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This Developer Blog is copied verbatim from the RuneScape website. It is copyrighted by Jagex.
It is written by Mod Jack H and is dated 15 September 2009.
Retro Revival

What is Classic?

Dev diary classic bank

RSC's bank interface

For those who do not know, RuneScape Classic is the name we now use to refer to the very first version of RuneScape, the original basis for RuneScape as it is today. As discussed in the RuneTek 5 blog, RuneScape Classic was RuneTek 2. When we upgraded the game engine to RuneTek 3, we renamed the first game to RuneScape Classic, and the RT3 engine took over the RuneScape moniker.

That RT3 engine has long since evolved, through RT4 (High Details) and the now all-encompassing RT5 (the version of RuneScape we all play today). But we do still run a version of RuneScape Classic on our servers for those people who have continued to play it over the years. We’re currently working on a project to revamp RuneScape Classic and open it up again to everyone who wants to play.

Introduction from Mod Mark

Dev diary classic baxtorian

Baxtorian Falls, Classic-style

Mod Mark: When Mod MMG joined the company, the first thing he and I spoke about was RuneScape Classic (often just called ‘Classic’). He wanted to know more about this "retro" version of RuneScape, and was surprised when I told him we had closed account creation, but that the game was still running. Despite the fact we had not supported the product for years (with updates), we still had an active player base. He was keen for me to liaise with the other Classic fans in the company to work out what needed to be fixed in order for us to relaunch it.

This was the best news I had heard in ages, because Classic has always been very important to us as a company, and as individual players of the game. Without Classic, the current versions of RuneScape simply would not exist. It made us who we are today. Not supporting it was really quite painful for us, but it had just become impossible to support due to the movement in technologies in the new version of the game. I’ll hand you over to Mod Jack H, the developer for this project, to give some more details.

Over to the developer

Dev diary classic clawsofguthix

Classic 'Claws of Guthix'

I have to admit it was a bit of a surprise when I was told that I would now be working on RuneScape Classic! The game had not been updated for years, only a few people who had worked on it were still with the company, and nobody could really remember the details of how it worked. But Classic was about to become the basis for a totally new idea for Jagex: player-owned virtual servers. But I’m getting ahead of myself...

My first job was to get Classic into a state in which we could release it again. The Jagex systems which handle updating and releasing new content and game engine updates have moved on a long way since Classic was last released. In order to be able to make changes to the game again, I had to fit it out with the same systems that RuneScape uses to handle things like loading the game code, downloading the content (such as maps, 3D models and sprites), managing your Friends and Ignore lists, and sending abuse reports. I also had to add support for the new display names system that Mod Duncan is working on, and we got some bonuses, like the ability to private chat between Classic and RS2.

So far, we would have had to do all this anyway, because the display names project affects all our games (including Classic), so it had to be updated to support it and we had to be able to release it again. But Andrew and Mod MMG had much bigger ideas for Classic. They wanted to make it available to new players again, and solve the problems that caused it to be restricted in the first place.

The problem that needed solving was how to stop the macroing which was crippling Classic without changing the game. We didn’t want to add to Classic all the measures to stop macroing and cheating that we’ve developed for RuneScape, because that would stop Classic being Classic. We could have just enabled all the cheat codes in the game so macroing would become pointless, but that would make the game quite pointless too. So here’s what we came up with...

And then over to you...?

Dev diary classic delrith

Demon Slayer's first incarnation

How about if players could rent and administer their own Classic servers? As a server owner, you could enable or disable any cheat codes you liked, add people to the invite list or banned list, or give individual friends any privileges you liked within your world. In this way, the activities of macroers would become pointless, as you could go on to a cheating-enabled world and get all the stuff you wanted for free if you wanted, but there would still be worlds where you’d have the satisfaction of knowing you worked for your stuff. I should explain that your character would be saved separately for each world, so you couldn’t cheat on one world then use the stuff you gained on a non-cheating world. The different rules set by the owner of each world would really make each world a different game, with different people in positions of power, wielding cheat codes and unleashing Classic’s most awesome spells and items, or making everyone work to get ahead...

Finally, to reassure our loyal Classic members who’ve stuck with the game all the way through, these new ‘player-run’ Classic worlds will be in ADDITION to the two restricted Classic worlds we already operate. We plan to leave those unchanged and not invaded by lots of newcomers or cheat codes.

We reckon this will be a lot of fun, but what do you think of the idea? It’s going to be a lot of work for us to make it a reality as we’ve never done anything like this before. Would you rent a server? How much would you be willing to pay? What sort of features would you want to see? Do you have any other comments or suggestions? Let us know.

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