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Subject: GUNSHIP: FIRST STRIKE (Tactical Space Combat Game) Please help us grow and develop! rss

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Escape Pod Games
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BGG Community,

Greetings - My name is Steve Wood. My company, Escape Pod Games, is based in Northern VA. We are finalizing playtesting on our flagship game and looking for a little input here and there as we prepare for production in early 2012.

Now that the working title for the game is set (thanks to your submissions) I feel that I can now start revealing a little more about it.

Lets begin at the beginning and start with pretending that you are in a game store and you see the box. It may look a little busy but keep in mind that you will not see all 5 sides at one time.

The back of the box is missing the big photo that we have not taken yet. This picture will be of all of the game components laid out for play. I hate when I look at a potential new game and there is no pic of what is inside. Makes me wonder why.

These are not the final box views - still have some work to do but it will be similar. Let's stop here for now and we will dig in to what the game is all about after I get some feedback up to this point.

Thanks!

Steve
EPG

FYI - Strafing Run is my old company from back when I used to make Axis & Allies expansions. I cannot change my BGG name and keep this account so I am sticking with this one for now. Will probably create an EPG user name for use as a business account once we are selling games.





PLEASE NOTE: BOX IS OUT OF THE DISCUSSION FOR RIGHT NOW. I WILL POST A NEW BOX BASED ON YOUR SUGGESTIONS SOON. SEE WHAT COMES IN THE BOX BY CONTINUING TO READ THE THREAD. ALL SUGGESTIONS ON ARTWORK AND GAMEPLAY WELCOME!
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Nate K
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
The first thing I would want to know after perusing such a box is what the typical game length is. Thirty minute? Three hours? Somewhere in between?

Then I would probably check out the price, although that will likely be on a sticker on the shrink wrap, rather than the box itself, so it's probably not something you need to sweat over.
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
As someone who lives in the are and interested in your game I have to ask will you have any "open" play testing?
 
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J Swack
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
Doesn't a gunship typically refer to an air-to-ground (or sea) attack aircraft? Typically a helicopter? By the title only I would of thought the game was about helicopters making strafing runs. Which ironically is your old company name...

Same kind of goes for cruisers. Don't they typically protect capital ships (e.g., carriers)... and it looks like the cruisers functions in this game as what people expect the carriers to typically do.

Thematically, I'm confused by the odd naming of things. I'm not sure why, but space and spacecraft typically take naval terminology. I would make the cruiser a carrier (something like superstar carrier), and make the cruiser a battleship. I would suggest going with what is typically the norm... why buck trend and make it that much harder for people to get it.

Why the "adventure" in the subtitle? Is it a tactical space combat game or not? For the graphic maybe a battle scene?

Hope my feedback helps. Good luck!
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
Personally I don't think most people would care about whether the spaceship names make sense in naval terms.

However, 'adventure game' for board games usually means a board game that has some kind of RPG-like character progression (see for example here).
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
I don't like the Diagonal text across the cover. It looks amateurish to me for reasons I can't explain.

My recommendation would be to take the blue ship and make it larger so that it takes up pretty much the entire front cover. It has the "action" look of coming right at the camera and is generally the more compelling of the two.

Then take the orange ship and stick it on the back cover. The back doesn't need to convey as much action.

Just my thoughts.
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
Thanks for your comments so far.

I will post a revised Box Cover and a few explanations later. Just stick with me - there are good reasons for some of my madness!

Hey Broox - get over here and join the playtest team! PM me.

I am listening and will use a couple of your suggestions today. Just have to get to work and see how much time I have at lunch.

Keep 'em coming! You have already helped me fix 3 things.

Steve
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
tofarley wrote:
I don't like the Diagonal text across the cover. It looks amateurish to me for reasons I can't explain.

My recommendation would be to take the blue ship and make it larger so that it takes up pretty much the entire front cover. It has the "action" look of coming right at the camera and is generally the more compelling of the two.

Then take the orange ship and stick it on the back cover. The back doesn't need to convey as much action.

Just my thoughts.


Completely and untterly seconded.

The diagonal text is not the best. Have you got reserves to employ a graphic layout artist to help you out? Or perhaps are you already employing a so-so one? Man I sound like a total bastard. I only say because I am a webdesigner by trade and I know that there is a big difference between art and layout and some people are simply better than others at stuff like this (even though the final product would perhaps take the same amount of time and look very simple when it comes out)

If it was my space game, I would probably shoot for a non "font based" title if you follow - actually get the title of the game (whatever it ends up being) done as a proper logo or at least a lot different than simply: bullet peppered "space font" text with a glowy outline and a bit of elecro-ness on some of the letters. Perhaps make a big old deal of the left over electric residue and have it coming out of the text and forming a sparky background to the title?

I don't suppose this is what you would want to hear tbh.

Also, I'm not sure if it's me or not, I only really like CG when I can't tell it's CG. At the moment, you can see it was a CG program used to make the ships and if you stare hard enough you can see the aliasing on it. I am making a big deal of this to get the point across btw.

The back? Love it. The lovely space background is really fitting and a nice picture of the components / in game play would be really nice. Same goes for the sides. Also I do quite like the little V formations of the ships - thats cool

So yeah: I would ideally go with an entirely different front cover making a big old deal of the title. But again, I hate critisicing (feedback? whatever it's called, it still makes me feel like a bastard) and feel free to ignore the most part of my post. Good luck!
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
@Cogentesque

You ARE a bloody Bastard! just kidding...I value your input.

I have put myself out here in front of the entire community in order to gain feedback. Some of it I will agree to and fix - some I will not budge on. But it is part of the process nonetheless - all that I ask is that you be respectful (which everyone has so far).

I will now quote the great Q of ST:TNG...

"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid."

That pretty much sums it up for me.

I will consider the idea of creating a game logo. I am kind of burned out as far as design goes so this may have to wait awhile. I do like the idea, though and I see your points.

Not much I can do about the CG graphics and "aliasing" (not sure what that means I'm afraid)
I did not create the ships (though they were designed to my specs) as I do not work in 3D software.
We love them and the graphics have tested very positively with the public so far. I am trying to create a unique look for my game and once you see the cards and boards, hopefully it will grow on you. I paid quite a bit for all that and it is too late to find a different artist who uses a different method, etc.

But thanks for your positive comments! I'll take a crack at that logo around the weekend.

SW
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
Brilliant! I couldn't ask for more

By "Aliasing" I mean the lines on the edges of the ships are most defaintely perfectly straight and perfectly shaded and perfectly mathematical. So much so that it looks a little "unreal" to me? But as said, I have always (personally) disliked CG work to the most part.

I must say though Steve, I envy your big ol' balls in coming out here and asking people to essentially judge your work. If I were you, I would tell me to f*** off ^^ or "I am not giong to budge on it" as you, most skillfully, put it

I am very excited to see all of the innards and the cards and the pieces etc - I'm sure it will be really interesting.

Looking forward to it
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
Thanks again - what I like about the CG stuff is that it kind of resembles the look of the ships in Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. I love the perfect, fakey look. But we all like different things.

They ARE space warships after all - they should have a fantasy feel imo.

What part of the UK do you hail from?

I will post a lively repost regarding the Gunship/Cruiser class debate. Will also post a new pic - not yet with a shiny new logo but closer to what you guys are asking for.

Once we get past the box we will dig into the good stuff! And I will let you guys have a good say over when that is.

SW
 
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)

I'm in the other camp as to the looks of the box. I think it's fine (though as already mentioned, I wonder if the "adventure game" phase is the right thing to use).

The cover, as it stands, would neither attract me or repel me... I think I generally ignore box covers, and instead look at the back to see what the game's all about: a good synopsis and a picture of the actual components are what matters.

If the game is good, the "art" isn't all that important. If the game sucks, no amount of "art" and "graphic design" is gonna save it...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Just as a point of reference: I like the "art" in Glory to Rome, mainly because the game is so good!

 
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
I apologize for what's likely been covered already, but here's another 2 cents (and this is coming from a guy whose own game was beat up rather bad on graphic design, so we're now revising the whole look based on feedback).

1) Agreed with Sam that the ship(s) look too CG. Adding a layer of grunge and damage would help significantly, as well as emphasize the "combat" part.

2) Yeah, the focus should be on the orange ship. What kind of weaponry do these babies have? Could the orange ship be doing something more than just zooming? Lasers? Missiles? What's the scale? Are there smaller, drones or whatever that could be attacking it? I encourage you to look at the old Terran Trade Authority books, which this style reminds me of.

2b) The ships flying in formation, where each picture is simply a smaller clone of the foreground ship do nothing more than accentuate the CG aspects. Again, any way to add cosmetic details, or even very slightly change the angles on some of the ships would go a great length to reduce the CG look.

3) "Gunship," IMO is a fine name. "Attack Run" is also a decent name. Together? It's more like Chocolate and Jelly rather than Chocolate and Peanut Butter. I'd encourage you to revisit your earlier thread and find a way to pair up Gunship or Attack Run with something that defines your universe. "Gunship: Hellfury," "Gunship:Headhunter," "Attack Run: Hellfury Squadron," "Attackrun: The Epsilon Wars," etc. etc.

4) Consider giving your diagonal text some sort of colored block beneath in order to set it apart from space. Right now, IMO, you have too much grey and black going on, and the title gets lost int he shuffle.

5) Second the call for eliminating "adventure." What you have here is tactical combat and squadron outfitting. Also consider changing the word "space..." I dunno - to me "space" just sounds dull. How about something like "Man to Man - Metal to Metal."?

BTW - Love "Escape Pod Games."
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
Thanks Keith - it is nice to know that there is another camp!

Adventure game is going away - to be replaced with
TACTICAL SPACE COMBAT GAME

More to follow!

SW
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
Perhaps having the Blue ship (is that the Gunship?) actually attacking the enemy carrier would be a great main image. After all, that's the main point of the game!

(edited for horrible grammar/spelling)
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
I can't give anything away but there is a future reason why the ships are all shiny and new right now. If I get time I may add a blaster burn here and there - noted. Let's just say that for right now, these ships are fresh off the assembly line and move onward.

The CG look is here to stay. Like I said, artwork is paid for - this is what my artist does and we love it.

I am listening to every suggestion as far as the layout and content goes but I feel that I cannot get the artwork point across any better.

I'm working on a second proof right now - will post shortly.

Thanks!

Steve

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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
strafingrungames wrote:
I can't give anything away but there is a future reason why the ships are all shiny and new right now. If I get time I may add a blaster burn here and there - noted. Let's just say that for right now, these ships are fresh off the assembly line and move onward.


Woo! secret "aftermath" Expansion! arrrh
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
Stupid work computer is not exporting my file properly so I will have to wait until tonight to post the new box version.

I added a little logo to show how long it takes to play a game (45 minutes)

I scrapped Space Combat Adventure Game and changed it to Tactical Space Combat Game

I added some Fighters getting ready to form an attack on the enemy ship.

Do not want the Gunship to be attacking the enemy ship as a separate piece of art. I want it big in the upper left corner. Pretend that he is circling around for another attack run.

I do not feel this has to be a perfect piece of art. I feel that it is good enough to get someone to pick it up, flip over to the back, look at all of the cool components and hopefully buy it.

I must say that I am a little bit shocked by the overall dislike of the artwork. I searched for months before I found this artist. I hope that this is not a general public opinion. I feel that my game offers a unique artistic style that is highly reinforced by great game mechanics and an extremely fun and customizable battle experience. I am not exactly sure what you guys want but this is the best I could find. I'm not saying this to sound like a jerk or a whiner - I am just a little frustrated by it.

This post is running a little long but I am on my way to the next one to talk about ship classes. Thanks!

SW
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
Posts are never too long!

We totally understand man, we are all seperately giving our own "what I think is perfect" view on it. To be honest, if you actually did what we all said it might make it look a mess. Remember it is your game and asking everyone "what do you think" is always hard (hence the grandes kahuna comment)

And remember we have also ONLY seen the front and back cover. So far - back cover is (after small changes) 100% success, front cover is 60% success. By success I mean that people arent commenting meaning - it is not worthy of mention in a "what don't you like" thread, and therfore, people don't dislike it, therfore people must like it! (POW Logic).

If we see all of your cards and innards and rule set and all then we may well adapt our ideas views on the artwork to reflect it.

And remember buddy, you are frustrated that we have issue with the artwork. No no no no no, we have issue with "the front cover" which, exactly as you say, as long as it gets someone to like it, pick it upt turn it over, read and buy it - it's done 100% of its job. Never mind what some up-their-arse-online-forum-wannabe-designers say (myself included )

So yeah, don't be too frsutrated friend, show us some more

p.s. I'm in Southampton (South UK) btw.

Cool.
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
OK, there has been some concern about the classes that I chose for my ships.

I am going to meet Mr. J Swack halfway on this one. I am changing the name from Cruiser (it was actually an Assault Cruiser) to Carrier. I have done so on the box already.

What it actually is is an Assault Carrier. It is not huge like a full Carrier. It holds several different combinations of Fighters, Bombers, Drop Ships and Gunships (depending on it's mission)

It is used to assault planets or fortified positions such as space stations, etc.

A typical payload would be 1 fighter squadron of 12 (plus 6 in reserve), 1 Gunship and several Drop Ships. This is the payload as featured in this game and it will change in future expansions, with some flexibility given to the player controlling it.

So you are right - not really a Cruiser and I already like the term Carrier much better. Think of it as a Tarawa-class warship from the US Navy but with a few bigger guns mounted to attack larger vessels and that is my Assault Carrier. 500 meters long FYI.

Now, on to Gunship. First off, I do not think anyone will think this is a helicopter game due to the sci-fi style and artwork. But I did my homework on this one and Gunship IS the appropriate class.

I now quote from Wookieepedia.com:

"The term gunship described a variety of vessels. The term was used for small troop deployment and attack carriers or for small capital ships. The capital ship variety was generally heavily armed for its size and built explicitly for ship-to-ship engagements, while the smaller variety generally combined infantry deployment and close combat support for ground forces."

My Gunship is 50 meters long (not QUITE capital size) and armed to the teeth with weaponry that can severely hurt capital ships. It is a multi-role vessel, capable of infinite payload combinations. It is typically used to attack larger vessels, bomb and strafe ground targets, deploy mines, ferry troops and light vehicles into combat, and many other uses. So I guess the actual naval equivalent would be sort of a PT Boat but it is much more than that.

The nature of the Gunship allows for player customization, one of the greatest features of the game. No two games will ever play out quite the same.

Well that wraps things up until I get those new pics up.

Looking forward to more of your input. I am treating you guys as harsh drill instructors who are only trying to prepare me for the war that is the game industry! I feel that if I can pass your tests the general public won't stand a chance!

SW

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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
Personally, I like the ship designs. I just wanted a little more action on the front cover.

One thing to keep in mind here is that you're asking us for our opinions, so we're critiquing the box. Your average consumer doesn't do that, at least no consciously. They just grab up boxes that look promising and read from there. And in that respect I think your box does a good job. I'd pick it up, anyway.

From there, of course, you need to have a game the customer wants and a description that lets them know what the game does. As long as the back of the box gets your intended customers to want the game, you're golden.
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
Thanks - you will see a little more action on my new version (but not a full-scale battle by any means, lol) Full-scale battles come with a hefty price tag, not that I will not spend it if it comes down to it.

OK you guys had me a little worried for a minute but I feel better now. As long as my artwork is good enough for sale, you are really gonna love the game itself.

Please keep sending your thoughts and make it hurt when needed! Thank you sir, may I have another? Who here is old enough to remember THAT line? lol

SW

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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
Hey Steve.
I think one of the reasons that people are having some issues with your ships on the cover is that they don't feel fully integrated in their environment. The blue ship for example has a motion trail inidicating motion yet none of its edges are blurred (Mmmmmm Motion blur). Also if you are using the blue streaks as engine exhaust there would be light bounce off the ship, just some of the finer details is all.

One thing I did noticed, the ships on the side of the box, the orange one doesn't match the orange one from the cover, its just the blue one with orange decals, is that intentional? Just wondering.
 
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
OK got this PC to finally export what I wanted...although the color is now a little washed out. Will have to fix that at home as these computers are used for entirely different kinds of printing.





I have made your suggested changes with the obvious exception of the game title. I think that slanting across the front of the box makes it different. Splits the area up so that I can fit the Gunship in one half and the Carrier/Fighters in the other.

It was funny to me and my boss when Cogent said that I should hire someone with graphic experience doing layouts - it just so happens that I work as a graphic designer in a sign and marketing shop! rofl

Perhaps I am just burned out on this sort of thing. Designing business cards all day drains your artistic soul...

So do you guys now like it with the exception of the title area?

Discuss.

SW
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Re: WIP Thread - GUNSHIP:ATTACK RUN! (Space Combat Adventure Game)
Warbringerd wrote:
Hey Steve.
I think one of the reasons that people are having some issues with your ships on the cover is that they don't feel fully integrated in their environment. The blue ship for example has a motion trail inidicating motion yet none of its edges are blurred (Mmmmmm Motion blur). Also if you are using the blue streaks as engine exhaust there would be light bounce off the ship, just some of the finer details is all.

One thing I did noticed, the ships on the side of the box, the orange one doesn't match the orange one from the cover, its just the blue one with orange decals, is that intentional? Just wondering.


Hi - the blue coming from the back is not engine exhaust - I just added it to give a basic impression of motion because at first the Gunship looked like it was just sort of sitting there. I was experimenting with engine exhaust way in the beginning but once you start down that road you find that you have to add it all the time in all kinds of angles. Gets to be a major headache, let me tell you. My new philosophy is to let the artwork give you a good idea of how my universe looks, let your imagination fill in the rest, and get down to the business of destroying each other. Does this make sense? If I were trying to sell posters or other art media I might invest the money and time to get things a little more perfect but the gameplay will speak for itself.

I am not 100% sure I understand your second question. If you are saying that one orange does not match another orange in a different location, that is very possible. I am having to jump through some hoops during the export process today. If you mean why are some ships orange and some blue? That is because both sides use identical ships. the colors are to differentiate the two sides. It's a civil war - elements of the same fleet now fighting one another, I have not decided if there will be other races later on but there will be all kinds of new ships in time. Other factions will appear and throw their designs and style into the mix. These are all from your typical "Imperial Fleet".

Thanks!

SW
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