has already been ported to 64-bit and should work on 64-bit operating systems right now! We test the client on 64-bit Vista (with 64-bit Java) as part of our standard compatibility testing process each week.

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