Sounds like it’ll be a challenge, but I wish you guys the best of luck!

In recent news posts you’ll have seen that we said the HTML5 client will stay labelled as a beta beyond the RS3 launch. We want to make sure it’ll offer a great experience for everyone, so it’s unlikely to move out of beta for some months, until the HTML5 standard is fully implemented and widely adopted by all the main web browsers. I wanted to explain why this is, where we are with the HTML5 client, and what it means for you.

The reason it’s called a “beta” is to indicate it won’t be optimal for all players, and we’ll continue to recommend most use the Java or downloadable versions. The HTML5 client will remain as an option for early adopters who want to try out this experimental tech.

All of the other exciting features of RuneScape 3 Gold will be released as planned. So you’ll have options for how to experience RS3; through Java in your web browser, the optimised downloadable client or the cutting edge of HTML5.

Although the HTML5 client has improved over the last couple of months, we’re not satisfied with its compatibility across all players. You’ve noticed it too; your feedback showed a wide range of experiences – for some players it works great but for others it performs too slow or inconsistently. We found varied experience even on machines with identical hardware, and this is where the impact of browser support & driver compatibility can be seen…

Being the first to build a sophisticated MMO game client in an emerging technology like HTML5 was always ambitious, and our early progress gave us confidence to continue on this track. Visual quality is much improved, with features like variable draw distance and new shader-based effects really elevating the experience. However more recently we’ve hit upon inherent limits in the browser platforms and no amount of optimisation to RuneScape’s code can solve that alone.

For those interested in the technical side of things, the main challenges that remain are the limitations in Javascript and WebGL implementations – currently browsers don’t support full multi-threaded shader compilation and their storage system read/writes are not efficient enough for the demands RuneScape makes of them. This means the asset streaming and world building processes are slower than they should be and can causes bursts of lag. We’ve also seen some graphics drivers have not been optimised for WebGL which means even modern cards sometimes don’t run as fast they should.

The browser manufacturers are in a race to improve support for these features and we’ll work closely with them to ensure RuneScape benefits from the improvements and fixes as they get implemented.

We’ll continue to invest in HTML5 as it clearly has amazing potential and we believe it will be the future of browser gaming. Although it’s not quite ready for everyone’s computer right now, we want to be there when it is. Pioneering new technology can be risky, and it’s why we’re still fully supporting RuneScape in Java and will also be releasing an updated and optimised downloadable client.

Will this downloadable client you mention be an HTML5 downloadable client? {Edit: As opposed to simply another Java one?}

If so, can one enjoy significantly better performance simply by using your own client (and thus getting around the restrictions of these browsers)?

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