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I've been playing FTL for a while now, and I am seeing the same names crop up again and again in my crew members. Whilst I realise they are used for recording stats, I don't really care about them, and really just want a bit more variety in the names presented to me.

Is there a way to access the list of names used by FTL and either add to it, or at the very least change them?

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Yes, it is possible to change the list of names. Do note that names in the game were a $100+ backer reward on the initial Kickstarter.

At any rate, you will need to unpack {FTL root}/resources/data.dat with a tool such as ftldat (ftldat unpack path/to/data.dat). Once unpacked, you will find a file called {data.dat unpacked}/data/names.xml.

You can edit this with any text editor (it does use Unix linebreaks, though, so you might want to refrain from using notepad.exe) to change the list. You will have to follow the same conventions the game uses, but other than that, anything is possible.

Once you're done, back up your original data.dat, repack it with ftldat (ftldat pack path/to/data.dat) and you're good to go.


As for the conventions in the names.xml file.

A list is wrapped in a set of <nameList race="{race}" sex="{sex}"></nameList> tags, where {race} currently seems to have no effect (or at least "human" is given to all races, no matter what. Entering another race, such as "engi" might restrict it to that given race.) and {sex} can be either male or female.

Inside the nameList tags, each name is to be added as a <name short="{short}">{name}</name> tag. Here, short is an optional attribute, but it is used to shorten names that are too long for the UI. When {name} includes spaces, only the last section is used ("Sir Jonathan Kirby" results in "Kirby"), unless a short attribute is specified.

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    and if you don't want to have to come up with the names manually there is an FTL mod that adds lots of names for you. ftlgame.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=3293
    – user48195
    Commented Jul 5, 2013 at 9:44
  • funny that you mention the kickstarter, I just suggested using FTL time travel to back them ;-)
    – Zommuter
    Commented Jul 5, 2013 at 9:46
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    @Zommuter I saw the comment in the names.xml file while trying this stuff out and since I, personally, don't like actively undermining the Kickstarter I mentioned it. :P
    – user98085
    Commented Jul 5, 2013 at 9:47
  • Well, +1 for that. It was intended as a special reward after all. But unless a way to change the probabilities is introduced to favour backer names while still allowing other names, there's no other way to achieve more diversity (not that it annoyed me)
    – Zommuter
    Commented Jul 5, 2013 at 9:49
  • @Zommuter I agree, which is why I just mentioned it, rather than outright refusing to answer. ;)
    – user98085
    Commented Jul 5, 2013 at 9:51

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