All Systems Are Go: FTL Launches Today

By Adam Smith on September 14th, 2012 at 4:00 pm.

FTL is out today! At long last. I reckon there’ll be a fair few people reading this who are about to receive their first Kickstarted game and that’s quite exciting, as is FTL itself. I’ve already shared some of my thoughts on the beta version but it does seem as if I’d been drinking vinegar that day. Skimming back through my words, I don’t seem quite as enthused as I actually am about the game’s finer points. When fires rage and crew members panic from room to room, FTL is a delicious brew, random elements combining to create a heady commingling of anxiety and roleplay. It’s a new form of ARPG. Available direct from the developers, on GOG and Steam shortly.

, , , , .

88 Comments »

  1. Ovno says:

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I’ve been waiting for this for ages :)

  2. Vinraith says:

    The best place to buy is neither Steam nor GOG, but direct from the devs. That way you get both a DRM-free copy and a Steam key, so you’ve got the best of both worlds, and the devs get a larger slice of the pie.

    http://www.ftlgame.com/

    • JFS says:

      Absolutely.

    • Moraven says:

      I wonder what cut Steam still takes even if you buy from their store. I can not imagine steam does not charge a fee for each key generated.

      The other good thing buying direct is you get a Linux version.

      • Vinraith says:

        I forgot about that but yes, I was thrilled to find there was a Linux version!

      • Dominic White says:

        Actually, Steam really doesn’t charge the devs *anything*. Generally, developers are given a key generator with several thousand uses for ‘promotional purposes’. Valve consider giving existing customers a Steam key to be valid promotional purposes. And if the game sells decently, they’re granted more keys.

        It’s pretty great. Devs win, buyers win, and Valve get more positive press, so they win too.

        • Vinraith says:

          Yup, there’s no reason to charge for keys when the act of giving them away only serves to tie consumers more strongly to Valve’s sales platform.

          • Baines says:

            It is good that Steam realizes this, as some other companies wouldn’t think that far ahead.

            Thanks to the Steam key, people who buy elsewhere but use Steam will probably use the key and play the Steam version. Which means they’ll show up to their friends on Steam as playing FTL. Which means friends that see them might check out FTL on Steam, not even thinking about looking elsewhere for the title.

            And anyone truly driven to seek out a non-Steam version of the game (whether to avoid DRM, or just to give more money to the dev, or whatever) would be willing to forgo a Steam key. But giving them a Steam key does make using the Steam version more of an option. It may even pick up stragglers who haven’t yet committed to Steam, particularly if they keep seeing the games that they buy also have Steam keys.

        • Moraven says:

          Good to know. Thanks for the info.
          Good move by Valve. Great way to promote their platform and they are not being greedy about it.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Of course. Apologies.

    • Famout says:

      Good advice!

    • Dark Nexus says:

      You do get a bunch of extras for buying it on GOG (though nothing earth shattering), and frankly I like to support GOG and the devs.

      I’d buy it direct before I’d buy it through Steam, though.

      • Gnoupi says:

        Same feeling on my side. Good occasion for me to support GOG.com on the same way. Plus, some goodies.

    • Premium User Badge

      cspkg says:

      Good point. This is what I shall do once my Japanese exam is over this Wednesday. My play list that afternoon is: FTL, TF2, and then Trine 2 (in the evening, with my wife and sister). Huzzah! 頑張ってください!o(^▽^)o with apologies. This language is driving me nuts.

    • Premium User Badge

      wyrmsine says:

      Exactly what I wanted to find out – Steam’s fine and all, but if I can go to the devs direct, so much the better. Thanks, Vinraith.

    • Premium User Badge

      AlwaysRight says:

      Just bought now!

      Thanks for the advice, the devs thoroughly deserve every penny (I assume, I obviously haven’t played it yet).

      Edit: I’ve played it for four hours now and can confirm that the devs do indeed deserve everything (I’m currently mailing them my girlfriend and dog)

    • iniudan says:

      Thank for the link, bought from them directly, since it was humble store, so will be added to my long list of DRM free and Linux compatible game I got from all the humble bundle. =p The steam activation is just extra icing. =p

  3. Freud says:

    Intriguing idea.
    Have too many games to play.
    PC gaming is dead.

    • sinister agent says:

      Daubed on the wall behind it: GLUTTONY.

    • bfandreas says:

      You know PC gaming is dead when TotalBiscuit goes “squeeee” over a game.
      Turns out the indies have fixed the hole in the Titanic and fitted thrusters to the thing. Southampton to Antares in 1.2 imperial days.
      So much for doom and gloom I suppose.
      Successful Kickstarter, too. Oh woe is us!

  4. Moraven says:

    Been playing lots since they gave beta to low tier backers. So much fun. Still have not beat it on easy and think I have made it to the last sector twice only. I adapt based on what crew and weapons I end up with and try new setups along with being stubborn and not trying to run when I should.

    • Premium User Badge

      AmateurScience says:

      It is rock hard. I love it. It hates me.

    • jalf says:

      I finished it on Easy just a few days ago! That felt great!

      In the stealth ship, even, which always felt kind of underpowered (you’re dead if you come up against anyone with a beam laser)

      So yay!

    • Daedalus207 says:

      I’m in the same boat – played it quite a lot on Easy and have only gotten to the last sector once, and then died shortly thereafter. I find the hardest part is when I’m boarded, I’m not sure the hand-to-hand combat is as balanced as the rest of the game, as even a puny human can beat the stuffing out of my giant rockmen crew.

      • Jorum says:

        Yes it can be hardest part.
        There are specific things to help, such as anti-personnel droids, or that upgrade that heals crew anywhere on ship, but are not often available.

        One other tactic is to invest in fully upgraded doors which will slow invaders down a lot, then flush oxygen from section of ship invader is in. After a few seconds the lack of oxygen will damage them quickly.

        • jalf says:

          Yeah, I find boarders relatively easy to repel.

          Vent rooms to damage attackers and to funnel them towards the room where you want to fight them.
          Upgrade your doors (just once makes a big difference) to slow them down (a lot), giving your venting action time to kill them or hurt them really badly.

          And if necessary, retreat into the medbay, and fight them there.

          They don’t like to stay in depressurized rooms, so vent the rest of the ship, and they’ll come to you without stopping to destroy rooms. along the way.

          My main problem with boarders isn’t so much the risk they pose by themselves, but that they make it hard to effectively fight the ship they came from.

  5. InternetBatman says:

    I’m really excited about this. Wouldn’t be surprised if it made it into the next Humble Bundle.

  6. Verio says:

    This was in fact my first successful kickstarter, and I’ve been playing for the last week. Absolutely awesome, and I’m amazed they released at 9.99 and not 14.99. Absolutely worth it.

    • cptgone says:

      only very, very rarely do i pay over €5 for a game.
      but this one sounds like so much fun, i couldn’t resist. smart pricing AFAIC!

  7. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    Go and buy it, it’s rather wonderful. That is all.

  8. Premium User Badge

    JiminyJickers says:

    Grabbed it earlier from the devs and been playing it for about 4 hours. Good fun so far.

    • Jesse L says:

      Does anyone who’s played it have any criticisms? I love hearing all this unrestrained support, I just want to know if there’s any downsides those of us waiting in the wings to buy should consider.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        FTL boils down to a series of random events. Every time you play it’s different and completely random.

        If you like that sort of thing, great. Personally, I thought it was dull and unsatisfying and a bit frustrating. The combat system is brilliant, though. I just wish there was a different kind of game built around it.

        It’s a good game! But not one I’m likely to spend more than a few hours with.

        • adammtlx says:

          “Personally, I thought it was dull and unsatisfying and a bit frustrating.”

          How can a random system that presents new challenges every playthrough be all of those things? Frustrating, okay, I can see that. But dull? And why unsatisfying? I would think fighting the same stuff over and over would be dull and unsatisfying…

      • Jorum says:

        to be honest can’t think of anything in particular.

        I mean individual fights can be unpredictably hard sometimes due to the semi-random enemy generation, and chance can play a big part (such as finding a brilliant piece of equipment or new crew member, or whole string of shops having stuff you don’t need), but that is it’s roguelike nature and is a strength really.

      • JamesPatton says:

        I’ve been playing for about six hours or so, and although it is wonderfully complex I kind of wish it were more complex – more systems, more encounters, some way to overload or supercharge your systems at the cost of integrity, that kind of thing.

        I also wish it had a longer-form game mode where you’d expect your ship and crew to last for a much longer time. Actually, I’ve been playing a game called Smugglers 4 which does just this: it takes place in a persistent single-player universe, you start with a small ship and little money, and take on missions and trade to get more money and bigger ships. It’s great fun and, since you can play a single character for a week or so before they die, it’s pretty engaging – but the combat is terribly boring. So I wish there were a game which had Smugglers’ persistent world, but FTL’s brilliant combat.

        But to be fair, this is all because FTL as it stands is so brilliant. I want other games to be built into it because it’s such an excellent foundation.

        If you’re still not sure, maybe go on youtube and look up some videos of people playing it? It’s not quite a demo but you’d be able to see the game in action.

        • Jesse L says:

          Oh, I’ve read all the previews and watched a video or two. The impressions I want on games are those from people with several hours of experience – stuff you notice only as the experience aggregates. Like you said about the complexity and length. ‘What do you begin to long for after about four hours?’ Thanks.

      • pepper says:

        The video’s on this page: http://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialNerdCubed/videos

        Sold it for me, I’ll probably pick it up somewhere after the weekend.

      • explodeydendron says:

        My only criticism is a lack of diversity in the text. While the gameplay is solid, every jump is another pirate attacking a civilian ship, or a scout ship, etc. I think it needs a hundred more explanations for these events, even if they are the same battle.

  9. electron105 says:

    Done and bought!

  10. Kucd says:

    This is one of my favorite games of this year. Who could have said such a game that looks simple could hide one of the most fun and deep gaming experiences of the year?

    • Premium User Badge

      Jubaal says:

      Yeah I agree with you. It is a lovely little gem.

      I just completed it on Normal and it was pretty tough. It’s a shame that you can’t keep on playing after you “finish” it. I don’t think it would have been too difficult to add in the ability to continue to play in an infinite random universe. I miss my crew of that engi ship :(

  11. Lemming says:

    Between this and Black Mesa out today, my girlfriend is going to be very lonely this evening.

  12. Asokn says:

    Does anyone know if this would run on a Samsung nc10 netbook? It doesn’t seem too system intensive so I think it may be just the thing for me.

    • Jhoosier says:

      It stutters a bit on my Aspire 722, but I was able to start up a game and win my first battle. It was a little sluggish, however. I’d recommend checking the hardware, as well as the company’s forums to see if anyone with your netbook has run it.

  13. Choca says:

    The rather excellent soundtrack can also be bought for a mere 5$ here : http://benprunty.bandcamp.com/album/ftl

  14. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    Insanely Steam wont let you preorder/preload! What if I get distracted and forget to buy it in 2 hours?

    • Premium User Badge

      AmateurScience says:

      Buy direct, they’ll send you a steam key AND the means to add it to your GoG account (if you have one). And I believe you can play now too.

      Edit: just checked the kickstarter mailshot and confirmed: you can buy it right now from the devs. Go! Go! It’s really good!

      Edit Edit: GoG version only available to kickstarter backers and people who buy it from gog.

      • Premium User Badge

        BubuIIC says:

        Are you sure you get a GOG key if you buy it now? I’ve heard you only got one if you backed it on kickstarter. Can someone clarify this?

    • ScottTFrazer says:

      Buy direct from the dev, get steam key, apply steam key. Play before it’s released officially.

      I did this with the mac version, btw.

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      Those 300MB will be a strain on Valve’s servers.

  15. stele says:

    Hopefully it goes better than the Black Mesa release.

  16. Odexios says:

    Why do so many developers lately forget about the existance of netbooks with a resolution _under_ 1280×720? Sigh. I’ll have to wait to get home to try it.

    • jalf says:

      This is 2012, you can get smartphones with better resolution.

      As annoying it is for you, I honestly can’t blame developers for not catering for that. If you buy any kind of PC with that resolution, I can’t blame developers for assuming that “there’s no way you’re going to even try to run games on that thing”

      • sinister agent says:

        I can. Just because people will spend tonnes of money on a phone, doesn’t mean everyone can or will pay for a decent PC. If your game can run on a PC, it’ll only ever help you to make it playable on as many PCs as possible.

      • Bonedwarf says:

        Yeah, because NO indie games support lower resolutions… He said looking at the vast collection he has on his 1024×600 netbook.

        There’s no excuse. If AAA titles support resolutions down to 800×600 (sometimes even the venerable 640×480) there’s no excuse for indie titles not to other than laziness. An active decision to basically say “Screw anyone below this resolution”.

        It’s amusing really given that you’d think they’d want to maximize every inch of the market.

        Nowt so queer as folk.

        • dontnormally says:

          I, for one, am happy that the resolution support stops where it does, because it was designed-for and fits-well-in the resolutions it does support.

    • whydidyoumakemeregister says:

      Web designers don’t seem to give too much of a shit about 1280×720 anymore either. Everything seems like huge images and enormous text and horizontal navigation menus that cover up half the page when you scroll down. Even RPS is wasting 25px just to say the incredibly useful “Rock Paper Shotgun: a glorified blog”.

    • fauxC says:

      Well I’ve been looking forward to this for ages, but just learned the hard way that it doesn’t support 1024*768. Seems pretty negligent on the devs part to me, but then I’ve no idea how much extra work it would take to make it function on smaller screens.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      You can use “resolution scaling” (from your GPU settings) AFAIK and full screen mode. Should work for you!

  17. Premium User Badge

    cspkg says:

    Altogether now: Gaming Diary! Gaming Diary! Gaming Diary!

    • Choca says:

      This would make for a great diary yeah. I’ve only been playing for a few weeks and already have lived more epic story in FTL than in most games.

      The day my whole crew died after an epic victory because they simply could not fix the doors fast enough to close the airlocks venting all our oxygen into space was horrible and great at the same time.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Someone poke the Hive Mind for a Wot I Think on this.

    Bought it anyway, but I want to know Wot They Think.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Oh it’s a little delight, is what it is. It is the game equivalent of Battlestar Galactica – staggering from fight to fight, trying to patch up the damage, dealing with unexpected events and dramas. From the time when I had to knowingly march a crewman to his death to patch a hull breach in the destroyed oxygen room just enough for my star repairman to fix it, to my rockman stamping through a flaming control room to beat the oxygen generator back into shape while missiles rained down on him, to the time my ship drifted through space, emergency beacon blaring, hoping someone friendly stopped by with some spare fuel before the rebel fleet found me… My dream-team engineer and pilot dodged so much incoming fire that the ship made it through a fight starting and finishing on one hull point. A boarding party exterminated my crew until I had one man holed up in the oxygen room, the entire rest of the ship vented to vacuum to kill the boarders, hoping the door lasted long enough for the invaders to suffocate… This is a game of MOMENTS.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Malkara says:

    They actually sent out keys to everyone who’d kickstarted at the “buy the game” (but not the beta) price a week or two ago. And of course, the beta’s been going on for three months. Fantastic game.

  20. GernauMorat says:

    This is excellent, and I don’t even like roguelikes. The soundtrack is great as well.

  21. mckertis says:

    During development, i specifically asked those guys to implement absolute mouse coordinates instead of relative. And i got a reply that they will look into it. I mean, it literally takes 4 lines in any engine i’ve ever dealt with, how hard could it be for them ??? Especially since it’s not a 1st person game and there isnt even a single rotatable camera of any kind. But no, its entirely relative coordinates. Lazy bastards.

  22. MistyMike says:

    I wish for a game with similar mechanics but set in the period of early twenty century battleships.

  23. Lone Gunman says:

    FTL is so full of win!

  24. Lone Gunman says:

    FTP is so full of win!

  25. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    Took about 7-8 hours to beat the game but I’m sure I’ll be spending more time with it thanks to the different ship designs.

    Highly recommended, it’s a challenging and fun game.

  26. Jorum says:

    Been playing the beta all week and is just honestly great.
    It hits all the rogue-like strengths.

    Randomization, a series of overlapping risk-reward mechanics and decisions, and that bit where you feel totally invincible bad-ass just before it kills you.

  27. Moraven says:

    Using two mantis as boarders with the healing missile is great.

    Now to get 4 mantis one game and upgrade the teleporter to level 3.

    • skyorrichegg says:

      slight spoiler… but there are two ship layouts that have teleporters that can beam 4 crew at once… it’s very satisfying

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Not got them yet. So I send 2 Mantis, charge up another teleport and send another 2! :D

  28. allancepellet says:

    It seems the game is connected with high tech. Great idea.
    wood pellet mill

  29. JackMultiple says:

    I’ve been playing games a long time (mid-70s), and thought I’d seen/heard it all. But I don’t recall ever hearing the phrase “rogue-like” before. After buying and playing FTL awhile today, soon as I clicked the JUMP button, that map screen instantly reminded me of “Strange Adventures in Infinite Space”. And then it dawned on me that the two games have a number of things in common, except SAIS has a more arcade-like combat system.

    So would you categorize SAIS as a rogue-like game? I Wiki’d the phrase and it seemed like a pretty broad/shallow description: dungeon-crawl; randomized game worlds; permanent death. I like the tactical combat of FTL quite a bit, but I don’t have any frame of reference for the “rogue-like” aspects beyond Mr. Wiki’s Shallow Ride. I just don’t think I’ve ever played a game like either of these two games before. Maybe I just grew up in the wrong neighborhood.

    • Lone Gunman says:

      Try Spulunky. It is free and is what got me into rogue-likes

  30. GSGregory says:

    This game sounded awesome.. and I was sadly disappointed by the massive amount of dice rolls in the game.

    Things like the distress calls or anything that gives you a option seem to always be weighted against you and seem just plain dumb… blabla bla not all came back you get nothing and lose.. wait I sent people down, 1 died and they did what they were supposed to and I lose both crew and reward..

    Anytime I did get far or lucky the game seemed to always throw a massive ship with 3 shields and 4 weapons+ drones at me that before I can even slow it down it kills me.

    Game of luck is not enjoyable in the least.

    • TCM says:

      It requires the ability to evaluate whether taking the risk is worth the potential reward without having an exact idea of what the outcome will be.

      In other words, this is a game that requires use of common sense, as opposed to number crunching. If it WASN’T as random as it was, there’d be little reason to replay, since the result would be deterministic and ‘solvable’.

      Rogue-type games (games which are like Rogue without following the Rogue model, just made it up) are about making do with what you have, and understanding when to hold them and when to fold them. Not about being able to always pick the right choice from rote memorization.

      Also, if you see a ship that totally outguns you, sometimes the best option is to max out the shields and engines and just get out of there. Better to lose 1 fuel and potential rewards than the game.

      • GSGregory says:

        Everything in this game is playing the lotto, your move choice could be anything, your combat enemy, item drops, chance to get crew, stores, or whatever else.

        Only thing a player really has a control over is battle except when the game decides to go haha nope, game over for you cause i felt like it.

        If you don’t get what happens when you face an enemy that is 10x stronger or more that A has wiped out all of my shields in the first attack, half of everything else and makes it so I cannot fight back or retreat. Anytime I got past the 4th sector this was my first enemy, every time.

        Most actions seem to be weighted against you and the rest are just pure luck. There is no skill involved all I have to do is play x many of times till it gives me the right outcome.

        Player choice hardly matters… 80% of the time choosing to do something is harmful or the benefits are so stupidly low it had no point.

        This is hardly a game and more a repeatable rng with clicking.

        At least give me the semblance that what I do matters in the game.

        In the end this game is disappointing and I will not be recommending it to anyone.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          You can choose “don’t go to the planet” or “don’t engage the ship”. It’s actually telling you NOT to play the lotto. You only play those options when you can afford the 50/50 chances of loss/gain. Once you realise that, you can avoid most of the “lotto” options and go straight to the “guarantee” ones.

          As a slight spoiler, skip all the dangerous options in the first sector or two, buy some crew/teleporters/upgrades and you get BLUE options to choose from. These are guaranteed good results.

          Else use the upgrades that give you 90% chance of winning a battle. Like shields/quick draw weapons.

    • discordance says:

      Having died over 40 times already. This is a game of poker, theres some skill involved but you are dependant on getting good cards to start with. Most of the time the game will just kill you and theres nothing you could have done. I think this is most evident in the different ship types. Kestrel-A sucks and I struggle to get anywhere with it. Kestrel-B I’ve done 3 runs and got to sector 5-7 each time. Engi-A I made it to sector 8 first time although my ship was weak as hell and in no shape for a fight. Kestrel-B is a straight upgrade over the A loadout and you are less dependant on getting lucky with encounters and shops.

      Oftentimes this game will give you nothing, you can keep moving forward but eventually you’ll reach an unwinnable fight that no amount of skill or knowledge can overcome, your lack of luck finding weapons means you can’t punch through level 3 shielding. Ultimately this game has more in common with gambling and being a good gambler than playing and being a good player. Theres a great deal of potential in this game but in its current state its utterly shallow, luck-driven and imbalanced. Still fun but I feel like I’m getting a gambling addiction playing it, and i’m bad at gambling.

      With an expansion or sequel with much more depth, content available to the generator, balance work done, and some stripping of luck from the metagame of getting enough guns by the end this game will be incredible.

  31. sbs says:

    Man, I am i IN LOVE with this game!