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Jonathan Blow is making his own programming language

Jonathan Blow, the independent developer behind Braid and The Witness, is coming up with his own programming language.

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Jonathan Blow, the independent developer behind Braid and The Witness, is coming up with his own programming language.

In an interview with GI.biz, Blow spoke about his new language, called Jai, and how he started developing the language because he thought C++ is a “really terrible, terrible language.”

He revealed his impatience with C++:

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“Then C++ is a language where they said: ‘We’re going to be C with a bunch of stuff added’ and that was an okay idea. But they made a lot of really bad decisions in the beginning and then they had to repair a lot of those decisions later on, and it’s kind of a mess.

If you come to it and you’re trying to learn it, a lot of what you’re learning is just this rubble… when really you shouldn’t have to deal with that at all. C++ is a powerful language in some ways, because it’s what we make games in so obviously it’s doing something right. But it makes it a lot harder than it should be.”

Blow also spoke about why he made the decision to start developing the language:

“I just started thinking: ‘Somebody should do something about this because it’s ridiculous’. And I realised that nobody was going to do anything. There is a very large status quo bias around things like this. We make games a certain way; people make all these other programming languages and yet we don’t use them.

The more I questioned it, the more I said ‘actually this is quite changeable. I think I see a specific thing we do here’. And as soon as I had the idea that there was a way to change it, I was suddenly a lot happier about my day-to-day work because suddenly there was a way out.”

Blow started creating Jai while his he was working on The Witness, in 2014. He expects a closed beta for it by the end of this year.


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Josh is a freelance writer. You’ll find him banging on about the vertices between games and film and music and poetry and books, but don’t let that put you off. He likes games. He likes writing. He also gets the biscuits in.

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