UnReal World

UnReal World is a unique low-fantasy roguelike game set in the far north during the late Iron-Age.
The world of the game is highly realistic, rich with historical atmosphere and
emphasized on survival in the harsh ancient wilderness.

... support the developer?

Hall of Fame
Dev. history
since 1992
Spirit of
UnReal World
History of
Development history of UnReal World RPG

The very first version of UnReal World was released in 1992. Since then we've seen dozens of UrW releases and still there is no end in sight to working with the next generations of the game. Here you can find UrW development history since 1992 - and to be continued.

Yearly release pace is noted by line of hyphens ------------ representing twelve months of the year, R meaning release on the given month.
Few characteristic features, curiosities or important goals for the annual releases are listed in addition to development overview for each year.


Version 1.00b

The very first version was set in the world of Ankhyrnia, a medieval fantasy world with elves, orcs, mages, rogues, spells, magic potions and so on. Player character was member of a village built nearby caves of doom and mystic tower "where the evil looms". The plot was to enter the caves searching for three keys which will open the gates to the tower.
This multi-level dungeon exploration adventure was actually meant to be just one campaign in the world of Ankhyrnia. The game, set of game rules and details were already designed to allow complex wilderness campaigns, and the idea was not only to develope the game, but also to release external campaigns which could be loaded into this roguelike engine and world. Focus of development wasn't only in dungeons, but also in open-ended game world to explore.
But dungeon exploration roguelike it was...and being a "showcase" version, there was crazy amount of features and easter eggs from all around the game world poured into caves of doom - in somewhat tongue-in-cheek flavour.

unreal world unreal world
Unreal World 1.00b screenshots

Few features that may appear strangely familiar:
  • combat features several ways to strike: aimed attacks, thrust, slash, overhead bash
  • there are not only shops, but also vagrant traders (in the dungeons, but still)
  • God of Ankhyrnia is Ayinar, father of the earth
  • left side of the screen is world map, right side is for statistic and messages
  • some documented (but not showcased) features of the game world: tens of square kilometers of wilderness to explore, play freely or find adventures as you please, the game aims for realism over combat orientation
This ancient version is available for download from the link below.
Remember to view readme file included in the archive!

Download UrW 1.00B - full version


UrW reached its audience, fanbase grew and development continued. More sophisticated ideas about role playing and game world, and finding out that C was the coolest programming language lead to abandoning the old UrW (1.00b) which was written in Turbo Pascal. So...learn a new programming language, think things over, rewrite the game. But be quick, since there are people enjoying your work. Okay.


Versions 2.00b - 2.03


Version 2.00b was completely re-written and brought the character out from the dungeons and into the wilderness. World of the game was still medieval fantasy world, but an unnamed one. Multi-level dungeons existed but importance of travelling on wilderness map was already big part of the game. There were mountains, forests, lakes and villages here and there. Very little was told about the world itself, and there was no big plot to follow. Wilderness map and villages were predefined, but dungeons and local terrains maps randomized. From this version on UrW has been completely open-ended.

unreal world unreal world
Unreal World 2.00b screenshots

Early, but still characteristic features:
  • line-of-sight view and that ever so tricky character movement
  • four seasons - idea of modeling the nature is already there
  • completely open-ended game - there's no big plot to follow
  • two map levels, wilderness and local, and possibility to zoom in/out at will - however, local maps weren't saved
  • rudimentary stage of skill-based system with 5 weapons skills and LOCKCRAFT, FISHING, FORAGING, SWIMMING, TRACKING and PHYSICIAN to start with.
  • different weapon aspects, bleeding wounds and varying results from a single strike
  • you could play as an elf, orc, etc. but common character classes (mage, ranger, etc.) were replaced by four occupations: fisherman, hunter, legionaire or locksmith


Versions 2.04 - 2.08


World of the game was still unnamed and undescribed. There was medieval touch to it, but in mundane way. Behind the scenes it had become clear that the game takes place in ancient northern country. Predefined wilderness map and fixed villages were ruled out, and the whole world was made random. Lots of attention was payed on generating the wilderness, villages and local terrain in new and interesting way. Mushrooms, berries and other edible plants were added with their growing seasons and natural habitats taken into consideration. Selecting race (human, elf, orc, etc.) for player character was replaced by choosing one of the early cultures instead. Now it was possible to play only as human character. Multi-level dungeons, orcs, elves and various monsters still existed, but ruling out high-fantasy elements had started.

unreal world unreal world
  • whole world is randomly generated
  • player character races (human, elf, orc, etc.) were removed and replaced by early cultures: Tribal, Viking, Foresteer and Mountaineer
  • you could play only as human of certain culture, and would choose occupations like cook, hunter, fisherman or locksmith
  • magic potionts were removed
  • physical factors such as fatigue and carried load started to affect combat mechanics and skill usage
  • saunas and farms were added - bathing and purchasing domestic animals was possible
  • terrain got more detailed and started to flourish with mushrooms, berries and other edible plants


Versions 2.09 - 2.11


A year of big turning point and epochal versions. Earnestly and secretly cherished ideas about fenno-ugrian fantasy were revealed and released. High-fantasy monsters were replaced by animals, item assortment was biased towards everyday tools, villages grew smaller and less medieval - and finally, cultures were replaced with the first four cultures of Unreal World. Game encyclopedia was written to enlighten the player what the game was about; hunting, fishing, trading, wilderness survival, cultural elements, everyday life and fighting against the Njerpezit. The legend about origin of the world and how it became unreal was written - and still is the same. The game also started to turn graphical step by step.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 2.10

  • semi-graphical versions - map view was ASCII, bunch of other screens graphical
  • no more orcs, elves or trolls but foxes, bears and wolves
  • there are four cultures in the world: kaumolaiset, driikiläiset and kiesseläiset - and Njerpezit
  • hunting, fishing and other means of wilderness survival have become important
  • traps to catch animals were introduced
  • shops started to contain more everyday items and tools over weapons and armours - yes, there were shops and also monetary system
  • game encyclopedia was added


Versions 2.12 - 2.14


The game turned more graphical version by version, and finally the first completely graphical version was released. Sound effects and music were also added step by step. In addition to audiovisual overhaul, the game not only started to look and sound like an ancient, northern country - but it also started to truly feel like one. Rest of the cultures as we know them now were added. Villages and NPCs were updated to match their culture. Random world and terrain generation was completely overhauled to better represent the northern flora and fauna. Rudimentary stage of rituals and the spirit world was introduced.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 2.14
  • temperature was put in effect and winters became freezingly cold
  • pots, shovels, salt, hides, fur clothes appeared
  • HIDEWORKING-skill was introduced even though hides were only of use in trading
  • starvation was added, and so were the first cookery recipes
  • multi-level caves (now inhabitated by carnivores) still existed and were still constantly updated and improved
  • reindeers, beavers and gluttons walked the earth -- salmons, burbots and pike-perches dwelled in the waters.
  • medine men appeared in the villages to heal and to teach rituals
  • possibility to hire people to hunt and wander with you was added


Versions 2.15 - 2.20


The year of massive rewriting and fundamental additions such as crafting your own items. Many core elements were rewritten to satisfy the developer and allow the game to grow match the size of visions behind. Graphics engine was rewritten, resolution was doubled and all the screens and tiles were redrawn. Random world generator was rewritten to feature a bigger world and more detailed terrain. Local (zoomed-in) maps got overhauled too featuring one especially crucial addition: previously zoomed-in maps were forgotten upon zooming out, but now the game permanently tracked every item, creature and detail in the world for as long as the game continued.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 2.20

  • possibility to build shelters was added - and so was the rain and snow
  • crafting was introduced and [M]aking your own clubs, ropes, traps, fences, wooden stakes etc. became possible
  • hiding was introduced
  • TIMBERCRAFT-skill was introduced - wood had become one the most important materials in the world
  • black grouse, arctic fox, ermine, weasel, polecat, pine-marten and badger appeared
  • chat-options to ask for directions and trade with ordinary people, not only shopkeepers, were added. (There were still shops and money.)
  • UrW internet homepage was created


Version 2.30 and CD-ROM edition for libraries


So far UrW had been an evergrowing DOS-game having to deal with memory limitations and Windows compatibility issues. To break this barrier the game was brought from Borland compiler to Watcom DOS/4GW and the first Windows friendly (32-bit, protected mode) version was released. This was a crucial and mandatory step as now there was virtually unlimited amount of memory to access easily. There was also graphical revolution as the resolution was (once more) increased, lots of new graphics were added and general outlook of the game took a step towards its current form.
Only one public version was released as rest of the year was spent to create CD-ROM library edition of UrW: "Rautakausi Nyt" ("Iron-age Now"). This library edition was originally ordered by one finnish library, but it was eventually distributed all over the country. And now UrW, this strange and addictive northern roguelike, seemed to be not only entertaining but also culturally, historically and even educationally relevant game.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 2.30b

  • first 32-bit and Windows friendly version - DOS times were behind and access to virtually unlimited memory ahead
  • graphical revolution - general outlook of the game starts to resemble its current form
  • game-courses were added
  • skiing became possible
  • raw-leather appeared allowing more items (and clothes) to be crafted
  • "Rautakausi Nyt" (Iron-age Now) CD-ROM library edition of the game was released in Finland


Version 2.40


For the library edition CD-ROM lots of additional content was created; music, pictures, short films. This audiovisual material was now used to update graphics, music and sounds of the game - it became rough, harsh, primitive and mystical. Making UrW short films and re-enacting the game had been very inspiring. Bushcrafting and wilderness adventures in real life weren't new thing at all, but the actual programming and concrete feeling of life behind the game now became inseparable. From this version on, more and more game features have been experienced, lived or tested for real. There was new a millenium, a new era in development, and newly found urge to dive deeper and deeper into cultural roots of ancient finns - both personally and in the game.
Few unsatisfactory elements that didn't fit the setting still existed: mountain goats (very tough beasts), monetary system, shops, written works, and assortment of "civilized" items. One version was released with additions to nearly every key element of the game; new skills, new rituals, new craftable items, new recipes and so on. Then the doors of development chambers were shut and intense coding started to free the people of Unreal World from money, shops, reading, writing and abundant imported goods...

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 2.40

  • first sets of truly primitive, northern and "crazy" graphics and musics
  • fur as a material appeared and making fur clothes became possible
  • berry and vegetable soups
  • wooden cups and bowls
  • map of known areas (F6) was added


Versions 2.50 - 2.60


Yet another epochal versions which were very satisfying also from the developers' point of view. NPCs became traditionally dressed and linen, nettle, woollen and birch-bark clothing appeared. The last big chances to make all the items, NPCs and cultural structure to fit into iron-age setting were accomplished. People of the unreal world now appeared pleasantly uncivilized foresters who lived of the land being watched over by the spirits of the nature. Most important and fundamental change was ruling out monetary system. Overal village architecture and building types were also overhauled, as shops and excess amount of items to purchase became less dominant. And as there was no monetary system anymore, all the game features related to self-sustainability needed to be thought over and improved accordingly. Crafting, cookery, hideworking, trapping, hunting etc. were improved to the point where the player character now could practice truly self-sustainable lifestyle - except for agriculture. An important addition to manifest living on your own was the feature to construct wooden buildings.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 2.60

  • monetary system was ruled out
  • foreign traders appeared
  • HIDEWORKING was overhauled introducing complex hide processing; tanning, curing, fur and leather
  • loop snare, small and big lever-trap were added
  • possibility to build cottages and saunas was added
  • milking animals became possible
  • many metal armours were ruled out and linen, nettle, wool, birch-bark clothes were introduced
  • buildings became fixed part of the map - previously a new map/screen was generated upon entering a building


Version 2.70


Ten years had passed since the first release of UrW. Satisfying number of major goals were accomplished and world of the game finally existed very much like it had been dreamed to exists since 1995. In some sense the goal of creating fenno-ugrian, iron-age roguelike was "accomplished" - but naturally it had become clear that the traditional lifestyle and cultural roots of our ancestors offered an endless source for inspiration, imagination and development. What next? Wilderness survival had always been very important part of the game, but now the focus turned into interaction between human beings and social relationships. Talking to NPCs was improved in many ways, NPCs got lots of stories to tell and quests to offer - and most importantly, a feature to get married was added. (This scale of level of socializing was later removed to be introduced with more detail in the future)

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 2.70

  • stone-axe was added
  • smoked meat, porridge and bag of rye-flour were added
  • it was possible to get married - this feature was removed several versions later to be implemented in more detail in the future
  • NPCs were very talkative telling stories and having quests
  • learning new rituals required talking to a medicine man


no release


No release doesn't equal to no development. It just took 14 months to finish the next public release.


Version 2.80


The game was about iron-age in the far north. Living of the land, hunting, fishing, crafting and building were core elements of the game. Social life was there; getting married, interacting with other human beings and also with the supernatural. But one important source of livelihood had been missing until now: agriculture. This version was clearly focused on agriculture, utilizing crops and preserving food. Life cycle of the plants was improved, cookery recipes were improved, and AGRICULTURE-skill now allowed the character to lead more settled lifestyle.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 2.80

  • AGRICULTURE-skill was introduced; preparing the soil, planting and sowing
  • Proper life cycle of plants was introduced; from sprouting to withering, and all over again
  • Cellars were added
  • Many essential COOKERY recipes were added; for example dried meat & fish
  • Fireplaces were improved; some recipes now required heated fireplace/room and houses/saunas needed to be heated up gradually
  • Graphics were polished, new historically relevant pics were added, and "animation" of water, fire etc. was added


no release


A massive architechture/porting leap was upon the UnReal World - the biggest and most the important leap in the history of the game so far. UrW was Windows-friendly, but not a native Windows game. Graphics, sounds and user interface were all hardware dependent. To allow compatibility and portability in the future, some massive changes needed to be done. The Wonderful world of SDL-library allowed this step to be taken. Once more, the project was brought into new C/C++ compiler and notorious rewrite of graphics, sounds and user interface was proceeded.


Versions 2.90B - 2.92


During 2005 UrW was succesfully ported to SDL, brought into new development environment and system independent development was now possible. Releases and patches were put out in fast pace to replace gaps that removal of outdated parts of the game engine had left.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 2.92

  • ported to SDL - the first native Windows version
  • rudimentary mouse usage is featured
  • a whole new set of music and sounds; only few old samples survive - musics are completely fresh
  • ambient and movement sounds are featured; wind, walking, rain etc.
  • true color images start to appear replacing the long lasting legacy of 256-color VGA images
  • NPC/animal avatar redrawing starts; color variations for animals
  • archery and missile attack improvements; size & distance modifier, breakage of arrows, target awareness etc.
  • winter furs become more valuable


Versions 3.00 - 3.04


With version 3.00 started the third era of UnReal World. Many elements of the world generation were completely re-written or at least heavily improved. Everything related to landscape became bigger, better, faster and more beautiful. So became completely re-written random world generator, enchanched zoomed-in terrain generation, flora overhaul and map structure overhaul. A fundamental chance from map structure overhaul was that the world became completely seamless; it was now possible to explore the whole world on zoomed-in level. All the mushrooms, wild edible plants and berries were completely re-arranged and re-written, and a bunch of new flora appeared. The new random world generator allowed to create a map from three different regions of the world: Inland, Northern or Archipelago. Cultural areas were also generated on the map for the player to view. Almost all the screens, menus and graphics were re-organized and redrawn.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 3.04

  • seamless maps - the whole world was now possible to explore on zoomed-in level
  • lots of new graphics kept pouring in; also fallen avatars for NPCs/animals
  • trading was improved to feature offering items at will from character's inventory
  • villages were culturally improved, northern people living in kotas, different craftsmen and animal for different cultures
  • possibility for female player characters
  • new map generator; you could choose to play Inland, Northern or Archipelago map
  • zoomed-in terrain generation was enchanced; moss, rowan, alder and young trees appeared
  • lingonberry, cloudberry, northern bilberry, raspberry and many more appeared
  • fishing was improved; all the fish now had attributes for their natural environment and habitat, time of activity etc.


Versions 3.04(2) - 3.11


Major external and internal chances -- a record-breaking year in number of releases.
As new (SDL) era of UrW now allowed system and hardware independent user interface/audiovisual design and lots of effort was put into giving the game a new outlook and facelift. Almost all the menus and game-screens were renewed and made mouse sensitive. Tile-graphics engine was overhauled and majority of the tiles were re-drawn now featuring overlapping. Big crafting improvements were also made featuring more complex usage of raw materials and automatic selection of tools - of which some now were better suited for only certain tasks. A detailed "required items" dialog was also added. Crafting became far more complex, flexible and fun. NPC and animal AI improvements were started and chat-system was overhauled. NPCs now chopped down trees, maintained fire and had became aware of events in the world - also telling their news to the player character.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 3.11

  • graphics overhaul covering screens, menus and tiles
  • the two essential commands: [m]ove items & [r]epeat last action
  • variety of axes was added - broad axe, woodsman's axe, carving axe and splitting axe.
  • chat-system overhaul - getting married wasn't featured anymore, NPCs telling news about events of the world appeared
  • major improvement in crafting: complex but flexible usage of raw materials, automatic tool selection, batch crafting, tool type affecting the result etc.
  • Detailed "required items" dialog and item selection was added - an essential part of the crafting system
  • traps overhaul; disassembling, resetting, variety of lever and deadfall traps


Version 3.12b


A brave new unreal world - complete rewrite of random world and zoomed-in terrain generation. This was a monumental task and saved nothing from only recently (2 years ago) updated world & terrain generation code. The new world appeared six times larger than previously and contained the whole, seamless UnReal World peninsula. Lots of new terrain types were added and also terrain elevation. Graphics, diversity and overall generation of zoomed-in maps were also rewritten. The facts of life stayed the same, but the landscape changed immersely. This was one of the biggest core element overhauls in history of the game, and required also lots of new tile design.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 3.12b

  • terrain elevation and height curves
  • Land of the Njerpez and Njerpez villages now actually appeared in the world
  • Region names became generated in respect to surrounding terrain giving meaningful names
  • New terrain types; lichenous pine forests, cliffs, fortified villages
  • Terrain undergrowth and foundation types; moss, lichen, crag, bedrock.
  • NPCs learned to use bow and arrow
  • NPC/Animal AI was improved making them behave and react individually (to a threat for example)
  • Animal/NPCs tracks on zoomed-in maps


Versions 3.12 - 3.13-patch1


Introduction of modding capabilities. Through (once more) fundamental data structure changes it was made possible to mod plants, do-it-yourself items, build-it-yourself constructions and cookery recipes. Flora of UnReal World was also improved in many ways featuring medicinal (herbal) effects and lots of new cultivated and wild plants. Importance and details of agriculture were greatly improved as separate harvest, thresh and grind options appeared allowing more complex usage of plants. Many improvements focused on ways to better utilize plants and raw materials. A new style for modeling nutrition was introduced; the system was based on carbohydrate, protein and fat content in all the edible items. Cookery became very freeform and used ingredients determined nutritional value of the meal prepared.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 3.13

  • moddable plants, recipes, craftable items and constructions
  • variety of medicinal effects for plants
  • new plants started to pour in; Rye, Barley, Hemp, Yarrow, Nettle, Sorrel, Meadsweet, Golden rod
  • Tresh, Grind and Harvest AGRICULTURE-opions
  • container handling was improved introducing "pour" and "empty" commands
  • TRAPPING, CARPENTRY and BUILDING skills were introduced; possibility to build Kota
  • Hideworking became more complex and realistic; clean, de-hair, tan - plus an ability to repair worn out clothes
  • Carbohydrate, protein and fat content based nutrition was introduced


Versions 3.13-patch2 - 3.14b


Many recently started major development branches are being improved simultaneously. Nutrition system is expanded to affect character's feeling of hunger based on energy intake, stomach content and bodily energy reserves. Modding capabilities are improved step-by-step allowing more complex mods to be created. Script language is created to allow editing game messages. Porting the game for Linux and MacOSX was started and partially accomplished - the first unofficial ports were playable but very buggy. One big game element which hadn't been touched for a long time was combat. Now it was massively overhauled including rewritten melee and missile combat mechanics, combat messages, wound system and wound treatment.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 3.13

  • First unofficial, but awfully buggy, Linux and MacOSX versions
  • new "hunger system" based on stomach content, energy intake and body energy reserves; nutrition bar is added, hunger and thirst bars improved
  • modding possibilities grow step-by-step, editable game messages
  • combat overhaul; tactical advantage, weapon classification, counterstrike, detailed injuries for NPCs, complex and realistic missile trajectory modelling
  • re-written combat messages; vivid description of battle results
  • improved wound treatment; usage of herbs, several treatments per wound
  • flowering plants


Versions 3.14b2-3.15


Several fundamental overhauls concerning items and crafting. All the items become prone to quality tags and crafting is brought to a desired level of detail and complexity. Raw materials, tool quality/usefulness and skill mastery level now all play together in advanced manner and have an impact on produced item quality. Item prices are adjusted with the help of historical sources and NPC equipment is assessed based on wealth of their culture. Impact of skill mastery level is overhauled and starts to affect everything produced with character's skills; crafting, cooking, building and so on. Tracking gets more realistic and skill dependant. And flora of the world just keeps getting more detailed and diverse. New plant properties and medicinal effects are added, and utilizing young sprouts and roots is featured. HERBLORE skill is added to cope with the hidden world of the plants and to recognize and study their properties. Porting the game to Linux and OS X reaches stable stage.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 3.15

  • fundamental overhauls concerning impact of raw material and tool quality/usefulness
  • skill mastery level impact on produced item quality
  • quality tags for all the items
  • varying quality items for NPCs, assessment of NPC inventory is based on wealth of their culture
  • historically accurate item prices; relative to value of a squirrel hide
  • STEALTH-skill is introduced
  • HERBLORE-skill is introduced along with a hoard of new plants and medicinal effects
  • tracking improvements; animal size and ground cover determines how clear tracks it will leave - fainter tracks require more tracking skills to spot them
  • custom character creation modes and more free skill point adjustment
  • stable Linux and OS X builds


Versions 3.15-patch1 - 3.18b3


A record-breaking year in both number of releases and far reaching overhauls. Village inventory and restocking, item ownership and trading, reputation and reacting to breaches, NPC speech and communal AI - these all are redesigned or created from a scratch. Shop-like storehouses where you purchased the goods from a craftsman were removed and the new era of trading and restocking begun. Goods in each village are now owned by the whole community and you collect the items from different buildings and start trading when ready. Village restocking gets more varied, detailed and population dependant. Species specific diets, predator-prey relationship and feeding behaviour of animals is created. Gregarious animals work as a herd, following their leader. Herbivores (and omnivores) search and eat variety of plants specific to their diet. Carnivores actively search, hunt, kill and eat their prey. A countless variety of incidents can happen as wildlife gets truly alive. A new item selection dialog is designed to allow easier selection and viewing of items. UI convenience boost is also added for handling items. Overall graphics facelift is initiated by replacing grainy old portraits and backgrounds with fresh and crisp images. And living in UnReal World in general gets more hardcore as all physical activities are given individual levels of effort and the character needs to meet specific physical condition requirements to perform certain tasks.
The game became free to play donationware.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 3.18b3

  • overhauled village inventory and restocking, item ownership and trading
  • new trading system; no shops, but communally owned items which you collect and can trade for at will
  • reputation comes into play; character's actions affect to his/her reputation with village, and word gets around
  • predator-prey relationship and species specific diets
  • levels of effort and physical condition requirements for ordinary tasks
  • UI convenience boost; a new item selection dialog, item handling commands made quicker and smoother, zoomable map view
  • companion and pet improvements; tie animals to trees, command your dogs, and have your companions hunt on demand
  • marking of time; bye bye julian calendar, welcome norse pagan calendar
  • persistent archive of ancestors and fresh memorial page telling the reason of death and character summary in more detail
  • wading, fords, islets and skerries are featured
  • outlook facelift gets going with fresh and crisp character portraits and background images


Versions 3.18-beta4 - 3.20


The facelift got completed with a galore of new high-quality backgrounds, portraits and terrain type images. By the end of the year the game was also migrated to SDL 2 and foundation for future graphic updates to follow was thus laid.
But as always, development priority remained in the game content, and expanding possibilities and improving mechansims of wildlife, village life and NPC behaviour received the most attention. NPCs got a wider scope of reactions towards other people - in addition to being blunt aggressive or peaceful - and got closer to behaviour variety already in use with wild animals. Most notably, Njerpez lost their 'always aggressive' status.
True crop cycle was added and villagers started to harvest their fields, stock the products and sow the fields again in the spring. Village resources and restocking was ever improved by adding more variety to availability of everyday tools and materials.
Lots of love was given to combat means and rules. Complex weapon breakage and degrade system was created, shield holding modes were added to allow usage of shield to protect from missile attacks - and robber NPCs were introduced. Armour glossary was overhauled for the sake of historical accuracy and variety.
One very important core element adjustment concerned the creation of animal populations. Animal populations were thoroughly overhauled and checked resulting in more varied and greater number of wildlife to exist in the world - with animals natural habitats having a much greater role than ever before.
Ravens, eagle owls, goshawks and more birds now appeared - with their specific diets, nesting habits, eggs and feathers.
And finally, seals were introduced.
In august 2014 UnReal World also entered Steam Greenlight. The pressure to go for it had been raising for years already and now we finally gave in and decided to give it a go.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 3.20

  • true crop cycle for villages - harvesting, stocking and sowing all the farm products
  • blunt and broadhead arrows, balanced shooting with crossbows; accuracy, easiness and reloading times
  • shield usage to protect from missile attacks
  • carcass overhaul; they rot, can be picked up and burnt - plus pausable cutting and skinning
  • weapon breakage and degrade system
  • robber NPCs were introduced
  • armour glossary overhaul; anachronistic armous removed, and new armours added
  • feathers, eggs and new birds with new behaviour - and new bird call audio samples
  • thoroughly checked, adjusted and balanced animal populations
  • migrated to SDL 2
  • entered Steam Greenlight


Versions 3.20 (patch 1) - 3.20 (patch 2)


Well, what do you know! UnReal World got greenlit on Steam at turn of the year. Votes and the buzz had made it pretty clear to expect approval on Steam, but now when it actually happened it still came as bit of a suprprise. Now this huge big sidetrack and a new arena to conquer had to be taken into account for real. But first things first...
   First quarter of the year was spent to release two crucial patches for the current version. These were most notably about finalizing SDL2 migration with further graphics tweaks and adding some great new hardcore value to trapping with balanced animal appearance. Map drawing was made texture-based by the book now looking better and rendering faster on all fronts. Straightforward animal spawning was removed and attractiveness of traps overhauled with more delicate system. Now it took more patience, consideration and knowledge of animals natural habitats to succeed in trapping.
Then came the time to start planning, preparing and working on the next release - bearing in mind that it was going to be our initial Steam as well. Doors of the development chambers were shut and serious considerations of the next big things were initiated.
   We decided not to release on Steam as soon as possible but to start working on a brand new version with big and ambitious additions in both outlook and content. Thus, we started working on the great four content blocks; quests, complete tile graphics update, true moddability of items and weather engine overhaul. All of these were worked on intensely for the year 2015 and were all found semi-finished at the end of the year. Quite a feat, but nothing was ready to be released as a whole. Nevertheless, by the end of the year we had also gotten a grip of Steam interface and felt confident to go live next year with whatever of the leading content blocks were finished first.

unreal world unreal world unreal world
Screenshot from version 3.20 (patch 2) and intermediate graphics update sneak previews

  • got Greenlight on Steam
  • advanced SDL2 migration tweaks; improved map rendering, crisp tiles when zooming, speed optimizations
  • animals natural habitat and commonness playing a greater role in trapping
  • overhauled and balanced attractiveness of traps; less but far more rewarding catches to be expected
  • a year of continuous teasing development posts about upcoming quests, graphics update, weather overhaul and all that - to be also released on Steam


Versions 3.30 - 3.40 (beta 3)


A big, busy and productive year filled with groundbreaking releases and all sorts of acknowledgements.
Firstly, with release of version 3.30 we launched on Steam. It was 11 month journey to come up with the release and we managed complete 3 out of those 4 big development blocks that were started last year. There was a huge tile graphics overhaul. Hundreds of redrawn tiles gave the game a whole new outlook, and rewritten graphics engine brought the performance boost. The weather engine was rewritten from a scratch now featuring the craved realism of simulating factors such as rain, snowfall, ice, solar elevation angle and temperature changes. More precise moddability of crafted and cooked items was introduced by adding item property tags to truly create new, customized items.
   Six months and two patches later another big release took place; version 3.40 (beta) with quests finally ready to be released. Quests were probably one of the biggest implementations in years, spanning their effects on ever so many sectors of the game. We didn't take the easiest path with quests but approached them with great ambition, used verbose dialogue, procedural generation and randomization to maintain replayability. Lots of folklore and history books were studied to get the quests featured in satisfying fashion and that lead us to enhancing the spirit world as well.
  New spells were introduced, based very accurately on actual collected fishing and hunting spells of the ancient Finns. Now it was also possible to meet and see the spirits for real. The game world became more alive in a new fashion on both mundane and extraordinary levels.
   Meanwhile, there was Finnish Museum of Games about to open at turn of the year and UnReal World was selected as one of the featured titles. Doing our part in the process of exhibition building up was quite interesting; along with playable version, some game (development) items and video interview also appears at UnReal World booth at the museum. UnReal World also got Guinness World Record for "Longest update support for a game" title, after 24 years of continuous development (so far).

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 3.40b

  • released on Steam
  • tile graphics overhaul; new outlook, new graphics engine, hundreds of tiles redrawn and added
  • weather engine overhaul; snowfall, realistic ice, day and night and seasonal lighting cycles
  • custom markers on map of known areas
  • true moddability of crafted and cooked items; property tags for truly new items to be created
  • quests in all their glory
  • treasure caches
  • new spells, insipired and based on the actual collected hunting and fishing spells of ancient Finns
  • featured in Finnish Museum of Games
  • Guinness World Record for "Longest update support for a game" title. (GWR Gamer's Edition 2017)


Versions 3.40 - 3.50 (beta 2)


25th anniversary year of versatile productivity. In addition to new versions there was also launching of new forums, adding Steam trading cards, and publishing Shaman Duel short movie. And finally, taking part of special year of celebration. See, in 2017 Finland celebrated 100 years of independency, and UnReal World celebrated 25 years of indie-dependency.
   But starting from the start...the major new additions added in 2016 - especially the quests - needed certain amount of adjustments, discussion and community guidance but all this was nicely worked out in the early year and 3.40 stable released.
   Soon after, considerations about adding Steam Trading cards were initiated in collaboration with by Finnish comic artist Tuuli Hypen - who had done some remarkable UnReal World adventuring and fan-art in the past. The process of artwork creation continued for six months - from discussions about possible scene selections, to early sketches, and final set of cards and backgrounds which were proudly released in august.
   Meanwhile, we had started steadily trucking towards yet another version with a strong focus on the new kind of spells and spells system first showcased in version 3.40. This meaned giving up the old ritual system for good, and bringing the existence of magic means to our desired new level. The new version was not all about the spells though. In the midst of (still) adjusting quests one new quest, with an important new otherworldly being, got added too: the appearance of forest spirit.
We also brought into existence cubs and calves - the young animals for relevant wild animal species. Now you could encounter an elk mother wandering together with her calf, or a bear mother followed by her cub. This addition extended also to adjusted behavior of mother animals.
   Long-awaited new materials to be harvested from carcesses - antlers, bones, skulls and teeth - were also added. With some of these, eg. bear skulls and teeth, there was also a strong underlying link to new spells.
   This version was not ready until december, but we were able to release beta just in time before Finland's 100th independency day. Steam honoured the special occasion with designated sale of some Finnish titles and we were proud to participate. UnReal World is naturally quite a finnish game, but also the longest-living of them all.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 3.50b

  • Steam trading cards (plus backgrounds, emoticons and badges) added
  • Spells screen and system overhaul - removal of the old, now only new spells with desired historical authenticity
  • More new spells, insipired and based on the actual collected hunting and fishing spells of ancient Finns
  • Cubs and calves added for some relevant wild animals
  • Ant nests
  • Forest spirit now appears as a being that can be actually met
  • Antlers,bones, skulls and teeth - to be now harvested from carcasses
  • Concrete bear mythology related game-content - bear skull rite and bear teeth magic
  • New UnReal World forums launched
  • Shaman Duel short-movie published
  • Finland's 100th anniversary, UnReal World's 25th anniversary


Versions 3.50 - 3.52


The early year brought version 3.50 to stable stage, which was then followed by another two new versions. All of these releases contained more bugfixes and balancing rather than completely new features. The two latest and greatest things achieved, quests and new spells system, still needed most of our attention and lots of fine tuning was done on interacting with both the spirits and NPCs. The actual new features that were added, although in small numbers, also further enhanced dealing with the spirit world and NPCs - and pets and companions.

With a quarter of a century of development behind an interesting new merit was also given for the game as UnReal World was now seen as a true forefather of its genre.
See, Back in 2016 we got Guinness World Record for "Longest update support for a videogame", and you know what... this year we got another one as Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition 2019 acknowledged UnReal World as "First open-world survival videogame".

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from (and at times of) version 3.52

  • treat bleeding wounds of your pets and companions
  • cultures having more distinguishable influence to NPC names, with a galore of new northern names
  • villagers' exploitable interest to buy boards toned down
  • ask NPCs to find quest related persons in villages
  • rehire companions after a varying NPC dependant timespan - an option that always seemed to exist but never truly worked before
  • balanced forest spirit's mood changes in regards to hunted animals; their size and significance now matters
  • Guinness World Record for "First open-world survival videogame" title. (GWR Gamer's Edition 2019)


Versions 3.60 - 3.61


First months the year were spent exceptionally - in sick leave due to fractured shoulder. The recovery was slow with lots of physiotherapy needed, but I dedicated myself to work on both the arm as well the game as much possible. And the both plans turned out just fine.
   The main focus of the next release was set to improve NPCs and their behaviour and widen the range of their actions, including the companions you can hire for yourself. The most fundamental and also very practical addition was to make NPCs who roam the woods now actively hunt game animals based on their cultural preferences. Naturally the need of NPCs being able also to butcher and utilize their kills followed, along with many more painful and complex tweaks to NPC code to make their existence in the world more meaningful.
   The new NPC hunting related code was leashed to benefit player's party as well as the companion commands were also enchanced with options to utilize carcasses. Companions were also given completely new mechanics to help player character with numerous laborous tasks thus shortening the working times. From building to crafting and from retrieving nets to setting traps they would now spontaneously come and help.
   Items and crafting was extended too, with new materials and properties. Birch-bark items had existed in the game for ages but now birch-bark was introduced as harvestable raw material which could be utilized in many ways. Most fundamental additions were made in the world of tying equipment where measure of length property was featured. This change extended all around the code and brought up numerous related features like shortening and joining, and crafting requirement additions. And then came the withes - readily available natural tying equipment craftable from spruce and birch saplings.
   Releases started rolling in the autumn and lots playtime was needed to see how new features worked, or not worked. Towards the end of the year stable versions finally came out solid, good and strong. As did the injured arm.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 3.60

  • actively hunting wandering NPCs, utilizing their kills
  • new companion commands: butcher, roast, make logs and boards
  • companions help with numerous laborous tasks thus shortening the working time
  • dogs for wandering NPCs, village dogs to roam freely
  • birch-bark as harvestable material and craftable birch-bark items: shoes, ropes, caps, baskets
  • measure of length property for tying equipment along with features such as shortening and joining
  • withes - readily available and traditional tying equipment


Versions 3.62 - 3.63


Last year started with fractured shoulder, and this one with the outbreak of global pandemic. Extra hassle and worries appeared in most peoples daily lives and routines, but we still managed to release two new versions. It also came to our attention, by an e-mail from a player, that in february 2021 UnReal World had lasted 10,000 (ten thousand) days in real life. This was calculated from the date stamp in executable file of version 1.00b distribution archive. We don't even remember the exact release date, but it was summer of 1992. So the continuing lifespan of the game in early 2021 was at least 10,000 days - and the days and releases have kept rolling also after that.
   First release of the year was a bunch of miscellanous additions and bugfixes on all fronts. Few memorable things could be for example milking reindeers, pausable pit digging and possibility of Njerpez warriors wandering in groups. The second release had majority of its new features specifically related to the lush of the summer, with also significant amount of improvements to the fire mechanics. These kind of go hand in hand. Now you could build sauna stoves, and make a vasta broom for sauna bath, but also gradual heating up of fireplaces (including sauna stove) was introduced. With these fireplace related additions more attention to heating was now required to have your cottage nicely warm during the coldest winter days.
   With the new fire mechanics fire burning in general, its' warming effect, obtained information and visual appearance all became more detailed. For example, embers now accumulated and glowed according to the amount of fire burned and information about the burnt-out fire could be obtained by looking at it. And so on. The smoking cookery method for food preservation was also made more realistic requiring continuous maintaining of fire through the whole process.
   When it comes to the lush of summer it was also seen in the addition of leaf trees growing and losing their leaves gradually according to the season. This was mostly a visual enhancement but also had some use in the game-mechanics for example when collecting birch twigs. See, you need leafy summer twigs to make a vasta broom. The sauna experience also got a bit more moody with new audio and messages.

unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 3.63

  • improved fire mechanics and its graphical representation
  • leaf trees growing and losing their leaves gradually according to the season
  • gradual heating up and cooling down of fireplaces and sauna stoves
  • smoking requires continuous maintaining of fire
  • sauna improvements; make a vasta broom, build a stove, more moody experience
  • wandering Njerpez can be met in small groups too
  • milking reindeers


Versions 3.70 - 3.71


unreal world unreal world
Screenshots from version 3.70

The year started with an exhibition about video game food culture opening at Finnish Museum of Games, and UnReal World was featured there in many ways. There was an additional publication made for the exhibition where Sami was interviewed about UnReal World's Iron Age eating habits, and an entire UnReal World menu available for readers to enjoy. This menu was based on the actual dishes you can cook in the game, but now with the recipes and instructions printed out you can try cooking them for real.
You can download Cake is a lie .PDF here.
Collaboration and deep thinking for the exhibition also radiated into the game and mechanics for cooking ember-roasted turnips were added, and some recipes tuned based on their real-life cooking results.
  The most notable features of version 3.70 were fibre and cordage processing with a newly added textilecraft skill, the moon and the moonlight, and wintertime movement related additions. Textilecraft was the most diverse one featuring multi-stage processes of extracting fibres and processing them into yarn. Flax was only now added into the game as a new fibre crop, and producing and using cordage in general reached a new level. Several beneficial textilecraft related spin-off features resulted, for example craftable bowstrings.
  The moon phases and moonlight effects were added making the moonlit nights now a really different experience, especially during the wintertime. The weather engine also received another cool wintertime simulation aspect; the snow crust effect. This made a difference to wintertime hunting at times when the crust can support a person, but not a heavy animal. On top of that, snow penalties were also made functional for animals and NPCs alike making their movement that much harder depending on the animal size and snow depth.
   Rod fishing was improved, making it also also bit more challenging. Now you could craft hooks from wood or bone, needed to replace them occasionally, and usage of baits was also featured.
   In regards to interface a new setup option also deserves a mention; to choose between imperial and metric units with configurable precision. This had been on our mind for quite a long time and now as we dove deep into lengths and measures with the textilecraft additions, we also went ahead to add it.
   Lastly, a good bunch of new iron-age appropriate character portraits were added. Portraits were also split into more distinct categories as sages, old men and little girls received their own specific portraits. Oh, indeed, little girls now arrived into villages a new NPC type.

  • textilecraft skill; extract fibres and produce yarn
  • the moon and moonlight effects
  • snow crust and snow penalties for all the animals
  • configurable imperial/metric unit display
  • fishing improvements; craftable hooks, usage of baits
  • whole lotta new portraits; portrait categories
  • post spruce, a simple wilderness condition shelter

To be continued....