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FTL: Advanced Edition (ftlgame.com)
311 points by nuriaion on Nov 12, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 142 comments

This is one of the most perfectly balanced games I've ever played. I've come one shot from beating the end boss, but that final kill still evades me.

The great part about the game is that the beginning portion is actually quite strategic despite the battles being very easy. You really need to maximize your wins by either getting in as many battles as possible per sector or by killing opposing crews without destroying their ship. Your first 5 or so sectors really set the pace for the later game.

This is one of the most perfectly balanced games I've ever played.

Err what? I happened to play quite a few games where I advanced to sector 3 or 4, never found a good weapon in any shop. Then I was destroyed, because I couldn't kill enemies with 2 shields. And I fought as many battles as possible in each sector.

Since this happened in the majority of my games, I stopped playing.

I wouldn't say to stop playing. I was losing a lot of games because I had the wrong notion about how beams worked. It was fairly easy after that. And fun!

But you are exactly right that calling the game "perfectly balanced" is ridiculous. It's a roguelike. There are so many random elements and sometimes you just get a string of bad dice rolls. This topic is brought up explicitly in the DCSS faq (another hugely popular roguelike) and I think it applies here:

>The possibility of unavoidable deaths is a larger topic in computer games. Ideally, a game like this would be really challenging and have both random layout and random course of action, yet still be winnable with perfect play. This goal seems out of reach. Thus, computer games can be soft in the sense that optimal play ensures a win. Apart from puzzles, though, this means that the game is solved from the outset; this is where the lack of a human game-master is obvious. Alternatively, they can be hard in the sense that unavoidable deaths can occur. We feel that the latter choice provides much more fun in the long run.


The possibility of unavoidable deaths is a larger topic in computer games. Ideally, a game like this would be really challenging and have both random layout and random course of action, yet still be winnable with perfect play.

Just the very notion of perfect play somehow ensuring a win is rather silly in the context of imperfect information and games of chance. Look at the game of poker: even a heavy underdog can win if he catches perfect.

Not at all; it depends on how strong the effects of chance are. Poker is typically played in a way (ante amounts, etc.) that gives skilled players a meaningful but not overwhelming advantage.

Single-player games, even those with random elements, can be designed such that the odds of winning in perfect play can be 100% or (easier) extremely close to 100%.

> Not at all; it depends on how strong the effects of chance are.

A little off-topic, but I've been trying to come up with a way to quantify (or at least usefully bucket) the strength of the effects of chance on a game. Do you have any ideas for how do to that?

I've thought about how to quantify the effects of skill on a game. A first-order estimate would quantify luck as the inverse of skill.

In a completely symmetric multiplayer game, Player A is measurably more skilled than Player B if, over a large number of games, Player A's win rate is higher than 50% by a statistically significant margin. This definition can be extended to both single-player games, and to non-symmetric multiplayer games, by saying that after Player A and Player B have played the same scenario a large number of times, that Player A's win rate is higher than Player B's by a statistically significant margin. The "same scenario" meaning identical starting conditions for single-player, or the same opponents for multi-player. This can be extended again by saying "the same scenario" means drawing starting conditions or opponents from the same random distribution (by relying on the nature of statistical significance).

So that's how you would define pairwise player skill. From this, there are several ways to determine total rankings for a population of players, using Elo or linear algebra techniques. I'm eliding details here because this is the step where they matter the least.

Finally, in order to determine the impact of Luck vs Skill: Take two players at different skill levels. Say, Player X is at the median skill level, and Player Y is two standard deviations above that (top 5%). What is Player Y's win rate over Player X? The closer to 100%, the more skill-based the game is. The closer to 50%, the more luck-based the game is.

Note that in general this will depend heavily on which two skill levels you pick to compare. For example, Player X is median, Player Y is top 5%, Player Z is top 1%. Players Y & Z could have a 100% win rate over Player X, but Player Z only has a 51% win rate over Player Y. This game would probably be described as heavily skill-based, but with a low skill ceiling.

In a one-player game, you can write a competent, consistent computer player. Then use the standard deviation in performance of that bot over many runs as a measure of chance in the game.

In a multiplayer game, write a skilled/optimum player and a naive/basic player. The win-percentage of the weak bot can be a good measure of chance.

Many roguelikes (a category FTL is usually included in) have bots which facilitate this kind of analysis. But since competent bots are sometimes difficult to write well, some games also use "scummers" and/or stats modules which generate millions of randomly-generated levels and compute difficulty or reward heuristics for each, ensuring that the st. dev. is within desired ranges. If the heuristics are good, this can be sufficient.

Another option in a hosted game or one that can phone home is to have real-live players be the guinea pigs instead of the bots. Same basic principles apply.

It depends entirely how you define a particular game. My poker example is in reference to winning a single hand. In that case, one hand is a single game. This makes poker highly variable and effectively impossible to win every time despite perfect play. In real life poker, this is mitigated by playing many hands over a long period of time.

In the case of single-player games such as FTL, people really do mean one single game when they talk about winning or losing. Otherwise, your odds of winning no matter how bad you are begin to approach 100% if you play enough games.

Agreed. I was considering a "game" of poker to be a series of hands sufficient to determine a winner, for example, a freeze-out tournament, where hands are played until every player but one loses all their chips.

Reportedly, skilled FTL players can win nearly every game. Similar things have been reported about certain other roguelikes.

I have a friend that can beat that game every other time it seems. Me? I've beaten it twice with 60 tries. I've never felt accomplishment quite as great as when I finally beat the game for the first time after the 52nd try. I literally stood up and shouted! Don't think I've ever done that before...

How much damage were you taking in those battles? How much scrap were you spending on minor upgrades (doors, oxygen, medical, shields, etc) or repairs?

A good player can often get through the first sector without repairing at all, without spending a single point of scrap on minor upgrades and fighting as many battles as possible. This lets you buy a big ticket item such as a cloaking device, a teleporter or a powerful weapon right away. Big ticket items (especially the teleporter) have the ability to pay for themselves many times over.

The real beauty and elegance of FTL's design is that it makes opportunity costs a real factor in game play. Buying a lot of small upgrades makes you a lot more survivable early on but severely restricts your total scrap potential over the course of an entire game. The key to winning FTL is to coast along on as minimal a budget as possible until you land a big ticket item and then invest heavily into it so that you can earn more scrap and take a lot less damage going forward. Of course, none of this strategy works if you aren't playing battles very carefully and making optimal use of the pause button to coordinate your weapons.

I'm not sure I would call it "perfectly balanced" but remember "dying is fun".

If you die repetitively, you should try a change of strategy. Not finding any weapons? Try drones or crew transporters. Only finding wimpy weapons? Can you somehow combine their features and synchronize the attack to make them more powerful than they are alone?

But if you have a problem enjoying the irony of a suffocation death of your crew because you opened the airlocks to suffocate some intruders and the intruders took out your oxygen system with their last breaths, FTL might be too cruel for you.

The genius of the game is that it's really about deep strategy and tactical optimization, despite the appearance of random chance as a hugely deterministic factor. The more you play -- and it took me hundreds of failed runs through to grok this point -- the more you realize that chance has something to do with it, but not all that much. As in poker, you get the hands you're dealt -- but how you play them makes all the difference.

I recommend reading up on the prevailing FAQs for the game. They go into great detail about how to optimize your runs through the first few sectors to gather the resources and items you'll need to survive the last half. For the life of me, I've never been able to beat the boss at the end of the game. I've come close, but personal circumstances forced me to stop playing for awhile, so I never climbed all the way up the learning curve. Even still, it's remarkable how different a player I was at that point from what I was when I started.

(I still enjoyed "fucking-around" runs, where I just sort of let stuff happen and bounced around from adventure to adventure. But that's a very different style from the min-maxing one needs to do to win.)

You must be playing without using pause. Spacebar is your friend on this game.

But pause doesn't help me get through their shields if I have shitty weapons. I read some tips below and will try it again. Maybe I just bought the wrong stuff all the time.

To add to what others have said, one of the most important tactics is timing your weapon usage in combat.

For example, if you're using the Kestrel (Missile and Laser weapons), then you want to hit Shields with the missile first to disable them. Only if you actually downed the shields do you want to shoot the laser so that all three shots have a chance at doing damage (preferably on the Weapons subsystem). If everything hits (which happens very often in the first 4 sectors), then you've just disabled the enemy's shields AND weapons - they are now easy pickings.

In summary, never use autofire (unless you have Ion weapons) and time your shots so each weapon gets a maximum chance of doing damage.

The real trick to consistently beating this game is to always horde at least 75 scrap, and buy a Teleporter as soon as possible. Then, buy extra crew members. Preferably, these will be Mantis > Rock > Most Others > Engi & Zoltan. Then, near the start of every battle, fire a single volley to set things on fire / distract crews, and immediately send over your boarding party to begin harassing them. If there are too many, pick on them, or attack things while they try to put out fires. Often, this will cause them to give up on one repair, wasting time while they run around the ship. If they're a small crew, then just roll over them with Mantis / Rock strength. Just make sure you don't attack too much, or you may kill your boarders.

This is doubly effective, as if you kill all of a crew, then you (almost) always get the best reward possible, which often contains bonus equipment, and up to 50% more scrap.

By the end, you'll often have so much money that you'll be capped on energy, and just buying alternate max systems. Also, always destroy rebel ship Medbays, and the Fire Beam and Bio Beam are devastating for this strategy.

Finally, as noted in another person's comment, Teleporter makes the last boss remarkably easy. Just Teleport into each of the weapon rooms and kill the operator (starting with Missiles). Notably, don't kill every crew member, or the Super AI will take over for the final boss and it goes into crazy, Ultra-mode.

Hmmm, by sectors 3 or 4, you should definitely run across something on the offensive side. This could be another weapon (and these can also be picked up outside of shops, if you are lucky), a teleporter, or a drone control / offensive done.

Even failing that, the starting ship has some decent weaponry; the missile can go through shields (so if you time it together with your lasers), you should be able to completely disable a 2-level shield with your first salvo. You may want to go for their weapons first, though. Disabling their pilot / engines removes their ability to dodge, meaning that all 3 of your lasers will hit.

I'd also recommend reading through the various wikis that exist, e.g. ftlwiki has great tips / strategies for each player ship. Here's their take on the Kestrel (starting ship):


Other simple tips would be - always attack (and defeat) slavers, they usually offer a slave in exchange for mercy, which is a great deal. If they are non-human, you will get more "blue" options, which usually have (better) rewards. Later on, simply get to level 5 to unlock the engi ship, and play around with it to get an idea of how powerful drones can be.

In summary, the gameplay is actually very balanced, and pretty deep. With a lot of skill, you should be able to get to the final level on easy most of the time (and perhaps beat the boss half the time, depending on your strategy). But being a kind of roguelike (with all its randomness), sometimes you will just have bad luck...

If you can't defeat a particular enemy you absolutely should not be fighting them. Hunker down, bring up your jump as quick as possible and get out of there. Then concentrate on building your ship up until you are more formidable.

Don't use autofire.

Unless you have an ion cannon with a 5 second cooldown.

Missiles penetrate shields. Target their shields system with your missiles and then target their weapons system with your lasers and you should make short work of most enemies. With the starting ship (The Kestrel), this strategy can get you through sector 4 without any significant upgrade.

Another useful tip is to get those doors upgraded ASAP, then work on upgrading shields. Fully upgraded doors are lifesavers when fires break out or intruders beam in.

A single level of door upgrades is often enough, I've found. The second level is iffier.

But do keep in mind that door upgrades and a few others (I forget which) don't require extra power. That makes them much more attractive.

Oh yeah: if you haven't already, always get at least level 2 doors ASAP when heading into a Mantis sector. Almost every one of those mean motherfuckers carries a teleporter, and you do not want to get up close and personal with them.

If you've got a medbay upgrade (which I like because it offers many 'good' choices to events) then you can easily defend from Mantis boarders, just make sure that you fight in your medbay where you get healed all the time, they'll teleport out when they're almost dead, though - try to disable their teleporter for that moment if you can.

A lot has been written about combat and crew strategies, and I've benefitted a great deal from reading up on those topics. But when it comes to upgrade strategies, the jury seems to be mixed. I've tended to get the most bang for my buck from shields, then doors. But I've heard arguments in either direction. Have also heard arguments (in varying degrees of persuasiveness) for prioritizing the other systems.

Can someone who's consistently beaten the game chime in on his or he preferred upgrade path?

What? Noooooo. I don't upgrade the doors until I'm well into looking for luxury upgrades after my core build. Shields are another luxury as well. Definitely favour a teleporter or a good weapon, followed by weapon systems (just enough to use all your weapons except for your missiles) and engines. Always go engines before shields!

Intruders and fires are basically a non-factor once you learn to use the pause button promptly and often.

Venting the ship also helps with fire & boarders. Both will die in an oxygen-free environment (except for boarding drones), and since breathing boarders will try to avoid rooms without oxygen, you can almost control where the boarders go. If you can direct the boarders into the medbay and fight them there, it gives you a big advantage.

I usually prefer just venting the air of the rooms attacked until the boarders reach my medbay, where my guys have an advante. If you have rockmen, you can also try to fight on rooms on fire (since they are immune they have an advantage).

If you're waiting to get good weapons through the shops, you'll always fail. They'll drop the good stuff early on when you don't have any cash, or they'll have only all drone stuff, or whatever. You have to maximize your confrontations early on, hit as many shops as you can, and try to capture ships rather than blowing them up.

The trick to beating the final boss is to have maxed teleport and cloaking. This lets you avoid all missile volleys, by cloaking just before the first few would hit and boarding the missile weapon system to disable it. Also you should murder all but one of the crew during the first battle (this is tricky, but you can take your time), so you can disable systems quickly in the second and third battles without them being repaired.

Cloaking and teleporters are great early investments, too. Cloaking saves tons of resources that would have been spent on repairs, and killing the enemy crew gives better rewards compared to blowing up the ship.

For those thinking this is a spoiler: I repeatedly beat the game without following these rules. There's certainly more than one way.

I do agree with the observation that killing the crew of an enemy ship gives much greater reward. I love the anti-bio weapon :)

Max shields make the final boss pretty easy, as long as you can get to the missile weapon to destroy it.

Just make sure you can hurt an enemy with 4 shields and missile defence. I once got there and couldn't penetrate it at all...

Oddly enough, I only ever made it to the final boss twice. The first time was with the stealth cruiser, which had maxed stealth and teleporting, and I got annihilated by missile volleys and those combat boarding drones.

The second time was with the Engi cruiser, and I handily beat him. I had only EMP weapons, a level 2 defense drone, and a level 2 attack drone (probably also a repair drone). I just played damage control and set the EMP weapons to autofire at the shield room. When they eventually disable it, the level 2 attack drone shredded him.

Haven't played since then (figured I'd quit while I was ahead), but this may get me back in.

How did you get that far with the stealth cruiser? I love playing the ship but I never survive past sector 3. I have logged hundreds of hours on FTL and never once beaten it with my favorite ships :(

The stealth cruiser is definitely hard to work with, and requires very precision timing on the part of the player. It's a tough ship to win fights with if it doesn't have the ability to outright destroy or cripple it's enemy as it comes out of stealth, which is why I had trouble in the final encounter.

First and foremost, it is tempting to get shields working early on, but I actually had better luck upgrading stealth first and then shields - early encounters can be destroyed before they fire at you if your weapons loadout is good. But be sure to upgrade to full shielding before getting to the end.

Basic idea for me was to charge all my weapons to full, fire if I had an opportunity to before the biggest enemy weapon, and wait for the largest enemy weapon to fire (usually a missile). As it fired, engage stealth. This gives you a really absurdly high dodge chance, and the weapons fire almost always misses.

Immediately drop stealth and fire all weapons. If the ship has a lot of shields, target shields, otherwise target weapons (none or low shields means you will hurt bad if they fire back). Generally this can cripple the enemy ship, making it so they can't effectively engage you - this is pretty vital to keeping the stealth cruiser alive. If it starts to go bad for you, stealth away, and consider leaving the engagement.

For what it's worth, my best loadout consisted of a large missile system for punching through shields to disable the shield system, an EMP bomb system for disabling defensive drones (or other systems), and a fire beam weapon I used to try and hit shields and weapons at the same time, all on an alpha strike after coming out of stealth. I also had a teleportation rig set up with two of the insectoid crew that could take the fight to the enemy - this was really useful at keeping them busy, and keeping the ship alive. Also good for when I ran out of missiles - could send them in to disable shields and / or weapons and get out.

I still got torn up by the drones sent in by the final boss though, so a good drone defense system would have been invaluable - if you stealth, they just hover around until you come out of stealth, then breach. Good luck. :-D

I basically did the same thing except my volley out of stealth went for the weapons instead of shields since I wanted to make sure it couldn't hurt me after my cloak wears off. Perhaps I should start running from less than optimal fights, usually I stick out every fight because I want all the scrap.

Yeah, targeting weapons is a great idea if the enemy has low enough shields (based on your weapons load) that you can punch through them, disable weapons completely, and then do the same for the shield, while they sit there unable to shoot you, scrambling to repair.

The problem the stealth ship has is when the enemy ship has shields and weapons in abundance (those Zoltan ships are EVIL). In this case, you have to take the harder task (and almost always take damage) and knock out shields first. I loved the long beam weapons because I could drop shields for a moment and burn apart weapons and shields on most ships.

Another important thing I would always do is not fire missiles if shields were down unless weapons were still up - you will need every one of those missiles later.

Not my approach. Maxed engines for evasion, masses of lasers, and it goes down pretty quickly. Like others have said, there's more than one way to do it.

I beat the final boss the second time I met it, without teleport or cloaking. I had maxed shields, nearly maxed engines, and a fuckton of lasers. Cloak and teleport are fantastically useful, but despite what everyone says, there is no "required" kit to beat the boss.

Very dependent on the ship.

Cloak can't be bought on some ships. Some ships have extremely bad crew for boarding and don't even get to get some better crew. There's certainly more than one way to win it.

There are a number of ways to carry out a similar strategy, ie: kill all crew except one and destroy subsystems before trying to damage the hull.

The only ship that can't equip Cloak it is the Federation Cruiser (and its variant) and this ship has the Artillery Beam to make up for it. As for crew, between Stores and Slavers it's entirely possible to get to Mantis or, even better, two Rock crew members before facing the boss. This, at the very least, will let you take out the boss's weapons.

I just used really good ion weapons + shields to disable much of the boss's weaponry.


If you're a sucker for balance, you cannot get better than Desktop Dungeon, which just launched on Steam. That game is balanced down to the last digit. I have won DD before with a single health point remaining, 0 magic points, and all potions used. It's intense.

If you like Rogue-likes, then try Rogue Legacy, which is sort of the FTL take on Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

Your strategy for FTL is correct. I like to suck the marrow from early sectors, hoarding scrap and dough while routing early baddies. I've still never beaten it, though, and I've been playing since it was dropped on the IGF in 2011!

Desktop Dungeon is awesome. Also, do not forget the game that (I think) inspired some of FTL: Spelunky.

Splunky is great, Derek Yu rules, but it's also a very hardcore game, as well...

I love it too.

The only weird thing I've found: There's an option to show the reachable systems on the map, so you can plan your route through a sector in advance.

This is quite a gameplay change from the route guessing game you encounter with the default settings, making the game easier.

I feel a little bit like cheating when enabling this...

>The only weird thing I've found: There's an option to show the reachable systems on the map, so you can plan your route through a sector in advance.

>This is quite a gameplay change from the route guessing game you encounter with the default settings, making the game easier.

>I feel a little bit like cheating when enabling this...

They patched this in and it feels weird, yeah. I wish they would tie the upgrade into the sensor systems: see one level of nodes at level 2, and the whole map at level 3. I like feeling of jumping into the uknown but i can't turn off the minmax part of my brain enough to turn off a free option.

I always turn it on. I feel it removes a bit of the element of luck from the game as being close doesn't mean two points are connected.

To clarify, by balanced I mean that the difficulty is just hard enough for me to not be able to beat the game, yet subsequent play throughs are still extremely fun. I will eventually beat this game, but it will take some time.

I consistently get to the end game battle, no matter what luck I have in random events. I could have won my last few end battles if I had just played things slightly differently.

Nothing is perfect, some things are just more perfect than others ;-)

A game that lulls players into a false sense of security and then obliterates them is not "balanced"... although it's disputable whether "balance" is even a meaningful concept in a single-player game. That's a terrible feedback loop for the player. FTL has a lot to like about it and it deserves its popularity, but the game has some massive flaws related to randomness and difficulty.

if by balanced you mean completely random, then sure. Fun game but I wouldn't call it perfectly balanced.

I think FTL captures the spirit of "Star Fleet Battles" and "Traveller" ship-boarding combat without the extreme crunchiness that the pen-and-paper RPGs were known for.

However nothing beats the Escape Velocity series. The writing, the "asteroids-like" space combat, the trading missions. It's what I wished EVE Online was.


I loved EV. Especially EV:Override. So many hours invested. I have long thought an online MMO version would be pretty boss.

EVE Online is basically that MMO.

You should consider checking out the game "Space, Pirates, And Zombies" (aka SPAZ), which is a more recent iteration on the top-down space shooter. Plus, it's also made by a two-man team.

I played SPAZ a bit shortly after it came out. But then I found myself having to grind only a few hours in to make progress, and I just don't have time for that. Have I missed the point?

I remember Escape Velocity very fondly, not only was it fun it was the first mac application I dug into. I made it so my ship could launch cows.

There's NAEV, now, for this kind of thing. http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=939711...

I love FTL. I can beat it semi-reliably on Easy with a few of the ships, and occasionally on Normal. And that's part of the game's genius - there are quite a few practical ways you can build your ship and crew in preparation for the final boss, and each of the ships (and even layouts) is tailored towards facilitating a particular strategy. So even if you master one strategy, there are plenty more waiting to destroy you through your inexperience or ineptitude.

Brilliant game. Super excited for this.

If you haven't played FTL before, don't heed the complaints about the randomness, it's not as difficult or random as it may at first seem. And frankly failing in this game while you are learning the ropes is half the fun.

If you have been playing for a while and are still having difficulty check out DarkTwinge's video tutorial for some good tips: http://www.twitch.tv/darktwinge/c/2609597

Not to whine (because this game is pure liquid gold straight into my brain meat), but the one thing I was hoping for was a new endgame as an alternative to the final boss.

Yeah, I saw an article somewhere that pointed out what I believe is the problem with the endgame. In the last sector, the feel of the game changes completely. You've just spent seven sectors fleeing before the might of the unstoppable rebel fleet, and you finally get to the Federation base, and they say "OK, now find the biggest, baddest rebel ship and kill it." This jarring shift, combined with the flagship breaking all the rules (e.g. having drones after you've killed their drone systems) and yet still being trivial to defeat using specific gimmicks, really breaks the endgame for experienced players. Like the author of the aforementioned article that I can't seem to find, I only play the first seven sectors now. The final sector is so unenjoyable that I just quit when I get to the final sector and start a new game so I can go back to having fun.

"OK, now find the biggest, baddest rebel ship and kill it. We'll give you fuel and repair your ship, but won't give you any missiles, drone schemas, extra crew, drone parts, or extra weapons". I get the gameplay reasons for most of that, but they could at least restock your consumables.

I even tried to fly through the sector in reverse to see if I could do something weird like assaulting the rebel homeworld. Not a thing you can actually do.

Honestly, an Ender Wiggin moment would actually have been pretty good here. Instead of fighting any of the rebel ships, your goal is to survive until you can jump past each, and when you get to the flagship, survive until you can fire the Super Secret Win Button weapon.

You could always play with the federation cruiser and defeat the boss with only the artillery beam.

>Not to whine (because this game is pure liquid gold straight into my brain meat), but the one thing I was hoping for was a new endgame as an alternative to the final boss.

Agreed. A wider variety of challenges in the end game would be appreciated. Once you played this game a lot you can usually predict whether you can beat the final sector -- it is just going through the motions.

This is a great rogue-like indie game. I highly recommend it. You should know, my recommendation is essentially a guarantee.

To offer a counterpoint I on the other hand was pretty disappointed with the game.

I found there was not enough variety with the encounters (you keep seeing the same "abandoned space station"/"rogue drone" events very regularly). It's hard to forgive because all events are text-based, so it's not really difficult to add variety. That being said, maybe this extension solves this issue by adding a lot more events.

Others point out the extreme randomness of the game but I think it's only an issue because the game forces you to push forward (backtracking is almost never possible or very costly) which reduces your margin of error and makes you very dependent on the clemency of the "Random Number God". It's of course a very explicit design choice and the game wouldn't be the same without it but it does make for some very frustrating moments.

But I think the main problem I've had with the game is that it's sold as a roguelike (or rather, a roguelike-like) and in my opinion in doesn't come close to DCSS, nethack, angband and others in terms of depth of gameplay and "replayability". For me a roguelike is a game where you can end up in a seemingly desperate situation and still succeed by thinking out of the box and use an unexpected strategy. I've never had one of those moments in FTL. You can't take over other people's ships for instance, which would open a lot of new strategies. Of course the definition of "roguelike" is a bit loose so maybe I'm just too narrow minded.

All that being said for it's price it's definitely worth trying and see for yourself, I know some people have sunk hundreds of hours in this game so I guess they found something in it that eluded me...

>so it's not really difficult to add variety

This strikes me as a "how hard can it be to code?" line of thinking. Writing can be incredibly challenging, not to mention the code that drives the event and the testing involved. What I really wish the creators had done is made it much easier to mod the game with player-created content.

>depth of gameplay

Just putting it out there: this game was created by two guys and it's unknown if they were even able to devote their full attention to it. In my personal opinion, given this context, the result is impressive.

>I've never had one of those moments in FTL

They do exist. One time I destroyed the enemy but the boarders were absolutely destroying my Engie crew. Thankfully my doors were upgraded, but my Medbay was down. In the end I used a Fire Bomb weapon against my own ship multiple times to kill the boarders.

> This strikes me as a "how hard can it be to code?" line of thinking. Writing can be incredibly challenging, not to mention the code that drives the event and the testing involved. What I really wish the creators had done is made it much easier to mod the game with player-created content.

Agreed, it's easier said than done but I'm not asking for F. Scott Fitzgerald level of writing, I'm sure you can find plenty of inspiration in the thousands of episodes of various space opera TV shows out there. But I agree that making it easier for players to create contents would be an other way to solve this problem.

> Just putting it out there: this game was created by two guys and it's unknown if they were even able to devote their full attention to it. In my personal opinion, given this context, the result is impressive.

Meh. The other games I mentioned (nethack, DCSS and angband) are all made by small "indie" dev communities and they're open source and they're free of charge, yet they contain a massive amount of assets.

They've also been under development for a really long time.

DCSS is 7 years old (and a successor to the 16-year-old Crawl). Angband (Moria) is 19. Nethack is 27. Rogue was released in 1980 (33 years ago).

I understand that you may be unmoved by the sentiment, but how can you rationally compare a "small indie dev community" with "2 guys"?

Yeah, if you havent played it already it is definitely worth a spin. However every time I play it I just want to launch dwarf fortress again.

Wow, Dwarf Fortress. In case anyone doesn't know, it's supported exclusively by donations and the developer apparently refuses to do it any other way. It's really incredible, because (especially during updates) he makes upwards of $15k/month off donations. Evidently, that's enough, so he keeps chugging along....

Closer to $3-4k/month, which is higher than it used to be, odd given that there hasn't been a release for 18 months.

Monthly announcements include donations: http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?board=8.0

Here are some Stories about the game / devs that were on HN before: https://www.hnsearch.com/search#request/submissions&q=Dwarf+...

I simply can't wrap my head around the ascii interface. I wish it had even the most basic of sprites.

It supports sprites and I also wouldn't play without them - try, for example, the 'lazy newb pack'[1] which includes the popular sprite packs in the installer. There seems to be a newer kit [2] but I haven't tried that.

[1] http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/?topic=59026.0

[2] http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=126076.msg425...

Thanks! That's useful

Stop calling it roguelike. You're doing a disservice to people who know what a roguelike is, because this game is nothing like Rogue. Also I got bored with it after 3 play throughs, there's just not enough variety.

It's also a disservice to people who don't know what a roguelike is. I love FTL but after playing it I blew way too much money on actual roguelikes hoping I'd find something with a similar feel. :(

(If you got bored with it within 3 playthroughs, you probably didn't get to try the rock, slug, or stealth ships, all of which have very different strategies from the starter ship and change the gameplay/strategy up quite a bit. I find rock & slug a lot more fun than the Kestrel. Or maybe it's just not your kind of game, that's OK too. :))

So should we call it a roguelikelike? It exhibits many features of a roguelike game including randomized maps/battles, permadeath, and essentially turn based combat. I think it's fair to say that the roguelike genre has evolved passed just being narrowly Rogue-like.

I've heard it referred to as a "Rogue-lite".

> * Also I got bored with it after 3 play throughs, there's just not enough variety.*

How would you know how much variety it has it you've only done three playthroughs? You haven't seen a fraction of what the game has to offer.

I'm happy to edit my comment, sorry for doing a disservice. Can you explain to me what makes it not roguelike? You might want to edit the Wikipedia article for it, as it's described as roguelike and part of the roguelike genre. My understanding was that randomized maps with permadeath was sufficient to consider something roguelike, this isn't to say it is a direct descendant of Rogue, but maybe I need to learn the lingo, so I'd appreciate your clarification.

Your getting bored with it isn't by itself a convincing argument that it's not roguelike :P

Friends, consider this a warning. If you are working on something important and/or have a deadline - AVOID this game at all costs.

I command-F'd for "music" but I see no hits. I think that the music in FTL is great, especially for coding. Here's a link to the FTL soundtrack and other great stuff by the artist, Ben Prunty: http://benprunty.bandcamp.com/

See the video on 0:43

> New music by Ben Prunty

> New content by Tom Jubert

> and guest writer Chris Avellone

Awesome. I love me some Space Disco.

FTL is great, I loved playing it on my computer, and I still love opening it for a game or two from time to time.

Too bad that they aren't releasing it for Android (for now). I would loved to play it on-the-go, and would easily pay again for it.

Still, it's great to see a free expansion. Thanks FTL Team!

I'll be surprised if it works out well for tablet, becaue of power consumption issues. It chews through battery on my laptop.

You are probably still playing the original Humble Bundle (or launch) version. Update that. A while ago they added a frame rate limit and power use is reasonable.

Too bad the unfair, uncontrollable, unmitigateable randomness turns this otherwise excellent game in a poor joke. There is no planning you can do, since every shop is random and there is nothing you can do if the game just decides to spawn precisely the kind of enemy that can kill you right then and there. All the different combat systems and options are good, but given that you have no idea what weapon drops you'll get, you can't do any planning ahead. Additionally, if you start having to run away from battles you fall behind the curve and there's no going back. You can't just scout the sector to find easy enemies to beat, because you have a very tight limit on how much exploring you can do. Once you fall behind the resource curve and have to run away from more and more encounters you're already dead.

I spent 15 hours with this game, did close to 40 attempts and only once got to sector 7. Usually I'd die around sector 4 or 5.

If you already have the game and like it, good for you. I just want to warn other people. My final opinion is: the devs don't understand statistics and randomness; go play nethack, it's easier.

If you can't beat the game easily on easy, you are just missing something. Maybe you should read a forum or something?

You can give yourself an easy bonus just by training against the first enemy you encounter that can't penetrate your shields. Make sure you have helm, engines, shields, and weapons manned and you aren't auto-firing enough to damage the enemy then just let the game sit for an hour or two while your crew levels up.

Early on your shields are plenty vs. the non-missiles of the enemies you encounter so all that matters is upping your engines enough to dodge missiles and saving enough spare money for stores. A nice bonus is that you can run away faster too.

Once you hit a store with enough money and a teleporter, bio beam, cloaking device, or drone system and defense drone, you win basically. Teleporter/bio beam lets you capture enemy ships intact for massive resource gains (and disable weapons on the end boss) and it is easy to micromanage your guys and beam them back and forth to take any ship. Cloaking lets you dodge full enemy salvos. Defense drone takes care of the pesky missile problem, the only really effective weapon in the game as long as you keep your shields upgraded properly.

I can win reliably on easy with any ship, and often on normal. If you can't win on easy you are just missing some technique. You can't scout but you can easily pick the right nodes to see the maximum number of nearby nodes, picking the optimal path, etc.. If there's anything I hate about the game it's the fact that there are so many auto-win scenarios. If I run into a teleporter in a store in a ship that doesn't start with one and I can afford it selling anything non-critical, I pretty much win, so it isn't fun.

Small hints, since you're struggling:

- Make sure to man your stations, try to keep these operators alive and in the same place

- Playstyle depends on the ship type you're using, but you need to have something to penetrate shields soon. Ion weapons might help if you have enough/fire fast enough. Rockets/explosives are easier early on, but later defense drones will be very annoying

- If you're really having trouble: My wife disturbed me during one game and the battle was boring (enemy couldn't penetrate my shields). I went doing whatever she asked for and returned to a decently trained shields engineer :)

- Intrigued by the above: If you can do the same in an asteroid field... ;-p

Last but not least: I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy the game. Dieing is part of the genre and difficulty might certainly vary, but that's the fun of it. It's mostly about these "Really? THAT encounter when I'm out of missiles?" or the "Whoa, too much hopping around. I sure could use some fuel" moments, right before you're back to square one. For me beating the game isn't the goal and when I beat it, the game failed. :)

I have done all of that, except tried different ships. I only played with the starting ship, on hard difficulty, because I wanted to finish the main game before trying the extra modes.

Yes, I have maxed out dodge and shields. I have actually grinded enemies until I had every crew member maxed out on every possible stat. It doesn't help one bit, because you can still get hit 10 or even 20 times in a row, even though you have a 20% evade chance, and 20 hits from anything is pretty much enough to sink you.

It is honestly the most frustrating game I have ever played.

Also, I'm not struggling, I just gave up on it for good. I haven't played it in a year, if not more.

I bought into the hype and bought the game and it turned out to be ... that. I just want to give my perspective so other people don't get it and then feel misled.

> I have done all of that, except tried different ships. I only played with the starting ship, on hard difficulty, because I wanted to finish the main game before trying the extra modes.

You are playing on hard mode without any experience in handling game strategies and events, this is why you are losing. Try it on the easy mode and get a feel for some different strategies and ships. This game is not difficult, with some experience you can beat most runs in the game with any ship on the hard difficult.

You must be doing something wrong. I beat the game every single time on easy. The only ship I've had trouble with is the Mantis cruiser. I also beat it 50% of the time on Normal (the hardest possible option).

> I only played with the starting ship, on hard difficulty

And you're wondering why the game is hard?

If you're getting hit 10-20 times in a row then it means that the enemy is getting the time to take 10-20 shots at you... which seems far too much; the battle should be over much sooner almost always - you can't afford attrition battles since any damage costs you funds that are required for upgrades.

But starting with hard difficulty probably was the mistake - unlike other games, it's not something you do before trying other things, it's something to do after you've tried other things and found out a strong strategy that works for you.

>I have done all of that, except tried different ships. I only played with the starting ship, on hard difficulty, because I wanted to finish the main game before trying the extra modes.

You should 100% try the other ships, it's the fastest way to learn. The different ships teach you different things. Some ships start with no shields, or no weapon, etc, and show you different approaches which you will bring into any ship.

> - Intrigued by the above: If you can do the same in an asteroid field... ;-p

If there is also an enemy shooting at you, you will gain experience for shields and engines when asteroids hit/miss. Otherwise, no.

You used to be able to do this, though.

Fun to imagine this comment in the context of building a startup.

<Too unfair, ran out of money after 4-5 weeks, gave up. The whole experience is a joke. If you like it, good for you. Go get a real job, it's easier.>

This seems to be a common impression among those who start playing the game. However, I have seen an experienced player win 10 games in a row on normal difficulty (in response to someone making the exact claim you did, so it wasn't like he got a lucky streak), switching to a different ship each time. So obviously the randomness is not a complete killer if you know the game well enough. That said, I'm not that good at the game.

>I spent 15 hours with this game, did close to 40 attempts and only once got to sector 7. Usually I'd die around sector 4 or 5.

The game is hard no doubt, so most of the challenge is seeing how far you can get with what resources you encounter rather than 'winning'...

But FYI, the best players have win rates upwards of 90% on Normal. Perhaps 60% with a random ship rather than one of the better ones. In fact there are people on Twitch who win more than 50% of their games WITHOUT PAUSING... !

Note that there are various mods for this game, including one that removes the time limit. That should allow for some pressure-free exploring, trying out the nice equipment and recruiting and training a fun crew.

That way you'd technically miss out on some stuff, but you know, these days I'm a "casual" at best, and I spend my forum-reading- and figuring-things-out-energy on other things.

Your comment does not do the game justice IMHO. FTL is a solid game and I spent a lot of hours with it. It is true that there are a lot of random events in the game but you can plan a little or let's say: You can improve the odds:

For example there is a subsystem (forgot it's name) that let's your ship jump to every previously visited location. So if you find a map of the current sector later on and this map reveals a store you may be able to simply jump back to it if the fleet is not yet there. Also: If the fleet is already there you can still jump back. You only have to fight a ship from the fleet. Then you go to the store, buy your goods and jump back.

Also: You can plan your route through a sector. You should try to visit as many places as you can but still be ahead of the fleet. This is a very cool challenge - especially for CS people… route planning, route optimization, etc…

Your actions also have a direct influence on what you get: For example if you encounter a hostile ship you can destroy it or make a plea bargain with them. Usually the ship will offer you fuel, scrap (=money) or other stuff you may or may not need. If you decide to destroy the ship instead you usually get less goods (fuel, weapons) and more scrap (money). So if you plan (haha) to visit a store soon you may decide to destroy the ships on your way.

There is a whole wiki-community for this game. They note different strategies:


Also you can upgrade your ship with scrap (money). You have to decide what system to upgrade.

When fighting another ship it makes a huge difference if you know what you are doing or not. Of you are a noob you will most likely be destroyed or loose too much during the fight.

Before you start your journey you can also pick one of several different ships. Every ship has different characteristics. Even your crew members have different capabilities:

There is one species where each crew member gives the room where the crew member is in additional power. Guys from other species are made of rock: Use them to distinguish fires on your ship.

Fire on your ship is a huge topic.

Fire occurs when your ship is hit by sun flares, big weapons or other dangerous stuff. Fire is causing damage to your ship and makes the current room unusable. You can plan ahead to deal with fire:

You can control the hatches of your ship. Some people have all hatches open so that all unused parts of the ship are exposed to space. This means that those rooms have no oxygen in them. When a fire happens in those rooms it automatically disappears after a few seconds because in those rooms there is no oxygen.

You can plan so much in this game…

What you're thinking of is the "Adv. FTL Navigation" augmentation instead of a Subsystem.

Completely agree with the rest of the sentiment. I usually have a general idea of what I want (ex: get shields to 3 by sector 4) but improvise depending on what drops/encounters I get.

I didn't know they had Chris Avellone (main writer on Planescape Torment) on board.

Chris appears to be working on everything at present. Planescape, Wasteland, this small FTL gig, plus no doubt Fallout 4 in some capacity. Either indie game writing pays too little or Chris does not know how to say no.

And the best part : it's a free expansion !

It wasn't mentioned in the page, but I'm assuming the iPad version will need to be re-purchased even if I've already purchased for the PC?

I think so too. The App store has only limited functionality to give out licences outside the normal purchasing process (100 free keys, if this information is still correct.)

This is a constant problem for all Kickstarters which produces iOS apps.

(But seeing how I got the original game for 5$ and how much time I've spend with it, I am willing to pay again for it.)

One of the very first things I thought when I played this, right when it came out, was "god damn why don't I have this on my iPad?"

I knew in my heart they would come through. Really great game, can't wait to play it again.

Is this like Star Command? I like the idea but Star Command was a disappointment. Just the same thing over and over again without any real depth. Unfortunately this looks just as battle focused so I'm skeptical.

FTL is so much better. The story is better, the writing is actually professional, and you have much more autonomy (which leads to very interesting scenarios). The pace is frenetic, and your ship can actually explode (biiiiiiiiiig game-breaking problem with Star Command).

I don't know what happened to Star Command, but it felt like the final product wanted to be this. It was such a tedious game.

I played both and I do prefer FTL, it definitely has more depth but it's different because since FTL is a roguelike, when you die, you lose everything, where in Star Command you just got to your last save point.

I was disappointed with Star Command, I was looking for something similar to FTL, but FTL is better IMHO.

Star Command was ok, but the replay value was low. FTL replay value is very high.

There's a lot more depth to it than star command and higher replay value

IMHO the replay value is way higher than many supposedly-AAA titles. I'm looking at my game time stats from Steam, so I'm not making it up :)

I've never played Star Command but I can say that FTL is superb. There's something about it that is incredibly satisfying, it's very challenging but always in a good way (getting your ass kicked just makes you want to hit back harder next time). It also has great atmosphere - it feels very measured and serious. I find it almost meditative to play. It's absorbing and requires real focus.

Thank god this hasn't come out yet. Easily the most addictive game I've played in years...I've lost whole weekends to it. I don't think my social life can take an upgrade to this game right now

+1 for FTL. A challenging game, expect to die a lot at the beginning.

I've played this game a thousand times, and I've still never beat it. That's one of the reasons I like some of these games like that.

I remember the first Final Fantasy where, sure, maybe you could sneak your way through to the boss. But he's going to kick your butt.

Same thing with FTL. The journey is only half of the battle. Being prepared after making it through in another game entirely.

This is one of the best games ever

Advanced edition? This game kicks my ass already!

I enjoyed (and highly recommend) FTL, but I don't think that a few new weapons gives me a reason to play it again.

New events? New sectors? New systems and subsystems?

New content from Chris Avellone?

Based on my reading of the announcement, the content and story are still largely unchanged. I'm sure the content is worthwhile, but since I already know in broad strokes what's going to happen to my crew, I think I'd enjoy spending the time elsewhere.

Great news. I'm absolutely abysmal at FTL, but I have fun every time I start it up.

So should I play this or the vanilla version?

I haven't played the new version yet, but you might consider playing the vanilla version 'til you start to get bored, then upgrading for some new experiences.

The vanilla version is already really good. Play it on easy first, pause often in battles to think, expect to die a lot, read some guides when you feel stuck. The changes listed here will add a lot to the game, but they mostly take the form of freshening things up with new strategic options and fixing some interface annoyances. I think the game will be a little harder to learn after this update.

So eh, what's interesting about this? Did they get funding? Are they using an interesting business model? Are they using a cool new technology? Is there something we can learn from them?

All I see is the announcement of a sequel to a modern popular game, what's going on?

"Modern popular game", which so happens to be developed by two guys, who got their funding on kickstarter.

There are lots of interesting things going on, pick one.

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