FTL: The Fatal Frontier, Sector 1

By Alec Meer on September 19th, 2012 at 4:00 pm.

FTL: Faster Than Light is the spaceship management/roguelike hybrid that everyone in the world is playing right now, living and reliving endless numbers of doomed space crusades, disastrous journeys and euphoric tales. There are eight million stories in the naked universe. This will be just one of them.

These are the voyages of the starship Moggy, crewed by a brave band of humans and aliens named after cats that I have known. This was an egregious mistake, as seeing my childhood pets burned, asphyxiated and lasered to death almost immediately proved traumatic. Still, we exist not merely within a universe, but a multiverse. One crew of feline-named space travellers might meet their tragic doom, but perhaps, in a parallel existence, another band of desperate starfarers might just have succeeded… (Of course they didn’t. This is FTL. But the multiverse does at least allow for the story to be told anew).

Jump 1

Ripley, to the cockpit! Tacky*, to the engineroom! Bonz, you’re on shields!

We’re in an Engi ship, a squareish hulk that lacks any raw firepower but does carry a shield-bypassing Ion Blast that causes no damage but can temporarily deactivate an enemy system, (hopefully) leaving my expendable attack auto-drone to dish out the real damage. It’s a complicated and risky system, sacrificing fine control but it does leave me able to disable enemy shields and a little more freed up to manage my crew and any emergencies on my ship.

OK team, you ready for this? It’s a long haul across unfriendly space to the welcoming territories of the Federation, to which we must deliver vital information, and we’ll be harassed by murderous rebels, sinister aliens, solar flares and meteor storms all the way. But we can do it, right? Right? Don’t answer that. Just… Jump.

Jump 2

Jump straight into the waiting lasers of a Rebel Auto-Assault ship. Typical. Still, it was always going to happen, there was no point in building up a false sense of confidence. Let slip the dogs of poorly-armed war.

Oh.

Oh no.

Immediate, devastating disaster. Something in this system we’ve jumped to has deactivated half of our engine power. I can’t turn on the Ion Blast or release a drone. I’m dead in the water. Unless… grimly, I turn off all power to engines and the medbay. It leaves us unable to evade enemy attack and unable to heal injured crew, but it frees up just enough in the tank to power a drone. I pray to all the gods I don’t believe in. Jesus, Allah, Odin, Ganesh, help me.

It’s no good. The drone can take down the enemy’s shield with a single shot, but by the time my little auto-bot’s reloaded it’s weapon, the shield’s back up. I can cause any hull damage. I need my Ion Blast in the fight too. There’s no way. Well, there’s one way. But it’s suicide.

Shields off. Air supply off. Ion Blast on. Enemy shield generator disable, but only for a couple of seconds. A couple of seconds in which our fate hangs in desperate balance. I can’t tell the drone which enemy system to target, even though I desperately need it to let loose a few rounds at the shield so it stays down for longer, so I can turn off my Ion Blast and turn life support back on while the drone then whittles away at the enemy hull. Little drone, hear my call. Hear my fear.

Do you know what that bright red ‘S’ means?

It means a miracle.

Another miracle follows, as the drone’s next shot takes out the enemy’s weapons. I’m actually coming back from this – I’d honestly believed that by now I’d be a smouldering wreck, humiliatingly disintegrating a pitiful single jump from where I began. So long as the enemy doesn’t manage to repair its shields in a hurry, my drone should destroy the rest of its hulls within three more shots. This will take around 15 seconds. This will take a lifetime. I closed my eyes, and in a state of tension so high I felt physical pain, I waited.

When I opened my eyes again, it was all over.

Jump 3

It’s hard enough to believe we’re alive, let alone that we’re alive with no hull damage and no crew lost. Oxygen levels are down at 20% but recharging fast, and I’m carry a little extra fuel and scrap from the downed Rebel. There’s not enough to upgrade my ship, but hell, we’re alive. That’s the greatest post-battle loot of all. Now, let’s get out of this energy-sapping hellhole.

We leap to the next system, where we find… Oh God, what will we find? We found nothing. I breathe heavily, in heartfelt relief. Then I grunt in annoyance. No enemies means no danger, but it also means no loot – no fuel, no scrap, no drone parts. Coming here, at the expense of precious fuel, means I have less, not more, and that could prove deadly. Nothing to be done though. Hit the button, navigator Ripley.

Jump 4

A Rebel Cruiser is waiting for us. Seemed to know we were coming, even, as our engine is 50% disabled upon arrival. That I can deal with, though – it hampers evasive manoeuvres, but at least both Ion Blast and drone are in the game, and without having to turn off the stuff that keeps us alive to do it. This time, the universe is on my side.

Oh no it bloody isn’t. The enemy beams one of its crew aboard my ship, where it immediately starts trashing our oxygen supply. Oi, you sods, we need that stuff to breathe.

Engineer Tacky, you’re up: you might be happiest with a spanner, but unlike the rest of my crew you’re a human, which means you hit harder than the Engi raider they’ve sent over.

The oxygen’s out before Tacky’s even reached the invader, but maybe, just maybe there’s enough time for me to employ my traditional combat tactic – Ion Blast the enemy shield, let the drone do the rest – before my catfolk asphyxiate. Nervously, I send Bonz to the oxygen supply room too, as being an Engi herself she can fix the damage faster than Tacky can once the fight’s over. This means there’s no one to fix my shields or engine if they take a hit, though. I toy with sending RIpley over to shields, but decide it’s better to keep her at the helm, so at least I can jump out of here if things get really desperate.

The crew excel themselves. Tacky emerges victorious from the fight just as Bonz arrives to start fixing the air supply, while my drone makes short work of the enemy shield, guns and engine respectively. The onboard air’s gone down to dangerous levels but Bonz is on the case. We’ve taken some minor hull damage, but otherwise all is well. I send Tacky to get healed up in sickbay while I pick through the Rebel debris. I’ve got just enough scrap for one upgrade. Shields? Scanners that will let me observe the movements of enemy crew? Nah: remembering our near-disastrous first fight, I add a little capacity to the reactor, creating a little more spare juice in the tank.

Jump 5

Which was probably a mistake, given I’m one jump from a Store, which might have sold me all manner of vital goodies. So instead, I gamble on investigating a nearby distress beacon. In the best of all possible worlds, it’ll be lost souls who shower us with fuel, scrap, parts and crew members. This is not the best of all possible worlds. Far, far, far from it. So I brace my self for

Oh. No it isn’t. Maybe I should stop being such a pessimist. We’re hailed by friendly a space station in the middle of an asteroid field, suffering from a broken targeting system so they can’t laser away any hurtling spacerocks that get too close. Bless ‘em, they’re even in even more dire straits than I am. It’d be rude not to lend a hand.

I send in my Engi crew to fix their systems, and they reward me with a frankly pitiful amount of resources. Ah well, every little helps. Let’s get out of here.

Jump 6

Oh Christ, not another Rebel ship. Wait, this one’s friendly. Ish. It’s a black market trader, offering us weapons we can’t afford. We could flee, or… Well, it is technically our enemy. I hate to be all pre-revision Han vs Greedo here, but I really, really need some scrap to spend on upgrades. Crew, it’s battle stations again. This’ll be a cakewalk.

Oof. No it won’t I should have been even more like Han:

I got cocky. Now we’ve taken 50% hull damage, and engines, shields and door control all need emergency fixing. Plus the black market ship dropped peanuts. This was a huge mistake on my part. If this crew had any sense in their heads, they’d mutiny. Instead, they just mutely get on with repairing the damage. The Hull can’t be fixed unless I find a store, but the only store I know of is now surrounded by the vast Rebel fleet that forever pursue me.

Onwards, then. It’s the only way.

Jump 7

Exhausted and bruised, still repairing damage, we find ourselves at the exit point from this system. Strange new worlds await. I’m no galactic explorer, mind – there’s a more pressing reason to forge ahead into the unknown. The indefatigable Rebel fleet is only three jumps behind us at this point, so I should press on, to whatever lies on the other side of this jump. Grimly, I look back, back to where I can no longer go, because it’s swathed in the blood red that means the Rebels have occupied it, or will do within moments. So many unexplored jumps, so many possible sources of supplies and even new crew members. I’ve made it this far, but I have nothing to show for it other than gaping holes in my hull and a minute upgrade to my reactor. Fuel is waning. The enemies ahead will be tougher. This is a fool’s crusade.

Then again, everyone’s still alive. That, really, was always the best case scenario. Two, three lucky jumps could change everything. Make it so.

To be continued!

*Blame my Dad for that name. God only knows what he was thinking.

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131 Comments »

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  1. Uglycat says:

    I’m loving FTL, but I find the random perma-deaths a tad annoying. I don’t mind being killed, but the chance nature of the loot really does have a massive impact.

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      Yeah — I really feel like you need good fortune in loot and store stock more than you need skill to defeat the final boss, which detracts from the experience somewhat.

      • Jesse L says:

        The difficulty jump between the regular game and the end seemed pretty huge. I had a great run, by far the best yet, just recently – did as much as exploring as possible, got lucky with lots of scrap and easy fights – and got destroyed at the end. I’m sure I didn’t come across the right weapons and drones for the final challenges. After that, my need to play dissolved. Probably, with more experience, I could have arranged my purchases better, and had a shot at winning. I’m not going to gain that experience, though.

        • DuddBudda says:

          sector eight has dealt with many people like that.
          there are a couple basic requirements for tackling the last boss

          I stuck with ftl after it stopped being fun because some of the unlockable ships are reputedly very different to play.
          unfortunately, after a half-dozen victorious runs, I haven’t been lucky enough to get any quest that would unlock a zoltan or slug or mantis ship; I’m tired of the random seeds
          my last run, in a stealth ship, failed because I didn’t see a store between the end of sector two and sector six
          no shields and no store to repair at means the hull’s gonna give up sooner or later
          haven’t played since

          • Lone Gunman says:

            The Zoltan ship is rather good. Extra shields that protect you from both lasers and missiles and three Zoltans form the get go.

          • mouton says:

            Stealth Ship is probably the hardest to play, really, as cloak recharges way too slowly to be a substitute for shields.

          • susanna1415 says:

            Yeah, I know. Hell freezing over and all that. Can we at least get a sequel or an expansion pack?

            http://kotaku.com/5932340/a-whole-new-way-to-play-video-games-standing-up

          • sinister agent says:

            I find the Zoltan ship a bloody nightmare, because of all the tedious and illogical micromanagement you have to do to keep everything powered up. On my last run, I couldn’t use half my weapons because every time someone entered the room, they gave power to the first weapon in the list, which meant there wasn’t enough to power that, but there wasn’t enough room left in the weapon system to power my next gun either. I had to have half my crew running back and forth between every shot, and eventually everyone suffocated when walking through the life support room deactivated it without warning. Bloody irritating.

        • Roshin says:

          Yes, I’m not sure how I should deal with the final boss. I’ve had one almost perfect run. A full crew, good weapons, most systems fully upgraded, and I got crushed fairly quickly. I like the game and it has a lot of potential, but it gets annoying at times.

          • Synesthesia says:

            The weapons of the final ship are cut off from the crew, they cant be repaired. Every instance of the final fight, focus first on that 3 burst-firing missile weapon, itll make your shields useful again. Then, focus on whatever else is bothering you. Teleport a fire bomb into their shield generator, if you have one. Kill their other weapons. Or, just warp away, repair in a node, and get back in the fight!

          • sinister agent says:

            The teleporter is indispensible for the final boss. It allows you to take out the monster cannons it has (at no risk, too), and boarding parties are your best bet for killing the crew.

      • kikito says:

        If the map had only two jumps, perhaps.

        But there’s lots of choices that you have to make. Learn them. That way, you create your own fortune.

        And if you die, you can start again. This game is not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

    • westyfield says:

      Agreed. I’m not cut out for roguelikes, every time something I get randomly punished it pisses me right off. Had an amazing ship, fully tooled up for the boss fight. Jumped in to attack and had half my crew members insta-gibbed by one of those bastard teleporting bombs. I couldn’t keep up repairs and fight at the same time so I got slaughtered within seconds. Haven’t had the patience to return.

    • Lemming says:

      zig-zag across the sectors, don’t rush to the exit, and you can use your starting laser for most fights in the first two sectors without wasting missiles. Save your scrap as much as you can, upgrade shields as a priority. That should see you through baring some horrendous luck.

      • simoroth says:

        This. Also take the Engi ship as it heals your crew automatically. Defensive drone mark 2 is a life saver, as are the repair drones.

        I completed it last night and immediately uninstalled. http://twitpic.com/aw3exy

        • Lemming says:

          Completed, completed? As in you found all the ships?

          • Jehuty says:

            I think his pic implies that completed means beat the boss. Can’t say I blame him, I’m a bit miffed about the ship unlocks myself. I would love to try some different styles of play, because FTL did become somewhat repetitive fairly quickly. Sadly, I’m not sure I have the patience to play through over and over when I can’t ensure I’ll even visit the right sector, let alone pick the ship-giving quest as a jump point, or that I’ll have the necessary crew composition and equipment required for the quest. Too many hoops to jump through, with too little control.

      • SexualHarassmentPanda says:

        I beat it last night after stretching out my time in each sector. That seems to be key to securing enough scrap to beat the last three fights. For those wondering, I beating it with the Red-Tail using an Ion Blaster, the 3 level 1 starting lasers, and a level 1 assualt drone so finding weaponry isn’t entirely key, but getting enough scrap to dump into ship upgrades seems pretty damn important.

    • dontnormally says:

      1. Always play on Easy. Unless you are a sick, sick masochist.
      2. Dodge is way more important than shields. Get cloak, upgrade engines.
      3. Upgrade minor systems around sector 3 (doors, cockpit, sensors) for a number of reasons (boarders, if it gets hit you don’t lose all dodge %, so you can plan better).
      4. Increase your crew size regularly, and always have a few combatants (Rockmen or Mantis).
      5. Weapons that bypass and/or disable shields become increasingly important (missiles / bombs / ion). You will need these with a combination of damage weapons/drones for use only once shields are down.

      • Premium User Badge

        Carra says:

        Easy mode is for sissies, I haven’t touched it yet. Still, took me 10 hours to defeat the end boss on normal mode.

        Some more tips:
        -Boarded? Get your crew to the medic room and open all other oxygen doors.
        -Be sure your shield count keeps up with your enemies. I’d say shields are a lot more important than dodge. The less damage you take, the more scrap you have to upgrade your ship.
        -Have enough fire power!
        -For the engi ship, the drone recovery system is very nice.
        -Try, try again, try again…

      • Lemming says:

        Dont underestimate humans as combatants. They are great allrounders. if you keep the same guys in the same rooms on your ship, then when you are boarding rotate them in combat from the medibay, its not long before you’ve got some bad ass fighting humans that are also experts in their ship fields.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      You need to have a plan from the beginning (which means your first run likely won’t go great). My first run I ended up with no way to take down the enemy shields fast enough in the final battle.

      Second run I didn’t have a way to deal with all the drones. Now I know better and you need to save money to pick up choice pieces of equipment along the way. A lot of different load-outs will work, but you have to have a plan. You will still die frequently, because if you are playing smart you are optimizing and playing right on the edge. Saving scrap for things you don’t have and limping by with less power than you could otherwise have. But the game is quick and fun. You can do a whole campaign in maybe 2 hours, so a failure after 30 or 90 minutes is no huge tragedy, like in would be in a game that lasts 20 hours.

      Experiment. It seems to me the people who don’t like it are commonly the people who were expecting something else, or are addicted to the current climate of easy games where everything you try pays off.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      The game is a randomness based dick, and it bothers me deeply that there is a whole crowd of “but that’s roguelikes, dude” apologists that basically say deal with it or leave, because I have the feeling that a less “you have 30 turns,then you’re either souped up or dead” game would be far more enjoyable.

      Something like Dungeons of Dredmore feels far more right to me, where I can actually determine pace, level up and equip gently and not constantly be confronted with a “HAHA yea baby you know I’m a dick, that’s why you keep coming back” opposite.

      This article is longer and more enjoyable than a whole row of attempts to like FTL.
      If even with good decisions, management and skill it still feels like playing roulette, its not a good way of instilling a sense of player agency or worthwhile investment.
      While the trick is not to just hand out free treats to give a sense of achievement, giving a sense of pointlessness is the other extreme, and this guy here, with the many moments of “Yes! A store! Oh, can’t buy anything after 3 repairs and fuel..can’t come back, due to rebel rush” frustration, just makes you feel like “Why am I putting up with an abusive spouse?”.

      The sense of finally reaching the end of the sectors has no achievement to it either, as often you basically lucked through, but got there without any decent enough equipment to then withstand even one “final level” jump, and again it feels like the store situation: Nice that you’re here, too bad you didn’t get to bring anything useful so that it might have a point that you are.

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        Jubaal says:

        Rather than call people who enjoy it “apologists” maybe just accept the fact that the genre isn’t for you. Not all games cater for all people. Such is the spice of life.

    • Savagetech says:

      That impact is significantly lessened by modding the game so that the Rebel Fleet pursues you at a slower rate. You can check out this thread for tips on doing that. I don’t recommend the fix created by the author since the complete disappearance of the Rebel Fleet makes the game way too easy and ruins the tension. I’d recommend a modifyPursuit value of -150 to -250 at the start of the game (START_GAME) and another -50 to -100 for each sector (START_BEACON). Someone said the fleet starts at -750, becomes visible at -600, and gets +50 each time you jump; I haven’t seen this reflected in the game files but it seems to hold true for actual play.

      Getting another 11-21 turns this way gives you some leeway for when you’re having a marginal run and the game activates its Rotten Number Generator for three jumps in a row. You’ll still get screwed over, but there’s a glimmer of hope rather than the sickening sound of the game stomping on the kitten of your dreams.

      @RegisteredUser “I have the feeling that a less ‘you have 30 turns,then you’re either souped up or dead’ game would be far more enjoyable.” Seriously look into this modification, it does make FTL far more enjoyable and you can tune the numbers to your own playstyle and/or skill level.

      Once you’ve dipped your pen in the ink it’s pretty easy to modify other aspects of the game too, so if you dislike the odds you can pad random events with more positive outcomes. I’m working on some tweaks right now since there are hardcoded “neutral/loss” choices that bug me a lot; e.g. trying to sell the 6-legged ponies gets you nothing or kills a crewmember so you ALWAYS pick the other option and the event is boring. Heck, you can even edit the default names so you don’t have to constantly rename the ones that bother you (Seriously, GMFaux? Ridiculous names are fine but unless I’m making a ship called “1337 Pwn4g3″ then I don’t want a crewmember with an obvious internet handle as their name).

  2. Sheng-ji says:

    “but hell, we’re alive. That’s the greatest post-battle loot of all”

    This. All game designers take note, you don’t need to out-shiny your competitors, just provide this.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      No, you need to actually make this moment feel fun and earned, too, not mostly random. Lucky is one thing, constantly under the thumb of a coin toss another.
      Its a thin line and at times small adjustment, but crucial.

      • Savagetech says:

        Before you write the game off completely, look at my comment in the thread right above this. Modding this game is really easy and you can make whatever adjustments you need to make the game feel less random. I agree that it’s pretty brutal by default, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you give up on FTL when you can fix the most irritating parts of the game in ~15 minutes.

        @Sheng-ji: Agreed, if a game has me on the edge of my seat constantly then I couldn’t care less if the production values are horrid. On the other hand it takes an astronomical amount of glitz to compensate for bad gameplay, if it’s even possible to compensate.

  3. RaytraceRat says:

    This game is terrible, it kills you instantly. I died because I jumped too close to a star and my ship just caught fire. Then I died because some mantis-thingies ate face off my pilot. Then I died…
    I mean, go and buy it, it’s a great game with lots of hilarious dying :)

    • Hoaxfish says:

      My common faults seems to be tied to my cunning strategies.

      I vent all the rooms which aren’t normally staffed so boarders and fire meet oxygen-starvation on arrival…
      I power down the medic-bay, to put more power to engines…

      …and then send injured crew members through parts of my oxygen-starved rooms, to heal at an inactive medic-bay.

      • RaytraceRat says:

        I also keep on powering down the Medbay and then I wonder why they wont heal.

      • diamondmx says:

        I found out the hard way that unmanned drones do not maintain an atmosphere.
        That was one nasty teleporter mistake.

        • Tatourmi says:

          I actually managed to flee on that one. Just barely, but I got them back. I found out the hard way though that teleporting people onto a fleeing ship without having killed the reactor or the command room is a terrible idea.

          • mouton says:

            I recommend playing Federation Cruiser, then. Its automatic Artillery Beam offed two or three boarding teams in one playthrough.

        • sinister agent says:

          I found that one out the fun way, too (agonisingly, it gives you about 0.75 seconds between your away team dying and your teleporter recharging. Bastards!), and lost my two elite mantis fighters. In the same play through, I discovered the fun way that you also can’t beam people back off a ship when it cloaks. Lost another two humans that way.

          Cost me the game, that did. I was within a hair’s breadth of winning the last fight, but had too few crew to manage it. Woe.

    • mckertis says:

      “This game is terrible, it kills you instantly”

      You are playing it wrong.
      I played five times. Won twice. Only died on final boss.

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        BubuIIC says:

        Either I’m extremely unskilled or incredibly unlucky… I’ve played it once, got to the 6th sector without much of a clue how the game works. Seemed fine but got shot to death eventually. After that I’ve played it around 50 times more, sometimes on easy, and never ever again got past the 3rd sector.
        Best horrible death was after the very first jump I landed near a sun and a rebel assault drone. A hull breach on the first hit and the oxygen supply caught heavy fire. Not a good combination…

        • S Jay says:

          I am pretty adamant it is not “random”. Hard? Yes. You need to upgrade wisely and I could not beat the game in normal yet. Easy is a bit easier, but the last fight is though anyway.

          • RegisteredUser says:

            If it depends more on the sequence of random events and randomly generated loot rather than your individual decisions of how far you can realistically get before you’re too far on the cost side to get properly equipped again/strong enough for the boss level, then its randomness, not skill based / “hard”.

          • Savagetech says:

            Dude, it’s random. Loot is randomized within a range, event outcomes are primarily random, the number/location of certain events in a sector is random, the. . . . You get it.

            Skill can only mitigate random factors to a certain degree. If you get crappy item rolls early on the compounding difficulty makes it difficult to keep up no matter how well you play. If you get no weapon upgrades, bad shop choices, or hit the bottom of the scrap roll too many times then no amount of skill will pull you out. When enemies start showing up with 2-3 shields and your weapons are subpar, you’ll either take more damage (and have to repair more), spend more drones/missiles, or be forced to run from fights. Any of those outcomes puts you behind in scrap, which is the only resource you have to pull you out of the problem you’re in.

            The game isn’t merely a series of dice rolls, but for better or worse the initial 2-3 sectors heavily impact the way the rest of the game plays out. This is true of most roguelikes; an early (dis)advantage leads to more/less options and thus an easier/harder late game. Skill only makes it so some of the “certain loss” outcomes turn into “grueling but potentially winnable” (same for possible wins->certain wins).

  4. Premium User Badge

    Hardlylikely says:

    To be continued!

    I’ve heard that one before.

    Glad to see another diary begun though, since there is no demo it’s nice to have some more reading to help decide if I will enjoy this.

    • ancienttoaster says:

      To be continued

      Indeed. Fool me once…

    • Gnoupi says:

      Seeing TB’s excitement and half-storytelling of his playthrough is quite distracting, and a good motivation to get the game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-SnIhpCm5w

      It’s also a pointer of the way to enjoy the game. The game is unfair, and very luck-driven in general. It will throw things at you that will most likely leave you in a very bad position… most of the time.
      If you can appreciate that, and play for the pleasure of the (short) story that your crew has (naming them helps), then you will have fun. It’s a survival game, seeing how far you can endure the events.

      If however, you are looking at it like a regular game to complete, then you will most likely feel very frustrated by it (like apparently a lot of people on the Steam forums).

      • Gnoupi says:

        Addendum to “giving them names”: do not name them after yourself, your girlfriend, and a friend.

        I did that yesterday. Guess which crew member got sent to the ship in distress, and never made it back? Hint: It wasn’t the gf, or the friend.

        I knew there was something fishy when they picked who would go.

        • Hoaxfish says:

          I name them after companies EA has acquired

          Westwood lasted longest, alone, on a mouthful of oxygen in the pilot’s cockpit, before a missle shattered EA across the deepest corners of space.

      • running fungus says:

        Have to say the repetition is evident just across the span of TB’s play. But it looks like it might be pleasantly addictive (which sidesteps repetitiveness — ever play Tetris?) so I’ll give it a go. TB needs to stop saying “all decks”, though. One deck. There’s one deck!

      • dontnormally says:

        Just don’t play it like TB does; he’s terrible at the game.

      • sinister agent says:

        Also: Be an arsehole. If you’re confident you can take someone, take them. If you find helpless pirates asking for help, splat them. It’s not a game where you can afford to be ultra-heroic. Sure, you can help people out now and then, and it can pay off. But don’t make that your default action. Survival comes first, always.

        • Jeremy says:

          It’s true, your people depend on you! Pirates and rebels deserve no mercy.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      This is an extreme case of hype/a scary amount of loud fans vs try before you buy.
      I strongly recommend the trying first.

  5. SoggySilicon says:

    I have really enjoyed FTL as well… having managed to have fought the rebel mothership in it’s second phase only to die horribly to it’s drone spam is about as far as I have ever really gotten… As far as the random events and or the random pay off’s they do seem to give the game a sense of risk and reward, or risk management that many games fail on. There is no real path to victory, just learning the game mechanics and making calls… most of which result in fail.

    • quidnunc says:

      I had a lot of fun with it for about 5 hours or so. It’s one of those games that the core is fun but it doesn’t have much more to offer beyond what you see in the first few hours. And I also felt some of the other ship designs were not fun to play. edit: meant to reply to x1501

    • Lev Astov says:

      Same here, and that was on easy, even. Easy mode just provides nearly double the loot, but that makes a big difference. I was almost able to fully upgrade my ship by the end. There’s no way I could have made it that far on my first weekend playing on normal!

      I find FTL’s brutal nature rewarding when I actually survive battles. I’m definitely enjoying it.

    • Stromko says:

      It feels like there’s not much to learn after a few attempts, and it comes down to simply getting that 1-in-100 run where the random number generator favors you, if you want to actually beat it.

      All in all it probably doesn’t help that I’ve played it so much on Easy mode. I’m doing that so I have some chance of getting far into it and possibly beating the boss or doing the quests that give me more ships (I feel really starved for new things), but all the fights leading up to the boss become fairly easy once you know what you’re doing and are paying attention. You can’t sleepwalk through them, but don’t have to really engage and there’s no tension.. then you get to the boss and unless it’s that 1-in-100 run, you’re too weak and are going to lose.

      The lack of content bothers me the most. It feels like enough content to sustain 3 hours with a game, with all the permutations and strategies, but you’re going to have to play a whole lot longer if you want to finish it.

  6. x1501 says:

    It’s a nice little game with a great concept, but, mainly due to its extremely low-budget indie nature, it gets a bit repetitive and is ridiculously short. After playing and essentially finishing it after several very exciting hours, I just can’t help to think how freaking awesome it would be to see something like this being made with the budget and production values of an AAA behemoth like Mass Effect.

    Yeah, I know. Hell freezing over and all that. Can we at least get a sequel or an expansion pack?

    • Lemming says:

      I agree it feels a bit short, having to stay ahead of the rebel fleet won’t help it feel any longer either. I’d love to see an exploration mode added and expanded upon.

      • Premium User Badge

        AmateurScience says:

        Yes! A persistent exploration mode, perhaps with trading, crafting and other trappings, would be great. Might need to wait for a sequel or spinoff for that though.

      • Moraven says:

        You can disable the Rebel Fleet if you wish and take your time.

        http://ftlwiki.com/wiki/Mods

        Once Star Command comes out on non iOS platforms, that will be the game for everyone wanting a bit less restriction(rebel fleet) as part of the game and balance.

    • DuddBudda says:

      expansion is sorely needed – I got my money’s worth, I just want to see the mechanics and the design given a chance to develop without being stymied by the loot lottery and it’s pal the murderous difficulty curve

      edit
      I would come back for a ‘deck building’ version, where you equip and upgrade the ship from a limited scrap supply before the run and then see how far you can get

      • Warskull says:

        I would have to agree here. Right now it is a pretty poor game that doesn’t offer a lot of play. I’ve played for about 6 hours, and it started getting dull and repetitive around 3 hours. The problem is the game is incredibly shallow. Your inputs as a player don’t matter all that much. It is overly random, to the point where the randomness dominates the game. Combine this with an unfair difficulty where they just start cranking up dodge rates and shields to ridiculous levels. It makes a huge number of weapons in the game completely worthless.

        The game boils down to memorizing which events will instantly kill your crew and hoping the dice roll in your favor. You don’t get enough rolls of the dice to for what you do as a player to really matter all that much. You still probably won’t be able to kill the rebel flagship because you didn’t have a chance to get the tools you need.

        I could see this being turned into a good game, but as it stands right now I would recommend skipping it and picking it up for $1-2 on sale.

        • jalf says:

          So, you “agree” with someone who says he got his money’s worth, and yet you got bored after 3 hours and recommend people wait for a sale and call it a “pretty poor” game?

          I think one of us is misinterpreting his comment quite radically.

          I also have to say that I’m pretty impressed at how you’ve seen everything the game has to offer, seen through how the enemies work and how and when you can win the game, after 6 hours.

          In any case, I’d definitely pay for an expansion too.

          • DuddBudda says:

            I got about three hours of active, interested play time for £6 and like warskull I plugged away after it started to grate

            everything warskull says about the gameplay is true, we just differ on how we evaluate ‘money’s worth’

            EDIT
            I wouldn’t say it’s a poor game – mechanically and systemically it’s superb, really brilliant omg I can’t praise it enough

            it’s just the campaign thing stymies these mechanics within a lottery – idle thumbs equated it to a ‘crane game’ (one of those things where you pick up stuffed animals with a claw), which is an eloquent way to put it

  7. Premium User Badge

    Llewyn says:

    So which one was best? Perhaps we need a website to compare the Meer cats.

  8. KDR_11k says:

    I usually put the human at the helm of the Engi ship, the Engis are more necessary as a repair force. Boarders always warrant sending everybody at them. The boosts from manning systems are 10% faster recharge on weapons and shields and +5% evasion on the engine (it shows you these numbers if you hover over the crew’s ability bars, that also tells you how much leveling up adds to the efficiency), i.e. nothing vital so feel free to move crew from the stations to areas of need (only the helm should remain manned at all times once you have a high evasion rate). Also the Engi ship gives crew members regeneration as long as the med bay is powered so they will win any fight with an equal enemy.

    Yeah, plasma storms pretty much force you to shut all survival systems off, it’s already a miracle if you can keep your shields running.

    Oh and life support is overrated, it takes quite a while for oxygen levels to fall in sealed rooms and even if the life support room is completely vented (e.g. due to a breach) you can still stay long enough in it to repair it one level. Make sure you keep the med bay operational though, that thing’s rather important for keeping your crew alive when boarders, vacuum or fire enters the picture.

  9. shagohad says:

    i love this website, so glad i settled on here

    just reading the intro paragraphs is always enjoyable :)

  10. zebramatt says:

    I’ve only ever been able to even remotely approach success in traditional roguelikes by adopting one of two strategies: a) playing extremely conservatively; or b) aggressively playing the odds – taking any risk which stands a half decent chance of paying off but probably won’t kill me. Personally I’ve found the former to hold the greatest chance of survival; but the latter to be the most fun. FTL, in my experience, actually punishes playing too conservatively – making it one of the most exhilarating roguelikes I’ve ever played!

    Couple of typos:

    “I can’t cause any hull damage.”

    “Oof, no it won’t. I should have been even more like Han:”

    • quidnunc says:

      I think the luck factor in the first areas plays a big part. In one of my first runs I got loads of crew members and made it to the last area (sadly made a retarded mistake thinking having too many crew made the oxygen levels drop when the oxygen system had just been deactivated somehow.. derp). Some other similar games like Binding of Isaac are the same way although FTL doesn’t have so many powerups that can stack and make one godlike one run. It seems like in FTL it’s less like a lottery and more about making insurance against all the bad events by having excess power, the right upgrades, etc while trying not to overspend.

    • Moraven says:

      Yah getting a B Laser III, Scrap Recovery Arm and Weapon cd by midway of the 2nd sector was nice. You still could get caught and die if careless but once you had the scrap to upgrade your systems…

  11. Master_of_None says:

    Sigh. I want to try this.

    I also want a napeolonic-era nautical adaptation that is as pretty as it is fun.

    • bwion says:

      It had not even occurred to me that I needed a Napoleonic-era FTL, but now I NEED IT.

      Someone make this. I will give you up to ten or twenty so of my dollars to make it happen.

    • dontnormally says:

      Holy shit.
      FTL on Frigates and Galleons.
      Call it Broadsides.

    • Premium User Badge

      Dilapinated says:

      Oh my. Yes. Yes please.

  12. Meat Circus says:

    We’re gonna need a bigger boat.

  13. Punchbowled says:

    So *is* this game a computery version of the cardboardy “Galaxy Trucker”? If the answer’s yes, I’m in, no questions.

    • Lunsku says:

      It’s closer to another Vlaada Chvatil boardgame, Space Alert. If you’ve played that, you will get flashbacks when shit hits the fan in FTL.

  14. Jetter says:

    Loving this game. Sure it is frustrating when you hit a string of bad runs, but when you get a good one, ho boy, that is the proverbial carrot on a stick. The tension only increases the farther you get because you never know when the next jump could be your last.

    I have only played probably 7 runs, but my current is my longest yet after finally making it to the 6th sector in my Engi death box. Getting a lot better at combat management. So far, all of the FTL stories I have read or listened to have been fantastic, whether its been from RPS, PC Gamer(UK Podcast), or the FTL forums.

    Keep up the great coverage on a great Kickstarter Indie!

  15. Mr_Day says:

    As much as I love the combat and crew management in the game, I am disappointed by the actual point of the game, the need to get to the final sector and beat up a flagship.

    I really wish Space Rangers or Star Control 2 had the combat/crew system from FTL. Ah well.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Yeah this game makes me miss Space Rangers 2, but Space Rangers 2 will make me miss FTL… :(

  16. mckertis says:

    “shield-bypassing Ion Blast”

    You…actually played the game, right ?

  17. Soon says:

    I was a little disappointed. I think that’s just mostly a case of me imagining a somewhat different game with a larger scope, so it would be unfair to fault it there. But somebody’s definitely going to make FTL-but-more, if the game doesn’t grow into it itself.

    For what it currently is: a short-lived burst of fun.

  18. Premium User Badge

    mineshaft says:

    I actually kind of love losing in this game. I have the most fun trying to keep things running when only two crew are left. It feels very elegiac when the last crew member chokes to death. Or when you weren’t paying attention to hull damage and you see your own ship break apart the same way you destroyed so many others.

    I don’t know how deep it is or how many ways there really are to win. But I have enjoyed the tradeoffs and calculated risk taking it’s given so far.

    • Moraven says:

      Agree. I have done down in flames in many different ways now!

  19. Yosharian says:

    Just wait until your ship gets instantly blown up by a ship 3 times more powerful than it upon reaching Sector 5, that’s always fun.

  20. Groove says:

    The random nature of the game has given me some grief, but losing is sooo much fun.

    My best death:

    In the Kestrel, I jumped too close to a sun, and a fairly standard rebel ship was waiting for me. I engage the rebels and things are going fairly okay for me. I’ve punched through their shield and done good damage, they’ve damaged my weapons and shield but everything is just about holding. Then a solar flare comes up and a fire starts in O2. Now, I only have my three starting crew at this point, so I decide that the fire can wait. I had 100% oxygen beforehand and I need to keep repairing combat systems. The fire spreads to both squares of O2, then spreads through the door into the little corridor. BALLS, I forgot blast doors! The fire now becomes priority one so I send two crew to fight it. They get the fire under control and repair O2, but they’ve both taken damage.

    While this is happening I’ve essentially crippled the enemy ship. They’re missing large chunks of major systems, most of the crew are dead, and there are maybe 9 fires? I don’t even know which ones I started, but they’re boned either way. I’m just chuckling at the enemy fires as another solar flare goes off and sets a fire in my door control. I decide my crew are too hurt to be fire-fighting right now, so I open the northern airlock and a path to door control, aiming to suck the fire out into space then heal up afterwards. The fire is sucked out, but not until it’s damaged the room.

    That’s fine I think, I’ll just shut the doors, wait for oxygen to be restored and…..I’ll just shut the doors….doors….

    The room was door control. DOOR CONTROL, and I’ve just opened it to space. So the only way to close the doors to allow me to repair door control, is to go and repair door control. Fuck. And being the kestrel, I opened the path through the fucking med-bay. So I can’t even heal.

    My crew bravely attempt it, but ultimately asphixiate in the door control room. I just about managed to rescue my pilot and plot a jump out of the system, but I didn’t make it any further with one mostly dead crewman, no med bay or door control, and half the ship exposed to vaccum.

    • Premium User Badge

      ADinVA says:

      My best death, had a Kestrel with a crew of 7, 3 weapons and attack and defense drones. This was going to be the one to go all the way!

      Instead, we explored the bottom of the map in a late sector only to hit a dead end, no way to jump further right (too far to the next system). Getting to the exit point meant three jumps back, into rebel-controlled space and a fight against rebel ships for every jump thereafter. Despite some heroic efforts, the hull was shredded (no store in sight) and my crew went the way of the others.

    • sinister agent says:

      Both harsh. My most unlucky run so far was jumping into a solar flare, where I was boarded by four humans trying to steal my ship. With only three crew (two engis) I could only hope to whittle them down while the engine charged, and they were moving in a group, so I couldn’t kill them off. Eventually I had to jump before the fires got out of hand, and hope I could finish off the weakened boarders in the next area…

      Which was, of course, another solar flare area. And there was a mantis ship there. And they sent mantis boarders. I managed to scratch their ship, but with so many boarders I just couldn’t man the shields any longer, so had to take another chance and jump away with two parties of enemy boarders still on ship, and little idea what they were doing since they’d trashed my sensors, and they or the fire had taken out half my other rooms, including door control.

      Naturally, when I reached the third area, I was boarded AGAIN, this time by more humans. Clinging on to the hope that the hostiles would all fight each other wasn’t enough (they don’t).

      Bang.

  21. TooNu says:

    That was rather fun to read, thanks Alec :)

  22. diamondmx says:

    The worst event I had was one the developers planned:
    “This is a tactic you hoped you’d never see. The enemy uses a virus to disable your O2 systems, and is using fire weapons! You’re going to suffocate!”

    If you don’t have enhanced O2 at this point – you are fucked.

    • Hematite says:

      I’m pretty sure the fire beam can’t pierce shields, so if you can keep your shields up you’ve got a decent chance.

      That said, I got the event and died miserably.

    • alarickc says:

      This event was my most epic save so far. It was so stressful I don’t even remember everything. I just know that the slug ship sent over three borders who immediately ate my O2 and then went for my shields. I killed them, then the ship. But then I had to fix the O2 and it was already bellow 15%! I fixed it, and oxygen came back up to habitable seconds before my crew suffocated. They were under 10hp because I forgot to route power back to med-bay. I think I almost cried for joy. Oh, and then a rebel scout killed me five jumps latter, stupid five-shot lasers…..

  23. derbefrier says:

    fun game but way too short. I hope there are plans for expansions, sequels or whatever to take this awesome idea and turn it into something a little more substantial content wise. I still need to beat the last boss and i wanna unlock some more ships. Also for those asking about a free play mode. I dont have a link readily available but there is a mod for this already. I believe i saw it on reddit.

  24. MythArcana says:

    This one is swell on my laptop and I’d love to see an expansion for this game soon. It feels like I hit the same events too often, especially early in the game where most players dwell for a good time. Hopefully they will add to it in time or just move on to a sequel or similar.

  25. BigglesB says:

    Finally beat the last boss (on easy, I’m afraid) using the starting ship, mantis boarders and loads of lasers (all different kinds). Big epiphany was turning OFF autofire: instead waiting for all the weapons to go green and firing a barrage of 10 shots or so would make quick work of any shields and the systems behind them. You have to pay a little more attention, especially when you are watching several different cool-down timers but worked a dream!

  26. wodin says:

    All through the PR and hype during development I had my worries there didn’t seem to be enough to do in game..I was hoping them exceeding their funding would have solved this..sadly it didn’t.

    If I was one of those who paid alot for this I’d be sorely disappointed to be honest. Luckily I paid the going rate.

    It’s a OK indie game that could have been alot more.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      What do you consider a lot? I’m really happy with it, played through beta and never had regrets. :D

    • Joshua Northey says:

      What were you expecting from an indie game? This is exactly what I was expecting. Not everything needs to be 50 hours long.

      • wodin says:

        I undertstand what your saying..but I’m thinking of how much they exceeded their original target I had hopes they’d expand on the gameplay abit..

        Again it’s not a bad game, it’s a fine little indie game, however it could have been alot more.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          It is only $200,000. How much time do you think they put into the game anyway? The art and writing are all original, the programming looks it too. Few bugs (I have not noticed 1 honestly).

          Typically billing for a professional in the US is say $60-120/hr. So lets put them at $90. That is just over 1 year of full-time work for 1 person, or say 4 months of full time work for 3 people. Seems reasonable. Remember since it is a business hat is not their take home, they have to pay taxes and equipment costs, insurance, licensing, et cetera.

          $200,000 seems totally reasonable for the product they delivered. Now I suspect they had already made most of it on their own dime as a risk, and the kickstarter was just to bring in a little extra cash.

          I don’t begrudge them suddenly not deciding to double the size of the project after it was wildly successful. Likely they wanted to take the money and run so to speak since they already had put so much unpaid time in.

          Of course now that it is selling well they are likely rolling in it. So a free expansion would be really nice and a good gesture towards everyone who donated.

          • Hematite says:

            I think they did really well with not over-reaching their abilities and budget. It’s a small game, but it’s pretty tight. I’m happy with the amount I paid for it (retail, not kickstarter) but I’d kill for an expansion pack/sequel.

  27. pakoito says:

    God, you’re so bad lol

    Get that guy out of the engines and in the weapons room. Engineer priority is Shields > Weapons > Pilot > Engine. You won’t be running from most fights, so those systems are easily expendable to be repaired after the fight.

    Enemy teleport? Two guys onto him, done in less than 5 seconds. Always send 1 guy more than the enemy, or kite into healing bay. Again, send the pilot and the engines guy.

    Auto-Assault ships are usually empty, aim for the weapons, nobody will fix them and you can just tear the shields afterwards.

    • sinister agent says:

      Manning weapons is pointless in the Engi ship – the ion cannon only takes four seconds to charge, so you’re guaranteed the first shot (often the first two) anyway.

      You can’t aim attack drones, and they don’t fire fast enough to beat even a 1-layer shield on their own. Taking down their shields with the ion cannon is the only way to touch anyone before you can install some extra guns.

      • pakoito says:

        What if I told you a mid level weapons engineer can take down one layer of shield and another room with some micromanagement? Also, drones don’t cut it for the endgame, you need some weapon stravaganza.

        • sinister agent says:

          Right, but this is the first sector. Nobody has any skills yet, and the endgame is hours away. Having a 0.4 second lead on a weapon that’s already got a 6 second lead on most enemies isn’t as useful as having a greater chance to dodge each incoming shot, plus a headstart on escaping.

    • Moraven says:

      Robotic shields self repair. Sorry.

  28. zeroskill says:

    Clearly one of the best games of the year (for me). But then again I can see how people that arn’t into RL’s in general can’t see the appeal. And thats fine!

    Anyway, I’m enjoying this quite a bit, as well as reading about it. A fun read.

  29. Joshua Northey says:

    This game is amazing. Best $9 I have spent since Terraria. I have probably already gotten 40 hours out of it, and I don’t even have all the ships unlocked yet. This i what gaming is at its best, new genres with less flash and more fun.

    • x1501 says:

      Too bad all these tiny games with enormous potential are not mod friendly and never release their source code after they stop bringing in revenue. Open-sourced, continually expanding Terraria could have been a truly great game. Now it’s just something most of us have played and already forgotten.

      • zebramatt says:

        You thought Terraria was “TINY”????

      • Joshua Northey says:

        I agree I thought it was odd they walked away from Terraria, but I didn’t have all the information they did. Seemed like a strong community that would have stuck around if the game kept growing.

        • x1501 says:

          Zebramatt, I have an eccentric habit of categorizing all games of 30MB or less as tiny, but what I mostly meant by that was “low-budget indie”. Terraria was another good game with a great concept, but, especially before the hardmode patch, it only had a handful of bosses and 2 or 3 scripted events like the Goblin Invasion and the Dungeon entrance. Looking back, I think I was more excited about Terraria’s incredible potential than about its actual contents. It was very enjoyable, especially in co-op, but it could have been so much more.

          Joshua, from what I understand, the creator annoyed a lot of people by attracting them with promises of exciting new features (“Next: Volcanoes! Alternate dimensions! New invasion types! Full modding support!”, etc), and then seemingly directing most of his efforts on selling useless crap like Terraria t-shirts and key chains before just walking away with his pockets full of cash without making any real effort to implement any of them. Not knowing the exact details of his departure, I’m willing to cut the developer some slack, but I’ll certainly make sure his next game is feature complete before I decide to purchase a copy.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            Given the game I think the success was more based on the idea than its actual implementation or the good business sense of its principals. People who are bad businessmen can come up with good ideas.

  30. wodin says:

    I like rogue likes..but this just didn’t have enough going on or variety. To the point where I can’t imagine where all the extra funding went…the game seems to have alittle bit more than originally touted pre kickstarter..yet it well exceeded it’s funding I really thought they’d go to town and add loads more content.

    Has potential and needs some more game mechanics and more content overall…

  31. Boibi says:

    I don’t know if anyone’s said this yet, but unmanned ships (those without oxygen bays or med bays) have no crew, so things can’t get repaired. Rather, they can get repaired by repair bots, but that ship also had no drone bay. The shield systems couldn’t have been repaired, no matter how long you waited.

    • kikito says:

      Unmanned ships have self-repairing systems. They repair after a while.

      To be completely true to the game, they should have repair droids instead. But oh, well.

    • Premium User Badge

      beekay says:

      Automated ships have some ability to repair systems, it’s just very slow.

      edit: hrrrnngggg I’d delete this comment if I could just DELETE it instead of bothering someone about it

  32. running fungus says:

    So, ah, yeah. Addictive, wow. And actually dramatic, maybe owing to controlling individual crew and dealing with them being in peril. Was having an absolutely amazing play through (ok, on easy) when Snake Plissken and another half my crew turned into mutants and attacked the others. Ouch. It’s pretty rare that a game warns me of some potential danger… and I actually listen, because it might be super freaking dangerous. Yeah, I’ll just strip that station of external hardware without going in, thanks.

    Huge difference between easy and normal difficulty, though. Massive.

    Addition in edit: And if you give your crew names like Akira, Kaneda, and Tetsuo, you can have fun roleplaying them in danger, too. Kaneeeeddaaa! Tetsuooo!

    • running fungus says:

      Still playing, so I guess I’m hooked.

      My ship The Wire did pretty well in the end. Bunk and Carver survived till the final sector, but about halfway through there was a mission down on some planet, and I was told “not everybody made it back”. Looked around and everyone was accounted for except our pilot, McNulty.

  33. Zarunil says:

    Considering how many hours I’ve spent with FTL, it was well worth the money. A refreshing gem. I’ve still got tons of ships left to unlock, but I’m done with the game for now.

    The one thing I missed the most was being able to quickly select crew members using keyboard shortcuts instead of the mouse. Perhaps I missed it, but it seems like something that would be obvious to include.

  34. Miltrivd says:

    I just love this game, 50-60 runs so far, all but one in Normal. Tried Easy and got blasted by the second encounter of the final boss, it was a breeze until that point, so I went back to Normal mode since it proves a challenge constantly after 4th sector.

    The game is unfair, random, and unforgiving with even the smallest of mistakes you make (my best run ever was screwed because I timed my lasers wrong and they hit before my missile disabled their shields, I had a 2 second window tho). I’m loving it!

    You know what this is? A game that’s not for everyone, a game that doesn’t cater to a broad audience, a game that challenges you and spits you in the face as a reward. I like it when we have games for everyone, but when not every game is for everyone. FTL is a fine piece of work.

  35. ScorpionWasp says:

    FTL has several structural flaws that keep it from its full potential:

    1 – The end boss severely constricts your choice in strategies. You have to play with it in mind since moment one; most of what works during the actual game doesn’t in the final battle.

    2 – The theme and gameplay clash. You’re supposed to be fighting ships manned by intelligent beings, but the gameplay makes no effort whatsoever to convey that. You see ships with nonsensical weapon load-outs (only beams and no means to pierce shields), enemies send ion bombs to empty rooms… The AI can even do something with burst lasers you aren’t even allowed to (because it doesn’t make much tactical sense), have each shot hit a different room. Sometimes the AI doesn’t even play by the same rules as you: its FTL drive only starts charging after it decides to flee (and you get a notification of that); yours charges for as long as you have energy on the engines, the AI has no means to know if you are planning on fleeing or not.

    3 – Because ammo and repairs are expensive, and to have a chance against the end-boss you must have made a “nearly optimized” trip throughout, the game isn’t allowed to (and does not) throw too many deadly, interesting encounters on you. The fact that these are the ones that tend to stick out in your memory says something, but in 9 out of 10 battles you’ll barely suffer a scratch; sometimes you won’t even use warheads. When you do truly survive by the skin of your teeth, you might as well just give up, because the resources you lost there make it pretty much impossible to survive the end boss. It would be far more interesting if most battles were life or death affairs, and recovering between them was inexpensive.

    4 – Generally, deaths just never feel fair. In something like Spelunky you always tell yourself “Ok, in retrospect that was pretty stupid on my part… I totally see why I lost there.” In FTL they just feel capricious and random.

    5 – It’s too scripted and constricted. There’s no room for emergent behavior and phenomena to ever sprout in its environment (remember when after stealing an idol in Spelunky, the boulder trap destroyed a merchant’s store, sending it mad after you? Stuff like that needs complex systems where everything interacts with everything in order to happen, not menu driven events with two or 3 choices).

    I’d say this game would have promise if it was still in beta, but as a finished product, it leaves a lot to be desired.

    • running fungus says:

      A few more hours in and I have to say these are good points. The little stories I tell myself about events, especially close calls (aided by the naming of ship and at least original crew) are pale imitations of the kind of emergent gameplay you observe missing. It’s fun but it’s shallow fun, and at this point I’m finding the deaths less amusing and more frustrating as my game progress on any given run is more defined by luck than by experience. You also make a really excellent point about suboptimal runs, and I’ve started to cut games short because of them, which is a bad sign. Still, once you’ve hobbled along till the end with little scrap and inferior weapons a number of times, it gets old. You want to play with at least a *chance* remaining of success.

  36. Premium User Badge

    cspkg says:

    *THIS* is my favourite website on the Citadel. Commander Shepard.

    I’m dying to play this game and these diaries are my favourite form of games journalism/writing. Please please please keep it coming.

    PS I would also love to see similar works of art around X-Com (in Ironman mode) and also Dishonoured (no kill vs kill everything vs bizarre restrictions?).

  37. doggod101 says:

    I love FTL and hate it at the same time it seems to pander to the idea of achievement hunting something I only rarely do when a game is particularly fun and the achievements plausible. While FTL just throws some nearly impossible achievements at you to unlock ships and layouts ships being less literal achievements but still following the same idea. Meaning I will probably never see half the ships or layouts in this game unless somehow through some extreme luck I am put in just the right position like most of this game it’s all down to luck which kinda sucks. Not to mention I don’t even see the point in continuing to play seeing as how I have seen every encounter multiple times (with still not unlocking any ships having to do with said encounters *sigh*) and even if I did unlock a ship it’s only going to marginally change the playstyle. All that said I really hope some update or dlc comes out with more content otherwise I don’t really see the point in trudging through this rage fest (dying to some extremely unfair and unavoidable ship encounter, or maybe dying right before unlocking that achievement that would have gotten you that bada** new layout).

  38. Richeh says:

    As much as I love FTL, the final boss can eat a bag of dicks. The rest of the game is a wonderful game that engages you, challenges you, more often than not kills you, but follows the same rules it imposes upon you – even if they are occasionally semi-arbitrary just to spice things up.

    Which is why I think it’s criminal that the final boss cheats. It keeps using systems you’ve very firmly twatted, it repairs weapons with no-one maintaining them, and whenever you kill it, it comes back, and it comes back cheating more than it has before. It just spoils the game; it’s like suddenly you’re playing against a five year old who makes rules up on the spot with a determined conviction to win against all odds, even if it means rewriting them.

    And I know, this sounds like me whining about getting killed, and it’s not. Every damn game ends in epic tragedy. The difference is that dying because of a spreading fire in the engine room and a crippled oxygen recycler is satisfying, whereas dying because drones keep wiping out your shield with lasers even with a thoroughly crippled controller is just frustrating. Fuck that guy.