Cogmind is a sci-fi roguelike epic in which you play a robot building yourself from components found or salvaged from other robots. Explore a living, breathing world through turn-based tactical combat, or sneak, hack, and fly your way to victory.
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Very Positive (120) - 99% of the 120 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date:
Oct 16, 2017
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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“Cogmind is already a very complete experience, fully playable, balanced, and generally free of bugs. Thousands of players have been enjoying Cogmind since its pre-Steam alpha debut in 2015. But rather than a full release I've decided to use Early Access to indicate my intention to continue fleshing out the world even further with extra features and content.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“Likely at least six months because there are a good many fun extras I'd really like to add, though there is no strict deadline as it depends on how much support there is to continue with what has already exceeded four years of work.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“With the main game essentially complete, there are a ton of optional features to begin exploring, some specific confirmed plans including built-in achievements, lots more challenge modes, more ambient audio, and a more nuanced robot hacking system.

In addition there are plenty of secret potential extras, but I can't promise or talk about them here :)”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“Prior to Steam, many players have already logged hundreds of hours of play, as there's quite a lot to explore:
  • Nearly 1,000 different parts to attach, all with their own ASCII art
  • Dozens of robot classes, each with unique behavior in the ecosystem
  • Dozens of procedural map types, many embedded with hand-made areas
  • Extensive machine-hacking capabilities (nearly 100 hacks so far)
  • Hundreds of NPC encounters, thousands of lines of dialogue
  • Seven animated endings (lore and story are done!)
  • Everything has sounds--more SFX than any roguelike, ever

On the technical side Cogmind is extremely stable, with extensive automated testing and a team of private testers keeping release builds almost entirely bug-free. (Even players running on Linux/OSX via Wine also report a flawless experience.)”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“No price change is currently planned on exiting Early Access.

However, if enough time is invested in extra content before full release, among other factors, an increase may be considered.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“The open development process will remain the same as it has been since 2015, with frequent progress updates interspersed with release builds, and direct interaction with players to collect feedback and refine new features. Cogmind wouldn't be what it is today without the very community that enjoys it and aims to help make it an even better, smoother, more exciting experience.

A majority of feedback so far has come through the forums (http://www.gridsagegames.com/forums/), chat server (https://discord.gg/9pmFGKx) and r/Cogmind (http://www.reddit.com/r/Cogmind/).”
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Recent updates View all (7)

November 11

Beta 3.1 "In the Cloud"

Our first post-Steam update! Below you'll find a fairly hefty changelog considering it's only a minor version increment, but there's no new content--instead I wanted to get a lot of little feature requests and tweaks out of the way as soon as possible before moving on to bigger things. Beta 3.1 brings us Steam Cloud support, ALERT messages you can't miss, and all maps accessible from any difficulty level...

Cogmind Beta 3.1 "In the Cloud" (0.10.171111) changelog:
  • NEW: [Steam] Steam Cloud support
  • NEW: ALERT log messages also appear over the map at the top left (adjustable via advanced.cfg: mapAlertDuration)
  • NEW: Most ALERT log messages/announcements accompanied by a sound effect for emphasis
  • NEW: Triggering High Security is accompanied by a special sound effect
  • NEW: Message/combat logs prefix lines with turn numbers in Tactical HUD mode (toggle via advanced.cfg: disableMessageLogTurnNumbers)
  • NEW: noFluffLogMessages option to never show purely atmospheric log messages related to some robot actions (toggle via advanced.cfg)
  • NEW: Ctrl-RMB on walls/doors for their stats (if a info window already open, simple RMB works too)
  • NEW: Custom cursor support (see manual under Advanced UI)
  • NEW: Descriptions for all 49 advanced.cfg-only options added to manual under Advanced UI
  • NEW: WORKMAN keyboard layout file
  • NEW: Partial keyboard layout files for QWERTZ, ABNT2, UK
  • NEW: Numpad Enter also closes context help, advances transmission text, and works on game over screen to restart
  • NEW: Tutorial message explicitly indicates purpose of matter on first acquiring it (same as item description)
  • NEW: Several situational tutorial messages regarding energy management
  • NEW: Weapon penetration stat context help explicitly mentions that Huge robots count as a single object
  • NEW: "Inventory Autosorting" in options menu toggles automatic type-sorting of inventory items (equivalent to 't')
  • NEW: Attached part relative coverage visualization also shows specific values in Tactical HUD mode
  • NEW: All Alpha supporter names registered since Beta 3 added to in-game list (see Credits menu)
  • NEW: All Alpha item-attribution names registered since Beta 3 added to the item collection gallery
  • MOD: All maps accessible in all difficulty levels (most challenging areas no longer blocked off in easier modes)
  • MOD: Structural Scanner no longer required to get explosion data in machine info (but still required to know if such a machine has been destabilized)
  • MOD: Structural Scanner effect description explicitly states that it <stacks>
  • MOD: All keyboard map-shifting commands now jump the map by default (single-space shifting no longer possible)
  • MOD: Shift modifier no longer required for keyboard mode to shift map view (Alt-only), except for vi-keys
  • MOD: vi-keys no longer need Shift or Alt modifier in dedicated mapshift mode (`), simply hjklyubn will do :)
  • MOD: /user/cogmind.cfg split into three files: system.cfg, options.cfg, advanced.cfg
  • MOD: "Show Part Range" and "Invert Map Pan" removed from options menu (now in advanced.cfg)
  • MOD: advanced.cfg autoSortInventory renamed to matchSortInventory
  • MOD: Lowered integrity of all Coolant Injectors
  • MOD: Slightly nerfed Mak. Salvage Targeting Computer
  • MOD: Tread crushing effect description includes explicit notice of max core integrity to be crushable (50)
  • MOD: Removed critical hit stat context help mention of effect on machines, large doors, and barriers (no longer applicable)
  • MOD: Walls/doors destroyed by launchers cause alert increase as with other weapons
  • MOD: Experimental/pre-release builds no longer warn about version number not matching server records
  • MOD: Scan window uses a much quicker, quieter sound to prevent overlap when hovering cursor across groups of items
  • MOD: Text printing/scrolling sfx replaced by a more subtle version with lower pitch and volume
  • MOD: Doubled matter extraction rate of all Field Recycling Units
  • MOD: Save file naming scheme changed to reflect internal save version, and extension changed to .sav
  • MOD: Tunneling hack more useful
  • MOD: Resource containers no longer have a LOAD setting (since the desired behavior is now automatic anyway)
  • MOD: Integrity-wise sorting of inventory now orders by absolute integrity rather than percent remaining
  • FIX: Attaching Core Expander from inventory via any means of direct swapping would crash game on subsequent key press [russomatroso]
  • FIX: 0b10 Decoder Chip [G/L] crashed on attempting to reveal an item outside FOV dropped on a chip-discovered trap [Darg]
  • FIX: Manual referenced older damage modifier for critical strikes against armor (is 20%, not 25%) [zxc]
  • FIX: Clicking 'X' button to close robot manual hacking window with code list open didn't also close the latter, and would later crash the UI [Valguris]
  • FIX: Potential to crash in the combat log if a certain sequence of messages quickly appeared under rare conditions [LordKee]
  • FIX: Using a Reconstructor while affected by a Stasis Beam to move outside the beam range would maintain the hold as long as no new obstructions [DDarkRay]
  • FIX: Unidentified prototypes in inventory indirectly revealed coverage and integrity values through respective visualization modes [DDarkRay]
  • FIX: Saving files would silently fail if player manually deleted the target directories [The Renderer]
  • FIX: Ctrl-CMB to toggle volley range visualization not working under some conditions [Uninstall Wizard]
  • FIX: On some Linux/Wine setups online News update feature might occasionally have a trailing 0 causing repeat news content to flash as if new [Joshua]
  • FIX: Typo in lore [zill]
  • FIX: Unidentified prototype resource containers held in inventory could still indirectly collect and store energy/matter
  • FIX: With non-green console border colors, the first item comparison in the gallery would still have two inside corners appear green
  • FIX: Removed critical strike stat context help mention of props being destroyable by crits

Cloud Saves

Beta 3.1's main attraction is compatibility with Steam Cloud, allowing anyone playing through Steam to preserve their settings, save file, and metadata across multiple machines, automagically.

This required the somewhat altered config system I talked about a couple weeks ago. As such, there are two important steps to follow if you're going to take advantage of the cloud support:
  1. Your settings will only be migrated properly if you update to this version, Beta 3.1, so do that first.
  2. Also if you've played Cogmind before, be sure to start playing on the machine with the settings and data that you want to keep! Just running it once should be enough, and then you can use either/any machine.
Note that 3.0 saves are compatible with 3.1, so you can update immediately, even in the middle of an ongoing run, and just keep going.

Know that this won't always be the case in the future--major versions and any updates that add new content do break save compatibility. That said, beginning with this release Cogmind stores saves under a new filename that reflects its internal save version, and what I plan to do is leave prior versions of Cogmind available as separate branches on Steam, so even if you do update (perhaps by accident), you'll still be able to rollback your install and play an unfinished run on a previous version if you like.

Difficulty

Difficulty hasn't been significantly altered with this update, though do be careful with those explosives. They're lifesavers in a lot of situations, but now they also piss off the Complex more than they used to. Each wall and door destroyed by non-AOE weapons has always raised alert by a small amount, but explosives were exempt from that rule until now. Obviously collateral damage with AOE weapons is much more likely, so the consequences are now more in line with their power.

A few items were nerfed, the only really notable category being Coolant Injectors, which have always been pretty OP since they were introduced--now they might not last you forever :P

I buffed the secret hack that everyone loves to hate. Now you'll probably want to use it a lot more often if you're planning a specific route through the world.

The biggest change to difficulty comes outside the default Roguelike mode, since there are no longer any limits on where Easier and Easiest mode players can visit. This is the way it was early on when I first implemented these modes, but the active community was much smaller then and almost no one was really playing the easier modes anyway, so there was a stronger cry to gate the most secret lore behind the regular difficulty. Now it's all open again :)

Beware though, the other half of the reason I thought it was a good idea to close off some maps was that they are disproportionately challenging even on the easiest mode! Cogmind's world was balanced for the default difficulty, so on the easier modes it's possible to wander into what are still very deadly areas. But hey, at least it's definitely easier than what you'd face on the regular mode, and it gives you access to all the lore.

(Currently fewer than 10% of players are using either of the easier modes.)

Accessibility

As described last weekend, Cogmind now supports custom cursors. The manual shows how to do it--it's super easy. While I fixed most of the odd behaviors caused by enabling optional software-rendered cursors that Cogmind didn't originally account for in its architectural decisions accumulated over the past four years (:P), there could be some undiscovered issues if I missed any UI combinations during testing. Let me know if you end up using a custom cursor and find anything fishy.

3.1 also includes more keyboard layouts, which I tried to support to the best of the ability of the system. The thread for how to use those is here.

Feature Images

A collection of demos from this release...

Optional automated inventory sorting:


On-map popups for important ALERT log messages:


Numbered log lines:


Example 2:


Explosive machine details are now freely available (without Structural Scanner):


Ctrl-RMB on a wall or door to inspect it for armor and resistance info (or just RMB if window already open):


Coverage visualization includes precise numbers:


[Non-serious] custom cursor in action!


Further differentiated config files:


Ctrl-CMB also toggles volley range visualization:
10 comments Read more

November 10

SITREP Saturday #3: YAQOL

Anyone who looks back through Cogmind's release history will see that I've always placed a lot of importance on maintaining good QoL. I love adding content and mechanics (and have oh so many plans...) but the priority is always to take care of the little things that help improve what we already have, and since we have a lot of new players now--over 1,000 on the leaderboards (counting only named players), it's natural that the influx has brought with it a lot of requests we can reasonably accommodate.

So that's much of what I've been working on this week.

Beta 3.1 is around the corner, and focuses on quality of life among other small changes and features (including of course the Cloud support I talked about last time).

Small features like optional automated inventory sorting:


I was actually going to release earlier this week, but kept postponing it because there was a really odd bug which didn't make any sense given the source code, so I thought it might be the compiler and couldn't confirm that, and basically had, and still have, no idea where it's coming from. An old game file I no longer use (and since deleted) kept popping up out of nowhere, recreating itself when there is clearly no code in the game to do that. This file affects the operation of the game so it was rather important to figure out, but it's completely random. I thought it was the compiler using old code but rebuilding from scratch didn't stop it. Anyway, I filled an entire page with notes about this bug trying to figure it out, as I encountered it a few times each day, adding more and more tests in between working down the list of other features that we wanted eventually anyway. I never did find the bug, but release can wait no longer so I coded a workaround that will at least prevent it from screwing things up should it appear again. Strangely enough, this file didn't appear at all in the past day...

Progress

Other progress from the week, best demonstrated in images:

New on-map popups for very important ALERT log messages!

These are accompanied by a very obvious alarm sound, because despite being so bright in the message log ALERT messages were still easy to miss, but they often have serious implications for survivability. If you want to keep the good old "what where'd that assault ARC come from?!?!" experience, there is a way to turn map alerts off :P

Coverage visualization graphs are now accompanied by their specific percentages in Tactical HUD mode:


In case you don't want to use the 'v' key/button, Ctrl-CMB now works to toggle the volley range visualization:


Explosive machine details are now free. No more Structural Scanner required, just inspect the machine:


The mouse can also now inspect walls and doors via Ctrl-RMB (or just RMB if the info window is already open).

Good strategy sometimes calls for knowing what it'll take to create new doors. (Though know that unless it's a special wall, melee weapons and non-EM cannons are usually enough to do the trick.)

More Coverage!


  • Cogmind got two pages in the November issue of Canard PC, the "leading video game magazine in France, Belgium and Switzerland." They rate it "Sans Danger," meaning it's safe to buy even though it's in Early Access :)
  • I did an interview for Indie Hackers, where I answered questions/wrote about things like marketing, revenue, creativity, advice for others, and Cogmind/my background. (This is a site for entrepreneurs, so it's not really about the game itself.)
  • I also did a little interview for Goomba Stomp. This one's more about Cogmind, and also roguelikes in general.

Upcoming Schedule

Beta 3.1 is coming very soon (like this weekend soon), about which I'll have a separate post covering the changelog and release notes.

Then there are some things coming up which will slow development for a bit. I have to spend yet more time at the hospital (the situation worsened recently, but there are new leads and therefore hope to get rid of this problem for good), and in addition to that I'll actually be out of country visiting the US for a while. I have to head over there for Cogmind-related business reasons (of all things...), but decided since we have family over there celebrating the holidays I may as well bring everyone along and stay a little longer. Trips that far are expensive, anyway, might as well make it more worthwhile! Everyone's always asking us to visit but I've always been too busy working on Cogmind to make the trip xD

I'd prefer to not be away having only recently released the Steam version, but perhaps finally being somewhere I'm not tempted by my full workstation here would be good for the recovery, too! In any case, during this period I'll certainly be available online as usual, just not able to reply nearly as fast as I normally do :P

Unless something really interesting happens, since there won't be as much progress I will probably skip the next two SITREPs before returning to our normal weekly schedule.

Really looking forward to December, when I'll push through all the remaining high-priority and near-term items so we can move on to much more significant features!
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Reviews

“Cogmind is an impressive merging of old and new school game design.”
Rock, Paper, Shotgun

“Cogmind is a wonderful thing, carefully and intelligently constructed, and with a gorgeous ASCII aesthetic.”
Adam Smith, RPS

“Cogmind swaps the traditional fantasy setting of most turn-based adventurers in favour of science-fiction, and finds plenty of interesting features in the mix.”
Graham Smith, RPS

About This Game

Experience sci-fi tactical combat and exploration in a procedural world that combines traditional roguelikes with an immersive modern interface like no other. Build yourself from components found or salvaged from other robots. Attach power sources, propulsion units, utilities, and weapons to become a slow tank bristling with weapons, or a fast-moving flier zipping past enemies before they even have time to react, or a stealthy sword-wielding assassin/hacker, or whatever else you can come up with from the salvage you find. The situation can quickly change as you lose components and rebuild yourself from enemy remains. You are the Cogmind. Discover what that means as you explore a living, breathing world ruled by robots.

KEY FEATURES

  • Build and modify a unique robot from parts found, or enemies defeated
  • Dynamic character development without XP/grinding
  • Dozens of robot classes, each with unique behavior within the ecosystem
  • Procedurally generated world combined with hand-crafted content
  • Seven different animated endings to uncover
  • ASCII evolved: Most advanced terminal interface ever
  • Thousands of particle effects and SFX
  • Fully destructible environment

PROGRESS


Although currently in Early Access, Cogmind is mostly complete. There are over two-dozen map types, nearly a thousand items, thousands of sound and particle effects, multiple plot lines, hundreds of hand-made locations and encounters, thousands of lines of dialogue, and seven different animated endings to discover. That said, there are many plans to continue expanding the world with features and content, so for now we'll just call it EA :D

(Cogmind has been in full-time development for over four years.)

      

ROGUELIKE?


Cogmind is a turn-based roguelike, very traditional in many ways (permadeath procedural dungeon crawler built with ASCII in mind...), but at the same time innovates on the genre in terms of both design and accessibility features.
  • Within you have full mouse control--and full keyboard control! Use only one or the other, or both, and all common roguelike movement methods (mouse, numpad, vi, arrows) are enabled out of the box, no configuration required. Mouse users get drag-and-drop inventory management, and the keyboard is even faster with its multiple command schemes and built-in automation features.
  • Stealth play is just as viable as straightforward combat, using hacking and information warfare to outsmart the Complex. The lack of an XP system means you only have to use whatever means you can to reach new areas and find new gear to advance.
  • The world is alive with many types of robots, most of which are actually not hostile to you and have their own duties to carry out.
  • Map objects are labeled as they come into view, making for less tedious play and allowing you to instead focus on tactics and survival. A large number of other options and useful features are available to customize the UI.
  • While the most skilled players can reliably win the default mode, easier difficulty settings are available for those with less experience, or less time on their hands :) (advanced players can also attempt to take on the extended end-game!)
  • Accumulate knowledge across multiple plays, collecting info about previously used items in the ASCII art gallery (over 800 pieces of art!), and collecting lore about the world as you discover its inhabitants and guess at their potential motives, and true capabilities. While there's a rich story to uncover over many runs, know that it doesn't get in the way if you prefer to just strategize and min-max through your roguelikes.
  • Take on built-in Challenge Modes for a different kind of experience, or to prove just how good you really are.

WARNINGS


Not every game is for everyone, so there are a few things to point out that may affect your interest in Cogmind.
  • No Hand-holding: Although very accessible and there's both context help and a quick tutorial to teach all the fundamentals, Cogmind invites you to explore a completely unfamiliar world. Observant players will come to internalize many of that world's rules naturally, and as you reach new areas you'll also discover in-theme explanations for everything, seamlessly integrated with the lore. As part of that process you'll often be faced with the post-death challenge of figuring out where things went wrong and why, until you eventually reach a point where you can see danger before it even materializes.
  • Rampant Item Destruction: Every item in Cogmind can be destroyed, and many of your items will be destroyed. At first this may be discouraging, but once you figure out the basics you'll generally be replacing old and broken parts with much better loot even before you lose it anyway. Building and, more importantly, rebuilding, is a vital part of the experience and what keeps the game dynamic and interesting throughout. Adaptability is key, and amazing comebacks are commonplace.
  • No Classes, Skills, Etc.: Unlike many other roguelikes and CRPGs in which you may form a sort of attachment to your character class and the levels, stats, skills, and equipment they've acquired over time, Cogmind is defined almost purely by items. And as mentioned those items will be destroyed, so there's not much chance to form that kind of attachment. However, this also leaves room for great flexibility during a single playthrough, flexibility you might want or need to rely on to maximize your chances for survival depending on what locations you visit.
  • A Different Kind of Game: As a whole Cogmind is quite different from pretty much everything out there, a fact that turns some people off, but others rather enjoy it for that same reason. It can also take a little while to get into, but once past learning the basics and how to reliably overcome early-game areas, the world and its opportunities really open up.
  • Not Suitable for Small Screens: Due to the game design, the screen is always divided into a minimum of 80x60 spaces that make up the "terminal grid." This means when played on a physically small screen, such as that of a laptop, each space will be relatively small and some players could have trouble comfortably seeing the details. Zooming is not supported by the engine. You can test what Cogmind will look like on your screen of choice here: http://www.gridsagegames.com/cogmind/ui_preview.html (Note that ASCII mode is easier to see at smaller sizes, but it's understandable that three-quarters of players prefer the default tiles mode anyway :P)

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP SP3+
    • Processor: 1.8Ghz or faster
    • Memory: 500 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Anything
    • Storage: 30 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Minimum resolution: 1272x720. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED TO first check how Cogmind will look on your screen of choice here: http://www.gridsagegames.com/cogmind/ui_preview.html (there is no zooming!)
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