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Sectors

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Sector selection map.

All FTL worlds progress through a generated map with many sectors of which the player can choose a total of eight. The first and last sectors are predetermined and are chosen for the player and all paths eventually lead to the final sector. There are three types of sectors: Civilian, hostile and nebula. The long-range beacon at the end of a sector will take the player to the next sector, which is sometimes a choice but a sector can also lead to a single other sector. Each type of sector has a few subtypes, though they don't differ much apart from some sector-specific events.

Sector Types[edit]

Civilian[edit]

Civilian sectors are generally the safest sectors to travel in with more stores and non-combat events and fewer enemy ships. Civilian sectors are home to the Zoltan and Engi, and the sectors that both control are also considered civilian sectors.

Hostile[edit]

As the name suggests, hostile sectors are generally more filled with enemies and other nasty things. Though dangerous, traveling in hostile space can also be quite rewarding. The Mantis' and Rockmen's home worlds are both considered hostile sectors, as they are sectors under their control. Pirate-controlled and Rebel-controlled sectors are also considered hostile.

Nebulas[edit]

Nebulas are zones in which your sensors will be disabled and various nebula-related events can take place, like ion storms. Slugs make their home in nebulas.

Sector List[edit]

Type Name Minimum Sector Population
Civilian (green) Civilian Sector 1 Any
Engi Controlled Sector 1 Engi, Human, Zoltan
Engi Homeworlds 3 Engi, Human, Zoltan
Zoltan Controlled Sector 2 Zoltan, Human, all others
Zoltan Homeworlds 3 Zoltan, Human, all others
Hostile (red) Mantis Controlled Sector 1 Mantis, Human, Engi, Rock
Mantis Homeworlds 3 Mantis, Human, Engi, Rock
Pirate Controlled Sector 1 Any
Rebel Controlled Sector 1 Any
Rock Controlled Sector 2 Rock, Human, Zoltan
Rock Homeworlds 5 Rock, Human, Zoltan
Nebula (purple) Slug Controlled Nebula 4 Slug, Human, all others
Slug Home Nebula 4 Slug, Human, all others
Uncharted Nebula 1 Human, Slug, all others
Special The Last Stand 8 Any
Secret Hidden Crystal Worlds N/A Crystal

Rebel Fleet Movement[edit]

How much the rebel fleet advances each time you move on the sector map depends on the type of sector you're in (regular, or nebula as stated in its sector map name) and type of beacon you just landed on (regular, or nebula beacon with a blue circle around it). It does NOT depend on how far the jump appears to be. Only the fact that you jumped matters, and the distance the fleet moves depends on the type of beacon and type of sector. You can see how far the rebel fleet just moved as the gap between the red line of their pending front and the white line of its actual front:

Type of Sector Type of Beacon Frame Dimensions Fleet Progress**
Regular Nebula Neb / Reg Width Offset Width / Turn Typical Turns Max. Turns
Regular 128* 64 50% 1488 -173 8.6% 11 - 13 15 - 30
Nebula 128 102 80% 1488 -300 6.9% 14 20.0
* These are pixel counts for full-screen 2560x1440 Quad HD (QHD) resolution. In QHD, the sector map (within its frame) is 1488 pixels wide and 1051 high. Pixel counts will be different for other resolutions, but the percents and concepts are the same.

Regular beacons always cause the same amount of fleet movement, whether in a nebula sector or not: 128 pixels at QHD resolution (that's 8.6% of sector-map frame width in all resolutions). Conversely, nebula beacons (not sectors) cause less movement in regular sectors (64) than in nebula sectors (102). Stated another way,

  • Nebula beacons are really nice in regular sectors, because the fleet only moves half as much, but
  • Regular beacons are only a little worse in nebula sectors (128 vs. 102 is only 25% more fleet movement). So
  • In regular sectors, every two nebula beacons is like getting a free (extra) regular beacon.
  • In nebula sectors, it takes four regular beacons to "waste" a full jump.

The rebel fleet begins off the sector map (to the left) with the offsets shown above. The offset is 1.4 turns (173/128) of regular (non-nebula) beacon movement in a regular sector, so it appears with about 0.6 of a regular turn's movement after your second jump (and have visited three beacons, including the first). But in a nebula sector, the fleet can only barely be seen after your third jump (300/102).

  • Even the type of first (starting) beacon influences fleet movement. So these observations only hold true if you have only been on the normal type of beacon for that map (regular beacons in regular sectors or nebula beacons in nebula sectors).
  • If you are lucky enough to start on a nebula beacon on a regular map (and don't hit any other nebula beacons), the fleet will only be barely visible as of your second jump (0.6 - 0.5 = 0.1), instead of at 0.6 of a move. If you land on even more nebula beacons initially in a regular sector, the fleet will be delayed even more.
  • The opposite is true for a nebula sector; regular beacons will move the fleet faster, even while it's still hidden initially.

The fleet does not move "up" and "down" as it progresses across the sector map from left to right. It appears to choose a random height location (on the Y axis) initially, then keeps that height and moves smoothly across the map horizontally as it progresses (to the right). This is easy to see if you take screencaps as you progress across a map, then flip through the screencaps quickly.


You can easily demonstrate all these concepts, then exploit them. Hold a piece of paper to your screen. Mark the width between the leading red edge and leading white edge. Measure the distance and make tick marks along the edge of a paper. Now hold it up to your screen and you can predict how many ticks it will take for the fleet to reach the exit. The advancing front moves smoothly from left to right, so measure at the height of the exit beacon (keep the tick-mark edge of the paper completely level horizontally on the screen).

  • Make two scales, one for each sector type (regular beacons on a regular map, and nebula beacons on a nebula map). Mentally adjust for any changes due to nebula/regular beacon variances on your particular map.
  • For a more accurate ruler: The sector map on your screen is 11.63 jumps "wide" for a regular sector and 14.59 jumps for a nebula sector. So measure its total width in millimeters right on your screen and divide using these numbers for a more accurate measure of the width of each jump, for your setup. Then make marks along the edge of a piece of paper using this. Make one ruler for regular sectors and another for nebula. Number your marks so it's easy to tell how many jumps are left, if there are a lot.


** In the table, Fleet Progress shows normal rebel fleet advancement for the two types of sectors. For a regular sector (with mostly regular beacons), this is 8.6% (128/1488). For a nebula sector (nebula beacons), it's 6.9% (102/1488).

Fleet progress can be changed by a number of events. Such changes are always a function of your current beacon. If a ship warned the fleet and caused it to move doubly while you're at a nebula beacon in a regular sector, it will jump 128 pixels (2x64). But if you were on a regular beacon on a regular map, it would jump 256 (2x128).

Sometimes you can pay a mercenary to delay the fleet by two jumps. Strictly speaking, it performs as advertised. But if you are weighing whether you should delay the fleet to make two attacks versus just attacking the merc already, note that you're really only buying one delay: If you pay plus forfeit one attack to gain the possibility of two attacks, it sort of breaks even... you may as well attack already, especially if you don't have Scanners or other intel to ensure you'll get more combats, anyway. Also, if your current beacon is different from the map's norm, it's more complicated. (Much worse if on a nebula beacon on a regular map, but better vice versa.)


With these measurements in hand, you can predict the number of beacons you'll probably see per sector:

  • You can say that, e.g., 102 pixels on a map that's 1488 pixels wide means that each jump moves the fleet 6.9%, and there are about 14 jumps on average (1/0.069). But it's not that simple; this doesn't account for the fact that the fleet doesn't appear for a few turns, and the exit is never at the right-most edge.
  • The X position of the Exit is quite variable, from perhaps 65% to 95% of the way across the map. Let's say it's at the 80% mark, on average. (This is just a general observation.)
  • Given the delayed (offset) appearance of the fleet and an exit at 80% of the way across a map, a nebula sector provides about 14 beacons (assuming all the beacons are nebula beacons). A regular sector provides about 11 counting only regular beacons, but regular maps usually have a few nebula, meaning that regular sectors usually allow for 11 to 13 beacons. But the actual numbers always vary.
  • The maximum theoretical number of beacons can be very high, but will almost never happen. The exit would have to be deep in a right-hand corner, and the front's leading edge would be on the other side of the map, vertically. (For example, the front would be high but the exit would be low; the far tail of a front is about two turns behind its leading edge, in the most extreme case.) Finally, of course, there would have to be enough connections to make all these jumps without getting trapped. If all these conditions were met, a nebula sector (with all nebula beacons) could provide 20.03 beacons. (IF exits can actually be right against a wall or in a corner.) For a regular sector with regular beacons the number is 14.97, but if the regular sector was magically full of nebula beacons, the number would be double (almost 30). Of course, these numbers exclude any events that might also change fleet movement.


Some things that do not matter:

  • DISTANCE DOES NOT MATTER, only the number of jumps. So use the "jump ruler" described above to help pre-plan your route. (It helps to number the tick marks.) Don't let yourself get left out on a limb, and try to jump into clusters of beacons with many connections so you can better see Distress, Store, or other possibilities. For optimal timing, it's good to have choices near the exit so you can hit one more once the fleet gets close, if possible.
  • The FTL Jammer is somewhat vaguely worded. It doesn't apply to fleet movement on the sector map; it only delays ships trying to jump out of a combat with you.