What’s this??

1 2 3

...can't say, but it sure was fun to build!


  1. Wow, that 3rd photo is stunning!

  2. Gorgeous, I’m thinking this is endgame stuff which means maybe, just maybe, we are nearing a release date… I can’t wait to play this game. Hope it is soon! Cheers

  3. Wow, this is incredible. I hope you guys are at least nearing the end of asset production/polishing so that you can finally recuperate.

    Whatever the case, this is phenomenal stuff.

    *Also, my captcha reads ‘ascetics’. Coincidence? I think not!

  4. I wish you hadn’t.

    • Since you already showed us I’ll tell you “what’s this”. It’s the caves/undergrounds I knew the game was gonna have since February 2009. In 2011 I told John about it in reference to Dear Esther’s cave/undergrounds parts of the island and he said that: nah you guys weren’t doing that anymore. But I guess you guys are and now you ruined the surprise.

      • You’re seriously annoyed that they ruined the “surprise” that the game is gonna have a cave…?

        These shots are wonderful, and I’m glad you guys shared it. Looking forward to playing!

      • It’s not the cave… It’s the last shot, the box. ;_;

  5. Looks incredible, great work guys. :)

  6. Can I see my hands, feet, etc… in the game? I’m wondering about the sense of immersion.

  7. Okay. It’s finally official! The wait for The Witness has just become excruciating!

    The more they reveal, the more so I am caught in their trap! It is where they want us methinks…

  8. Everything looks beyond awesome as usual, but I’m starting to think this blog spoils a bit too much of all the nice surprises and satisfaction of exploring new areas in the final release.

  9. I don’t think this spoiled anything. The first picture is a logical extension of a place we already know about, but the other two might as well be outer space somewhere.

    Meanwhile Justin we already knew about underground areas.

  10. The last picture reminds me the Samadhi (shrine) of Ramana Maharshi´s mother, in the Ramanashram. Could that be the source of inspiration?

    Wonderful job in any case!

    • Thanks! One of my favorite sources of inspiration for this was the Underground Shiva Temple in Hampi, but really I just looked at a lot of Hindu temple interiors and loosely put together elements that worked for the location, while trying to keep it simple and clean so it works with the rest of the architecture in the game. Then I consulted the architects, who helped me with things like adding support beams on the ceiling and more realistic column proportions. Apparently the middle structure with all the small columns in the windows is not really seen in architecture, but it’s not impossible and I loved the interesting lighting it created, so I went with it anyway.

  11. We don’t show stuff about certain parts of the game, people complain.

    We show stuff that is cool, people complain.

    Welcome to the Internet where people complain complain complain.

    • I can’t remember who it was who made the observation, but there’s a problem with internet forums in that the people who like things don’t tend to voice their opinions as much as those who dislike things and it creates an uncomfortable air of negativity in discussions. Not to insinuate there is a lack of people saying nice things, particularly on this site, but it does suck and I don’t know what people can do except remember to speak out for those you think are doing good. It does them good to hear it.

    • Don’t lose heart over us fans! Sometimes we complain only for the experience of solidarity and comraderie over the ‘agony’ of waiting for this amazing piece of software – which amounts to little more than friendly sarcasm or a first world problem.

      I would hope that everyone who chooses to visit this site isn’t deluding themselves to the fact that they might see something that they might not like. Or that might be perceived as a spoiler.

      I make no mistakes in that I realize that Jon and the rest of Thekla are the masters of this site and when I look back at the experience of having this place available to me ahead of release to share in the joys of the making of this game, it could only be a perceived as a positive!

      So post whatever stories you want guys! We are all in your corner in the home stretch here! And we are all grown up enough to avoid this site if necesarry as we know that in its most basic sense… It is a site dedicated to the behind-the-scenes stories/things of interest.

      Thekla don’t owe us a damn thing. So lets just enjoy the privilege of each others company!


    • @Jonathan:
      You know me ;)
      Everyone made that observation. It is true of everything not just the internet.
      Yay! You get me.

  12. How about this quote for the home page:

    Bring tribute from the village.
    But the village is gone in your flood.

    That cleared site is what I want.
    Live in the opening where there is no door
    to hide behind. Be pure absence.
    In that state everything is essential.

  13. The second picture looks like a server room to me.

  14. It’s… so…. pretty…..

  15. The symmetry of the last picture in particular – and i’m sure the greater game at large – is just awesome. I applaud whomever has been taking these shots, they have a good eye for composition.

    In fact the world appears so rich, I would almost request a photography mode with some simple flying controls or more precise character movement for rendering screenshots. I have a feeling one could literrally spend hours photographing the island.

    Also the lighting used here is fantastic. In fact the light and shade in this game may be one of my favorite things about it thus far.

    If anyone is interested in another game to check out whilst they wait: I booted up Luftrausers last night and 5 hours flew by. I was impressed by how they took a design, basically of one screen, and set up all of the parameters to work so flawlessy with one another. At first the design seems simple, but I began to realize how precise everything was. The movements, the distance from the sea to the sky, the ebb and flow of what gets sent in after you. I imagine that they must have iterated that game alot to get it right and man do I ever think they did. I thought that might be of some relevancy because I was seeing some links in the design principles of the two games. But yeah, Luftrausers highly recommended… Don’t let the ugliness of the screenshots fool you, the game is marvlously beautiful in motion.


  16. I was gonna guess “new lighting engine”.

  17. Is this the puzzle which depends entirely on the exact construction of the geometry, such that it needed to be described again and again to the different individuals working on the art assets?


    It seems like there is some sort of recursion / self-similarity at multiple scales, with respect to all those columns in the final picture. Not sure what the first two are about.

    • Not sure which puzzle Jon was talking about when he said that, but it can’t have been in this area, as only I worked on it, and I’d say it went very smoothly. That comment could have been about a very large number of things, though, since almost every bit of the game gets pretty complicated in some way.

  18. Surprising!

    Can’t wait to play this game.

    Keep on the good work guys.

  19. As someone who’s now played the full release, that is my nightmares now.

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