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Faster Than Light
March 17, 2013 3:38 PM   Subscribe

Davis and Ma wrote up a long list of one-paragraph game pitches to prototype. They would be small, manageable games that two people could complete on their own. The game they chose to go with would have to be finished within a year, because that was all they had budgeted for. Among the pitches inspired by board games, roguelikes and all the genres that excited them was a 2D, top-down management game called FTL. The Opposite of Fail - The making of FTL (Previously)
posted by Artw (19 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
"All we cared about was making the player feel like they were Captain Picard yelling at engineers to get the shields back online"

That pretty much sums up why I love FTL
posted by Foaf at 5:10 PM on March 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


FTL is wonderful. You can't really describe it in terms of anything else; it feels most like a mix of a roguelike with a boardgame. It's very, very difficult to win; it's hard to even survive to the halfway point.

I've described it as Nethack, with ten levels, severe time pressure, and Asmodeus at the end.

As punishing as it is, I love it. It is so damn good.
posted by Malor at 5:16 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


It really is a terrific game, and a nice success. I'm trying to remember how their Kickstarter got publicity. Maybe the Rock Paper Shotgun guys picked it up?
posted by Nelson at 5:35 PM on March 17, 2013


It's very, very difficult to win; it's hard to even survive to the halfway point.

Steam tells me I've now played 47 hours of FTL (almost entirely on Normal; Easy isn't even fun). I can now pretty reliably reach the end, although usually not nearly powerful enough to beat the flagship. Most important lesson I've learned? Evade > shields. Upgrade your engine, and take out their helm.
posted by cthuljew at 5:54 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think one source of exposure was Notch expressing interest in it relatively early.
posted by 23 at 6:05 PM on March 17, 2013


FTL is fun for certain values of fun, although I have to admit that the level of difficulty involved in actually beating the game is kind of absurd

SPOILERS

So I need to have max dodge, weapons, shields, AND drones AND a robotic sentry to counter their teleported robotic sentries AND a firebeam to kill their crew AND WTF ?!?!

/SPOILERS

I feel like if they increased the length of the game by, say, 30-50% and toned down the end stage difficulty by the same degree (or even kept it the same -- just give me enough time to upgrade), it would be a very nice, playable (and replayable) game.

As for it's current state, it's frustratingly difficult gameplay makes it borderline unenjoyable.
posted by Avenger at 6:41 PM on March 17, 2013


Yeah, it's way too easy to get to the end with a ship that isn't even half powerful enough to take out the flagship.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 6:51 PM on March 17, 2013


And all of the cool side missions that let you unlock new ships are way too difficult to come across, because the game is so short.

The amazing thing about this game, though, is that it's still really fun even with no hope of winning.
posted by vogon_poet at 7:32 PM on March 17, 2013


In my first few hours of playing FTL, I didn't realize you could buy more power for your ship. So I was frantically juggling energy between weapons and shields. You can actually get pretty far this way on easy, and it's more exciting than playing the "right" way. Recommended. (you'll never beat the mothership without being able to power at least 3 shields, though)
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:40 PM on March 17, 2013


Love FTL too - have unlocked the stealth ship, the rock ship and the cruiser (with the beam artillery) and B variants of the cruiser, Kestrel and Torus so far

Took me a while to realise that timing attacks is key - especially if you have beam weapons. Hit their shields with your lasers just before you rake your hapless foe with your beam, then revel in the hideous destruction.

Also blast doors and careful use of vacuum and O2 can really help against those pesky boarding parties.

Haven't found out what the damaged stasis pod is good for yet.
posted by JustAsItSounds at 9:56 PM on March 17, 2013


Haven't found out what the damaged stasis pod is good for yet.

You gotta get it to the right people.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:20 PM on March 17, 2013


So I need to have max dodge, weapons, shields, AND drones AND a robotic sentry to counter their teleported robotic sentries AND a firebeam to kill their crew AND WTF ?!?!

Not really. You just have to have enough firepower to take their weapons out. Once their weapons are out (even temporarily) you can wreak havoc on their shields, controls and engines without worry.
posted by cthuljew at 12:36 AM on March 18, 2013


I will plug because it's rad. But watching lethalfrag devour FTL will make you feel inadequate.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 12:43 AM on March 18, 2013


Was FTL inspired by this at all?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SunDog:_Frozen_Legacy
posted by Chasuk at 1:43 AM on March 18, 2013


Fucking FTL! I've made it to the end boss (on Easy!) about three times. SPOILERS: First time was the most successful, I had a kick-ass boarding team who took down all the weapons allowing me to finish off the boss in peace. OR SO I THOUGHT. Second stage annihilated me...

Also from a bit of reading on the internet it seems like one of the best ships in the game is the second one you unlock, removing a lot of the fun of trying to unlock new ships types and layouts.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:12 AM on March 18, 2013


Also blast doors and careful use of vacuum and O2 can really help against those pesky boarding parties.

You can't suffocate drones, so eventually you realise you should've got your own security drone or a couple of Mantis and now you're screwed...
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:13 AM on March 18, 2013


One of the great things about FTL battles is that you use different strategies against different enemies. That sounds like a no-brainer, but there are a lot of games where "shoot the guy in the head while running in circles" is the apex of gameplay strategy. There's a lot of pausing and deciding which enemy systems to take down first, and what defenses should I raise, and what risks I'm willing to take, etc.

The game starves you of resources, so you'll end up finding how to effectively use each weapon and how they synergize with other weapons and tactics. I've discovered the joys of the fire bomb + rock crew (invulnerable to fires) boarding party.
posted by cyberscythe at 8:12 AM on March 18, 2013


chainlinkspiral: That's a great video, but it also kinda shows what turned me off FTL in the end, which is that at high difficulty levels it's just hours of "pause game, give commands, have game run for three seconds..."
posted by Zarkonnen at 8:15 AM on March 18, 2013


I don't know if it's been on sale for a while, but if you're a really really cheap bastard, it's 50% at Steam.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:30 AM on March 23, 2013


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