Maybe you haven't been around during the first 5 years of Santharia and therefore don't know various things about the project - you can learn about the most important things at the Site Tour, though. But even if you are a Santharian member you probably won't know everything about the project, which you always would have liked to know... This anniversary page provides you with an insight in these dark areas as well. Now here's your chance to learn some more interesting things from Artimidor you always wanted to know, but never had the opportunity to read about...

Did you know... that the first mentioning of "Santharia" dates back to an Iceland trip in 1992?
The name "Santharia" indeed was born on a trip through the mountainous Iceland I (Artimidor) made in the year 1992 with a friend of mine to "relax" from my philosophical studies at the university of Vienna.

Photos of Iceland's pure nature.

We stayed for a 4 week trip starting from Rejkavik travelling through the island - or better around the island, as there basically is only one way to go, most parts in the center of the island are barely accessible, consisting mainly of glaciers. The roads on island to a great part still don't really deserve that name, though you encounter quite a lot of different nature's phenomenon's on Iceland like volcanoes in close proximity to glaciers, black sand on the shores, gheysirs, nearly endless stone fields, hundreds of waterfalls and seemingly completely forgotten farms in the middle of nowhere. So no McDonalds, hotels etc., but instead you have to deal with eating fish most of the time at pretty horrendous prices.

A travel to Iceland is very much a confrontation with nature at its purest, and on the trip we hiked quite a bit through the unique landscape, which to a certain degree was as tiring as Frodos journey towards Mount Doom. Anway, it was at this journey when I had - among some philosophical light-weight books - packed another small book someone had recommended to me, called "The Hobbit" from a certain J.R.R. Tolkien. Though I used to play fantasy-related computer games already, it was the first time I read a Tolkien book - and it wouldn't remain the last one. My philosophical literature soon was substituted by "The Hobbit", which my friend and I read in turn - soon we were both convinced to read more Tolkien stuff as soon as we got home (which shouldn't happen until my studies were finished, though, 2 years later).

Aside from "The Hobbit" we of course had some travel guides with us, where the famous myths of the Icelandic Edda were described in detail, and together with "The Hobbit" and the straining travel experiences, it was a wonderful experience to dive into a mythical world like Iceland and set a fantastical mood.

The trip to Iceland had also been planned from the first place as a trip to serve as a brainstorming opportunity for a computer game with a fantasy setting I hoped to realize within the next years, though I never had given the idea a thought myself that I would ever make a living from programming myself at some point. Well, as a matter of fact, the name "Santharia" was one of the results of these brainstorming sessions somewhere in Iceland among other game material we accumulated. Though it turned out that it was impossible to realize the game in the planned form, the enthusiasm for fantasy remained in the young Artimidor and the name of the world remained as well: "Santharia".


Did you know... that Santharia was meant to be initially realized as a computer game?
Back in the early 1990s I concepted a computer RPG based on a roughly layed out Santharian world. The world back then basically consisted of a bunch of handdrawn maps (on paper!) and character portraits I drew with Photoshop on an Apple Macintosh - storyline and first major quests were already defined as well. What initially started as a little drawing exercise on the Mac, developed into an unique RPG concept never seen before in a similar way in another game.

The storyline was - unlike hundreds of other fantasy games - a mixture of something I'd call the "Little Computer People" (C64) concept with a much more serious fantasy RPG background: The C64 game "Little Computer People" simulated a house, where people were put in, who lived a life of their own in a house inside of the computer screen. They had some sort of a free will and decided on their own if they wanted to feed the dog, take a nap, take a shower or write a letter to the person in front of the computer. Of course the "player" in front of the computer could interact with the little computer people, give them presents, play games with them and try to convince them to do something else than what they were currently doing.

The Santharian game to the contrary was meant to simulate a whole fantasy world: The "little computer people" were intended to live in a fantasy kingdom, having developed a free will on their own. Though it basically was concepted as an epic fantasy RPG, during gameplay the player would have found out more and more that the people were created by some sort of God (the Programmer in fact) who gave his creation free will. The game was designed in a very philosophical and also ironic way - you'd have encountered prophets claiming that all the people in the world have no will of their own, because the Creator (the Programmer) in this case had predetermined everything, others would deny that a Creator ever existed. The player himself would have been sucked into the game by a wizard who managed to break the chains of the creation by getting access to an ancient technology, the ROM and the RAM temples somewhere deep down below the surface. The plot was actually quite funny and wasn't meant be taken too seriously - the player for example would have found the game manual in his backpack including instructions on how to use the "Game Save" spell and many other things.

I got in contact with the Austrian programmers at a company called neo, who had developed a game called "The Clou!" on the Amiga, and some detailed discussions took place on how to realize the game. There was a strong will to program the game, but the company couldn't guarantee to offer a permanent job to me, which was one of the main reasons why the game never happened to be realized. What remained were a lot of handdrawn maps, which should serve as the basis for later Santharian concepts, and nearly 40 pages of detailed Santharian history.


Did you know... that Santharia is completely free and still has no advertisements anywhere?
Just take a look around... If you visit bigger game sites or other fantasy world building projects with more than 200 visitors a day, you'll find advertisements everywhere to finance the project - and/or to make profit, using the players only to make money. Santharia on the other hand is completely non-profit and will remain this way. We don't want to get rich and famous, but a dream needs to be lived.

Offers to sell stuff in Santharia have always been rejected for the sake of keeping the Santharian Dream a dream for everyone: a fantasy site full of miracles to discover for everyone, a place to enjoy, to have fun. Since the beginning of the Dream, I have a always tried to keep advertisments as low as possible, and with the changing to a new domain these advertisements disappeared completely from the main site. A banner free guestbook was installed, both Message Boards (development and RPG) are being payed for by the webmaster to keep the site free for everyone and without annoying ads as it should be. Currently the Search Engine we use still displays some adds here and there, but we'll change this very soon as well.

We are fortunate as well that there are so many supporters of the Dream like artists, writers, Forum Moderators and Administrators and many, many smaller contributers who give a lot of their free time to make this project to what it is now. Thanks to everyone! Your dedicated works make it a pleasure for me to pay the bills so that we can share our creativity to realize something never seen before.


Did you know... how many visitors come to Santharia, when and how they prefer to view the site?
The Santharian main site averagely has around 240 visitors daily. The Role Playing Board, which - contrary to the main site counter - measures page views instead of visitors has exactly 2416 page views daily at the moment (thanks to the recent re-design, recent all time top value: 3239 views) with an average post count of 127 a day. The Development Board to the contrary counts around 1000 page views daily with around 30 posts daily, a temporary count, though, as the re-design of the RPG Board brought a halt to various development issues to a certain degree. Santharian focus will soon return to the Development Board.

Some additional rough statistics in detail in graphical form for general orientation:





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