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 (372) - 96% of the 372 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date:
Oct 16, 2017
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Early Access Game

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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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December 4

Year 5 of the Cogmind

(Cross-posted from the devblog here--follow link for better formatting.)

It almost seems unbelievable, but we're already pushing into our sixth year of full-time development!

Once again it's time to look back over the past year at our progress, which in 2018 includes several major releases, other roguelike happenings, and our first full year on Steam. Here's an image collage to get us started :D


Selection of images from the past year of Cogmind-related development as posted on the dev blog, forums, and Twitter (full mega size here).


Development Time
This year we hit a pretty surprising milestone: Over 10,000 hours of work on Cogmind!


Cogmind Monthly Development Hours, 2013.7-2018.11. (The color coding is for different aspects of development tackled each month, the subject of a future in-depth article to come at a later time.)

The tally at the end of November just edged past that mark to reach 10,062. In Year 5 I added another 1,690 hours, which is 17.4% less than the 2,046 hours of 2017. Work on the game itself totaled 763 hours this year, compared to 896 hours of community-related work (purple). That's a 1:1.17 game-to-community ratio for 2018, compared to 1:1.10 last year. The lower ratio, as well as overall decrease in hours, can both be attributed to a number of factors:
  • Prior to Steam I did occasional small progress updates on the forums, but shortly after the Steam launch there were community requests for frequent news, so I decided to try even more regular reports in the form of "SITREP Saturday." This does mean I have to spend more time preparing these updates, though I'll admit they've been crucial in helping the dev process seem more alive and driving more sales to... keep development going xD
  • I've also been streaming more! And over this past year have even started uploading most of the videos to my YouTube channel. This, too, is taking more time out of direct development, but I'll also admit it's been beneficial in a number of ways, like helping new players learn more about the game, sometimes attracting new players, and giving me more chances to play and walk through everything that's going on, which sometimes leads to balance changes or new content. I mean I'm going to play anyway, so may as well do it online to get the other benefits, too, right? :) (it's also been a lot of fun just hanging out with the community, but technically it still counts as "work"!)
  • Even now, 19 months after it happened, The Concussion continues to be a drag on development. Dealing with it still requires a fair number of hours spent on hospital visits every week for treatment, and I have no choice but to sleep more than I normally would each day. Altogether these hours come out of direct dev time, since I can't reasonably reduce the amount of community involvement without taking a clear hit in terms of revenue :/
The biggest chunk of total usable hours that were instead allocated elsewhere went to POLYBOT-7, although technically that has indirect benefits for Cogmind as well, since it's a somewhat similar game and got some decent attention. I'll talk more about that later.

All that said, 2018 has certainly been a very productive year. According to the graph, November actually saw more work on the game proper than any single month since April 2017, the month right before the major Beta 1 release--from this you can probably tell that the upcoming Beta 8 has a decent number of fresh goodies ;). And this year we finally got to a number of major features required for 1.0, making good progress checking off the last remaining bits of the roadmap, alongside other additions.


Features
Although there were only four major releases in Year 5, every one pushed Cogmind forward in a big way.

Beta 4 and Beta 5 piled on tons more QoL, improved the early game, and reworked imprinting to make it a much more interesting strategic choice. Then the following two releases took longer than any had before...

Beta 6 was the achievements update, where we got a non-Steam-reliant system including 256 achievements spread across six categories. You can read more about their design here.


Don't worry, that's not all. We've got more where that came from ;)

Most recently Beta 7 finally replaced the placeholder robot hacking system that's been in there since 2015, which I'd dubbed the "last major system" we'd need before heading to 1.0. I'm pleased with how it's turned out (better be--it took forever to design and implement!) Some further adjustments were made in Beta 7.1, and we'll probably get some more robot hacks eventually, but for now you can play with the 65 already in there :D

We also had a little fun for April Fool's this year, the kind of thing I'd like to do again... On that note, be on the lookout for another special intermediate update at some point this month, hopefully not long before Beta 8 itself lands.


An assortment of 2018 progress gifs!


Cogmind-ish Stuff
So what other peripheral activities was I up to this year instead of working purely on Cogmind?

Well, 2018 is only the second time I've participated in 7DRL since creating the first iteration of Cogmind back in 2012. You can read more about that, and the game itself, in the original release announcement. One could say it's a Cogmind-like ;)


POLYBOT-7 box art.

It really ate up a ton of time, though, which is kinda funny because it's suppose to be a "7-day" roguelike xD. All told I took a month off for that including planning, the week itself, and writing a massive postmortem. I'm very glad to have done it, and would love to do more 7DRLs, though I'm thinking it's probably a better idea to skip 2019 in the interest of getting Cogmind to 1.0.

I also took part in this year's Roguelike Celebration, which while technically only a couple days long also requires that I travel around the world, so there's that plus the fact that I need to arrive even earlier to avoid serious jet lag, and then I combined it with a bit of vacation to make the trip more worthwhile. Such a great event, and although my talk wasn't focused on Cogmind in particular, being about roguelikes did of course still provide a few opportunities to mention my own work. Beyond the actual attendees, the video of that talk was watched over 6,000 times in its first month o_O

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

And although it didn't really take much time, I did finally release a new version of REXPaint, one of my primary dev tools and one that's used by quite a few other devs and artists. I do have bigger plans for it, including putting out a sizable 2.0 one day, but don't want that to interfere with Cogmind development so keep waiting until at least Cogmind 1.0 is a thing.


Words!
As usual I've been writing a lot--documenting events, analyzing things, sharing knowledge...

One of the highlights this year is being featured as the front page main article on Gamasutra three separate times!
These are all articles originally serialized on the Grid Sage blog which I then merged into larger single articles for that site.

As mentioned earlier, this year I've also been putting together a ton of progress reports for the forums/Steam. We're up to 40 SITREPs now...


A whole bunch of SITREPs...

In addition to the blog and these other outlets, I've continued hosting the r/RoguelikeDev FAQ Friday discussions. #69 through #76 are all from this year, and you can check them out for writings on topics like Packaging and Deployment, Map Memory, Movement, Procedural Generation, and Consumables.


Steam, Year 1
While Cogmind may have been on sale for three and a half years now, it's only been on Steam for a little over a year. I haven't been doing any business-related articles like I used to, not since the launch post-mortem from November 2017, though I did take a stat-heavy look at player metrics on Steam. (It was nice to get that out of the way before GDPR this year convinced me to change Cogmind stats back to being opt-in only, meaning that any data we collect now is only a minority of the total.)

Today I've put together a graph showing how sales on Steam have been trending over time:


Cogmind sales history on Steam, Oct 2017~Nov 2018. Note: Sales off Steam are excluded here, but I mirror all discounts on my website, and the relative amount of revenue from direct sales pretty consistently hovers between 10-15% of all revenue, because yeah a lot of people buy games through Steam but Valve takes a huge nearly one-third cut of revenue from games sold on their site!

Sales are decent considering it's already been a year, though you can clearly see the total volume shrinking. Apparently I need to do more major releases paired with visibility rounds :P ("Visibility rounds" are Steam's option for developers to show a game off to more people a limited number of times during its lifetime, and which must be paired with a significant update.)

Or I guess just doing discounts like 25%+ would likely bring in a lot of revenue, although I don't really like the potential long-term impact that can have, not with a game as niche as Cogmind. I'm being as conservative as possible here... Besides, I already promised to keep the occasional discounts to 10% during EA, so not much room to maneuver there ;)

I did have that single two-week 25% discount at the end of last year in exchange for Valve giving me free front-page publicity for a day during that period, so it's good to see what kind of impact those things can have (I wrote about this on TIGS).

Financially we're doing okay, but I'm starting to get worried about next year. This won't change much with regards to development plans since it was already about time to start aiming closer to 1.0 anyway, though I can see it keeping me from straying too far from that goal in 2019 :P

Special thanks to Shogo, Joshua, Wladimir, Gary, and others for your generous donations this year to help keep development going!


2019
If possible I'd like to reach 1.0 next year! So first we're going to get an action-packed Beta 8, then I'll switch gears to focus on features that must be done by 1.0 (which is just a milestone, by the way, not the end of the road!).

There are absolutely tons more optional features I'd like to add, but I'm pretty sure I won't be able to safely fund development past another year of EA. We haven't yet hit the review threshold I was hoping for, at least not in Steam terms (we've passed the threshold, but they don't count reviews from non-Steam purchasers :/). I mean, yeah we could've hit it already if I'd only released on Steam rather than via direct sales so long before, but to be honest this wouldn't have been a net positive because a huge chunk of Alpha revenue would've gone to Valve rather than me, making it hard to put so much time into polishing, so I'm glad things have worked out as they have so far.

But anyway, who knows, we may still hit it if I take too long to finish 1.0 ;)

Many thanks to everyone who's left a review so far--we've definitely got a much higher review-to-sale ratio than your average game on Steam <3

As for the release date, "next year" is a pretty broad target, though I can get a little more specific for you: We're going to get at least several more Betas before reaching 1.0, so it's unlikely to happen before Q4. Of course, if it gets too late I may have to avoid the holiday season and end up pushing it into 2020. October would be an okay month, but I'm not too keen on releasing in the months shortly after that. Anyway, we're flexible here :)


Lots of fun toys coming in 2019!
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December 4

Beta 7.2 "Terminal Love"

Another mini-update while Beta 8 is still under construction! While small, there's some very important stuff in here, and the good news is saves are compatible so you can switch immediately even if you've got a run in progress to take advantage of the improvements :D

While I was originally planning to include some quick fixes along with a different special release scheduled for later this month, last week a newly-introduced machine hacking bug was discovered, and I just couldn't let that one sit out there in public for so long. For Beta 7 I had changed up the machine hacking behavior to improve consistency for those using a fair bit of hackware (in particular System Shields and the like), but in the process inadvertently made it more difficult for those without hackware to do much at machines! So if any of you combat players have been shaking your fist at all those early failed machine hacking rolls, it's rightly so, and I'm happy to say things are back to normal now :D. Well... they're back to normal (actually, even better than before!) if you update to Beta 7.2, which I recommend you do immediately.

The good news is saves are compatible with Beta 7.1.

Let's see what else we get with this update...

Cogmind Beta 7.2 "Terminal Love" (0.10.181204) changelog:
  • NEW: Relay Coupler base value higher based on depth
  • NEW: Robots flash when hit by projectiles (toggle in advanced.cfg: flashProjectileVictims)
  • MOD: Tweaked composition of squads attacking W base
  • FIX: Machine hacking was more difficult than intended in Beta 7/7.1 [Suslik]
  • FIX: Armor Integrity Analyzer effect protected user's armor rather than helping during attacks on armored targets [kiedra]
  • FIX: Researcher pre-attack warnings would not always trigger if certain utilities were attached (broken by Beta 7.1) [Raine]
  • FIX: Advanced option alwaysWarnAboutResearchers description missing from manual

Robots now flash when hit by projectiles. Some kind of explicit hit feedback was requested not too long back and although it's not a feature I personally need in my runs, I must admit it's been well-received by those who've seen it so far, so here it is!



(Ignore the fact that enemies just sit there and take it--that's just using debug mode to demo the feature :P. Also, they're not really dying because I'm intentionally using a somewhat weak weapon against late-game Programmers.) It's on by default, but like many QoL features you can toggle it in the advanced options if it bothers you for whatever reason.

You can see this and other features discussed in my 7.2 stream from earlier today, during which I continued the gunslinging run:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEkWzEk5c9Q
It feels really good as a combat bot to be able to do some free hacking again ;). Part 3 will be streamed next week at the same time, and the run is hot--we've met up with just the right allies to basically own the late-game, plus have an amazing loadout of our own (don't examine this at full size if you want to avoid a few little spoilers):



As a little bonus for Beta 7.2, I know from experience that the new RIF system introduced in Beta 7 and expanded in Beta 7.1 is still a little tough to rely on in the late-game, so I've also added a new formula that gives bonus value to Relay Couplers based on depth. The further you get, the better the couplers, regardless of their source.

Enjoy! :D
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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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