Alex’s Analysis – Runescape on the Go

posted by on 26th July 2017, at 3:59pm | Discuss Article

RuneScape on Mobile. Let that sink in for a moment. A game out since 2001, before mobile phones were even a thing. 16 years of intense work, progress, and close-calls (see 15-year anniversary biography), and after all this time, we finally are starting to see RuneScape leave the confines of the desktop and become a game one can play on the bus.

Surprised? I know I was.

Back in 2013, when I went to RuneFest, I got an incredibly lucky opportunity to chat one-on-one with Mark Gerhard, Jagex CEO (at the time). Among our conversation, I had mentioned that I was part of a developer team who specialized in new technologies and HTML/Javascript on mobile. He told me that while there were indeed plans to get into mobile at the time, it probably wasn’t going to happen for a while. Namely the limitations of mobile and the intensity of the code-behind that RuneScape already had, which appeared to be a hybrid between (if I recall correctly) Javascript, C++, and their own Runescript framework. They took the best parts out of the frameworks (eg: Javascript is a slow compiler compared to C++) and really wrangled it down into an optimal state. Very impressive.

Off-topic, I also mentioned a desire to join the team one day after I got more proficient in programming. He figured RuneScape would be around for a while yet, so that could definitely happen. I would just have to move to England from Canada. … ehh… not saying anything bad about England or anything, it’s just… Canada…

Of course, that was 4 years ago, when the iPhone 5 was still taking off and they were demoing Rise of the Six (that nobody could beat at the time – they really nerfed it for the release). Let that sink in for a moment.

Now, they’ve got the NXT engine, mobile phones are now at least 8x more powerful and capable (tablets are still ehh…), and their team has definitely expanded their horizons lately with things like the Runelabs, achievement scoreboards, and the already-existing Runescape mobile app. … that you can operate the Grand Exchange on and check dailies. But I’m sure you knew about that.

How will this play out, you wonder? Well, based on my experiences with mobile, I can hazard a few guesses.

First off, it would have to be a downloadable app. That’s a given. Because many players would like to play on the move and therefore would have limited bandwidth to work with, I imagine most of the larger assets would be downloaded along with the client, meaning the app itself will have a fairly large download size, and game-play would be minimal. Namely the getting and setting of in-game commands, as well as NPC and other player assets as they appear. They may even add a “low-bandwidth” setting that even minimizes that too, which will either set other players to a much simpler default costume (bald with green pants?), or maybe not even show them at all.

Second off, the scale and detail put into RuneScape, I highly highly doubt you’d be able to get it onto older phone models like the iPhone 4 or 4S. Maybe the 5, but it’ll be a long-shot. Reason being is that the older phones don’t actually have a real GPU that Runescape quite heavily relies on. Such is the reason why you need to download a client and why RuneScape’s so limited on the browser.

Third off, phones actually have a considerably small amount of RAM, so RuneScape will not be able to dynamically load in a whole ton of assets all at once, so we won’t nearly get the depth and intensity that NXT has to offer. However, considering the small screen, that’s to be expected. As such, large-scale bosses like Queen Black Dragon, Araxxor, and Telos might be very difficult on mobile.

Which leads me to my last point; what players would actually do on mobile. As one can expect, mobile’s UI can be limiting because of the size the buttons need to be to be accurately touched, so complicated events like multiplayer bossing will most likely be avoided. Instead, I imagine players would use mobile to do much more lenient, AFKable tasks like fishing, RuneSpan, woodcutting, and other various skill training. Or clan citadel work. Maybe they’ll even just to socialize with random strangers or clan mates. Perhaps even clue scrolls. Actually, I can foresee myself doing clue scrolls on mobile simply because the puzzle boxes and celtic knots might play better on mobile.

Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with mobile, and I really hope it’ll go well for them. If it does, then at the very least, it would inspire me to try harder to get mobile to bend to my will at work. So long as I don’t have to code for any more in-browser apps. Intense work, that is.

Until next time,

Cheers, cannoneers!

Make Apple Great Again: 2017 and Beyond

posted by on 22nd June 2017, at 10:00am | Discuss Article
Every June the tech world looks on to Apple to see what changes Apple will make to its software and online platforms. These announcements happen at WWDC (The World Wide Developers Conference) in California. This year as expected we saw the release of macOS High Sierra, iOS 11, watchOS 4, and tvOS 11. Of all […]

Fixing TV

posted by on 24th May 2017, at 12:49am | Discuss Article
Last month I talked about the problem with TV and how cable companies (at least in North America) are holding back technical innovation. Back in April on RSBANDBUpdate! we discussed YouTube TV and the surrounding issues of cable in North America versus the rest of the world. The consensus reached on that podcast was that […]

The Problem with TV

posted by on 1st May 2017, at 1:24am | Discuss Article
It’s 2017 and TV is still a thing. We’ve made progress in the recent years with the new arrival of streaming services. These streaming services offer broadcast TV shows and in some cases even produce their own first run content. This is a good step forward for reducing reliance on a cable company subscription but […]

The Capabilities of The Modern Web Browser

posted by on 7th March 2017, at 12:19am | Discuss Article
Once upon a time web browsers were used to just view simple static web pages that someone else would host on the internet. Now they’ve become full featured fronts to access all sorts of rich media services and applications. We often spend more time in our web browser than any other application on our devices, […]

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