Blog posts tagged "the witness"

Hey all, I'm here to talk about The Witness again. When it comes to speedrunning video games, it's uncommon for players to play the game just as the developers intended. Speedruns usually incorporate tricks that allow you to do things faster than you're supposed to or that allow you to entirely skip doing something ordinarily required. And very often, these tricks take advantage of glitches in the game, to achieve something that goes past the boundary of the laws of the game.

The Witness, for a very long time, was almost entirely glitchless. The only real exception was Windmill Cycle Skip, which was discovered within the first couple of weeks of the game's release, and saved some time in 100% and 99.8%. I'll talk about it more when I talk about Windmill. But other than that, we were really just playing the game as intended, as quickly as possible.

There were a few tricks we used that seemed like glitches, like Jungle Wall Skip and panel sniping. Even Latch Skip is arguably not a glitch, and rather just an exploit of the game's error correcting functionality, although people will argue you on this one. People had definitely discovered things that were glitches, some of which would become very important later on (e.g. the Theatre Pause Glitch), but at the time they just seemed like random bugs with no real use.

And then everything changed when we found out that walls aren't real.

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Hatkirby on October 29th, 2023 at 12:36:03pm
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How many of you here have personally witnessed a total eclipse of the sun? To stand, one day, in the shadow of the moon is one of my humble goals in life.

(Spoiler warning for The Witness)

Most of the people reading this blog probably know that I am fond of a video game called The Witness. "Fond" may not be a strong enough word -- it's my favourite game I've ever played, and I've been speedrunning it for over three years at this point. If you don't know what it is, it's a puzzle game set in a 3D environment, where you solve grid puzzles on screens scattered across a deserted island. It's all about epiphany-driven gameplay; the game doesn't tell you anything about how the puzzles work. You have to figure it out yourself, and when you do it's usually a really satisfying moment.

Now, I've been playing this game for a long time, and I've memorised the solutions to every single puzzle. Most of the time, speedruns of this game are pretty straightforward. You have to solve certain sets of puzzles in order to get to a specific goal, be it the main end of the game, or the secret end, or the post-game level, etc. And in order to be fast at that, you have to 1) know the solutions to the puzzles, and 2) be skilled at inputting them. Both of these requirements allow for you to get gradual improvement the more you play, while allowing for a high skill ceiling. And that's it!

Well... Sort of. If we don't think about 100%.

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Hatkirby on October 17th, 2023 at 4:48:02pm
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