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  • keananpucci

New Prototypes of E.T. Time

I've completed a new set of prototypes for my indie project with the working title E.T. Time!

It's a tactical ARPG inspired by XCOM, Into the Breach, FTL, Unacknowledged, and The Heist 2. You control squads to infiltrate corrupt governments, defend Earth from an Extraterrestrial Empire, and fight across galaxies in an inter-galactic war.

While it's still in its early stages now, I want to document its iterations as the game evolves.

I recently completed the 3nd prototype for E.T. Time: a turn-based, tabletop demo.

During the 1st mission, this squad of characters is raiding Area 51. The 3 characters on the left infiltrated the base using insider intel The Ex-A.F.O.S.I. Agent provided. While there, they broke out The Captain, who immediately joins the squad as a playable character when freed.

They have 3 Energy they can use each turn to move, attack, or use abilities.

Each mission consists of zones, which are different arrangements of enemies and objectives on a 9 x 13 grid.

In this zone, the squad must escape through a roadblock being guarded by 3 soldiers, 2 snipers, and 1 general.

After the player finishes this mission, The Captain will convince their rescuers to join the inter-galactic revolution.

Playtests showed that the larger grid size didn't affect the fast paced combat, but it did allow me to implement more complicated level design. I'm thinking this is why I observed playtesters using a wider variety of strategies. There was still a lot of information for playtesters to keep track of, which reaffirmed my ultimate goal of creating a digital game. With digital UI/UX, rules and stats can be automatically managed and displayed.

However, paper prototypes are still proving helpful in testing mechanics and level design. Testing out the line of sight system made combat more dynamic, and I still think the next thing I'll try is tiles with different environmental effects. I might try a cover system like XCOM's, but I'm hesitant to introduce an accuracy mechanic.

I've been working on a new digital prototype of E.T. Time, as well. The abilities, AI behaviors, factions, and melee/ranged weapons from my previous prototype were a good foundation, but I found almost all of these in a Unity Asset Pack TopDown Engine. My new prototype based on this pack is still a WIP, but it already feels much closer to testing the vision of a hybrid turn-based/action game.

I'm excited to continue developing E.T. Time, and provide updates here. If you're interested in playtesting it, feel free to contact me. Thank you for reading!

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