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FTL: Spaceship Simulation with Strategic Combat Released

By on September 14th, 2012 2:37 pm

FTL - Faster Than Light

FTL (Faster than Light) generated a lot of buzz some months ago from a surprising kickstarter reception which caught the game devs completely by surprise.

FTL is a spaceship simulation game that features elements of exploration, discovery, spaceship management and real-time strategic combat (pausable real-time). FTL went to Kickstarter with a pledge objective of $10.000, but was able to generate 20 times more than that! ($200.000).

FTL is a lot about adventure but also about strategy as the players need to make many decisions in reaction to certain text-based events. It’s like in the Star Trek series where the crew was always facing unpredictable dangers and needed to react swiftly and cleverly to solve them. In a way it’s about you in the skin of a captain or personifying a spaceship crew deciding what needs to be done to deal with circumstances.

FTL is probably one of the first true Kickstarter success cases, in which concerns video games, since it is one of the first to release to the public while keeping the original schedule.

FTL released today and is now available for Windows, Mac and Linux. You can get the game on GOG (Win), Steam (Win and Mac) and on the dev’s web page itself (Win, Mac and Linux) if you’re interested in a DRM-free version (redeemable on Steam).

We’re working on this one also folks, so, stop by in a week or two to know more about this promising spaceship simulation adventure. In the mean time there are loads of videos available for you to check out so that you know a bit more about FTL.

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  1. Bryan Bell says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve been looking forward to this game. I’ve just picked it up from Steam.

  2. Bryan Bell says:

    By the way, will you be listing this on your Games List page?

    • Adam Solo says:

      That’s still to be decided. I suspect so, but it depends on the amount of strategic and/or tactical depth I will find in the game as it is not a pure strategy game.

      • Evil Azrael says:

        “Space Sector – Your Source for Sci-Fi and Space Strategy Games”

        Undeniable, it’s a Sci-Fi game ;)

        • Adam Solo says:

          Sci-Fi gets covered, Sci-Fi strategy gets a review and a spot on the games section ;)

          Maybe I should change the title to: “Your Source for Sci-Fi & Space Strategy Games”? Maybe it would be clearer?

        • Bryan Bell says:

          Maybe it would help to change the title of the Games List page to “Sci-Fi Strategy Games List” or otherwise add a little text explaining the criteria for games being included on the list.

          Also, maybe it would be clearer to just put “Your Source for Sci-Fi Strategy Games” in the site’s sub-title.

          Just my 2 cents.

        • Adam Solo says:

          Thanks for your suggestions Bryan. The Games List page already has a sentence in the end that explains the inclusion criteria.

          “Remark: To be part of the space sector games list a game must be space-based or sci-fi themed and contain a good deal of strategic and/or tactical elements.”

          As for the sub-title, your suggestion is sensible but I’ll keep it as it is now since Space is the blog’s original and central theme.

  3. Ethan says:

    This game is EXCELLENT. Fun to play for long or short bursts..

  4. Evil Azrael says:

    9USD. That’s a nobrainer for me :) The first 30min were entertaining, looking forward to play more :)

  5. JohnR says:

    I dunno Adam. I think the concept of the game is sound and it’s always good to see Indy’s doing well. The trouble is, to my eye the presentation seems primitive, especially when you compare it to beautiful space ship games like Star Wolves. Having said that, the modest price may make it worth a try, especially if the reviews and general buzz are good.

    BTW, a bit off topic, but just finished watching the old, old Italian scfi film ‘Battle of the Worlds’. Although definitely dated, it has a lot going for it like good special effects for the day, an eerie and atmospheric soundtrack, and a lot of beautiful women. ;o) Also, the space craft were based on designs by the great Werner von Braun. Wish someone would do a game space with a retro golden age scifi look like this movie.

  6. JohnR says:

    Ah, now I understand. FTL is a spaceship crew management game. Interesting. I’m reminded of UFO: Afterlight where you’re shuttling your personnel around the various buildings in your base (workshops, labs, training facilities, etc.) where they can do the most good. In any event I will definitely watch for the reviews of FTL.

  7. Evil Azrael says:

    It’s more than a crew management game. You have to manage crew, energy, repairs, resources, fuel & ressources, ship upgrades, your path to the exit and which target system to attack with which of your weapon. If that is not a strategy game, at least it’s a space ship simulation.
    I am curious how this game compares to the annouced “starship corporation”.

    • JohnR says:

      Well Azrael, I think all those additional things you mentioned are implicit with crew management, otherwise there would be no point in managing the crew.

      I dunno, if it looked like Star Wolves I would buy it in a heartbeat. As it is it looks too graphically primitive for my liking. Although I agree that good game play is the most important thing, in this day and age you have to have an appealing graphic presentation to even get out the door.

  8. Towerbooks3192 says:

    I got my eye on this and was just waiting for any word from here. So how’s the replayability?

    • Varquynne says:

      It’s a great title – especially for the price. Lots of replayability. On “normal” difficulty, it’s quite challenging. Expect to die quite a lot. :D

  9. Jeff P says:

    I sure hope less flash translates into more reliability. I’m very tired of Steam games (with no demo) that don’t play well or at all on my computer (I’m looking at you, Civ V). As for game play, it certainly looks unique, but judging from the Steam forums, it’s definitely a love-it-or-hate-it experience.

    I’ll wait for Adam’s review.

  10. SirEmi says:

    Just bought this, looks like a fun game and only $9 :)

    Always liked the good old captain Kirk games :))

  11. slyostinato says:

    Okay, initial reactions to this game is:

    It feels like a DOS/Commodore 64 game. Definitely old-school feel. You won’t see any glitzy graphics on this game. This developer must’ve interned with Distant World developers – the fonts and some of the wording are small and not easy to read. The play field is smallish and there is no way to increase its size. He only developed this for wide-screen monitors as it won’t auto adjust to 4:3 monitors like other games do. You have the option of playing in windowed-mode (default), stretched – sends the image beyond monitor boundaries and letter-box mode. Again, some of the icons and game images are smallish and hard to see or easily monitor. Makes clicking on them a bit difficult since there is not enough game icon to allow for margin of error in your mousing/clicking skills. Hmmmm…I guess if you have a hankering for a 1980’s, early-90’s game, this might just tickle your fancy. If you were expecting more “modern” graphics, you will be disappointed. The music is also very Commodore-ish (i.e. electronic synthesizer). Definitely LOTS of room to grow on this game for this indie developer. I like that he has non-Steam options to buy this.

    • Bryan Bell says:

      I agree that the options for adjusting to different screen resolutions and aspect ratios are lacking in this game. I was able to get the game to fill my monitor (1920×1200, 16:10) by using the “Fullscreen on-stretch” option and then adjusting my monitor aspect ratio to “Full” (rather than its normal “1:1”). I find the fonts easy to read using this arrangement.

      The graphic and music style (intentionally retro) don’t bother me, even though I don’t personally prefer the retro look in modern games. I don’t feel that the style detracts from the core gameplay.

  12. killias2 says:

    Honestly, I’m surprised by all the comments about the graphics. Maybe part of it is that I have a wide-screen monitor or something because I really dig the graphic style and the whole approach, really. It’s deliberately retro, but it’s certainly not DOS/C64. The weapon effects, shields, cloaking, transportation, etc. etc. all look pretty cool, IMO.

    Go into it realizing it’s a roguelike (with strategic pause-able real-time combat). You’re going to die. A lot. And restart. Because you can’t make a permanent save. Because it’s a roguelike.
    It’s basically designed to be played in short 2 hour bursts or so, but, TBH, I think it works. I’ve had a lot of memorable moments with it already, and I really dig the combat. I usually don’t like roguelikes, but the combat really brings it back home.

    • killias2 says:

      The party management and ship customization is also pretty ace. You always have lots of options for moving forward, but you’ll never have the resources to move on all of them simultaneously. There’s a bit of hidden depth there, which is a great match for the roguelike approach.

  13. Ermdog says:

    Thanks for the reminder post Adam! Just picked it up from Steam and so far it’s great! Nice original soundtrack too, love the ambient sounds. Thinking of picking up the soundtrack as well. Happy gaming!

  14. Cykur says:

    Very entertaining game! Bought it last night, played it all day, and managed to win it in the starter ship. While some folks may not like the retro graphics, this is a gem of a strategy sim. While the game is very unforgiving of bad decisions, it seems to allow many different strategies to win. Every play through will be a unique experience.

  15. Serge says:

    For any1 who had played – how would you rate it vs DistantWorlds:Legends? I bought DW:L on the strength of the reviews, but it was disappointment for me – neither MOO nor MOO 2, more like Space Empires spreadsheet…

  16. Da-Fort says:

    @Serge It is nothing like DW. DW is your standard real-time 4X game. FTL is a rogue-like. Completely different genres. It is up to you to decide if you want to buy it or not.

    About the graphical style. Personally I am not really into stylized games but I like old school visual presentation. And the music is absolutely gorgeous! Everything is very cohesive in these departments.

    There is a lot of strategical and tactical decisions to be made. Think carefully about what weapons you want to drag along and how you are going to utilize them. Good weapons take a lot of energy but take time to fire upgrading and need upgrades in weapons and into your reactor which may leave you without good shielding or hull repairs or even without fuel. Missiles and bombs are ammunition based but bypass shields. Laser weapons are very devastating on hull but are easily deflected by decent shielding. And we should not forget that we even can use our own crew as a weapon during boarding operations.

    This game certainly has some replayability value thanks to the random events and random sectors you get. After some time you will recognize the events but the outcome will always be different. In my case I always end up losing a crewmember or my ship jumps near a sun (read: twice) or into an Ion storm. ALWAYS! NO EXCEPTIONS!

    Although there are unlockable ships that have different play styles and an additional unlockable variant of said ship. That alone will increase its replayability.

    I am still playing it and will continue playing for several weeks until I start losing interest and come back every now and then. I have yet to beat this game on normal as I refuse to play on easy. I once made it to the last sector and got killed by the first rebel fighter! Some hero ship we turned out to be.

    For being a person who has never played any rogue-likes before I would like to say that if you are somewhat interested by its style and gameplay, give it a shot. It is very cheap. But as was said, not for everyone.

    P.S: Since when did all enemy ships start brandishing missiles and ion weaponry? Is it because I dump all my scrap into shields? Time to find a good ship build : /

    • Serge says:

      Roguelike? With permadeath – only one save and no reload after death?

      • Bryan Bell says:

        Yep. I’ve learned I’m not very good at these kinds of games. After 9 hours of attempts, I’ve only been able to get as far as sector 5 (out of 8) without my ship being destroyed or all my crew dying. And that’s on the Easy difficulty. I’ll keep trying, though…

      • Da-Fort says:

        I am sure there is a save file somewhere on your computer. If you are unscrupulous you can save that file and replace it every time you die. Though I want to ironman mode this game.

        And Bryan Bell. I know what you mean. I usually die around sector 4-6.

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