National Geographic Features
Explore the Fantastic Forest
A navigable online forest challenges young National Geographic Web site visitors to explore and discover the habitats of eastern woodland animals.
Curious kids visiting National Geographic Online can explore a virtual forest of hidden creatures and features. This richly illustrated, three-dimensional woodland is home to a variety of animals and their unique stomping grounds. As visitors hike along the forest path, they can search for the animals’ hiding places and learn how their habitats play a role in the larger environment. The site keeps track of what they find. When a running stream blocks your path, take a quiz to cross the water, then test your new knowledge by building a forest of your own. The first virtual forest on the Web, Fantastic Forest was a milestone in online experiences. The site was created for 3.0-generation browsers, which allowed for a more seamless Web experience and brought the medium a step closer to the media-rich capacity of CD-ROM. Background audio enlivens the forest with ambient and animal sounds. Users navigate through a 3-D environment, which was created by casting illustrator Bud Peen’s traditional two-dimensional watercolors onto a 3-D stage. A linear map also allows random exploration of the forest. QTVR panoramas are available at each stop along the way, and a special Shockwave “build your own forest” feature tests users’ knowledge and lets them print a certificate as document of their success.
Press & Awards“A Wider Window on The Web,” Critique, Ken Coupland, April 1998Graphis Web Design Now, Ken Coupland, 1998 (Graphis)The Web Design Wow! Book, Jack Davis and Sue Merritt, 1998 (Peachpit Press)“Second Story: Creating the Interactive Experience,” Adobe Annual Report, December 1997Project Cool, Cool Picks, November 20, 1997“Digital Artist at Work Conference in Monterey,” Step-by-Step Japan, Atsuko Nozawa, May 1997“Secrets of the Webmaster MVPs,” The Net, John Papageorge, March 1997High Five Award, January 1, 1997
National Geographic’s Fantastic Forest is a great place to send kids when they ask to explore the Web. The colorful illustrations and engaging copy almost make you forget that you’re learning something.Guide to the Best of the Web, Ziff-Davis, 1997
Great visuals, great navigation, and a nifty concept—and it’s remarkably easy on the modem line, to boot. A terrific site to linger over during your spare time, or to venture through with a young and curious friend.Macromedia, Site of the Week, November 19, 1996
- Brad Johnson, Julie Beeler
- Brad Johnson, Julie Beeler, Christian Anthony, Mind’s Eye, John Labovitz
- Bud Peen, Brad Johnson
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