On Christmas Eve in 1966, a New York television station broadcast several hours of a festive fireplace so people in fireless flats could tune into The Yule Log and feel Christmassy too. A modern tradition was born. You might have seen fireplace videos in Christmas shops on VHS and DVD, Netflix has three of ’em (I favour the birchwood fire), one ad has Nick Offerman sipping whisky by a fire for 45 minutes, and of course virtual logs exist too. The latest is Yule Log [official site] from Ice Water Games, the makers of Eidolon and Viridi. It lets you watch nice virtual logs burn. Isn’t that enough?
So. Yule Log starts you with a single glowing firelighter, to which you can add logs of different sizes. These logs then burn. It’s got that typical pleasing Ice Water untextured low-poly look but! with magical real-time log burning technology. Yes indeedy, these logs will warp and shrink as they burn. It also has a speed setting (from ‘thrilling’ to ‘soothing’) depending on whether you want cool hyperfires or a slow burn.
I wouldn’t put this on the telly in our lounge but I have enjoyed burning logs for a few minutes, and that’s good enough for me. I like the fire.
Ice Water’s Yule Log is pay-what-you-want, wit no minimum, for Windows, Mac, and Linux from Itch. The controls aren’t quite what Ice Water say so: space bar creates a new log; left click drags things; mousewheel changes log size.
This doesn’t include music or sound effects but does have suggestions on where to find them, and I’m sure you can find your own festive noises too. I’ll point out that SomaFM have a range of Christmas streams from traditional to cloying and tasteless.
Here’s one fire I inexpertly built and tended:
Top tip! If you run the simulation at maximum thrilling and mash your space bar to add dozens upon dozens of logs, you can overload your computer and create a rich portrait of my emotional journey when Slade come on in the pub: