This Winter Summit, we discussed the future of the official Old School RuneScape client.
The Audio Read
Check out this trailer from the Winter Summit where Mod West takes us through all things HD.
Over the last few years, we’ve been bolstering our official client with a range of exciting upgrades. We’ve added quality of life features, enabled greater account security, and generally improved player experience across the board – but we can still do better. That’s why 2024 is going to be our biggest year for client updates yet!
If you watched the Winter Summit, you’ll already know that we have two major features planned for this year: Official HD Mode and the Official Client Plugin API.
We want to get one thing out of the way before we dive in – you will still be able to use 117Scape and HDOS after these updates launch. Our policy regarding these alternative clients remains the same.
Right - it gets pretty technical from here on out, so don your nerdiest specs and hold on to your bowties… we’re going in.
Use the slider to compare modes. Please note HD is still a work in progress.
We’ve been quiet about this update since we first announced it a few years ago, and since then we’ve seen plenty of speculation about it. It’s time to put the rumours to bed – Official HD Mode is coming, and we’re ready to show off everything we’ve been working on!
At its core, HD Mode has always been about keeping Old School RuneScape’s unique visual identity safe, while embracing the enhanced graphical features players have come to expect from their games.
Now, all art is subjective – we know going in that some of you prefer Old School the way it is. That’s why Official HD Mode will be a completely optional feature. When this update launches, you’ll be able to choose between HD and SD modes – the latter being the Old School graphics you know and love, and the former being our new, improved version. In a moment, we’ll see exactly how that’s going to work.
Before that, though, we want to clarify that we’re going to work closely with the community when it comes to what HD mode should look like – it’s for you, after all! You can expect plenty of feedback opportunities – including Beta tests – as we continue to refine HD mode in line with our community’s expectations. In fact, we plan to have a playable Alpha in your hands very soon, followed by an always-on Beta once we’re comfortable with its performance.
Now, let’s take a look under the hood…
Old School RuneScape’s new HD Mode will be powered by our in-house renderer, Runetek. This lovely bit o’ kit will help push our graphical capabilities to new heights, and with the latest update, we’ll be able to provide all the modern features you’ve come to expect from a game client..
Runetek will completely replace our current renderer – but as you’ve already seen, that doesn’t spell the end for Old School’s classic art style. This is achieved with a nifty bit of art trickery. After the update, you’ll be able to choose between SD (your classic Old School look) and HD Modes. SD mode is actually Runetek running a custom emulation that allows us to replicate the original 2007 look with pixel-perfect accuracy – while letting you enjoy all the benefits that come with Runetek’s advanced rendering capabilities. It’s pure, unchanged, 2007Scape..
Meanwhile, the HD mode is exactly what it says on the tin – high-definition versions of all the original models and maps, with loads of new graphical features that will let you push Old School’s visuals further than ever before..
What’s more, you’ll be able to switch between these two modes at the touch of a button – so if you fancy a trip down memory lane, 2007 is only a Settings menu away.
Most excitingly of all, you’ll be able to enjoy HD Mode even while playing on a mobile device – and again, mobile users will be able to seamlessly switch between both modes whenever they feel like it.
So, let’s hear more about the swanky new features you’ll find in HD mode. First up, Runetek allows for fully dynamic lighting of the game world, including sunlight effects and control over indirect lighting intensities. The short of it is that this technology lets the world feel truly alive – and it’s absolutely beautiful to look at!
Our new debug tools let us tweak each individual setting to give every area in the game world its own unique feel. We’ve also introduced volumetric lighting, which lets us add volumetric fog and god ray support to our main source of sunlight.
Fog is now also supported through a feature called light scattering. This system creates believable fog falloff that interacts with the geometry of the scene, sunlight, and volumetric lighting to create a consistent and grounded feel within the game world. Combined with improved anti-aliasing solutions and screen space ambient occlusion, we can build compelling lighting settings that elevate the Old School experience while remaining true to our unique aesthetic.
The initial HD release will come with all the features listed above – but we’re not stopping there. We’re already working on the next batch of features, which we plan to release later in the year. These features include a brand-new water system with optional real-time reflections and multiple water presets. Before you ask – yes, we do plan to roll this out in time for Sailing.
We’ve also been researching skydome systems, which will allow us to add something unseen in Gielinor for more than 20 years – weather! By adding clouds and other atmospheric effects, we’ll be able to craft bespoke lighting settings for all the different biomes in Gielinor. No more will the accursed skies of Morytania look identical to the pleasant, sunny shores of Brimhaven beach.
Finally, we’re adding point lights and emissive material systems. This will enable us to add glowing fires, sparkly magic, and flaming projectiles that all appear to emit their own light.
Our next big update brings something that you RuneLite users have been asking for for some time – Plugins!
Those of you who play Old School using the RuneLite client are likely familiar with its Plugin Library, a selection of add-ons that expand your gameplay options – from quality-of-life features to specific helpers for certain kinds of content. While we’ve slowly been adding some of the most popular plugins as standard features, we want to offer something even better in 2024.
We’re working on a new Plugin API and Plugin Hub, built directly into the Official Client. That’s exciting enough in itself, but it also means that mobile users will be able to use Plugins for the first time in Old School history. Switching from PC to Mobile will be easier than ever – you’ll have your favourite helpers lined up and ready to use, no matter which platform you’re playing on.
Most importantly, we’re committed to ensuring that all the Plugins offered through our Official Client are safe, secure, and compliant with our Terms of Service. We’re working closely with the creators of the most popular Plugins to get their feedback on the initial functions we’re making available. We’re also looking into ways to moderate and approve Plugins to make sure that our high safety and security standards are met.
We’re still in the planning stages of this project, so we don’t have much to show you at the moment. This is a big, multi-stage process, and the first real update won’t be happening for at least a month or two. That said, Plugins are a big part of the future of our client – we’re excited to build on this idea and bring the community on board to collaborate with our most ambitious client feature yet.
With both of these major updates underway, we’re very excited for the future of the Official Old School RuneScape Client. Stay tuned for more news later this year!
Mods Abyss, Arcane, Archie, Argo, Ash, Ayiza, Blossom, Boko, Bruno, Chilly, Crystal, Curse, Daizong, Dylan, Ed, Elena, Enigma, Errol, Gecko, Gizmo, Goblin, Grub, Halo, Harold, Hend, Hooti, Hornet, Husky, Jalo, Jerv, Keyser, Kieren, Kirby, Kurotou, Lenny, Light, Mack, Manked, Markos, Maylea, Meat, Moogle, Morty, Necro, Nox, Nylu, Other, Pumpkin, Redfield, Regent, Rice, Roq, Ry, Sarnie, Shroom, Sigma, Skane, Skylark, Smithy, Sova, Squid, Starry, Surma, Sween, Tide, Titus, Torrance, Tsourorf, Tyran, Veda, Vegard, West & Wolfy
The Old School Team.