Seize the Day lives on as the Living Worlds app Blog category

Screenshot from Living Worlds for Android

May 2nd, 5:34pm in the Living Worlds app

Back in 2012, I posted about Seize the Day, a planner program for Windows 3.1 and Macintosh. The highlight of Seize the Day is the “Living Worlds” art gallery – a collection of beautiful animated pixel art landscapes that change over the course of the day. They’re stunning and contemplative. You can stare off into the distance and imagine an entire world as the sun rises and sets.

The only way to view Living Worlds has been either to visit an excellent online version by one of the original developers or to run the original planner program in an emulator. But Seize the Day was a program you’d visit every day as part of your personal digital space, and neither of those methods has the same effect. Now Living Worlds has officially returned in an appropriately personal format – a phone app.

With the support of the artist, Mark J. Ferrari, Seize the Day developers Ian Gilman and Joseph Huckaby have adapted Living Worlds for Android and iOS. It’s a faithful reproduction of the original art, complete with a few more nifty features, like swiping to travel through time. I can’t speak to the iOS version, but on Android, you can set Living Worlds as a live wallpaper, so you get a peek into the worlds whenever you open your phone. As a phone background, it’s finally back in the right format to check throughout the day!

You can follow the development of the app on Ian Gilman’s Medium page. He seems to be regularly adding features to it, including a series of fictional journals written by Ferrari about his landscapes. Seize the Day was fairly literary and wordy for planner software, so that’s a fitting direction to take it in.

This is a terrific reimagining of Seize the Day. It’s great to see it living on in a new form where it belongs!


  • John Drabik

    Came across your site while trying to find a way to unpack images from some old Seize the Day installation and artwork floppy disks. I gave the app some serious consideration – the original program was great, and it was a real shame to see it disappear for all those years. $1.99 seems a small price to pay, so I just went ahead and bought it.

    If you have any information on how I can unpack the older images for use on my Linux system as wallpaper (I promise I won’t share with others!) please let me know. There’s no way I can get the original app running all these years later, and it seems a shame to have lost the artwork from Van Gogh, Renoir, Temple of Flora, Maxfield Parrish, and other sets that I bought back then. Thank you! And thank you for resurrecting this very original artwork too.

  • Phil "Shadsy" Salvador

    Hi John! I’m not sure about the older non-animated art, but Seize the Day seems to use a proprietary image format that might not easily translate to modern platforms. For technical questions like that, I’d check with Ian Gilman, who created the Living Worlds app and had a hand in developing the original Seize the Day.

    (If you remember the names of the art, there’s probably much higher quality versions out there now compared to the low-resolution, 256-color versions that came with Seize the Day, and they’d be much easier to get.)

  • Carol Averill

    What windows does this work on? I wish I could get the original Seize the Day. I loved the weather changing by day and season.

  • John Drabik

    Carol, the app was originally on Windows 3.x. I’m not sure if it every made the leap to windows 95 or beyond, but I doubt it. I can report, however, that the living are is very enjoyable on a cell phone, and the weather and other effects change by day and night. In the Oriental scene, you can even see the “watchman” making his trek across one of the bridges in front of the waterfall (both nicely animated), if you know the correct time of day for that Easter egg (and others).

    The only way you *might* get the original version would be to use Linux, and try creating a Windows for Workgroups or similar 3.x version, and install Seize the Day in it. I haven’t tried that and I’m not sure it would let me pull images from a couple of add-on scene installation disks that I never got a chance to use. I also only had a sampler with Maxfield Parrish images – really colorful and nice art-deco stuff. But I was able to capture some of the other images (Impressionists, Trains, and a couple of others). But over the years the low resolution files just didn’t look as nice. They’d probably be easier to capture as separate JPEGs (via a screenshot of the virtual machine, for example), and at higher resolution.

    The BEST would be for Seize the Day to release the details of their image format. It was a great program, but like so, so (SOOO) many other proprietary programs, it stinks when the companies go under, or stop supporting a program.

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