The First Prototypes of E.T. Time
Updated: Jan 7
I've been working on a personal project with the working title E.T. Time!
It's a tactical ARPG inspired by XCOM, 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 in its early stages now, I want to document its iterations as the game evolves.
I recently completed the 2nd prototype for E.T. Time: a turn-based, tabletop demo.
In the 1st mission, this squad of characters is raiding Area 51, using insider intel The Ex-A.F.O.S.I. Agent provided.
At Lvl 1 none of them have any Abilities yet, but their Skill Trees are on their backs. They have 3 Energy they can use each turn to move or attack.
Each mission consists of zones, which are different arrangements of enemies and objectives on a 6 x 8 grid.
After 2 zones of taking out patrols, the squad arrives at the penultimate zone. A miniboss guards The Captain, an Extraterrestrial captive at Area 51. The player must destroy 2 generators to break out The Captain, who immediately joins the squad as a playable character when freed.
The squad must escape through a roadblock zone, and in a playtest The Ex-A.F.O.S.I. Agent and The Whistleblower were critically wounded. While recovering, they will be convinced to join The Captain's inter-galactic revolution.
Playtests have been fairly successful so far as users enjoyed the fast paced combat, but there was a lot of information to keep track of. It reaffirmed my ultimate goal of creating a digital game, where rules and stats can be automatically managed and displayed.
I'm going to continue developing paper prototypes to test mechanics, and would like to try much larger zones than 6 x 8 grids. I'm also going to test having a cover system, a line of sight system, and tiles with different environmental effects.
I started conceptually designing E.T. Time in April of 2021, and made the 1st prototype in April of 2022. This digital prototype grew out of scope incredibly quickly, and as a result it never quite felt playable. I developed abilities triggered with key presses, AI behaviors for playable characters and enemies, factions to determine who can damage who, and melee/ranged weapons.
I may come back to this Unity project, but with a much clearer focus from my paper prototype findings.
I'm excited to continue developing E.T. Time, and will provide updates here. If you're interested in playtesting it, feel free to contact me. Thank you for reading!