It's Game Jam time again, and we're ready to reveal the latest ideas from the J-Mods! Read on for all the cool new concepts that came out of October's Jam, from new board game locations to Daemonheim Archaeology and beyond…
All About Game Jam
Game Jams are a chance for developers to form small teams and conceptualise, design, and build a functioning version of one or more game projects. To allow for total focus, this activity takes place over a restricted period - anything from a few hours to a number of days. At Jagex we run a week-long Game Jam every few months.
Why We Jam
Game Jam sessions are an important part of the creative process. They give us time and space to think outside the Umbral Chest - to be proactive not just reactive. We can experiment and come up with new ideas that wouldn't have occurred to us in normal dev time.
We can also focus on projects we're passionate about that don't make the priority list or keep getting pushed back.
We run Game Jams regularly because they give us inspiration, help us to improve the game and allow us to experiment with new working practices we've not tried yet!
How does it work?
Everyone at Jagex can join the Jam, including non-developers. We often see people in other departments joining in the fun, because of course they love games too! Participants organise themselves into small groups, then spend a few days brainstorming, discussing and building.
On the final day all the teams present their prototypes, and everyone joins in to feed back. The best ideas might lead to direct improvements (for example Mod Blkwitch and Mod Alex's graphical update for a large part of the free-to-play area) or they might be considered for future content drops. Game Jams can even lead to something major like a new skill…
Now let's see what our Mods were working on during October's Game Jam!
October Game Jam: The Ideas
Concept: Auras (except Greenfingers Aura) are now paused while you are logged out.
Mod: Mod Frosch
Dev comment: “I know that players have been asking for this feature for years! A lot of you aren't able to take full advantage of your Auras at the moment, due to real-life responsibilities that get in the way of long, uninterrupted play sessions. This change would motivate players to make more use of their Auras, even if they don't have a lot of time to play in one sitting.”
ICTHLARIN'S LITTLE HELPER QUEST IMPROVEMENT
Mod: Mod Stu
Concept: Smooth some of this intermediate quest's rougher gameplay edges, considering features that have since been added as well as our contemporary quest design guidelines.
- You would no longer need to supply the quest giver with a Tinderbox (nowadays a Tool Belt item) and a full Waterskin (which a player will likely sip from while talking to her).
- You'd see the edges of the trap doors in Klenter's Pyramid. If you fall into a trap door, it would remain open for a couple minutes, and would be visible to other players.
- The RNG failure mechanics would be toned down, for example the high likelihood (even with 99 Agility) that you fall into a pit near the end of Klenter's Pyramid, meaning you have to repeat the Pyramid's traps and hazards.
- Since items on your Tool Belt are now used and Menaphos exists, you could get sap from nearby Acadia trees, generally find the information you need on the critical path, and your interactions would be more mobile-friendly.
“I picked Icthlarin's Little Helper because it has some appealing rewards (e.g the Sophanem Slayer Dungeon, double Slayer points via Smoking Kills) but also mechanics that are likely to frustrate non-questers or encourage the habit of following a quest guide. The whole experience could be significantly improved with a few quick content fixes, rather than requiring a full rework.”
Bonus Game Jam Stu-ff:
- (Released in October 24th's update - see Patch Notes!) Removed the more egregious requirements from my Wandering Ga'al miniquest (no more Runeday/10 Obsidian Shards requirement).
- Skill pure accommodations - options for Nastroth to block XP in skills of your choice and to reset XP in a skill you've over-levelled (pending design approval).
- (Released in October 24th's update - see Patch Notes!) Adjusted the position of some quests in the Timeline Sort of the Quest List. This one was requested by the lore community on the RuneScape Discord!
Mod: Mod Chaose
Concept: A new Daemonheim Archaeology mini-site and narrative.
“While working on potential Dungeoneering Ninja fixes I was reminded of how many mysteries and narrative plot threads were left unanswered by the shift in development for the skill.
Given the success of Archaeology at the Senntisten mini-site, plus the fact that the skill has lots of frustrating level gaps (especially around the 70s and 80s) I thought there was a way we could solve this problem using Daemonheim. My goal over the course of the week was to create a full design for a mini-site, decide what questions I wanted to pose and answer, and provide some tension at the end.
The obvious plot points are 'Why the heck is there a Dragonkin settlement here?' and 'What exactly was Bilrach trying to achieve down in the depths?' There are some other plots woven into the design and I found an opportunity to possibly tease some future content as well.
While the project hasn't had official signoff yet, it was a good opportunity to flex some design muscles. As it stands the design is almost complete, but I still need to do a bulk of the writing and the actual development.”
Mods: Mod Samy and Mod Asherz
Concept: Player avatars are beamed across the abyss and replicated on separate worlds. What you do on one world can be seen on another!
“Some locations in RuneScape can get lonely, especially when you play on a quiet world. Cross-world presence helps to address this by connecting a number of worlds together, allowing player avatars to be shared across them in appropriate locations such as the Grand Exchange or the War's Retreat. If World 101 and World 13 were connected for example, that would mean when I play on World 101 I could see players from World 13 - and they could see me too!
Remote player from World 13 as seen from the perspective of a player on World 101.
Because we're not on the same world, interactions such as trade, duelling and request assistance don't work - if players wanted to do these things together they'd need to hop to the same world. Ideally, we'd remove these interactions and perhaps add a new 'join world' right-click option, but we ran out of time!
Player on World 101 attempts to trade with a remote player from World 13.
Crucially, in-game public chat is shared across worlds, allowing you to do as much socialising as you like. To help differentiate remote players from players that are actually on your world, we've added an indicator to the player's username, e.g '(W: 13)' means that this player is on World 13. Given the time we would've also loved to make remote players obvious from appearance alone.
Example public chat with a remote player.
When you leave the bounds of the shared area, your avatar is no longer shared cross-world, and remote players will no longer be able to see you on their world. However, you will still be able to peer into shared areas and see remote players there from a distance - effectively making the entrance to the Grand Exchange an archway into a more populated zone!
Perspective from each linked world when there's a player outside of the shared area. The player on World 13 cannot see the player on World 101 as they've left the shared area.
At this point you may be thinking - 'why not work on bigger servers or technology such as layering or sharding which allow players to connect to different servers seamlessly?' Well, while ideal, that would involve fundamentally re-designing how RuneScape works. From an engine and content perspective, it's just too much work at the moment! That's precisely why this refined approach is more realistic and gets us what we want - more social interaction among players.
Now, let's be clear: this technology isn't ready to release and isn't on the roadmap. Think of it more as a cool technical demonstration of what we could achieve with cross-world presence. If there's an appetite for it, however, I'm sure we can get the ball rolling! That's precisely why we're curious to hear what you think and any ideas you may have to utilise this technology. There have already been some fascinating ideas come up internally, such as allowing free-to-play and subscribed players see each other on their own respective worlds. What do you think?
Oh, and before we forget! In case you were wondering, yes, you can cross-world dance! Three players, three separate worlds, one dance. Cross-world presence - bringing players together.”
CROESUS QOL IMPROVEMENTS
Mod: Mod Desert
Concept: Quality of Life improvements to the Croesus experience.
Dev Comment: “While taking Croesus in my spare time, a few things were annoying me, so I decided to improve them. Here are the things that I looked at changing, with video:
- Preventing auto-collect running under most circumstances.
- The scavenging legendary pets, Seedicide and Charming Imp, no longer try or succeed at taking the boss loot to your Backpack. They will still work to convert things to XP, they just won't fill up your backpack.
- Allowing examine of statues and storages to show more information.
- Allowing players to rot fungus without interrupting current action.
- Allowing Bladed Dive onto skilling nodes!
- Plus, there's a teaser around adding Bladed Dive to Archaeology… oooh…
BOARD GAMES AROUND GIELINOR
Mod: Mod Luma
Concept: Putting board games around the world in multiple locations.
Board games have long been neglected, down in the dingy basement of Burthorpe Castle. It would be nice to be able to play them in other locations throughout the game! This would mean:
- Board games in all sorts of places including taverns, the Grand Exchange, Falador Party Room, Menaphos, and Prifddinas (choose from Draughts, Runelink, Runeversi and Runesquares).
- Five new achievements.
- Four new titles, to show off your board game mastery!”
Mod: Mod Sponge
Concept: Removing some of the inconsistencies from combat.
“Hit Chance buffs can be very hard to truly understand because there's no determined order for them, and values are calculated after each buff. For example, using 50% Hit Chance when equipping a Reaver's Ring (-5%) and summoning a Nihil (+5%) you'd probably expect to still be at 50% Hit Chance, however they'd actually be at around 49.8%. In the prototype I:
- Rewrote buffs so they apply in a consistent order - absolute value increases now always apply before % value increases.
- Made it so buffs are totalled and then that total is applied once (in the Reaver example above, a Reaver would essentially just cancel out a Nihil).
- Removed some outdated exceptions to buffs such as Salve Amulets not working against all undead (Barrows) or Darklight not working against K'ril
- Reduced the complexity of the system so bugs are less likely to occur for new modifiers.
I also began doing the same for the damage calculation part of the combat system, reducing the overall complexity from a developer side, so we can then look at condensing down all the damage modifiers into fewer areas (and therefore making them easier for players to understand).
Additionally, I looked at giving Berserker Auras a small rework, which would involve:
- Extending their duration to an hour.
- Ensuring damage boost is now applied whilst damage-boosting ultimates are active (e.g. Sunshine).
- Removing the stat boost.
- Removing the accuracy boost.
Those are the Game Jam concepts - which one is your favourite? Would you like to see them added to the game? Let us know on the usual channels, and perhaps we'll see them in a future update!