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 (15) - 86% of the 15 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
All Reviews:
Very Positive (323) - 96% of the 323 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date:
Oct 16, 2017
Developer:
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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 (44)

August 17

SITREP Saturday #34: Hacking Complete, System pwned

All 65 robot hacks are done :D

I've put together a giant post over on the blog covering every single one of the hacks, including lots of demos.



Many of the demos I've shared in previous SITREPs as they were developed, though there are a few new ones, too, that and you can check out a bunch of graphs breaking down hacks by various categories, as well as see the design spreadsheets used to assign costs.

Whew, that was a big system, and of course it's not even out yet and there's already a forum thread about how to expand it xD

Simulcasting 0b10

Speedrun races continue, having now gone through two weekends of the new format with simulcasting hosted by b_sen. Week 1 is up on YouTube. Week 2 hasn't been exported yet, but you can find it on Twitch here. In it Valguris breaks the Cogmind world record, long held by zxc, with a win in only 635 turns.

I don't have a chance to spectate these because time zones, but b_sen commented that Valguris' win during the race was doubly impressive, because "he was using consistent speedrun strategies instead of 'throw many many runs at the RNG's mercy' strategies." I heard he was using some interesting indirect hacking techniques to find exits, and Malthusis pointed out that he was throttling flight units for max speed, running fairly hot.

These runs are generally organized over weekends on the Discord if you're interested, and there are more participants than just those streaming so everyone's free to just join in on the side and share results.

Backseat Cogminding

Armchair Robotics threads continue to provide an outlet for topical strategy advice. We've got two so far:
Even if you don't have anything to add yourself, stop by if you have any relevant questions since lots of the best players participate in these discussions and are happy to provide input. That and just from browsing the posts you'll probably learn some helpful new tactics to improve your game :)

10k March

Development recently passed the 9,500-hour mark, and is set to hit 10k by the end of the year!



The monthly hours graph is decent, if not nearly as stable or high as before my concussion last year (arrow).



This has been slowing down Beta 7 a bit, but at least I'm staying ahead of the head issues which is good for the long term!

On that note, with robot hacking complete there's just the usual fixes and little features to do before preparing to release it into the wild. I have a massive list of other things I wanted to do with Beta 7, but as usual aside from fixes (which always get top priority) I'll just have to pick and choose some of the other items and push everything else into future releases. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how you build a literally endless TODO list, one that gets longer rather than shorter as you work on a game xD

Still can't give a date for it, but I'll probably have a pretty clear idea come one week from now, and prerelease testing will likely start within two weeks.

Creative Endeavors

I'm not the only one making stuff around here.

Azimet the Banished has shared an electronic composition, a tribute to Arc Projectors. Azimet says:
Arc projectors are weapons that deserve some more attention. I really love the idea of heavy disruption, which can lead to new allies. Because of this, I made them sing a song.

And Zyalin created a fun mashup of hand-drawn art and ASCII item art from the game:



A note about SITREPs: These are regular progress updates where I 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 Beta 6 here.

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

August 3

SITREP Saturday #33: parse_system



And that's what happens when you combine the new overload_power hack with squads lured through some explosive machinery :D

Their power source won't go critical immediately, but it happens pretty quickly and as you can see there's a visible timer to help you plan your next few turns before the fireworks begin.

The explosive potential matches that of EM-caused chain reactions, thus it's greater for more powerful power sources. In the same way it also just destroys their power supply, which technically may not destroy the bot entirely, so it doesn't need to be a hugely expensive hack like outright destruction or assimilation. This makes it both a fun, useful and fairly frequently usable hack.

Aside from overload_power, this week's robot hacking progress can't compare with last week in terms of flashiness, but I did get close to the end of the list. So far 59 hacks have been implemented, with just a few more to go. After that there's still more related work to do in terms of lore, balancing datajacks, and more, but the entire robot hacking system will be completed next week. (No this doesn't mean Beta 7 will be ready next week xD)

Mind Probe

One of the bigger new hacks completed just yesterday is parse_system, the replacement for the old PARSE option.

Through Beta 6, parsing a robot is a regular old hack with a percent chance to succeed. Though easy to pull off, it's still not guaranteed.

The new parse_system for Beta 7 is not only guaranteed (as are all robot hacks), it's also practically free--no RIF, no couplers. (See the overview of the robot hacking system if you're not sure what that means.) Just like the manual hack 'z' entry, 'a' will always be parse_system for any bot you can jack, appearing as the first listed option. Here's a series of demonstrations parsing various common targets:



In the past it's also never been very useful--I added it mainly for fun. But now it also serves some purposes!

First of all you can see there that parse_system gives more info than it used to, including details about the AI and whatnot.

The most tangible advantage, however, is the fact that it both lists all parts attached to the bot, identifies them all even if unknown or prototypes, and even adds them to your gallery if not already there! This will be a new non-evil method to get records for some of those cool parts your friends and/or NPCs are using without, you know, murdering them :P

By extension, as part of this update, jacking a friendly will no longer be considered a hostile action.

Faster than Light

A couple weeks ago for SITREP #31 I mentioned the birth of a speedrunning community among Cogmind's players, with semi-regular contests. Those have continued, and are getting bigger and better...

This weekend we'll have simulcast races on Twitch with commentary by b_sen, along with anyone else who wants to hang out in stream, or participate in the races themselves! Full info in the announcement here (also on r/Cogmind).

Sadly I won't be there because over here in Asia it'll be 2 AM or so, although I sometimes participate in races at other times. But there'll be experienced Cogminds around if you want to learn the art of speedrunning, or perhaps about other mechanics you can put to use in your regular runs!

The simulcast even includes its own layout and everything :D (the following image is a WIP mockup, layout work by b_sen)



The latest scoreboard:



Armchair Robotics

The community has started weekly topical strategy discussion threads!

Ever since a couple years ago the core community moved from the forums to Discord, we've been having a ton of insightful strategy discussion there, but it gets interspersed with and buried under lots of other conversation, so it's not easily accessible to the majority of players. This new format will be a lot more accessible, have long-term reference value, and also provide ongoing content for the still-under-construction Cogmind Community Guide.

The first topic was just announced today: "Propulsion Type." See the full prompt and discussion in the following locations:
Visit your community of choice to contribute!

Celebrating Roguelikes

The annual Roguelike Celebration is coming up! If you can make it to San Francisco in early October, get your tickets now for a discount (the price is just to cover the costs of running the event).



This is the third one. I missed the second due to that annoying concussion-that-still-won't-go-away, but was at the first the year before. It was so much fun, I wrote about it here. Got to meet a bunch of great people I only knew (or knew of) online, and then it was only a one-day event--this time we get two!

I even gave a talk about how I became a developer and how Cogmind came to be:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yJflbg0V38

Oh yeah, I guess I've only implied it so far, but yeah I'm going again :D. (You might notice me on the speakers list there, I'm going to be doing a non-Cogmind-centric talk this time around.)

The next SITREP will likely be in two weeks instead of one. Development will continue as normal, but I'll mostly likely be working on a lot of non-showy internal stuff in the short term so there won't be as much to talk about.

A note about SITREPs: These are regular progress updates where I 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 Beta 6 here.

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

Report bugs and leave feedback for this game on the discussion boards

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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