Game Development Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional and independent game developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've seen a lot of Runescape private servers lately. How do they work? Most of them are based on the old Runescape, but a few look exactly like the real Runescape.

How do they make the servers? Has the source code of the game been leaked on several occasions, and is that used to make Runescape servers? Or have some people just replicated Runescape, and tried to make the same game themselves (and "stolen" the 3D objects and texture from Jagex to make it look the same, and written the code to be able to replicate most functions of Runescape)?

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by Josh Petrie Jan 30 '15 at 16:04

  • This question does not appear to be about game development within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Not sure about Runescape, but both options are common. A lot of the early Ultima Online free servers were replication, and then the code was acquired and now all of them are based on the real production code. Often with heavy modification to add new features. I think WoW was always leaked code, harder to replicate it, UO leaked a lot of what needed to happen on the server through the client. – DampeS8N May 9 '12 at 15:49
@DampeS8N Hmm, I'm a PHP-developer and I only understand Java, I can't write it. So I assume that replicating RuneScape and all it's features is a big job. I do not dear thinking about adding all the quests etc! – Friend of Kim May 9 '12 at 15:51
I only remember playing on a few early UO clone servers, they didn't have all the features and made heavy use of ripped content. UO didn't have quests, so that wasn't much of a problem. I'd imagine that all modern free servers are based on leaked source or at the very least leaked software. (already compiled) – DampeS8N May 9 '12 at 15:56
I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about how other projects accomplished a goal. – Josh Petrie Jan 30 '15 at 16:04
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Most Runescape Private Servers are coded in the Java language. For the most part, it's been a community effort. From the early days of Runescape classic, there was some leaked source, and from there it's been mostly the community reverse engineering updates as they come. Textures and images are found through URL-Manipulation, and some source code can be found to this day through such methods. Until late, a lot of the game could be analyzed through making a client, and then reading what gets sent to the client by the real Runescape server. Nowadays, you can get a lot of good source code for making your own, from large Runescape Private Server communities. You can get source ranging from a fully developed engine, all the way down to just a simple construct that needs to be fully scripted.

share|improve this answer
Actually, since its java, most of the code is downloaded then decompiled and hand edited from whatever the decompiler spits out. – CobaltHex May 9 '12 at 17:17
@CobaltHex So, you are saying that you can get the .class files out of a real RS server?? – Friend of Kim May 9 '12 at 18:38
@Bry6n How can you reverse engineer something you don't have? I mean, isn't the server just processing the input and giving the client an output? It doesn't give the client the code it has used to process the game? – Friend of Kim May 9 '12 at 18:39
@50ndr33 The real server code and the private server code only need to perform the same actions, it doesn't need to be exactly the same. – DampeS8N May 9 '12 at 18:51
@DampeS8N That's true. But if the PS developers have to make the code themselves, it would be a HUGE job! (By the way, is it actually legal to make private servers of Runescape?) – Friend of Kim May 9 '12 at 19:04

The way they work is based on creating private clients from decompiled (which has deobfuscated & renamed classes) source code of the the original client from Runescape's website. Those who made custom clients can read what kinds of signals are sent to the client and with the knowledge of knowing what is recieved, can replicate similar data from their own server.

Since this method is reverse-engineering the client in order to create a server the algorithms of Jagex's servers are not replicated exactly.

share|improve this answer

The code it self is Java. Some use a little mysql for rankings, player highscores and mostly for voting rewards. If you do a simple search like "runescape source and client" you will find a lot of code releases. You should start with basics, the early version 317 PI. That is good to get used to the code. Second, you need a good game client, compiled as .jar so everyone can download to play directly from their PC. It's a good practice to make a webclient also, some prefer to play the game directly on browser. To have success you could do some interesting topics on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and get some decent priced advertising. I would recommend topsites like this RSPS List or similar. You reward your players for voting, rise ranking on top and get some traffic and new players.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.