Vanitas, for all.

For various reasons, up til now Vanitas was not downloadable by users of the 1st generation iPod Touch. At first, because we didn’t get a chance to test it on this older hardware. Then after we did, when we tried to update to allow for it, Apple had suddenly, inexplicably, changed their policy on how to specify hardware restrictions. This left many developers scratching their heads how to allow or restrict what hardware their apps can run on. Apple had to fix our AppStore listing by hand to get things straight. Needless to say we are happy to now announce that Vanitas will run on any version of the iThings! iPod or iPhone, regardless of age.

So, 1st gen iPod Touch users, you can now play too!


Also, a few helpful tips for things that may not have been so obvious.

– Use multitouch to levitate up to 3 objects at once.
– Find the authors of the quotes by clicking the url at the top of the info screen.
– It is easier to get a gold star at lower levels so, try your luck with the reset button on the 3rd info screen.


A new generation in The Endless Forest

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. 😉

New Deer Names

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 Vision of Saint Hubert 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.

You can name your deer here.
Please note that you’ll need the very latest version of The Endless Forest to see the new pictograms (version 3.31). You can download it here.

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).

The Endless Forest 3.30 released with new feature “De Drinkplaats”

De Drinkplaats

Download The Endless Forest here. It’s free. Like, for real, not as in “free to play”.

We have upgraded The Endless Forest engine and added a new feature to the game for the occasion of the exhibition Fantastic Illusions which opened in Kortrijk last week. It’s an exhibition of work by contemporary Belgian and Chinese media artists that explores the idea of immersion (there’s two games in it: The Endless Forest and Flower). The show ran in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai in September and can now be seen in the Broelmuseum in Kortrijk until February.

The Broelmuseum collection includes several paintings by 17th century Flemish painter Roelant Savery, many of them featuring animals very prominently. One painting, entitled “De Drinkplaats”, or “the watering hole”, served as the inspiration for the addition we made to The Endless Forest.

In The Endless Forest, De Drinkplaats is a peaceful place where players can bring their deer to have a drink from an eternally flowing source. When they do, however, they change into one of the other animals that inhabit the forest, often of disproportionate size (including the new raven and bunny!). The more players gather in the place, the more magic happens (courtesy of ABIOGENESIS).

More information here.

new Bunny character new Raven character
This could be you!

The Path on the Mac. Now.

It wasn’t easy to shoehorn the DirectX-slave that is Quest3D into the seductive arms of Mac OSX, but with the help of the friendly people at TransGaming and Act3D, we did it!

Now there’s no more excuses to stay on the PC path. The OSX forest is filled with temptations. Give in to your thirst for Knowledge of Good and Evil. Come, Adam, come! I have a sweet and juicy apple here for you!…

The Mac version costs the same as the PC version. $9.99.
Which means Good because it is 666 upside down.

Get it here. Now.

Oh, and for the occasion, we have made some new desktop wallpapers (in Mac resolutions only) and… new Deluxe Edition USB sticks!

Thank you, Vikas and Blair and Daniel and Mark and Rob and Paul and Ferry and Remko and Jos!

Phase Three of The Endless Forest is open!

After a few months of intense beta-testing with the players (read: messing around with strange bugs that make your deer do silly things), Phase Three of The Endless Forest has now been declared officially open!

The Endless Forest Phase Three: Fawn & Stag

Be a fawn in an entirely new area with birch trees and cycamores. Or collect blue tits and red breasts on your antlers and play hide and seek among a bunch of large boulders.

Download the new client now!

It’s free!

Phase Three was made with the latest version of Quest3D and contains all new animation blending and forest rendering, making the application faster, require less memory and the download even smaller than Phase Two.

Exhibition: Pixel Me, Belgium

Welcome some new players into the forest… the Fawns are here! For this traveling art exhibition for young teenagers we have created fawn avatars to represent the players at the physical locations where The Endless Forest will be played on special gaming consoles. Pixel Me features The Endless Forest next to works by Wim Delvoye, Pina Bausch and Chantal Akerman, Guy Rombouts, etc.

If you are in Belgium the show runs from October 2006 to November 2008 and it will be stopping in cultural centers across the country. Check the wonderful Pixel Me website for details!

If you want to see the new additions to the game for yourself you’ll need to download and install the latest beta of The Endless Forest version 2.1.

The Endless Forest, Version 2.0

We are proud to announce the release of version 2.0 of The Endless Forest today! This is a very exciting release which includes the ability to change the look of the deer avatars using Forest Magic, the first wave of new expressive actions, a lovely forest hang-out in the form of a hollow Old Oak Tree, further development of our ABIOGENESIS system, and more surprises! All this, and of course numerous bug fixes and overall improvements, make this a must have release. We truly look forward to seeing you in The Forest!

Download The Endless Forest 2.0

Introducing: ABIOGENESIS

ABIOGENESIS is the name of our performance system currently under development. This will allow for spectacular, spontaneous, natural and magical events in the Forest.

For your information ‘Abiogenesis’ is a scientific term which means spontaneous generation, the generation of life from non-living matter.

The ABIOGENESIS system will be used in February for the premiere of our live performance series “The Twin Gods Festival” at the STUK arts center in Leuven, Belgium. This performance can be attended both at the venue as well as from your comfortable personal computer.

We’ve made a page with a few screenshots to give you an idea of what’s in store.

More discussion about this in the Forum.