Design Charrette

Apparently, "charrette" is French for paste a bunch of stuff all over the walls and eat fast food and think about design ideas until everyone is very tired, as I learned this past Sunday from a group of seasoned architects.  We performed such a charrette in order to start figuring out what the locations in the game are going to be like, architecture-wise.  This photo taken by David Hellman captures the mood very well:

A few of the many, many ideas we looked at:

Here's David, looking like he's at the top of his game:


  1. There’s something about the game I’m curious about. In Myst, players were free to make guess whatever they liked about the player character because all that was known about him/her was ‘he/she found the Myst linking book’ (of course, when it was revealed that the book was found in desert of New Mexico in the early 19th century, it kind of narrowed it down to Native Americans and explorers). I assume that the same will be true for The Witness’ player character, but will there at least be a Myst-style skeleton of a backstory, like ‘he/she woke up on the island with no memory’? I’m not going to even try to ask whether the player character will turn out to have a pre-existing connection to the story, of course.

  2. Speaking of the story, how much of it do you have worked out so far?

  3. I would love a scan of the beautiful large colored drawing of the island you have on the table in the first picture.

  4. A precision :

    To be “charette” means to be late. And so effectively, you work all night long to compensate it, because you preferred to drink wine or eat cheese all other nights before the dawn of the last day.

    Guillaume, a french reader (sorry for my poor english)

  5. Too many updates!

  6. now that i think about it… people compare Braid to Mario, people compare The Witness to Myst. this is on your mind obviously, what we do mindlesly in games, like platform or mazes.

    so the game could be all about mazes like the other all about time, with a goal of… discovery? you talk about games and that they are like movies. more movies than games more books thank games, like Myst, it’s not agame it’s just a “grapic adventure” or a visual book where you click and something happens, not so much a game… even the creators came out and said it wasd just some pointless shit.

    i just remember why games have mazes, after seeing Inception i thought of some games and it makes as much sense as jumping on enemies. after i heard the talk about fractals, authorship and looking for answers in programs or making a question to something you started an answer with… you could use mazes everything.

    there are different philosophies and manifestos of what a game should be, “you can’t write”, “all visual”, “voice is just noise”, “talked with machanics”, ” no logos”, “never take control away “, “acces what ever part at what ever moment” etc etc etc

    but i guess one has to find creative ways to break the rules, like how to use voice or acces the game, how architure influences behavior in fp 3d. but i am very curious of how you will use lenguage.

    i was just going to bring my 2 cents or what ever the term in english is but i forgot what i was triying to let you know.

    if you are looking for architecture (not something to put in your game) there are designs like post modern wich based on details, materials and forms nd not actual space, wich is not very good, kind of like substance over stile. the key to open the perfection of spaces is to look for a valance or harmony between of form and function, function is critical to space its the meaning of the space but form is what inspires a behavior but the space must have a function it must be meaningful, unlike form it can not exist just cause.

    if you want to look at some forms and spaces and look or find a valnce, there is some times good examples a t 2leep and i suppose the movie The third and the seventh has some inspirational stuff, nothing to put in your game, but just somethin to get you exited

  7. know it’s annoying when people recommend you stuff… but if you would like a better understanding of spaces to better work with them, you shoul read In Praise of Shadows while you are doing this. is short, so it won’t take much of your tiem…

  8. Ah ah :D
    Only (french) architects students know the charette, very funny to dig this blog and find this.
    I’m an architect student, and played the game this week; I must say you did a really good job on it, félicitations!

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