This summer, my boyfriend and I planned a trip to London from Norway. As we started talking about the trip and making plans, I began thinking about the possibility of visiting Jagex Games Studio. I'm not in England very often and I knew it would be a terrific opportunity. So I sent an e-mail to Jagex, kindly asking if I could visit. After a lot of e-mails back and forth, I finally got the green light! I immediately began envisioning myself standing by the tank in front of the studio building, walking through those glass doors, and shaking the developers' hands. Now all I had to do was wait for the special day: July 14th.
The day began at King's Cross station in London. To my disappointment, I didn't see Platform 9¾ but today was a day for Jagex - not Hogwarts - so I carried on happily. My boyfriend and I made it up to Cambridge and caught a taxi up to Science Park, where Jagex has their offices. There we were met by Mod Edu, who works in community management and fan site support. We sat down to a quick lunch while getting better acquainted. And this is where the fun really begins!
After lunch we met up with Mod Vicki and started touring the main development area for RuneScape. This large office is home to a wide variety of people in different divisions including graphics, content development, audio, and quality assurance. I was lucky enough to meet up with each of them!
First I stopped by the graphics department, where I got to see how they actually model RuneScape! I learned how they made models like the new, awesome trees we have near the Clan Camp, and I was shown the progression of Jadinko's Lair from concept art up to the finished in-game view. It's amazing to see how ideas are transformed into a visual reality!
We then moved on to the developers, where Ash and Chihiro showed me a bit around the Clan Citadels. I know where the chickens with the smoking tails come from! It's much easier to appreciate all the work that goes into computer game development when you can see it in action.
There was also time for a quick trip to the audio department to meet the people behind all the weird sounds we have in RuneScape. For someone who has never seen the inside of a sound studio before, it was really interesting! The equipment and recording process was exciting to learn about. My voice acting talents were revealed when I got to record some sound effects that may even be used in a future update! Look out RuneScape, this could be my big break!
It was then back into the main development office where Vicki showed us how the quality assurance department operates, both in relation to new content and in-game bug reports. I definitely have a new found respect for those bug-squashers! They sure do have their work cut out for them. They have to predict exploits and really try to break the game so they can fix it! We also had a quick chat with the more technical QA team, who are the guys responsible for ensuring that RuneScape runs as smoothly as possible on all sorts of software variables. I've completely forgotten the number of builds he said they test regularly, but trust me when I say that it was a LOT!
I also got the opportunity to sit down with Mod Mark for a while. We talked about a lot of different aspects of the game, both content already there, and the possible new and upcoming features. I don't really know about a lot but I can, however, let you know that they haven't forgotten about Priffidnas! It just takes a long time to develop. We will also have the next Majaratt quest in the not-too-distant future, so sit tight!
Lastly, I met Mod Poppy for a brief chat in the Community Management area. She really is as lively and adorable as she seems on the forums! Plus, she knows all about the good pubs in Cambridge!
All in all, I had a blast. I kept squealing and trying to convince people that I really am 34 years old!It was an overwhelming experience with a lot of names to keep track of and faces to remember. I am very grateful to Jagex for letting me come and have this incredible experience. It was great to get a little behind-the-scenes insight into this game that I've been playing for so many years. I would especially like to thank Mod Edu and Mod Vicki for being terrific tour guides. I feel very privileged to have gotten an insider's look into the development behind RuneScape and to have met some of the employees.