Free-to-play MMORPG RuneScape [official site] is still ticking away after fifteen years, with developers Jagex actively updating it. The latest was a pretty big one, bringing a new game client and engine named NXT which finally takes the game away from Java and makes it look a fair bit prettier - while running faster than the previous version. For starters, the game is no longer choked in distance fog like Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. Seriously, look at this before/after comparison, it's wild:
Sure, it's hardly the prettiest game under the sun, but RuneScape's meant to run on basically any PC from the past decade. To look that much better and still run faster, yep, that's good. Or a damning indictment of what they'd done before?
Those new shinies include, Jagex say, "massively extended draw distances, up to four times greater than before, and the introduction of all-new water effects, complete with real-time reflexion and refraction, and full dynamic lighting and shadow casting." This isn't the end either, as they say they also plan to add "normal maps, higher-resolution textures, volumetric lighting and an improved animation system."
Download the new installer if you fancy a play.
RuneScape is a game which seems to have been seminal for a few people I've known, especially in the UK, but which entirely passed me by. My MMOing basically went from Graal Online to Guild Wars, then faded out to occasional stabs at WoW and EVE. Tell me, what's the big deal?