Five years of development later and The Witness is looking absolutely gorgeous. Jonathan Blow’s latest indie game will have you parading around a beautiful abandoned island, but what good would that experience be if it wasn’t drop dead gorgeous to look at?
Not just in the gorgeous colors and various environments either, but the beauty is also in the performance. Blow wants this game to look better than anything else out there. In his recent update on the game through PlayStation Blog, he confirmed that he and his team are aiming to reach 1080p and 60 frames per second at launch on the PlayStation 4. Most areas of the game are already able to achieve maximum performance, but a few of the busier areas are still having trouble keeping up.
Blow also gave a few more details about the game and what is going on behind the scenes.
• Design. All the gameplay along the “main line” of the game — the stuff you would expect to do from the beginning to the end of a standard playthrough — is done. But, this is a game that has a lot of extra things for players who are really into the game and want more; we’re still designing some of those extras.
• Modeling and texturing. The Witness has a lot of different locations, and it’s very important that they all receive the same degree of care. Most of the island where The Witness takes place is fully modeled at this point, but there are a few important locations that are still in a draft stage, and several others that could use another pass of detail.
• Frame rate optimizations. At launch on PS4, we’re planning to render at 1080p and 60 frames per second. Right now we meet this target in many areas of the game, but not everywhere. But with more old-fashioned hard work, we should be.
• Level-of-detail management and streaming. For example, making sure that it doesn’t take too long to stream in new parts of the world as you move. When we do stream in higher-detail versions of far-away geometry, we don’t want the graphics to pop, so we’ve recently implemented a smooth blend between LOD levels. The Witness is an open-world game with no loading screens; the feeling of just walking around and looking at things is very important. We work hard to make this happen as smoothly as possible.
• Audio. Since The Witness is so much about a sense of place, the audio design is crucial. Right now there are 1.2 gigabytes of sound (Much of it compressed!) in the game, which represents over 40% the game’s data.
This last statement about the audio made me curious about what our data looks like, so here are some numbers on how much data is in The Witness. (These are all the size of files in the game as it would be shipped, not the source files!)
Texture Maps: 1,196 files, 446MB
Meshes: 4,588 files, 507MB
Sounds: 2,435 files, 1.2GB
Animations: 197 files, 0.6MB
Entities: 1 file, 4.3MB
Lightmaps (these are auto-generated): 17,916 files, 453MB
Total (including other files not listed here): 39,387 files, 2.7GB
The Witness will launch for the PlayStation 4 in mid 2014, and the PC and iOS versions are expected to follow shortly afterwards.