Cogmind Development Progress Chart

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.

To learn more about the mechanics, the latest manual is available online here (it's also in the game itself, with its own UI). But you don't need to understand or even read the manual to get into the game, as there is a quick built-in tutorial that covers the important stuff.

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.

LOOKS COMPLICATED...

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/OSX 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 BETA ACCESS SO EXPENSIVE?

Cogmind's budget is deceptively huge. It's the product of four years of full-time work and includes far more sound effect assets than any other roguelike (sfx are expensive, by the way). Despite its high production value, though, the audience for Cogmind is relatively small. High-quality niche games need to cost more or they simply aren't financially feasible to create (see Atlus Tax). Steady support from a small but devoted player base at the current price has enabled development to continue far beyond its original scope, so many thanks to everyone making this possible! 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?

After over four years of development, Cogmind joined Steam EA October 16th, 2017.

GOG has at one point said they would like to see Cogmind on their platform, so that will also most likely happen at some point as well, though is not guaranteed. You can help convince them here :)

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's story and mechanics are complete as of May 2017, though there are still more optional features to work on before setting a specific deadline for 1.0 itself. There are very clear design goals (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 call it done. So while it will take longer to reach 1.0 than initally planned, the final game will undoubtedly be even better for it!

Note that general progress updates do not appear on the devblog, but are instead announced on the forums and other social media locations found on the contact page.

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.