World Record FTL Score

I achieved what is to my knowledge the highest score ever achieved in the video game Faster Than Light. Is it still a record if I set up an autoclicker and used a hacking program to speed the game up? Reddit is on the fence

My ship layout 

Now for the nerd stuff. 

FTL is a game where you advance your spaceship through 8 sectors and slowly build your ship as you go in order to defeat the rebel flagship boss at the end. As you visit each sector, the rebel fleet slowly catches up to you and you typically have a limited number of stops in each sector to fight enemies and build your ship before you need to leave the sector. Typically fighting the rebel fleet is a deathwish, since the ships are much more powerful than normal ships. 

However, fighting the rebel fleet still increases your score, even though the ships don't drop any scrap or parts. Because of this, one way to get an extremely high score is to continually "dive" through the rebel fleet and kill the ships. This gets risky though because with each of these difficult encounters you risk damaging your ship and you don't gain any scrap to repair the ship with. 

The best mitigation to this, in order to get a really high score, is to build a ship that is so extremely overpowered that the rebel ships can't even touch it. This allows you to stay in the rebel fleet forever and rake up points. There are a few things I did to make this happen:

  • The weapons preignitor the most important part of the strategy, with the right weapons layout you can one shot almost any ship
  • Good flak or laser weapons are required to take down the enemy shields so a beam weapon can tear through
  • You need a beam weapon that can consistently kill the rebel ship in one volley. Several good laser weapons could also work, but it's significantly less reliable
  • A Zoltan shield is critical to this strategy. If all of your weapons somehow miss, you don't want a stray missile getting through your shields. Remember, you need to defeat thousands of ships in a row without losing a single hitpoint
  • Given these requirements, Zoltan A is the best ship. It comes with a Zoltan shield and a Halberd beam, which means you just have to find a weapons preignitor and some decent flak or laser weapons to take down shields
  • You need to fight the rebels in a nebula sector. Inside a nebula, there is no rebel ABS, so the rebels need to get through your entire Zoltan shield if they somehow manage to dodge your volleys. The reduced power in ion storms also decreases the number of shields the rebel ships have (another reason to go Zoltan!)
  • All of this needs to happen in an early sector, sector 4 or earlier is a good rule of thumb. If you wait until a later sector the rebels will have more shields, and the chances enough flak or lasers missing that you can't take out a ship with the Halberd Beam go up significantly
  • Improvements: a Glaive Beam would be better than the Halberd Beam, but it's hard to find one. Also, a nebula sector with two exceptionally weak rebel ships on neighboring beacons would have been useful
A typical score is 7500 points

I was able to find a weapons preignitor and 2 Flak 1 cannons by sector 3 which was a nebula sector. It's hard to overstate how overpowered this is. The odds of every flak in the volley missing against manned level 2 engines is 0.15^6 = 0.00113% which means the Halberd Beam with the weapons preignitor can take down the enemy ship as soon as the fight begins 99.999% of the time. 

Even if the flak misses, the Halberd beam damages the weapons room and takes down one weapon, and the 10s cooldown on the flak cannons means they will fire on the weapons room one more time before the rebel ship gets its first shot. If the rebel ship were to shoot, it takes a minimum of two volleys to get through the Zoltan shield because of the guaranteed damaged weapons from the Halberd Beam. It might be possible to create a ship that can guarantee a win with a Glaive Beam or another Halberd Beam, but each encounter would take forever and it would take way longer to increase score. 

Achieving this layout took restarting several times; I found it's often worth restarting at the end of sector 1 because that's when you see how many key ingredients you have, an if there are nebula sectors up ahead. 

The rebel fleet ships always spawn the same for each beacon so I found two beacons next to each other with rebels that had minimal shields and cannons. To farm score I went to one beacon, defeated the ship, went to the other, defeated the ship, and then went back to the first, forever. 

This is where it gets fancy. There are several streamers and youtubers who will do this for literally a dozen or more hours to get a high score. As my ship was insanely overpowered and I have a life, I automated this with an autoclicker. Unrelated, but I also used Autohotkey in college to vote for the movie Rango on a google poll 14,000 times for a movie night that I was not attending. 

A snippet of my Autohotkey script

Autoclicking in FTL is surprisingly hard, because most video games prevent autoclicking to stop cheaters from using aimbots in first person shooter games. Luckily some friendly people on the internet have made scripts that try every possible way to click in the hopes that some work, and in FTL, some do. 

I modified this "click everything" script to hop between beacons, pause for a loading screen, and immediately set all weapons to target the rebel ship weapons room and the Halberd Beam to sweep across the weapons, engines, shields and oxygen room. This provides a slight advantage over the clone bay, as enemy crew will prioritize fixing the oxygen room over weapons. The script also checks pixel colors to pause the game if the Zoltan shield loses 2/5 bars (never happened), or to see if the fight is over so it can move to the other beacon. Ahk code is available here:

I ran some numbers on how fast I was killing ships and how fast my score was increasing, decided to install cheat engine to speed the game up ~10x so that I could reach 1 million score in 4 days rather than weeks. This is where the line between legit score and illegal score get blurred, since I could easily have just changed my score using cheat engine. But I didn't. 

Cheat engine being used in FTL

In the end I stopped the program because I wanted my laptop back, but I fully believe that this layout could have achieved a score of 1 billion or more. My ship didn't lose a single hitpoint, in fact, it never lost more than 2 Zoltan shields, but still defeated 45,000+ ships in a row. 

If you read this far and are wondering why I did this, well, covid was boring for all of us.