We’re doing a PS4 Pro patch! Here are the technical details.

Now that the PlayStation 4 Pro has been announced, we can tell you that we are working on a PS4 Pro patch for The Witness.

The Witness already runs at a consistent 60fps on the base PlayStation 4, so rather than increasing frame rate, our patch is about visual quality. Please don’t take the specifics mentioned here as absolute promises; things might change by release. But here’s what we are aiming for:

When you start up the game on a PS4 Pro, it will go into one of two modes, depending on the current display device:

* When using PS4 Pro with a 4k display, we will render at 1440p or possibly higher, all while keeping a consistent 60 frames per second. This image will then be upscaled to 4k, and we will draw text, menus, and other UI at native 4k resolution. (This is similar to what happens on the base PS4, where we render the 3D scene at 900p, then upscale to 1080p and draw UI at 1080p). We might be able to achieve resolutions higher than 1440p based on various engineering tradeoffs (for example, if we boost the resolution of the main scene to a greater degree than we boost the resolution of the reflections in water, which tend to be distorted anyway. Also, we’ll evaluate checkerboard rendering — we’re not sure if it’s the right way to go for this game, but we’ll see.) We’ll post again when we finalize these specs.

* When using PS4 Pro with a display that is 1080p or lower, we will render the scene at 1080p (instead of the old 900p), and increase antialiasing quality from 2x to 4x MSAA, again while keeping a solid 60 frames per second. We are exploring additional visual quality increases, like increased streaming distance for high-resolution meshes, or decreasing the noticeability of the fade-in between faraway LODs and high-res close-up meshes. Again, we’ll post details when this is finalized!
We’re also working on HDR support. Here in the office we just got a new LG B6P television, which is very bright and has low black levels, providing a lot of dynamic range, and it’s been fun so far tweaking the look of the game on HDR displays like this.

We thought we were working on HDR support only for the PS4 Pro, but yesterday Sony announced that they will be enabling HDR support on all PS4s via a firmware update. Sometimes Sony even surprises developers! (Back when the PS4 was originally announced, we were surprised by some of the final specs too … and I was on stage in that show!)

We think it’s great that Sony are doing this. We don’t know the technical details of how it will work, yet, but provided that nothing prevents us, the Witness patch will use HDR on all PS4s when available. (You will, of course, need an HDR TV or monitor for HDR mode to kick in!)

If all goes well, this patch will be downloadable on November 10 when the PlayStation 4 Pro is released.

We’ll keep you posted as we continue work on this patch!


*Edit: We found our animator! Job post changed to reflect our current needs*

We are looking for a senior character artist, full time or contract, who excels at both designing and modeling intriguing characters in any style, and can also help out with environment art if the need arises.

We would prefer applicants who are very comfortable making 3D games from white box to polished product, in Maya/Max and in-engine. If you apply, you should be someone who can work in interesting, creative styles, and have the imagination and self motivation to take an abstract mockup and turn it into something stunning and meaningful, while also paying close attention to gameplay limitations.

Good communication skills and the ability to take and incorporate critique is a must, a generally pleasant and chill nature is a plus.

We would prefer someone who is based around San Francisco and can work in the office.

Please send portfolios to jobs@thekla.com

Printable Panels!


Hey there! Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of requests from people who want to buy framed panels, like the ones we have hanging in our office. We talked a little bit about how we might sell these with Jon, but decided it would be best to just release the images we used to print ours for free, and that way peeps can print their own however they like.

An important suggestion would be to print these on semi-glossy or glossy paper, as the colors tend to turn out completely faded on regular paper. Back when we were printing these, Luis tweaked the colors for some so they look better printed, so they might not be completely accurate on a monitor, but should look nice on paper.

Also, we just went to a nearby art store and picked out a bunch of square frames. We got mostly 8×8 inch and a couple of 12×12 inch ones. Most of the frames were just minimal black plastic, and only cost about $6, if I remember correctly, but we got nicer ones for a couple of the 12×12 ones, like the boat panel. You could probably even make Witness monitor style frames for them if you are crazy enough, that would be fun to see!

Here are the files we used:

Panels_16 Panels_7 Panels_6 Panels_19 Panels_3 Panels_4 Panels_5 Panels_10 Panels_1 Panels_17 Panels_15 Panels_14 Panels_13 Panels_12 Panels_11 Panels_9 Panels_8 Panels_18 Panels_2 Panels_20 Panels_Map

I’ll be having a reddit AMA on Friday the 12th of February

If you don’t know what that is, it means people can ask a bunch of questions and I type furiously to answer them in the time allotted.

This will be Friday, February 12th, starting at 1pm Eastern (10am Pacific) and going for …  a while?

I have made a new reddit account with the fabulous name of “Jonathan_Blow” for these purposes. (Note the underscore! There are some other accounts with similar names!)

Maybe we can also get some other people from the team in there answering questions.

The thread is now up.


Fun Sales Fakts

The Witness has now been on sale for a week, so it seems like a good time to post a financial summary. Often, independent developers find these kinds of numbers useful in making their own plans, and the general public can find them interesting too.

There is a wrinkle, which is that I can’t be too precise about the sales results on specific platforms, because often when we sign a deal with a particular store, we agree not to reveal their sales numbers. I am actually not sure at this time which stores we are allowed to be specific about and which we aren’t, and I would have to dig up and sort through a number of contracts to be sure about it; but that is not a good use of time right now, since I am spending most of my day supporting the users who have technical problems (shipping games on PCs these days is really not fun). The situation can be thorny in subtle ways, too, because if I post information about all stores but one, then I am implicitly revealing the sales figures for that last store, which is not allowed.

Finally, I want to make clear that we did not make this game in order to make money. We were trying to build a beautiful / interesting / intricate thing, first and foremost. The money just helps us stay in business in order to build new things. It is very easy on the Internet to read a financial posting like this cynically, so I urge folks out there not to do that.

Okay, so here’s what I can say:

Across all platforms, The Witness has totalled over $5 million USD gross revenue in the first week, and it has sold substantially more than 100,000 units.

This is a good chunk more revenue in one week than Braid made in its entire first year, from August 2008-September 2009. (Braid initially launched on XBLA in August 2008, and it came to Steam in April 2009). Braid was considered a hit independent game at the time.

We can also compare sales by units instead of revenue; this is a little more of an apples-to-oranges comparison because The Witness has a higher price than Braid did (Braid launched at $14.99 [$16.50 when inflation-adjusted to 2015 dollars], and The Witness launched at $39.99). By number of units, the first week of each individual platform handily beats Braid’s first week of sales. (Witness on PC by itself beat Braid’s first week by a decent margin, and Witness on PSN by itself beat Braid’s first week by a decent margin, counting only by number of units). This is great because as price goes up, naturally the number of units sold goes down. So the fact that we beat Braid by units, more than doubly, is a really nice success.

The Witness launched on two platforms, PSN and Windows PC. Neither of these platforms dominates our sales; PC is very strong for us, and PSN is very strong for us.

There are some publicly-available guesstimates for specific platforms on sites such as SteamSpy, but the numbers that SteamSpy is reporting for The Witness are a bit too low (though this is kind of to be expected, I guess, from the way that site works).

So, the game is doing great. That doesn’t mean we have broken even on our development cost yet! Because our development budget was so high, $5 million in revenue is not enough to recover it yet (because we split that revenue with the storefronts, we have to subtract VAT in Europe, etc). However, it is looking like, as time goes on, we should break even and make a comfortable safety margin on top of that, which will allow us to make more nice games in the future — unless some kind of world economic disaster happens.

As I mentioned, right now we are dealing mostly with PC graphics driver problems, and we are also working on adding some features to the game about configurable controls and rendering options, for PC and PS4.

After this, in the near future, we will start investigating the bringing the game to other platforms. Under serious consideration are: iOS, Android, Xbox One, OS X. We will provide more-concrete information about these as it becomes available!