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.
All Reviews:
Very Positive (59) - 100% of the 59 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 (3)

October 16

Cogmind is on Steam!

It's finally happened. After over four years and more than 8,000 hours of work, Cogmind has just been released on Steam :D

"Released" but Early Access. Some say that as soon as you release on Steam, EA or not, that's it--you only really get one launch and the "full release" won't make as big a splash later. That's fine, since Cogmind is a very complete experience and it's time for anyone who's been waiting for this opportunity to jump in.

There are of course a lot of people who don't have much faith in Early Access games, but as long as they're interested in the concept of Cogmind I don't think it'll be too hard to win them over while we spend the coming months adding optional features and content, especially considering the amount of development already allocated to ensuring maximum polish.


Break out the fireworks! (Or missiles, depending on how you look at them :P)

Thanks to everyone who's helped make this possible! Cogmind has come way beyond what it would have been without as much support as everyone's provided over the years, be it financial, spreading the word, or offering feedback and suggestions. A few months back I shared a lengthy rundown of features that didn't have to happen but have certainly made Cogmind better for it, features that you all made possible.


A logo image recently put together while preparing for Steam.

Cogmind feature highlights, as it launches into the wild on Steam:
  • Build and modify a unique robot from nearly 1,000 parts, whether found or salvaged from other bots
  • Highly dynamic character development without XP/grinding
  • Dozens of robot classes, each with unique behavior within the ecosystem
  • Mechanics and environments that enable one of the most compelling stealth experiences in a roguelike
  • Extensive hacking systems--nearly 100 machine hacks so far
  • Procedurally generated world, including dozens of map types into which hundreds of hand-made areas are mixed
  • Hundreds of NPC encounters and thousands of lines of dialogue form a rich story
  • Seven different animated endings to discover
  • Fully destructible environment
  • Nearly 1,000 pieces of ASCII art
  • Huge range of particle effects like never seen in a terminal (except my other project :P)
  • Everything has sounds--more SFX than any roguelike, ever
  • Advanced terminal interface, with numerous built-in input options and tons of information at your fingertips

Composite demo of various Cogmind features.

Other interesting points regarding design and development:
  • Cogmind is all about atmosphere--there isn't even a main menu, the player is dropped right into the game world
  • Cogmind was designed entirely in CP437, with aesthetics conforming to limitations imposed by a two-colors-per-cell grid-based display (nothing breaks that rule)
  • There is a tileset available by default (since approximately 75% of players prefer to use it!), but even that was designed to mimic the ASCII aesthetic so as to not ruin the style
  • Despite the limitations, Cogmind's UI explores many features never before seen in traditional roguelikes
  • To help build Cogmind I created REXPaint, a free editor now in use by a large number of artists and gamedevs

Cogmind inventory management demo with bonus ASCII destruction and repair :)


Alpha Supporters
I've sent out emails to alpha supporters who bought back when a Steam key was promised as part of those tiers. So check your inboxes (and spam, just in case) and email me at gridsagegames@gmail.com if you were supposed to receive a key but did not. Note that my response time might be a little slower than usual due to a much higher volume of activity around release time.

Those of you migrating from DRM-free to Steam can import your settings and metadata as usual. After installing via Steam, open the Steam-installed local files and copy over your old Cogmind /user/ directory into the new one. That's it. It will automatically update from then on for subsequent versions.

A little Beta 3 was put out last week to coincide with this Steam launch, so anyone not on Steam will want to update manually. See the announcement for notes on that.

For those of you who bought ages ago just to support development and are only now being reminded you own the game but never registered your copy, therefore your name doesn't appear in the supporters list (or more importantly the art gallery if you bought that early), go back to your original download email and use the linked form to register. There are still quite a few unclaimed items in the gallery, mostly because a lot of you probably didn't notice the form link (just a couple quick fields to fill out, otherwise I don't know what name you want to use!). After some time on Steam I'm going to have to reallocate remaining unclaimed items to other players!


Purchase Options
Although Cogmind is now available here on Steam, it will also always be available for sale from my website, and the DRM-free version will continue to receive the same updates (though technically the two versions are slightly different packages).

In the near term, however, as has been indicated on the buy page for a little while now, direct purchases will NOT include a Steam key.

A big part of the reason is to encourage purchases from Steam to help push up the overall review score. Everyone playing Cogmind on Steam please take some time to leave reviews! They're vital for encouraging more sales, and more sales is how we're going to get more features!

Further down the line this key policy could change, but it depends on a lot of factors and we'll have to see how things play out. So if you haven't bought Cogmind yet and are interested in doing so to play on Steam, buy from Steam. For a DRM-free non-Steam version instead buy direct here.

GOG I'm not sure about, because despite proactively expressing interest in Cogmind they haven't responded to my later emails, so for now I've decided to shelve that route.


Coverage
There hasn't yet been a whole lot of advance press coverage about Cogmind's Steam release, partially because I requested that most influencers hold off on their coverage until on or after the actual release date, though I'm still not sure what kind of reception we'll see since Cogmind is pretty niche, after all. Some pre-release happenings:
  • Purely coincidentally, leading up to this release PC Gamer published an article full of praise for Cogmind, and despite his short time with it the author did a great job of understanding and conveying the essence of the game.
  • Well-known roguelike let's player Aavak has started a Cogmind series which has been pretty popular.
  • Two Credits has a quick summary of the launch news, but otherwise there's not much out there just yet.
Gonna have to rely on word of mouth and continued updates to get attention! :D

If you have any favorite LPers/streamers you'd like to see try Cogmind, or a reviewer who's opinion you'd like to read, let them know! I've already written to several, but I can't possibly find them all (and I imagine lots probably won't notice my email anyway, but if some of their fans let them know that can be even more powerful than me self-promoting my way into their inbox).


Cogmind combat demo with particle effects.
23 comments Read more

October 6

Update 171007 - Horizon Green

Cogmind itself is good to go for the next big phase :D


Pre-release testing is done, and it was pretty funny how simple and clear-cut the Steam players country graph was for a while there :P


Last week we had the store page approved, and this week was the second and final step, build approval:


Over on the dev blog I shared details about the entire preparation process, so check that out if you're interested in what goes on behind the scenes before a game can be released on Steam.

All that's left is notifying reviewers/LPers/streamers and writing all the announcements and other boring stuff. Now that's a short sentence beginning with "all that's left," but trust me this stuff is extremely time-consuming xD

For current and near-future players, DDarkRay has written up a useful new strategy guide on positioning, super important stuff for any players focusing on combat to consider. A lot of the other guides are relatively old so some of their information may be out of date, but the new Strategy Tips included with the game are enough to get you pretty far if you're having trouble. I'm sure we'll be seeing new guides now that the core content is complete and we have an influx of new Cogminds :D

This will likely be the last update before... you know :). I'm off to continue preparations!
22 comments Read more
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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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