This is the Runescape Classic Emulator "Open Runescape Classic". It is one of many Runescape Private Servers, or "rsps" as it is commonly known. There are many versions, ranging from 2001 like this one to 2021 like the one below. There is an underground world that recreates the Runescape experience every year. I will tell you all about it.
First, I will point you to the communities you need to be aware of. Next, I will explain the history of Runescape. Finally, I will point you to my personal favorites servers for each era of Runescape. Ready?
Rune-Server is the number one website/community today for RSPS. Rune-Server hosts a forum for Runescape emulator creators. They can ask each other for advice, and even play each other's servers. They also have a discord. Link here.
There are many RSPS that base their server on Rune-server. Many of these servers are primarily designed to make money. Some developers, such as myself, simply love the thrill of watching players run their code in mass.
Many developers can pay for services on the website, including creating GUI, 3D model, networking issues, and simple content creation. There are many people who have been with RSPS for over 10 years and many who are new to the scene.
There are many other websites/communities that are not as well-known, but they are still very popular. Runelist is a relatively new forum. Runelocus, an old favorite that has been vacant for a while, still has plenty to look through for older versions.
One thing to notice about these forums/communities is that they often include a top tier list of RSPS servers. This is maintained by servers using a voting system similar in design to Minecraft top lists. The RSPS allows you to vote for your server in-game and the rankings are based on the total votes.
Since the 18th century, Jagex developers have released new Runescape updates every few weeks to the world wide web. Each update brings a new version of Runescape. This is called a "version". Each version is unique and has a chronological order.
Other names include "Build" or "Revision" on top "Version", as we all know it. Version numbers, build numbers, or revision numbers, which range from 100 to 900+, can be found going back as far as 2003. They are accompanied by a date and a list with patch notes.
This is how every RSPS organizes the content they have in-game. The RSPS will display the revision number next to every forum to indicate the year of Runescape that the server is emulating.
This powerful revision number can be used to select the world, 3D models and sounds, as well as NPCs, GUI, client, and quests. This version of Runescape is the default. The server must work around it and can either remake the year or add its own mods.
As it turns out, Runescape has been uploading their entire game assets to your computer over the years with every update. This allows users to copy and paste assets into zip files and store them safely.
You have also been given the game client. You now have everything you need to create an RSPS if you are a technical coding genius. Here's how it works...
The client: Software is available to convert the client at each revision back into code, as long as it matches game assets.
The game assets, also known as "cache", can be read using any programming language. File reading libraries work in the same way as reading a text file in notepad, but with a coding languages. This is not as difficult as it sounds. However, you can send these assets directly to the client as long as they match the revisions. Amazingly, even if the revisions don't match, it will still work many times!
The server: This is the most difficult part. This is the most difficult part. You can create it from scratch and use almost any language. You accept the game assets and can manipulate them by sending them out to all clients.
This server acts as the intermediary between every client and game client. This server should work fine if the revision matches the client's game assets.
That's all! Every RSPS must base its description on the revision number of client and game assets.