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.
Recent Reviews:
Very Positive (35) - 94% of the 35 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
All Reviews:
Very Positive (153) - 98% of the 153 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 (, chat server ( and r/Cogmind (”
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Recent updates View all (12)

December 15

SITREP Saturday #6: 8,410

Another crazy productive week, and the next update is mostly complete! Here's an overview of features that have come together in just the past few days...

Friendly Materials

I'm making some pretty significant adjustments to the first main map. I've considered a complete redesign, but that would take much longer (plus I'm not sure it's necessary given other plans I have for the early game), whereas what I've done with it so far in a single afternoon will already have quite an impact on the experience.

A sample layout in my mapgen design program:

Most notably it's shrinking. By 44%.

Of course the contents are for the most part scaled down correspondingly, the net result being an even quicker floor through which to pass for that first evolution. As a bonus, both that map and other Materials areas will now come with the occasional better stockpile.

A sample -10/Materials in the new style, as seen fully revealed in game:

Crunchy Data

We've been talking about it for a long time, and it's finally happening: You'll be able to export your item gallery collection!

As with lore exporting there are three format options, each more suitable for a different purpose. With item stats available outside the game you can theorize builds to your heart's content, run analysis on the items, or do whatever you want with the data. Data!

Our wiki users are mostly set up to automagically create and update wiki pages based on export data, so we'll finally have an up-to-date wiki without requiring much manual work :). Maybe we'll even get a bot for the chat channels that can draw from the wiki to respond to queries about certain items. We have players who are veritable dictionaries of Cogmind item stats, but they're not always around :P

The TXT export is probably not all that useful, but I included it for completion sake. One benefit is that it only lists values relevant to each specific item, so if you're looking for stats on just one item rather than seeking to compare it to others, the TXT output is pretty good.

CSV is for the data crunchers.

HTML will be most useful for the average player, dividing your items by slot type and showing only the set of stats relevant for that category of items. There's even a table of contents with links to each section :D

QoL, of Course

The main focus of this release has been to clear the todo list of all the high-priority items, many of which involved quality of life improvements. I'm happy to say I've taken care of every single one (whew!). Some of the highlights...

Operator-summoned reinforcements now trigger an ALERT message, meaning it will also appear over the map with the alarm sfx, even if they're out of view. This makes it easier to get a handle on what's happening with regard to that situation.

Also in the transparency and tactical information department, robots calling for help now reveal the location of the robot they're calling! This'll be a game-changer for tactics, as well as helping new players figure out what's going on.

Similarly, calling for help or reinforcements from a garrison reveals that garrison's location.

By request I've added an option to use alternative map ASCII, giving it a more traditional roguelike look with Terminus rather than Cogmind's default square sci-fi font. (This will only include size 18 at first, but I could add more later.)

A new advanced option shows core damage popups as actual core integrity rather than a percentage.

Broken inventory parts are listed in red on the swap menu to distinguish otherwise duplicates.

I finally changed the behavior whereby a robot label could follow a robot out of view. Not that it was something worth abusing, and I actually knew about this and left it that way for the past several years because removing it also sometimes removes semi-valid info, but under extreme circumstances it obviously looks weird :P

As part of this update I also have both the lore and gallery UI actually showing the file path and name of the export, so you know it happened and where to retrieve the results.

Top 100

Cogmind made the Top 100 indies of 2017 over on IndieDB! Thanks to everyone who voted, and if you could, vote again for the final round which is open for a few more days.

Beta 4

I've confirmed the next release is definitely a Beta 4 (not 3.2), although haven't yet settled on a specific day. I can say that I'm wrapping up feature development--mostly just stress testing remains, so it'll probably be done within a week. That said, I'd rather stick to my habit of early/mid-week releases, so I'll probably end up holding onto it until the week after next. In any case, if that happens it'll of course also mean an extra couple days for me to pack in even more stuff :D

Our SITREP for the week is titled after some data shared in my Year 4 of the Cogmind report. For a look at some of the highlights of 2017, and a glance at 2018, check that out if you haven't already.
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December 11

Year 4 of the Cogmind

(Cross-posted from the devblog here--follow link for better formatting.)

Each year in Cogmind development has been bigger than the last, and 2017 was no different!

As in the 2014/2015/2016 summaries, let's start with a collage of images from this year:

Selection of images from the past year of Cogmind development as posted on this blog and Twitter (full mega size here).

In 2017 Cogmind flew through Greenlight, entered Beta after yet more huge content updates, and has since made its way onto Steam, where it's continued to do fairly well as we head into the post-Alpha who-knows-when-this-will-end-but-it's-fun period of expansion!

Development Time
At the Year 4 (technically Year 4.4) mark we've reached 8,410 hours of total work, keeping mostly on par with previous years:

Cogmind Monthly Development Hours, 2013.7-2017.11. (The color coding is for different aspects of development tackled each month, the subject of a future in-depth article to come when Cogmind is complete.)

You can see development ramping upward into 2017 as I was eager to finish up the coding (green) and content (orange) to finish the story before a planned Steam launch, but then in April I got that nasty concussion which resulted in a serious hit on productivity.

Still, this year added 2,046 hours, a slight 3.2% increase over the year before. Work on the game itself (923 hours), however, fell 19.8% compared to 2016, a ratio shift that reflects two factors: 1) progress all but ground to a halt while I tried to recover over summer but couldn't very well stop community interaction altogether, and 2) preparing for Steam inevitably requires a lot of non-game work. You can clearly see the Steam EA release there in October, with a peak resembling my own EA launch of Alpha 1 back in 2015 :). Now that Cogmind is released on Steam and that side of things is stabilized, the graph will start shifting back to more content-focused work over the coming months.

Overall it's been a great year for progress, though it could've been even better had I not hit my head... Luckily when things were at their worst (late August when I was incapacitated most of the time) I finally found a treatment that worked well enough to get me back to full time work!


I'm still dealing with some of the effects now, but have at least gotten noticeably better--I mean, otherwise that 243-hour work month when I launched on Steam wouldn't have been possible :P

To summarize this year's highlights: Content was added or adjusted to greatly expand the experience for players across the entire spectrum, as Cogmind got easier difficulty options, the first challenge modes, and an extended end-game with deadly challenges few have even reached, much less survived. Most importantly, in the first half of the year the story was completed with seven different endings to uncover. (I also animated all the endings, which took quite a while!)

There is no map like this in game (honestly it wouldn't make for enjoyable exploration), but it's an experimental precursor to... something secret added this year.

I decided to signify the shift into a new post-story phase by declaring Cogmind "Beta," the massive release of which was both aptly and inaptly dubbed "The End." This happened around the same time as Cogmind reached two full years in my own "early access" program, which has gone well enough.

Of course plenty of other features came out this year, too, as linked from the ten releases beginning with Alpha 13 in the Release History. And we still have one more update to look forward to this month :D

Mix of various feature gifs from the year. Because gifs.

News and Writing
As with last year, most updates have been discussed via release notes on the forums (and now Steam) rather than covered on the blog. At both of those places I've also started regular weekly updates ("SITREP Saturday") rather than posting randomly once every 10-14 days like I was doing before, so that they're more predictable.

Although I haven't been sharing as many design articles this year due to the changing nature of the kinds of things I've been working on (for example much of the game content added this year was secret :P), there are definitely more on the way in 2018. But I have been continuing to write FAQs over on r/roguelikedev, where #55~67 are all from this year and you can read about topics like Mob Distribution, Character Archetypes, Status Effects, and Transparency and Obfuscation as they relate to Cogmind.

For years I avoided seeking out too much attention for Cogmind, even shying away from some decent opportunities that presented themselves, because the game world was not only incomplete, but more importantly it was definitely priced for hardcore fans of the genre (for those of you new to Cogmind, know that for a long while it was $25-30 as a more reliable way to "crowdfund" the scope I was trying to build into it--we can thank the early adopters for making the current version possible!).

I didn't want Cogmind's first impression on a wider audience to be primarily that it's strangely overpriced for an indie game, which often fall between $10-20, so I turned down some offers for exposure back then. That changed with the Beta and the price drop, although it's interesting to note that despite my attempts to contact some press and LPers this year, almost all of the best channels interested in Cogmind found it on their own, both before and after the Steam release.

This year Cogmind was one of the subjects of an article on PC Gamer[/url] (which also later announced the news of Cogmind's Steam release), and even appeared in two magazines, PC Guru and Canard PC. There have been more than a dozen other smaller pieces this year as well.

Some of the coverage Cogmind received this year, mostly around its debut on Steam.

But often more helpful than media coverage these days, Let's Players were responsible for the biggest boost in exposure, with popular players like quill18, Aavak, and Nookrium definitely driving interest around the Steam release. (Also many thanks to the smaller channels out there doing even more streams/videos over the long term <3)

Not that I can draw a huge audience myself, but I've been continuing to occasionally stream as well, and we often have new players drop by to mingle with the regulars and pick up tips, which goes a long way towards improving the skill level of the community as a whole. As of the most recent stream I'm uploading them to YouTube where they'll live longer than on Twitch, in case people want to watch them later.

We'll see if Cogmind gets any mentions in end-of-year articles, but I can say that just this week we already made the IndieDB Top 100 list for 2017--voting for the final round is actually ongoing right now.

Obviously the best new point of exposure for Cogmind in the long term is Steam, where it's accessible to a greater number of players and can integrate more closely with the gaming community at large.

We'd been talking about it in the future tense for so long that it almost feels unreal, but 2017 was finally the year Cogmind arrived on Steam.

Early in the year Valve announced they'd be getting rid of Greenlight by replacing it with a simple paywall, and I knew we were close to a Steam release anyway, so I figured I'd respond by quickly putting Cogmind up there and try to beat the inevitable deluge of games to Steam. Given all the assets I already had lying around it took only two days from decision to campaign, which was pretty cool.

Well that didn't take long!

Cogmind made it through pretty quickly, though I still planned to wait at least a couple months for the Beta before it'd be Steam-ready.

Clearly a dedicated fan base at work :P

Unfortunately my accident essentially coincided with Beta completion, meaning I had to give up the plan to reach Steam before all those other games, and also forgo a preferable early-summer Early Access release.

Staying alive for the long-term seemed a little more important at the time xD

But hey come October believe it or not it really did happen! Player reviews have been good, and the leaderboards certainly exploded. I've actually already covered a lot of details from the Steam release and its aftermath in my postmortem, so check that out if interested.

Some graphs shared in my recent Steam EA month-1 postmortem for Cogmind.

All that's behind us now... what we want to know is what great things 2018 will bring!

Well, certainly we've gotta finish the stuff still listed on the long-time roadmap, which altogether will take at least a few months, or more considering it'll all be mixed in with other improvements, too. So without a doubt we'll get those built-in achievements, an expanded robot hacking system, more ambient audio, and revamped score sheets.

This means Early Access will easily last another six months, and probably longer because I don't want to bother calling it 1.0 if we'll still be getting new extra features for much of the coming year.

Exactly how much longer will really depend on what happens on Steam while the remainder of the confirmed features are being worked on. If reception and sales are sufficiently good, I'll have trouble stopping myself! I can't be specific about the virtually endless list of potential features I've accumulated (player expectations and all that...), but I'll admit there is room for, plans for, and a desire to add, many new items, mechanics, robots, maps, NPCs, factions, everything...

2018 awaits :)
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“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.


  • 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


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.)



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.


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: (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

    • 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: (there is no zooming!)
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