FTL Still Creates Compelling, Morally Grey Deep Space Journeys 10 Years Later


Most of “Star Trek” from the very beginning in 1966 was focused on the idea of a “bold movement”, presenting viewers with an image of humanity detached from modern shortcomings. However, the original USS Enterprise was essentially a military submarine under the command of Captain Kirk. Unsurprisingly, many interesting concepts from the franchise question how united people will face unfathomable threats to their lives and morals, like the Borg in “The Next Generation” and the Dominion War in “Deep Space 9”. Ten years ago, Subset Games released FTL: Faster Than Light, which still stands out for how it puts these difficulties in front of players.

The Galactic Federation in FTL is less specific than the United Federation of Planets from Star Trek, but retains the same basic appeal. This is an intergalactic peacekeeping organization, which includes representatives of various alien races, and they all serve on the same spaceships, providing their unique skills. One of the main differences is that the construction of the FTL world is not based on utopian ideals, it is more like the harsh universe of “Star Wars” — the main plot even relies on players providing information that can help defeat the rebel flagship replacing the Death Star. before he destroys the Federation’s main base.

This basic narrative of good and evil fits so well into the morally gray politics of the Star Trek-style alliance, because FTL’s roguelike design focuses on how the player behaves during each randomly generated passage. Defeating the Rebel flagship requires a lot of strength, especially at higher difficulty levels, but how a player acquires this strength depends on how he thinks his team will react to unexpected circumstances. Subset Games gives players the opportunity to create a real coalition that reciprocates for help, or a death machine that takes components from both friends and enemies, and freedom in its relatively limited framework is still relevant to this day.

Creating a superluminal and intergalactic war

Justin Ma and Matthew Davis are the two people responsible for Subset Games, who in February 2012 raised more than $200,000 to create FTL through Kickstarter. The plot of a space opera in franchises such as Star Wars, focusing on the inner workings of a single ship.

Each superluminal passage begins with the selection of one of several ships, each of which is equipped in such a way as to maximize the potential of the variety of assembly in the game. For example, the Engi base ship has built-in drone controls, as befits this race of insensitive mechanical creatures; meanwhile, the Mantis base ship has a teleporter that allows you to take advantage of boarding enemy ships with the help of fast and powerful insects. However, these ship systems can be customized on the fly if players find improvements on their journey, which corresponds to the customization inherent in naming their ship and editing crew members as desired for role-playing.

The freedom of choice becomes deeper, given that players not only allocate resources to upgrade their ship, but also decide how each system works during real-time combat. The player’s ship will never be ready for every collision, given the breadth of combat capabilities, but even ships with insufficient power can survive if guided by the smart direction that can be seen in the episode “Star Trek”. Everything can be adjusted manually: from pulling energy from the oxygen generator to turning on the shields and opening each door so that the cosmic vacuum extinguishes fires. Crewmembers get better at handling certain stations over time, but anyone can be ordered to repair or fight invaders in any part of the ship—provided there is room there.

In an August 2012 interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Ma and Davis said they wanted to capture the high-stakes combat and control from Deep Space Nine in the style of a board game with a view from above, and FTL is certainly an example of what made this series popular in the world. microcosm is better than officially licensed games like Crossroads of Time. It was so successful that in 2014, the FTL: Advanced Edition expansion was released, which introduced a new alien race, more ships (including new variants of old ships) and much more.

Selection manages all FTL systems

FTL combat is an exciting chess game in which units move and target enemy systems to completely disable them, but much of what is possible in combat depends on the player’s exploratory nature and ability to read the current situation. Players must traverse seven sectors to reach the “Last Stand” against the rebel flagship, located on branched paths that can lead the team into civilian space, hostile environments, or nebulae that hide the surroundings.


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