A Log Book: The Forest Diary Part One

The Forest has been doing really rather well on Steam’s Early Access this year. A survival game with an emphasis on crafting and building, and yet it’s not made out of cubes. In fact, it’s really quite impressively realistic. Apart from, maybe, the mutant horrors. I hope. Oh God, please don’t let those be realistic.

I’ve decided I’m going to master this game. I’m going to be Lord Of The Damned Woods. I’ll document my attempts, in words and video. Here’s the story of my first go.

I got my log cabin. All my life I’ve been waiting for the chance to be stranded in the woods, and have both the resources, and the wherewithal, to build a log cabin. I may have also killed a woman.

The arrival into The Forest is a bit of a rough one. I’m on an aeroplane, and then that aeroplane is on the ground an awful lot sooner than planned. Sitting next to me on the flight was some kid. I wondered, briefly, if he was my son. I decided he wasn’t. Some kid. He looked a bit dead on arrival, but was then scooped up and carried off by an odd-looking chap. Uh, by then, some kid!

Immediately surrounding the plane is an awful lot of luggage, and then an awful lot more woods. And, rather conveniently, a hodgepodge wilderness survival guidebook. In it are instructions for building the basics: simple shelters, small fires, basic traps… But over a page, oh my goodness, there it is. A log cabin. My very own log cabin.

I’m not a survivalist. I’ve watched a lot of Bear Grylls and Naked & Afraid, and I know that stranded in a jungle, or adrift an ice flat, I’d be dead within minutes. Most likely from doing something incredibly stupid like seeing how long I could stand on one leg. But in the woods, with this handbook: I’m in my element. Log bloody cabin, right now.

I got a fire going first. I have a sliver of sense. At which point things took a peculiar turn, when three near-naked people ran toward me, screaming. I panicked. I was already holding an axe – I’d been chopping down trees for logs, for my log cabin. And then all of a sudden there’s this lady, boobs everywhere, her terrifying face trying to bite me, and I just started swinging. And swinging. And swinging. She was down. And then got back up again! That happened twice! The next time she was down I swung at her again, to make sure – double-tap. And chopped her up into constituent parts. Arms, legs, a head, rolling around the forest floor. Her companions, seemingly horrified that they’d stumbled upon someone even more insane than they, fled back into the trees. I sort of, well, picked her bits up. Because I could.

I tried to put this behind me. It was instinct. She was going to kill me. I was just saving my life from a murderer. I’m not a crazy serial killer who chops up his victims and then carries them around with him! It was circumstance. So I turned my killing instincts toward the rabbits and enormous lizards that were strolling around me. Hit. Dead. Hit. Skinned. Picked up. Cooked. Yum.

But this was only a means to an end – my determination to build this log cabin. I’d quickly thrown up a temporary lean-to, so I’d have somewhere to sleep during my project, a nice fireplace next to it. But the frame for my cabin was there, and only 82 logs away from completion.

Chopped down trees offer around five logs, their trunks miraculously transforming into neatly milled wooden poles as they fall. But the downside of this magical logging is just how roly they instantly become. And this forest is slopey. A lot of my time was spent chasing after rolling logs, and ferrying them back to my future home. Chop, chase, build, eat a bunny, chop, chase, sleep, eat a lizard, chop, chase until. Until!

Yes, things went downhill pretty soon after getting my log cabin. What I’ve learned is that when you get a log cabin, you should go inside it, and then be happy in your log cabin on your bed of magazines. If that means starving to death, because for some reason the abundant supplies of lizards and bunnies have all utterly vanished from the world, then starve to death. Don’t wander off toward the camp in which the woman you dismembered in front of her friends once lived.

They weren’t pleased to see me. I hit her with my axe soooo many times, but she was awfully cross, and eventually hurt me rather too much.

Weirdly, I woke up in a cave. A cave filled with horrendously arranged human heads on spikes, and a really quite peculiar number of bottles of fizzy drink. I tried to light a fire, but things seemed to glitch out, so I resorted to wandering along with my lighter for illumination. And. Oh god. It wasn’t okay.

You’ll have to watch the video of that. I can’t put it into words. I wouldn’t sleep if I put it into words. And whatever it was – whatever Cronenbergian monstrosity lived in that cave – it killed me. And in doing so… Hrnngghh. In doing so, IT TOOK AWAY MY LOG CABIN.

So that was my first go at The Forest.


  1. Jediben says:

    Oh my god stop trying to justify your propensity for violence toward women John. NO MEANS NO!

  2. Velko says:

    Major NOPE reporting in.

  3. tumbleworld says:

    That was certainly weird and pissed off.

  4. Lionmaruu says:

    That’s a game I’ll be looking for when finally launches, I hope it will be great.

  5. Bull0 says:

    The crap floor texture in that underground area makes it look like you’ve stumbled upon some large dungeon with neatly tiled floors. Then you get closer and realise it’s just an illusion created by the same rock repeated hundreds of times.

  6. Jac says:

    I’m struggling to keep up with the plethora of survival crafty early accessy games at the moment. Is this one single player then?? Sounds pretty decent for the brief moment John graced its foliage.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      It’s single player.
      The graphics are (mostly) very good compared to other games in the genre. The gameplay is still pretty crude IMO, it’s looking great in screenshots though.
      I’m keeping half an eye on it for the future but I’d recommend watching a livestream or let’s play before sinking money into it at this point.

  7. pupsikaso says:

    For some reason I always thought this game was multiplayer. It doesn’t make sense not having it multiplayer. So I thought that you spawned near some players that already established a little settlement and you managed to kill one of them, and soon you will be pwned by them in return.
    I was very disappoint.

    • HadToLogin says:

      Maybe they went for single-player because there’s already plenty multiplayer “survival” games. And they usually show “multiplayer” and “survival” means “just deathmatch, sometimes in teams, with no care about survival aspect”.

      • neofit says:

        Or, in other words, there are already way too many jackass simulators on the market.

    • BigMistake says:

      I *think* they intent to add coop.

    • Distec says:

      What a world we live when making a single-player game “doesn’t make sense”.

      Kill me now, and take the games with me.

  8. CookPassBabtridge says:

    LOG. BOOK.

    (Meant with love, obviously :) )

  9. neofit says:

    “In doing so, IT TOOK AWAY MY LOG CABIN.”
    Why, no save-anywhere or you were just roleplaying?

    • Caladell says:

      No save-anywhere. More akin to a roguelike, actually.

    • John Walker says:

      You can save, yes. By sleeping in a shelter. But it really defies the point of a survival sim to be able to do that. So I started over.

      • neofit says:

        Just like in Doom, right, you die, nobody left to fight the spawn of evil pouring through the portal, game over, uninstall. There are doors too where you can jam our fingers. Personally, I have no reason to punish myself, so it’s either save-anywhere or my money goes elsewhere.

        • zentropy says:

          Everybody’s different bro, chillax. No need to get all pissy with the man cause his opinion doesn’t properly align with yours. :)

  10. abomb76 says:

    You’d think that lighter would get too hot to hold onto after a few seconds…burning thumb ticking away at your HP…

    And yeah, that whatever it was that stole your log cabin is pretty much the poster child for NIGHTMARISH MONSTROSITY!

  11. skalpadda says:

    I just want to say it’s lovely seeing both John and Alec doing some game diaries. I still go back and read stuff like Gameboys from Hell and A Fool in Morrowind (and silently weep that the latter was never finished) now and then and this sort of thing remains some of my favourite RPS content.

    • colossalstrikepackage says:

      This. So much this. Game diaries are the most fun articles on RPS for me.

      • dongsweep says:

        Agreed! I love the journals, less focus on stuff coming out and more focus on what is out! The RPS team have some of the funniest, talented journalists and I hate seeing it wasted on reporting the news only because they are some of the best story tellers out there.

        • danimuriel says:

          I agree with you. These are good examples of video game narratives that are constructed beyond the game itself. I find fascinating that people still tend to focus on technical issues rather than on the story that is being told. Anyway, I’m very interested in this kind of approach to video game reviews, especially to those that are still in progress. As part of my research I’m trying to explore this way of producing knowledge about video games. I’ve even written my own diary entries on The Forest, trying to emulate these kinds of diaries. The first time I played: link to the3headedmonkey.blogspot.co.uk
          And the second volume: link to the3headedmonkey.blogspot.co.uk

          I would love to read your own ‘diaries’. No matter if you post them here, on my blog or at any other site. Let me know about them, please. Thank you very much and good luck with your surviving!

  12. racccoon says:

    My fort is surrounding the plane! its massive! Only problems are the tree regrowths & annoying trees that can’t be felled! Ahhhh!!! :( , so far, of course there are a few thousand other faults, but i can live with those. great game.

  13. WiggumEsquilax says:

    Next time hit it from behind :)

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      Harlander says:

      Are “that’s what she said” jokes considered too lowbrow for RPS?

  14. frightlever says:

    Those images were really crying out for some alt text.

  15. oxykottin says:

    This article gives me wood.