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Die And Die Again: Cloudberry Kingdom

The princess is in another procedurally generated level. Cloudberry Kingdom is a machine with one purpose – to create anguish and despair. It’s a side-scrolling platformer, with enough spikes and spinning blades to reduce even the most Super of Meat Boys into kibble and tripe. Rather than being hand-built, the levels are generated by a ‘level design AI’, which responds to the player’s skill, ramping up the difficulty and filling the screen with death. It’s out on July 31st and I am afraid of it.

I’m fascinated by the cruelty of those last few seconds. Why would a person endure such horrors? I crawled through Amnesia’s prison in the middle of the night, headphones on, lights off, and I’d rather relive those dread hours than enter the Cloudberry Kingdom. It’s the promise that everything is possible that frightens me. A carrot at the end of a hallway full of laser beams. A wall of sticks blocking every exit.

We’ve spent years teaching our level design AI how to make levels at just the right difficulty for every player. No matter how good you get, the AI will always serve up another level that can challenge your skills. No matter how hard the levels get, they are always possible. The AI takes care to design levels that can always be beat.

As well as multiplayer, shown in the video, there are customisable heroes, but they’re more than cosmetic. Change a hero’s means of motion by adding a jetpack or strapping him to a wheel and the levels are designed to test his new physical abilities.

I think wizards made this.

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Adam Smith

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