Friday, September 21, 2012

Episode 47: FTL

Welcome to Roguelike Radio episode 47. This week we look at the spaceship sim roguelike-like FTL. Talking this ep are Darren Grey and Ryan Boyd. You can download the mp3 of the podcast, play it in the embedded player below, or you can follow us on iTunes.



Topics discussed in this episode include:
- The results of its Kickstarter campaign
- The mandatory "But Is It A Roguelike?" discussion (check out Darren's thoughts here)
- Roguelike elements done differently, like its hunger clock mechanic
- The ability to control time in the game
- Complaints about too much luck in the game and dice roll based encounters
- How Darren is awesome and can beat the game without shops :P
- Various tactics and variability that makes the game fun
- The joy of watching your enemies slowly asphyxiate
- The awesome soundtrack
- Similarities to Flotilla
- Purchase direct from the makers (recommended - you get the game DRM-free + Steam key), GOG or Steam

14 comments:

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    1. Thanks! Ben Prunty was kind enough to let us use some of his music that he composed for FTL. I, too, thought that it was a nice touch to the episode :)

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  2. This game really does need a much larger pool of encounters to draw from, with more possible outcomes. You make a great deal of how of a coin-toss the random events are, and you both seemed to casually dismiss the idea of having a varied crew - these are two problems very much of your own making, as every encounter has one or more crew-specific options to mitigate or eliminate the risk. Darren casually mentions this, but still doesn't seem to realise you are essentially drinking potions to identify them.

    Incidentally, the internally inconsistent control scheme is very roguelike; it could only be moreso if there was a way to select weapons with unique key combinations and target them with vi cursor controls.

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    1. Hi Ray,

      I'm not sure if I so much dismissed the idea of having a varied crew as I said that I've had more mixed luck with it. The main obstacles that I've encountered with a varied crew has been in the later sectors, especially when I'm riding a bit behind the "power curve", as Darren calls it. When I have a hull breach in my shield generator room, a fire in my O2 room, and my weapons have been blasted down to only a couple of power bars, I have failed every time to effectively deploy the "right crew member to the right situation", as it were. When it gets down to the point of every moment being vital, it has always served me best to ignore crew race and let them deal with problems based upon proximity. In less urgent situations, yes, a varied crew can be effective. Admittedly, I did not articulate it well in the episode, but I feel as though when things get heated, the crew/race system largely is rendered inert or useless.

      As far as controls, I think that Darren has a larger problem than myself with that. As a kid, I played the living hell out of X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter and, as a result, do not really mind archaic or unnecessarily complex control schemes -- it helps make my childhood sci-fi fantasies come true :)

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  3. The 'not knowing the outcome of the dice roll' is what kills King of Dragon Pass for me. It's not just the not knowing, it's the knowing as well: once you've seen all the outcomes, the choice to roll is almost never interesting.

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  4. Two observations:

    1. I just "brute forced" the game using artemis/pegasus missiles to the enemy's shields, mark II/III burst laser to the weapons and hull drones in the final stage.

    2. AFAIC the food clock is the fuel, the rebel fleet is more like the OOD monsters that spawn in DCSS if you linger at floors for too long.

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  5. The big difference is that if you run out of food in most roguelikes and faint from hunger, they won't generate a monster that, upon victory, gives you just enough food to move a single turn, forcing you to resource-surf forward until you hit a shop or other food source.

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  6. Thanks for yet another great episode guys. Much appreciated!

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  7. The episode's not working for me... The web player's not working (just sits and does nothing) and I tried downloading the mp3 but my player shoots through it at like 8x speed and it doesn't make any sound. I'll try on another computer, maybe...

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    1. Hmm, strange... What browser are you using?

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    2. I tried it with Chrome and Firefox on Linux Mint 13, and downloaded it and tried 2 different players.

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  8. I've had the same problem for a couple of weeks now myself, but I WAS able to get it on I-Tunes, which is why I haven't mentioned it (I thought it may just be my problem). I've also tried both Chrome and Firefox, but on Windows 7/64.

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  9. After this episode, you made me run so blindly to buy the game, that I didn't see there were DRM-free options...

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  10. I started writing a comment here describing my thoughts on FTL, but it kept getting longer and longer and eventually grew into a blog post, which for those who want to read it is here:

    http://www.vitruality.com/2012/09/faster-than-light-the-quest-for-the-unknown-niggle/

    For those who don't, here's the executive summary:

    High random influence on progression + power curve + negative feedback loop + shield mechanic 'gating' = irritating but minor flaw in an otherwise excellent game.

    And here's the best line:

    "I've met Darren Grey, and he looks exactly like Mr. T except all the gold chains are actually amulets of Yendor."

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