The future of RuneScape technology
Over the past 18 years we have always tried to keep innovation at the heart of what we do. From our beginnings as a Java-based browser game to where we are today, we have come a long way.
Java was a wonderful home for RuneScape for many years, but the need to split our attention across both the older RuneScape Java client and the newer NXT client for desktop and mobile has meant the latter has evolved slower than we would have liked.
So today we want to discuss our current development priorities, and confirm some changes designed to ensure the game we all love gets better and better.
Enabling cross play between PC and mobile (and laying groundwork for other platform growth if that’s the direction we choose) has been a huge undertaking. Desktop remains our primary development platform, but getting RuneScape right on mobile has been a major priority for the team over the last couple of years. Now the end is in sight.
We cannot wait to see more players enjoying RuneScape on their phones following our Early Access launch on Android last week. Your feedback will be vital, so please reach out and tell us what you think!
And before you ask, we definitely haven’t forgotten about iOS players. Work continues in the background and we committed to getting it in your hands as soon as we can. We should have more news in the new year – we ask for a bit more patience.
At RuneFest, we showcased several Core Experience prototypes currently being examined including loading improvements, new rendering systems, new stencilling and silhouette tech that makes densely built areas easier to navigate and big changes to the movement system.
Due to the hugely positive reception, we have fast tracked some of this work and hope to release the first of these innovations, smoother player movement, in the coming weeks.
Beyond this, there will be significant upgrades in 2020 with continuing expansion and improvements to the versions of NXT on all platforms.
Since 2016, RuneScape has been living a double life. Most players using the newer NXT client while only a shrinking few have stuck with Java. A lot of effort has gone into making NXT run better on older machines, and we’re now at the place where it’s the significantly the best option for most players.
So, we’ve made the decision to shift our focus exclusively to the NXT version of RuneScape and to close all access and play through the Java client.
From today, new downloads of the Java client will no longer be available. We will spend the coming weeks troubleshooting issues with the community and supporting those directly affected by this transition. The exact closure date remains TBC, but we expect this to happen by the end of 2019.
The Java client is currently used by fewer than 4% of RuneScape players. In most cases, we can see these players tried NXT back when it first launched in April 2016, hit technical issues and have never tried since. We are much more confident that the vast majority should now be able to jump over to NXT with no problem at all.
For the small number of players who own much older machines or are still running dated versions of Windows and still encounter issues, you can find information and contact us if needed from the Technical help section of the Support centre.
Together we can make this transition as smooth as possible. We honestly believe that the switch to NXT only is a huge opportunity for RuneScape and its players.