[NetBehaviour] Interview of Michael Samyn & Auriea Harvey.

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Thu Jun 22 11:34:20 CEST 2006

Interview of Michael Samyn & Auriea Harvey.
games  + interview.

The Endless Forest is a MMORPG where everyone plays a deer. And no, the 
aim is not to shoot other deers. There's no violence, no particular rule 
to follow, neither does the game feature any chat-functions. All 
communication happens through deer-body-language. You can roar, sniff 
other deers, eat mushrooms from the trees, pick up and carry flowers on 
your antler, etc. Players do not even get "proper" names, but pictograms 
that represent their characters.

The setting is idyllic, the forest is peaceful, you can wander along the 
Pond or have a nap by the Old Oak Tree. One of the most recent features 
of the game is called Abiogenesis (the generation of life from 
non-living matter). It allows the authors of the game, Auriea Harvey and 
Michaël Samyn, to play god in their virtual universe by controlling the 
weather, and all sorts of flying and non-flying objects and beasts. The 
Twin Gods might also invite everyone to come to a certain place at a 
given time to enjoy a live spectacle performed by the deities 
themselves. In April Phase Two of the game was released: the play space 
is much bigger and the amount of possible activities has increased as 
well. The most significant addition is the introduction of magical 
powers that allow players to transform the appearance of others.

The Endless Forest has been developed by game company Tale of Tales, 
founded by former Internet artists Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn. When 
i first read about the game last year, i found this idea of a jeu 
d'auteur extremely interesting. I had to read in three different sources 
that they are from Belgium before believing it (so is the faith i have 
in my own country!) Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn were an enigma to me 
so i thought i should interview them. I'm not sure i've managed to make 
them less mysterious but at least i've tried!


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