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

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.

You'll need to download OnLive and create a free account if you don't have one, and you play it through their app. Fire it up, log in and go to Showcase. Select the indie show case (the first one, right now) and scroll down to FTL.

OnLive has a little mouse lag, in my experience, but luckily FTL is not a twitch game. You manage the crew and internal workings of a spaceship, sending people between its rooms to repair systems as they're damaged, and deciding where to target each of your weapons in a fight. A few quick tips:

  • Spacebar pauses at any time. Press it at the start of a fight to plan your first shots right away, and press it again after you fire, to plan what to shoot next.
  • At the start of a fight, you have to click each of your weapons to power them up, then click them again to choose what to shoot with them. You target each weapon individually. They'll stay powered up for the rest of the fight.
  • Shields regenerate very quickly, and your weapons charge at different rates - lasers usually faster than missiles.
  • Against a ship with one shield pip, targeting their weapons systems is often a good idea, since even your laser will punch through their shields and do some damage.
  • A ship with two shield pips, early on, is tough. Target their shield system with a missile (they go through shields), and wait for it to hit before firing your lasers - also at their shield system. That ought to do it.
  • Shields are a good thing to upgrade first - save up enough scrap to upgrade them twice, and buy two more power bars for your ship. That's what you need for one more layer of shields.

Let us know what you think in the comments. I think it's one of the most exciting games in development right now.