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.

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Welcome to a new year of Cogmind!

It's been so long in the making I've started to have visions of even grander major updates, and we end up getting Cogmind 2019, Cogmind 2020, and so on until my permadeath, ha.

In the New Year's spirit I streamed Holiday Mode on January 1st, building around a very specific weapon available that day (and on New Year's Eve), the RPDS. Some very potent fireworks were on display, including plenty of unnecessary carnage. It was an interesting time with different challenges from a more regular run.

FYI an RPDS does... this :D

Or in ASCII:

Pwnage

For a long time now I've wanted to do a video that demonstrates how to reliably get through the early game, since it's not all that hard but some players have trouble figuring out how to overcome the various challenges there and end up either having to switch to another difficulty mode or playing the majority of their runs in the early game, which honestly is just the very tip of a much more varied Cogmind experience!

Once you're good at it the first few floors only take maybe ten minutes as you prep for the mid-game challenges, so I wanted to share some of the main tactics that ensure you'll make it through. We've had some other early-game tutorials on video before, but I wanted something of my own that I covered what I thought was most important.

Well we can check that off the list :D

I streamed "Pwning the Early Game" this week, and already a bunch of players have been finding it useful, so that's reassuring.

Although I normally talk a lot of strategy in my streams, this was quite different from the usual since it was focused purely on the essentials for the first floors. I first spent about half an hour describing most of the main UI and basic mechanics, essentially an intro to the game, then did a slow run through the first several floors, talking about strategy, combat tactics, and different robots, systems, and AI. After that I concluded with four more quick runs through the early game, putting everything learned into action to reliably reach Factory. (There are time stamps in the YouTube description.)

Not Spoilers

Well, speaking of the early game... let's talk a bit about Beta 8! Why? Because that's its biggest area of focus :D

I haven't really talked about it yet, and while I want to wait until the main announcement to go into details, it's relevant here so let's go.

With Beta 8, in the the early game you'll often have a way to find unique items, and these items can affect your entire play style, if not for an entire run then at least for a while. I mean I guess even regular items and prototypes (and especially artifacts) can already do that for you, but any time unique items are added this is a chance to provide opportunities like that.

For example, among the new items that are being added, there's the PSU Rigger. As per its name, it can be used to rig any power source to explode like a proximity mine. This one's going to be pretty fun to use :D


I can already smell the cheese connoisseurs approaching now...

(Aside: I've actually teased this item in a couple previous screenshots, that and other Beta 8 features, and it's fun to do this without talking about them to see if/who notices ;))

This kind of stuff has always been part of my long-term plan for Cogmind (because having worked on it for over five years now we're apparently not quite yet in the "long term" xD). Basically expanding the game with new ways to experience and interact with the same world, adding smaller amounts of content with outsized impacts on a run, albeit optional, of course. I have tons more item concepts and avenues for obtaining them in various parts of the world, but these things will be introduced over time, mostly after the actual 1.0 (assuming I can still afford it :P).

Now don't get too excited about the Beta 8 gear--you won't be able to pick and choose items, but I can guarantee there are going to be some fun and interesting new experiences coming.

Work on Beta 8 has been pretty smooth lately, just time-consuming as there are some rather complex additions for this update. Some random dev snapshots...

Visualizing the ambient sound from a new area:


Hm, a curious new UI animation, what could it mean? :)

There are quite a few new items coming to Beta 8, and I'm still adding yet more:


Most of those above were actually appended to the art preview selected for the "Year 5 of the Cogmind" annual review, though one of those is previously unseen.

While we're looking at art, check this out:


Anyone remember what that is? After its removal back in early 2016, it's finally making what is likely to be a much-anticipated comeback among players who've used it before ;)

I've been working on a whole bunch of stuff for Beta 8, though most of the new content is under wraps until the release. Instead I can show this mysterious animation as updated for compatibility in optional low-contrast modes:


But there are also some interesting new mechanical developments to get specific about. Let's dive right in...

Is that a Leg in your Pocket?

I always wanted a simplified propulsion system in Cogmind, which is why from the very beginning (2012!) propulsion itself has had no mass, regardless of whether active or inactive. This makes it much less complicated to juggle even more propulsion considerations on top of all the other parts you have to think about.

Of course it also resulted in the interesting side effect of so-called "propulsion armor," or sometimes attaching useless deactivated propulsion simply for its coverage and integrity. As a pretty unique quirk to Cogmind's systems that you can learn to use to your advantage in some situations, I've never felt a strong need to do anything about it.

Then suddenly some weeks ago I wasn't even thinking about this topic (or even propulsion) at all and for some reason the idea of adding a "drag" mechanic popped into my head. I liked the principle of having inactive non-airborne propulsion slowing down flight and hover, and started to like it even more as I continued thinking about how this could indirectly help further differentiate treads and aid heavy combat builds. With a new mechanic to limit certain kinds of propulsion armor and the potential for temporarily cheesing tread-specific benefits, treads could be buffed such that it's easier to make extremely "tanky" builds with lots of treads, which almost become a build's armor, among other benefits.

So all treads, legs, and wheels will come with a new stat, "drag," which kicks in only when these parts are inactive while airborne. Note the addition of a new stat here doesn't lengthen the item info, just takes the place of the "mod/extra" stat where appropriate ("mod/extra" is only used for airborne propulsion, so that same stat slot for non-airborne propulsion is instead "drag," essentially how some weapons may have a Heat Transfer stat or a Spectrum, but not both). Also note that drag values are not all over the place--they're actually static by propulsion type.

Now, balance-wise, the idea behind drag is not to prevent propulsion armor completely (in which case it could just be blocked!), but instead simply have a speed cost associated with it, one that some players might be willing to pay under certain conditions.

Here's a demo of the mechanic in action:


As with any brand new mechanic, we'll have to see how everyone responds with their builds, but in short, treads will become that much more unique (especially compared to legs, which have always offered similar capabilities), and propulsion armor won't be so common anymore. (Drag will not impact core movement, by the way!)

Freeeeeeeedommmmmmm!

Drag is liberating. It's introduced a lot of design freedom to make treads shine at what they should do best: Enable you to effectively crush hordes of bots. (Okay well literally crushing them under your treads is already possible, but you know what I mean :D)

To that end, treads will be better putting their generally massive integrity to work protecting your other parts, gaining about 40 coverage each. This pushes average tread coverage much closer to that of light armor, and armored treads will be about on part with light armor in terms of how well they shield other parts.

On the offensive side, each tread slot gives a 2% bonus to accuracy. So the average tread build will have something like 6-8% better accuracy for all weapons, or even 10%+ for those going with a truly tanky build using a greater number of treads defensively as well (or to carry a ton of stuff--we might be seeing more... really heavy stuff in the future ;)).

Treads will also have a reduced overweight penalty (though still not as good as wheels).

In the end there are a lot of strategic implications here. As a combat player I know I can't wait to take a Beta 8 tank out for a spin :P

Fan Art

I've received some great new fan art, both of these based on my previous streams :)

Zyalin drew my gunslinger combat build for the stream in which I won MTF's bounty (he gave me a goal and I achieved it, so he bought four Cogmind keys to give out to others in chat).

And Nyrdal drew my winning ninja melee build from another stream.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/articles/1/264/263330/auto/qWFVYIq.jpg

Beta 7.2 "Terminal Love"

Last month there was a relatively small update, Beta 7.2. The full changelog can be read on the forums, and it's mostly focused on improving machine hacking, but among the changes we also have robots flashing 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.

Road to Beta 8

Most recently I've been working on on the main plot of Beta 8 (i.e., spoilers :P), though here are a couple more things I could show...

I needed to debug a new mapgen feature, and that required having a visual way to quickly tell one cave from another as far as the generator was concerned (for some special cases where logically separate caves might be directly attached to one another), so I added that in real quick.

I've never done a visualization like this but always wanted to after seeing so many other devs produce pretty color-based ID systems. Doing this is pretty easy: Just use HSV coloring and start with a low hue, then increase the hue for each subsequent object by some static amount for each one. Knowing the number of objects in advance also makes it possible to prevent colors from overlapping, since the hue interval can be set based on that known.

For something else I was working on recently I had to look into historical bug reporting figures, and came up with some stats:


There's the Top 10 earners of "bug points," based on some macros run on changelog data. Since the first release in 2015 there have been 460 total reports (including duplicates and simple things like typos, but also of course some major stuff as well) submitted by 118 unique players. These figures exclude the outstanding issues to resolve for Beta 8, which aren't in the changelog yet but I'll be getting to them all at the end of this dev cycle, as usual. Thanks everyone for helping making Cogmind be the best it can be!

Other News

I was chosen for the "Best Developer" award by Spitball Sessions! You can read about that here, and check out their GOTY 2018 podcast. I am honored, and will continue trying to do my best :D. Thanks to everyone for your support (and reviews! they really keep the game going in Steam's algorithms so that I can add more features rather than having to worry about wrapping it up sooner).

And if you're using Proton to play Cogmind, it'd be great if you could contribute to the database.

I guess this is also a notice for those of you who didn't already know: Although Cogmind isn't marked as supporting Linux on Steam, manually activating it for Steam Play does allow you to purchase and download and play normally! There shouldn't be any issues as I've fixed the few Wine-related bugs on Cogmind's side before it even came to Steam, and have added other QoL features specifically for Linux players. (If you do run into the no audio issue there's a workaround--not sure if they've fixed that in Proton itself yet.)

The biggest "Other News" we've got here is that as of this week we're on our annual family vacation for winter/Chinese New Year. I really wanted to have Beta 8 out by now, but it's still not there yet. Being out of town for a few weeks I won't be streaming for the next month or so, and although it's a long "vacation," technically it's more of a workcation since I'll still be setting up office and doing a fair bit of regular work on Cogmind as well.

It feels really good to be caught up on all the personal and/or non-Cogmind things that were getting in the way these months, though, and to have the Roguelike Celebration behind us, since that trip and preparing for my talk and all the other related work really ate up a ton of time and resulted in the additional backlog of other chores I had to get out of the way xD

 Year 5 of the Cogmind

Year 5 of the Cogmind

News

The latest annual review is here, talking features, dev time, sales trends, 1.0... lots o' stuff! 2018 was big, 2019 will be too :D

10,000!

10,000!

News 4 comments

New parts, new art, more streaming, an interview, a blog post... it's been busy around here!

Fan Art and LPs

Fan Art and LPs

News

A whole ton of new fan art, plus some of my own, and a summary of recent gameplay streams.

Cogmind Beta 7.1 "RIF+" and Roguelike Celebration 2018

Cogmind Beta 7.1 "RIF+" and Roguelike Celebration 2018

News

Boo! Surprise release, this one making bot-hacking an even more unique play style with new RIF mechanics. Also a look at the biggest roguelike gathering...

Comments  (0 - 10 of 62)
Guest
Guest

Please seriously consider selling Cogmind on GOG, there are not many sci-fi roguelikes there.Thanks...

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Kyzrati Creator
Kyzrati

Oh sure I've considered it. But after they asked me whether I wanted to put Cogmind on GOG a while back I said I needed more time and they haven't replied to my emails since :/

I'd love to hear back from them, but stopped bothering for now since I already sell DRM-free direct anyway.

There's a page for Cogmind on GOG here: Gog.com

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MagosDomina
MagosDomina

Probably the coolest and most clever use of Ascii ever? Going to be keeping my eye on this one.

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Kyzrati Creator
Kyzrati

Thank you, coming to Steam next month! Had to take a little break due to an injury, but getting back into things to make the next leap now...

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elemetsup
elemetsup

Amazing

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Kyzrati Creator
Kyzrati

Thanks :)

Need to post another update actually, but I've been gone from IndieDB for a while because they blanket blocked my IP range :/

Reply Good karma+2 votes
salejemaster
salejemaster

Lets push this project into the top 100 indie games of the year! Don't forget to vote people!

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Kyzrati Creator
Kyzrati

So yay, we did it, Top 100 :D

Thanks everyone for your votes!

Reply Good karma+3 votes
Kyzrati Creator
Kyzrati

Cogmind made the top 100 last year, and that's before it was even released, so I'd be disappointed if we couldn't do at least that well now that so many are enjoying the alpha!

I appreciate any votes to help make that happen :D

(I imagine the top 10 is currently out of our league, being a niche game still in alpha, but I think 100 is completely doable.)

Reply Good karma+3 votes
Orac|
Orac|

HOLY ****. Like, usually I wouldn't go for profanity and caps lock to voice my opinion, but the latest round of gifs are seriously good.

I haven't really played a roguelike of this old style since I sank hundreds upon hundreds of hours failing at Nethack. This revitalizes my love of this genre.

Like... in the mainstream, roguelikes have been being updated and reworked for current sensibilities by taking the ideology of the old school and applying it to new things. FTL for instance checks a bunch of roguelike boxes but is still a totally different beast. Permadeath, random generation, hard decisions and that high learning curve. It's a great game and probably my favourite to come from this permadeath resurgence.

This looks to checks all the same boxes, but it looks like it applies that ideology right back into the source genre? And with all the style and panache available. It's looks like everything I loved about old terminal rpgs, but what I imagined them to be rather than what they were. And I love that. The full gamut of colour and the incredible UI are wrinkling my brain with anticipation.

Goddamn I am psyched. Keep up the amazing work!

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Kyzrati Creator
Kyzrati

Thank you for the kind words (including the profanity, sure =p), and yep, the difference here is I'm more or less doing the reverse of what everyone else is doing. Good way to come up with something unique, eh? ;)

With regard to what you "imagine," that's exactly where I'm coming from! When I started working on this the whole idea was to produce this world I was imagining where the interface really comes to life, kind of like a mash-up between roguelikes and Hollywood terminal UIs (but where everything actually means something!). This approach doesn't make much sense with fantasy, the traditional roguelike setting, but with sci-fi it's a natural fit.

My brother was watching the (unreleased) trailer in his office recently and some co-workers came by and thought he was programming on some awesome new terminal, haha.

Alpha Access launches next week Tuesday if you're interested :D. The announcement will probably come to IndieDB a little late.

I just added that composite gif today since there wasn't anything yet showing off the tileset, and I have that one as the new lead gif for the updated website (not yet live).

Reply Good karma+5 votes
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Cogmind
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Grid Sage Games
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Latest tweets from @gridsagegames

I now have three blog posts I want to write in the near term. Tried starting the first this morning but wasn't feel… T.co

Jan 21 2019

RT @IndieDB: Find out how to reliably get through the early game of sci-fi roguelike Cogmind Indiedb.comT.co

Jan 18 2019

Finally just finished up the Beta 8 lore-related text! Exported the entirety of the main Cogmind lore for a quick s… T.co

Jan 17 2019

Tutas has been sharing their exploration of 3D representations for roguelikes: Old.reddit.com Lots more o… T.co

Jan 15 2019

Say yes to ASCII map editors for 3D games! T.co

Jan 15 2019

The ADOM Roleplaying Game is on Kickstarter, half way to its goal on day one :) Kickstarter.com T.co

Jan 14 2019

Getting ready to head to Japan for a few weeks. Going in roguelike style! T.co

Jan 14 2019

LRT's amazing art by @nyrdal was the build from the Ninja Melee run I did back in October (we won :D) Youtube.com

Jan 14 2019

RT @nyrdal: Here's my fanart of Cogmind Josh's melee build :) #cogmind @GridSageGames thank you for this beautiful game! I'm pl… T.co

Jan 14 2019

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