WHAT IS COGMIND?
A science fiction-themed traditional roguelike in which you play a robot that builds itself from components found or salvaged from other robots.
HOW DOES IT PLAY?
While exploring the world you find (or take) power sources, propulsion units, utilities, and weapons, and attach them to yourself to create 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.
Action is turn-based but you don't have "action points" per se; instead, every action takes a certain amount of time, and robots that can perform actions more quickly can continue to due so until another robot is ready to act.
Combat is optional if you can avoid it, and there is no grinding for XP since the game rewards you for simply reaching new areas.
While not fighting/sneaking, you can find or construct allies, hack machines, manipulate your enemies, and explore the story through terminals spread throughout the complex.
HOW ARE THE CONTROLS?
Every single command is accessible via both mouse and keyboard, so you can play with either, or a hybrid of the two. The UI is designed to provide the most intuitive and quickest possible access to a huge array of possibilities. Cogmind is even the first ASCII game to support drag and drop interaction.
Cogmind is designed to have "dynamic depth." At the simplest level you can jump in and spend 15 minutes shooting up robots without worrying about all the details--just attach the highest-rated parts you find. Those who want a deeper experience can examine the stats and abilities, put together a build with a special focus, hack terminals for intel and other benefits, explore alternate areas of the world with different consequences for the story... All of it is pretty optional depending on how you want to play, and in either case it's very easy to pick up and play (a short tutorial will cover the basics).
WHAT IS A ROGUELIKE?
Everyone has their own definition, but "traditional/classic" roguelikes can be summed up as turn-based tactical/strategy games that take place in a procedurally generated world and feature permadeath. It's a highly mechanics-focused genre that rewards dynamic problem solving skills and therefore the best roguelikes tend to offer deeper gameplay and greater replayability than many of today's mainstream games. The best way to understand roguelikes is to play more of them and come up with your own definition with which you can join in the endless arguments on the Internet! (You can also read an in-depth introduction to Cogmind's traditional and not-so-traditional roguelike features here
, and check out a visual summary of how Cogmind is pushing the genre forward in new ways here
ASCII OR TILES?
As you'll see in both the trailer and the screenshots, Cogmind is capable of displaying both a tileset
(the default mode) and full ASCII. The latter is the mode the game was initially developed for (highly recommended!), though Kacper Woźniak
has done an amazing job pixeling the world of Cogmind.
In terms of text, Cogmind comes with dozens of alternative fonts
manually scaled for a pixel-perfect appearance at all resolutions.
WHAT PLATFORMS ARE SUPPORTED?
Windows only at first. The engine is old, large and not built for cross-platform use, making native ports extremely time-consuming and unlikely. Cogmind does, however, work flawlessy under Wine and similar solutions, which many Linux
players are already using to run Cogmind. (There are reports Cogmind runs more smoothly in this manner than many games ported natively!) Eventually, an official click-to-play wrapper will be provided for Mac players (such a release underwent a successful public test in December 2015), but until then you might have to wrap it yourself using the official Windows release.
Followers also often ask about mobile/tablet support. Games for those platforms are best designed from the bottom up to work in that environment, while Cogmind focuses on what works best for PCs. Many design elements, everything from the interface to the mechanics, would be quite different if implementing the same underlying concept for that kind of platform.
WHY IS ALPHA ACCESS SO EXPENSIVE?
Cogmind's budget is deceptively huge. It's the product of over three years of full-time work and includes far more sound effect assets than any other roguelike (sfx are expensive, by the way). Some future expenses are flexible in that we can invest more for better quality if the funds are available, so as a reward for putting in a little extra early on, alpha supporters get some benefits in return while also helping fund a better final game. (It's basically a Kickstarter-like early access program.) Thus the final price of Cogmind will be lower! Lower, but not $5-10 low like you see with games that have mass appeal. Cogmind is a niche game, and high-quality niche games need to cost more or they simply aren't financially viable to create (see Atlus Tax). Besides, the more successful Cogmind is, the more cool games we can continue to make in the future! For an idea of what goes into developing Cogmind, see the latest annual review
. I've also written a lot more on the topic of pricing roguelikes
, based on my experiences so far.
WILL COGMIND BE ON STEAM/GOG?
Most likely on Steam, yes, but it'll be a while. When that happens, all early Alpha Access participants will receive a free Steam key.
GOG has said they would like to see Cogmind on their platform, so that will also most likely happen at some point as well.
HOW LONG HAS COGMIND BEEN IN DEVELOPMENT?
Concept design began in February 2012 in preparation for the 7DRL challenge that year. The 7DRL version was coded and released in March 2012, then updated several times over the following two months during which it was well received in the roguelike community. That popularity was part of what convinced me to pick it up again a year later in June 2013, taking the 7DRL version as a successful prototype for a deeper game. Cogmind has been in mostly full-time development since then. You can read about the process on the devblog
. Most recently, there's a summary of the first year of Alphas here
, including data on players, revenue, and development time, and also this 2016 dev review
The original 7DRL/prototype is still playable as a free download available here
. The current game is significantly more advanced, but the prototype does at least reflect the core mechanic, and serves as a demonstration of what the game evolved from.
WHEN IS 1.0?
Cogmind is mostly complete as of the end of 2016, though there are still too many factors at play to set a more specific deadline for 1.0 itself. There is a very clear design goal (see the roadmap to the right of this FAQ for the gist of it), but at the same time the response to the May 2015 alpha launch was so overwhelming that the long-term release schedule has been repeatedly extended to take advantage of that support and make the game even better by adding extra features and polish rather than rushing to finish. So while it will take longer to reach 1.0 than initally planned, the final game will undoubtedly be even better for it!
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFO?
See the contact page
for links to many other locations where you can learn about Cogmind, as well as interact with current players.