Feel like going back to relive the good old days in Ragnarok Online but do not want to spend too much time to download Ragnarok Online client and to endure the dreaded weekly maintenance? Here’s a good news, Vincent Thibault is currently developing roBrowser that will allow players to play Ragnarok Online using their favorite online browser, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox and etc.
(1) API (application Programing Interface) tools for rendering 2D and 3D graphics for web browsers
How does roBrowser Work?
In the past, your computer does all the processing and rendering of Ragnarok Online game. With roBrowser and the power of HTML5, the server and your internet connection does all the heavy lifting. This is achieved by installing a remote client in the server that extracts the GRF files (Ragnarok Online files are all packed in GRF files) and sends it across the internet to the player’s browser.
The original Ragnarok Online software is installed in the server and players have to download contents from the server in order to play the game. So during an upgrade, server admin only needs to update the server’s copy of the game, everybody else will receive update on the fly. This means no more drawn out downtimes between upgrade and maintenance fixes.
For those with slower internet connections, loading screen can take a while. In Prontera map alone, there are up to 312 graphics files to load. This is temporarily fixed in March 25, 2014, where roBrowser has been improved to allow optional loading of Ragnarok Online files directly from the client’s computer. This means having a fully installed client in the PC will help speed up the loading process.
While the roBrowser client is still in its development stage, it is constantly being tested and improved by contributors. The following are the projects completed:
- Basic Interfaces
- Basic Mechanics
- Pets System
- NPC shops
- Emotions and Status ailments
- Card System
- Trade Interfaces
- Party System
Other features such as guild, cart inventory, auction system, vending skill, cash shops interface and default sprites are all still in development. roBrowser is an open source project that uses the GNU Free Documentation License. This means that anybody with the necessary programming skills can get involved in the project and help develop roBrowser to support more features in Ragnarok Online. If you want to contribute and speed up the works of roBrowser, please visit roBrowser Github page for more info.
Testing the roBrowser Experience
Left: This screen lets you drag and drop your full Ragnarok Online install to enhance loading screen loading speed.
Right: Logging into the demo version of roBrowser
Left: Character selection screen. Many other people has already tested the game so quite a few characters has been created. I simply picked one.
Right: Prontera, Capital of Rune Midgard. It has been awhile since I last came here.
Left: Apparently for the demo roBrowser the host added Porings in the city. Gives me the chance to flex my l337 skills.
Right: Bullying Orcs in Orc Dungeon
Left: It takes a pro to die to Orcs and bats in Orc Dungeon Level 1 with a level 99 character.
Right: Most skills work and have proper animations.
Overall it was a decent experience in the demo server considering roBrowser is in beta stage. Most skills work, only issue is some animations might not work largely because a lot of effects that are hardcoded into Ragnarok Online and do not rely on files to be displayed. Give it a try yourself.
For (private) server publishers, visit the getting started page to learn how to set it up for your server. Keep in mind that roBrowser does not have full Ragnarok Online functions in the game.
Servers That Support roBrowser
If you’re keen on trying out roBrowser, I have listed a few servers that allows testing. The most awesome thing about this is even if you don’t have RO installed in your PC right now, you can have a nostalgic taste of RO just by visiting any of the sites below. Enjoy!
- roBrowser Demo
- ROwser.net – First roBrowser private server
- GatheringRO – Existing private server to support roBrowser
Bear in mind that because roBrowser is still in beta development stage. This means you will not enjoy the full game the servers below offer. Read development progress again.