Hands on with FTL: The first big Kickstarted game to be playable


2012 has been the year of Kickstarter, the crowd-sourcing funding platform that allows developers to ask potential fans for the money to help finish their games. A lot of games have passed through Kickstarter’s pockets, but the nature of it means you won’t see a return your investment in action for a while. That’s why FTL is so special: it’s the first of the really big Kickstarter successes to be playable. It was April when the funding drive ended and the game’s closed beta will go live to the backers on Steam by June 15th.

FTL was already rather jolly when they started their Kickstarter, and the team had hoped to add some polish to their Star Trekkish space game. Here’s how it was sold.

Proper spaceship captaining! I’d already played it by then so jumped at the chance to let them make the game they wanted to make. They asked for $10,000, and received $200,000. The money helped them hire a writer to flesh out the world, as well as add to the systems that power the ship. The money, while giving the look a tiny bit of polish, has really added more depth to the Captain Kirking. You can see the additions the community funding has made with this video.

More races, more ship configurations, the funding has allowed the game to be about more than the mechanics. Now it matters who you’re fighting and how, you get to set your ship up and unlock new hulls. What’s more if you funded the game by more than $25 you will be playing it this week, through Steam. They hope to release weekly snapshots to the backers, using Steam to update as the development continues, but that’s a dream they expect will end up bi-weekly. It’s mostly feature-complete, with bug-fixing and tracking the stage the next warp point on their galactic journey. When the beta goes live, expect our thoughts to go live with it.

If you didn’t back the game you’ll have to wait until August or September to get the chance to buy it.