Ambitious procedural platformer EarthNight gets new trailer

Cleaversoft offers an update on its sophisticated endless runner

Last year, we announced that EarthNight would be coming to PS4 and PS Vita. Today, I’m excited to share an update on what’s going on with the game and debut a new gameplay trailer.

For the uninitiated, EarthNight is a hand-painted runner made to elevate the endless runner genre with console-quality depth and design. The unbelievably talented artist Mattahan paints every frame of every character, and every element of the game.

Each run begins in space. The player must traverse eight beautifully painted layers of the atmosphere, alternating between skydiving and running on the backs of dragons on the perilous journey down to Earth. Unlike other runner games, there is an end — the planet’s surface is the final world: EarthNight.

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You can learn the basic mechanics in a few minutes, but the game is hard to master. It takes time and dedication to develop the skills to reach EarthNight.

We are creating a game in which each run is unique but feels meticulously hand-designed, where the player always experiences something different while still recognising patterns. To achieve this we’re using what we call “hand-designed procedural generation.”

We’ve broken down each dragon (level) into three chunks: a beginning, middle and end. Each of these chunks has at least five hand-designed variations that spawn procedurally according to a set of rules. This means the most basic dragons have 125 different potential layout variations. The first world contains four different dragons and therefore offers 244 million potential seeds. By World 2, there are over 59 quadrillion seeds and the finished game will have about 6.93 x 10^39 possible seeds. Basically, no matter how many runs you take, your path to EarthNight will always be different.

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Even though there are endless seeds, over time hand-designed pieces will become familiar. Recognising patterns with so many seeds may sound impossible, but keep in mind that the first world only draws from 60 unique possible chunks (15 chunks for each of the four dragons). The player will become acquainted with the first dragon pretty quickly since they begin with it every time.

Additionally, each dragon’s chunks fit into a theme. For example, the blue dragon in the first world is pretty easy and a good opportunity to regain health, while the black dragon is absolutely brutal. So despite the layouts being random, your dragon selection has consequences.

We are honoured that Doug Holder, who previously worked on Uncharted 3 and The Last of Us, has officially become the eighth member of the EarthNight team. We’d been looking for a special effects artist who could mesh well with Mattahan’s art style for a long time, and we really lucked out. Using shaders and particles, Doug is adding a whole new visual layer to the game. You can see his contributions on the crystal light energy dragon, the flames on Sydney’s dragon spirit, and all new trails on both characters. We look forward to more awesome visual effects from Doug.

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I also want to give an update on the game’s music. Our composer, Chipocrite, recently released his latest album, Wordplay, with songs featuring Game Boy, guitar, drums and bass. (If you played EarthNight at E3 last year, you might recognize the track “Little Computer People” from World 1.) He is now fully focused on finishing our soundtrack, and so far it sounds amazing. The game will have chiptune-only versions of songs as well as full-band versions.

The other good news is we’ve finished transitioning to Unity 5. EarthNight is running at 60fps in 1080p on PS4, and it looks beautiful. The bad news is we’re pushing back the release date until late 2016. Rest assured, we are working as hard as we can to finish, but we all feel in our hearts that we have something special here and we need to finish what we started the right way. We are getting there, and I promise we will ship this game as soon as it’s ready.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments — I’d be happy to answer them. Thanks for checking out EarthNight!

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22 Comments
0 Author replies
madmanwithabox12 01 June, 2015 @ 16:42
1

It’s also on Vita…

StevenJamesHyde 01 June, 2015 @ 17:00
1.1

In fairness it does say that in the very first sentence of the post. Having said that, there’s plenty of time for the Vita version to mysteriously drop off the radar between now and the ‘late 2016’ release date…

madmanwithabox12 01 June, 2015 @ 17:04
1.2

I know, but it’s still ridiculous how Sony treats Vita like the plague. It’s a small thing sure, but it’s the kind of tell-tale sign that they really don’t have an interest in the platform. Of course, they’ve now changed the title to avoid any problems, but it’s the principle that annoys me. The messaging with Vita is so beyond messed up at this point.

madmanwithabox12 01 June, 2015 @ 17:07
1.3

In short, you wouldn’t see this with Nintendo.

Show more replies
1

This is the kind of game I’d buy for my Vita.

Not my PS4.

And seeing as it’s on both platforms (unless there’s been a change), you should include that in the title – because a lot of people are eager for new games on that little, very gorgeous, hand held system ;)

madmanwithabox12 01 June, 2015 @ 16:51
2.1

Sony have been doing it a lot lately. Games that are out on Vita and PS4, they only put PS4 in the title of their youtube videos or twitter posts. I don’t get why they do it, is it really that hard to stick an “& Vita” in the title? It really does show how little they actually care for the platform.

reggyx3clover 02 June, 2015 @ 06:37
2.2

@madmanwithabox12 …. are you sure try to watch this and look at the title then https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iLqJlpjZc0

madmanwithabox12 02 June, 2015 @ 18:57
2.3

No, what happened this time was this blog post originally said “Ambitious PS4 procedural platformer”. They edited it out once I mentioned it, but they do this all the time across the blog, twitter and youtube. Again, I don’t get how hard it is for whoever is in charge of putting the content out to stick Vita in the title of these things.

madmanwithabox12 01 June, 2015 @ 17:00
3

And now they changed the title, hoping nobody would notice. I really don’t understand how hard it is to type the word “Vita”, but why should I be surprised?

KaneTheGoth 01 June, 2015 @ 17:16
3.1

Vita, Vita, Vita!

Even when a game is coming out on your precious Vita you STILL find time to complain!

madmanwithabox12 01 June, 2015 @ 17:22
3.2

No, the problem here is Sony’s aversion to the platform. The way they don’t acknowledge the games it IS getting. Their messaging should be trying to promote the system, but instead they do the opposite and perpetuate the ignorant notion that it doesn’t have games. If Sony won’t take the time to actually talk about the Vita, it falls instead to the community who actually want to see an increased interest from developers and gamers alike.

If they were treating the PS4 this badly, thousands of people would be complaining just like the Vita community. Yet that would somehow be okay because it’s the PS4.

I might buy it for my Vita depending on the price.

I loved the music used in the first trailer posted year ago (man the time sure flies fast).
This new trailer is a~Ok I guess, but imho it lacks the impact that previous had… mainly because that track used year ago was great.

HomessaHomem 01 June, 2015 @ 17:42
5

I NEED THIS IN MY VITA!!! I’m with madmanwithabox12 too!!

Looks really nice will definitely pick it up on Vita!

shake_zulaYEAH 01 June, 2015 @ 18:30
7

Looks fantastic, glad it’s 1080p60. I’ll definitely pick this up.

Tranquil-Fury 01 June, 2015 @ 18:38
8

A 2D procedurally generated platformer you say?

This has underwhelming ps+ game written all over it.

CluckNuggets 01 June, 2015 @ 22:21
9

I miss the days when the word Playstation meant fun 3D gaming experiences where had the freedom to blow up hookers with atom bombs and gnaw babies heads off. How about another Siren game?

Yeah still great :)

Bag_Of_Fruit 02 June, 2015 @ 00:18
11

Looks really good. Will this have a platinum trophy added?

12

late 2016.. like no man’s sky , the witness , rime and all of these little gems, it seems we will get these at the end of the PS4 life cycle … too bad ^^

13

So glad i didn’t buy a PS4, 99% of games for it are poor or PS3 games vomited onto it.
Hardly what i would call progress when shallow games like this keep getting released.
Is this a sign of things to come? If so then it makes me appreciate the PS3 even more.
T …just completes the column, sums it all up exactly what i think of new games today.

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