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Preview: The Witness

The Witness



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Last Build Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2018 00:09:38 +0000

 



Announcement: Funding has doubled!

Fri, 06 Apr 2018 15:47:48 +0000

We have doubled the amount of money we're giving away. Previously it was $50,000, and now it's $100,000. The extra funding has been provided by Jeff Roberts of RAD Game Tools. We are giving out this money to support underrepresented game creators in building puzzle games. The additional funding means …

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Call for Submissions — Underrepresented Puzzle Game Creators!

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 20:08:25 +0000

  We like puzzle games and want to support more people in making them. So, we’re offering grants to independent game designers from traditionally underrepresented groups, to work on grid-based puzzle games. Approximately 3-6 people will each receive between $3,000-$20,000  to use to complete their games.      What kind …

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Testing the Jai Compiler

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 18:40:02 +0000

As the company grows with projects beyond The Witness, we thought it'd be nice to show progress on something not too secretive. For those folks into technical posts, I'll discuss how we used our new programming language to create an automated framework to test the language itself. --- Jon wanted …

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The Witness is finally on iOS!

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 23:23:31 +0000

In case you haven't heard the news, after nearly a year of optimizing, refining touch-controls, etc., we finally released The Witness on iOS! You can find it on the App Store, and carry around the full game in your pocket...which is pretty crazy if you ask me. The game will …

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MacOS System Requirements

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 18:36:08 +0000

We released The Witness for MacOS a little while back, and we felt it'd be a good idea to post the system requirements somewhere so we could link people to them when they ask. So... The Witness requires Metal for rendering. Metal is a graphics technology from Apple that allows …

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Help Us Get The Witness on iOS!

Mon, 01 May 2017 23:58:35 +0000

If you are looking for 2-3 months of straightforward contract work, are excellent at optimizing art assets in Maya, can pick up workflows quickly and have good attention to detail, then we are looking for you! We are planning on shipping The Witness on iOS in a few months, but …

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Anniversary!

Sun, 29 Jan 2017 05:00:46 +0000

The Witness was first released a year ago. To celebrate, the game is on sale for 50% off on Steam, here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/210970/ Braid is also on sale, and if you already own it, you get an extra discount on The Witness: http://store.steampowered.com/bundle/2501/ Meanwhile, we are working on The Witness for MacOS, and …

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The PS4 patch is out!

Sat, 19 Nov 2016 00:11:25 +0000

With PS4 Pro and HDR support! (That is all!)

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PS4 Pro patch update

Wed, 02 Nov 2016 19:53:38 +0000

Previously, I made a post listing the technical details of the PS4 patch. That was a work-in-progress, and I said at the time I'd post final specs as soon as we know them, which we now do. We are definitely supporting HDR, on both the PS4 Pro and the base model …

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The Witness is out on the Xbox One!

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 20:30:42 +0000

I should have posted this several days ago, but we have been busy with launch stuff! If you have an Xbox One, you can play The Witness there! Unless you are in Australia or New Zealand ... in which case we need to get the ratings stuff pushed through. We …

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We’re doing a PS4 Pro patch! Here are the technical details.

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 18:41:35 +0000

Now that the PlayStation 4 Pro has been announced, we can tell you that we are working on a PS4 Pro patch for The Witness. The Witness already runs at a consistent 60fps on the base PlayStation 4, so rather than increasing frame rate, our patch is about visual quality. …

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Jobs!

Wed, 11 May 2016 00:03:09 +0000

*Edit: We found our animator! Job post changed to reflect our current needs* We are looking for a senior character artist, full time or contract, who excels at both designing and modeling intriguing characters in any style, and can also help out with environment art if the need arises. We would …

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Printable Panels!

Mon, 29 Feb 2016 22:07:35 +0000

Hey there! Lately I've been seeing a lot of requests from people who want to buy framed panels, like the ones we have hanging in our office. We talked a little bit about how we might sell these with Jon, but decided it would be best to just release the images we …

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The Witness Long Screenshot #3

Sat, 13 Feb 2016 20:25:33 +0000

 (Alcohol Reference)

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I’ll be having a reddit AMA on Friday the 12th of February

Wed, 10 Feb 2016 00:10:45 +0000

If you don't know what that is, it means people can ask a bunch of questions and I type furiously to answer them in the time allotted. This will be Friday, February 12th, starting at 1pm Eastern (10am Pacific) and going for ...  a while? I have made a new …

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Fun Sales Fakts

Tue, 02 Feb 2016 21:07:07 +0000

The Witness has now been on sale for a week, so it seems like a good time to post a financial summary. Often, independent developers find these kinds of numbers useful in making their own plans, and the general public can find them interesting too. There is a wrinkle, which …

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The Witness is now up on PSN in the Americas and Europe.

Tue, 26 Jan 2016 08:36:47 +0000

  It should go up on Steam this morning around 9 or 10am Pacific time. I made a posting on the PlayStation Blog: https://t.co/ChsVlBzhVw

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The game is doing great on Steam …

Tue, 26 Jan 2016 00:19:21 +0000

... and this is just preorders, the game isn't playable until tomorrow! Thanks to everyone who's been following along on these forums, and everyone who's been interested in the game generally! We'll see what happens tomorrow!

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Pre-Order Widget Test

Fri, 22 Jan 2016 20:25:20 +0000

If this works we will put it on the front page pretty soon. This is for getting the game from the Humble Store.

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Price and Pre-Orders

Tue, 19 Jan 2016 18:38:21 +0000

A lot of people have been asking about the price, so: The price of the game on both Steam and PSN will be $39.99 / €36.99 / £29.99. A lot of people have been asking about preorders too. Preorders will go live on Steam and the Humble Store (and on …

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Wallpaper

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 21:48:39 +0000

We are all working hard, hence the silence on the blog. Always appreciate the kind words in the replies, so I wanted to at least add a quick new wallpaper to say thanks. Hope you like it!

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Close-up

Thu, 25 Sep 2014 01:09:15 +0000

Some spoiler free architectural detail shots of a place I've been working on:    

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What we’ve been working on lately.

Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:02:36 +0000

We built a DirectX11 rendering backend for our engine, which is likely to be the default when running on Windows. Up until now we had been running on DirectX9, which made sense when we thought the game was going to be done a while ago. But these days, DX9 is …

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HLSLParser

Fri, 29 Aug 2014 08:21:58 +0000

We just finished porting The Witness to D3D11. It took a little longer than I was hoping and one of the unexpected difficulties was getting our D3D9 HLSL shaders to work in D3D11. The D3D shader compiler provides a backward compatibility flag (D3DCOMPILE_ENABLE_BACKWARDS_COMPATIBILITY) that I was hoping would allow us …

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Getting Things Done

Fri, 15 Aug 2014 17:31:51 +0000

Just wanted to do a quick post saying that we are all working hard on the game, figuring out some of the last unknowns and polishing things up. We are definitely in finish-the-game mode, that's why the posts have gotten more rare. Here is a shot of the finalized hub …

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Irradiance Caching – Continued

Thu, 10 Jul 2014 18:36:34 +0000

... ... Ignacio has posted the conclusion of his series on irradiance caching -- at long last! -- and released the source code. This code is a significant chunk of what makes lighting in The Witness as nice as it is.

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Road to E3 – Day 5

Sat, 07 Jun 2014 02:44:05 +0000

Final day and a lot more little things to polish than I expected. Every time I got something fixed another problem would pop up. We got everything in a good state for E3 but there are quite a few more ideas we want to try for the castle visuals,  probably 2 or 3 …

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Road to E3 – Day 4

Fri, 06 Jun 2014 01:29:43 +0000

Getting close to the end of the week. Most of the key detail has been added to the walls and I feel, if we had to send this build to E3, it wouldn't be terrible. We managed to get in some really nice framing details that I won't spoil here but …

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Road to E3 – Day 3

Thu, 05 Jun 2014 01:48:31 +0000

This was a very productive day but visually less noticeable. A lot of "invisible' stuff got done like collision and occluders to make the area decently playable: The center building is now complete and we got the layout for the ruined walls so the major task for tomorrow is to …

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Road to E3 – Day 2

Wed, 04 Jun 2014 01:29:23 +0000

Here is the progress for today. Detail has been added to the rest of the walls and towers as well as windows and other smaller features. We've had some discussions about the style of the battlements so those might change tomorrow or after. Here are the new modular pieces that were …

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Road to E3 – Day 1

Tue, 03 Jun 2014 05:00:01 +0000

Since we have only one week to get the entry area ready before E3 I was thinking it could be interesting to have a post at the end of each day to show how we are progressing. It will balance out the high programming post count we've had the past few days and …

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Island Snapshot: What-year-is-this Edition

Thu, 29 May 2014 22:23:50 +0000

E3 is happening in under two weeks, so what better thing to do than to completely destroy the part of the game everyone at E3 will play, and rebuild it from scratch in very limited time? This is of course a very crude mockup of what the new starting area …

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Witness Wednesday on How to Program

Wed, 28 May 2014 19:27:11 +0000

Sometimes people ask me for advice on how to program, and I have to say that Casey's advice here is right on: http://mollyrocket.com/casey/stream_0019.html Meanwhile, we've had a lot of Witness Wednesday posts in a row on this blog. I'll have to stop slacking and write something about the game.

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Casey’s Witness Wednesday on Interpolation

Fri, 23 May 2014 16:53:52 +0000

He's put up another very informative blog post, leaving the specific topic of grass planting, venturing into more general territory regarding interpolation. And there's a video, from which it is possible to learn a lot of this is a new subject. Here's the blog post. Here's the video:  

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Witness Friday post on Casey’s blog

Sat, 03 May 2014 20:23:14 +0000

Casey Muratori is back, with more details about planting grass when you really care about how good the results are.       Update: And here's another post, complete with a video showing in detail how the grass planting works in the actual game.

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What’s this??

Sat, 26 Apr 2014 03:46:14 +0000

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

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Working on The Witness, Parts 5 and 6.

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:20:53 +0000

Casey Muratori has made new postings about the work he has done on The Witness: Working on The Witness, Part 5 Working on The Witness, Part 6 In this one he talks about how to distribute grass. Legally. As well as the different colors of noise one might want to …

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The Art of “The Witness” – GDC 2014

Mon, 24 Mar 2014 18:52:13 +0000

Last week was the Game Developers Conference (GDC) here in San Francisco and we were invited to talk about the art  of "The Witness". I decided to shift the talk from any technical aspect, since there are already plenty of those, and tried to focus instead on our thought process, …

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Marsh Update

Thu, 20 Feb 2014 21:58:01 +0000

The marsh had been left unresolved for a long time, so we decided to tear it apart and finish it as a team. Eric updated the main structures, Alex adjusted the catwalks, Luis took care of all the lowest structures, and I handled the vegetation and general colors. Color was …

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Hey look, Steam controller support:

Tue, 04 Feb 2014 23:48:51 +0000

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Last Minute Area

Thu, 30 Jan 2014 23:11:20 +0000

    Around Christmas time, Jon surprised us with a bunch of new slab buildings full of puzzles in the center of the island. Previously, there were only some empty ruins here, so the whole area was redesigned by the architects to accommodate the new puzzles. I attacked it first, …

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What that VR post was about

Fri, 24 Jan 2014 19:27:49 +0000

Last November I made a somewhat-mysterious posting which some people speculated was hinting at stereoscopic rendering in The Witness. Indeed it was, and Now It Can Be Told. Last year I was pessimistic about VR systems in the near future, since the ones I had tried didn't seem to offer …

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It’s been a while since we did an Island Snapshot

Thu, 19 Dec 2013 02:34:02 +0000

... so here one is.     Luis has been doing a lot of work lately on the mountain and especially the stuff at the top. Other folks have been doing a bunch of work on things that are not as obvious in this picture! Current puzzle count: 595

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What could it mean??

Sat, 30 Nov 2013 02:57:25 +0000

 

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A Trip to New York and Some Huge Artwork

Tue, 19 Nov 2013 18:16:19 +0000

The PS4 launched last week and, though I still barely believe my luck, I got the chance to accompany Jon to the launch event in New York! As it turned out, I was a bit too shy to help him out too much with the questions, but it was still …

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A speech about Free-to-Play game design

Mon, 04 Nov 2013 22:53:16 +0000

About a month ago, I gave a speech at Creative Mornings in Portland about the way the Free-to-Play business model affects game design. I compared games to television, looking at the way television business models have drastically affected the composition of those shows.   (I didn't name this speech; the …

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Recent coverage of The Witness:

Thu, 24 Oct 2013 19:54:05 +0000

Interview with Adam Sessler at last week's PlayStation event:   Discussion on PlayStation Blogcast (Witness talk starts around 26:25): http://blog.us.playstation.com/2013/10/18/playstation-blogcast-094-witness-the-daylight/ (From the way the PS guys talk, it sounds like it is all me making this game, but as always on games of this size, there is a whole team …

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Pictures from a Demo Day at Sony

Thu, 17 Oct 2013 04:47:38 +0000

Sony had an event today at their offices in Foster City to give the press some hands-on time with upcoming games running on the PlayStation 4. The Witness was among the games being shown! We were the only third-party game there. Also shown were a whole lot of Killzone: Shadow …

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Shadow Mapping Summary – Part 1

Tue, 24 Sep 2013 01:23:04 +0000

During the last several weeks I've been polishing and optimizing the shadowing system and I think that at this point it won't undergo any more significant changes. In the process I've been reading a bit and looking up references and I'm appalled by how inaccessible is all the shadow mapping …

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The Shipwreck

Thu, 12 Sep 2013 18:25:13 +0000

The shipwreck is an area of the island that has not been shown before, because up until recently it was one of the barest, most undeveloped areas we had. It grew bigger and bigger over the years (like most things on the island), from a little slab mockup Jon had …

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On the Rocks…

Wed, 04 Sep 2013 23:49:01 +0000

What’s up, internet?  I’m Eric - one of the artists working on The Witness.  I figured what better way to celebrate more than two years on the project than by making my very first post on the development blog!  (plus, Luis and Orsi hassled me!!!)  So here goes: In the …

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More Screenshots

Mon, 05 Aug 2013 19:46:11 +0000

It's been a long time since the last posting! Time flies. Normally I would post an Island Snapshot, but the viewpoint we have been using for Island Snapshots is a little bit unfortunate lately, since the main thing taking up the view is the mountain, which is an area we …

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Wallpapers!

Thu, 04 Jul 2013 18:28:09 +0000

Since a lot of you have been asking for them, I put together a few wallpapers based on those poster ideas from a while ago (most of which were created by Luis, who has a great eye for composition. Hopefully I didn't butcher them too badly.) My hope is that …

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Island Snapshot

Thu, 20 Jun 2013 01:34:56 +0000

Once again, we have been mostly working on things you can't see from this angle. The most-visible changes are probably the peninsula on the left in the foreground, which has undergone extensive work lately: It's been revamped by Alex, who is new on the team, helping us with the huge …

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Here’s That Poster

Sat, 15 Jun 2013 21:21:10 +0000

In May, we wrote about a bunch of ideas for posters for The Witness. We couldn't say so at the time, but we were prompted to do this by the inclusion of such a poster in a PlayStation 4 promotional video. Of all the possibilities we ran through, here's the …

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A Long Overdue Tree Update

Fri, 07 Jun 2013 17:34:10 +0000

Hello! I'm Orsi, the girl who ended up modeling most of the trees for this game. When I joined the team two years ago, I didn't think I would be doing much serious environment modeling. I was fresh out of school, hired to develop some interesting, hidden things around the …

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Island Snapshot

Fri, 17 May 2013 22:37:44 +0000

... 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 …

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Poster Ideas

Wed, 08 May 2013 00:28:02 +0000

We were kicking around ideas of what a Witness poster would look like if we were to make one. We eventually came up with one that we really liked, and we'll release that at some point in the future. But in the meantime we thought it would be nice to …

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Island Snapshot

Tue, 09 Apr 2013 17:36:22 +0000

It's been a while since the previous post, so here's a new island snapshot. Most of what we've been working on lately is not visible in this shot, though! The biggest obvious changes are probably in the forest and beach on the left-hand side.

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iPad video update #1

Thu, 14 Mar 2013 02:26:04 +0000

Andy's got the iPad port far enough along that you can sort of play the game now. Here's a short video: There are some basic hacks going on; for example, right now, we are not drawing the real sky; it's just solid blue. Also, right now we are just loading …

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Island Snapshot

Mon, 04 Mar 2013 22:43:47 +0000

Can it be that we haven't posted an island snapshot since January 3rd? Well, you got a pretty good look at the island in the trailer we recently released in conjunction with the PlayStation 4 announcement. That version has a lot of new modeling compared to the January snapshot, because …

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A clarification about our PS4 exclusivity.

Fri, 22 Feb 2013 18:27:53 +0000

There has been worry and speculation on the internet about the PS4 exclusivity that we announced during the press conference, so here are some details to help answer those questions. Our deal with Sony is a limited-time exclusivity that applies to competing console platforms. Basically it is that you will …

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First official trailer for The Witness

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 06:05:05 +0000

as seen in today's PlayStation 4 announcement: (Watch it in HD + fullscreen if you have the bandwidth!)

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The Witness Audio: 1000 Subtle Layers

Wed, 20 Feb 2013 04:41:22 +0000

(This is a crosspost from WabiSabi Sound's blog). I didn’t think Witness was going to be an easy project by any stretch, but I certainly didn’t expect it to be one of our biggest creative challenges. I’ve worked on nearly 80 projects spanning feature film, games, ads and other sorts, …

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Interview about The Witness and related design topics

Sat, 02 Feb 2013 04:21:38 +0000

On January 31, 2013, Tom McShea of Gamespot interviewed me as part of their Break Room Interview series. It was an interesting conversation! Here's the interview.

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If you like first-person puzzle games…

Sat, 02 Feb 2013 03:45:11 +0000

... you may wish to see Antichamber, which has just been released on Steam. The game's web site. The Steam page. The game is primarily the work of one designer, Alexander Bruce, who has been working on it for six years. Players seem to be really into the game, and …

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How do you say “plane” in The Witness?

Mon, 21 Jan 2013 02:54:07 +0000

Just before Christmas break, I fixed a bug in the transform manipulator and checked it in. Having a transform manipulator is a nice addition to any editor, and we were all happy to have it working. But shortly thereafter, I had to leave for a cross-country family Christmas trip. This …

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Island Partition

Thu, 17 Jan 2013 02:21:09 +0000

This week we've been having discussions about how it's almost time to move into full-on Production Mode and start cranking out final-ish 3D models and textures ... following schedules, and all kinds of organized stuff like that. Up until now we have not been in that kind of work mode, …

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Thoughts about App Store ‘Curation’

Tue, 15 Jan 2013 20:40:51 +0000

Last week, Jeff Grubb from VentureBeat emailed me a question for an article he was writing, prompted by Apple's rejection of Endgame: Syria. Sometimes questions like this are good excuses for me to figure out what I really think. Jeff asked me about this part of the iOS App Store's …

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Island Snapshot

Fri, 04 Jan 2013 01:08:06 +0000

Current puzzle count: 505.

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What I Did on My Christmas Vacation

Sun, 30 Dec 2012 23:34:47 +0000

I apologize in advance that this posting is a rambling mess. The Background Way back in 2008 when I came upon the core idea of this game, the design was the exciting part. Though I started in games mainly as a technical person who was excited about technical challenges, I …

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A Cliffside Cliffhanger

Tue, 25 Dec 2012 01:24:36 +0000

This is a little mystery about a rock that refused to move. The rock lives off the coast of The Witness, just beyond the desert cliffs: I do not know who made this rock or how long it has been there, but when I first happened upon it, I found …

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Finding and Fixing a Five Second Stall

Tue, 18 Dec 2012 20:23:22 +0000

The great thing about programming on Windows is that it is the only commercially viable platform where you can ship software to users without getting approval from a giant bureaucracy (well, perhaps I should say it used to be). The not-so-great thing about programming on Windows is that, well, the …

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Mapping the Island’s Walkable Surfaces

Wed, 12 Dec 2012 13:46:24 +0000

Despite not even being finished, The Witness is already one of my all-time favorite games. I’ve been playing it since Jon started developing it several years ago, and I could not be more excited about its upcoming release. Unlike Jon’s previous game Braid, the asset and programming scale for The …

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Island Snapshot

Tue, 11 Dec 2012 01:22:31 +0000

We haven't done one of these in a while. Here's what the island looks like currently: The current puzzle count is 497. (This is lower than last time; last time was an overcount, as we had some temporary duplicates in the world that were being counted mistakenly.)

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Collecting Playtest Data

Mon, 03 Dec 2012 03:57:03 +0000

In The Witness, when progress in your game is saved, we also save a thumbnail that shows you where you were. This makes it easier to load a particular game later if you had multiple saves. Here is our current, very unpolished load screen: Right now, we save the thumbnail …

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Very Limited, Very Closed Beta

Fri, 30 Nov 2012 06:59:28 +0000

Last Wednesday night, just before Thanksgiving, we shipped our first extremely closed beta over Steam to a few limited testers. Today we shipped an update, still to the same limited group. We have some initial tech issues to work out before we go wider (game packaging issues, graphics card incompatibilities, …

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scope(exit) in C++11

Tue, 20 Nov 2012 01:38:01 +0000

I really like the scope(exit) statements in D. They allow you to keep the cleanup code next to the initialization code making it much easier to maintain and understand. I wish we had them in C++. Turns out this can be implemented easily using some of the new C++ features. …

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You know the game is coming along…

Sun, 18 Nov 2012 06:14:32 +0000

... when even your barest rough drafts seem like they'd be interesting to explore. Current puzzle count: 528.

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Post-Shrink Screenshots

Fri, 16 Nov 2012 00:24:03 +0000

As mentioned in the previous post, we shrank the island a bit. Here is what things look like now. They may not look tremendously different from this off-island vantage point, but when you are down there moving around, the difference is substantial. I feel a lot better about the layout …

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We are going Map Crazy.

Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:20:26 +0000

One of my primary design goals, all through development, has been to keep the island spatially small, so that there isn't a lot of wandering through empty or pointless spaces. The idea is to take the best parts of an open-world game, involving choice, exploration and discovery, but compressing these …

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Island Snapshot two-for-one

Wed, 24 Oct 2012 00:31:29 +0000

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iPad Victory Shot

Fri, 19 Oct 2012 16:46:48 +0000

For the past few weeks Andy has been working on the iPad port of the game, and we now have the engine running on that device: The colors are all funny because we haven't written the shaders for the iPad yet, so what you are seeing is the surface normals …

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WM_TOUCH is totally bananas.

Sun, 14 Oct 2012 23:15:51 +0000

The iPad is one of the major platforms The Witness will appear on. Andy has been working on the iPad port and it is coming along. You can't actually play the game yet, but we probably are close to that. The gameplay doesn't know how to respond to a touch …

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