Island Snapshot

It's been a while since we did one of these:

The current puzzle count is 350.

Some parts of the island are pretty messed up in this screenshot. For the press tour, we made sure the whole game was more-or-less solid and playable. Just after that, though, we were free to tear things apart, move things around, change the sizes of areas, add new areas, and all that. We're still in the middle of that process and not everything has been made playable again.


  1. Wow, it looks so different from last time. more full, in a way. and there are several areas i don’t recognize.

    keep the good work Mr. blow!

  2. Hi Jonathan,
    Considered progress made so far, it would be possible to estimate a date for completion? For example, the end of this year, the first two months of 2012, and so on…

  3. 350 puzzle count. Wow, looking forward to it. Shame I’m not a game tester and I have to wait!

  4. I see that the cliffside path that used to be in the foreground is gone. Is that a permanent change?

    • No, it’s just a transient thing. It’s still there, just buried inside that lump of terrain. It will probably move and change shape.

  5. In the middle, there is what looks like a Chinese style castle… Takeshi’s Castle?
    Another cool thing is that now there is a little isle to the right that you get to by bridge or something. Also now there are three places where water is coming in from…

    Capcha: Vacuation Island ??? C’mon man!?

  6. I forgot to mention but what ever happened to the “Fish eye lens adventure” add on to the game?
    Was it already in the game and working when you showed it to the press this August? Did it work?
    Another question is: What happened to this interview:

    I can’t find it. Did you save the interview in a word file or an image file? If not, you should start saving your interviews! Also “I had a cute girl experienced” woot!? are you twelve? :3

  7. Hey Jonathan, the game is looking really good right now, but I also have a question.

    Does being at this stage of development, where the game is in a mess, hurt you as a developer? As in, is it harder to think positively about working on the game when such a dauntingly large task is ahead of you? Is it ultimately more difficult to motivate yourself to work on the game when it is in such a state?

    Just curious :)

  8. Not really!

    • I find the work of the artist on my project inspiring, and find it difficult to self-motivate otherwise. Do you think that has gotten easier to push yourself through a project when you are not actually creating new things? As an example, I’m having to port the codebase of Duet to C++ to achieve the look I want, but I’ve already designed the game completely in prototypical form in Game Maker, so what I’m doing now is a crushing feature re-implementation. It just seems like putting the butt in the chair is the hardest part.

      • Well, this is just sort of something that you learn how to do.

        Porting a game from one language to the other is probably the least rewarding case, though… I have never had to do that. But we all are pretty familiar with “I just spent a lot of time working hard rewriting things and now the code does exactly the same thing it did before”.

        But yeah; that is just part of the job. Putting the butt in the chair is just what you need to do. You can probably do what you’re doing more efficiently, somehow, and that often leads to more motivation. (It’s easy to see the reverse happen: things go slowly, so you get demotivated, because you’re demotivated things are taking even longer, making you less motivated, and the spiral keeps going).

        Perhaps you can use this opportunity to do something creative and new with the game that you didn’t expect?

        • Yes, it’s the downward spiral.

          I have to try not to stress about it to keep my motivation up. Spent my free weekend time reading books and shooting pigs in the face. I don’t know if I should feel good or not.

          As for reworking, yes. I have done that. I spent a week creating a system to anonymize the difference between statics and entities. Then realized that a static was a just an entity that doesn’t do anything. Darn the pressures of optimizing early.

          I think having a portable workstation might help, since I work 40 minutes from home, and tend to spend very little time at home.

          I have had my mind on the new interesting work, but there is a long road until I can really enlist someone else full time. I don’t want to waste work because of my implementation.

          I think it is probably wrong of me to be concerned that the game I’m making is somewhat short. I sort of lack the immediacy of how cool the things felt when I first discovered them. I want some people to play it so I get a better estimate at how long it takes to solve everything. Don’t really care whether they like it or anything, worrying about that caused me to cut something that was interesting just because I knew some players would give up.

          Anyways, thanks for the advice. I’ve got a long way to go…

  9. Jonathan, or any of you guys… Remember back a few moths back when the team tested a color theory or something?

    IDK why they did it maybe for puzzles in the game or for color blind people, but yeah whatever.
    Do you remember what was it called? It was based on a guy. the person that discovered it or something.

    I did the test to help out bt i didn’t pay attention to the theory and what it was really about. Long story short: I’m studding Psychology in college and for the senses and brain anatomy part of the course we are seeing 2 color theories but I don’t remember what The Witness’ test was. Can anyone tell me?

    I’m seeing something called Trichromatic theory of color vision and Opponent-process theory of color vision. I don’t know alot about this but i would care to find out about the one that got tested for The Witness…

  10. The Witness might nlot make it to consoles : ( And i don’t think my laptop can run this…

    Jonathan, do you think a Ge Force 420m can run this game?
    Also, if you can only make it to one console chose the PS3 please!
    I must say I don’t want consoles just yet. I just move from PS2 to Ps3 at the begin of the year and I don’t want to have to pay 600$ for a new PlayStation and 70$ per game… It can be done it just takes time and money that indies don’t have.

    Look at Battlefield 3. It looks great on consoles even though is running on same hardware that Battlefield 2 ran on when it came out. They just refined the way the way the game talks to the components of consoles or something… Also Crysis one is coming to consoloes … But Thekla maybe doesn’t want to do it more for the certification process. I know its a pain!

    But for game running is that word hmmm, what do they call it? Optimization?

  11. Look, you kind of just have to ignore writeups like this. Sometimes game bloggers decide to go bananas in the way they write things up — some of them are basically just trolling their readership for hits and comments, rather than trying to accurately frame what was said.

    In that interview, I was talking just about launch platforms. We want to be on as many platforms as possible, eventually. For launch platforms, we have limited programming resources so we need to focus those on what will help us make the best game overall. That situation is always changing, though (we may be hiring more programmers); that interview is kind of old now.

    • Yeah, like you could release on one platform first and then with the sales of The Witness on that platform you could keep programming for a next one. If you keep doing that eventually it will be on all platforms! even if it take more than a year you know people talk about these games for a long time, like Braid so it will be relevant still after the release.

      idk, I just want to play it. but I don’t have a good PC or and iOS device.

  12. Hey Jonnathon , I have two questions :-) .

    As your game resembles the look of Toy Story , could you give us any hints or comments as to how it matches up with it technically , for example Toy Story 1 had around 5-7 million polygons per frame , 4k by 4k textures etc.

    Will your game be a little demanding on the hardware ? Can you give any hints ?

    Btw . Braid is the best game I have ever played. Art, gameplay, sound everything :-). Thanks for making such a great game.

  13. Wait, what? I don’t see how the game looks like Toy Story, really.

    This is a realtime video game and as such its technical underpinnings are very different from those for a movie. It doesn’t make sense to try to compare.

  14. New lecture by Jonathan Blow…

    He said he will post the video here… Lets hope this lecture doesn’t get lost… I told him to keep records and audio and video but we’ll see if we can actually get to see it.

    Its about caring for the truth and its called “Designing to Reveal the Nature of the Universe” Also Mac Ten Boch from Miegakure did half the lecture!

  15. Also… Jonathan, remember this:

    Are you guys thinking more about this in The Witness since is 3D an it makes more sense for awe inspiring secrets; will The witness have more of these like Braid’s “Jumpman” Mario inspired level and Symphony of the Night’s “inverted castle” secrets?

    This is what has me most exited about the witness. The secrets that it holds in plain sight in this 3d space like stars in Braid or other thing that you can’t see because they are right in your face.

    I wish you would be more outspoken with this site just like you were with Braid’s page. You recommended: Talks, essays, books, other games and stuff like that. now you don’t like to talk that much about things that are going on and almost never update your twitter. I have read Hecker’s story about not being outspoken in public, but its also bad to have an space for this and not discuss the disgusting shit that goes on in the industry…

    Also. when are you putting the talk with Marc Ten Botch? I want to know more about Miegakure!

  16. Hi Jon,

    Ive just watched your fractal GDC talk. Its a subject very close to my heart (and my Phd Research), so it was great to hear someone else champion the philosophical implications of permutation and deterministic yet infinite procedures. Similarly I have been trying to find literary mirrors of these kinds of expression. There are some great excerpts from Lems Solaris that really echo the desire to humanise or find meaning in self organisaition etc. I was also wondering if you had read any Borges in relation to the Witness? His mixture of embodied exploration and metaphysical investigation seem pretty close to some of the things you are talking about.

  17. Jonathan,

    Id love to hear your thoughts on the new game “Dark Souls”. Mainly because it has stimulated some discussion about the difficulty in games.

    • A lot of people are talking about it… What do YOU think about it?
      Should I buy it or what kind of person would like a game like this?
      And like, why is it good and stuff?

      • I have been writing about Dark Souls on my blog as I’ve been playing it. I kinda wonder what old man blow thinks about it. It’s either incredibly focused, or incredibly broken. But it’s definitely different.

        • I haven’t played either… Should I buy the 1st one or just go for this new one that just came out?

          Are they better than New Vegas? (I use NV as a benchmark since is the best RPG I’ve played since “The nature of man.”)

          • I never played the first one, but I am enjoying the second one. I would suggest skipping Demon’s Souls. The bonfire system in Dark Souls is a lot better than the hub-and-spoke system of the aforementioned.

            I have also never played New Vegas, so I have no idea what to say about that either. Still, Dark Souls is not really like anything else I have ever played. Based on playing Bethesda’s prior efforts, I would say that expecting anything similar from Dark Souls is probably a mistake.

            It’s a very divisive game. If you expect to like it, you probably will though.

  18. Inside of this talk, there is a little bit that reminds me of the Witness and the Epiphany thing that its trying to do…

    Is the guy from Dirty Jobs but he talks about realizations in life and two words that I think describe The Witness and Braid perfectly:



  19. Dark Souls is an amazing piece of game design. It relies on the human instinct of exploration, rather than an artificial quest system, to pull you through the experience. It is a unique, gruelling and absolutely rewarding experience.

    You can’t compare it to New Vegas, though; Dark Souls is a totally different sort of RPG. You don’t have a quest log, you don’t have an EXP bar and you don’t have a map. I suggest reading further into before you decide whether it is for you or not.

  20. The witness is really heavy for ps3 and xbox 360, why?

    • Is like Battlefield 3 for consoles… It requires to much power that are just not in 6 year old hardware… Since the witness is 3d idk what the future of it will be on consoles, because Braid released flawlessly on all platform. Ofcourse not simultaneously …

      Capcha: know Limits …??? Coincidence? i think not!

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