We are in full bug extermination mode.

A few months ago, only a few of Jon's friends were playing the game and checking for major problems, but now we have Francis as a game tester, and we have an other guy starting later this month as a tester too. With someone testing the game full time, the bugs are really piling up. This is great because we are getting the game in shape for release, but it's also wearing us down a bit because it's non-creative, discouraging work, since for every bug we solve there are usually more that appear on our list.

There are many different kinds of bugs, some really major and a ton of minor things that can be solved fairly quickly. We are finding errors of all sorts, in lightmaps, shadows, collision, grass planting, reflections, mesh placement, modeling, materials, sound, etc. Not to mention a bunch of weird things that sometimes take a while to track down. We also have to check the game in High, Medium and Low quality, because different errors can happen at the different settings.

The biggest bugs involve spoilers, since they are usually finicky and gameplay related, so I can't share those, but here are some minor ones that wouldn't generally take too long to fix:

-Here we have a bit of collision randomly hanging out in the desert. If you tried to walk through it, you would be blocked and have no idea why. Things like this were really difficult to find, until Casey added some tools to visualize the collision:



-Sometimes, we just get bugs of areas that look unfinished, or wrong, like this corner over here. Francis is supposed to tell us not only about serious errors, but also notify us about things that generally feel wrong to him as a player. By fixing these areas, we hopefully get rid of some potential immersion breaking moments.



-In this shot, some of the little modular rocks were not receiving any sunlight:



-And here we have two separate bugs, the turret that is getting black lightmaps, and an open rock mesh below:

not a lightmat issue look at the rock down below

-This is a shot of the player being able to walk into a rock, and seeing through it:



-This is a pretty one, some error with the clusters of the modular catwalk meshes:



-There are tons of cases where the grass is clipping through things:



-And little lightmap errors that mean there is a back-facing triangle somewhere in the mesh:



-In this area the dynamic lights create some really ugly shadows:



-And finally, the bug that haunted us for at least a year, the giant colorful grass bug. It would happen almost always when replanting grass, and would not disappear until you restarted the game. Insanely large, colorful versions of the grass would appear and wave in the wind, blocking you from doing anything. Still not sure if we ever figured this one out:



These are only a tiny sliver of all the different kinds of things that we run into while testing the game. It's a huge island and a lot of things can go wrong, so to make sure we ship a great game, we have to do a really thorough job. However, this and some optimization is pretty much all that's left to do!

And now, here is a bonus a picture of Jon doing something weird with a tape measure taped to a mug:

FullSizeRender (13)





  1. Dear Jonathan,

    Braid is one of the most beautiful thing I witnessed within the gaming realm. It really spoke as going backwards in life would help in many situations, yet some things stay what they are, as souvenirs you can’t turn around. I loved the way the story was told between levels. It was like saying “You have to read some things between the lines” in real life. It was very smart. It was very well written. It was powerful. And the music, and the imagery, and this little mysterious overall thing that said “I’m more than a mere video game”. It felt very fresh and unheard of, all the while being a variation of sorts of past platformers. And when I managed to unlock some tricky puzzles, god I felt smart in a way a few things make my mind work in everyday’s life. Hope to witness another game from you as soon as it is possible for you to finish it. We’re waiting and Im sure something good is gonna come. Just another blow.

    Take care you and your team.


  2. I am so looking forward to playing this game.

  3. feb. 8, 1985

    oh, wait. that was the release date of “witness”, starring harrison ford. nevermind.

  4. graaaaaaah 5th of September already. I think I go full “Zero Dark Thirty” here and start writing the Days on a window. :D

  5. Can someone help me forget about The Witness?

    It isn´t really healthy how much I want to play this game. I rally want to get my teeth into it but I can´t. This is slowly driving my crazy…

    I never felt such strong desire for a game before.

    The funny thing is. Because you guys take your time with The Witness I get the feeling the wait will be worth it. I´m getting crazy but also think that you should take all the time you need.

    Long story short: you guys are awsome. Keep at it! Make it great but don´t burn yourself out.


    • This game looks so awesome. I want to play it so bad.

      • Just as an FYI for all you people who are anxious for updates, someone asked Jon about the Witness on twitter the other day, and he said:

        “You will be hearing things starting in maybe a couple of weeks. We want to give PAX/etc time to clear before saying stuff.”

        So it sounds like they’re ready to make an announcement soon. I think we’re in for some good news!

  6. We are super close to hearing something I think.

    But, he said something on Twitter about waiting a few weeks to start doing PR and announcements because of PAX and whatnot… He doesn’t want to get lost in that storm of other news and announcements.

    Probably a good idea.

    He also was looking into marketing… What works, how/where to promote, etc.

    • Sounds logic, he spent all his money on this so he wants to be sure this game will sell well. I hope he announces before Tokio Game show, otherwise we have to wait until october -.-

  7. The link for the colorful grass points at the ugly shadows picture. I’d rather see the colorful grass.

  8. Well the grass bug sounds like a case of “divide through a number close to zero”.

    I had similiar problems when coding some stuff for the blender 3d software.

    I hope you got all the bugs!

    • Yeah, I hope they found what was causing the grass problem. Could the team please post the solution (or just the gist)? I’m curious. :)

  9. Keep up the hard work! It might be discouraging… but remember you’re like a skilled craftsman putting the finishing touches on his masterpiece. You’re just gonna be that much better at the end.

  10. I moved backwards while being on the boat, now I am outside the collision and can’t get back inside the playable Area. Save/load doesn’t work since it restores my exact position… Any help?

  11. I got a pb with that game: when i start it, the camera is turning the whole time even if i don’t move the mouse. What’s going on??

    • Do you have a gamepad plugged in, that is flipped upside down somewhere so that the stick is being pushed? That happened to me a couple of times and really confused me…

  12. Hi guys, talking about bugs, can you tell me where could I describe a Witness bug that is actually stopping me from playing the game (can’t interact with puzzles, sometimes I can’t click the start, sometimes when I click on the destination the puzzles resets. Sometimes it works, but I am virtually “blocked” at a puzzle in the symmetric puzzles lacustra, where blocked means I’m at my 10th try and I don’t know whether should I insist further… )
    I am playing on mac osx sierra.
    I suppose there is another place suitable for filing bugs.
    I also suppose you would need a lot ore info than I gave you here so looking forward to feedback from you.

    • Just wanted to let you know that I have found an workaround (while trying to record the screen) Pressing esc which takes me tot the menu (and also saves?) and immediately returning allows me to complete the puzzle (reaching the destination will not reset your path anymore).
      I think it also fixes the “not being able to click start”, but that bug appears rarely and “insisting” while being 2D into the puzzle or pull out pull 2D back on usually does the trick.
      It is annoying though… but not a blocker anymore :)

  13. Ok, nailed it!
    The game is perfectly fine. Problem between human and keyboard. Literally.
    Details below in case someone runs into same problem.

    Short story: false 2 point touch on the trackpad makes Witness think your single (mouse) click is right click, hence when clicking on destination it will cancel it rather than confirm it.

    Long story: on macbook pro 2016, due to the big trackpad, you will touch it. The os manages to figure out that those touches are palm touches and unintended.
    Until it doesn’t. Sometimes it doesn’t. It thinks it is a 2 point touch resulting in your next *mouse* click being interpreted as a right click (cool, isn’t it?) this has adverse effect, pulls you out of 2D puzzle mode, or if you were completing a path – cancels it.
    Even if you don’t touch the trackpad anymore, the game remains in a kind of wait for “right clicks” from now on. Hitting keys, like moving resets this.
    Hitting will also move your hand out of trackpad.

    Hope this helps someone.

    PS: after being moderated, does anybody follows up activity here these days?

  14. I was playing the witness on Xbox one and was in the Swamp Green puzzle 3 – Tile 4 and I have found a solution that is apparently incorrect. I have made a sketch of the tile and found that it is in fact correct. I have a screenshot of the solution and a sketch I like to show you, please email me for this, thanks

    • ———————————//. .——-//
      | 5 | 5 | 5 | |. |
      ————————————. .——-.
      | 3 | 4 | 5 | 4 |. |
      ————————————. –
      | 3 | 4 | 5 | 4 |. |
      ————————————. ——-.——-.——-.
      | 3 | | | |. |
      •-———————————. • ——-


      • ——————//.
        | 5 | 5 | 5 | 0 |.
        | 3 | 4 | 5 | 4 |.
        | 3 | 4 | 5 | 4 |.
        | 3 | 0 | 0 | 0 |.


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