Layers of the Sky

Layers of the sky
Recently I’ve been trying to design a series of games that take place in the sky. I have always been interested in the patterns that clouds make, as well astronomy, so I thought it would be interesting to see how I could use a personal interest to design a game.

Upon starting the project, I first observed the day and night sky through a telescope. For about a week, I took notes of the things that I noticed or ideas that I had based on my observations. However, I eventually decided to do a little more research into the science of the sky to see what else I could find. What I discovered is that the sky is made up of five unique layers of gasses, all together called the atmosphere. From lowest to highest, the layers are the troposphere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere, the thermosphere and the exosphere. These layers all exist at different altitudes and are different based on the amount of oxygen, the amount of gravity, the amount of pressure and the temperature of the layer. Light and color also interact with these different layers in different ways, which is why the sky is blue and why we see colors in a sunset.

What I found really interesting is that the last three layers of the atmosphere actually extend into the reaches of outer space. In fact, the International Space Station orbits the earth in the thermosphere.

With all my new knowledge about the atmosphere under my belt, I designed the game using the following ideas:

1) Make the game five levels—one for each layer of the atmosphere.

2) Start the first level with a lot of gravity; end the fifth level with very little gravity.

3) Make the first three levels of the game increasingly challenging, based on the idea that “pressure” increases the higher up you go.

4) Make the last two levels in outer space fun and exciting, since there is very little gravity to hold the player down.

I’m still making some final changes to my game based on playtesting and feedback, but I think my trip up into the sky was very successful.