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 (19) - 100% of the 19 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
All Reviews:
Very Positive (399) - 96% of the 399 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date:
Oct 16, 2017
Developer:
Publisher:

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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 through 2019 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 five 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 explore, some specific confirmed plans including more ambient audio, lots more challenge modes, an even more expansive scoresheet system, and special one-time event-based content.

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?

“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- and robot-hacking capabilities (over 150 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 testers keeping release builds almost entirely bug-free. (Even players running on Linux/OSX via Wine or Steam Play 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/).

I also stream runs about once per week on Twitch (http://www.twitch.tv/kyzrati/) where I talk strategy and hang out with the community. (Runs are later uploaded to YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GridSageGames/)”
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February 11

Beta 8 "Forbidden Science"

!!! ALERT: FORBIDDEN SCIENCE DETECTED !!!



Beta 8 has landed, and with 38 new special items and a new mini-faction with long-term strategic implications, it's like we're back to the good old days of Cogmind Alpha where there's plenty of new content to explore and you're not always quite sure what's out there waiting :D

At this point even if you've found everything there was to see as of Beta 7 (though very few have), once again you'll be making new discoveries every run for many more to come.

Even better, most of Beta 8's features are accessible from the early game, so everyone can get to the new fun stuff right away.

But first, grab a snack and prepare yourself for The Changelog...

Cogmind Beta 8 "Forbidden Science" (0.10.190212) changelog:
  • NEW: Branch map "Exiles"
  • NEW: Special sensor ability obtainable early on, with long-term effects
  • NEW: 5 more unique named NPCs
  • NEW: 3 new robots
  • NEW: 38 new items (mostly uniques, many with completely new mechanics) (total = 936)
  • NEW: 2 more alien artifacts
  • NEW: 18 more sound effects (total = 890)
  • NEW: 29 new score sheet entries (total = 799)
  • NEW: Several dozen more lore entries
  • NEW: Potential random NPC encounter in Materials and Mines
  • NEW: Regular doors hit by EM now malfunction, remain open
  • NEW: DISPOSABLE weapons have a unique log message when expended
  • NEW: Quantum Capacitor and Weapon Cycler effect descriptions indicate incompatibility with autonomous weapons
  • NEW: All treads grant +2% accuracy per slot
  • NEW: Added random NPC encounter in Storage
  • NEW: Flight/hover speed now slowed by attached inactive non-airborne propulsion parts (see new "Drag" stat on treads/legs/wheels)
  • NEW: The fabled Hcp. Storage Unit has returned!
  • NEW: Activating Transport Network Coupler reports the number of Haulers across the map, and the number currently in view
  • NEW: -8/Mines map (inaccessible from -8/Materials)
  • NEW: Manual explicitly indicates heat-based accuracy modifiers only apply when heat is positive
  • NEW: Maximum Security, for times when High Security simply isn't enough
  • NEW: Option to disable Cogmind self-destruction (activate in advanced.cfg: noSelfDestruct)
  • NEW: Option to stop drag-dropping inventory item to non-slot location in parts list from applying autoequip assist (advanced.cfg: disableDragDropAutoEquip)
  • NEW: Option to replace per-move HUD net energy display with turnwise value including movement (advanced.cfg: hudEnergyPerMoveTurnwise)
  • NEW: Option to replace per-move HUD net heat display with turnwise value including movement (advanced.cfg: hudHeatPerMoveTurnwise)
  • NEW: Option to show real-time clock on HUD (advanced.cfg: showClock)
  • NEW: Option to show real-time run timer on HUD (advanced.cfg: showRunTimer)
  • NEW: Option to show per-weapon accuracy chances in parts list only while cursor over a robot (advanced.cfg: disablePersistentAccuracyInfo)
  • NEW: Option to have Scan window only show object info while cursor/examine marker is over an object (advanced.cfg: disablePersistentScanInfo)
  • NEW: Option to silence all sfx played for non-plot-related global alerts with on-map indicators, such as assaults (advanced.cfg: muteGlobalAlertSfx)
  • NEW: Part swap menu lists any currently disabled parts in orange, and known faulty prototypes in red
  • NEW: Part swap menu includes a removal option (button or 'z') as long as source is not an empty slot
  • NEW: Robots hacked with streamctrl_low/streamctrl_high now display a ring around themselves, inside which control can be maintained
  • NEW: no_distress robot hack also blocks calls for local garrison reinforcements
  • NEW: Item gallery export data marks non-repairable items
  • NEW: Three new advanced options for on-map indicators for Cogmind part loss (see cogmindPartLossMapIndicator in manual)
  • NEW: Right-click on machine hacks (or Shift-a~z) for context help describing the function of each (total = 95)
  • NEW: RMB over machine Hacking or Results window closes the hacking interface
  • NEW: Recycling Units automatically process parts once their contents exceed a certain threshold
  • NEW: Even when outside FOV, machines processing fabrication and repairs display their on-map countdown timer, and report completion to the message log
  • NEW: Having RIF installed removes one of the requirements for one of the special endings, and also affects the animation for that ending
  • NEW: RIF enables 100% chance to seal any Garrison Access
  • NEW: Closing an active robot hacking UI using any method other than the close button requires confirmation to avoid accidentally forfeiting the hack
  • NEW: Advanced option to automatically activate all non-launcher projectile weapons on detaching an active launcher (advanced.cfg: autoUnreadyLauncher)
  • NEW: Added a helpful alert message during a Warlord-related plot event
  • NEW: Scan window shows solid terrain armor value if cursor or examine marker stationary for 500ms
  • NEW: Scan window shows machine/prop armor value under name if sufficient space
  • NEW: Recalibrator info explicitly states inability to repair alien technology, and prototypes above rating 8
  • NEW: All Alpha supporter names registered since Beta 7 added to in-game list (see Credits menu)
  • NEW: All Alpha item-attribution names registered since Beta 7 added to the item collection gallery
  • MOD: Advanced option showMapBorders now activated by default for new players
  • MOD: Core reset also clears any known manual hacking codes
  • MOD: Maintenance intel markers changed from green to dark gray
  • MOD: Reduced delay on all stasis weapons
  • MOD: Instead of automatically opening adjacent Garrison Access doors, RIF gives 100% to open via Unlock Access command
  • MOD: Recycling Unit matter cap and other parameters differ by security level
  • MOD: First central database lockout check ignored, guaranteeing at least one successful indirect database hack (more guarantees on easier difficulties)
  • MOD: Z-hack mapwide cutoff threshold higher on easier difficulties
  • MOD: Treads minimum ability to escape stasis increased 50%, legs increased 25%
  • MOD: All armored treads slowed by 10
  • MOD: All tread coverage increased by 40, and base tread overweight penalty dropped from 30 to 20
  • MOD: Investigators don't start accompanying some high security assaults until -3/Research
  • MOD: Transport Network Coupler only works in 0b10-controlled maps, and ignores any inactive Haulers
  • MOD: DISPOSABLE part label includes number of uses remaining, which may be greater than 1 for some weapons
  • MOD: Can no longer swap positions with immobile allies, will push past them instead
  • MOD: Immobile allies no longer follow to another map, or into chutes, nor warn about leaving them behind
  • MOD: "The Most Popular Achievement" renamed to "First Step to Greatness"
  • MOD: "Explosive Specialist" achievement renamed "Launcher Specialist"
  • MOD: "Hehehe" achievement description explicitly indicates Datajack requirement
  • MOD: "Wheee!" achievement description more specific
  • MOD: "Curiosity Killed The Cat" achievement description less specific
  • MOD: "Brute Force" achievement awarded even for the one Force() hack that has a second test which might fail
  • MOD: Plasma Storm info displayed using same format as Potential Cannons
  • MOD: Warp Cannon eventually breaks down
  • MOD: Datajacks always disarm Alarm and Ambush Traps rather than have a chance to also reprogram them
  • MOD: Item info window no longer repeats part name across the bottom unless there is a prefix to expand, also now appears in parenthesis
  • MOD: Succeeding at hacking machine targets with an exact 0% chance no longer possible
  • MOD: Manually entered schematic hack targets simply indicate "unknown schematic" if N/A, rather than distinguishing between two possibilities
  • MOD: Attempted attachment of a Faulty part warns about that before most other potential issues
  • MOD: Phase Shifter part list info ('q') mode ability abbreviation changed from CLOK to SHFT
  • MOD: Intercept squad composition and behavior changed
  • MOD: Garrison Access Trojans have no effect on Prototype bots
  • MOD: Momentum damage modifier displayed in status window now rounded rather than truncated
  • MOD: Zion generation parameters slightly more constrained to improve layout consistency
  • MOD: Advanced renderFilter values for SHIFT_HUE now automatically wrap negative values to be within range
  • MOD: Manual updated to reclassify Cogmind core movement type
  • MOD: Manual clearer on conditions for increased detection chance when accessing an interactive machine multiple times (must have been previously hacked)
  • MOD: Thermal Generator effect now reflected in HUD net energy readout (though may not be completely reliable)
  • MOD: Traps manipulated via Terminals now count towards various trap-related score sheet stats
  • MOD: Options menu "Log Calc. Detail" renamed "Combat Log Detail" (existing player setting reset!)
  • MOD: Line-of-fire and explosion AOE visualization not shown on map while any info windows open
  • MOD: Autosaves no longer take place while machine hacking or evolution UI open
  • MOD: Autosave system restores game to turn prior to exiting a map if restoring a run that was force quit during evolution UI
  • MOD: Robot info page Integrity and Temp stats prefixed by "Core" instead of "Est."
  • MOD: Mass support range is inclusive before overweight penalties beyond the first penalty
  • MOD: Bonus points for fast wins reduced overall; curve is steeper and only awarded below 6000 turns
  • MOD: Keyboard examine mode no longer replaces weapon info ('q') mode with per-weapon accuracy readouts (only occurs in firing mode)
  • MOD: Updated context help for broadcast_data/disrupt_area robot hacks to indicate their effect stacks when installed on multiple bots
  • MOD: Removed Datajack Penetration from score sheet
  • MOD: RIF Influence readout in HUD moved below Location
  • MOD: Relay Coupler [NC] rating upped to 4
  • FIX: Derelict logs providing exit/entrance intel might end up identifying the wrong access points [Valguris]
  • FIX: Pre-learned intel for machines would not show log message on entering an applicable floor if no locations currently within map view [Valguris]
  • FIX: Beta 7 broke score sheet hit/miss streak tallies [Valguris]
  • FIX: Part list info ('q') mode did not update melee weapon damage display in real time while toggling propulsion when momentum positive [Valguris]
  • FIX: Fusion Compressors and Desublimators not factored into HUD net energy readouts [Joshua]
  • FIX: Random traps could spawn in special encounter rooms [Joshua]
  • FIX: Recycling Unit hacking interface crashed if attempt to list contents while more than 50 parts [Joshua]
  • FIX: Robots could still leave scan signal markers within FOV under rare circumstances [MTF]
  • FIX: Achievement threshold achievements not earned until completion of subsequent run if threshold was reached via a subset of run-end achievements [MTF]
  • FIX: "Guerilla Style" achievement could be earned via certain unintended means [Raine]
  • FIX: Watcher map_route hack did not ID exits under easiest difficulty mode [Raine]
  • FIX: Rare condition could allow armed hostile patrol to spawn within view at Materials depths on entering map [UlyssesB]
  • FIX: Crash while using an applicable Data Core and sabotaging an explosive machine which destroys the active Terminal [UlyssesB]
  • FIX: Opening part info via keyboard before hacking list appears while connecting to interactive machine superimposed item info over targets [Mojo]
  • FIX: Layout(Zone) Terminal hack did not ID exits under easiest difficulty mode [Mojo]
  • FIX: World seeds could randomly diverge for individual maps if a schematic or similar player-held data were also present on the map [kiedra]
  • FIX: Disabled/rebooting/shut down 0b10 bots might summon reinforcements from a nearby Garrison Access [PlasticHeart, kiedra]
  • FIX: Some renderFilter values for SATURATION advanced customization option could decrement by 1 when saved on exit [Bravo]
  • FIX: NPC dialogue referred to traps triggered on 0b10 robots raising alert, which was no longer the case since adding Trap Extractors [KernelPanic]
  • FIX: Melee attacks against aware targets still considered sneak attacks if true base hit chance is 120% [GJ]
  • FIX: Some types of map labels could appear below the HUD on certain resolutions [JackNine]
  • FIX: Certain renderFilter combinations could cause map to blink while accessing machine hacking UI [yoggo]
  • FIX: Performing a certain action within a few-turn window during a special event would result in an unintended line of dialogue (spoiler) [Decinym]
  • FIX: Allied robot info inventory list did not distinguish between faulty and non-faulty version of same prototype if contains both [Pimski]
  • FIX: Possible crash on exiting game while temporary popup info still visible on map [XenoFiery]
  • FIX: Potential crash if Borebot destroys itself while clearing an explosive machine [Tone]
  • FIX: Ramming a hostile bot off an exit with allies in tow but outside transfer range took the exit without warning about leaving them behind [whitenitro0]
  • FIX: Potential oddity during a particular extended game event interaction (spoiler) [lsend]
  • FIX: Original Wizard analysis text inconsistent with new robot hacking-related lore [Heavyrisk]
  • FIX: Simply targeting bots would aggro them even if outside range or the line of fire and sight are obstructed [Terminus]
  • FIX: Colemak keyboard configuration included an incorrect key assignment [ericmoyer]
  • FIX: Typos [Raine, Snelheid]
  • FIX: Auto-replacement skipped the usual warning when attempting to swap in a Faulty part directly from the ground
  • FIX: Ctrl-RMB and examine mode ('x') would not show info for open doors
  • FIX: Updated weapon cycling system introduced for Beta 7.1 incompatible with advanced autoReadyLauncher setting
  • FIX: Knockback resulting in triggering traps was excluded from some score sheet stats
  • FIX: Part swap menu failed to include manual item tag for unidentified items
  • FIX: A certain (spoiler) launcher's explosion radius visualization showed incorrectly when targeting positions near edge of map view
  • FIX: Imp. Core Analyzer art contained an extra character revealed only by animation
  • FIX: AI ignored additional time cost of attempting to escape various forms of stasis (Stasis Beams etc. now somewhat more effective)
  • FIX: An item on a newly-unlocked Garrison Access door or newly-created shortcut exit would be inaccessible (now pushed away)
  • FIX: wipe_record hack did not prevent ARCs from deploying

(Demo images no longer look crisp in Steam announcements, so consider viewing these release notes on the GSG forums.)

The Exiles

Wow, the last time we got a new map was back in May 2017! That was when the story was completed and the many locations planned for Cogmind 1.0 were all already in place. Apparently one of the post-1.0 plans has leaked into the world early ;)

The highlight of this release is the Exiles, a new mini-faction with which you can align yourself to obtain some benefits (and drawbacks, of course--this is Cogmind after all and there are tradeoffs everywhere!). They have their own map, which you can find hidden off the Mines. It can only appear at one depth, however, so if you don't find it at -10 it'll be on -9. I highly recommend visiting them, so try not to pass up exits to the Mines (but remember, also try to bring a Grenade Launcher along with you, to make the Mines... safer :P).

Having been working on systems and peripheral content for a long time, it was really exciting to get to add another map, and this time around I'll be doing something a little different as well: writing an in-depth blog post covering the entire map design and creation process. I haven't shared the entire process behind creating specific maps before, but this one presents a particularly good opportunity since it's not as spoilery, being at the beginning of the game while still hooking into all sorts of other content and strategic implications. (Update: Said article is now available here.)

That'll come soonish, but if you don't mind minor spoilers (stuff you'll discover before long in the new early-game map anyway) I'll at least cover some basics here to introduce the Exiles. Otherwise skip to the next section to continue with the rest of the release notes.

Upon entering the Mines containing access to the Exiles location, you'll see a log message about "something scanning the area." If you get that message, a thorough search of the map will eventually reveal the entrance. Inside you'll find many of the new NPCs and lore, as well as some new strategic options...

For one they can give you a form of "permanent sensor" ability called FarCom that's incredibly helpful since it identifies distant threats without taking up any of your precious utility slots. Beta 7 nerfed regular sensors a little bit with expanded Watcher jamming, but FarCom is an optional way around that :D (as well as some other sensor blocking mechanics). Although designed to help new players navigate and survive Complex 0b10, it does come with a serious drawback in certain optional late-game areas, so experienced players may not always want it.

That said, the Exiles also have something that both new and experienced players alike can appreciate: crazy advanced technology, some of it very... experimental.







Many of these parts have completely new mechanics. I'll leave you to discover most of them on your own, though I did previously share info about the PSU Rigger, which turns any power source into a proximity mine:



And here's an animation from a particularly powerful item which itself took three days to build!



Several of the new items actually took multiple days each because they really break the normal game rules or otherwise have rather unique effects.

In all, I think you'll enjoy working with the Exiles...



(Unless you're one of those prerelease testers who have clearly decided it's fun or worthwhile to make enemies of them xD)

There are a number of long-term strategic combinations you can work out with regard to the Exiles, but I'll go into more of those details for the blog post. Generally speaking, Beta 8 is about fun and tradeoffs, as many big decisions in Cogmind are, and the Exiles offer ways to trade an easier early game for extra mid- or late-game challenges, depending on your choices.

Beta 8, especially the Exiles, is kind of a preview of what I'd like to do a lot more of after 1.0 if there's enough support for it--add all kinds of more "extreme content" and yet more peripheral content including additional mini-factions that tie into various aspects of the world. A number of these potential elements are already referenced in the lore ;)

Mechanics

Beta 8 includes a few new mechanics and tweaks which are sure to affect some strategies.

All wheels, legs, and treads now have a "drag" stat which slows overall move speed while airborne, so the old "propulsion armor" strategy (as cheesy as it was) is no longer very effective. Here's a demo:



This will make certain stretches of speed runs (and some other types of runs) somewhat more challenging since slapping on tons of propulsion armor used to be the easiest way to protect your core and parts while flying straight for the surface, but at least core movement has been reclassified such that it isn't impacted by the drag effect, so that much is still an option, and still a potential life saver when things go south and you need to make a run for it after taking a serious beating.

On that note, the fast win score bonus formula has been tweaked again:



The bonuses were getting out of hand considering how good players have gotten at speed running. It now ramps up more quickly, but generally to a lower bonus overall, and doesn't even kick in until under 6,000 turns, so you have to be moving pretty fast to get anything, as opposed to even earning a bonus for a non-slow combat run.

If you want to read more about the drag mechanic and its background, I wrote about this topic for SITREP #41: Be The Tank.

That SITREP also covers another direct result of drag: better treads! In addition to their recoil reduction, treads now give an accuracy bonus and have improved coverage, helping them put all that integrity to good use serving as protection for other parts. Treads have always been good, but their slow speed still puts them at a significant long-term disadvantage in a lot of cases (compared to other propulsion types), so further improving their combat capabilities to make up for it is warranted. Technically this also counts as a buff to Sentries and any other bots out there on treads, many of which are already dangerous, so look out!

RIF builds continue to get improvements, too, and the latest buff for Beta 8 gives them a 100% chance to seal any Garrison Access (any security level! no hackware required!). I've been playing around with it and FarCom+RIF is a pretty neat new combination.

Quality AND Quantity

So many new options... I just noticed Cogmind has well over 100 adjustable features now! I've received a lot of requests for options over the past months, many of which now have a home in advanced.cfg for anyone else who'd like to use them.

You can find the full list in the changelog above, and below is a collection of previously demoed new options...

Machine hacks now have context help via the usual right-click or A~Z:



This puts the system on par with the item/robot stat info and the robot hacking system in terms of QoL, and could be useful for new players or infrequent players who may have forgotten certain effects :)

By request, the part swap menu includes a remove button:



With that we now have five different methods of removing a given part, because having options is nice!

The part swap menu also now shows disabled parts in orange, and includes manual tags added to unidentified parts (which originally only showed in inventory and the item info page):



The advanced autoReadyLauncher option has been super useful since introduced in Alpha 12, and now there's its opposite, autoUnreadyLaucher, to reactivate all weapons when a launcher is removed:



It's a common tactic to only attach a launcher to deal with a specific situation, then swap it out after firing--together these options remove most of the other commands involved in that process. You can generally just attach a launcher, fire, then detach the launcher, and it'll work as desired.

Active streamctrl_ robot hacks display a range within which you should stay to avoid losing control of the robot:



We've got three different advanced options for how to display Cogmind's part loss directly on the map: blinking red, blinking red 'X', or part's name in red:



Currently there is no explicit on-map display for that information to avoid potentially interfering with other indicators or tactical information nearby (plus we already have that info reflected in the log, sfx, and parts list), but this could be a pretty useful feature for some players, especially given that the majority of the combat focus has been designed to center around the map view.

Countdown timers for fabricator and repair station processes remain visible outside of FOV! \o/



There's also a log message reporting completion if not in view. Originally the machine would only showed this info while in view, but sometimes it could take a while to finish and players often prefer to leave the area and come back later, but would then be forced to calculate out the approximate turn on which it would be finished. Certainly always showing the info is better, though this wasn't done originally because it's a lot more work to separately record and display hypothetical information! I.e., the machine could be disabled or destroyed but you're not supposed to know that unless it's in view, and it has to keep displaying information as if it were still processing.

Quite a few times I've received requests for an in-game real-time clock. I've held off on it for a while since I wanted to be sure of where it could work in the HUD, and now it's found a home:



It's optional (off by default), and there's also a separate option to show a real-time run timer, for the real-time speedrunners out there.

Energy-adjusting utilities now factor into the HUD's net energy readout:



The Scan window also got some updates, including a new option to have it only show what's currently under the cursor (or kb marker), rather than the usual behavior of retaining the last object shown.



This is not default behavior, however, since keeping persistent data visible has the advantage of not losing that reference info simply by moving the cursor to perform other actions. Not to mention persistent robot scan info will update their heat/integrity values as they change, if they're still present in the window at the time, without having to put the cursor back over them or use some other method to check.

Speaking of easier access to object info, you'll no longer have to open solid terrain info to check its armor value, which appears under its name in the Scan window:



I didn't do this originally because constantly updating the Scan window as the cursor moves around would be really distracting, but later realized I could both avoid that annoyance and provide the info by only loading the terrain info after a short delay! So the cursor/keyboard marker has to be stationary for 500ms before it will show armor for that space.

Machines and other props will also show their armor value in the same place! Remember that you'll probably still want to take resistances into account before attempting to destroy something, but this is a good general reminder and should save some time.

Maintenance intel markers were switched from green to gray, so that they can be easily distinguished from Terminal markers:



I originally chose green since all the maintenance bots themselves are green, but Terminals are also green so if you have both types of intel it can be hard to spot the Terminals unless you deactivate the maintenance intel. In any case, gray is also a reasonable color for a neutral party.

Note that anyone using a higher detail level for their combat log will need to visit the options menu to reset their value on starting a Beta 8 run, because everyone's value has been reset since the option itself was renamed from the very-old-and-not-entirely-obvious "Log Calc. Detail".

Back in Action

The last few weeks of Beta 8 dev were completed while I was out of town, so it's been a while since I've been able to stream. I'm back now and clearly it's time to change that! This week I'll be streaming about 24 hours after this release announcement goes up, before returning to the normal Monday evening scheduled streams next week. Lots of new toys to play around with in Beta 8, and I wanna try out the new treads, too. Also RIF, I'm eager to do more RIF runs since I'm sure it's even cooler after the buffs in 7.1 and 7.2, plus this update.

I hope to be able to do even more releases like this in the future, though will have to focus on getting to 1.0 first and see if there's any money left to keep going! Certainly there are lots of plans to draw on, though :). In the meantime I'll be shifting gears to work on 1.0 necessities, which I'll talk more about in future SITREPs.

Special thanks to all our Beta 8 prerelease testers, who've helped ensure a smooth and balanced full release.

And thanks to everyone for your Steam reviews! In case anyone missed it, there's a pre-1.0 medium-term goal you can help with which could affect the future of Cogmind development. Check out the original announcement for more info. Reviews are very helpful for increasing Cogmind's visibility on Steam and by extension make it possible to keep bringing the updates :D

There is a week-long 10% discount on Cogmind to coincide with the Beta 8 release, available immediately on the website (includes DRM-free plus Steam key), but not until 2/13 on Steam due to limitations on their platform settings. As a heads up, this is the largest discount Cogmind will have during Early Access unless at some point Valve decides to again offer exposure for a larger discount like they did in December 2017, in which case I might take them up. (But I'm pretty sure that won't happen again.)

For Linux users, Cogmind may now be installed through Steam. Read more in the last section of SITREP #35.

As usual, this weekend will not have a SITREP so soon following a new release. The next will come the week after when we'll take the usual look at player stats from Beta 7, the huge robot hacking update with 65 hacks.

Beta 8 saves are not compatible with previous versions, but even if you're on Steam and Cogmind automatically updates, Beta 7.2 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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February 1

SITREP Saturday #44: Code 403

Beta 8 is feature complete :D

It's not ready for release just yet, but a feature freeze is in effect as it goes into final testing. The next release is dubbed "Forbidden Science," and you'll be able to get your hands on this science when it releases the morning of February 12th (my time, which means the evening of the previous day for many players :P). I'll also be getting back to streaming that day and/or the day after.

Today I've got a batch of feature demos to share, mostly interface-related, along with art and other news.

Quality AND Quantity

The main new content for Beta 8 having been completed a couple weeks back, since then I've been able to turn my attention towards smaller matters, like a collection of UI options and other QoL features to continue improving the experience. Here we go...

Machine hacks now have context help via the usual right-click or A~Z:



This puts the system on par with the item/robot stat info and the robot hacking system in terms of QoL, and could be useful for new players or infrequent players who may have forgotten certain effects :)

By request, the part swap menu includes a remove button:



With that we'll have five different methods of removing a given part, because having options is nice!

The part swap menu also now shows disabled parts in orange, and includes manual tags added to unidentified parts (which originally only showed in inventory and the item info page):



The advanced autoReadyLauncher option has been super useful since introduced in Alpha 12, and now there's its opposite, autoUnreadyLaucher, to reactivate all weapons when a launcher is removed:



It's a common tactic to only attach a launcher to deal with a specific situation, then swap it out after firing--together these options remove most of the other commands involved in that process.

Active streamctrl robot hacks display a range within which you should stay to avoid losing control of the robot:



We've got three different advanced options for how to display Cogmind's part loss directly on the map: blinking red, blinking red `X`, or part's name in red:



Currently there is no explicit on-map display for that information to avoid potentially interfering with other indicators or tactical information nearby (plus we already have that info reflected in the log, sfx, and parts list), but this could be a pretty useful feature for some players, especially given that the majority of the combat focus has been designed to center around the map view.

Countdown timers for fabricator and repair station processes remain visible outside of FOV! \o/



There's also a log message reporting completion if not in view. Originally the machine would only showed this info while in view, but sometimes it could take a while to finish and players often prefer to leave the area and come back later, but would then be forced to calculate out the approximate turn on which it would be finished. Certainly always showing the info is better, though this wasn't done originally because it's a lot more work to separately record and display hypothetical information! I.e., the machine could be disabled or destroyed but you're not supposed to know that unless it's in view, and it has to keep displaying information as if it were still processing.

Quite a few times I've received requests for an in-game real-time clock. I've held off on it for a while since I wanted to be sure of where it could work in the HUD, and now it's found a home:



It's optional (off by default), and there's also a separate option to show a real-time run timer, for the real-time speedrunners out there.

Energy-adjusting utilities now factor into the HUD's net energy readout:



The Scan window also got some updates, including a new option to have it only show what's currently under the cursor (or kb marker), rather than the usual behavior of retaining the last object shown.



This is not default behavior, however, since keeping persistent data visible has the advantage of not losing that reference info simply by moving the cursor to perform other actions. Not to mention persistent robot scan info will update their heat/integrity values as they change, if they're still present in the window at the time, without having to put the cursor back over them or use some other method to check.

Speaking of easier access to object info, you'll no longer have to open solid terrain info to check its armor value, which appears under its name in the Scan window:



I didn't do this originally because constantly updating the Scan window as the cursor moves around would be really distracting, but later realized I could both avoid that annoyance and provide the info by only loading the terrain info after a short delay! So the cursor/keyboard marker has to be stationary for 500ms before it will show armor for that space.

Machines and other props will also show their armor value in the same place! Remember that you'll probably still want to take resistances into account before attempting to destroy something, but this is a good general reminder and should save some time.

The threshold for overweight calculations is now inclusive rather than exclusive, so everyone gets +1 support before going double/triple/quadruple(?) overweight...



Maintenance intel markers were switched from green to gray, so that they can be easily distinguished from Terminal markers:



I originally chose green since all the maintenance bots themselves are green, but Terminals are also green so if you have both types of intel it can be hard to spot the Terminals unless you deactivate the maintenance intel. In any case, gray is also a reasonable color for a neutral party.

The very last thing I did for Beta 8, since I had some extra time, was add a pair of new alien artifacts for fun, and science :)



Fun With Bugs

The last couple weeks of dev also involved some dedicated bug fixing, clearing out all the reports since Beta 7.

None were very difficult, although for one in particular I added a visualizer for the Entity (robot) spawn blocking layer of generated maps to confirm a suspected cause of unintended behavior. Technically, on maps belonging to 0b10, most armed enemies are not allowed to spawn within a certain distance of the starting point, but UlyssesB shared a screenshot of exactly that happening on the very first floor. This occurred right around a special encounter room (the part cache), so I initially thought it was simply not blocking spawns to that room. But the engine blocks all random spawning in those areas, so that couldn't be it... Then I checked the actual spawn order and noticed the patrol spawn location (based on its leader) wasn't even in the room itself as I'd thought, but just outside it. This particular encounter happens to clear away the nearby wall as part of its behavior, so what had happened was it cleared the wall, opening the way for a patrol to spawn right there where the wall had been!

The visualizer showing a patrol spawning next to the player:


(the squad leader spawned as the middle 's' there, and the others appear next to them since they're not constrained by that particular spawning rule)

Anyway, in the end the solution was to just additionally spawn-block any walls that are opened up (normally cells that start as walls don't need to explicitly block spawning since walls block spawning anyway!). For comparison this is the fixed version on that map:



And it's a good thing I had a visualizer because the initial solution I coded worked in this particular case but wasn't implemented well enough and still left a potential hole for different patrols (which I wouldn't have noticed had I not activated the visualizer again to look at the results).

For devs, the less here is that data visualization are super useful :)

In another recent happening in dev land, this isn't a bug but more a development goof, but check out this interesting looking "map"



This looks absolutely nothing like what was supposed to happen, but during my first attempt to enter a new area I was working on, something went wrong and I ended up in that place. It was supposed to be a certain static environment, but instead I got a sparse and windy weird cave system.

From The Fans



@nyrdal shared some really cool fan art depicting my winning ninja melee build streamed back in October:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy3_B8Qg4BY

And Zyalin has graced us with some Beta 8 hype art:



It's based on this song.

Fellow roguelikedev and Cogmind player VedVid pointed out last week that Poland's largest gaming portal did a quick video on "Games without graphics that will consume your life" xD

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nd_nbgvE-Zg

Cogmind is in there, along with other well-known roguelikes such as ADOM, Dwarf Fortress, and Caves of Qud.

And that's it for today. The next announcement will cover the true meat of this release, as we give you... FORBIDDEN SCIENCE!

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.
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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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