The Forest is both a training aid for the sport of orienteering and a game in the form of a treasure hunt* in a huge area of wooded terrain.

A major aim of The Forest, from its earliest version around 1982, has been to help people interpret the contour information in maps. That enables orienteers to navigate without just following roads or streams, it helps hill walkers to avoid getting lost, and more generally it helps anyone reading a map to get the most out of it.

This program includes some non-trivial games and diversions for those who are not orienteers; we will call them explorers, which relates to another version published in the 1980s.

For programmers The Forest also demonstrates a technique for generating vast terrain by an algorithm rather than by storing it in memory or having to download it as a huge amount of data. It is written in JavaScript for an HTML5 web page and the program occupies only just over 200 kilobytes, so it downloads and runs very quickly. Nevertheless it has more than 1,000 sq km of forest to explore (very much more!). The file TerrainGeneration.pdf describes in some detail how the terrain is generated (and much more detail has been added to this PDF 31/5/22).

*About the treasure hunt: there are at least 5 stages (levels, if you like). First you need to assemble the clues and find Treasure Island. There is a treasure chest there but you may need to think a bit about exactly where it is. What you find in it will tell you what to do next.

New version 23.4.15 has faster switch back to scene from map. Also better flight controls in helicopters.

New version 22.12.17 allows state to be saved and reloaded. This should help those on the treasure hunt, which is a long quest. There is also a map quiz, a list of what's new and the user guide is accessible from within the program.

New version 21.12.21 has various improvements including faster scene drawing. BUT loading takes longer and on some devices this might make the browser complain that it is taking too long. Just give it more time.

The "Full Details" PDFs for download below contain my original design documents and source listings from 1983. They are freely available for use.

Updated 16 days ago
Tags3D, Exploration, First-Person, Open World


UserGuide.pdf 3 MB
ForestHistory.pdf 542 kB
TerrainGeneration.pdf 3 MB
RoadGeneration.pdf 632 kB
SceneDIsplay.pdf 2 MB
V1_TRS80_FullDetails.pdf 27 MB
V2_ZXSpectrum_FullDetails.pdf 33 MB

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