Under Fallin Skies: Designer’s Diary 1 – Enemy Ships

Are you curious about Under Falling Skies from our partner publisher Czech Games Edition, which was released in German in fall 2020? In this designer diary, Tomas Uhlir gradually gives insights into different areas of game development:

„As you may already know, this game [note: as Under Falling Skies PnP] was initially developed for the 9-card Nanogame PnP Contest before CGE picked it up for publication. The majority of these contests spring from Work In Progress-Threads – like the one I ran for Under Falling Skies. Developers use these threads to share the progress of their game. Aside from being a great source of motivation, it’s also the ideal way to get valuable feedback and make sure you’re on the right track.

Inspired by these threads, I decided to share some of the new features you can expect in the upcoming official release. This time, I want to tell you a bit about the enemy ships development process.

Most of the game consists of moving enemy ships on explosions, then blowing them out of the sky with a redeeming shot. in the print-and-play version, everyone takes their own components for this, and as you can see, some players had exceedingly fantastic and creative ideas. From colored bricks, to a variety of buttons or miniatures from other games, to self-printed 3D figures.

But even if simple dice serve their purpose, they are not always ideal. I tried to develop an unambiguous user interface to allow the player to concentrate fully on the game. Even with PnP, I quickly realized that the numbers on the explosions need to be at the bottom of their field, so they remain visible even when an enemy ship is on them.

But in fact it depended on what components were used. Because many players still often tended to hide the number on the field with the ships. Or they learned to place the ship above the number so that it remained visible, but then it was often not clear on which field the ship really was.

The official edition allowed us to be more generous when it came to choosing the game material. So we decided to use plastic miniatures for the enemy ships. The decision behind this was not only due to aesthetics, but mainly practical in nature. I wanted a C-shaped ship design that would fit on the field but not obscure the number. Inspired by the Raider ships from Battlestar Galactica, we discarded many different versions before settling on the final design. We asked Kwanchai Moriya to work on the illustrations and design of the game elements, and he showered us with designs to choose from.

Based on the chosen design, our 3D expert Radim “Finder” Pech created a model that we were able to print out with a 3D printer and test out directly at the game table. I have to admit, I was totally blown away when we played with them for the first time. external image

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But that wasn’t all. Last year, when I was working on Sanctum, we had to decide on the colors of the plastic markers that represent stamina and focus. Together with my colleague Filip Murmak, who is responsible for graphics, I had visited a factory that mixes the [plastic] colors for CGE games. There they offered us very interesting transparent color types, which were too “sci-fi” for Sanctum, but perfectly suited Under Falling Skies.

We opted for a vibrant magenta for the enemy ships. I’m still blown away by how good they turned out.

Apart from the launch ships, we still needed a color for the enemy reinforcements. Unlike the launch ships, they are removed when they are shot down. We wanted to emphasize this limitation, so we chose a simple transparent crystal-like look. This turned out to be the right choice, as it proved to be quite intuitive even for new players.

I hope you like the ships and find them as stunning to play with as I did. external image

– To be continued –

Published on boardgamegeek.com,
at July, 2nd. 2020.

Here you can find more information about Under Falling Skies