I am James Sweatman and I work on RuneScape. I’m the designer behind the New Interface System, so come AM(a)A about NIS, other areas of RuneScape and general game design.
I’ve been at Jagex Game Studios for the last 3 years and on RuneScape for over a year. Working as Senior Game Designer up until June I was responsible for game UX and the New Interface. I’m now Player Experience Manager and handle the early parts of the game as well as general user experience. You can ask me (almost) anything about RuneScape, NIS, me, game design or even about getting into the games industry.
That's all folks. Thanks for all the questions it has been a lot of fun. Sorry to those I didn't get to answer. Have fun with the NIS, keep sending in the feedback and stay tuned for more updates! Bye!
Hi! i have a few more questions if that's okay?
Would we ever be able to look at the world map and talk in chat at same times?
Will there ever be themes? like We got the blue now, but maybe wooden brown or I dunno.. gold or something
How soon until more abilities?
Any plans on being able to minimise everything on screen?
Hey Mod Thatjim i was asked to pass on to you the following Gif: http://i.imgur.com/xY0ubbV.gif What do you think of it? Full topic here at QFC: 330-331-994-65102200
Personally it would be great to have this stuff dragable out the bigger interfaces into smaller tabs! :D
Very cool, I'll be stealing this, thanks. Bye runs off with cool idea
We're working on an overhaul to the quest interface, one that will feature a new quest log. No ETA yet, but its on my hitlist.
Is there plans to fix the scaling issues with the NIS. Take for example you get your perfect interface set up in full screen, and then when you make the runescape window 25% of the normal size, the interfaces take up almost all of the screen since they don't get smaller.
Good question. At present the NIS attempts to keep your interfaces as close to your original layout as possible without making the interfaces smaller. Maybe this is something we should change. We'll be evolving this as we go on.
Hi, Thanks for doing the IAMAA.
Could you answer any of these please
- Could we see anything near the future of PVP Worlds?
- Could we ever see dual Ability bars?
- Possible to have more than 5 sets of action bars?
- Could we ever see an extended action bar?
- Could there ever be a 'share' button? so we could share our interface layouts?
- Hmmm, not in the near future but we're playing around with some ideas like this. I don't want to spoil anything though ;)
- Oh now this is interesting. We know there is a lot of support from this in the community so we are looking into the possibility of this. NIS makes it possible, but I'm not promising anything.
- No promises, but we've discussed it
- See above ;)
Sounds cheesy but it has to be the people. Such a great collection of friends and colleagues at the studio. Some incredibly talented people too, plus the perks aren’t bad ;)
Piggie back rides from mod_mark mostly
Do you take player suggestions seriously even if they do not have that much support? Of course updates like OSRS had massive amounts of player support, but have you ever seen a post on the forums with just a few posts that you liked and implemented in some way?
Always. We take a mix of suggestions that either have a lot of community weight, or are just really cool and would bring a lot to the game.
I didn't :( but I knew of its popularity and starting playing once I joined the studio.
Will split private chat be re-implemented?
Will we be getting an option to be able to click through the chat box again?
What's up with the private chat color selection not working?
What fixes are currently the top priority?
I'm really enjoying the NIS overall, it has a good balance of old and new. Great work.
That's a bug.
You worked at Jagex for three years and are already a Senior Game Designer? What happened to the other guys?
Haha, I cheated. Nah, I have been in the games industry for over 5 years now I used to work in another studio before Jagex.
Hi there Mod Thatjim! Great to see you over on Reddit!
Looking back at the NIS development process throughout the entire Beta, I'm so incredibly impressed on how it turned out! One of my questions is, If you had no budget limitations, what other sorts of things would you and the NIS team have tried to fit into it?
Also, I notice you now mention the early part of the game. Recently, I've been spending a lot of time examining that early part of the game, just out of curiosity, and noticed a lot of issues, including a few I went ahead and posted on the RSOF found here. I hope this could perhaps be helpful... But into the question - What sorts of things are you working on with the early parts of the game? Are you working on reworking aforementioned tutorial, messing with early quests, training areas, or is it something different? I admit I'm very curious about it.
Finally, what is your favorite aspect of RuneScape in its current form?
Thanks so much for doing this AMA, it's really great to have the chance to ask questions!
-Amascut (RS name :P)
That is a great question. Wow. There was a huge list of awesome features we wanted to include, but for me it would of lots of animation. Windows wizzing on and off screen, minimizing and lots of cool little touches. These will come in time though.
We are currently working on a new tutorial and tidying up some of our earlier quests.
My favourite aspect of RuneScape is the Grand Exchange, I love hanging out while invisible as a mod and listening to all the crazy conversations. Bit creepy.
Whoa, creepy but awesome..and good to note!
Perhaps I'll have to go to world 23 occasionally just to talk (nicely) behind your back.. But really, that's awesome to think that there are Jmod ninjas in the game on rare occasion :P
We're always watching....
What's your favorite quest in Runescape? And your favorite skill?
The World Wakes and Agility (I don't like walking).
Can you tell us anything about the second new skill we don't know yet? Also, will we see any gods we haven't seen yet in the next quest?
More gods are coming, that's all I can say. I probably shouldn't have even said that :)
What happened to the Grand Exchange button you showed with Mod Z in the first NIS announcement bts vid?
This is coming. We had to cut it for the launch of RS3 to work on other things but it is coming, its a very cool feature, only possible with NIS.
What updates to the NIS out of these are likely to make it into the game:
more custom slots, sharing interface setups, ability to set different transparency levels for different windows, split private chat, more then just a 2 second flash for new chat-feed messages (perhaps remain highlighted)
All of them one day, except maybe different transparency levels.
What sort of improvements are planned for NIS in the future?
A lot of our efforts are going on ensuring the system is smooth and bug free, but were also working on some important community driven features. the main ones being split private chat, click through windows and customizable F keys. All coming very soon.
Is there anything about the NIS that you would change, or is it all how you imagined it to be?
Nice question. It's tough making such a big change to a game that everyone loves, so I think I would have made sure we had a couple more of the features you enjoyed from the old system (they are coming!). But I'm still really proud of what we've achieved and really impressed with what our developers have achieved.
Did you have any opinions on Runescape before you began to work on/play it?
Have they changed since?
Honestly when I first saw the game I thought, being in a browser, it would be pretty shallow. It wasn't until I got to know it and explore more that the enormity and quality became apparent. Anything, game or otherwise, that has been around for this long deserves a lot of respect.
With the release of the NIS, the navbar has been removed from the game - what was the reason for this?
We removed it to give you all more of the screen for RuneScape. That bar ate into the game client by a good 50pixels, that's 50pixels you could use to play the game. We figured it would be better to have more screen for the game than for links.
I know it made logging into the forums quicker, but we'll being improving this in NIS.
Great work on the NIS, love it. I've been mining a lot sense the RS3 release and noticed that the function where you hold down a hotkey to drop multiple items is gone. You now have to hit it as many times as you want to drop. Was this intended and will it be fixed? Also, the number pad no longer works for numbers, going to be fixed? And lastly, would it be possible to make it so to cast spells like High Alchemy and SuperHeat where your next click is in your inventory that you could put that second click on a hotkey and just click hotkeys back and forth?
That wasn't intended, I'll get the guys to look into that. Have you tried using the new Quick Inventory?
The numpad is something we had to drop for the time being to get keyboard customization in. We're working on a larger keyboard update that will be bring back this functionality.
Hmmm good idea, I'll pass that on.
how long will it aprox. take for the next announced NIS updates to come out and will they be announced in Mod Mark's monthly BTS like the past eoc batches?
I'll be announcing the next batch in the next week or so, I've already posted on the forums what the key things we're working on. You can expect new features during the week of the August 19th. Not sure what day, but that is when our sprint ends.
'Jim, would you like to fight a horse-sized interface or thousand window-sized horses?'
A thousand window-sized horses that I have resized to be tiny. *Only possible in NIS
Are the results of the battle of Lumbridge going to change a significant part of the map and the way npc's react?
The results of the Battle of Lumbridge are going to have a profound influence on not only Lumbridge but the future of RuneScape.
How much fun is working at Jagex, I suppose it must feel pretty good to shape a game that has defined many a youth, including mine. Are the mods really as enthousiastic as they come across in the BTS videos?
and can you maybe give us any more hints as to Divination? ;)
A lot. Honestly. It is a great laugh, there are some hilarious people and we get to do some fantastic things. Just last week we all went out to a big field for a special Jagex fun fair. Rides, prizes, food and drink just for Jagex. Great fun for all. obviously we work really hard, but we play hard too.
Divination is awesome and it is coming very soon. :)
What was the greatest issue you faced creating the NIS?
Is there anything you'd liked to have done but thus far haven't been able to?
Oooo tough one. It was probably some of the design decisions that would affect the community. Changing something that hundreds of thousands of people use and enjoy each day is a massive challenge.
For the developers they have had to create a customizable interface system in a 12 year old game which is a really difficult task, amazing effort from the team.
I would have more cats, not enough cats.
This is coming from someone about to start college in central USA, but looking into majoring in Computer Science. Getting into the gaming industry would be really enjoyable to me, but as mentioned before, I'm in central USA, and it seems there really aren't many options for me in this industry in the future. What would be your suggestion for me (or anyone) getting into this field in my position, and "getting your foot in the door"? It just seems so hard because a lot of companies seem to be on the coast, or at least not close to the state of Missouri! Haha. Regardless, thanks for the AMA and your contributions to the game, have been a proud Runescaper since 2004!
I completely understand. I come from a city called Norwich in the east of England and there are no game studios there, I always knew I would need to move away to get into the industry.
This is true of almost everyone I know in games. If you want to be a part of this amazing community you have to make some tough decisions and moving away from home is usually the first one.
My first Job in the industry was 2000 miles away on a different continent (I moved to Canada), but I knew it was what I needed to do in order to live the gaming dream.
Think hard about how much you want it, if working in games is what you want then moving won't seem so bad.
Trust me, it's worth it and you get to meet some amazing people and do awesome things.
First of all, I'd like to commend you on the new NIS. You and your team have done exceptionally well to produce it.
My question is do you have any other big updates in motion? (I know you probably can't go into specifics, that doesn't matter.)
Thanks, very kind.
We (The RuneScape Team) have a collection of massive updates coming, some have already been mentioned, like the new skills. Some haven't, but these will really add a new level to RuneScape. The NIS team and I are working on a collection of great new additions to the system, most of which are based directly on community feedback.
Please make more than 1 line for tabs (place with inventory, stats etc), otherwise playing on fixed screen is quite hard to access everything you need since no one changes his whole setup for every situation.
We're looking at an evolved menu bar that will hopefully solve these issues and do much more. I can't talk too much about it because we only just started prototyping.
What are some things developers are able to do with NIS in future content that were impossible under the old system?
When I change the size of my browser window so I can watch Sesame Street and lectures on Abstract Algebra while training Sailing and Divination, the interface jumbles up. The old interface didn't have this problem because everything was so rigid. My solution is creating a setup specifically for a smaller window size. Will we be able to switch layouts without having to open the options menu? (like at the press of a keystroke) Or better yet, will the interfaces stop bunching up?
Will we able to have alternate skins for the interfaces?
In the old system, the adrenaline bar was a big focal point, and it was easy to use my peripheral vision to tell when I was able to use an ultimate ability. Now the adrenaline bar is much smaller and shares its space with 3 other status bars, making it harder to tell at a glance what abilities you can use. Thoughts?
Will Runescape ever evolve from a tile based grid map?
Are there definite plans for more "fundamental gameplay changes" like NIS and the Evolution of Combat? (Besides HTML5)
When we click the equipment button on the bank screen, will we be able to equip things without the bank closing?
This is a biggie...
The old system was full. It could take no more captain (Scotty - Star Trek). We could continue putting features into the game because the interface just couldn't handle anymore content, without becoming a plate of spaghetti based screens.
The new interface pushes bigger content into larger interfaces so we can deliver more. Stuff like a portable GE, on the go ports access and friends streams are just examples of stuff we can now do in the system.
Alternate skins are coming. We know people enjoy brown ;)
We're looking into Ability bar customization and specifically the adrenaline bar, no promises on a time frame for this.
Tile based grid? It kind of already is, but it is hidden underneath the graphics.
We don't have anymore large gameplay changes like EoC or NIS this year.
Yes. That is a bug and we'll get that sorted.
Why is the Dungeoneering ring of kinship interface in a minigame interface? Can you please look at it and fix this? The system also has no real NIS close button but an old brown one outside the header bar.
It is on the list, the list is just quite long. It isn't until you really start breaking down the game you see how absolutely massive it is. We'll get there, hopefully soon.
hi jim is there any plan to add a interface similar to pre rs3 I preferred when I could see my lifepoints, prayer points at a glance in the right hand corner without too much interruption to my game playing,also access to talking to a friend was a one game tick manoeuvre since doubled unless I want countless screens opens,if not why can it not be added as an option?
Simply put, there won't be a reversal to the old interface. What we are doing is making sure the new system offers you all the same conveniences the old system did.
The NIS gives us as developers and you as players many more choices and opportunities for exploration. But we can and will be doing more.
We'll be looking into different ways for you to choose where your health points sit, and the chat is going to change in the next couple of weeks ;)
Would moving from Missouri, USA to the UK be worth it to work at Jagex?
Apply first :) but it is always moving to work in the games industry. I am biased though.
Why didn't you guys add the skilling and combat preset interface the from NIS Beta?
Will we be able to remove any interface, like a little X on the top right on all the interfaces to close them?
We decided on a different approach before launch, specifically to reduce the amount of windows on screen at one time. We felt it would be better to give you the chance to add them if you wanted to rather than having people think that you needed lots of windows on screen in order to get the best of the system.
We'll have all interface hiding eventually, we just haven't decided on the best of delivering it yet. It may be some time away.
Hello Thatjim, thank you for doing this AM(a)A!
* Is there any working of "Familiar BoB" interface be available so players can just click on the item to take it from their familiar?
* Could there possibly be a way so players could re-order their Skills in an order they like?
The BoB and general summoning interfaces are on our list, they aren't great at the moment and we think improving thier usability we greatly improve Summoning as a skill. It takes time though and we want to make it right so I wouldn't expect anything for at least a couple of months.
Hello James, thanks for doing this
Just the one question if I may, it's a confirmed bug that public chat is not appearing above peoples head for a lot of players, currently the last response we got was a fix was in QA, how long till it hits us?
It's practically unplayable in a lot of regards when you can't see who is talking.
I'm not 100% on the bug but if someone has said that it is in QA it'll be out in the next update.
I ask this question of all game developers.
any chance the game will come to console? especially with the next gen consoles being more like PC.
and yes I doubt it as doesn't runescape use java? I can't remember, I played a LOOONG time ago.
If the consoles were to relax there restrictions on the way games can be updated and paid for then I don't see why not. At the moment the moment the way RuneScape is updated every week wouldn't be allowed on a console or would cost too much for Jagex to keep up. We wouldn't want to deprive the players of frequent updates to get onto consoles.
I'd still love to see it one day.
You guys were my childhood. And half of my teenage years. Thanks for that. It was fun.
My question is that I heard Jagex was trying to put Runescape on a console in the near future...is that true?
No console plans at the moment, but we are aiming for Tablets and mobile devices sometime in the future.
Will you graphically update outdated interfaces like items kept on death and other interfaces in the old brown pre-nis style to NIS style?
For sure, it just takes time with the amount of interfaces there are in RuneScape. We are on it now.
Can you add a transparancy slider to the bank interface? I think if players have a bank pin the bank pin button could be removed and a transparancy slider could be set there! :D
New bank is coming in the future which will have much more than just transparency. In the short term were looking into lightening the background for easier viewing of those darker items.
Will the lobby get reworked like the login screen?
For sure, and the design we have looks awesome.
Will split private chat ever return?
Yes, it'll be back soon.
I'm very curious to know what your UI would look like (on a normal account that is). Would you set it up by means of looks, efficiency, or just plaster anything anywhere?
Mine is very clean and really precisely placed. It is probably not what most players would have. Big mini-map, it's all about the big mini-map.
In future updates of NIS, are we going to be able to click through interfaces again?
Yes. The week of the 19th of August, not sure which day.
is there going to be a barrows update in rs3?
I couldn't possibly comment on such matters ;)
Why can we not bank Divine Tears?
They should be banked with your chosen god, we don't want lots of tears being saved up and banked at once. This would hurt the balance of the World Event.
For how long will you be open to NIS feedback? I understand there will be a lower rate of updates after the sprint, but will you still be collecting feedback in the same way?
A small suggestion: please add a dev console command for hiding the main menu bar. This will keep new players from accidentally closing it, and it will give players with properly configured hotkeys some more screen space :)
We will probably be slowing down a little, but that's only so we can change how we implement feedback. In the coming weeks and months we're going to be solely focused on reacting to player feedback, but we also have a big list of cool stuff we want to get in.
We'll always be listening and have dedicated support for NIS until its perfect.
We're working on a cool new menu bar update, but this is still early days.
Will there be other batches of updates to the NIS after the next coming (19th aug) batch?
How many batches can we expect?
We work in bi-weekly sprints which will mean updates and improvements every 2 and a half weeks, depending on upload day.
I think the NIS has a lot of great features and functionality that has long needed to be added into the game. I want to thank you for your hard work towards this project and the outcome.
Enough praise though, don't want to spoil you guys. Just a some quick questions on the subject.
Are you wholeheartedly happy with the outcome of the NIS? Are there any fan-related ideas that have come out as a great future implementation? If so, what were they?
Designers are never wholeheartedly happy, everything has to be perfect, and we know its not perfect. Yet :) It will get there, but we firmly believe it is a big step up from the old system and offers so much more going forward.
The big future thing we're looking it, just looking into (don't quote me yet), is probably multiple action bars. We know this is a big one people would like so we'd like to make this a reality one day.
Will we ever have some sort of player in game skin designer so that we can design our own background for some of the interfaces?
New skins are coming later in the year, not sure on player designed ones for now.
What was the "scales" button in the NIS beta for? Will it ever be implemented?
The scaled button is the Portable GE. That is coming but we had to cut it for the launch of RS3 for other content. Not sure on a ETA, we want to focus on community feedback first.
I'm currently a Mechanical Engineering student, often working with 3D-Design software. Would any of that knowledge apply to game design, and what specific areas should I look in to?
Is there ever plans to implement flying mounts into RuneScape?
I actually met a Mechanical Engineering graduate at a conference a few years ago who was working as a game designer. It doesn't matter your background, anyone can design games, you don't need a degree in it to do it. As long as you have a strong game design ethos and have actually made games in your spare time, you are a game designer.
I'd love a flying mount, but that is up to mod_mark :)
-Please do something about the click area on the Run, Reset camera and Exit buttons. Frankly they are too wide like the money pouch on the RS2 interface.
-Let us toggle right-click select only for the minimap buttons for maximum mobility
-Let us drag the 4 icons around the edges of the map and re-organize them. The run/rest icon, for example, is rather remote, considering you'd like easy access on the move.
- I've heard this a few times and its something we didn't catch before launch. I'm looking at ways to avoid accidental clicking of these.
If I bake Jagex a cake, can I get to be a player mod?
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