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about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by yuei2

I wonder why Varrock was left out? Can the place just not be updated without a major graphic rework?

Applying the outfits provided by Yak to Basics to Varrock guards is also in the works. The Lumbridge guards and dark wizards were ready sooner, so we released them ASAP.

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by yuei2

Ah okay cool ty Stu!

Is there a plan on the docket to use the fairy model from Yak track to update the fairies? Or is that a bit too big of a rework graphically?

In terms of a long term plan, yes. (But a plan, much like a traitor, is only a plan until it's executed.)

In terms of immediately available opportunities, we have precisely one fairy model available in the new format (the Yak Track fairy pet named, amusingly enough, Snowflake).

The newly modeled and animated base for that fairy means a big part of the work for a character & animator is done (modeling various fairy hairstyles, outfits, props, etc, is comparably lower than the formidable cost of a whole new species rig), but an artist would still need to model all the variant appearances for each of the unique fairies we want to retain before we could paritively update all the fairies.

So as a content developer, right now my only option available would be to make every fairy look like Snowflake (and disable calls to any old fairy animations that can't be substituted by one of Snowflake's new animations).

In some respects, that scorched-earth homogenous approach could be a helpful way to determine and prioritise precisely which unique fairy addons would be required in a followup pass, and which animations are truly essential. It does promote a certain efficient ruthlessness. It would raise the quality bar, even if it loses much uniqueness.

Unlike city guards, fairies mostly tend to be uniquely named characters with specific defining visual traits. Making every fairy an identical Snowflake probably wouldn't be considered acceptable.

I'd be interested to hear your views on the topic - whether a Zanaris of Snowflake fairies would be preferable to a Zanaris of varied but outdated fairies. Is prettier fairy snow-snow in the short term worth the loss of special snowflakes?

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by Trewavas_

Nice! Any chance of the unicorn and bear models (I recall a bear model was made alongside the Björn pet?) being rolled out as well?

Mod Daze and I recently created tasks on our backlog for each of the known Yak Track models that hadn't been applied to the rest of the game, and according to our outsource manager are signed-off for us to use. That included the unicorn and bear models.

We don't have any artistic resource in our team, though, so as content developers we can only go as far as the assets that are already available.

(So eg can currently update white unicorn mobs, but there isn't currently an adult black unicorn skin or spirit stallion variant, and wacky fringe cases like the unicorn getting squished by a rock in Underground Pass probably aren't compatible. So those'd have to be considered in another pass when an artist is available.)

(And similarly right now we only have the base used for Bjorn the lightning bear, so I can update grizzly bears, but black bears or bear cubs or oddities like the rage bears in A Soul's Bane probably would have to go into the system as art requests.)

But I figure that using the existing assets we have where we can is probably better than not using them, right?

Personally I hope to jump on bears and unicorns first chance I get (I remember the first time I saw a unicorn in Rellekka, and something inside me died), just as Daze has already been a champ and started the guards/wizards.

To manage expectations, though, this is something we're stepping up to do inbetween projects whenever we get a chance. Our assigned projects with scheduled release dates always have higher priority, and free time is a rare occurrence when you update weekly!

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by OlevTime

Now I can impersonate the Lumbridge Guards and lure the noobies to the decked out Dark Wizards

Oh no, what have we done?

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by SangersSequence

wacky fringe cases like the unicorn getting squished by a rock in Underground Pass

I love that this is the level of detail that you care about!

Welcome to my brain. Edge cases. Edge cases everywhere.

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by yuei2

Using what you have is absolutely better even if you can’t do them all at once.

Honestly for like generic mob updates I’d really like to see the new giant rat the most.

Yeah, giant rat's on the list! (At least the most common one that the new base model would suit. There's a surprising number of giant rat variants, so FutureScape retextures ahoy.)

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by darkhawk1005

On the topic of using existing assets, are there any other unused assets that could thrown into a small graphical update pass? I recall there being screenshots shown of updated Seers Village models that were never used.

Not that I'm aware of that are ready to ship and wouldn't require artistic finessing to get up to modern standards.

The Seers' Village rework really didn't get far enough to have salvageable assets I could drop into game now. Most of what you recall with fondness didn't get very far past concept art and placeholder scene blocking, IIRC.

Environmental reworks are best left to environment artists. They can do a miles better job with their eye for detail than a developer substituting models in configs and tweaking the map where necessary. True artists. :)

Fortunately there's plenty of models created for specific projects that could get greater value by being applied to more of the game, with minimal artistic intervention.

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by RunesRath

Really appreciate the technical insight, it helps to understand the scope of the challenge and understand what tough choices have to be made by the various dev teams. It's far more insightful than "It is technically infeasible to update old characters at this time." Dealing with old incompatible animation rigs seems like a big challenge in-particular (Quest cutscenes come to mind for one-off animations).

I can't speak for everyone, but I personally don't think the old fairy models are completely terrible (Though I'm somewhat biased because I remember when they were last overhauled, so they still feel "new" to me, especially since I have a fondness for RSHD 2008-2011 era graphics), so I think maintaining their individuality should be prioritized. Given that - as you said - they tend to be unique and individual characters with special defining traits: I'd personally rather have all the fairies remain "special-snowflakes," rather than become bland cut-and-paste Snowflakes. Though I'd ideally still love to see a future with both modern models, and character individuality.

I definitely see how it's a tough choice, though. What's the cutoff between making sure unique characters remain unique, verses getting a modern rig in-game and working to eliminate visual inconsistencies (Which are very widespread throughout the game)?

Thanks again for the write-up, I love this kind of stuff!

Interesting question! Responding somewhat cynically, the cut-off tends to be when we get a strong negative reaction from players that a change has gone too far (it no longer matches the silhouette of a character), and are forced to revert back or put in a toggle. ;)

Though I'd boldly suggest we're a lot more mindful of being conservative where it matters the most nowadays.

So far from your feedback it's sounding like fairies are one of those sharp edges where it's best to wait 'til there's a library of fairy assets available to at least retain the most memorable elements, given they're largely self-contained to Zanaris.

Fortunately there's plenty of overworld mobs like the city guards that in the short term can provide a far-reaching visual upgrade with minimal loss of distinct character.

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by UnwillingRedditer

First of all, your level of communication is legendary and can't be praised enough.

Is there any internal thoughts about the fact that the 'dark wizard robes' dropped by dark wizards don't match their appearance? I realise they probably can't just be updated to match since the yack track override becoming a copy of al ow level magic armour would suck. Probably just one of those things we have to put up with.

Thank you! Hmm, that's a tricky one.

From our perspective, we certainly could update dark wizard robes worn by players to use the same assets as the dark wizard outfit cosmetic override.

The only thing that'd give me pause is player sentiment.

Would it irrevocably mess up player FashionScape if dark wizard robes no longer had their current look?

Would it be perceived poorly if an appearance acquired as a Yak Track reward also was available from wearing dark wizard robes?

My gut says it'd be no big deal and the value of Yak Track providing a cosmetic override remains whether or not there's an object version.

But again, would welcome your feedback. Do any of you consider updating wearable dark wizard robes unacceptable?

I'll point Mod Daze towards this thread, so he can take it into consideration. :)

(He's pretty gosh darn amazeballs, so I imagine he already has a follow-up plan for dark wizard robe objects.)

I've booked the rest of the week off 'til Monday (I have a hilarious amount of vacation days I should've spent earlier in the year), so I leave you in Daze's capable hands.

Here's hoping that, choosing a hypothetical example entirely at random, Reaper doesn't explode in a fiery conflagration while I'm gone.

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by Kadem2

Tell whoever did this update that they look phenomenal!

Mod Daze, my team lead did it.

Thank you, I'll pass on the message to him. :)

Hearing the value you put on cosmetically improving old content - even if it means less time spent on new playable content - is really helpful to us.

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by Wahisietel

How about imps (and snow imps)? Mephisto's model can be used for regular imps (although they'll have to go without weapons), and Violet is Blue Too's snow imp models can be used for all the still in-game snow imps (scarfless model used for Marvin, Marius, Benny & one version of the ice amulet follower, scarfed model for the other version of the ice amulet follower). The imp champion can use the Howie pet's model.

Banner carriers and Zimberfizz would have to go without new models unfortunately.

We created a backlog task for red and blue imps too. :)

As you say, there'd be edge cases that need props or certain anims we'd have to defer 'til later when artist resource is available/outsourced, but using the newest generic model where we can is a win in my book.

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by ErikHumphrey

Unlike city guards, fairies mostly tend to be uniquely named characters with specific defining visual traits. Making every fairy an identical Snowflake probably wouldn't be considered acceptable.

Time to add respawning enemy fairies you can slay!!

Is prettier fairy snow-snow in the short term worth the loss of special snowflakes?

No

Time to add respawning enemy fairies you can slay!!

You're a monster, and I admire that.

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by dandroid126

So as a content developer, right now my only option available would be to make every fairy look like Snowflake

Really ironic, considering all snowflakes are unique.

I know, right?

This tin-foil hat is itchy, but I have to wonder if the developer named her that with his tongue wedged firmly in his cheek.

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by Trewavas_

Ooh, I didn't expect such an explanation! Many thanks for taking the time to write that.

I guess in one way it's a shame that they can't all be done in one go, but I fully agree that they should be used if you have them ready to go. I personally always thought it was a waste not to see such models used in-game. It reminds me a little of the Zamorakian models from the Battle of Lumbridge. I always thought they might have been a nice replacement for the chaos mobs that are dotted around. Perhaps they're showing their age now, though! Anyway, I'd rather see some updated rather than none (particularly as things like unicorns and bears are also located near areas that HAVE been updated recently). I suppose the list would include giant rats and scorpions as well?

Going forward, could we expect to see the models released alongside the update (EG black unicorns, potentially Ardy guards etc)? Would it be something that saves time, or would it work out to about the same workload?

The trouble is that every project has to be mindful of scope.

Most deadlines are decided about a year in advance, so that you're getting regular beats of game updates. So if any production risks arise, descoping is usually the first weapon we unsheathe.

(Which is rather nice, because crunching tends to be the weapon of last resort we keep in the bottom of the backpack.

A refreshing philosophical difference from a lot of the gaming industry.

Jagex recognise we have to keep on trucking week after week, so it doesn't do us any favours to crunch. They recognise tired people don't do their best work and it's a greater long term cost than the short term gain.

And even if I say work double shifts for a few days to squeeze a bunch of extra features into a project, that doesn't mean the impacted staff that have to test it, etc, have the capacity to do the same. So if I overwork, that can create a crunch cascade that hurts those adjacent to me.)

Consequently the first features that tend to be cut to stay on target are those that aren't essential deliverables to the current project.

Which is why a fair amount of tangential improvements, like applying a new asset everywhere else in the game, can wind up on the cutting room floor.

But their loss is all of our gain if the assets are ready to use and just need plugging in at a later date. :)

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by Taste_Zaros

It's very good to hear about older NPC's getting some much needed modernisation!

I was wondering what ever happened to the dragon model rework. IIRC the Red Dragon model was ready to be released with ED2. has this been shelved because they never got around to update the other dragons?

I really liked those designs and it's a shame we never got to see them ingame

I'd have to investigate the current status of dragon models/textures that got as far as being released.

Mod Orion or Sova probably have a more informed answer, since they worked on EDs.

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by [deleted]

what about bwanas at karamja, when will they get an update

The bwanas? The bwanas split.

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by KobraTheKing

Since everyone is talking fairies, I'll ask about some of the other yak track pets that can be used as base.

Will we get giant rat update using Target?

Scorpions using Pinchy?

The deer of Enchanted Valley using Buck?

Baby dragon (both pets and enemies) using Mollik?

Also, for varrock guards I can point out that Captain Rovin that should get guard captain outfit and not the normal one, and that in the quest "River of Blood" Rovin and two guards gets extra armor as part of the quest so it might need some extra graphical work.

What do do with Hartwin is also interesting, he should look different from the normal guard.

I can't offer any statement of guarantee that you'll get anything. ;)

What I can say is Daze and I've created backlog tasks for each of these, to investigate and apply what we can update elsewhere with the current available assets.

The first of those completed tasks went live today (Yak to Basics outfits on Lumbridge guards and dark wizards).

We have to prioritise the projects we have currently been assigned above our backlog tasks, though, so I can't offer you any ETA or any certainty.

It's also possible that another team might get to it before we do.

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by Trewavas_

Are there any areas that are liable to be updated in the future? Would be more likely to see such updates alongside a wider project (EG, a Karamja update coming along with a skilling/quest bundle, Seers' Village with a quest/event), or might we see them as standalone updates again?

I personally think there's more value in releasing them with content (Archaeology demonstrated that), but I think there's a case for investment in improving the aesthetic of some small areas of the game as 'mini' updates, in the same vein as the Dwarven Mine building or Draynor Manor's garden. Off the top of my head, this could include things like the Crafting Guild, the rift entrance by Senntisten, or some of the buildings by Manor Farm/Ikov, such as the Ranging Guild and Sorcerer's Tower.

Whilst I am aware that they would need their own environment artists, is there a case for updating them on a purley aesthetic basis, or would you prefer to see a small amount of content added to justify the investment?

To be honest, your question seems like the sort of "strategies for the future" our RS leads prefer to directly communicate with you, so I'd best steer clear.

Personally, I'd like to be in a position where aesthetic graphical area reworks, modernising old content and systems, tuning the core loops of established skills, improving the early to mid game, were appreciated on their own terms, and "counted" as being worth your membership fees.

I don't know if player perception has changed in recent years, but in the past it seemed that graphically updating areas tended to be dismissed as a "no update" week, especially if updating an area rarely trafficked by high-level players.

Despite it being considerably more effort to upgrade existing content and retain its functionality (accounting for all the fringe behaviour of decades of additions), than to make new content from scratch elsewhere.

For example, we were required to spend 2 sprints making the temporary Invasion of Falador event in order to release a graphical update to Falador.

Given the choice, I would personally've preferred to spend that time polishing Falador (making the castle floor plan less nonsensical, for example) and finessing the interactive details, which is what will permanently persist long after a temporary burst of event gameplay runs its course.

Player-perceived value is a strong contributor to what projects get approved for development.

If a well-supported case can be made that aesthetic reworks or content improvements (even if it's content you've already completed) are acceptable headline updates compared to, say, adding another boss or quest or training method, we may have latitude to increase the priority of aesthetic improvements.

But if the answer is "that area rework that took months is pretty, but what are you actually going to give me new to play this week, Jamflex?", it becomes a harder sell.

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by TheSmallIceburg

The value provided from the Yak Trak is that the appearance of the object in game would require a keepsake key, while the Yak Trak version doesn't, so for completing the Yak Trak, the player essentially receives an outfit's worth of dope keepsaked, modern looking armor. That provides value to them, but also provides the ability to achieve the appearance of the new stuff without completing the yak trak or buying skips, instead by buying keepsake keys. Either way, as long as it is the cosmetic part that is valued, and is used as an override, the player wins and Jagex profits.

Only question remaining is, does changing the appearance break fashion scape? I would probably say it does not.

Also, legendary replies to this thread. This is the most j-mod interaction I have personally ever seen on reddit.

Well said! Thank you for your feedback.

Well, time will tell if I get in trouble for it. ;) It's generally advisable to only post on our social media accounts during core hours, where we benefit from CM's support and coverage.

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by king_giovas1

dark wizard robes are not like a fire cape for example. You could totally update the robes and people would be happy.

That's reassuring, thank you!

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by KobraTheKing

For the varrock guards the edge cases probably take some work, like the River of Blood armor upgrade for Rovin and the guards.

Some existing asset use you can use for Varrock Guards:

If you want a alternative look for some guards to stop them all being identical, using Crunchy's helmet give a natural look. Wiki link.

What do do with Hartwin is also interesting, he should look different from the normal guard. Maybe colour swapping Guardian of fortitude hood? Wiki link.

Thank you for the answers Stu, great as always!

Much obliged!

There's a superior Varrock guard outfit that I believe Daze used for Captain Hartwin, so he's got you covered.

But yeah, IIRC one of the asset dependencies for the Varrock guards is we need a hand from an artist to replace the River of Blood sprite billboards, used to make an army of Varrock guards on the horizon without tanking the frame rate.

"Do an epic human vs vampyre army scene that looks amazing in NXT", they said. "Also make it run well in Java", they said. :D

about 1 month ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by Nerevaryjczyk

Now that all Lumbridge guards have been updated and standardised, maybe you can help solve a little mystery I stumbled upon when working through them on the wiki last month (good timing to archive them, it seems). I noticed that, depending on the account I used, all guards except the one with the dog and the one patrolling west side of the river could have either rune or iron equipment (the ones on the bridge and the named ones in the castle). Additionally the bridge guards completely changed their name and dialogue (Elite Lumbridge guardsman for rune and Lumbridge guard for iron) and this dialogue dependency was shared with the one with the dog on the other end of the bridge. Now it seems they all agreed to use the same, new, shiny equipment for every player and the bridge guards are also consistently named Lumbridge guardsman now, however their dialogue variance still remains in-game. From what I (and another person interested in this) was able to gather, it seems to be dependant on some form of participation in the Battle of Lumbridge (rune equipment and treasury dialogue for those who did, iron and "overwhelmed" dialogue for those who didn't), although beyond that it was difficult to determine exact conditions, not to mention when specifically was it implemented (things were changing a lot during BoL days and afterwards).

Anyway, sorry for the lengthy question, but could you perhaps share a bit insight on that little trivia that remained seemingly undocumented for so long?

Aside from that, I really appreciate what you (and mod Daze and the rest of the team) have done, it's something I know many players wanted to see and it's great you are passionate about it too and try to make the most of what's already available to make the early game stuff nicer little by little. I also appreciate you keep sharing those really interesting development insights. When I saw that You Are It cutscene guards were updated too, I know you had a hand in this. I hope we get to see more early game improvements from you and your team in the future and that people deciding the schedule acknowledge the benefit of them and give you proper time/resources :)

That's very kind of you!

The guards and dark wizards are all Mod Daze's work, though, so I can't take credit for it. He developed You Are It and the clue scroll rework prior to it, which proved handy familiarity.

As for BoL and the Lumbridge guards...

Those who engaged in the Duke's Dilemma events during the Battle of Lumbridge https://runescape.wiki/w/Battle_of_Lumbridge/The_Duke%27s_Dilemma decided by majority vote how to spend Duke Horacio's treasury.

We chose to recruit more guardsmen, improve their weapons and train them, and train guards. Which in combination resulted in upgraded elite Lumbridge guardsmen with dogs.

Then later around the Gudrik's paths era, the area between the Lumbridge lodestone and cemetery was decluttered a little (thinning out the number of wandering guards and dogs), as the first path after Ashdale was to Blood Pact.

Looks like this week's graphical improvement consolidated their iron & rune graphics so they're at a consistent quality level, but kept the branching dialogue so there's still a distinction for those who engaged in BoL. Handily Lumbridge blue is pretty close to the colour of rune metal!

27 days ago - /u/Jagex_Stu - Direct link

Originally posted by googy_boogey

The new Dark Wizards seem really off, are they textured correctly?

Same as the player outfit, yes, as far as I'm aware. The basic robes are very plain.