Island Snapshot


... which doesn't look too much different from last time's. Partially this is because we've been working on things that you don't see from this angle.

Here's a shot from a different angle:




We still have so much to do!

On my end, I've been working for the past couple of weeks on UI-related things. For a week I was doing better touch controls (perhaps we'll post a video of this soon), and for a week I was somewhat-rewriting the code that implements tracing lines on panels. This can get surprisingly complicated, and I've rewritten it a few times. I think this is close to the last time, though.

The game tells me the current puzzle count is 574, which is higher than I expected, but hey.



  1. I just had the realization that this game is set to be far more groundbreaking than Braid. I think this for many reasons. I can’t wait.

  2. I am surprised by how much larger the island looks with all that detail than it looked in the beginning.

  3. Keep up the good work, Jonathan!

    Looking forward to a 2013 release.

  4. Are you planning on having the clouds move at all?

  5. wow, yes, the island does look a lot bigger now, having seen the change in perspective! very very excited!

  6. Looking gorgeous! I’d really like to explore this island : )

  7. In the second image, slightly below the dark rocks in the water; the waviness in the sand is uniquely beautiful.

  8. How big will this app be?

    Are we talkin’ 500 megs?

    A gig plus, perhaps?

    I ask ’cause my iPad 2 v2.0’s only got 16 gigs on it & I wanna know know who’s gonna get
    the heave-ho so’s to have ample HD room for “The Witness”.


  9. Wow!! what a beauty :)
    The trees, the rocks, everything looks natural.. :D

  10. That second shot’s lookin’ very, very good.

  11. How long does the first play through take, on average? I never play a game again once it’s finished so enjoyment time is a big factor in my buying decision.

  12. Depends how good you are at puzzles and understanding the games logic. If you are here I assume you have most likely played Braid. Were you satisfied with that experience? From the looks of it, this game will give you something new, does it really matter if that is 5 hours or 15?

    • The question is more like, is it 20 hours or 40.

      • 7 hours with the parkour mod I’m working on. Not really.

      • That is very exciting to hear. I love shorter games without filler. The thought of a 20-40 hour game I can sink my mind into is great.
        You have talked a lot about how the island will be dense, but my only concern is about the tedium of walking from location to location. Is there multiple speeds of movement? If the island is dense I can’t imagine it would be too time consuming to walk from one puzzle section to another on the other side of the island. I am speaking specifically about a point in the game where I as a player know what i need to do and I have to walk from one location to another accomplishing those goals I already know if I have figured out the puzzle and the only time consuming aspect would be the distance between them. Perhaps it is impossible to figure out these puzzles in that way? I never felt that way in Braid. One of the most painful experiences in puzzles games is knowing what to do and having to slowly go to a location. I want to spend my time working on the puzzles or actually observing the environment in a meaningful way.

        • If I remember correctly, Jon said something like it only takes a few minutes to walk from one end of the island to the other.

          • To clarify, it’s very hard to imagine travel from any puzzle location to any puzzle location would really take up a substantial enough amount of time to notice.

          • A few minutes from one end to the other can add up if the game is 20-40 hours long. I am only mildly concerned because The Witness is the game I am the most excited about.

        • You can walk or run. If you are running it takes 1 minute, 10 seconds to cross the entire island (which you probably never need to do unless you are being ornery). There is also a boat that you can ride between various destinations.

          • I’m not sure why the visual image of somebody getting ornery and sprinting across the island strikes me as hilarious, but it does.

          • That sounds fantastic, thank you, I can’t wait to play this on my PS4!

    • I’m with you Kavan on the whole time thing. I really just want to see something from a different perspective more than anything. Some of my favorite movies are more about how dense and complex the ideas or emotions are. It’s funny how with movies if you ask someone to watch a long movie with you they likely won’t, but gaming has always been the opposite thing…

      • It’s a marvel how much people care about price vs length of game time. Games are truly the craziest medium in the world if you ask me. Going off topic, one of the strangest things to me is how it is possible to play a game “wrong” I don’t mean that in an elitist way, but an individual way. It is possible to play certain games in a way that one can not fully enjoy them. I remember the first time I played Deus Ex, I just wasn’t feeling it a few hours in. A year later I came back and played from the beginning and loved it. Strange and amazing.

        • Well spoken. That’s charm of games; the whole interactivity thing. In which case if there was only one way to play a game, what would be the point? I always enjoyed a game more when I figured out how to do something that seemed naughty, like back in the day getting a weapon in Super Metroid way earlier than I should have.

          I’m a bit of a musician and I remember a particular thing I happened to catch David Bowie say that I think is relevant here. He mentioned how Synthesizer manufacturers pretty much always thought all the effects musicians desired had to be crystal clear, smoothed out and perfect. When what really excites us is when we get the sensation that we are doing something we aren’t supposed to, when we make the instrument crack, pop, and do things that should have been seen as a malfunction, getting the thing to do what it wasn’t designed for. We’re in bliss when we cause our listener to turn their head and say, “…What the hell was that?!”

          I’d like to see more games that encourage or reward that sort of smart ass, naughty, and especially divergent thinking. This would cause creativity to flourish among the players rather than to have it controlled. I’m sure it’s very difficult for the programmers to leave a little bit of anarchy within any closed world though.

          • As a musician I definitely understand the excitement of the unexpected sound. Breaking a game is a hard balance, because you want it to feel natural and unexpected…hmm I wonder if a game could be designed specifically to be broken throughout without it feeling spoon-fed.

  13. In other news, Clément Gallet has finally finished his tool-assisted speedrun of Braid. If you liked Braid, and you want to see it torn apart, exploited, and beaten into a bloody pulp, check it out:

    Here’s a link to the video.

    Some fun features:
    – “Movement by Degrees” without the key
    – The best “Impassable Foliage” you’ll ever see (starts at 15:49)
    – Kills the princess

    • HOLY ****!
      This video is very clever..He used the fact that the collision detection and response in Braid used corner-rounded rectangles and circles…VERY CLEVER!
      I want to know what Jon has to say about that?Was that intentional(He solved some puzzles without even using time..just some jumping tricks)?

    • Definitely not how I played the game.

  14. Looking very impressive Jonathan. 574 is an INSANE amount of puzzles! This sounds like atleast 50-60 hours of gameplay…probably a lot more.

    • It is probably not that much… well, I guess it depends on how long it takes you to do a puzzle!

      Some of them are very small and simple.

      • It was easy to remember that your last puzzle count was one shy of 500… So you’ve added 75 puzzles since then?! This particularly amuses me because I know you’re mentality is all about cutting filler… Keep up the great work!

  15. The game has very beautiful graphics. I hope the puzzles are at at par with the graphics.

  16. I certainly hope my laptop will be able to handle this level of graphical awesomeness! I can’t wait for the game to come out, just bought a PS3 recently (my first console since PS2), and though I’ve been having a lot of fun, there just aren’t any games that make me feel what I did while playing Braid (in fact, Journey is probably the only one that can compare to Braid).

    Also – I posted a while back saying that I had written an essay on Braid for my Gothic Imagination class at college, and that I was working on a paper which analyses the game from the perspective of cognitive semantics. I saw that several people wanted me to link one or the other, and since my colleague and I have, in the meantime, finished our paper, here’s a link to that:

    Sorry for the shameless self-promotion – in reality, I think that many of you will find our analysis interesting. Please have in mind that we did not explore the game’s narrative fully and completely (it was beyond the scope of what we wanted to do), but overall, I think we did a pretty good job (if I may say so myself :D).

    • If you just got a PS3 I recommend Motorstorm: Pacific Rift, Infamous 1, Flower (Way better than Journey), Linger in the Shadows, Sound shapes, Dyad, Everyday Shooter, new Twisted Metal and Folklore.

      Have Fun!

  17. Probably most of you have seen this already, but just in case you missed it, Jon recently did a video and print interview with the Playstation Blog about The Witness. Definitely good stuff!

    • Wow, some of the comments there make me cringe.

      • I actually thought overall the comments are really great. Sure, you’ll always get some harsh people, but the positive response from outside the echo chamber of this blog is neat to see :-)

        • That’s true, you’re right. The vast majority were very encouraging, but the few negative ones definitely stood out to me. I suppose because my only real exposure to the game has been through this blog, I’m used to hearing people have well thought out opinions on things.

          Complaining that the PS4 is too awesome for a small game like The Witness is just ridiculous.

          • The most ridiculous thing, which is obvious to anyone who’s been following this blog, as the characterization of The Witness as “Small…”

  18. Just doing my daily check-in. Nice to see the interview and Jon’s responses to the comments!

    Hi to everyone else who checks this daily!

    • It is humorous how often I come here looking for updates. Since updates are not very frequent at least I can enjoy the comments sections!

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