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) - 97% of the 35 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
All Reviews:
Very Positive (310) - 96% of the 310 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 (40)

July 13

SITREP Saturday #30: Kinecelleration

New mechanic, new items!



Last time we got a bit of a kinetic buff with the introduction of knockback, but this is a decidedly more significant boost for KI combat builds. Kinecellerators are especially effective when combined with multikinetic volleys, although they could also be useful combined with certain cannons.

As with other weapon modification utilities, while active their effects are reflected in the info mode summary.



And of course there are better ones, too ;)

Hack the UI

But most of the week was spent on the robot hacking system, which is coming along nicely. As a further improvement on the earlier hacking interface samples I've been sharing, the header for any Relay Coupler hacks now highlights the remaining value to make that clearer.



I had noticed the potential issue while creating the original mockup, but didn't see any immediate fixes so decided to leave it like that for the time being. And of course as soon as I started sharing gifs there was already a comment about that value not being clear enough, so... yeah, I put some more time into finding a decent solution :)

Automatic removal of newly-depleted Relay Couplers also comes with its own animation in the parts list.



Hack the Bots

As for the hacks themselves, I was finally able to start implementing them this week, and have finished about one-third of the total. Here are a few samples of what's to come in Beta 7...

"generate_anomaly" attracts all nearby hostiles, in case you need some company (or have other nefarious purposes)



Like other enemy alert situations, in the easier difficulty modes this also highlights the position of any notified bots.



"generate_echo" is basically an instant one-off long range sensor.



Map walls? map_walls!



Overall, I'd say robot hacking allows for some fun stuff :P



If you've missed some previous SITREPs, or are looking for a one-stop overview of the new hacking system, check out the latest blog post.



As a reminder to anyone playing Beta 6, the next weeks will be your last chance to play with the current robot hacking system before it's completely replaced by the new one. So consider doing a run where you build up a massive amount of hackware, reboot everything that's a threat, and eventually in the late-game start assimilating many of the more powerful bots to serve you :D (the new system will still include assimilation, but you won't be able to amass an army of extremely powerful bots like you can now)

Aside: Don't worry about robot hacking achievements, though--I imagine we'll eventually be getting more of those related to the new system, and the old ones will either carry over or be replaced with more relevant options. There are only a few anyway.

There may be other relevant discussion of this SITREP on the GSG forums.
0 comments Read more

July 6

SITREP Saturday #29: Adv. Hacking

Say hello to kinetic knockback!



As you can see, like knockbacks from impact weapons this can smash them right into machines, though this way you're less likely to be in the blast radius :P

This was originally envisioned as a cannons-only mechanic, but for now I have it applied to all kinetic projectiles and it'll probably stay that way through at least the prerelease testing phase to play with the interesting tactical effects of allowing even enemies with just guns to push you around. (To testers: Good luck defending bottlenecks against Swarmers!) It'll almost certainly be scaled back to its original scope for the official Beta 7 release, though.

A cannons-only approach will mean it mainly applies to Cogmind rather than everyone, unless of course you're hunting certain Behemoths ;)

Stay away from me, melee bots!



Knockback won't be of help against Brawlers, seeing as treads are immune to knockback, but Flak Cannons could be pretty useful for keeping non-treaded bots at bay since the effect is applied on a per-projectile basis.

As part of this update, knockbacks from both kinetic and impact damage will be capable of causing robots to hit another robot behind them, damaging and displacing the second robot.

Manual Upgrade

Manual hacking of robots is already a thing, but it's a pretty simple system that's always been used purely as a way to enter random codes you might collect as a result of certain encounters. There's not much of a need to type out any commands to begin with, considering there's a complete context menu that appears to recall all the codes, as seen here using the old hack list:



But with the number of hacks increasing significantly in Beta 7, some keyboard players might be more likely to prefer entering hacks by typing them out rather than finding them in the menu. Of course no one's going to bother if you have to type out an entire command, so like manual machine hacking we'll need to facilitate the process! For this I added both autocompletion and a command buffer. Demo (the parse_system effect at the end is just a placeholder for things to come):



It kinda sucked to have to switch the whole manual robot hacking system over from its original simple architecture (which already worked nicely) to one that could support these new features, and many hacks were involved, but hey everything once again works as expected so I won't complain! Blooper:



In adding that command buffer, technically the third, I passed by the debug buffer which showed all the commands I'd recently used while testing out the robot hacking features (specifically making sure all the proper hacks appeared while hacking different types of robots). It was kinda interesting to skim that :)



While at it I also added an advanced option to alter the default cost-wise method of sorting Coupler-based hacks:



With all this peripheral work done, next week it's finally time to, oh I dunno, actually implement some hacks xD

Be The Hacker (Part 3)

Part 1 gave an intro to the robot hacking system, Part 2 covered more of its principles and basic functionality, so now we're here with the third part to take a closer look at one of the essential requirements for a serious bot-hacker: Relay Couplers.

Most hacks require a target-appropriate Coupler to pull off, and as you've seen in previous screenshots all these hacks appear in their own box with a "Coupler" header.



The numbers off to the right aren't the percentages you might expect given the other/previous systems, but are instead static costs for executing each hack. That cost is directly deducted from the Relay Coupler value seen at the top and the hack takes effect, period. So Couplers are expendable, and each has its own "remaining value" before it is depleted. You can carry or attach as many Couplers as you want, and if you have more than one applicable Coupler for the current target robot their values are combined into a new total.

As you can see, the new system is easier to balance by forcing a trade of valuable slot/inventory space for guaranteed hacking effects, whether you want them to play a non-combat role, a supporting role, or a fully confrontational "I own you all" role.



As mentioned before, hack costs are static--there is currently no way to influence the cost via utility or other means, and allowing for the modification of costs would make it easy for robot hacking to creep into OP territory again. Better to have only one variable at play, the Coupler value, which can in some cases be higher than normal so that there's room to get more out of a single Coupler!

I've generally avoided consumables in Cogmind's design, at least in the traditional sense, but Couplers don't really fit that sense anyway since they have multiple uses and are also quite flexible in what they can be used to accomplish.

Coupler value is a factor of two elements: its source, and the type of robot it applies to. An individual [Behemoth] Coupler won't let you do much, though you could combine more than one to do just about anything! A lone [Grunt] Coupler, on the other hand, will last for a lot more hacks, depending on what you want do accomplish. There are five ways to acquire Relay Couplers, two of which I'll leave for your to discover, but here are some of the main ones:



Straight to the source! Like previous and current versions of Cogmind in which Garrison Relays play a role in robot hacking (albeit through a different mechanism), so do they under the new system. Venture into a Garrison itself and blow up relays to collect the most valuable Couplers inside.



Destroying Garrison Access locations will net you some Couplers as well. They're partially used and thus not as valuable, but at least they're fairly easy to acquire!

If lucky you can also find special caches in a Garrison containing lots of high-value Couplers, but don't count on it :P

That wraps up the series on the new robot hacking system for now. I'll do a compilation on the blog at some point, and will of course continue sharing progress reports as the hacks themselves are fleshed out, among other features to come :D

Achievements Forever

If you're interested in how achievements are decided and implemented, and didn't see the series on my blog earlier, you can check out "Designing and Building a Robust, Comprehensive Achievement System" on Gamasutra. I put it there this week and it was pretty well received, even being featured on the front page for a time :D



256 is enough for now, but I'm sure we'll be seeing more later ;)

There may be other relevant discussion of this SITREP on the GSG forums.
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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 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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