A game vision in the era of new realities 

Since always humans have turned their environment into playful places. With the emergence of new ubiquitous realities, players are even hungrier for personal stories that evolve from the fabrics of their immediate surroundings.

«Skylings XR» are beings living in a mystical Skytower – and they only have one goal: make the tower as high and beautiful as possible to please the gods of the starry sky above them. The Skylings and their Skytower have an eternal bond – the more Skylings live in the tower, the more beautiful and greater it becomes. Turn your environment into a playground where real objects truly matter. Skylings brings the fun and challenging puzzles and management games we know from the classics such as Settlers, Populous and Lemmings to the real world. How are surroundings turned into a game world thanks to XR technology? In «Skylings XR», the player’s surroundings are turned into the resources which act as building blocks for the Skytower. The tower becomes taller, grander and more wonderful the more players invest into the experience. Smart challenges will push the players to make real objects part of the game.


Humankind has always turned their environment into playful spaces. With Skylings AR, this is possible in an enjoyable and adorable way: your surrounding turns into the habitat of Skyling tribes. The bottom of your couch becomes a shelter for the Skylings. They turn your blue carpet into a pond to sail on and climb onto the kitchen table with ladders they brought along. You can communicate with them through your godly powers like lightening bolts. With intuitive movements and gestures, you help them achieving their goals of collecting resources that grow out of the floor and ceiling.

«Skylings XR» takes game mechanics from god games where players use godly powers (like lightning bolts and storms) to influence their followers and environment indirectly. Combined with the puzzle challenges of games where a tribe of characters reach a certain game challenge goal based on their skills. This combination of godly powers and skills of small little followers is the foundation of Skylings.

The concept includes:

  • the nuanced augmentation of gameplay elements in the real world.
  • object recognition through a XR cloud platform.
  • intuitive interaction through a headsets XR spatial and gesture detection.
  • ambiance creation through ambient sound.
  • stimulating all senses through a combined and synchronised multimedia experience

The game’s vision in the era of a new reality 

Humankind has always turned their environment into playful spaces. With the emergence of new ubiquitous mixed realities, players are hungry for personal stories that evolve from the fabrics of their immediate surroundings. In the near future of those mixed-reality games, we arrive at the point where your surroundings are becoming the building blocks of games. Within the next years, mixed-reality will be omnipresent thanks to all the recently announced headset hardware, offering the next opportunity to create unique, creative content. The platform offers a new kind of game experience and a rising market which Skylings wants to be a part of from the very beginning. Now is the time for creative games for this rising ecosystem. Now is the time to think of playful ways that are not limited to the game screen. Now is the time to incorporate the real world into the experience no matter where you are.

We believe that:

  • there is a great opportunity in the field of games with engaging game mechanics that react to the environment of the player. Skylings wants to truly incorporate the player’s surroundings.
  • there is an urgency to create games for the emerging XR platform that is only to be getting stronger and bigger by the day. 

«Skylings XR» takes game mechanics from god games where players use godly powers (like lightning bolts and storms) to influence their followers and environment indirectly. Combined with the puzzle challenges of games where a tribe of characters reach a certain game challenge goal based on their skills. This combination of godly powers and skills of small little followers is the foundation of Skylings.

The core gameplay of Skylings: Reach for the stars, little ones!

Skylings is a unique game that truly incorporates the surroundings and pushes XR hardware and its infrastructure. The core gameplay of Skylings is based on four steps. The environment around you becomes a world of resources for the Skytower. Everyday objects are transformed into specific resources for the Skytower. A plant, a coffee cup, a pen, a table – all become meaningful for the game in general and the Skytower the Skylings live in. Skylings wander around, explore the everyday objects using latters, boats and other means of transportation and hide from you in occluded areas. With this players also start moving around objects in the own environment and investigate what situations and rearranged objects could work to become part of the game to solve fun game goals – adding a unique, personal and engaging layer to the player experience. 

Gameplay Outline

STEP 1: Place your mighty Skytower – the home of your Skylings tribe

As soon as the surroundings have been scanned, the player can place the Skytower with a hand gesture. It is a beautiful, ancient tower that appears in an epic way right in your living room. The Skytower floats in front of the players who are in awe. In an AR wardroom space, the player can now customize the first dozen Skylings of the  tribe by choosing from a first set of different clothes, hairstyles and other decorative elements (more can be unlocked later). The Skytower can be styled as well and can be coloured by painting it with intuitive finger swipes. The user interface is minimal and environmental: paint jars are placed around the tower (see Fig.  4), cloths are on hangers around the Skylings that stand in front of you (see Fig. 5).

STEP 2: Let a marvelous starry Skydome appear – the home of the Skyling gods

As soon as the players have tailored the Skylings tribe and the Skytower to their likings, the game can be started. The floating Skytower casts a beam to the ceiling and reveals a beautiful firmament. Stars glow, wonderful constellations become visible – a meaningful and unique moment for the player to be shared with friends and family: «The ceiling just became the most epic starry sky I have ever seen. My living room turned into an observatory». The smartly enriched ambiance is wonderful and players will love to experience this moment again and again when they re-enter the game – especially at different times of the day and different weather situations which all influence how the Skydome looks.

STEP 3: Succeed the godly challenges – and build up your Skytower

The starry sky is the home of the gods, sending challenges to the Skylings below by turning objects in the environment into resources but by also placing challenges to reach them. Example: a magic beam from the starry sky adds palm trees to the floor. To reach the palm trees to gather coconuts and wood, the Skylings need to build boats to reach the precious resource which is placed on an island with surrounding water. Dozens of different and unique challenges will be placed by the gods with wonderful visual effects coming from the ceiling. Step 1 up to 3 consists of a game experience of about a month (daily logins and play sessions of 15 to 30 minutes). Within this timeframe the Skytower will reach its full potential.

STEP 4: Share your unique Skytower and your Skylings tribe –
and become a god of other tribes

Every Skyling tribe and every Skytower is different. Not only because the players can define a certain set of features on their own in the beginning but also because every play experience is completely unique: every living room is different, spawning different resources that define how the Skytower is built up and how the tribe evolves. The Skytower and the Skyling tribe living in it can be shared through video capturing (for instance, through Let’s Play on social media) with other players which can place what you built in their own living room (through a three words passphrase shared on social media). They can look at it and be amazed on how every tower and tribe looks different. But that’s not all. Now it’s you that becomes their god and can «troll» your friend’s tribe. How about putting a giant lizard on another Skytower which then has to be fought by the Skylings tribe of your friend? Or how a meteor shower will mess with your friend’s Skytower. If you’re a benevolent god you can of course also gift a treasure chest full of gold.

Fig. 1: A Skydome opens on the ceiling, impressing the Skylings— and player alikeFig. 1: A Skydome opens on the ceiling, impressing the Skylings— and player alike

Core Mechanics

Upgrading your Skytower

Everything you do in Skylings ultimately works towards upgrading your Skytower. This serves both as the game’s final goal (you win by building your Skytower up to the Skydome in the ceiling) and unlocks powerful abilities and technology.

Skytower upgrades are extremely resource-intensive and require the player to expand the reach of their Skylings and develop proper tools and infrastructure.

A higher Skytower boosts the player’s godly abilities, allowing them to both give their Skylings better directions and help them with miracles, such as building a bridge of light across a chasm.

Accessing and harvesting resources

Upon initial world generation, different kinds of resources are distributed across the scanned space. Each type of resource has different generation rules. Wood, for example, comes from trees that grow mostly on plain surfaces, while Cloudstone is only generated close to the ceiling, in free-floating clusters or sticking to walls. All resources are ultimately needed to proceed, but players must choose what to focus on early on, thus changing their gameplay experience and keeping things fresh.

Fig. 2: Skylings boldly going where no Skyling has gone beforeFig. 2: Skylings boldly going where no Skyling has gone before

Collecting Starshards

Once in a while, shiny Star Shards will magically drift down from the hole in the sky. They will twirl around playfully before settling somewhere in the world. It is said that Starshards have a tendency to always settle in the most difficult-to-reach places…

Starshards will vanish after a while and thus need to be quickly collected. Depending on its size, a different amount of Skylings is needed to safely transport it back to the Skytower.

This allows for a lot of interesting approaches: Will the player attempt a «hit and run» strategy, where they use their powers to get a couple of Skylings to the Shard, and then cast temporary miracles to get them back quickly? Or will they try to cover the world in a sustainable infrastructure, being able to collect Shards safely?

Developing your Skylings tribe

Your Skylings want to thrive in this new world. They can build houses to increase their numbers, bridges to cross gaps, towers to scout the surrounding area, workshops to craft tools for building, seeding and harvesting resources, and much more.

Skylings will have different tribe skills. Some tribes are better swimmers, others better climbers. Based on the chosen skills or how the player develops those tribe skills is key to have a successful play session, especially later in the game where challenges become harder. The AI powered behaviour of Skylings will make some tribes explore the doors of the room while other tribes will try to reach the top of cupboards. Thus based on your real-life room setup, smart decisions when it comes to tribe skills are key in the game.


Even if they don’t admit it: most Skylings are also avid fashionistas! The player will constantly unlock new outfit pieces for their devoted followers. 

Dealing with Dangers

Anyone can reach for the sky, but it takes a powerful god to actually reach the sky! The more a player progresses, the more dangers will appear in their world to make further progression more difficult. Little red orbs will sometimes float down from above and transform into different hazards upon landing in the world.


One orb could splash open and form a lake of lava around it, while another one could transform into a fearsome giant bear preying on unlucky Skylings.

«While You’re Away» simulation

Skylings never rest! Even while you’re offline they’re hard at work. Players can look forward to putting their XR headsets on every morning to see what’s new in the world, as Skylings will harvest resources, improve their homes, plant trees and do other little things while you’re away. No worries though – they won’t make any progress on the Skytower itself while you’re gone.

Casting miracles

Miracles are the player’s way of directly interacting with the world. Are you a god of destruction, crushing every obstacle with balls of fire? Are you a benevolent ruler, helping the Skylings thrive by blessing their crops? Or are you a spirit of creation, building bridges of light to help your followers reach new lands? It’s all up to you!

Multiplayer experiences

The core gameplay is single player where a player explores his surrounding to interact with the Skylings. The player can share their Skyling tribes through a three words secret (online, for instance on social media) where other players can include clones into their experience, opening up the possibility for the original parent player to influence the clones with their god powers. 

The same room multiplayer scenario is when a player anchors and publishes his world, for instance in an airport lobby or at the entrance of a hotel by setting an anchor. Like that, other players arriving at the location will have the opportunity to continue interacting with the same Skyling tribes, which have evolved while the previous player was absent (see «While you’re away» simulation on previous page).

Core game loop of Skylings

Fig. 3: Flow diagram of core gameplay loopFig. 3: Flow diagram of core gameplay loop

Important XR qualities of Skylings

Visual Simplicity

Skylings and their world follow the goal of visual simplicity. Selected 3D object like the characters, the resources and the tower are added to the real world naturally without hiding but enriching your reality. Where Skylings goes all the way in is with the starry skydome that turns your ceiling into a looking glass into the universe – a wonderful digital world is opened up over you and extends your real surroundings in a fascinating way. Let’s put it simple: the ceiling is the one wall you probably never look at, and because it is usually plain and empty, this allows us to go crazy with it in Skylings.

Fig. 4: visualization of painting feature to modify Skytowers: using hands, tipping fingers in the painting jars of the color of choice.Fig. 4: visualization of painting feature to modify Skytowers:
using hands, tipping fingers in the painting jars of the color of choice.

Experience Simplicity

Skylings works with intuitive real life metaphors and references when it comes to interacting with the Skyling world and the design of the UI. Skylings get new clothes from a virtual clothes rack, the Skytower is painted with paint buckets. In the basic gameplay, there is no inherent time pressure incorporated, making in an enjoyable experience with enough time to learn. Also the Skylings behave just like you would imagine little creatures exploring your home’s surroundings. Interacting with the Skylings and the Skydome is done with hand gestures. Becoming and being a god will be easy in Skylings.

Fig. 5: Interface to taylor the Skyling tribes to the player’s liking
Fig. 5: Interface to taylor the Skyling tribes to the player’s liking

Embrace Physicality

Players are free to roam the room to explore and discover details in the game world. With the lack of time pressure, players can take their time to reason and come up with ideas where Skylings might have been hidden and how to solve puzzles. No quick movements are necessary, but players can use relaxed hand gestures to interact with the world. Since we include the time of day as well as factors like weather into our Skydome the physicality of the outside world becomes part of your indoors (through realtime weather service integration). This will make the experience meaningful and driven by reality. This mix of actual indoor and virtual outdoor factors will be a delightful blend which will not only make the Skylings world more interesting but will also make the experience more immersive.

Sharing Is Caring

Sharables are a core aspect of Skylings. The Skytower and its Skyling tribe can be accessed by other befriended players to play around with- through a three word secret. You become a god of your friends’ tribes and can play around with their followers – and also their feelings. A feature we are most excited for and can’t wait to build and see how the Skylings community plays around with it.
Besides this, players can share their tribes by setting anchors in public spaces such as hotel lobbies and company cafeterias (see section «Multiplayer experiences» on page 7/8).

Engage the Senses

Sharing what Skylings tribe and Skytower you built so others can experience it as well is the ultimate proof of the digital experience being real. The Skytower, the Skylings and the resources will be perfectly added to the real world by respecting lighting, shadows, giving spatialized audio cues (yes, Skylings will call you behind real world objects when their stuck). Most importantly is the persistent world we provide with the Skylings world. Those little creatures will live their lives when you log off making you imagine what these beings are up to in your living room even without using XR hardware.

Fig. C: early concept sketch of the Skylings worldFig. C: early concept sketch of the Skylings world