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The New Runescape Client ~ NXT (a C++ Client) - Developer Blog

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#1
Miss Lioness
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The New Game Client - how it all started, past, present and future...

It’s been a year and a half since the beta release of the HTML5 RuneScape 3 client. As we mentioned at RuneFest, we’ve since begun work on another brand new game client, and you may be wondering why we’re trying this again.

We knew from the start that the HTML5 client was experimental, and as we came to the optimisation phase it became clear that it wasn¹t going to be good enough, due to fundamental constraints with the platform (Javascript and the web browsers). In terms of performance, it would never be good enough to replace the Java client. 

After much deliberation, we all agreed that the weaknesses of the HTML client couldn’t be worked around, and that the RuneScape community (and developers too) deserved something really awesome in its stead. This could only mean one thing: we decided to take everything we’d learned from our first attempt, and start afresh.

A unanimous decision was made to begin work on a brand-new, cross-platform, C++ RuneScape client. The back-end code (rendering, audio, networking, build systems, etc.) would be written from scratch, but for the client code itself we would port the HTML5 code base to C++. This way, we made the most of the work we’d already done, while focusing on fixing the bits that just didn’t work.

Now, you may wonder why we need to create a new client at all – why not just stick with the technology that’s served RuneScape so far?

Firstly, the Java language is no longer fit for purpose as a modern game client solution. Even major browsers are going to stop supporting it soon, starting with Chrome, and with Firefox following suit soon after. 

Secondly - and most importantly - both Java and Javascript have no real scope for performance-critical software and graphics rendering. C++, on the other hand, gives us total control over performance and rendering. It means that we'll be able to provide even better visuals than you currently enjoy, with better performance to boot. 

Sounds too good to be true? Actually it isn't, and our progress so far gives us confidence we can meet these goals. Adding to that, C++ is the best cross-platform language and gives us more scope for getting RS working on non-Windows platforms with the best possible performance (e.g. Linux, OSX, more web browsers), etc. 

The bottom line... the existing client software doesn’t do justice to what RuneScape can be and has significant drawbacks which are getting worse over time. We have to adapt, and this is the best way forward!

Today, things are shaping up nicely. We're nearly finished implementing the core client features, with visuals and performance already better than the Java client. To whet your appetites, here's a brief summary of what the new client aims to deliver:

● Better performance over existing Java client
● Better visual than HTML5 RS3 client
● More platform and OS support (Windows XP/7/8, OSX, Linux, web browser)
● Improved loading speed
● Improved draw distances over Java
● Improved graphics:
- Global illumination lighting (irradiance via spherical harmonics and ambient occlusion)
- Atmospheric light scattering
- Cascaded shadow maps (highly detailed sun shadows over larger distances)
- Improved post-processing
- Improved reflections
- Gamma correct and HDR rendering pipeline

The list goes on, but I'll save details for future blog posts that will aim to satisfy the more technical among you, and hopefully answer your questions.

We're going to make every effort possible to give you a better RS experience, without losing certain features of the Java client that some of you have grown to love. Ultimately, we have to do what’s best for RuneScape - all we ask is that you keep an open mind, and trust us. You won't be disappointed.

Mod Lordgit
Lead Graphics Programmer

 

Some pictures were released with the post as well:

 

NkMyyEZ.jpg2jTJ928.jpgMTtXNya.jpg

hcldu73.jpgNcKUMMn.jpg


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#2
Arceus
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The pictures look nice...and looks like RuneScape survives Java, good job I guess :P. Now let's get a C++ beta out and hope this one has a better fate than HTML5!


"Fight for what you believe in, and believe in what you're fighting for." Can games be art?
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#3
Wkw
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I'm excited for a standalone client, so long as we can tone down on everything being so dark...

aaaaauserbar.gif

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Runescape player since January 2005
Ego Sum Deus Quo Malum Caligo et Barathum


 


#4
Hedgehog
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Been telling them to do this for ages. Glad they finally listened



#5
Urza285
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Those pictures definitely crap on html5.

Me likey!



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#6
Hajutze
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God I need new glasses ... that shit looks ... the same.



#7
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http://imgur.com/a/xoDUq

 

You can compare new with old here. :)



#8
Hajutze
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I guess I am buying them glasses next thing tomorrow, there is a difference (not buying new glasses, but thanks for the link)



#9
Arceus
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http://imgur.com/a/xoDUq

 

You can compare new with old here. :)

"And then along came the C++ client, and Ashdale was rainbow city no more..."

 

Yeah, some of the colors look more muted on the right and some more lively. Kind of interesting how that's the case, but overall I do like the set on the right better. Now let's see Daemonheim and if we're still going to be Dungeoneering in the Dark in high detail.


"Fight for what you believe in, and believe in what you're fighting for." Can games be art?
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#10
Kassie!
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It's definitely interesting to say the least.


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#11
Urza285
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I think people will be most concerned with the load times for moving between areas.



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#12
Miss Lioness
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Honestly, it looks more realistically with the C++, far less vibrant fantasy like.


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be?~ Marianne Williamson


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#13
Ring_World
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I'm honestly surprised they didnt write a c++ client years ago, maybe they didnt have the resources to do so until EoC era?



#14
Alg
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Honestly, it looks more realistically with the C++, far less vibrant fantasy like.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. It was a bit too oversaturated before, and the more subtle look is pretty beautiful.



#15
Ring_World
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I think people will be most concerned with the load times for moving between areas.

I think its pretty reasonable to assume that it wont be too different from what it is currently



#16
Ammako
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I think it's pretty reasonable to assume a standalone downloadable client would not have load times for moving between areas.

#17
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I think people will be most concerned with the load times for moving between areas.

 

 Literally from the blog:

● Improved loading speed



#18
Arceus
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I think it's pretty reasonable to assume a standalone downloadable client would not have load times for moving between areas.

Now that would be awesome, but what exactly is stopping them from doing this with the current client/setup again? I have a ton of free hard drive space just sitting there...


"Fight for what you believe in, and believe in what you're fighting for." Can games be art?
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#19
essiw
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gives us more scope for getting RS working on non-Windows platforms with the best possible performance (e.g. Linux, OSX, more web browsers), etc.

 
YES, finally, runescape works like crap on a mac, even compared to a windows computer with specs half as good as my mac has... (not saying that my mac has good specs... but should be good enough for runescape).

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#20
Veiva
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I love all the Dunning-Kruger sufferers on various places trashing Java and proclaiming how much better C++ is without knowing any of the technical details.

If I had the time, I'd correct every one of them, but oh well!

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