FTL Advanced Edition: the definitive version of Subset's strategy game

Samuel Roberts at

FTL: Advanced Edition is free. The goodwill of that gesture to fans, to expand the hit space sim's feature set and narrative possibilities for nothing, is a neat way to get people talking about the game just as it emerges on iPad. For me, FTL has been a go-to game, something I've played every day for as long as I can remember. The additions to the combat feel generous, and certainly justify picking up the game again even if you've logged tens of hours with it previously.

The basic principle of crossing the game's eight sectors is unchanged. One nerdy tweak to the interface I quite like is a heavier use of symbols in dialogue boxes, so you're not always staring at white text on a beige background. But why am I talking about UI and not the new space combat bits, which are clearly the more interesting addition?

After Action Report: the calamitous voyage of the Vagrant Badger, in FTL

Tom Senior at

Welcome to the After Action Report, an account from one of PC gaming's varied, exciting battlefields.

FTL's creators wanted to make a brilliant Captain Picard sim, but Picard doesn't tend to die in a fire half-way through an episode of The Next Generation. Instead they've created a terrific roguelike that almost always ends in horrible death, but always spawns a neat little story every time you play. You control the crew of a spaceship as it zips across the galaxy trying to escape the laser beams of a pursuing rebel fleet. You meet pirates, recruit strange aliens and upgrade your ship to match increasingly deadly enemies. A juicy free update is about to add a load of new features, so I paid one last visit to the original version, to rediscover its brilliance, and try to reach the final boss.

Steam Machine hands-on part two: the Steam Controller, Civilization V and StarCraft 2

PC Gamer at

It was supposed to be a short break. I told myself Civilization V wouldn't suck me in when I began playing on the big screen. The game will be too tedious. The text will be too small. I was wrong.

I've spent the past couple days going through every game I thought would be interesting to play, and Civilization V on a couch, staring at a big screen TV is among most engaging, relaxing gaming experiences I've ever had with a game.

GOG offers charity bundle sale with all proceeds going to charity

Ian Birnbaum at

You can never have too much of a good thing, and a good thing is donating to charity while getting new games. DRM-free gaming store GOG is holding a bundle sale where you can pick up three games for a $5 donation to the World Wildlife Fund, Gaming for Good, or Worldbuilders.

The Curious Expedition, an exploration roguelike where Charles Darwin searches for Atlantis

Ian Birnbaum at

The Curious Expedition is a roguelike exploration game with an unbearably interesting hook: take your pith-helmeted hero into a violent, randomly generated jungle and meet new tribes, fight lizard men, find ancient ruins, and return a famous explorer. By taking the classic roguelike above-ground and into unknown continents, Curious Expedition might be able to plant a stake in a crowded genre in the tradition of FTL.

GameLoading, a new documentary about indie development, seeks Kickstarter support

Katie Williams at

Indie gaming has gotten kind of huge over the past few years, and the internet's beginning to bulge at the seams with all the indieness going on lately. Indie Game: The Movie—whose special edition is being released next week—last year documented the lives of four indie developers as they put together their little-budget, big-name concepts. What of the thousands of other indie developers out there, though? A pair of filmmakers are seeking to answer that question with their newly revealed Kickstarter campaign for GameLoading: Rise of the Indies, a documentary that seeks to zoom out and look at the entire indie scene globally.

FTL: Faster Than Light's music dissected and explained by its composer

Ian Birnbaum at

Ben Prunty, the composer of the soundtrack for FTL: Faster Than Light, has published a “guided tour” of the motifs and themes that show up throughout the game’s 29 tracks. FTL is a remarkable game for a lot of reasons, including what is hands down one of the best recent musical scores around.

FTL: Faster Than Light fans creating a first-person, multiplayer treatment in Garry's Mod

Perry Vandell at

Being a captain in FTL: Faster Than Light is a nerve-wracking experience. Hostile aliens could teleport onto your ship at a moments notice, an asteroid could take out life support, and you're constantly put in horrible situations with no clear solution. The responsibility is simply too great, but luckily a pair of fellow space-goers are working on a Garry's Mod gamemode that lets you demote yourself to the role of a single crewmember.

GDC 2013: Your guide to the IGF grand finalists

Tom Senior at

The IGF winners will be announced on Wednesday alongside the GDC awards in San Francisco. The Independent Games Festival has turned out another strong field of nominees, some of which you can play entirely for free right now. Here's your guide to the Seumas McNally Grand Prize at the IGF awards 2013, with interviews and details on the five finalists, Cart Life, FTL, Little Inferno, Hotline Miami and Kentucky Route Zero.

Steam Indie Spring Sale springs up, discounts loads of indie games in lieu of Easter eggs

Tom Sykes at

To coincide with IGF, PAX, GDC, OMG and WTF, Steam have slung up one of their impromptu sales, discounting tons of indie games to ensure that our libraries continue to heave under the sheer weight of unplayed games. How nice of them. I hope you've hidden your wallet after last time, because there are some cracking deals to be had, including Super Hexagon, Binding of Isaac and Terraria for silly money.

The music of FTL: Faster Than Light - an interview with composer Ben Prunty

Tyler Wilde at

It goes blip and bloop and ding-ing-ing with reverberating voices, wrapping hazy nebulae and fierce space battles with warm melodies that sing "Oh my God, we're in spaaaaaace!" It's the soundtrack to indie sleeper hit FTL: Faster Than Light, and it's some of the finest game music of 2012.

The 29-track album ($5 on Bandcamp), composed by San Francisco Bay Area-based musician Ben Prunty, combines existing sci-fi motifs such as lonely, echoing synth bells with a unique space adventure sound. Tracks like MilkyWay and Civil are a skirmish between eerie tension and soothing, stargazing melodies, and their sparse chord progressions, warm synth melodies, and chiptunes-like blips have been stuck between my ears since they became my spaceship command companions last year.

The Strategy Game of the Year 2012: XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Rich McCormick at

I knew the moment the tide had turned. It was 15 hours into my first XCOM: Enemy Unknown campaign, and I’d just outfitted my squad’s psychic soldier with psi armour. I’d only discovered Major Tom’s latent mindbending abilities a few missions before, but he’d already proved himself a devastating anti-alien defence in the field. Kitted out in this gear, he was near unstoppable.

The Short-form Game of the Year 2012: FTL

Tom Senior at

The fact that FTL lets me command a craft called The Space Badger with Don Draper at the helm isn’t the main reason I love it (although it is a factor). Ever since I saw Firefly, I’ve been eager to take charge of a crew and lead them to almost certain death. FTL lets me do that, over and over again.

Hotline Miami is 50% off this weekend, FTL also cheap!

Phil Savage at

Super Hexagon may have become our fast, frantic and brilliantly soundtracked game of choice, but Hotline Miami remains an excellent acid trip of revenge, violence and talking owl masks. It makes the 80s look cool, which is an impressive achievement in itself.

If you've yet to experience Dennaton Games' brutal top-down murder-ballet, now's the time to take a look. Steam have gone and chopped its price in half, cutting it down to a criminally cheap £3.49/$5.

FTL mods video round-up: fly ships from Star Trek, Star Wars, and Firefly

Chris Thursten at

Spaceship management roguelike FTL is one of this year's standout games, and also one of the first Kickstarted projects to result in a playable product. Its modding scene centers around new ships, tweaked mechanics, and updated graphics. We've picked out three ship replacement mods by hellcatv, with art in the case of Serenity and the Enterprise provided by MattsterT. Each of these mods swaps out one of the default ships with a new model complete with new equipment and a custom load-out.

PC Gamer US Podcast #330 - RPGs and Aliens

PC Gamer at

Evan returns from the depths of space to join Tyler, Omri, and T.J. in discussing all things Project Eternity. Also kind of a lot of things are coming out right now, and we go over the big ones including Torchlight II, Borderlands 2, FTL, Black Mesa, and Mists of Pandaria. You'll also not just hear, but experience, updates on what's going on with BioWare and Bohemia, a new special segment in which T.J. administers shotgun blasts to the face to all of his coworkers, and extended FTL and XCOM discussion in Playlists.

FTL: Faster Than Light launches on Steam

Marsh Davies at

FTL: Faster Than Light is a real-time rogue-like spaceship-sim. It's brilliant, horribly brutal and never the same twice. It'll also be on sale via Steam in a matter of hours. Whoop!

PC Gamer UK Podcast: Episode 70 - Space Captain Job Application

Chris Thursten at

Graham, Tom, Rich and Chris discuss FTL, The Witcher 2, Indie Game: The Movie, the Steam charts and answer your questions from Twitter. Also featuring exclusive information on the breakfast preferences of the PC Gamer team. Graham likes sausages.

We also talk about the overcrowded MMO market, Hitman: Absolution, the future of competitive Dota, and whether or not you should build your next gaming rig yourself.

Download the MP3, subscribe, or find our older podcasts here.

FTL is coming to Steam, Kickstarter campaign has five days left

Tom Senior at

The exciting spaceship command roguelike, FTL, will be getting Steam release. This is very good news for the developers, and it also means that players who have access to the beta build will be able to get the latest version of the game through Steam.

The Steam deal was mentioned in the latest developer diary above, spotted on Evil Avatar. FTL was one of the highlights of last year's submissions to the Independent Games Festival. As a ship's commander, you must jump from system to system in an unpredictable universe, commanding your crew and fixing your ship as it faces attack from enemy vessels, solar flares and fuel drought.

Superb spaceship game FTL is now playable through OnLive, buyable through Kickstarter

Tom Francis at

Graham and I have been harping on about FTL every chance we get, and it's been irritating you all a great deal because it's not out. It's still not out, but last night they started a Kickstarter project and launched a free demo via OnLive. The demo is really just the whole game in its current state, but time-limited to 30 minute sessions.

Kickstarter lets you pledge an amount of money that you'll only pay if the project reaches its funding goal. FTL's goal is $10,000, and they just passed it as I wrote that intro - 10 hours into their 32 day campaign. Backing them for $10 or more gets you the game when it comes out, but $25 or more will get you in on the closed beta, starting in a few months time. The game itself is due out later this year, probably.

If you want to play the demo, and you should, here's what you need to know.