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Navigation of FTL Guide


This page of the Faster than Light game guide details the specifications, strengths, and limits of all the layouts for the first three space cruisers available to the player, as well as multiple methods to unlock them. If you are not familiar with Faster than Light, please go here. This article is intended for players with a basic understanding of the game. The subsequent seven space cruisers will be detailed in Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5 of the guide.

Ships

A large amount of Faster than Light’s gameplay and replayable content derives from its hangar full of space cruisers built from diverse cultures and factions from across the galaxy. It times time, effort, and persistence to unlock each space cruiser, and each space cruiser changes the way and style that Faster than Light is played, granting the player customization as to their desired strengths and weaknesses. This results in coloring their playstyle, and often improved chances at survival and victory.

When you first play Faster than Light, the only space cruiser you have access to is the Kestrel Cruiser. It is a basic, human styled vessel made by the Federation. As you progress through the game, you can unlock additional space cruisers. There are a multitude of ways to do this. The most basic one is to defeat the Rebel flagship on any difficulty. The first time you do this, you will be granted access to the Federation Cruiser.

Ships that you unlock are the one thing that remains a part of your Faster than Light game after you have failed or completed a mission, aside from recorded statistics involving your score and what crew members achieved, from how many enemy personnel defeated to how many evaded laser blasts. Unless you delete all data of Faster than Light off your hard drive or solid state drive, these space cruisers will always be there.

Aside from completing a Faster than Light mission successfully, there are other ways to unlock space cruisers. Each space cruiser has a quest unique to it, that you must follow a series of random events to perform. Additionally some of these space cruisers require that your vessel in that game instance must have certain systems installed, and those certain systems upgraded, like the Mantis Cruiser for instance. While in game, there will not be hints or instructions for these quests specific for each space cruiser. Searching for these quests can take several game instances, and therefor the space cruisers that are unlocked are given extra merit and personal achievement precisely because of their rarity.

For every space cruiser, there are three achievements. These are independent of the standard style of achievements that some software delivery platforms aim for, giving you points for your user account rather than something wound in the game itself. These achievements do not contribute to a point total for your game, but are locked to and categorized per space vessel. As said, there are three achievements per space cruiser, each one unique in their own way. These add extra dimensions for your gameplay, as their goals involve unconventional paths that you otherwise would not do but are difficult and tricky nonetheless.

By completing two of those three achievements - it does not matter which out of the two you complete, as it can be any of the two - you will unlock the type B layout of that space cruiser. This is essentially like unlocking another new space cruiser, except with the shell of the initial type A space cruiser you already knew. There are actually a total of three layout types per space cruiser, but the third is only available to be unlocked with Advanced Edition content enabled; furthermore two space cruisers are excluded from that, as the crystal cruiser and the Lanius cruiser do not have type C layouts.

The ten different space cruisers have dramatically different layouts, some more akin than others. Individual rooms will shift between two space capacities: one that is narrow and rectangular, only able to contain two spots for crew members to stand in, and a second that is a large square, able to contain between three and four crew members depending on the system housed inside.

Unfortunately what rooms your systems are placed in are not controlled by your choice, either at the beginning of the game, or for those systems that you purchase and install from shop beacons. Each layout of each ship has specific designations for where the systems will go, and where what systems will go when installed from a shop. This can be your detriment as the shielding room does not benefit from four crew member spots, where as a crew teleporter would most definitely benefit from four crew member spots.

If a crew teleporter has four spots for your crew members to stand in, then that is four simultaneous teleports per cooldown, doubling the fighting capacity and efficacy of your boarding parties. The true limitation of your crew teleport is the lengthy cooldown on the usage of its powers, as recalling your crew members from an enemy space cruiser and teleporting them to an enemy space cruiser all act on the same cooldown. So by having a larger space for your crew teleporter, it makes it more useful and effective. The resulting effect is that you can style your strategies to rely more on your boarding parties to attack the enemy crew directly. You simply cannot do as much, or take on as much, with a two person crew teleporter.

Still, despite the inability to choose where your systems and subsystems will go, you still have some control of customization of what resides in your ship. Each layout per each space cruiser will have variation in where the systems are placed, and in what sized rooms. Some are the same though, but that applies to layouts across different cruisers and not between layouts of the same space cruiser. The final say you do have, over what the specific layout of that space cruiser starts out with and eventually accommodates through purchased installations, is what you in fact purchase. This does not come into play much without the Advanced Edition content enabled, but you have a finite number of systems that you can install on any layout for your space cruiser. So you have the choice of what you do in fact install, while disregarding other systems. Generally this number is eight. Without even counting, you can visually determine how many system spots you have left by way of the upgrade tab from the ship menu. There is only enough space allotment for eight systems to upgrade there, as the columns for each upgradable system are uniform in size. So for example, your space cruiser starts out with shielding, engines, a med bay, oxygen, and weapons control. That’s a total of five, and yet those are vital and basic systems that most layouts start out with. That leaves you three spaces for systems to install. This limitation further edges the difficulty onto a precarious precipice, and adds greater dynamic outcomes and styles to each game instance you play, even if you choose the same space cruiser and the same layout multiple times in a row.

For those three systems, you have several to choose from: the crew teleporter, the cloaking system, the mind control station, the hacking system, and the drone control system. You will always have to leave out two of those potential five, but you may not always have full discretion as to what you select from, as the merchandise you have to select from multiple shop beacons can sparsely contain systems for you to purchase throughout a game instance. This is not exactly fair, but that is the nature of Faster than Light; of scarcity and prudent, frugal decisions. Fortunately the backup battery is not considered a system, and instead a subsystem, so it would not take away from your system total. If it did, rarely if ever would the backup battery be purchased and installed, as its purpose is essentially to provide fleeting supplemental power to fuel all the systems you have.

Altogether choosing what systems to install from your limited spots available is problematic in its crucialness. It would have less of a haphazard tendency if you could pick from all five at once, and have as much scrap as you needed to purchase everything that you wanted in one large swoop. Instead you must make calculated decisions, risks, and gambles as to the potential stock shop beacons will have, and if you will encounter the shop beacons in sufficient numbers. You could hold onto a large sum of scrap in hopes that you will find a shop beacon with a cloaking system, which has the side effect of stalling upgrades you could potentially be undergoing without the assistance of a shop beacon. Those upgrades would be helping you at every single beacon that you jump to, and could shave away damage inflicted to your space cruiser’s HULL. There is then that you try to spread out your scrap in upgrades and hoping for systems, and just when you think now would be a good time and there doesn’t seem to be any shops nearby, you find a couple shop beacons connecting to the beacon you just jumped to. Grimly you visit upon one, and that shop beacon ironically has two systems you wanted to purchase.

This all over the map randomness forces you to continually and repeatedly decide what you are going to gamble and aim for, as each clump of variables change. You lose scrap, get a large chunk, pick up a system in the hopes you might find another, but then eventually settle for a different system since it doesn’t seem like you’re going to find the one you originally wanted; and then suddenly you find it in the next sector, and your only recourse would be to replace the system you purchased in the last sector with no reimbursement of scrap, if only the game would let you. The point is inevitably you may have to settle for a different system than what you intended, or otherwise be open to a broader selection of systems, while narrowing those that you most likely will not budge on to two, possibly even just one depending on how your luck runs in that game instance.

There is also one restriction that applies to all space cruisers you choose in the hangar. There is a maximum of four crew members that each layout can have. There will never be more than four, while some layouts will have only two crew members, and some more will only have three. What races your space cruiser has, and how many crew members your space cruiser has is not determined by you but by the individual layout of the space cruiser. Each of two or three layouts available per space cruiser has the potential for a lesser or greater total number of crew members for the space cruiser, and a change in what races are there. Many of these space cruisers are designed by certain races, and so their crew members are populated by those who created it, like slug ships have slugs and rock ships have Rockmen. Other space cruisers have a more diverse crew however, specifically the Federation Cruiser.

And though you cannot choose much in way of customization of each layout for each space cruiser, other than choosing which space cruiser you want and what layout you want, you can change the names of the crew members aboard. You can either randomize their names, as per the Faster than Light’s algorithms, or type in a name of your creation, even if just in reference to popular media. The same applies to the name of your space cruiser, while they always have a default name, you can change it to what you like.

Kestrel Cruiser

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The Kestrel Cruiser is what you start out the game as, so its model is iconic imagery for Faster than Light. This sets up the standard for a laser and missile launcher combination, as the two weapon type do pair together well. Though just because this is the initial space cruiser, does not mean this space cruiser is weaker than the others. Each space cruiser is suited for what it does, and gives you more options to choose from. The Kestrel Cruiser is just one of those options, although you will still have to unlock its layout B and layout C.

Layout A

“This class of ship was decommissioned from Federation service years ago. After a number of refits and updating, this classic ship is ready for battle.” The standard look of the Kestrel cruiser is light greys, with slashes of dull orange ringing the jet engine cylinders. It appears like an average and regular space vessel, fitting in with the theme of intergalactic space travel, as it is essentially the space cruiser mascot for the game itself. No matter the layout, the Kestrel cruiser is a broad but narrow vessel, with more considerable width at its middle than at its front or back, while the front is most narrow where it only holds at most the width of a single square room. It is styled like the more iconic space ships, with a design that tapers at the front where the pilots deck is, and is thickest at the back where the engines are.

  • Original Name: The Kestrel.
  • Beginning Crew: 3 Humans. Genders are random, just like names.
  • Starting Weapons: The Burst Laser II, and the Artemis Missile. This laser has 3 shots per discharge, each one worth 1 damage, while it requires two energy slots to power and has a 12 second charge up. Normally costs 80 scrap in a shop. This laser is strong for a starting weapon, as it can easily break through most shields, and entirely negate three barrier shields. You’ll want to purchase more weapons though, as this laser is not enough to rely solely on for middle to end game. The missile does complement this burst laser well, but again is not enough total fire power

. The Artemis Missile that the Kestrel Layout A comes with is a specialized version that needs only one energy slot to power, instead of the standard two. Its charge up length is increased to 11 seconds though, as opposed to the regular 10. Not much of a difference for the exchange of a precious energy slot. It has a shield piercing worth of 5, but the missile itself does 2 damage.

  • Initial Resources: 16 fuel, 8 missiles, and zero drone parts. It is important to be frugal with the use of your missiles until you have built up a stock in your game instance, as you can easily sling out three missiles per battle. This layout lacks a drone control system, so it doesn’t provide you with any parts.
  • Starting Augmentations: None, the downside to the Kestrel space cruiser and the cost of being the most easily accessed space cruiser.
  • Slot Limits: Four weapon slots, the highest you can have for the weapons control bar, and two drone slots, the absolute lowest possible for the drone control system.
  • Systems: Level two shielding (one barrier), level two engines, level one oxygen, level three weapons control, level one med bay, level one pilots deck, level one sensors, and level one door control.
  • Room for Additional Systems: There is a grand total of five available rooms for additional systems to be installed. Each system has its own designated area because of this, so you will consistently find a newly installed hacking station on layout B in the same spot. Though this layout of the Kestrel cruiser does literally have the space accommodation for all five additional systems, you cannot install more than three of those because of the forced limitation of the game and its upgrade mechanic. You are eternally restricted to eight systems and four subsystems.

The drone control system can go to the left of the pilots deck, featuring a four space room in a square. The mind control station can go to the left of the med bay in another four space room, and the cloaking system can go in the room just beneath the mind control station in yet another four space room. But for all the Kestrel’s cruisers possible benefits in room spacing, the crew teleporter is in a measly two space corridor room beneath the engines. Right beside the crew teleporter will be the hacking system in another corridor sized room.

  • Ways to unlock: Starting the game. This is the first space cruiser you start with. If you do not have it, your game is bugged - horribly.

Layout B

“This modified Kestrel class ship was created by a laser weapon aficionado.” Layout B has a bright recoating of sunny oranges, with the jet engines streaked over with light blue. Strangely the appearance layout B takes of the Kestrel cruiser gives the ship the look of a rebel cruiser. It is uncertain why this style of coating was chosen, as for a story perspective by appearance alone your space cruiser would be recognized as and seen as a rebel cruiser. This obviously doesn’t fool anyone, as there are more ways to tell, but perhaps this style is taken to coincide with the theme that the Kestrel is not just a Federation ship, but a human ship. The rebels are an exclusively human based faction.

  • Original Name: Red-Tail.
  • Beginning Crew: Two humans, one mantis, and one Zoltan.
  • Starting Weapons: Four basic lasers, each one deals one damage and only shoots one shot. These take one energy slot of power each, and take ten seconds to charge up. Alone these weapons are the weakest lasers can ever be, even though they are energy efficient. Together, they release a simultaneous blast of four lasers, more than enough to strip away shields, take them down a level, and damage a couple of other systems if you so desire. Though you can effectively micro manage your weaponry generally to simultaneously fire, these require no effort of pausing, targeting, firing, and then waiting to do the same while timing all the weapon charges across them all, effectively reducing the total damage you could be doing if such symmetry wasn’t necessary as some of those weapons will have long reached their needed charge up time. These all have the same charge up of ten seconds, and so none of that is needed. However this symmetry is demolished when you acquire additional weapons, such as even decently strong lasers or a missile launcher. The less of these lasers you have powered up, the less capable they will be at taking down multiple things at once.

But as great as they are, you are going to want to upgrade past them when you can, but you can rely on them longer than you could for the usual space cruiser starting weapons. Another benefit to them though is their ability to weather power shortages, such as from ion storms or your weapons control system being damaged too. Each one only takes one energy slot, so no matter what, you can still have some kind of fire power even with the barest amount of energy slots. Even a single Zoltan could power it, which the starting crew does have one.

  • Initial Resources: Sixteen fuel, five missiles, and zero drone parts. It is possible that the missile resources derive from the type A layout, and that this is a federation designed space cruiser, so it is a remnant and derivative of those things. Five missiles altogether are small in number for a starting resource though, but it is obviously better than the usual zero you would get, such as is the case with the drone parts.
  • Starting Augmentations: None, one of the downsides to the Kestrel cruiser that it has absolutely no augmentations, let alone one that is special and attributed to its design.
  • Slot Limits: A maximum of four weapon slots, the most you can have in the game, but a mere two slots for the drone control system; the usual so far for the Kestrel cruiser.
  • Systems: Level two shields (one barrier), level two engines, level one oxygen, level four weapons control, level one med bay, level one pilots deck, level one sensors, and level one door system. The level four weapons control is decently high for how beginning setups go for layouts and space cruisers, while everything else is fairly standard.
  • Room for Additional Systems: In this second layout there is again a grand total of five system spaces, but the game’s limitation on eight total systems restricts you from filling all the spots with everything you could possibly have. Unfortunately the placement of these systems is no less smart. The mind control station is positioned to the right of the med bay in a corridor sized room with only two spaces for crew members, up against the hatch doors to the vacuum of space, just near the oxygen system as well.

The cloaking system will be to the right of the sensors, in a four space room. Below the cloaking system will be a corridor sized hacking station, and to the left of it will be the drone control station in a square four spaced room. Finally the crew teleporter is yet again a corridor sized room, with a meager two spots for crew members to be instantaneously transported, connecting to the med bay and the oxygen system. At least the crew teleporter is in close proximity to the med bay though, allowing for quick access to health restoration. This is particularly nice for boarding parties consisting of slower moving races, like the Rockmen or the Crystalmen. Some space cruisers have crew teleporters on the other side of the ship, making it an actual journey to get to the med bay to restore your boarding party back to fighting strength.

  • Ways to unlock: There are two total options for you to try in order to unlock the second layout of the Kestrel cruiser, layout B, which is to really say that you must complete two out of three available achievements to unlock this layout while using the Kestrel cruiser, layout A. You have to decide which two of the three you are going to try for, so that is technically two options.

The first achievement is called The United Federation. You must have six unique aliens simultaneous on your Kestrel cruiser. This wording is a little loose, but what it actually means is that you need to have six different races comprising your crew. The limit of how many crew members you can have is eight, while there are two secret races you cannot feasibly acquire in regular game instances. So that leaves one human, one slug, one Zoltan, one mantis, one rockman, and one engi. There isn’t pure difficulty in attaining this achievement like some others can have. It is just uncommon to be able to amass such a diverse crew. Usually when you choose sector paths, the sectors become interlaced and share similarities, like a Zoltan controlled sector will likely lead to yet another Zoltan controlled sector but may also lead to the Zoltan homeworlds. Shops in those sectors will have some variance in what crew they offer for you to recruit, if they do, but they will tend to have certain selections. Altogether it is possible, but can be annoying and slow with the potential outcome of multiple game instance attempts.

The second achievement is Full Arsenal. This one requires that you have eight systems and three subsystems installed on your Kestrel cruiser. This is the kind of achievement that is so easy that it is a natural course for the player to take normally, and you may even earn it without intending to. Suffice to say, this is the easiest of the three achievements for the Kestrel cruiser that you should do.

The third achievement is Tough Little Ship. You must heal the Kestrel cruiser all the way to full HULL health from just one HULL health point. This is a luck based achievement, with most willful attempts to inch down a greatly precarious one health point for the HULL ending in failure. This achievement is only likely to happen when you are struggling to survive a fight after a series of bad luck, and you miraculously survive. It would seem that this achievement is the embodiment of the desperation of your mission as the captain. You are just barely holding on, trying as much as you can as the ship is breaking apart to make it to the last stand so that you can save the Federation from obliteration. If you do intentionally try to get this achievement for the purposes of unlocking the layout B, then it would be wise to not simultaneously try to acquire the first achievement where you need six unique races of crew members on your Kestrel cruiser as one additional point of damage to your space cruiser’s HULL will end the game, ruining all your hard work at achieving the needed crew. It would be better, because of the strong luck based nature of this achievement, to try to get the first and second achievements to unlock the layout B.

Layout C

“This model was modified by pirates to utilize newly discovered technology. It can clone lost crewmembers and stun enemies.” Layout C is splattered in purple paint with some insignia added in. It looks like some pirates hijacked the layout A of the Kestrel cruiser and painted it half over to look like one of their own, as there is grey coating beneath. This layout is actually styled just like the pirate space cruisers, even if just not in the same shape. This matches the ongoing theme of the Kestrel cruiser, that it is not just a Federation made ship but one designed and associated with humans. You cannot know much more than conjecture though, as you never do see any actual federation ships. There has never been a reason to fight with a federation cruiser, and neither are there really any that you encounter along your journey. Perhaps this wouldn’t be the case if the only space cruisers that you did see in Faster than Light weren’t just your enemies.

  • Original Name: The Swallow.
  • Beginning Crew: Two humans, and one Lanius.
  • Starting Weapons: Dual lasers and ion stunner. The dual lasers fire two shots, for one damage each, while the ion stunner fires one shot for one ion damage. The ion stunner takes ten seconds to charge up, but only one energy slot to power. This layout specializes in Advanced Edition weaponry additions, as the ion stunner was previously not in the game. In fact there was no stun mechanics. This ion stunner affects the crew in the targeted room, in that it stuns them for the duration of one damage. It is a useful turn on the ion weapons, but because of its low damage and somewhat high charge time, if you can find a superior alternative you should, but you may not as this ion weapon requires very little energy slots to keep up. The dual lasers are a standard, basic weapon, but also only need one energy slot and also take ten seconds to charge up. This does match the two weapons this space cruiser starts out with well, as they will discharge their attacks simultaneously. Regardless of how well this combination does, it will not last you feasibly into the middle of the game. Work on increasing your space cruiser’s damage output before you get there.
  • Initial Resources: 16 fuel, 4 missiles, and 3 drone parts. Though you don’t have either a missile launcher or a drone control station, you are given some resources of both of those. They are not the standard amount given when you have the applicable part or system, but it still helps you in the long run if you end up using any of those things, which you most likely will.
  • Starting Augmentations: As the usual, the Kestrel cruiser has no augmentations, even with the Advanced Edition layout C.
  • Slot Limits: A total of four weapon slots for the weapons control, and a mere two slots for the drone control system. If you are planning on relying on drones, then you may be better off picking a different space cruiser, as the Kestrel cruiser no matter the layout is better adapted to weapons than to drones.
  • Systems: Level two shields (one barrier), level two engines, level one oxygen, level two weapons, level one pilots deck, level two sensors, level one door system, and a level one clone bay. There is a noticeable downgrade for the layout C’s weapons control, dropping down to half the power capacity from layout B, but you can see why as the two weapons the layout C starts out with only require one energy slot each. This is definitely a detriment to the layout C, even though the sensors are stronger the scrap value is not equivalent. However layout C of the Kestrel cruiser is equipped with a clone bay, in place of a med bay.

If you generally play with a clone bay in lieu of a med bay, then that alone makes the choice of layout C viable, as to replace your med bay you must find a clone may in a shop beacon and then exchange 50 scrap. That is substantial for a system that is removing another one - the med bay.

  • Room for Additional Systems: Just three more as is the game’s basic limitation for systems, the maximum being eight. Layout C’s room compartmentalization is much different than those of layout B and layout A for the Kestrel Cruiser. Rooms are more frequently broken up into corridor styled rooms, the ones with two spaces and are rectangular. More systems and subsystems are clustered at the back and front of the ship, while the middle is nearly an empty swath of space if not for the oxygen system wedged up against a wall exposed to the exterior.

This does create a natural design that allows you to keep crew members near crucial systems, while the mostly empty space in the middle can be unattended to generally. As ever, the Kestrel cruiser limits the crew teleporter to only two spaces, located at the top and middle of the ship, to the upper right of the oxygen system. Below that would be the battery backup, and below that again in another corridor room would be the mind control station. The cloaking system would be found on the far side of the space cruiser, on the left just above the engines, and the drone control station would be just beneath that, in a mirrored room of the engines system that is a four spaced square. Below the two of those would be the hacking station.

  • Ways to unlock: There is just one method to unlocking the layout C of the Kestrel cruiser. But first you must have unlocked the layout B of this cruiser, and be piloting it as you are trying to gain access to layout C. From there, all you have to do is make it alive and well to the last sector in the game, sector eight. This sector doesn’t have to be anything specific, it just has to be the eighth sector in a row.

This is not too bad to do, but it can be time intensive because of the need of having layout B and that by reaching the eighth sector, you are nearly at the end of the game. Obviously you have not won, as the Rebel flagship is the true test if you are strong enough to survive, but you do not actually need to in order to unlock this layout C.

Engi Cruiser

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The engi cruiser strongly represents the style of technology and ship building the engi species have to offer. They are not much for aesthetics, and seemingly prefer function over form, so while their space cruiser almost looks like a heap of junk, its well-fortified with efficient room placement, sans for the too small area for the crew teleporter. Its hull is a silvery metallic grey, with exposed parts of black peeking through, while it is shaped in haphazard blockiness. It does not have the typical tapered design, where the pilots deck is clear and conspicuous at the fore. In the emptiness of space, there is no purpose in being aerodynamic as there isn’t any friction or currents.

Layout A

“Although it may look like a pile of junk loosely held together, this well designed ship relies on drones and ion weaponry.”

  • Original Name: The Torus.
  • Beginning Crew: Two engi, and one human.
  • Starting Weapons: Ion Blast II. This is actually the best ion weapon in the game, without considering how many energy slots your weapons control is going to need to power what you want or need. This ion weapon does take three energy slots, but it is well worth the high consumption of power as it has one of the lowest charge ups in the game - four total seconds. Every discharge of the ion weapon will inflict one ion damage, which isn’t much in itself, but since it fires off so rapidly it suits the ion weapon’s purpose just fine. By having more frequent shots, even if of lesser damage, you reduce the setbacks you receive from missing. This ion weapon can strip away most shielding. It’s only failing is that it needs another source of damage for you to take down the space cruiser, which is a standard aspect of all ion weapons.
  • Starting Drones: Combat Drone I. This drone launches and darts around the enemy space cruiser, discharging a laser at every pause in its orbit. Each discharge inflicts one damage, and though it cost a drone part to deploy, it will keep firing unless you power it down or it gets hit in the crossfire. Drones actually can get struck by the enemy space cruiser’s weapon fire if the drone happens to be just in front of the discharging weapon at the wrong time, so that the animation of a laser would literally cross through the model of the drone in orbit. This happens uncommonly though, but does seem like something the drone should be keen to avoid, even if just a potential benefit from manning the system - not that you can.

This drone does need two energy slots to power, so that combined with the ion blast II forces this layout of the engi cruiser to consume five energy slots total to tackle and defeat enemy space cruisers. Worse is that you must use up a drone part every time you engage. If you can find a standard laser weapon, even a very weak one, you could try to abstain from using the combat drone, but the ion weapon working in tandem with the combat drone will be surprisingly effective. Shields will be rapidly stripped away, exposing the enemy space cruiser’s HULL to the raw damage of the combat drone’s laser.

Obviously this drone isn’t the strongest one there is for pure output for damage, but you can stick with this drone for quite a while.

However there is a strict weakness to this style reliant on just one drone for output of damage, aside from the regular hazards of having a system go down and you are put out of commission for a short while until you can repair it, or even if you fall into an ion storm and do not have enough power to bring up both the ion blast and the drone. With Advanced Edition content enabled, there are certain drones that their sole function and purpose is to destroy offensive drones surrounding the space cruiser. If you encounter a space cruiser like that, it would be better to just use the FTL drive jump to get away as it would be a futile endeavor to fight them with nothing else to provide damage output.

  • Initial Resources: 16 fuel, 0 missiles, and 15 drone parts. This is an incredible amount of drone parts to start the game with, but are quite necessary for the engi cruiser layout A as this vessel relies on the anti-ship’s drone damage for defeating its enemies, as it has no damage producing weapons itself. It lacks any kind of missile launcher, and so there are no missiles.
  • Starting Augmentations: Engi Med-bot Dispersal. This is a unique augmentation to the engi space cruiser that provides dramatic, real time benefit to your crew members by way of automatic regeneration no matter where they are. The rate of healing is far less than if the crew member was literally standing inside the med bay, but it is of advantage and use when fighting inside your space cruiser, trying to expel a boarding party, or fighting a fire while it eats away at your crew members’ health and oxygen.

You can only normally get those engi med-bot dispersal through rare random events, and you cannot find it for sale in a shop beacon either, or at least it is nearly impossible to be able to.

The only detriment to the engi med-bot dispersal is that it requires the med bay to operate at all. This was not a concern prior to the update of the Advanced Edition content, but it comes into play at present. If you theoretically swap out your med bay with a clone bay, then your engi med-bot dispersal augmentation will be rendered absolutely useless, except for your ability to junk it for a small amount of scrap at a shop beacon. If you are going to use a clone bay, then you may be better off choosing a different type of space cruiser or a different layout for the engi space cruiser, as choosing a clone bay for layout A of the engi cruiser is essentially a waste.

  • Slot Limits: A total of three different weapon slots for the weapons control, and a total of three different slots for drones in the drone control system. Neither is at the maximum potential capacity for either system, but neither is at the minimum either. This is because layout A of the engi cruiser is suited to combined, supporting use of both the weapons control and the drone system. This does tend to be the case for regular gameplay, but this quality is emphasized in this cruiser and layout, serving the purpose well and facilitating this chosen playstyle of combining the strengths and abilities of weapons and drones.

It also does have the benefit of allowing you to have a larger array of options to choose from in the limited stock and selection types from shop beacons, as sometimes you will only find drones for sale, and other times you will only find weapons for sale. And usually have a wider selection of options helps you bolster the strength of your space cruiser further.

  • Systems: Level two shields (one barrier), level two engines, level one oxygen, level three weapons control, level three drone system, level one med bay, level one pilots deck, level one sensors, and level one door system. What this layout has more than the average is a raised level for the weapons control and the drone system. The combat drone actually only needs two energy slots, and yet the drone control system is already upgraded to level three. While not strictly necessary to give to the player, this may be because drone control systems usually start out at level two when purchased.
  • Room for Additional Systems: The standard three as usual, which would bring this system up to the maximum limit of level eight. The interior of the engi space cruiser is designed like a box, four lines with the middle empty. Those four lines are like quadrants in that they house rooms and systems, and the middle is exposed to the exterior where it’s just a pure, inaccessible vacuum as there are no hatch doors accessing the middle exterior. Despite that neat and orderly image, the engie cruiser is a hodgepodge of shapes, no rooms quite matching up where they extend beyond the others.

There are four hatch doors that can open to the exterior, for space vacuum access. Two are at the top where there is a horizontal corridor, and two more or at the right side, above the pilots deck in a vertical corridor. This leaves the majority of the left side of the ship ill suited to a quick drop into a vacuum, as those rooms are multiple partitions away from the hatch doors leading to the exterior vacuum.

The mind control station can appear to the left of the med bay in a vertical corridor, while the crew teleporter will be in a vertical corridor up to the right of the mind control station, undesirably offering only two spaces for crew members to be teleported. The cloaking system can appear to the left of the weapons control, which is at the top of the space cruiser, and the hacking station can appear to the left of that in yet another horizontal corridor. The backup battery will appear beneath the drone control station in a vertical corridor.

Generally this layout of the engi cruiser is as compact as can be, and so there is not fully designated spots and positions for all the systems you can get, but it doesn’t matter as much as it could because of that three additional system limitation. From everything that you can possibly install, by way of what the game will allow you to, there will only be two rooms that are vacant. Those are the corridors pressed against the hatch doors leading to the exterior vacuum.

  • Ways to unlock: The engi cruiser itself is one of the easiest space cruisers to unlock, and fortunately so as the engi cruiser is a decent and useful space cruiser, definitely giving you an impressionable feel as to what the engi race are like. By reaching the fifth sector in any game instance with any layout of the Kestrel, you will automatically unlock this engi space cruiser. That fifth sector can be any fifth sector, be it rebel controlled or Zoltan homeworlds. The engi space cruiser will unlock just like when you complete an achievement, and the next time you visit the hangar, it will be there for you to select.

Layout B

“Heavily understaffed, this ship relies on drones to keep the ship running.”

The second layout of the engi cruiser is shaded a deep red, with some fading pinks, like the whole vessel was dipped in strong dye and a shadow is permanently cast over the space cruiser. Its sprawling blockiness is no less in this coating.

  • Original Name: The Vortex.
  • Beginning Crew: Just one single engi, the lowest of any space cruisers. Playing a game on normal or higher can be challenging and risky with this layout of the engi space cruiser.
  • Starting Weapons: Heavy Ion, which requires two energy slots and takes thirteen seconds to charge up, but inflicts two ion damage. Then a Heavy Laser Mark I, requires only one energy slot and take nine seconds to charge up, but inflicts two damage a blast. It only discharges one blast at a time, which is standard for heavy lasers are each of their blasts are usually stronger, at the cost of firing less shots at once. With Advanced Edition content enabled, it also has a chance to stun crew members in the targeted room.

The Heavy Ion is nowhere near as good as the previous layout’s, but an ion weapon is still very useful and rare besides. This combined with the decent damage output of a heavy laser makes for a good combination that you can rely on for a while without hastily swapping it out for something stronger.

  • Starting Drones: A tremendous total of three drones this second layout of the engi cruiser starts out with. First is the anti-personnel drone that defends the interior of your space cruiser from invading boarding parties. It can easily take on one crew member, but struggles when there is more than one, which unfortunately usually boarding parties consist of two to four enemy crew members. This is better than your lonely engi crew member having to fend completely for himself though.

Then there are two system repair drones. Just trying this layout once will open your eyes to the sheer potential of system repair drones. They do dramatically stunt the growth rate of your crew members’ repair skill, but they are excellent at what they do, so much so you may feel spoiled. Once powered up, in which they only take one energy slot per, they will be on standby for any damage to your systems or for some kind of hazard in the ship. They will repair anything, from hull breaches to fires, and will not take damage from zero oxygen effects. Even if you end up having several crew members, you may find yourself still delegating the repair tasks to them. The only detriment to them really is that they use up one energy slot, which could be put to something else, and they also take up a drone slot that could be used for something offensive, or defensive for your HULL. They do not repair your HULL, at all. There isn’t even an augment that will change them to be able to do that.

  • Initial Resources: 16 fuel, zero missiles, and 6 drone parts. For as much as you would potentially rely on the anti-personnel and system repair drones, this layout sure does not start you out with many. This is not as bad as it could be though, as you do not need those drones to be able to take down enemy space cruisers. They are used reactively, and furthermore there is a great deal of efficiency in those types of drones the layout comes with. So long as neither type of those drone are restored, they will not consume another drone part. Of course this happens more often when enemy crew members invade your space cruiser, as they will attack your drones whether they are active or inactive if they are in the same room as them, and will even sometimes seek them out if they are in the adjacent room unless the hatch door is bared and locked at a door system level two.

System repair drones do have little health, as they are not meant for combat whatsoever, but the damage received from blasts inflicting harm on your systems and your HULL do not demolish your system repair drones, unless multiple volleys strike and the system repair drone is constantly repairing, never returning to the drone control station to regenerate its health. It must be powered to be able to regenerate its health, else it just lays dormant. The anti-personnel drone though has as much health points as the Rockmen, and can return to the drone control station to repair his health points just like the system repair drone.

  • Starting Augmentations: The Drone Reactor Booster replaces the Engi Med-bot Dispersal. While the engi med bot dispersal is superior for your general uses in a space cruiser, with the initial setup that influences your entire game instance, it is not. Instead you are given the drone reactor booster which increases the movement speed of all your drones inside your space cruiser by 25%. This is great for quick repairs and immediate engagement of invading enemy crew members, but it is not integral. You could replace it later in the game instance if you find something better, but it will only sell for 25 scrap. Its use is greater than what you would gain from 25 scrap if you were not at your three slot limit for augmentations.
  • Slot Limits: Just like layout A, a total of three slots for the weapons control and a total of three slots for the drone control system. This layout has not departed from its theme of teaming up weapons and drones to bring you through the several sectors alive and well.
  • Systems: Level two shields (one barrier), level one engines, level one oxygen, level three weapons control, level three drone control, level one med bay, level one pilots deck, and level one door system. For a one man crew, a level two door system sure would have been nice to start out this space cruiser’s layout with, protecting your frail and vulnerable engie from enemy boarding parties. At least your anti-personnel drone can do that job, except enemy troop movement won’t be impeded. You can shore up this weakness by upgrading that door system early on, as that lonely engie needs to be protected at all costs and the fire power of the space cruiser is enough that you can hold off on upgrades in exchange for upgrading that door system early on.

The engines are also weaker than normal, but there is not anyone manning them anyway. Your lone engie will be stuck helming the pilots deck if you want any evasion whatsoever. This layout still has the higher upgraded weapons control and drone control, saving you a lot of scrap early on. Startlingly you also lack the sensors subsystem, abnormal for as far as layouts go. This is really one of the few space cruisers that is vulnerable to a higher degree to being left in the dark. On one hand your system repair drones are going to make sure there aren’t any fires running unchecked through your space cruiser’s interior and your anti-personnel drone will automatically seek out invading enemy crew members, if they are powered on and active, and on the other hand you are not going to be able to see any of your space cruiser’s interior with your lone engie at the helm of the pilots deck. You will just be able to see that one, slim corridor of a room jutting out from the main block of the ship, while the rest is covered in shadowy dark. To counteract any dangers that may overcome you suddenly from this darkness, it is important to keep a system repair drone active. If there are intruders on board, the game will automatically alert you of this, while hull breaches and fire hazards are more nefarious and sneaky than that.

  • Room for Additional Systems: The design of the interior of the second layout is more efficient and ordered than the first layout of the engie cruiser. Everything is pressed up against each other in confined spaces, giving the overall look of the layout a claustrophobic feel. There are relatively few rooms that consist of empty space, lengthening the distance your few crew members have to cross to integral systems.

You’ll find almost every system and subsystem that you can add is wedged into a constricted corridor somewhere, the only two square rooms in this layout are already taken up by the engines and the drone control system. Too bad one of them is not the crew teleporter. It really is too few and far between that you ever find a crew teleporter with four spaces, the one type of system that actually needs room to operate at a greater potential.

The cloaking system can go to the left of the pilots deck, the hacking station will be installed above the shields, the backup battery will go below the door system to the left of the shields, and then the mind control station will be in a vertical corridor just beside the oxygen system on the left side of the ship, going up. Just beside the weapons control corridor, to the right, is where the sensors subsystem will be installed - which you really should get, it will not be hard to find from a shop beacon. Then the crew teleporter, is a disdainfully small vertical corridor will be beside the sensors to the right of the ship, just above the med bay corridor as well.

  • Ways to unlock: As is usual for layout B of space cruisers, you will need to unlock two out of three achievements unique to the engie space cruiser. It is ultimately up to you which two out of the three you will aim for, but some are easier than others.

The first achievement for the engie cruiser is called Robotic Warfare. This would not be of any note if you could do this with the layout B, but you cannot unless you avoid obtaining this until you have it. You must have three different drones powered and functioning at the same time to get this achievement. The engie cruiser has three possible slots for drones, so this is possible, but it can be cumbersome to get because of the general high power cost drones have. Still, so long as you keep this achievement in mind, it is more than feasible to obtain easily, but if you don’t care to when you would immediately get it as soon as you start playing with the layout B of the engie cruiser then you could always try to get the other two achievements.

The second achievement for the engie cruiser is called “I hardly lifted a finger”. This achievement is a little bit more tricky as the engie cruiser is suited to the combined usage of drones and weapons, as this achievement requires you to destroy an enemy vessel with only drones, and not weapons. This is definitely one of the easiest achievements to get for the engie cruiser though, as you either just have to get another combat drone, or something that will complement the combat drone layout A starts out with, or else be moderately lucky and encounter one of those automated drones that have no shielding systems. You then would not need your ion weaponry to take down the shields, so that your combat drone could inflict damage, as there just aren’t any shields on that automated drone. Those specific type of automated drones can be encountered more frequently in the first few sectors you travel through in a game instance.

The third achievement for the engie cruiser is called “The guns… They’ve stopped”. This is the kind of achievement that you have to shape your game instance around to obtain, so it is on similar but higher difficulty than the first achievement for this cruiser. To be able to get this achievement, you have to ionize four different systems and/or subsystems on an enemy space cruiser at the same time. This equates to disabling four different systems and/or subsystems simultaneously with the ion effect, which will require you to have at least two ion weapons with a highly skilled crew member manning the weapon control station, as in the highest skilled he or she can be. Having the greatest reduction on the charge rate of the ion weapons will allow them to discharge faster, as the ion weapon the layout A starts out with can ionize multiple systems simultaneously because of how fast it discharges, so long as the shields are either sufficiently subdued or damaged. This achievement is honestly most feasible with three ion weapons, which will be a costly undertaking as the prices go for ion weapons, and won’t go so well for you in the long run in terms of completing your overall mission for the federation. Ion weapons also are an uncommon find in shop beacons, which makes this achievement less than accessible. Unless you want to go with the really easy route of getting the first achievement for the engie cruiser, then you are better of obtaining the first one than bothering with this third one.

Layout C

“The Engi were quick to adapt to the sudden surge of hacking technology - this ship is the result of their research.”

Layout C has an entirely redone coating of the vessel’s exterior, as it seems to be plated in chrome like the Lanius’ space cruisers appear to be. It does look just like them in terms of coating, but the shape and form of the engie cruiser still holds true to its block nature with exposed mechanical parts here and there.

The interior though is designed vastly differently, in stark and dramatic contrast to layout B’s claustrophobic feel of constricting corridors, covered on both sides by the emptiness of space. There is a great deal more of space and room inside of layout C’s interior. There is a whole line of vertical corridors spanning the upper area of the interior, while there are multiple rooms with full square spaces. The two spaced rooms act less like corridors and pathways, and more like just tall rooms, with a gangway leading to the pilots deck.

  • Original Name: Tetragon.
  • Beginning Crew: Two engie, and one Lanius.
  • Starting Weapons: Dual lasers, that’s it. These are nearly as weak as you can get for laser weaponry, but at least shoot two blasts at once with a cooldown of 10 seconds, and only require one energy slot for its miniscule damage.
  • Starting Drones: A beam drone I. For this layout, you could only ask better for a mark II of the beam edition drone, and ironically you can only find that type of drone with the Advanced Edition update content enabled. This beam drone speeds around rapidly for a combat drone, and unleashes small swaths of a scarlet hot beam. Possibly the best part about this drone is that it cannot miss, at all. This is not something too well known, as you would only be able to know first hand by observing a beam drone at length, and usually drones are used in mass to brute force your way through the enemy cruiser’s shield barriers. It is even harder to tell because the beam drone actually cannot pierce through shield barriers at all, and so it can be quickly disregarded as near useless. And it actually would be if the shielding stays up too frequently on the enemy cruiser, as you have no way of timing when the beam drone discharges its attack, even though it does fire it off frequently. Its rapid rate of fire is probably its own way of balancing against its inability to pierce shielding, as it essentially has a high ping rate to slip through.

It does require two energy slots of power, but this isn’t too much for what it does with this layout, precisely because of its equipped augmentation.

  • Initial Resources: 16 fuel, 0 missiles, and an enormous 25 drone parts. What reason could there be for you to be given so very many drone parts that it actually exceeds how much fuel you start the game with? More probably it is that the vessel does rely partially on drone damage, but that still is not reason enough. It may be that this layout is the hardest to unlock for the engie cruiser, and only accessible from Advanced Edition content. After all, drone parts are the most expensive resource to purchase - at 8 scrap a piece.
  • Starting Augmentations: Defense Scrambler. This is a new edition from Advanced Edition that massively affects the vast majority of defensive enemy drones, as it disables them from targeting anything and prevents them from protecting their space cruiser, allowing your lasers and missiles to pass by unheeded and undeterred by the enemy except for their typical shielding and evasion. With this augmentation on your engi cruiser, defensive drones will spin around helplessly. These include defensive drones that shoot down your missiles, or shoot down your combat drones, even those that will destroy boarding drones mid transit.

This is a perfect augmentation for this layout of the engi cruiser, suited just for what it does. The beam drone will be able to perpetually dance around the enemy cruiser, cutting tiny swaths through the vessel so long as the shields are down. The dual lasers you start with help, but really this special augmentation makes the whole game instance for you. Your enemies now have no defenses against your combat drones except for shields, and shields can be dealt with by ion weapons, ion bombs, missiles, and even other drones, including hacking. The rebel flagship’s second form now has little defense against you, missiles will demolish its shields and it will be easy picking for you - at least in that way.

Equipping this layout with just one middle to higher end missile launcher will make enemy encounters swiftly eliminated with minimal cost to your space cruiser, from its HULL health to damaged systems.

  • Slot Limits: Three utmost weapons can be equipped, and three different drone schematics in total can be equipped at the same time. These two values are neither the lowest or the highest either the weapons control or the drone system can handle, but together they complement each other well to make up for the loss in an extra weapon to power. There is always the total energy slot limitation per weapons system and drone system, which is entirely unaltered by how many slots either system has, and so it can be more to your benefit to having your sources of damage and defense spread out between the two systems, as the further you upgrade either system, the more costly it becomes, especially on the last two levels of each - seven and eight.
  • Systems: Level two shields (one barrier), level two engines, level one oxygen, level one weapons control, level two drone system, level one pilots deck, level one sensors, level one door system, level one clone bay, and level one hacking system. Generally every system and subsystem this layout of the engi cruiser starts out with is at the basic and unremarkable level, even level two engines is nothing special but it is of course better than a meager level one. And yet engines are one of the least costly systems to upgrade for their lower levels, so that is not really as much of a benefit as it might seem at a glance. Most negative to a stronger, robust start is the puny level one weapons control, offering just a bare one energy slot to power your weapons. What the layout starts out with can be powered, but this is particularly a hassle when trying to get more fire power from your weapons control, as the cost for weapons - especially higher tier ones - are high, and then to power said purchased weapon you would both have to upgrade the weapons control and the reactor to fuel its power. This adds up markedly and will degrade how feasibly you can gain greater fire power, with the high costs being a task to plan around and overcome.

However, though the systems equipped to this engi space cruiser are of minimal levels, there is a greater total number of them. This is of benefit to some degree, as there is a hacking system installed already onto the engi cruiser, a system that will run you 80 scrap from a shop beacon if you can even find it while you have enough in the bank to purchase it. That Advanced Edition system alone considerably offsets the detriments to the lower level systems the cruiser starts out with, but it still is not ideal. This would be why this layout starts out with so very many drone parts though, as each deployment of the hacking drone from the system consumes a single set of drone parts, and these are generally not recoverable unless you have a specific and special augmentation that this cruiser does not come with from the hangar.

All in all, this layout is styled for the cutting edge technology that has recently emerged from the Advanced Edition content, as it does appear to be the entire purpose as to what this layout was made, and does appropriately suit the race who crafted it - the engi.

  • Room for Additional Systems: You are only going to be able to install one more system on this layout of the engi cruiser, as the combination of the drone control, the weapons control, and the hacking system scale up the system number to seven. Though this layout does actually have a clone bay, that is installed in the place of the med bay, so it does not take up an additional spot. As usual, there will be one spot as well for the subsystems, for the backup battery.

Despite that there is only one spot for you to install anything else, there are still enough rooms available to designate a system each. There is a row of vertical corridors spanning the upper quarter of the cruiser’s interior, wedged precisely between the oxygen system and the hacking system. Three of them have hatch doors capable of accessing the exterior vacuum, and start from right to left, until the last one does not have a hatch for the exterior like that. It starts with the crew teleporter, yet again just room for two crew members in the vertical corridor, then the mind control station, then the backup battery, and finally the cloaking system. This is an efficient layout, but not that you’d ever truly see it as you can only install one of those additional systems at a time, with the exclusion of the backup battery as that is just a subsystem.

  • Ways to unlock: Considering that this is the third layout of the engi cruiser, you will need to have Advanced Edition content enabled to have the base ability to unlock this layout. Just like the Kestrel Cruiser, you must have the layout B first unlocked to begin this journey. Once you do, you will need to bring the layout B of the engi cruiser all the way through the majority of the game instance until you reach the eighth sector. It does not matter what state your space cruiser is in, or how well equipped it is at that specific point, even if you just have one crew member half alive, it just matters that you reach the eighth alive with the layout B of the engi cruiser. Once you do, layout C will be immediately unlocked, regardless of what happens after that point, even if your space cruiser gets blasted apart at the next beacon. You should see an achievement completion pop up in your game window. If you don’t, you either forgot you unlocked this, or you accidently chose the wrong layout of the engi cruiser. It cannot be layout A, as that does not require achievements to acquire.

Federation Cruiser

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  • “There have been rumors of advanced ship construction in the Rebel Stronghold…”

This cruiser is your reward for stumbling upon a rebel shipyard so huge it has consumed an entire solar system, and choosing to search instead of leaving for this quest. There is another way to find this prototype cruiser, but this method is the canon way. This vessel is styled like the federation space cruisers you see towards the end of the game, where you reach the sector labeled the “Last Stand”. They will be scattered across the background, representing the federation fleet. Its structure stretches far and narrow, constituting the major composition of its body, with a circular, fluted head at its front where the pilots deck resides. The end of the cruiser’s structure extends off at both sides, flaring like bulky wings with cylindrical engine propulsions built in. Its shape does resemble space vessels traditional and characteristic of intergalactic science fiction.

It is a tad odd that you uncover this space cruiser from the clutches of the Rebel forces, considering it is unlikely to see any battle in the field, so the chances of it being captured would be slim but perhaps it was done in covert. What the Rebels were precisely intending to do with this stolen federation cruiser is unknown. Such a vessel wouldn’t match the direct might of the Rebel flagship, but would be a more likely candidate for mass production necessary for an entire fleet, something a vessel on the scale that the Rebel flagship is on would prohibit. And yet its design is markedly of the federation, and so perhaps they truly were just intending to steal its special technology of the artillery beam, and turn the federation’s own technology against them.

Artillery Beam

  • “Powers a slow, high-powered beam that pierces all shields and does one damage per room hit. More power means faster cooldown.”

Artillery Beam Level 1: Cooldown takes 50 seconds.

  • Cost: None.

Artillery Beam Level 2: Cooldown reduced to 40 seconds.

  • Cost: 30 scrap.

Artillery Beam Level 3: Cooldown reduced to 30 seconds.

  • Cost: 50 scrap.

Artillery Beam Level 4: Cooldown reduced to 20 seconds.

  • Cost: 80 scrap.

Technically the artillery beam is a weapon as well, but it is actually considered its own type of system. You cannot target with it like you can with your normal weapons, and so when it unleashes its beam, it will cut a wide slice through the enemy cruiser from point A to point B of its own random choosing. Consistently those areas do include systems, even if just by the fact that it is uncommon for enemy cruisers to have systemless rooms as frequently as your own can. This specialized beam is unique only to the federation cruiser, and cannot be found or purchased from a shop for any vessel, not even the rare federation shops you can find in the Last Stand sector.

What is so special about this artillery beam is that it entirely ignores shield barriers, and so no matter if your opponent has four shield barriers or just one, the damage will be exactly the same to its systems and HULL. The distance this beam cuts is far, among the most there can be for any beam type of weapon, reducing any detrimental significance the direct damage of the beam would hold - as it is only one damage per room. If it was honestly anything more, you would realistically take down enemy cruisers in a single blast with no shields to ward them against this terrible weapon, and it would unfairly reduce the game difficulty whether it was easy or hard for the federation cruiser.

You cannot designate when this artillery beam discharges either. It has a lengthy charge up and cooldown (these act as the same thing, and do not cumulate into more time needed) dependent on its system level. When it reaches full power, just like the charge up of your weapons in the weapon control, it will unleash its beam. The more you have this upgraded, the lower the cooldown is. No matter what though, it is among the slowest of all weapons, even those of beams while at the maximum upgrade level of four.

Aside from its unique shield piercing trait, the artillery beam provides benefit to your cruiser’s potential damage output by belonging to a system that is separate than the weapons control. The negative side to this is that this will take up one more system spot you would otherwise have, and then its exorbitant energy slot usage to give it a reasonable and low cooldown. If that is too much of a problem for you, then you would be more content with any other kind of cruiser than the federation cruiser, as this artillery beam is present in all three layouts, in some way or form.

The most spectacular use you will see out of this artillery beam is pitted against the rebel flagship, as each of its three forms tend to have protracted fights, unlike the fleeting encounters you match against for the rest of the game instance. Furthermore the rebel flagship has a dramatically high powered shielding system, containing four barriers, that many weapons even when used in conjunction have difficulty taking down.

Layout A

“This ship features the latest in federation technology: an advanced beam weapon that pierces through shields!” This is the layout you acquire when you first unlock the Federation cruiser. Its coating matches in theme with the Kestrel cruiser, as they are both federation space vessels. It has the telltale grayish white plating, and the signature dull orange streaks that mark it to be a federation vessel. Those orange streaks cross the length of the cruiser’s body, two in parallel before they swerve off down the ribs of the body, then there are two more, short streaks on the wings.

  • Original Name: The Osprey.
  • Beginning Crew: One human, one mantis, one rockman, and one engi. A diverse, multi-purpose crew suited for an array of tasks, while not specializing enough in any area to be exposed to significant weakness. This is a good crew setup from the hangar, which reaches the limit of four that you can start the game instance with.
  • Starting Weapons: A burst laser II, with nothing else at all. This laser is the second most expensive out of the burst types that you can find, and has enough might that you can rely on it by itself for a while. It fires a total of three shots in a barrage per charge up, which takes 12 seconds. Each shot is only one damage, but that is standard for bust lasers.

Though this is just one weapon, its capacity of a volley of three shots is suitable for stripping down shields and blasting enemy HULLs. Taking just two energy slots of power, you can continue to rely on and keep this laser for your entire game instance, as it is good enough to not warrant trashing it for scrap like a basic laser would, unless you come across a spectacular outfit of weaponry and you need those extra slots and energy.

Combined with this cruiser’s unique artillery beam, this burst laser does well enough into middle game.

  • Starting Drones: It has none, as there is not even a drone control system installed.
  • Initial Resources: 16 fuel, 5 missiles, and 2 drone parts. A scattering of resources is provided for you, despite that your cruiser lacks any missile launchers or systems that can consume drone parts. These would not be sufficient alone if you acquired either respective thing, but by the time you do find yourself a missile launcher or a drone control system, you likely will have accumulated some missiles and drones to have a larger pool of them.
  • Starting Augmentations: None, this space cruiser’s specialty does not rely on augmentations.
  • Slot Limits: The utmost limit of four weapon slots is reached in this layout of the federation cruiser, while the drone system that you can optionally and possibly install will be limited to a mere two slots for them. Clearly this vessel is built towards weaponry, in lieu of drones.
  • Systems: Level two shields (one barrier), level two engines, level one oxygen, level two weapons control, level one med bay, level one pilots deck, level one sensors, level one door system, and finally level one artillery beam. For as upgraded systems as you could use, the artillery beam sure would be it. These system levels are nothing exceptional, and are par for the course in terms of what you usually start out with for a cruiser straight out of the hangar.
  • Room for Additional Systems: With the artillery beam system, you will only have two spots for systems to be installed, so you are at six total systems in this layout of the federation cruiser. If you get the drone system, it will not be as much use as it would in another type of space cruiser as the federation cruiser layout A has a limit of only two drone slots.

Though your cruiser will only install two systems, there is actually more than enough physical space to fit them all. The drone control system can go below the weapons control, in a square and large room, while the backup battery will go to the left in a corridor, just beneath the sensors system. The cloaking system will be placed in a vertical corridor, wedged between the shields room and the sensors and backup battery corridors. The hacking system will be located at the opposite side of the cruiser, in a horizontal corridor just above the pilots deck, and the crew teleporter will be above that, offset to the left partly. Unfortunately but not with any surprise, the crew teleporter will only accommodate two teleport pads for crew members to travel. And finally, on the lower part of the ship on the same side, will be the hacking station. You can find it just below the engines room, and the corridor of the pilots deck.

  • Ways to unlock: There are actually two ways to unlock this space cruiser, which becomes the usual past this point for cruisers. The canon way is to find a sector named the Rebel Stronghold, choose it, and then find a random event that the huge rebel shipyard is located in. This will be a node that is not a distress beacon, but will be displayed as having a ship in it if you have long ranged scanners. From there, you must choose the option to have a look around so that you will engage with the second edition of the rebel flagship. Fortunate for you, this second rebel flagship is not complete, and looks to be about half made. It will be a hard fight, but if you slaughter the whole crew, the artificial intelligence that usually takes over will be absent and you will emerge successful from the deadly encounter. In the aftermath, you will find the signal of a strange federation cruiser, and find this very cruiser hidden away by the rebels! The federation cruiser will be immediately unlocked.

That method does rely on chance in finding both the rebel stronghold, which is categorized as a hostile sector and so has a red icon to label it, and the random event at one of the beacons. This sector is known to have virulent enemy forces, constituting primarily rebels with greater outfitted vessels, so you may even fail while in the midst of that hazardous sector. You do receive a reward more than just the unlock of the federation cruiser for that game instance though, as by defeating that second rollout of the rebel flagship you will receive a random weapon and ample resources.

The easier, more reliable and consistent method is to just defeat the rebel flagship at the Last Stand sector, thereby completing your mission and surviving the game instance, with the Engi Cruiser. Typically that is the first space cruiser you defeat the boss with, as it is common that you will perish past sector 5 on your fledgling attempts with the Kestrel Cruiser. The engi cruiser is more friendly to a beginning player at victory than the kestrel cruiser is, with the use of its rapid firing ion weaponry.

Of course this involves an entire play through of a game instance, whereas the canon method involves just finding a specific sector in the midway point between there and here, albeit with an additional stipulation of finding a random node in that sector. However you can continue to increase your experience and skills at Faster than Light by running through an entire game instance, earning higher scores, and potentially unlocking other space cruisers along the way, some of which can be harder to find than the federation cruiser or would otherwise require different space cruisers you would not have access to already most likely. The choice is yours ultimately, as it becomes between random chance at finding your desired prize, or guaranteed obtainment if you can manage to best the rebel flagship and survive up until that point.

It is certainly more interesting pertaining to the story and background of the Faster than Light galaxies, by finding where the federation cruiser is actually located firsthand. Your first impression of the space cruiser will be notable, and the federation cruiser will not just take the place of the long line of cruisers you can unlock with specific ships by beating the game.

Layout B

“This ship features additional Artillery power, encouraging heavy reliance on the beam.”

The second layout of the federation cruiser is not styled much differently, and still appears to be in the theme of the federation. Its coating has been starkly redone, but not out of place for its maker’s theme, into a dark, aged mustard yellow. Its inlay style streaks are neon yellow, standing out against the base coat. It’s a unique coating, but none too appealing to the eye. You do not see it too much though in regular gameplay, because of the transparency of the shell to view the interior rooms.

  • Original Name: Nisos.
  • Beginning Crew: One human, one slug, and one Zoltan. A smaller ensemble than the first layout, but you still have that precious and prized Zoltan, and now you have a slug a part of your crew, granting you psychic abilities and a plethora of blue text options that otherwise would be rare for you to get.
  • Starting Weapons: The dual lasers and the leto missiles. You have seen the dual lasers before in the engi cruiser. They are a substandard weapon, discharging two consecutive laser blasts with a charge up rate of 10 seconds, and pleasantly require only one energy slot to maintain. They will serve you well enough early on, but you will want to supplement your weaponry with something stronger at a high priority, or out rightly replace it.

The leto missiles will shore up the blatant feeble firepower of the dual lasers, but this missile launcher will leave you cringing at its flagrant waste of the limited resource of missiles and have you absolutely inching to get rid of it as soon as you can for any other kind of missile launcher that just isn’t this piece of junk. The leto missile inflicts a paltry one, single miniscule point of damage. This is incredibly weak for the standard of all missile launchers, and really is a blight on the whole second layout of the federation cruiser. This is because you need it if you are going to aim for fights that can be done in a decent time, and aren’t elongated just so that your artillery beam can do most of the work. Why would just one point of damage from a missile launcher be needed? It would be because it pierces shields, as all missiles do, which early on will be enough for your dual lasers to pelt at the enemy cruiser’s weakened shields, and eventually HULL. The meager one point of damage of this missile launcher dramatically affects your fire power just because it makes encounters precarious by the limited rate of damage you can do, as after all you are forced to rely on the dual laser for primary damage while you desperately wait on the charge up of your artillery beam.

Evidently that was the point of this layout, but it renders the vessel cumbersome and risky before you can address its weak firepower with your own hands by accruing a decent chunk of scrap and finding yourself a shop beacon that blessedly has some weapons for sale, and not a whole slew of crew you really don’t need on a cruiser that does not yet have even a crew teleporter yet.

  • Starting Drones: There are no drones that come with this layout from the hangar, as it does not have the drone control system installed.
  • Initial Resources: 16 fuel, 9 missiles, and 0 drone parts. This layout and cruiser does not lean towards heavy usage of drones, and thereby initiates the game instance out of the hangar with none, while nine missiles are at least to keep you going for some time with that feeble leto missile launcher.
  • Starting Augmentations: None, customary for this cruiser.
  • Slot Limits: Four in the weapons control, and a mere two for the drones if you purchase and install a drone control system.
  • Systems: Level two shields (one barrier), level two engines, level one oxygen, level two weapons control, level one med bay, level one pilots deck, level one sensors, level one door system, and level two artillery beam. The systems equipped on the second layout of the federation cruiser in the hangar match almost identical to that of the first layout, although the organization of the rooms is planned out much different. The primary difference is the extra level on the artillery beam, reducing the charge up time by ten seconds, resulting in a forty second total charge up.
  • Room for Additional Systems: This layout is capable of only installing two more systems until you reach the limit, while there is also the space for one more subsystem - the backup battery. Equipping this cruiser and layout with a drone control station is less than ideal because of the limit of two simultaneously equipped and running drones it can handle, regardless of its upgraded level.

There are several spare corridors that could be used to stash systems in, but are not because of that general limitation. You will find the drone control system in a spacious room at the back of the cruiser interior, just below the sensors, and the crew teleporter will be stashed into a closet sized horizontal corridor, relatively close to the med bay across the narrow shaft connecting the two major compartments of the interior of the vessel.

  • Ways to unlock: Since this is the second layout of the federation cruiser, you will need to complete two out of three achievements that are unique to this vessel. You can choose any two out of the three, there does not need to be any specific order, and they can be accomplished across separate game instances as achievements earned as a permanent part of your Faster than Light’s game data and will not disappear once a game mission is completed or over. They can only be accomplished while helming the federation cruiser though, and so you cannot choose any other space cruiser than this one to do these achievements.

The first achievement for the federation cruiser is called “Master of Patience”. This achievement is aptly named, not just for how long it would take for you to do it in one go, but the slim and unlikely scenario that has to be for it to even be possible. You must use only the artillery beam to destroy an enemy ship, while your own cruiser takes no hull damage at all. This is made more feasible by heavily upgrading your shields and artillery beam, but both can be of high expense and you generally need to find an enemy ship that does not have any missiles or ion weaponry; or if it has ion weaponry, it has to be weak enough that it cannot bring down your shields all the way on their own.

You can tell early on by gauging how quick the enemy ship fires off its weapons, and by what the enemy ship is equipped with. When it seems like a ship might match your needs for being altogether too weak to bring down your shields and touch your HULL, then power down your weapons and just wait. There’s not exactly any kind of time limit, as there likely will not be any difference between the first several seconds of battle to a couple minutes later. Either they will take down your shields and damage your HULL, or they won’t. There just aren’t fluctuations like that unless you start out the engagement with some damaged systems, or there is an infrequent environmental hazard around. It literally can take some patience, but “Master of Patience” achievement is advisable to get for unlocking the layout B of the federation cruiser.

The second achievement is named “Diplomatic Immunity”. As the name implies, you need a diverse crew originating from separate cultures to accomplish this achievement. This is more specific than the Kestrel Cruiser’s achievement though, and humans are of relative little use because of their scant amount of possible blue text events. You need to successfully complete four special blue text random events by sector 5, a little over halfway through a game instance, using your crew. This cannot be from cutting a ship free with your beam weapon or beam drone, but something one of your crew members can do.

This is a heavily random kind of achievement as it can be difficult to find four random events with blue text options that you are applicable for in an entire game instance, let alone prior to sector 5. This becomes a matter of trying continually until you get it, with knowledge of where random events are probable to happen by sector and beacon node type aiding your chances. Slugs do well with anything involving a merchant trying to con you, while Zoltan actually have similar blue text chances at humans do; Rockmen tend to be able to rescue people from fires, and engi frequently can do high tech repairs even from a remote location. Mantis generally only interact with their own kind, like the Lanius.

The third achievement for the federation cruiser is the “Artillery Mastery”. This is fairly easy for as far as achievements can go, as you only need to abstain from upgrading your weapons control system prior to sector 5, not even sector 8. The layout of the federation cruiser you have to undertake this has the burst laser mark II weapon. Using that combined with an artillery beam upgraded on high priority should bring you as far as sector 5 without tremendous trouble. Though both diplomatic immunity and artillery mastery require that you reach sector 5 with certain objectives fulfilled, artillery master is so simple to accomplish that it is hard to find a reason to not choose this one out of the two you need to unlock the second layout of the federation cruiser.

Layout C

“With a Flak Artillery weapon and an improved Clone Bay, only the most suicidal of infantry chooses to fly on this ship.” The third layout of the federation cruiser looks like a vessel of pirates salvaged this cruiser from the huge rebel shipyard, rather than your own. Its coating is washed over with inky black, and haphazard crimson painting swipes across it with a single octopus pirate emblem on one of the engine cylinders. So just like the Kestrel Cruiser, there is a pirate edition of the federation cruiser, outfitted with emerging technologies.

  • Original Name: The Fregatidae.
  • Beginning Crew: One human, two Zoltan, and one mantis. It may seem strange that a federation originating vessel is manned by two Zoltan, and furthermore one with pirate affiliations as the Zoltan are notorious for their justice seeking moral code, but for the intended purposes of the layout of this space cruiser, it holds to reason. With the update of the Advanced Edition content, upon a Zoltan’s demise they will unleash an explosive blast that will harm nearby enemies for 15 points each, so the intention here is to freely allow your Zoltan to attack the enemy and erupt in energy when they inevitably fail because of their substandard health point total. Taking on this kind of strategy, the brawl skill of your Zoltan will be initially sluggish to rise, but will gradually.

The larger your boarding party is, the more likely those frail Zoltan will survive long enough to take down an enemy crew member. To begin with though, your mantis will have a higher probability of outlasting your Zoltan with his higher health point bar of 100 instead of 70, and the eruptions of energy from your Zoltan when they are defeated will further aid your mantis as he will not be harmed by the eruptions. If the enemy crew members your boarding party is fighting do not succumb to the eruptions from your Zoltan, then your mantis will be likely to finish them off so long as there aren’t too many. Of course that explosion cannot reach beyond the confines of a room, so there is that limitation to the strategy.

As helpful as the damage bonus from the brawl skill is, weighing it against the sheer utility of the cloning bay of continually respawning your crew members, shying away from your crew members falling in combat can be somewhat pointless. If you teleport them out before they die, they just aren’t going to be healed to full after the next jump, and in the mean time for that battle encounter you would have to refrain from using them further. The clone bay would then be pulling you down, instead of it serving its true and useful purpose. The clone bay is ultimately better than just a safety net, and this layout surely goes out of its way to show you that.

  • Starting Weapons: None whatsoever. This is atypical for any layout or space cruiser to lack weapons, even very basic and weak ones. Obviously this layout is not intended to rely on traditional methods of engagement of enemy space cruisers.
  • Starting Drones: Also none, there is not even a drone system installed on the space cruiser. The lack of any weapons and any drones increases the degree of skill needed to helm this spacer cruiser layout to its full and proper potential.
  • Initial Resources: 16 fuel, 5 missiles, and 0 drone parts. Not surprising the lack of drone parts, and you are not going to miss them much despite how expensive those things are. This layout of the federation cruiser especially is not suited to the usage of drones, while you could possibly entail the use of the hacking system without falling in comparison to another space cruiser layout, aside from the lack of drone part supply to rely on. The few missiles given are somewhat odd, but the federation cruiser is an aggressive type of vessel familiar to missile launchers, and so that aspect is not wholly lost.
  • Starting Augmentations: The emergency Respirators. Finally the federation cruiser has some kind of augmentation, albeit the layout added from the Advanced Edition update. This type of augmentation wasn’t added until that update either, and it is plain why. The augmentation reduces the damage over time received from oxygen deprivation for your crew members to half. With the Advanced Edition update, a new race was added called the Lanius that passively drain the oxygen from the surrounding room they are presently in. So the existence of this kind of augmentation helps you as the player manage and balance such a mechanic, however this layout of the federation cruiser lacks any Lanius onboard.

So the addition of this augmentation to layout C can be curious, but the augmentation does not just affect the rate of the damage over time received from oxygen deprivation on your own space cruiser’s interior, but as well the enemy space cruiser’s interior. Your crew is thusly better equipped to handle the newly emerging race of the Lanius, as the interior of their space cruiser’s almost all lack any oxygen support systems, and consequentially your crew can also board unmanned drones with less hazard and greater overall success.

If you do manage to recruit a Lanius to your ship, this will make him less immediately hazardous but won’t allow you to casually disregard his severe drain on the air supply of a room. Halved or not, your crew members will still be hurt, and you can only realistically counteract it by overpowering the oxygen system to level three, requiring that same number of energy slots, putting a great strain on what your reactor can offer to you for your critical systems and burning an excess of scrap away for a simple convenience that doesn’t always work in your favor.

With a level three oxygen system, you now have to switch it on and off in reaction to fires. With the high concentration and resupply rate of oxygen from a level two or level three oxygen system, fires will be increasingly long lasting and pernicious. You probably will also be accustomed to managing a level one oxygen system, or having the air supply rate of a level one, so maintaining scrupulous attention over the power to your oxygen system can be easily overlooked and fires can rage far longer than they should, even if you aren’t trying to vacuum the oxygen away to prematurely stifle the fires. Actually opening a hatch door to the exterior vacuum of space with a level three oxygen system running will not starve out the fire of oxygen, and it will continue to burn.

  • Slot Limits: Though this layout of the federation cruiser doesn’t start out in the hangar with any weapons, the total limit is four equipped weapons to the weapons control system, regardless of how much energy each one needs. Again this layout of the federation cruiser is restricted to just two drone slots for your drone control system, if you install one.
  • Systems: Level two shields (one barrier), level two engines, level one oxygen, level one weapons control, level one pilots deck, level one sensors, level one door system, level one crew teleporter, level one flak artillery, and level two clone bay. The systems on layout C are actually fairly good, with a greater bulk of them already installed into the space cruiser. The crew teleporter is just level one, but without the armaments of any weapons or drones, this system is absolutely necessary for you to be able to engage any hostiles as you can only fight them with your crew. The issue is that the crew teleporter is stuffed into a tiny corridor, so only two crew members can teleport at once. For a vessel that relies so heavily on a capable boarding party, this is surely to its detriment. But layout C of the federation cruiser does take this downside the best it can, as it comes equipped with an upgraded clone bay, and a clone bay in general.

The impact of the restriction of just two teleport pads to send two crew members at once is mitigated by the lack of necessity of teleporting your boarding party back and forth to keep them alive. There’s after all no use in sending your boarding party to die for just one battle, and for every battle. You wouldn’t be left with any crew at all after just one or two altercations. With the clone bay, you can beam half your boarding party over, and them beam the next half over when the cool down is up on the crew teleporter. Even if the first half of your boarding party perishes, they’ll slowly be brought back by the clone bay, and the second half of your boarding party will keep whatever enemy crew members are alive busy, and probably will deal the finishing blows. The risk involved would be if your clone bay was damaged. If it completely falls to inoperable red, then whatever crew member is being cloned at present will begin to perish. It is unlikely you will be able to save them, unless you have an engie on hand to execute a swift and pressing repair.

You are not only relying on your boarding party, but also your flak artillery. These two offensive capabilities together make an unlikely ally. The flak artillery behaves just like the artillery beam, in terms of the intervals it will shoot out at, and how you cannot control where it fires, let alone when it fires other than simple prediction. You can possibly underpower it, and then it will not charge at all, but then you are crippling a major source of damage. You also cannot precharge it and underpower it with the intent of repowering it when you need it to immediately fire, as the flak artillery just like the artillery beam will quickly lose its charge when it is unpowered. You could artificially lengthen its charge rate by taking away some energy slots so it acts like it’s not upgraded, but that does something similar to depowering it entirely.

The description for this layout C of the federation cruiser really was apt. The flak artillery will be bombarding the enemy space cruiser with a scattering of debris that will rip into its HULL, unleashing a potential total of seven damage a discharge, though the pieces of jagged and crumpled metal will frequently miss. Even if the enemy space cruiser’s HULL does not get totaled by this, your crew members that are onboard of the enemy space cruiser will be caught in the crossfire as the flak pieces crash into the system rooms, sometimes ripping holes in the walls resulting in breaches. Eventually, if your crew members do not win the fight, the flak artillery will destroy the space cruiser with your crew members on it, and they will perish. Of course the clone bay will….clone them, as it does not actually reincarnate the crew members.

By using this layout effectively, you are essentially treating your boarding party with the same significance as weapons and drones, and that they are simply expendable. It makes no difference if they perish or not in the fight, as you will just be given a spare from the clone bay. Certainly this is the harshest take on the clone bay, but if your mission is to succeed, you have to do everything you can possibly do, and this would be it. This layout really does put the clone bay to its limits. Hopefully during your game instance you’ll find the augmentation “Backup DNA” that prevents your crew members’ clones from being lost if the clone bay is unpowered or damaged.

  • Room for Additional Systems: With the crew teleporter and the flak artillery installed on the layout from the hangar, there is only one slot remaining for you to choose another system to installed. There is nothing stopping you from installing a backup battery though if you so wish. Too bad about the restriction as the interior does have sufficient rooms to cover every possible system in the game, with a set of four corridors making a C shape off to the right of the space cruiser gripping the square weapons control room, and a set of three corridors making a smaller backwards C off to the left, backed against the crew teleporter and oxygen system.
  • Ways to unlock: To unlock the third layout you are going to need to make sure the Advanced Edition content is enabled from the hangar for your game instance, and that you choose the second layout of the federation cruiser, layout B, to venture across the sectors in. From there you will need to make it in one piece to the eight sector and you will unlock layout C of the federation cruiser.

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