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Up to date as of February 07, 2010
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From the RuneScape Wiki, the wiki for all things RuneScape

This article is about RuneScape's graphics in general. For comparison of old graphics with new, see Graphical improvements.



An image of shadows in the desert.
A player up-close before and after the graphical update.

The graphics in RuneScape have been a continuously evolving part of the game over the 7 years that it has been released. As the internet connections and performance of player's computer have improved, Jagex has gradually increased the levels of detail available to players.

In RuneScape Classic players saw a game which had only 4 separate views, one in each of the cardinal directions (North, East, South, West) and players, monsters and animals were 2D sprites in a fairly low detailed world.

With the release of RuneScape 2 (now called RuneScape), Jagex unleashed a 3D engine[1], complete with 3D models and as a result, the graphics of the game were much improved. Two levels of detail, high and low, change the amount of texture in various locations around the game.

As the RuneScape game-world began to expand, with the release of new member's areas and various visual effects (Snow on Trollweiss Mountain and the electrical effects in the Killerwatt plane), Jagex and the players realised that older and more visited places were being left behind. This resulted in a series of graphical updates, mainly to Free-to-play areas of RuneScape - such as Varrock and Falador, although also to the TzHaar region. These updates still continue.

One of the most important graphical-related update is RuneScape High Detail (also named RSHD). The first sneak-previews of this were seen in An Image of the Future and the follow-up An Image of the Not-Too-Distant Future. In the May Development Diary: A New Look RuneScape!, they have further expanded upon this.

We've considered a hardware-rendered version of RuneScape a number of times in the past, but it was only two years ago that we felt Java was mature enough.” We knew the things we wanted – textures, shadows, lighting, fullscreen – and it seemed the right time to start, as Andrew continues: “I tasked the Tools team to run a feasibility study to verify if it was possible to do what we wanted to do.
— Andrew Gower[2]

RuneScape High Detail finally came out on 1 July 2008 as a beta to members and, on 14th July, to all players. This gave many new changes to RuneScape graphics: fullscreen mode, animated and further shadowing, distance fogging and antialiasing are only some to be named. Later, also resized screen mode was released.

Another very important update is RuneTek5, which was released on 2nd September 2009. This gave many advantages to Standard Detail, including fullscreen and resizeable screen modes, distance fogging, underwater visibility, ground blending and smoothing. The updated HD version included even further shadowing, particle effects and more detailed map, which, in the case of last two, were also given to SD. Graphical objects still to be added to the game are sky boxes, bloom lighting effects and water reflections. Another very important detail about RuneTek5 is that it took RuneScape another step closer to become a console game.

RuneScape HD

Main article: RuneScape High Detail

RuneScape High Detail was released on 1th July 2009, and since then it has received numerous updates.



The numerous differences between RuneScape High Detail and RuneScape Standard Detail are:

  • The graphics on the whole has gotten massive upgrade.
  • The face in the talking panel when talking to NPCs has gotten a massive overhaul.
  • Textures on the ground, players and NPCs, monsters and just about everything.
  • Water looks like water, being semi-transparent and seeing where rocks originate from.
  • There's a shadow to everything, including moving shadows (flags, for example).
  • Blending in ground textures, showing things like dark soil merging to lighter soil.
  • Fullscreen and Resizeable mode.
  • Instead of being black around the edge of world where you are, a fog will take its place.

Two last ones were added to RuneScape SD with RuneTek5

Here are some of the sneak-preview pictures which were included in An Image of the Future and the follow-up An Image of the Not-Too-Distant Future developer's blogs.

List of updates







  1. ^ Andrew Gower. RuneScape 2 Beta is Here!. 1-Dec-2003. RuneScape News. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  2. ^ Andrew Gower. A New Look RuneScape: Part 1. 28 May 2009. Developers' Blogs. Retrieved 20 December 2009.

This article uses material from the "Graphics" article on the Runescape wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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