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 (354) - 96% of the 354 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 (51)

November 9

SITREP Saturday #39: Artlike

Since the 7.1 release last week I've been hard at work on Beta 8, with a bunch of that time spent in REXPaint on new art. Some of you may know what that means... yet more parts!



That's just a small sampling to whet your appetite ;)

Fortunately it's not just me who's been up to producing art, so we can also feast our eyes upon Cogmind-related works from the community! There's been quite a lot of it over the past few weeks...

Hall of Heroes

Zyalin has been enjoying the world's atmosphere so much that he's chosen to share his impressions of the Heroes of Zion. These are only minor NPCs which don't play a part in the plot lines, but they have a lot of personality, making them good candidates for portraits. Over the past few weeks he's been sharing them with us over on Discord, having just recently finished the series.

ME-RLN



1C-UTU



7V-RTL



NK-0LA



P1-3CE



AD-0RF



99-TNT



CL-ANK



12-ASH



Having finished the heroes, Zyalin has continued drawing more bots, though now simply inspired by the world rather than anything directly from the game.

There's Zerbe-RIF:



A scary escaped prototype which has reportedly "stolen the last copy of NetHack" xD



And this great derelict with what could be a stolen pair of nice legs and a whole bunch of duct tape!



Datasheets

Not too long ago KernelPanic initially started sharing pixel art conversions of Cogmind's ASCII parts (their first attempt at pixel art, no less!):





Also eventually experimenting with new styles:



But then the parts started finding their way into these cool data sheets:



"Halloween version" for the Recycler :P



Cogmics

Pioneered by PlasticHeart, I've shared a few before but so-called "cogmics" have recently become a wider thing in the community, with at least 5-6 separate people (lost count xD) using their own cogmic style to share Cogmind jokes about the world, strategies, or even the community itself. Here are a few I've picked out...

PlasticHeart cogmics:



Gotta hate those surprise ARCs! (or any number of other surprises when opening doors without sensor data xD)



Using the new 7.1 RIF to loop garrisons (this one was specifically drawing Pimski doing it in -1/Access for what has become the second-highest ever scoring Cogmind run, which you can see on the leaderboards now).



New players are generally inundated with good advice on arrival on the Discord, but sometimes there are jokes as well :P



Lots of strategy discussion and sharing regarding established builds...



Decinym's impression of discovering nothing desirable after using CRM ("alien magic," haha xD):



Same scenario depicted by Zyalin (apparently Core Expanders are an artifact hunter's worst enemy :P)



Zyalin draws Raine as she goes for the Mad Max achievement, then accidentally picks up a prototype flight unit next to the wheel she wanted. Oops!



Allied Operators are great, by Zyalin.



8FPS lamenting the Beta 7 fix which blocked the cheese tactic of safely crushing a certain major NPC via treads without the usual repercussions.



Most recently, JackNine has been sharing some polished cogmics with a completely new perspective. (These include fun little details that are worth a second look, too :D)

Remember that Mines encounter?



(for me it's especially funny JackNine would make this connection, since a separate event I've been planning to add to the caves at some point is a more direct reference to this classic scene)

ASCII vs. tiles, Halloween edition!



How to deal with "programmers" :)



Many thanks to everyone for your artistic contributions! Some of the artists have been uploading their creations to the Images section on Steam, though not all so I thought I'd share some of my favorites as part of a progress update :D

Apostle of RIF

The Apostle of RIF is alive and well [enough]! We've survived another two parts with the RIF build, hacking and fighting up to -5/Upper Caves at this point after making the desired visit to Extension to rescue a certain someone (and then backstab them--sorry bud!).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1HJ38I8xuw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3H9ieNSXVA

The written summary of the run (w/images) continues in the same forum thread.

Part 4 is coming next week at the usual time (Monday evenings EST, after the DST change in the US the time is around 7pm).

Also on Twitch, our own emote was approved ;)



I dunno though, I might end up switching it to :wheel:, which'd go along better with my streams since I've been doing a lot of wheel-based runs. (That said, some of the future runs I have planned are more likely to be back on legs.)

Scraps

My "How to Make a Roguelike" talk at the Roguelike Celebration is now also available in text form on the blog. It's a comprehensive primer on how to get started with roguelike development, with guidance and tips in 5,500 words and 84 images!



I also cross-posted it to Gamasutra, where it was received quite well and even got featured on their front page as the top article :)

You can see the screenshot they chose was from POLYBOT-7, woohoo.



In other artlike news, Rex Quantum has scrapped together a printed Cogmind manual using leftover office supplies. How appropriate :P





Overall there won't be as many progress updates prior to Beta 8, if only because a good chunk of this dev time is going towards new content that'd be nice for everyone to explore on their own. Also a heads up: This is stuff that'll be accessible near the start of a run, so unlike a lot of other big content updates it won't require that you already be able to reach the mid- or late-game areas. Stay tuned for more!

A note about SITREPs: These are regular progress updates where I often share features coming to the next release, but aren't actually in game yet. Public releases get their own dedicated news announcement and changelogs/release notes, for example with Beta 6 and Beta 7.

There may be other relevant discussion of this SITREP on the GSG forums or r/Cogmind.
8 comments Read more

October 26

Beta 7.1 "RIF+"

Boo! Surprise update!

Originally the next planned release was Beta 8, but 1) I already had a bunch of confirmed RIF features-to-be, 2) did the whole Roguelike Celebration trip which is going to push back the Beta 8 release date, and 3) really wanted to start streaming a new dedicated bot-hacking run and would prefer that it be fairly different from the one last month.

So early this week I suddenly decided to put out a quick 7.1 and give you all the RIF features now. Better than keeping them on hold for a bunch of other unrelated content, eh?

Beta 7.1 has technically been available since Tuesday, though we're just getting the release notes now. Let's see what's up...

Cogmind Beta 7.1 "RIF+" (0.10.181023) changelog:
  • NEW: RIF adds precise real-time alert level readout to HUD
  • NEW: RIF automatically detects nearby Garrison Access points
  • NEW: Garrison Access automatically open for Cogmind with RIF upon stepping adjacent to door location
  • NEW: If RIF installed, alert level no longer increases passively while inside a garrison
  • NEW: Garrison exits automatically open if Cogmind has RIF installed
  • NEW: Manual indicates BRIGHTNESS renderFilter can be used to increase brightness as well
  • NEW: Weapon cycling (' or [CYCLE] button) treats all guided, melee, and datajack weapons as separate options
  • MOD: While RIF installed, Unlock Access hack at Garrison Access always has a 100% chance
  • MOD: -8/Materials Garrison Access is always lowest security level
  • MOD: Relay Coupler [Swarmer] base value increased 40%
  • MOD: Operator purge_threat hack cost dropped from 20 to 10
  • MOD: A certain 5-letter bot that starts with a G (spoiler) now has the Disruption immunity
  • MOD: Non-hostile Researchers are not alerted by distress calls
  • MOD: Researchers ignore Datajack attacks against both self and allies
  • MOD: Thermal Generator effect description adjusted so it's harder to mistake for a type of heat sink
  • MOD: Tactical HUD mode energy readout displays both values separately even when stationary and movement turnwise deltas are identical
  • MOD: Non-zero ambient heat display is shown outside Tactical HUD mode as well, if applicable
  • FIX: Enumerate(Coupling) terminal hack gave no results [Valguris]
  • FIX: Dropped salvage would not remain in map knowledge if Cogmind stepped out of view prior to any FOV update [Valguris]
  • FIX: Melee sneak attacks were impossible against Researchers [GJ]
  • FIX: Loading a "Fragile Parts" run wouldn't apply the rules in subsequent sessions beyond the first [GJ]
  • FIX: -exportRobots command line argument inaccessible in release build [Raine]
  • FIX: Tactical HUD mode energy readout failed to show inventory-stored energy when stationary and movement values are identical [Trione]
  • FIX: Easiest difficulty mode didn't reduce the number of Garrison Access machines by 1 as intended
  • FIX: Drone Bay info in parts list sometimes didn't reflect correct number of remaining drones

RIF Updates

The Relay Interface Framework was only just added in Beta 7, bringing with it dozens of new hacks to pave the way for new playstyles. But the initial design focus there was primarily to expand the robot hacking system, with only partial thematic integration with the rest of the world.

7.1 gives a RIF-installed Cogmind some new capabilities that really help highlight the fact that you sorta become part of Complex 0b10. Strategically speaking, the RIF buffs tie the framework even closer to alert management and Garrisons. RIFfing was already connected with these elements since hacking bots has no effect on alert at all and you can hack Operators to lower alert, plus you get Relay Couplers (and the initial RIF) from Garrisons themselves. But as you can see in the changelog there are now even more Garrison connections.

For one, you can now "sense" nearby Garrison Access points (essentially like Zion-integrated terminals when you're imprinted), and when you approach them the door automatically opens.



While inside a Garrison, you'll also no longer cause passive alert increases over time. As long as you can deal with the locals, Garrisons almost become a safe spot for you! This is doubly true once you have the RIF installed and can use couplers to take out bots relatively silently via hacking.

It's also easier to leave whenever you want to, since none of the Garrison exits will be remotely locked when you try to use them.

Outside Garrisons, one of the major new features is that with RIF you get the precise alert level updated in real-time! A new red entry appears on your HUD, as you can see at the top of this screenshot taken from my stream this week after raiding several Garrisons :P



"Influence" is the specific number usually converted to a more understandable (and mechanically meaningful) alert level. You've always been able to see this mentioned in your scoresheet ("peak influence"), but this is the first time it's shown in game alongside the alert level conversion. Every action you take which affects it is reflected here. (I can smell the cheese now...)

Halving the cost of the purge_threat hack on Operators is yet another alert-optimizing buff for RIF users :D

Taken together, all these new mechanics could make RIF even more desirable for a number of hybrid builds, not to mention simply make pure bot-hackers much more reliable. Whole new strategies will be born from this.

Oh yeah, and by request the lone Garrison Access usually found on -8 is now forced to security level 1 so that RIF is that much more accessible early on (like other interactive machines at that depth it used to have a 15% chance to be SL2, which could be hard to hack open).

If you want to see how a pure RIF build is put together and deals with challenges, this week I started that new stream and it's been great so far:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVEW7CkOYDA

There's a summary of the run here. Part 2 will be streamed next week.

But I Don't Wanna be Researched!

Another hacking-relevant issue to tend to was Researcher behavior, as they didn't much like you datajacking them or their friends, which is unnecessarily harsh if you're going to go through the trouble of using RIF over other strategic options that doing so closes off. So they'll now completely ignore datajack use and are fair game for manipulative hacks.

On a related note, non-hostile Researchers won't be alerted by nearby distress calls, which could similarly have pretty disastrous consequences when a Researcher just sitting behind a wall suddenly pops out and scans you without warning.

Other Stuff

Weapon cycling is the main related UI feature that got an overhaul (the partial implementation included with Beta 7 was apparently broken anyway). For Beta 7 Remote Datajacks became solo-fire weapons, so there was a greater need for the weapon cycling command/button to do something other than simply toggle everything off and on. Now it'll actually cycle through projectile, guided, datajack, and melee weapons, also treating each datajack and melee weapon as a separate option.

The system built for 7.1 is a lot more robust, as you can see here ;)



There were a number of other things in recent weeks I've told people are coming "next release," but note that means the major release that will be Beta 8, not this little surprise release xD. I did include a number of fixes with 7.1, stuff that I just happened to have already done, but there's still plenty more on the docket, as well as a backlog of other feature requests and basically tons of stuff to do overall!

Beta 7.1 saves are not compatible with previous versions, but even if you're on Steam and have autoupdates enabled, Beta 7 is still available via its own legacy branch and you can roll back to finish a run in progress first if you like.
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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.”
https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/10/11/cogmind-robot-roguelike/

“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.”
https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/05/12/devlog-watch-cogmind-fritz-tiny-wizard/

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 five 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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