When we hit the 50,000 registered players mark, we didn’t realize how close we were to running out of names for our deer. If that’s not a nice testament to how two people who know next to nothing about mathematics can still make complicated computer software, I don’t know what is. 😉
Behold the new generation of deer names in version 3.31 of The Endless Forest.
Good for another 50,000 players!
When we designed The Endless Forest, we wanted to avoid language as much as possible. First of all because language puts a barrier between people, and we wanted The Endless Forest to be harmonious. Secondly, we wanted to avoid violence and competitive behaviour as much as possible. Language is often used in multiplayer games for insults and other out of character behaviour. So we decided to have no chat in our game. And we came up with the idea of using abstract symbols instead of text-based names to identify players. These symbols are easy enough to memorize to recognize your friends and still disconnected from the humans behind the avatar sufficiently, to encourage spontaneous playing together with total strangers.
The symbols are made up of a limited range of elements that are combined to form pictograms. Players can choose a pictogram for their deer when they register for the game. when they login, this pictogram appears above the head of the deer avatar (in a reference to the legend of Saint Hubert, who was converted to Christianity after encountering a deer with a crucifix between its antlers).
Since the amount of elements from which pictograms are composed, is limited, however, there are only a limited amount of unique pictograms. And we ran into that limit last month. So we closed registration for a while and created a new pictogram “alphabet”.
This solution was part of the original design of the game. To create generations of pictograms, which would contribute to the story of The Endless Forest. First generation deer will be older (wiser, more experienced, etc) than second generation deer. And so on.
The Endless Forest is free thanks to the continuous support of the Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean in Luxembourg. Registration is not required to play the game (it just makes it more fun).