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Topics - Kyzrati

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1
Announcements / Update 170813 - Down to Business
« on: August 13, 2017, 02:05:25 AM »
Good news first! Following intermittent research and consultations since the previous update, I've finally figured out the business and tax side of all the Steam stuff. Whew. This means that whenever I'm ready I can hit the button and (following another 30-day delay imposed by Valve) put Cogmind on Steam.

The bad news being I can't hit that button just yet because I'm still not better xD. The concussion from April has left my vision impaired, such that I can't look at a computer screen for long... (As I'm sure you're aware, spending a lot of time staring at screens is a rather integral part of gamedev :P)

I'm doing everything I can to solve this, but part of the solution might simply involve time. That and mostly avoiding whatever exacerbates symptoms (e.g. computer work!), so that's what I've been up to for the past few weeks, and will continue to do through at least the end of August. Also see more doctors, I guess, though I'm pretty doctored out after having dozens of appointments and tests in recent months.

As far as future plans go, I'd rather not release around the turn of the year, and factoring in the release delay required by Valve, if I don't start the process in September, it could end up being pushed back quite far, like Q2 next year. That would suck, so I'm considering releasing it sometime in October regardless of my situation. Of course I can't guarantee that I'll be back to normal then, so I also worry about the negative consequences of releasing more widely only to then be unable to (initially) maintain the frequent updates that I've been known for over the years. Anyway, we'll see. I'm trying not to think about it too much right now because worrying would just make healing more difficult.

I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who's been patiently waiting through this tough time, and who continue to provide support and help spread the word about Cogmind :D. I'm looking forward to the day when I can return to sustainable development and start adding new features again!

Sucks that it happened this way, but I'm glad I at least got the big Beta out the door first, before things got really bad :P (although I'm now pretty sure that the pressure and long hours put into it are the very reason things went downhill and my vision got screwed up--there's a lesson in there somewhere)

In other achievements, Feedspot included the Grid Sage Games dev blog as #26 among their list of Top 50 Game Development Blogs. (Warning: Link is kind of a spammy web page aimed at drumming up more users, but at least it's a legit list of popular gamedev blogs.) I was looking forward to putting out a higher rate of posts this year, but it doesn't look like that's happening anytime soon xD


I'll update you all once something notable happens, like when we can get this show on the road again :). As usual I'll still be available on email, Twitter, Reddit, and here on the forums to respond to people, just not doing any proactive work for the time being.

2
As per mungomongol8's discovery, Cogmind crashes if you trigger a trap while your sound card is disabled. (This has been the case for years, but as one might expect, it's not too common to be playing Cogmind without an audio device so we've never heard of it until now :P)

For anyone who needs to play without an audio device, the next release will handle this situation normally, but until then you can patch your .exe by overwriting it with this version.

(This patch only works on Beta 2.1, so if not using that version yet, you'd have to update before applying it. Saves are compatible. Note that the only change this patch makes is with regard to the audio device checking, so if you are always playing with a sound card active (zero volume or mute settings don't matter), there's no need to patch!)

3
Announcements / Update 170725 - Beyond the Beyond
« on: July 25, 2017, 12:48:03 AM »
Well I wasn't going to release more updates prior to Steam, but that could be a while and the manual bug introduced in Beta 2 could be quite annoying for new players who pick it up between now and then, convincing me to put together a package worthy of a minor patch. Thus we have Beta 2.1 "0b10 Decoder," which includes some new parts, item stats in the gallery, and a batch of tweaks and fixes.

Spoiler: Beta 2.1 Changelog (click to show/hide)

I'm probably going to start working on Steam stuff before long here, simply because I don't want it to drag into the end of the year (bad time to release!), though it'll still take a while to get far with it. Of course I'll update everyone once I know more about that.

(Oh yeah, almost forgot to mention that I was going to put some of that process in motion last week, but took my son to the beach on Monday where I managed to get a jellyfish on my eye, which swelled the skin around it to literally the size of a golf ball and I was having trouble seeing for a few days--oops xD. Now I'm back to the post-concussion, pre-jellyfish days of just being unable to focus on things very well, so at least everything seems to be headed in a positive direction again, haha.)

Over on the blog I finally finished putting together a retrospective on Cogmind development from Alpha to Beta, examining the many features not mentioned in the design doc and why they were introduced. It got, um, really long, but hey I guess that reflects how much good Alpha did for the dev process :D

4
During prerelease testing for Beta 2.1, Sherlockkat encountered an apparently bug with the new item gallery info feature, being unable to Esc out of some opened item info (while in keyboard mode), quite possibly as a result of Alt-tabbing out of Cogmind (borderless fullscreen) and back in while info was open.

Neither of us could repeat it, so this bug is still in there somewhere... If anyone encounters this and can offer more possible details, or, even better, find a reliable sequence of steps to reproduce it, that would be great.

5
Announcements / Update 170712 - ART2DATA.EXE
« on: July 12, 2017, 04:15:59 AM »
Progress! We're not back to normal yet, but things are at least looking good...

My son was worried about me not being able to work lately, meaning fewer people would buy Cogmind, and in order to help he decided to make ads for me to hand out, which was pretty funny:

(Note we're fine, he's just being cute.) There is a green square there because, as he puts it, "you make your game out of green blocks." Right :)

On the issue of health, I've managed to raise my working hours to about 35 per week, but that's a far cry from the 60 or so I prefer. The human in me says I should not push it just yet because I'm doing better but still not better, and the robot in me says "ALERT: Extreme inefficiencies detected, programmers dispatched to enforce milestones." Or something like that :P

The result is that I can't work on any major features (including the Steam release) because there's a danger of being stopped in the middle of something important, not to mention the more demanding schedule to begin with.

Instead I've been continuing to just pick away at little stuff when I can, and will release a Beta 2.1 next, most likely within a week depending on what I decide to include with it. One thing I know is included (because it's already done!) is the much-requested item info access via the gallery:


Before starting I came up with a better concept for how to provide this information, but it'd be a major feature so I simply implemented this as part of the gallery for now, as expected. This way it "only" took six hours. :P

(Note that keyboard-only players can access the info via numbers which only appear in that mode.)

One of the important reasons to release Beta 2.1, especially for new players just getting into Cogmind, is that a new feature added in Beta 2 bugged the in-game manual, removing special characters and making some parts of it look weird. (For now I recommend using the manual.txt file or online version.)

But Beta 2.1 will also come with some other little fixes and balance tweaks as well. As a minor release, it'll appear in the Beta 2 thread.

In other news, one of Cogmind's earliest LPers from 2015, Sabouts, has started a new series recently (but has gotten really really rusty after being away for a couple years, as you can imagine), so maybe offer some tips if you see where he could use them. We've also got a couple relatively new players doing LPs as well, Nuzcraft and Johnny Jockomoco.

Myself and several others have done the weekly seed already, with a few wins and a lot of screenshots and some videos, so check those out if you want to see how others are doing in the new Beta :D

6
Fixed Bugs & Non-Bugs / [Beta 2] Manual missing special punctuation
« on: July 06, 2017, 12:26:01 AM »
Oops, the method of filtering out foreign characters from the in-game manual, meant to keep players from adding foreign language notes to it and thereby crashing the game, accidentally removed a number of special punctuation marks as well! A pretty annoying bug, but not quite worth a hotfix.

If you want to spend more time reading the manual and in its proper form, until the next update you can use the external text version (which can also always be found online here).

7
Announcements / Cogmind Beta 2: "Legend has it..."
« on: July 04, 2017, 07:31:16 PM »
It's Beta++! The huge Beta 1 release already finished up the story and included some major content updates, while Beta 2 is all about QoL, gameplay tweaks, and making a bunch of (mostly tiny) fixes.

There's a visual summary of many new features, as usual, and you can scroll down for the full changelog, or read on for the release notes.


Item Adjustments

Beta 2 doesn't add any completely new items (850 is good enough for now :P), though a number of existing items have been modified or gained additional features:
  • Triangulators have always offered some interesting effects, but never really felt worth a slot compared to other items. I can definitely see a space for them now with their energy cost reduced to almost nothing and even a third function thrown in: the ability to see where enemy AIs are planning to move.
  • Also in the stealth/evasion department, the underutilized Cloaking Devices have gotten a buff that makes them more attractive under the new spotting rules I'll discuss later.
  • As part of the long-term focus on stat transparency, thermal weapons display their exact heat transfer value, making it easier to optimize the ultimate melty build. (Weapon comparisons will also compare them as values, rather than categories.)

There have been a few nerfs as well:
  • One player (GJ...) finally started taking advantage of Plasma Cutters, to great effect, so those are slower to use now, bringing them in line with other special tool-weapons. They're still good and worth using in the right situations, but at least their effect comes at a more reasonable cost.
  • Stasis Traps can no longer be used as infinite shields. Their reusable nature was intentionally left in there for the past six months as a secret, a strategy only recently discovered by our new master trapper DDarkRay, but had to be nerfed pretty quickly before people started using it in earnest :P (letting players rely on one would be somewhat tedious anyway!) These are still quite useful, but no longer infinitely so.
  • Transmission Jammers are still great, and work even better against Alarm Traps now, though some of the most advanced bots are immune to their effects to avoid cheesy tactics such as easily splitting up otherwise very dangerous squads. (Note that the most advanced bots are/were already immune to a number of special effects, but the precise list is not yet available in game--that will be coming later with an addition to the robot data window.)
  • Some special end-game "integrated consumable" items that only a handful of players know about have been nerfed as well. They were a little too good in a broad sense, such that there was a massive difference in strategic leeway between having and not having them. It was important to flatten that out a bit, though there may be further tweaks later on depending on end-game player performance down the line.

Off-turn Spotting

One of the bigger changes that will have some impact on tactics throughout an entire run (unless you never flee from anything!) is the new off-turn spotting behavior. Previously AIs could only spot you on their own turn, meaning you could whiz by really fast, or pop in and out of a room, and if they didn't take a turn then they never saw you. As far as they're concerned you were never there.

Now when simply passing through an enemy field of vision there is a chance for them to at least partially notice you. That chance varies by robot--common Grunts aren't as likely to react, whereas Watchers and Sentries are always on the lookout and therefore much more likely to see something.  When "partially spotted" in this way, however, it's not the same as being truly seen. The AI can't track you far, and will simply investigate the nearby area "where what they think they saw may have gone."

In a general sense I didn't want to implement this, since the system as it existed before was simpler and allowed for perfect stealth given sufficient speed, but it also allowed for completely free (zero-risk) peeking into rooms and around corners if you knew how to game it. The results of the change are at least interesting, though, with both benefits and drawbacks:
  • The first implication is that even if you duck out of an enemy FOV before seeing the '!' spotting indicator, it no longer means you're definitely safe. The only way to be sure is to rely on sensor information, or just leave the area immediately before they search around and find you anyway.
  • Sentries often embedded in room walls are more likely to react to your presence.
  • You'll be able to more easily lure Sentries off exits or out of a bottleneck without being fired upon.

Cloaking Devices reduce the chance of being partially spotted, so they've become an even more attractive option for those who don't want to be seen (makes sense, right? :P).

UI Stuff

A rundown of some of the hows and whys of Beta 2's UI features:
  • Apparently mouse users couldn't fire guided weapons into empty space without using the keyboard for the final action, so new behavior was necessary to keep parity there :). Clicking on the last waypoint, or on any space after having set the maximum number of waypoints, automatically fires now. To make it a little easier to notice when that limit is reached, in addition to the waypoint counter at the top of the map the last waypoint itself is also colored yellow rather than green.
  • The newly-added "please I want to live remind me not to fire in front of a Researcher" system only worked by performing the detection on entering targeting mode, which doesn't even happen if you decide to do a melee bump attack! So the latter is now included and you should always be temporarily blocked when accidentally performing a hostile action that could get you into a lot more trouble than you expected :P
  • There is also melee confirmation required against neutral or inactive bots, to prevent a number of accidental kills if running around with your sword out. I decided to have this off by default since it might get annoying, but if you'd like to use it set ignoreNeutralMeleeConfirmation=0. There may be special situations where it doesn't work as expected so let me know if you find any, but there is definitely some gray area in there due to all the different reasons a robot can be neutral or inactive so I can't guarantee it'll be perfect for everyone's needs.
  • Sometimes rewiring a hostile robot can take a while, and you're tempted to just hold down a movement key to do it, but that can also lead to wasted turns once you succeed and then go running through their position :P (especially true when you find groups of disabled bots and want to rewire them all via keyboard). It's now possible to simply hold the movement key and it'll automatically stop once you've succeeded. It only blocks for a second though, so you still have to pay attention and let your finger off the key when you hear the beep or see the (final) robot has been assimilated.
  • Resource containers get a fair bit of use, so we may as well tally their contents up next to your current energy/matter total, giving you a convenient single spot at which to check your true reserves without scrolling through an inventory. (This requires Tactical HUD mode, because it adds yet more numbers to the HUD and we don't want to totally bury new players in data xD)

Scoring Adjustments

As always, we have some changes to score factors.

The most unexpected is probably Cogmind's first use of negative points. (Devolution was technically the first, but that's a challenge mode and not part of the regular experience.) Negative points are now applied for friendly fire. It's one of several adjustments made over the past couple versions to dissuade players from intentionally attacking allies. While this won't put a stop to the practice (can't stop the ultimate optimizers! :P), these dishonorable actions will at least usually come at a cost! I talked more about this issue in an earlier thread.

We also have more positive bonus points for combat runs--the high alert kill bonus is both raised and the minimum threshold is now only alert 2 (when assault dispatches become possible). The ally kill bonus is higher as well, so even non-combat builds can get extra points for taking on threats.

Specific to challenge modes, the main game's fast win bonus has been removed there. Currently many of the challenge modes give rewards per depth, and it's not too hard for fast Cogminds to avoid everything and simply zip through to the surface, raking in the extra points at little to no risk. Instead, all challenge wins get an additional 7,000-point bonus (so 10,000 in all).

Lore Exports

A number of players have asked for a way to read discovered lore outside the game, and you can now do just that with new buttons at the bottom right of the lore collection UI. The chosen file format is output to your /user/ directory. Aside from standard text, there's also the more navigable HTML version with colors and a linked table of contents. And for those who want to process the lore into another format there's the CSV export option. Another convenient aspect of exported lore is that you can then use your browser or word processor to search for specific terms. For export purposes the terminal lore is reorganized into subcategories, as opposed to the purely topic-based alphabetization seen in game (the latter works that way because it enables easy navigation by letter keys).

Note that TXT and HTML exports include spaces for still-undiscovered lore--just like in game they'll tempt you with "???", whereas CSV currently does not.

Rebinding and Keyboard Layouts

Cogmind finally comes with (limited! experimental!) support for some non-QWERTY keyboards and command rebinding! I'm not sure how useful it'll be in its current state, but I'm glad to have finally spent some time exploring if it's even possible, or worth it. What's there was a lot of work already, so we'll see how it turns out...

It's experimental so for now I've decided to have the system require a config setting to gain access. There's a whole thread for discussion and learning how the system works here.

No More Migrating?

The normal way to update to a new version of Cogmind (without losing your personal history data) is to download it, extract, and copy over your previous version's /user/ directory. Now there's another option, the -nonportable switch.

If you run the game with the -nonportable command line option*, migrating in the future becomes a tiny bit easier, though it could also be more annoying since files you may want to access are no longer stored with the game, but instead found in C:/Users/<username>/.Grid Sage Games/Cogmind/.

(*Aside: You can do this by creating a shortcut to the .exe, right-clicking on it, selecting Properties, and adding -nonportable to the target field after COGMIND.exe)

At present I've only taken the system half way, since screenshots and score sheets still go to their respective local directories. I'm not sure how many players will actually want it to be non-portable vs. completely portable, but full support for the former is harder to achieve. In any case, the system is also not compatible with foreign language OS account/user names (ASCII only!).

This feature is in flux at the moment and where it ends up could depend on my future experiments with installers (yet another annoying I guess "real games" are expected to have xD).

Steam Reminder

This is about the time we were originally going to get a Steam release, but my injury has put that development track on hold for an uncertain amount of time. I'm still not better, but seem to be slowly getting there, so here's hoping things can get back to normal! As usual I'll keep you up to date, and the next step is probably to start chipping away at some of the prep work for that anyway.


The full Cogmind Beta 2 (0.10.170705) changelog:

* NEW: Export discovered lore collection to TXT, HTML, or CSV for external reading/processing
* NEW: "Lore Collection" and "Item Gallery" manual subsections under Advanced UI, explaining the seek feature and more
* NEW: Support for alternative keyboard layouts (foreign kb support incomplete, but includes presets for Dvorak and Colemak)
* NEW: Command rebinding (currently supported via cfg only, see forums)
* NEW: Battery-based non-part items display remaining power in both inventory list and in on-map name labels
* NEW: Active Stasis Trap fields absorbing damage also have their field strength reduced, and the value is carried across extractions and reinstallations
* NEW: Scan window, item info, inventory info, and on-map labels report field strength of Stasis Traps in item form
* NEW: Optional confirmation required for melee attacks against neutral or inactive targets (on by default, toggle via cfg: ignoreNeutralMeleeConfirmation)
* NEW: HUD energy and matter readouts show total resources stored in inventory containers (tactical HUD mode only)
* NEW: Mouse users can fire guided weapons at open spaces and non-FOV locations without using the keyboard by left-clicking on last waypoint
* NEW: Using up all guided weapon waypoints automatically fires on selecting the next target location, regardless of contents
* NEW: When a guided weapon's waypoint limit is reached, the last one placed appears yellow instead of green
* NEW: Hostile AI may sometimes partially spot targets off their own turn (details in manual)
* NEW: Cloaking Devices also reduce chance of being spotted by hostile AIs when not their turn
* NEW: Sentry AI investigates most recent target's last known position before returning to post (they used to cut out early)
* NEW: Additional Triangulator effect allowing prediction of hostile AI paths
* NEW: Added transmission jamming immunity to some prototype robots and NPCs
* NEW: Transmission Jammer capable of suppressing any visible alarm trap within range, regardless of how it was triggered
* NEW: Weapon stat comparisons show numerical difference between EM spectrums, rather than abbreviations (still colored white because subjective)
* NEW: Thermal weapon info displays precise amount of heat transfer
* NEW: Several more score sheet entries
* NEW: Optionally have program store /user/ data in your OS user directory ("-nonportable" command line option)
* NEW: 1 more Trojan() hack (secret)
* NEW: All winning challenge mode runs get additional 7000 bonus points
* NEW: Successfully rewiring a robot/trap blocks further input for 1s (i.e. safely hold a move key) (deactivate via cogmind.cfg: noRewireRepeatProtection)
* NEW: Attempting a bump melee attack in view of a Researcher temporarily blocks the attack with a warning message, highlighting all Researchers in view
* NEW: Negative score adjustments for friendly fire
* NEW: A few straggler Alpha supporter names registered since Beta 1 added to in-game list (see Credits menu)
* MOD: All grenades' accuracy increased, range decreased
* MOD: Triangulator and Structural Scanner energy cost lowered to 1
* MOD: Plasma Cutter delay increased from 20 to 100
* MOD: Weight Redist. System (both variants) mass support increased by 1
* MOD: worldSeed value in cogmind.cfg ignores ` character in case entered manually
* MOD: Added explicit info to manual notes section about incompatibility with foreign language characters
* MOD: Potential Cannons' info displays both projectile and explosion stats
* MOD: Adjusted 0b10 responses to jamming or attacking a Garrison Access point
* MOD: Score sheet "Fabricated" list no longer includes parts built automatically
* MOD: Index(Machines) difficulty slightly increased
* MOD: Enumerate(Maintenance) hack always excludes Operators
* MOD: Tweaked robot demographics in Materials
* MOD: Reclamation Units now provide a static amount of matter rather than at a rate based on integrity
* MOD: "Central database compromised" effect reflected by a new global ALERT, and investigation
* MOD: Updated some A7 dialogue to better reflect newer lore
* MOD: Severing-type attacks now work on Backup parts
* MOD: Drones and fabricated robots no longer cleanly drop severed parts
* MOD: Player-reprogrammed and -installed traps will also target hostile derelicts and other non-0b10 enemies
* MOD: Reduced effectiveness of some "integrated consumables" (vague because spoilers)
* MOD: Win speed bonus not applicable if any challenge modes active
* MOD: Major NPCs immune to part stripping and Blade Traps also now immune to Segregators
* MOD: Increased "High Alert Combat Kills" bonus score rates, and lowered threshold to alert level 2
* MOD: Increased "Follower Combat Kills" bonus score rate
* MOD: Critical hits on props no longer automatically destroy them (no special effect)
* MOD: Ramming and melee attacks against adjacent targets from a stationary (momentum-free) situation made at 0 momentum rather than 1
* MOD: Moving diagonally to the direction of current cumulative momentum reduces it by 1 rather than resetting it
* MOD: Kill streak counter now only counts enemies towards tally
* FIX: A certain random dialogue referenced a pre-change version of an NPC name [MTF]
* FIX: Score sheet "Damage Taken" was including damage sustained by all robots, not just Cogmind [zxc]
* FIX: A certain major NPC's terminal records appeared out of order in lore collection UI [zxc]
* FIX: Was no additional extermination dispatch delay benefit from disabling more than one garrison [zxc]
* FIX: If devolution challenge mode removes storage unit, inventory contents could temporarily exceed capacity on entering a new area [zxc]
* FIX: Despite Beta 1 fix, was still one condition under which a dropped Storage Unit causing inventory overflow would be dropped on another item [zxc]
* FIX: Typo in Log L.VFLK3RLK entry [zxc]
* FIX: Exp. Field Recycling Units in inventory would show a value in parenthesis, suggesting what it is [zxc]
* FIX: Zhirov encounter score sheet entry stopped working in Archives [zxc, GJ]
* FIX: Infinite intercept squad dispatches possible if waiting during the turn they are dispatched [zxc, GJ]
* FIX: Stasis Generator glow effect for affected robots would draw to other sections of map if panned robots out of view [GJ]
* FIX: Stasis Generator may still affect target around a corner given certain layouts [GJ]
* FIX: Message log crash if final shot of an entropic weapon consumed by a misfire [GJ]
* FIX: Toggling between two guided weapons in targeting mode after setting waypoints would enable more waypoints beyond weapon limit [GJ]
* FIX: Targeting a non-FOV space with guided weapons in mouse mode revealed whether it contains a blocking object, e.g. robot or closed door [GJ]
* FIX: Killing two special NPCs via a unique method allowed them to reappear at a later plot point [GJ]
* FIX: Activating even non-weapon items automatically deactivated an active guided launcher [GJ]
* FIX: Disruption-capable weapons could "deactivate" non-togglable parts [GJ]
* FIX: Last line of Imprinter Dialogue 1 cut off in lore collection record [Gexgekko]
* FIX: Hacking UI crash if defensive hackware protects against an effect, but is then itself destroyed by a secondary feedback effect [Sherlockkat]
* FIX: Item schematic list was no longer dimming name prefixes [Sherlockkat]
* FIX: Manual crashes in game if foreign language/non-ASCII characters added to file manually (now ignored) [Gobbopathe]
* FIX: Attempting to trigger already active stasis trap at current position would show warning message, even though impossible [DDarkRay]
* FIX: Three typos in manual [DDarkRay]
* FIX: Trojan to reduce fabrication matter drain was not fully effective [Rylan]
* FIX: Spellchecked complete lore export and fixed a number of typos
* FIX: Entering targeting mode with autoloaded waypoints for a different guided weapon retained them even if count exceeded new weapon's limit

As before, any subsequent minor updates will be dropped in the discussion thread rather than this Announcements board.

8
Discuss the latest release! (release notes)

Any opinions on new mechanics or features? Any experiences to share?

Note that if smaller updates are made to Beta 2, they will be announced in this thread rather than the announcements board!


Update 170718 / Beta 2.1 - "0b10 Decoder"

Although a "minor" update, Beta 2.1 includes some significant balance changes and even some new content.

One of the main features is the highly-requested "item stats via art gallery!" Whether strategizing or just curious, you now have access to the data window for all items you've previously used. Keyboard players have access to this info as well, of course, via numbers (1~9) that only appear when that mode is active. And automated comparisons work as they do in game, although only with items visible on the same page. Remember that you can quickly skip to any section of the alphabetized gallery by hitting a letter key (a~z) to go to the first item with a name starting with that letter. (Note there might be a few specific items for which info does not fit in their window, because it also includes fabrication details, but I'm not sure which those are since I didn't go through the entire list yet--more items to add, first!)

For those of you who know what Z-hacks are, be aware there's a new -REPORT command used to retrieve the intel results, rather than the original method. I kinda already want to change it back because the original flow was better designed and more natural, but it was apparently not easy enough for some people to figure out so I'll at least give this newer more explicit method a chance for a bit and see how fresh players find it (this feedback cycle could take quite a while...).

The "-nonportable" feature introduced in Beta 2 (see release notes) was broken, but should now be usable for those who want to try it out. It's still somewhat incomplete since it only includes the /user/ directory instead of all scores, screenshots, and daily backups, but I'll add the option to expand it later if players are interested in that. The current setup is more aimed at just making the core migration-relevant files easier to handle when upgrading.

Beta 2.1 (0.10.170718) changelog:

* NEW: Item gallery UI also gives access to item info
* NEW: Added more manual sections, including how to activate the on-map combat log and a description of how Cogmind is different from other roguelikes
* NEW: Dedicated \\ZION-REPORT command for intel retrieval
* NEW: 4 new items (utility with unique mechanics)
* NEW: 1 more Trojan() hack (secret)
* MOD: Core resets no longer unidentify items held in inventory
* MOD: Fabricating any variant of Cmb. hover now produces a pair instead of one
* MOD: Maul and Hvy. Hammer differentiated by giving latter wider damage range
* MOD: Tweaks to experimental Z-armor stats
* MOD: Spread Lasers assigned a new "Minimal" heat transfer level
* MOD: Allied Mechanics can only repair the same parts that Repair Stations can
* MOD: Drone Bay shrunk to 1 slot, integrity reduced, art updated
* MOD: Sensor Array scan data erased if it appears within FOV for fast-moving Cogminds, even between turns
* MOD: Partial spotting rules take into account effect of machine obstruction on sight range
* MOD: Upped animation speed for Lgt. Assault Rifles and all weapons that use a similar animation
* FIX: Non-ASCII character filter added to in-game manual for Beta 2 was also filtering out some legitimate special punctuation [zxc]
* FIX: Was possible to auto-extract resources from unidentified containers on the ground [zxc]
* FIX: Credits list contained some duplicate supporter names [zxc]
* FIX: A certain lab terminal was missing, making it impossible to acquire two pieces of tech lore [zxc, GJ]
* FIX: Imp Segregator attacks automatically destroyed Cogmind's top-listed power source instead of the Imp's [DDarkRay]
* FIX: Adding a subdirectory to the /user/ directory would crash game the first time it starts up each day (bug in automated backup system) [DDarkRay]
* FIX: Manifests terminal hack in some cases reported higher item counts than were actually being transported [Sherlockkat]
* FIX: Optional "-nonportable" switch added in Beta 2 didn't fully work [Gexgekko]
* FIX: Some Grunt analyses referenced old resistances [Amphouse]

Note that saves are not compatible with Beta 2.

Item stats accessed from gallery:


Faster assault rifle animations:


Activating... one of the new items :D

9
As of Beta 2, Cogmind comes with a way to use some non-QWERTY keyboards as well as rebind specific commands if necessary.

However, the system is currently considered experimental because although I've tested it pretty thoroughly, no one else has used it yet, nor does it live up to the user-friendly standards you'd expect from a Cogmind UI feature.

It's also pretty limited: 1) The settings are only accessible via external text files, 2) alternative US101 keyboard layouts work well but foreign keyboards are not fully supported, and 3) the underlying key labeling system is not 100% intuitive (I based it on the way SDL keycodes work).

As such, to prevent inexperienced players from running into too many issues (or thinking it's better than it is) and getting frustrated, even exposing the bindings requires setting a config option: open /user/cogmind.cfg and set exposeKeybinds to 1.

The next time you run the game it will create two files:
  • /user/keyboard.cfg lists the result of pressing each physical key on the keyboard, in terms of letters, numbers, punctuation, etc. It is referenced when entering text in game (e.g. typing hacking commands) and also used to automatically generate the next file below by converting the internal command defaults over to the alternative keyboard layout.
  • /user/commands.cfg lists all commands recognized by the game, and the key combinations to trigger them. Technically the contents of this file simply override the defaults, so individual lines of unimportant commands can be freely removed to leave only the commands you care about changing. Notice that the commands are divided into multiple groups ("domains")--a single domain cannot contain more than one command with the same definition, e.g. CMD_DOMAIN_COMMANDS cannot also assign the '5' key to access the gallery, because it already accesses the game menu (the latter would have to be changed to something else first).

Because you probably don't want to mess with all the little details, I've included presets for the most common use case that works nicely: switching to an alternative US101 layout. In the /rex/ directory you'll find Dvorak and Colemak presets. Delete any existing keyboard.cfg/commands.cfg in the /user/ directory, and copy the preset you want to /user/. Rename the preset file to "keyboard.cfg" and start the game, which will automatically create a commands.cfg based on that keyboard. No more configuration necessary (although again, be sure to set exposeKeybinds=1 first! otherwise it ignores these files).

Other notes:
  • Changes to default commands are not currently reflected in the in-game help.
  • Deleting both/either file will cause the game to recreate them with defaults again (QWERTY w/the usual commands).
  • If you'd like to make changes in the keyboard file itself (such as describing a custom keyboard) and have those changes applied automatically to all appropriate commands, you'll want to delete the commands.cfg file and have the game generate it based on the new keyboard layout.
  • This system only supports keyboard commands; mouse commands cannot be changed.
  • SDL keycodes are kinda weird, so things like Shift-3 are actually represented by a single "HASH" (#), without the Shift modifier in the commands.cfg file... (this won't matter if we eventually have an in-game rebinding system, since that'll take care of these odd conversions automatically, but if you want to edit some commands you'll need to be aware of it)
  • Unfortunately I don't think foreign/non-English keyboards can be perfectly supported by this system, nor would Cogmind be able to display the non-ASCII characters necessary to describe a command in the game itself (due to how its bitmap-based ASCII fonts work).

So... yeah :P. I'm glad to have finally gotten somewhere with keybinds, though having already put a lot of work into the system so far and seeing how much more would be necessary (a lot!) even though it would never be perfect, makes me unsure of whether or not it'll be revisited later. There are a number of factors suggesting it wouldn't be worth the huge amount of work required (like probably porting to a more modern engine) to go further:
  • Cogmind is an English-only game, so non-US101 users are a small minority
  • Lots of foreign/non-QWERTY users already have their own external keyboard solutions
  • Cogmind cannot display non-ASCII characters
  • All UI features are mouse-accessible, and three-quarters of players use the mouse

Anyway, we'll see what happens, but hopefully those who can already take full advantage of the system (Dvorak/Colemak users) will enjoy this new feature!

Feel free to ask any questions or leave any feedback on rebinding here in this thread.

10
Announcements / Cogmind Beta 2 Preview
« on: June 30, 2017, 01:45:07 AM »
What's this? Beta "2"? While the last update said to expect a 1.3, in the time since then the changelog has ended up rather... long xD. Altogether it's become more of major release than a simple iteration on Beta 1, so calling it 1.3 simply wouldn't do it justice! (Aside: Calling it Beta 2 also frees up the score sheet to get some new entries as well as pave the way for a leaderboard reset and stat summary.)

Beta 2 doesn't come with a huge content expansion, instead focusing on accessibility and gameplay tweaks (and combating cheesy tactics ;)). [Update: Beta 2 "Legend has it..." released! Full release notes and changelog here.]

Full release notes will be available next week with the release, and until then you can get a taste with the following visual summary:

Mouse users can fire guided weapons at empty spaces without the keyboard:


Placing the final/max waypoint for a guided weapon shows it in yellow:


An active Triangulator now also predicts AI paths:


Traps Cogmind installs can now trigger on non-0b10 hostile robots:


Thermal weapons also display precise heat transfer values:


Comparison between EM weapons show spectrum differences using numbers rather than cryptic abbreviations:


Transmission Jammer blocks the effect of all Alarm Traps within range (not just those you trigger):


Items with internal power sources now show remaining power next to their name:


Stasis Traps now have a finite amount of power, also shown in their info and next to their item name:


HUD resource displays also show total stored in inventory containers when applicable:


Warning before melee attacking an already disabled target:


Central database lockdown alert message displayed in log, along with its new response!:


Exposed keyboard rebinding functionality (preliminary experimental feature), with presets for QWERTY, Dvorak, and Colemak:


Exposed command rebinding functionality (preliminary experimental feature):


Lore export feature w/buttons for various formats:


TXT export sample:


HTML export sample (includes a table of contents w/links):


CSV export sample (for easy processing/converting into some other format):



And now it's time to use the final window to add a few more features! :D

11
Ideas / Consequences for attacking allies
« on: June 27, 2017, 08:06:10 PM »
Technically in some situations you can attack allies, even powerful ones, and they won't fight back. This won't do much for Cogmind in the number of situations where there are many allies around, as they'll turn on you en mass, but a lot of individual encounters and random allies are susceptible to murder.

While this is not something a lot of players do, either for immersion/roleplaying reasons or because they'd rather have the ally/allies alive and don't really need to salvage whatever their buddies happen to be using, a minority of players looking to gain every possible advantage they can have turned to allycide :P.

I don't really mind it in general, though it feels a little wrong that doing so has no consequences. I've been thinking of doing something about it for a while, but none of the best solutions are likely worth it (costly implementation!), so I've been coming up with a longer list of ways to address it and getting closer to a response.

Here's a list of some of the approaches I've been thinking of:
  • Have allies turn on you. The game's architecture isn't built to support this at an individual robot level, and while it's possible to have groups turn on you there are going to be numerous complications. So this approach is the one that, while more realistic (and therefore the first approach I'd consider), is not really worth implementing.
  • Have a global counter of Cogmind's "evil" actions, and becoming too evil (especially too quickly) will cause permanent/long-term attitude changes towards you, generally meaning attacking you on sight. This type of system is already implemented, but only on a local scale for certain special areas where it was deemed incredibly important for the story and immersion. But on a global scale this would be pretty complex to implement, since it would impact the huge number of encounters, probably causing a good many confusing negative side effects and/or lead to lots of issues to fix down the line.
  • Something like the global counter, but it only applies to the current map. This is easier to do, but still has to take into account lots of potential encounters and the emergent problems would be very time consuming to deal with.
  • Reduce salvage potential of friendlies Cogmind attacks. This is a pretty gamey/unrealistic solution, but does hit right at the heart of the main reason anyone would attack allies in the first place--good salvage. (To be more specific, in doing so you can use the right weapons to ensure better salvage results, rather than letting enemies take out your friends and picking up what's left.) It's easy to implement this, though it's unintuitive and causes divergent core mechanics purely for meta reasons, which is best avoided when possible. I'm on the fence with this one.
  • Negative points for friendly fire. I was strongly leaning towards the friendly fire score adjustment with the initial writing of this post, as it's easy to implement and just adds a consequence which doesn't impact gameplay at all, but in terms of scoring will at least somewhat level the playing field between those who do and do not take advantage of this behavior. That was implemented in Beta 2.
  • DDarkRay has suggested using the "slips into the shadows" mechanic to have allies you start attacking suddenly leave you, even potentially affecting other allies nearby. It's doable, but will require a fair bit of work (though at least not as much as having allies turn hostile).

12
General Discussion / Rylan's 3D item art
« on: June 26, 2017, 07:06:42 PM »
Over on our RL Discord, Rylan has been designing 3D impressions of Cogmind's ASCII item art. Very neat stuff!

Shock Maul:


A recolored Disruptor Cannon:



13
General Discussion / High Score List Generator (python script)
« on: June 22, 2017, 05:13:08 AM »
DBrickShaw over on r/Cogmind has built a python script you can use to generate a high score file from all your score sheets. It's kinda like the existing scorehistory.txt but orders based on score, includes some different stats, derives some interesting metrics, and also comes in a colored version <3

Samples text output:


Sample colored HTML output:

14
Announcements / Update 170621 - In a Bind
« on: June 20, 2017, 09:30:08 PM »
Hello [Cogmind] World!

In my last update I was pretty vague, mainly talking about having pushed myself rather hard in the first half of the year leading up to Beta, despite some recent "injuries," and that had led to some consequences preventing me from working altogether. In good news, I'm now no longer completely unable to work! And now that I'm feeling a little better, and somewhat stable enough to provide an accurate picture of what's going on, here are some more details:

As some of you may have heard I had a concussion--that was over two months ago now. I basically just took some medicine and worked as usual, but then I got sick and there were... complications. Basically it got really bad, to a point where literally thinking about anything complex started my head hurting. Sheesh concussions are weird. Then my vision got blurry, which is as problematic as you can imagine...

Overall the symptoms have gotten better over the past couple weeks, and current tests have come back to show there doesn't seem to be anything super wrong, it's just Post-Concussion Syndrome. I still have symptoms, though, they're still interfering with a lot of my work, and they could technically last a while.

As such, because I'm worried that it'll once again get serious while I'm in the middle of preparing, or shortly after, a Steam release (not to mention the associated pressure itself could worsen the problems), I think the best plan is to stay off Steam until I can fully recover, and continue taking it slow while working on little projects.

While I'm disappointed this had to happen now (or at all :P), I guess there's at least some good to come of it: Since I can't work for long periods, I've decided the best approach right now is to work on the pile of Cogmind side projects that I don't usually want to work on--extra stuff that I would probably have to do eventually, but have repeatedly been waiting to address.

If I can't work on something for too long, I may as well pick things I don't want to work on for long! Heh. These are a bunch of features that Cogmind technically should have, but that compared to working on the game proper are not so much fun or even meaningful on a wider scale.

The first I decided to tackle is keyboard layouts and rebinding. Cogmind has nearly 500 commands (internally--not everyone needs or uses all said commands, because there are many duplicates):


As of yesterday I managed to implement a basic handling system for both keyboards and rebinds, and created a config file that allows Dvorak users to do everything, commands and text entry, natively.

Testing with the Windows on-screen keyboard seems to have it working perfectly:


There's still a lot more to do (next is to test whether this system will work on foreign keyboards...)

Also, because I don't want to leave everyone hanging, instead of waiting until Steam to release the next version as planned, it's been long enough that I should probably do a 1.3 instead! I've been doing a little bit of debugging on the side, along with some content tweaks, so I may as well release them for those of you who are currently Cogminding :)

No date on that yet, as I'd prefer to add in some new stuff as well, but we'll see. In any case, expect a 1.3.

And in case you didn't see the news, r/roguelikedev is running a summer code-along series where you can join others in learning how to create a roguelike from scratch (it's not that hard!). Check it out :D

15
General & Off-Topic / Come learn how to make your own roguelike!
« on: June 13, 2017, 10:52:32 PM »
I know we have some interest among the player base when it comes to roguelike development. We've certainly got a bunch of seasoned devs with their own games around here, but there are also those who'd like to dabble but simply haven't had the right impetus.

If you're interested in easing your way into building your own roguelike alongside other beginners, check out the upcoming r/roguelikedev event, to start next week: RoguelikeDev Does The Complete Roguelike Tutorial!



Part of the tutorial resources--the FAQs--are a reference series I run and also use to share how I address each dev topic for Cogmind. Any language and/or tutorial can be used, but the main tutorial will be the standard libtcod python one.

16
Announcements / Cogmind Alpha Year 2 Sales Data (Pre-Steam)
« on: June 13, 2017, 09:33:19 PM »
Like last year, I've posted an update and analysis of our financial status, "Cogmind Alpha Year 2 Sales Data (Pre-Steam)." Within you'll find a summary of Cogmind's second year of alpha (early access) sales data, including revenue, pricing effects, and a breakdown of development time. In short, it's doing okay for now, thank you all <3

Lots of interesting graphs to check out...



In other news, I was notified on Twitter that Russia Today, with its account of 2.6m followers, tweeted out an article link for which they used the April Fool's gif I made with Cogmind last year :P



How funny is that? I don't believe this resulted in any sales, but it certainly made a few additional potentially interested people aware of Cogmind.

17
Announcements / Update 170531 - Hard Times
« on: May 31, 2017, 05:38:22 AM »
Well, it's a good thing that I already made it past the major Beta milestone, because it looks like I have no choice but to take a little break here...

Last month I really pushed myself too hard, working 231 hours despite some serious injuries, and then forged ahead with the May milestones after that. Over the past couple weeks my condition's been getting increasingly worse, and has currently reached a point where I'm actually no longer capable of working until I can recover. I admit it hasn't helped that this entire year so far I've only taken a few days break :P

This kinda sucks because I was just gearing up for the jump to Steam, but I know that's going to require yet more concentrated, sustained effort, and want to make sure it turns out as good as possible, so that's not something I should tackle until I'm at 100% (rather than, like, 10% xD).

I guess it's also about time I took a little break, anyway, before breaking myself permanently, and get all this health stuff sorted.

In the meantime I'll still be checking email and social media real quick on a daily basis, and dealing with any questions or other player needs as usual, though it may take me a little longer to reply (a few hours rather than minutes, hehe).

To be more specific, I'm not talking about months off development here, more like a week to see if that's enough to deal with this, then go from there.

I'll of course continue to keep you all updated as I always have, and hope to get past this soon enough!



In progress news, consider this the official reminder that Beta 1.2 is out (it came out for everyone after the last update was posted, in the Beta 1 update thread).

Last week I also did a writeup for my Super Gauntlet challenge mode run, the first attempt at what is Cogmind's hardest mode. It went surprisingly well.

I also almost won the Pure Core challenge that I streamed shortly after that.

And for anyone following along who hasn't happened to buy Cogmind yet, know that I recently managed to get the distributor/payment processor to remove the address requirement from the purchase form (which was only there in the first place as one of several anti-fraud measures, not for collection purposes), so if that might have been keeping you from buying, that particular roadblock has been taken care of :D

Looking forward to bringing you many more updates--thank you all for your support!

Edit: Again, thanks so much to everyone, and for all your comments. I hope to be back in action as soon as possible, but I'll also make sure it's on the best terms possible, too. Gotta ensure a sustainable long term since there's still so much cool stuff to do! For now have fun with the Beta :)

18
Stories / Cogmind's First Super Gauntlet Run
« on: May 21, 2017, 07:01:35 AM »
So as of Beta there are a bunch of new challenge modes, and not all of them have even been attempted yet (really because everyone's still getting into the new regular content!). After winning my first 1.1 run last week, I decided it was time for something a little different: I wanted to see just how hard the hardest challenge mode really is :)

The challenge modes thread covers all the types (with some sample images), but in short, Super Gauntlet requires that you pass through garrisons to ascend each depth, and blocks off all but one garrison, meaning you have to actually find the (randomly determined) one you can ascend through! Not an easy task :P

Fortunately the gauntlet only starts once a map can actually contain a garrison, so you have a bit of an opportunity to get prepared in lower Materials, where there aren't any. I got lucky in -8, where there might be one garrison, but in my case there wasn't so I could escape all of Materials normally.

Of course, Materials isn't as tough in that regard because it's relatively small. Factory floors, on the other hand, are massive and you end up trekking forever to hit all the garrisons which are spread across the entire map. Get lucky and the first garrison you find will let you in; unlucky and you have to explore a hundred rooms and corridors before you find the right one! (It's also kinda funny that in this mode you're actually trying to hit the things that in a normal run you might want to steer clear of :P)

Strategy

I played the run a lot differently from my normal runs, partially influenced by what other players have been doing lately, wanting to try out some new tactics, and partially because this challenge is definitely in a league of its own in terms of difficulty.

First and foremost, as pretty much guaranteed long travel times are going to make the attrition extra unforgiving, I decided that tons of inventory space would be essential. You'll see I was running for 4 Lrg. Storage for much of the game (even in Materials!), something I wouldn't normally do. In terms of slots I made up for that by sticking with only two weapons, later three. (Note: To be honest a heavy flight/hacker bot could've had an easier time finding the right garrisons overall, significantly cutting down on attrition, but then it's hard to fight through garrison interior itself like that so that would be a different kind of challenge... Anyway, something for others to try.)

Despite being a combat bot I also dedicated utility slots to infowar, sometimes two or three, in fact, for things like sensors, terrain scanning, and sometimes hacking. This was also to cut down on attrition and locate garrisons more quickly. I installed botnets on every floor and indexed garrison access as a top priority.

In terms of weapons my aim was to use launchers as much as possible. I got lucky in this regard, finding an early stockpile of Grenade Launchers, and later when those were running low a huge stockpile of Lrn. Missile Launchers <3. To make sure I wouldn't too easily run into matter problems I carried lots of pods, sometimes having up to 600-700 in reserve.

Shock absorbers helped a number of times where I'd just point-blank launcher squads that had gotten too close, though I actually spent about half of my fights using three conventional guns, sometimes cannons, where it seemed more tactically appropriate.

The Run

Here's where I thought I was about to head into my first garrison, on -7/Factory, only to realize that this one's locked--that's what the darker central G implies... (yes, I'm new at this :P)


A couple thousand turns later I found the right one.


The interior wasn't too hard. Having tons of matter and opening up with launchers is quite effective in garrisons, especially since there aren't any other bots to aggro or reinforcements to be called in... This is where the reinforcements come from, haha, so just blast everything.

I didn't take any images on -6, which was a lot like -7. You know, just thousands of turns trying to find the right garrison and blowing everything up along the way!

-5/Factory is where things got really hairy. There are four garrisons access points on a Factory floor, and I had to visit every single one before finding the unlocked one.

I started out in fairly good shape.


And was growing pretty confident with all those missiles :D


The ARCs were getting pretty persistent after a while, though!

(Note: That Chainsword helped me out for thousands of turns as I did a lot of shortcutting through walls and sneak attacking Recyclers and Operators.)

Quite a few times things were looking pretty bad.

There was as good chance I was going to lose, or at least not be able to recover, from that battle, being completely surrounded, but I went all out with launchers--starting with the east (which caused a chain reaction and took out the southern Swarmer, too), then gunned down the north and west bots. I did, however aggro that (locked) garrison to the west and had to deal with a couple more Sentries, which I totally wasn't equipped to deal with by that point... so I retreated east, towards the last garrison on the floor (I'd indexed them earlier and was visiting them one by one).

The sentries followed, picking up another couple friends along the way, and I thought this was going to be the end (184 core!).

The plan was to overload that Fabricator and zap them all, but that plan was ruined the very next turn when a Hunter shot right through me and took it out :P. So I instead used the corridors and three projectile weapons to gun them all down. The cycler and integrity analyzer did an excellent job! I killed them all with 140 integrity to spare.

And still had to make it... all the way over there to escape.

I'd just picked up a stash of thrusters, so I figured the only way to make it was to get there as fast as possible. I packed away some of the storage, which was no longer essential since I'd used up so many spares, and picked up speed to try to reach the garrison before more assaults were dispatched.

And wow I actually made it both into and through the garrison! With only 140 core! Hehe.

I destroyed every single robot in that place, in the process managing to run out of matter just as I took out the last squad. (Launchers did most of the work, though I resorted to guns and sometimes my Axe when I could as I noticed matter getting dangerously low.)

Here I am having come out the other side :)

No matter and Programmers on the way!

I axed them to death and took both their matter and that of the Recycler which then came by to clean up. Back in business! (Who said wheels are terrible? Okay, me, but I have no choice here :P)


But considering the alert was perpetually high, and I was getting assaults immediately on entry, I had zero expectations of making it out of -4 alive.

Pretty quickly found some better propulsion, at least:


I searched around a good bit and found two locked garrisons in my corner of the map, which happened to be pretty isolated so by the time I'd finally confirmed that and made my way towards the center of the map, it was really hard to avoid fights every 25 steps. At least I escaped from a Behemoth that was alerted by a passing Grunt... This main corridor got messy, and it became more difficult to handle open fights without explosives, so for example here I chopped my way back into the room at the east and took out pursuers with melee instead.


Then I did a lot of room hopping to the south and west, with engineers in tow, to try to cover ground quickly without exposing myself. Without armor I was starting to take a lot of core damage, though, and kept getting pincered by assaults.


I did find an armor cache shortly after that, but it was too little too late--by then I had squads coming from all directions and a horribly indefensible position...


And that's where I went down! It was a really great run, though, considering the odds!

Spoiler: Score: 36,618 (click to show/hide)

Addendum

I almost had what may have been an opportunity to make it to a -4 garrison (or at least increase the chances) when I came across a huge stash of awesome flight units, but even though I stuck to non-explosives for that fight, someone else's stray shot took out a nearby reactor that trashed them all :/

And although most of my tactical decisions worked out okay, getting myself out of serious trouble again and again, one critical error lost me a lot of parts on -5: To take out a Swarmer squad I chose to hit the power conduits they were filtering through with a missile at point blank range, but I forgot to equip my own EX resistance right before doing that, so I was basically at the epicenter of like 5-6 explosions all at once xD. Yes they were all dead, but man did that hurt!

19
Today marks Cogmind's two-year anniversary since the beginning of Alpha! Sure has been a while, but wow has it turned into so much more than it was even then :D

The Beta's been going pretty smoothly, lots of wins already as some Cogminds are checking out the new win animations (although only a couple different ones have been discovered so far!). Too bad it took a couple days for everyone to notice and confirm that, yes, targeting was accidentally pretty screwed up and in need of an emergency 1.1 update to correct (and while I was at it nerf some of the new mechanics, heh).



Lo and behold, a 1.2 is around the corner! And... for some it's already here, if you'd like to check it out in the release thread and get a preview :)



The official update will come next Tuesday, and while I won't announce it here that day, everyone's links will be updated then and I'll throw up a notice on Twitter etc., plus the in-game news will remind anyone still playing 1.1 or older.

A surprising amount of stuff made it into 1.2 over the past week, most notably on-map combat logs


and a whole bunch of pathfinding stuff including much smarter pathfinding for mouse players:


In other news, it was nice to finally get back into actually playing this week, with a two-day stream of the latest Beta 1.1 seed that I took to victory despite several very close calls :D. You can see images and VOD links here.

Aaaahh so much fun stuff we can do now that the world is complete and so little time!!! :P

Seeing as we're at this two-year milestone (hm, right after the Beta milestone :P), it's about time to do another financial writeup on the blog. Got a couple things I need to write up, actually... Will get busy on that next week!

20
As of Beta, for which I added some new data for part info summary strings, it's possible for those strings to be longer than the allotted area, and sometimes the game will crash when you are in INFO mode with such an item attached or in inventory.

Reported by Nikola Kolodziejczyk, and fixed for the next release, but for example it's currently possible for a crash to occur if you activate INFO ('Q') mode with something like an Omega Cannon attached.

(It's not guaranteed to crash, but it writes to random memory and can cause undefined behavior, which tends to eventually crash something :P)


21
Confirmed Bugs / Unable to enter any commands during your turn
« on: May 11, 2017, 01:13:21 AM »
It's apparently possible to get the main UI into a state where no commands work.

As reported so far, this has happened a couple of times to magi163 (who was Alt-Tabbing a lot), and once to Koumakan (who had left the game running all night, and probably Alt-Tabbed too).

I'm still waiting to find a specific cause for this, since it's rare, not easily repeatable through testing, and doesn't actually crash--or even stop--the game, making it hard to collect data on it...

For now, if this happens to you (no keyboard presses or mouse clicks do anything while you're in the main UI), you should be able to just close the window and Cogmind will automatically save on exit, then you can restart again where you were with the UI reset to normal.

Also feel free to drop a note in this thread if you have any relevant information, thanks!

22
Announcements / Cogmind Beta 1: "The End"
« on: May 08, 2017, 07:13:36 PM »
A major milestone, a big ending, and a new beginning, all in one! After four years in development, Cogmind's story is truly complete, and today we begin a new phase: Beta.


Welcome to Cogmind Beta!

To kick it off we have the largest release ever, which not only finishes off the plot lines with a new map and seven different animated endings, but also adds major NPCs, lotsa QoL, and more lore, mechanics, challenge modes... Check out the huge collection of feature images in the Beta Preview from last week to see some of what's included.

Also note that Cogmind Beta is priced differently, having recently been set to its final base price. And for anyone who wants to help spread the robot love, gifting is now easier.

Scroll down for the full changelog, or read on for the release notes.


The End

One final, secret, hidden map has been added to the world. But we can't talk about that, so instead what about those seven endings! Okay, no details there, either, except to say that their content reflects the conditions of your win in terms of plot and route. A few of the endings partially overlap with one another, of course, wherever it makes sense, but a number of them are completely different. Cogmind now tracks all of your wins separately in your long-term records, so you can check how many endings you're still missing, and see how many times you've achieved each one.

Exactly how to discover these endings is up to you to explore. Some are quite difficult, but of course just reaching the surface is sufficient to see one of these new animations. Enjoy the show :)

Challenges

Beta 1 adds a bigger batch of optional play modes, in case you can win with ease, manage to find all seven endings, and need more ways to test your skills... or if you're just looking to try something a bit different. These are harder than the usual run, some of them much harder, and they can be stacked, too, meaning you can basically create an impossible task for yourself and see how far you get like that :P. Some of them can even net you a negative score--that's now a thing, hehe.

Challenge modes don't currently have an in-game menu system, so for now you'll have to edit your /user/cogmind.cfg file to enable them (by setting their respective value from 0 to 1). Each mode's rules are described in our dedicated thread, where you can also leave suggestions for new modes (most of those implemented so far were drawn from this thread).

Players using challenge modes also now appear on a separate leaderboard.

You also may have read before that seeds have changed, a feature that's explained in detail on the blog.

Visible Sfx

Here's a sudden massive gameplay enhancement out of the blue if there ever was one: You can now see sound effects outside your field of vision. This means being able to pinpoint battles happening around corners, find enemies attacking from outside your visual range, locate undiscovered doors currently in use, know exactly where nearby garrison reinforcements are coming from... all kinds of useful applications. It's essentially a free new type of sensor.

This feature was mostly intended as a fun experiment without fully thinking through all the possible design implications, so technically it could be removed (?) or tweaked, but I like it so far. It also has the added advantage of better accessibility for hearing-impaired players, and when playing without sound.

The sounds are color-coded to make the indicators even more useful when lots of things are happening at once:
  • Red: Combat-related
  • Orange: Door open/close
  • Yellow: Trap trigger, carrier deployment, or garrison dispatch
  • Blue: Emergency door open/close or phase wall destroyed
  • Green: Machine destroyed
  • Brown: Walls destroyed or cave-in
(Like most features, this is optional if you find it annoying: disableVisibleSfx turns it off in the config file.)

Notable Mechanics

There are a number of other notable new mechanics. Some item-specific features I won't want to spoil, but it's worth covering a few of the more general ones that will no doubt have an impact on some strategies:
  • Gunslinging: Technically referred to as "secondary targeting" in the manual, this mechanic is automatically available to any bot firing a multi-gun volley. As long as the volley doesn't include anything but gun-type weapons, if there are guns remaining after destroying the intended target, each weapon will try to lock onto a second target instead of continuing to fire in the same direction. Secondary targeting prioritizes the most easily hit armed and active hostile currently in range. It's not guaranteed, but in tandem with targeting computers the chance of redirection can be increased to 100%. In the past we've had a combat dichotomy between choosing better utility support vs. more guns, and this new mechanic makes having both at the same time that much more effective!
  • Cave-ins: While these have been a thing since the beginning, this most dangerous of hazards is now a little more common since even former walls can cave in, not just exposed earth. That said, tunneling between rooms is actually more lenient than before, e.g. movement through wall-earth-wall will never collapse, so this update shouldn't discourage you from doing that (a very useful strategy!). Anyone playing in Tactical HUD mode also gets free highlighting of areas that can cave in--basically the areas you don't want to stick around in, and should avoid passing through if possible. This was possible in Alpha 14, but at the time required a Structural Scanner. Having this knowledge is especially useful in the caves, where there are no bots repairing things and passages are oddly shaped, making it easy to accidentally traverse more dangerous areas that have been exposed by collateral damage. Hold Ctrl-Alt to temporarily highlight those areas even more brightly (I didn't want it to always be so bright and annoying). Overall it's a better system than before--changes were made mostly for QoL purposes and to remove a number of related exploits.
  • Crushing & Kicking: Are you a big tank tired of having to shoot your way through little worker bots meandering through narrow corridors? Now you can just roll over them! Unlike normal ramming, when using treads there is no chance of taking damage, and sometimes treads will even outright crush the victim, up to and including medium-sized combatants like Grunts. Legs can also be used to kick bots out of the way (again as a replacement for ramming), but avoiding damage is not guaranteed unless you have at least five legs.

Hacking Tweaks

There's always something to continue tweaking with hacking, specifically robot hacking, which was still a little OP. It will be somewhat more challenging now with a soft cap on the number of times hackers can readily outright destroy and assimilate targets. Rebooting remains an infinite tactical resource, however.

Programmer capabilities, both offensive and defensive, are also significantly more nuanced now. What started out as an extremely simple system (intentional as a base for future adjustments), has evolved into one in which high-tier Programmers are clearly superior to low-tier hackers and non-hackers when it comes to their success rates. This is both more logical and will probably restore a bit more of the fear in Programmers that they deserve :P. Of course... when you have them on your side they're that much more effective!

In regular machine hacking improvements, all successful results are mirrored to the log so you have a permanent record of what you obtained after disconnecting. (You know those brute force hacks that fill up your results screen with junk before giving the final result? Only the final result is mirrored, so if you don't want to watch the animation you can disconnect immediately on success and catch what happened in the log instead.)

Difficulty

There are lots more difficulty-affecting changes aside from the hacking game, though. Mostly a collection of random tweaks:
  • Intercept squads are not going to be quite as easy for flight bots to deal with, considering their better hacking defenses and adjustments to how they're dispatched.
  • Penetrating weapons were nerfed a bit, no longer working quite so well against multicelled bots, and while many are crit-capable, those effects are ignored against parts protected by part-specific shielding (e.g. Weapon Shielding etc.).
  • One of the final battles in Command got a little harder.
  • Deep Caves is definitely not as easy as it was, both in terms of reaching it and surviving it (not that everyone found it easy, but some did).
  • A number of potential exploits were removed, most notably the method of getting guaranteed free peeks into rooms even without any kind of sensor, which was probably the most frequently abused. Also a certain Transmission Jammer exploit is no longer possible due to mechanics changes (they don't work outside FOV), although in compensation it also now makes it much easier to avoid being reported (perhaps too easy).
Lots of tweaks are in the player's favor, too:
  • Traps won't be found too close to main map entrances, and ambush traps finally got the nerf they deserved (especially after ending my last run on stream :P). They're still going to mess you up, but won't be anywhere near as nasty as they were without their Saboteurs and quite so many bots.
  • Allies are a bit easier to keep alive since they won't step on known traps, nor will you target them for misfires when corrupted.
  • Score-wise the rewards are now better for playing in higher difficulty situations, receiving points for ally kills (which raises alert more) and facing off against higher alert levels because you made a huge mess of things.
I've also blocked off some of the maps when not playing in the default roguelike mode, to give players using those modes who have started to reliably reach outlying areas some impetus to try and take their skills to roguelike mode. About 90% of the world is still accessible in the easier mode, and 80% in the easiest. I haven't really gotten any feedback on easier modes since most everyone is playing the default, so this might be rolled back at some point, but I feel this is a good change for now, especially to make the new harder endings not quite so easy to see!

QoL

Seemingly my favorite category that we get to see every release :P

There are tons of little things that fall under QoL which you can find in the changelog below, and see many examples in action over on the Beta Preview.


Remember to migrate from an earlier release by simply copying over your /user/ directory to the new game directory.


The full Cogmind Beta 1 (0.10.170509) changelog:

* NEW: Branch map "[redacted]"
* NEW: 7 different animated endings, with content dependent on plot-related actions
* NEW: 1 major new NPC (unique robot class)
* NEW: 4 new minor NPCs (unique builds)
* NEW: 3 more prototype robot variants
* NEW: 2 more robot analysis records
* NEW: 21 new items (8 completely new item mechanics) (total = 846)
* NEW: 2 more Trojan() hacks (secret)
* NEW: 1 more Force() hack (secret)
* NEW: 37 more score sheet entries (total = 626)
* NEW: 48 more sound effects (total = 847)
* NEW: Added content to "Archives" map
* NEW: Score sheet filename appends win type indicator, and +'s for boss kills
* NEW: scorehistory.txt Location column differentiates between win types
* NEW: "Devolution" experimental challenge mode (for now set in cogmind.cfg: challengeDevolution)
* NEW: "Inhibited Evolution" experimental challenge mode (for now set in cogmind.cfg: challengeInhibitedEvolution)
* NEW: "Gauntlet" experimental challenge mode (for now set in cogmind.cfg: challengeGauntlet)
* NEW: "Super Gauntlet" experimental challenge mode (for now set in cogmind.cfg: challengeSuperGauntlet)
* NEW: "Pure Core" experimental challenge mode (for now set in cogmind.cfg: challengePureCore)
* NEW: "No Salvage" experimental challenge mode (for now set in cogmind.cfg: challengeNoSalvage)
* NEW: Any active challenge modes are listed in log on starting a new run
* NEW: All treads have at least a 5% chance per slot to instantly crush ram targets of medium size and below
* NEW: Ramming with treads active never leads to self-damage or destabilization
* NEW: All legs have a 20% chance per slot to kick a ram target out of the way, avoiding any self-damage but damaging target
* NEW: Sound effect origins heard but not seen temporarily marked on map, color coded by type (can toggle in cogmind.cfg: disableVisibleSfx)
* NEW: More specific result text for final game over screen and score sheet on a win
* NEW: Score sheet meta data now records all wins and their type (listed by Game subsection's new "win type" entry)
* NEW: Game over screen includes buttons for mouse users to restart/quit without keyboard
* NEW: Added explicit note to manual about challengeScavenger leaving static stockpiles untouched
* NEW: Will not reload previous target position if entering targeting mode after having fired at a machine, but that machine is now gone
* NEW: "Map" manual subsection under Advanced UI, collecting in one place all reference info on temporary map-related indicators
* NEW: Keyboard mode can inspect walls/doors as other objects, for both armor and resistances
* NEW: Random world seeds composed of word combinations rather than random numbers (creates fake item name via adjective + adjective + noun)
* NEW: Item info for Self-destruct Interrupters and similar disposable non-part items now includes a battery indicator (also in scan window)
* NEW: Non-part items with internal power sources (e.g. Self-destruct Interrupters) flash blue on the map while active
* NEW: Core reset results in a particular additional negative effect, as well as another bonus
* NEW: Explosion/projectile EM damage spectrum listing now shows associated chance of triggering chain reaction
* NEW: Destroying Network Hubs gives bonus points
* NEW: Dedicated RNG for hacking success checks
* NEW: Earn increasing bonus points for destroying hostile combat robots from alert level 3+
* NEW: Follower ally kills earn bonus points
* NEW: Transmission Jammer activation animation highlights robots that will be jammed (also changed appearance)
* NEW: Data Miner more helpful
* NEW: Some Waste areas have additional effects
* NEW: One more way to gain access to Deep Caves
* NEW: Highlighting of all cave-in prone areas now freely available in tactical HUD mode (no Structural Scanner required)
* NEW: Hold Ctrl-Alt to greatly brighten color of visible cave-in prone spaces
* NEW: Power-consuming utilities can be toggled all at once using " (or new CYCLE button, like propulsion/weapons)
* NEW: If no parts to toggle on entering a cycle command (;/'/"), will display a reminder message
* NEW: Overloaded attached power/propulsion/weapons in part list info mode ('q') display their modified stat values, and highlight them
* NEW: Multiprojectile weapons in scan window and part list info mode ('q') have a * between their damage value and type
* NEW: Parts/inventory color-code weapon damage type abbreviations
* NEW: Increased number of tie-breaking rules on "Furthest Area Reached" leaderboards (depth > boss kills > regions visited > date)
* NEW: Unlocking a garrison after installing a trap on the entrance itself gives explicit log message referring to the trap's destruction
* NEW: Commands, targets and results of all successful hacks mirrored to message log
* NEW: Static color for machine trace lockout and Force() hack success reflects Cogmind affiliation/state
* NEW: Robot analyses count as lore, added to collection system (including '!' indicators for uncollected Analysis() targets)
* NEW: Lore collection UI includes better keyboard-based page scrolling support
* NEW: Robot info temperature readout context help contains explicit note about meltdown threshold ("DANGER")
* NEW: Dedicated map shift mode toggled by ` (keyboard mode only, and supports all sets of movement keys)
* NEW: Offensive hackware decreases chance of successful hack repelling by hostile Programmers
* NEW: Part data visualization shows values next to graph in most modes (only available in Tactical HUD mode; can deactivate via cfg: precisePartGraphs)
* NEW: Full list of Tactical HUD features added to manual
* NEW: Simple animated effect for part destruction by impact damage causing system corruption
* NEW: All supporter names registered since Alpha 14 added to in-game list (see Credits menu)
* MOD: Win types are differentiated; none are simply "reached Surface" (the collective term on leaderboards is now "Ascended")
* MOD: Opening an item swap menu via keyboard autocloses open item info windows (matches mouse behavior)
* MOD: Recall(Extermination) hack no longer appears at Materials terminals (useless at that depth)
* MOD: Random traps will no longer be placed within 15 spaces of where Cogmind enters a main 0b10 map (does not apply to branches)
* MOD: Misfires due to corruption less likely to hit allies
* MOD: Adjusted AI movement behavior to theoretically reduce possibility of enemy combat bots "jumping" into rooms
* MOD: Transmission Jammer description updated to more clearly list all of its effects
* MOD: Machine structural analysis (resistances) now provided automatically on viewing info (no Structural Scanner required)
* MOD: Several non-fabricatable utilities and weapons that were not prototypes now categorized as prototypes (though never faulty)
* MOD: Taking any action other than ramming resets the ram permission check, to avoid ramming a previous unintentional ram target that suddenly moved
* MOD: GRD reduced from 4 waypoints to 1
* MOD: C Programmers no longer carry GRDs (guaranteed elsewhere)
* MOD: Shortcuts to special cave areas through Lower/Upper caves can only appear in the first cave map, not the second
* MOD: Data Miner ASCII changed from '0' to 'm'
* MOD: Name changes for "Operators" (the NPC kind)
* MOD: Placeholder location name "Tunnel" given a real name
* MOD: On-map dialogue/scene descriptions limited to ten most recent lines (all still recorded to log as normal)
* MOD: O7 resistances improved
* MOD: Core/part shielding prevents effects of critical hits against protected targets, rather than completely ignoring them
* MOD: Stasis Generator slot count reduced to 1
* MOD: Unstable Evolution challenge only shows instability message on evolution/depth changes rather than during all map transitions
* MOD: Each successful Overload/Assimilate hack increases global system defenses against all future robot hacks by 1/2% (respectively)
* MOD: Options menu Player/Seed entry boxes no longer accept commas
* MOD: Tunneling between rooms slightly more lenient: no cave-ins for wall-earth-wall scenarios
* MOD: Destroyed wall spaces can cave in just like destroyed earth
* MOD: Sensor behavior in "that secret map" no longer has any meta component, and can be learned via specific means
* MOD: Two specific random dialogues in Zion now considered lore despite their low value, to keep them from baiting players seeking new lore (green '?')
* MOD: Multi-cell robots can no longer be hit more than once by penetrating weapons
* MOD: Part autosorting prioritizes EM weapons within their own category (e.g. EM guns before TH/KI guns)
* MOD: Waiting now costs 100 time units, rather than simply canceling any time remaining in current turn
* MOD: Direct Schematic() terminal hacks for items likely to be out of depth (as with preloaded Fabricators)
* MOD: ESC key access to game menu enabled by default in keyboard mode (can disable by setting disableEscMenuAccessKeyboard in cogmind.cfg)
* MOD: Schematic(), Analysis(), and Load() hack readouts referring to robots list their "Tier" rather than "Rating"
* MOD: Intercept squad dispatch timing factors adjusted
* MOD: Ambush Traps can no longer contain Saboteurs, and are capped at 3 attackers instead of 4
* MOD: Hacking command buffer no longer stores manual unique codes or Zion hacks
* MOD: Broadened definition of "ally" for purpose of some score sheet entries, e.g. Ally Attacks/Total Damage/Kills/Largest Group/etc.
* MOD: Transmission Jammer effect requires visual on target
* MOD: Transmission Jammer works on active Engineers and distress signals from other non-combat robots
* MOD: Messages for jammed distress signals only shown if that signal would have alerted a nearby armed hostile
* MOD: Non-combat robot distress signal message more explicit about results
* MOD: Increased difficulty of rescuing "SW"
* MOD: The most dangerous mid-game maps are inaccessible in the easiest difficulty mode
* MOD: The most dangerous late-game maps are inaccessible in both of the easier difficulty modes
* MOD: Spotting hostiles and dialogue robots while motion trails toggled off now flashes !/? markers rather than using background color marking
* MOD: Flashing '?' indicators for NPCs with uncollected lore dialogue, or benefits, now flash indefinitely until interacted with
* MOD: Part list info mode and on-map part labels differentiate between prototypes and alien items, marking the latter with a second asterisk (**)
* MOD: Internal Heat Shields removed in favor of superior new part with additional mechanics
* MOD: Programmer variant names reworked
* MOD: Programmer defensive hack success rate no longer a static 25%, with high-tier Programmers much more likely to block hacking attempts
* MOD: Upped hacking attack time cost for Programmers, from 100 to 150
* MOD: Programmers have reduced chance to reboot higher-tier robots
* MOD: Higher-tier Programmers more capable of successful hacks
* MOD: Evolution UI rearranged to put confirmation button in a more natural location
* MOD: Causing a positive salvage modifier on a robot can never result in more matter than the upper limit of its salvage potential
* MOD: Busy engineers don't always call for reinforcements when they come under attack at lower depths
* MOD: Removed Auto-ascend from options menu
* MOD: Stepping on an exit/stair position always enters it, but requires confirmation (can disable confirmation via cogmind.cfg: ignoreAscendConfirmation)
* MOD: Ramming a target off an exit automatically takes that exit
* MOD: Part data visualization defaults to Integrity for new players, rather than Coverage
* FIX: Component Analysis Suites were using their old processor tile in sprite mode, and removal would still destroy them [Amphouse]
* FIX: System Backup Modules and other corruption-purging utilities reported their effect to the log even if nothing to purge [Amphouse]
* FIX: Bonus points for Wall Chamber destruction were applied per cell rather than only once [Sherlockkat]
* FIX: Imprinter death not registered properly if enemies with Zion [Sherlockkat]
* FIX: Dispatch and high-security messages continued even after Command garrisons activated [Sherlockkat]
* FIX: Deep Caves entrance was always accessible without key or other special means [Shobalk, Sherlockkat]
* FIX: Certain uncommon types of allies may not follow if outside your FOV [Sherlockkat]
* FIX: A particular Reinforced Shell layout in Armory contained two invisible pieces [Sherlockkat, zxc]
* FIX: Hunter info Scan Cloaking data entry not showing its value [zxc]
* FIX: Under special circumstances some regenerating items might be restored to greater than maximum integrity [zxc]
* FIX: Controlled Mechanics were no longer capable of repairing allies when in AID mode [zxc]
* FIX: Zio. Metafield Generator missing its effect description [Shobalk]
* FIX: Dropping a Storage Unit resulting in inventory overflow would stack it on top of the first item force dropped at current position [Widmo]
* FIX: ISC terminal entry query incorrectly highlighted a reference to "Command" [Widmo]
* FIX: Firing at a target followed by a second target against which entire volley fails to cycle remembered first target for input recall [Widmo]
* FIX: Two status entries and three utility effects with decimal values always appeared negative under some versions of Wine on Linux [MJWkr, gammafunk]
* FIX: New autotargeting system would recall previous misfire targets if still in view [gammafunk]
* FIX: In rare cases Zionites might be completely blocked in by machinery [gammafunk]
* FIX: Friendly O8 hack in Zion stopped working in previous release due to data typo [MTF]
* FIX: Crash during special event in Recycling (broken by Alpha 14) [MTF]
* FIX: Under rare circumstances a valid path between cave entrance and special exits may be blocked off by a wall [MTF]
* FIX: Crash on destroying a specific piece of a certain Manufacturing Module while active [MTF]
* FIX: Was still possible for important NPC allies to stop following into a new map (despite adjustments in previous release) [MTF]
* FIX: Typo in Stasis Generator query [MTF]
* FIX: Data Miner hackware would self-destruct, despite not being an 0b10 bot [GJ]
* FIX: Backup parts auto-identified via refit showed correct name/info if inspected, but still listed as Unknown in parts list until reattached [GJ]
* FIX: Destroying a Network Hub, Energy Cycler, or Phase Generator would not cause the intended effects if unstable at the time of destruction [GJ]
* FIX: UI crash on using a Core Expander while a "G Unit" active [GJ]
* FIX: Removing an incomplete Asb. Biocell Array can drop Cogmind to negative energy [GJ]
* FIX: M Guard AI exhibited odd behavior in combat [GJ]
* FIX: Patrolling ARCs triggered by fire from outside their sight range would not notify deployed robots of the attacker [GJ]
* FIX: Signal Interpreter effect description missing a period [DDarkray]
* FIX: Derelict logs that reveal later map zones would not label exits which happen to be within those zones [DDarkRay]
* FIX: Manual contained obsolete reference to inventory window ASCII display contents [Bacon]
* FIX: Allied AI followers might accidentally step on known hostile traps [Finestep]
* FIX: Under rare circumstances it was possible to load into a new map with an empty parts list [buthix9]
* FIX: Even-length destination names displayed in left-oriented access labels at right edge of map were offset from their target by 1 cell
* FIX: UI crash if ally transferring to new map moved within 500ms of the transfer to a coordinate that doesn't also exist in target map
* FIX: Taking a Self-destruct Interrupter to a map other than where it was found would deactivate its battery timer, allowing unlimited use
* FIX: Reconnecting to O Command terminal under the right conditions would repeatedly award bonus points
* FIX: Destroying two or more Network Hubs reported to the log a bonus lower than actual value
* FIX: "dangerous territory" base commander dialogue kept repeating every time you stepped next to him
* FIX: M. Deconstructor works against machines again (was messed up by special condition added last release)
* FIX: Some generic AIs with scripted attack responses on coming into view would say their dialogue but not actually attack if too far away
* FIX: RMB on undiscovered phase wall would not enter firing mode as expected, meaning it could be used to detect them
* FIX: Dirty Bomb Trap description specified explosive damage but is actually EM

(As usual, if you haven't already, Prime Tier supporters and above remember to use the form linked in your original download email to provide the name you want to use in game. Attribution/names are added with each major release. This is the last time this reminder will appear, as reward tiers are no longer available for sale; also, because many 2015 first-week alpha supporters did not register for their item attribution reward, possibly by choice, I will eventually start considering those forfeit and offer them instead to other early supporters!)

Where to?

Going forward, Beta progress will differ from Alpha, ending the trend of larger and larger releases in favor of smaller updates less than a month apart, or even quicker as necessary to address issues and tweak balance. Beta 1 has its own discussion thread here. Instead of clogging up the announcements board, any smaller patches released before major features warrant declaring a new Beta version will also go to that thread!

The FAQ roadmap will continue to receive updates, and has started to look at bit different now that the core content is complete. There are still a few important accessibility and meta features to take care of, plus the inclusion of Steam, but we're about at the point where we can just do Fun Stuff, Because We Can :D

23
General Discussion / Beta 1 "The End" Discussion/Feedback/Updates
« on: May 08, 2017, 07:13:17 PM »
Discuss the latest release! (release notes)

Any opinions on new mechanics or features? Any experiences to share?

Note that if smaller updates are made to Beta 1, they will be announced in this thread rather than the announcements board!


Update 170511 / Beta 1.1 - "NERF Cannon"

Okay, so it turns out there is/was a pretty major bug in Beta 1: Your shots aren't hitting very often! It did really feel somewhat off during my quick playtests, but I had gotten too busy in the days leading up to release to explore it more thoroughly in time for release day, so... hotfix time!

It just so happens I had already been working on a number of near-term fixes and tweaks for 1.1 release, so we can get all of this at once right now :D

You definitely want to switch over to this version! In Beta 1 you're at a serious disadvantage with your volleys, especially when firing many weapons at once, regardless of targeting/accuracy. In this version you'll feel like a god by comparison :P

Beta 1.1 (0.10.170511) changelog:

* NEW: Manual Advanced UI: Map section more explicit about where tunneling is safe through areas that can otherwise cave in
* MOD: Ramming time cost no longer a flat 100 (1 turn); now takes slowest of that and your movement speed
* MOD: Tread crushing only possible against targets with no more than 50 core integrity remaining
* MOD: Tactical Coordination Suite bonus increased from 5% to 10%
* MOD: Removed critical chance from Flak Cannon, Hvy. Flak Cannon, Proton Burst Cannon, Ion Burst Cannon
* MOD: Tri-rail Accelerator critical chance lowered from 3% to 1%
* MOD: Visible sound effect system no longer pinpoints origins of sounds played at less than a quarter of their volume due to relative distance
* MOD: Data Miner ASCII changed from 'm' back to '0'
* MOD: Robot info page doesn't list damage modifiers that don't apply to that robot
* MOD: C Programmers gained critical immunity
* FIX: The new system for preventing duplicate penetration caused consecutive single-projectile shots against the same target to have no effect [GJ]
* FIX: Potential crash if Borebot destroys itself while clearing an explosive machine [GJ]
* FIX: Engineers building rooms could in certain rare layouts manage to build excessively long rows of doors [Widmo, BOYADD]
* FIX: Extermination squad dispatch referred to as incorrect type if affected by Trojan and the dispatch before it was of a different type [zxc]
* FIX: Typo in Transmission Jammer effect description [zxc]
* FIX: soundIgnoresDistance config file option allowed sounds to be both heard and seen across an entire map
* FIX: Map exit information obtained via derelict logs showed "exits" (plural) in log message even if only one

Saves are compatible, so you can migrate your /user/ data over to this version even if you're in the middle of a run, to take advantage of the changes!

Only showing applicable damage modifiers:


The new and improved want-if-have-allied army TCS:


A note on the nerf to some weapon criticals: Those are multiprojectile weapons, especially the flak cannons, and each projectile checks for critical hits separately, so when combined with target analyzers they are too effective. There are still some very good multiprojectile weapons that also have (in some cases excellent) critical chances, but these were more common and shouldn't be quite that good :)


Update 170523 / Beta 1.2 - "Path to Success"

Well, I managed to throw together quite a lot in the past week. All the confirmed bugs are taken care of, and Beta 1 is looking pretty nice overall. There's nothing critical here (so feel free to stick with 1.1 if you like!)--it's mostly QoL and some balance changes including both nerfs and buffs, although part of why I wouldn't want to sit on this release any longer is it fixes a problem with the 1.1 cave-in frequency which has been cramping the style of the expert players :P

Because there may be a bit more time between this and the next release as I take care of other stuff, I want to make sure there aren't any issues with this one that I'd want to fix right away. Therefore unlike the usual updates, Beta 1.2 is not yet available via your download link! BUT, you can get it now if you post in this thread saying you'd like to try it out. It should be as stable as a normal release, and is compatible with the current leaderboards, so it's fine to switch over now if you like, although 1) you have to leave a message in this thread saying you'd like to try out the build (requires that your forum email is the same you used to purchase) and 2) you'll have to ignore the in-game message that tells you your version is wrong :P

I'll be updating the link for everyone else next Tuesday.
(1.2 is now generally available!)

Beta 1.2 (0.10.170523) changelog:

* NEW: Mouse movement pathfinding automatically avoids non-hostile blocking robots (can deactivate via cogmind.cfg disablePathfindingRobotAvoidance)
* NEW: When combat log detail set to Full, automatically mirrored to left side of map (tweak via cfg: mapCombatLogMaxLength/mapCombatLogDuration)
* NEW: Armor Integrity Analyzers expanded to a full four tiers (+2 items)
* NEW: Particle Chargers expanded to three tiers (+2 items)
* NEW: Added meaning of part info summary ** and + prefixes to manual
* NEW: Manual available online, too: gridsagegames.com/cogmind/manual.txt
* NEW: Allied followers will not chase down Watchers that leave Cogmind's FOV
* NEW: Allied followers will generally avoid taking incredibly circuitous routes when blocked, preferring to wait instead
* NEW: Player and AI pathfinding both avoid traveling through potential cave-in areas where feasible
* NEW: Attempting to fire in view of a Researcher will temporarily block attacks with a warning message, and highlight all such Researchers in view
* NEW: Programmers capable of remotely rewiring disrupted robots
* NEW: Energy restored to full on heading to new map (also fills any energy containers)
* MOD: Rating 10 items show their rating as 'X' in the part list info summary mode (instead of "10")
* MOD: Exp. Actuator Arrays and Exp. Shock Absorption System now classified as prototypes (though never found faulty)
* MOD: Free peeks inside rooms / around corners no longer guaranteed for fast Cogminds gaming the time system
* MOD: Some utility effects no longer stack: Target Analyzers, Armor Integrity Analyzers, Particle Chargers
* MOD: Some Particle Charger/Accelerator effects weakened, also lowered energy upkeep
* MOD: Armor Integrity Analyzer effect no longer applied to AOE attacks
* MOD: Programmers can no longer remotely repel hacks against allies made via direct melee Datajacks
* MOD: Score sheet doesn't list tallies for specific effects of overheating or corruption if zero
* MOD: Scanalyzer Insert Component list no longer displays duplicate items with matching integrity
* MOD: A certain well-known stash has gotten even better
* MOD: EM disruption no longer affects inactive robots
* FIX: May crash if standing adjacent to both a door and its terminal when [redacted] remotely unlocks that door [Sherlockkat]
* FIX: Newest secret map may rarely have an unintended tunnel extending from its exit area [Sherlockkat]
* FIX: Adjustments to Command layout generation in Beta 1 introduced the possibility of requiring travel through a garrison [Sherlockkat, zxc]
* FIX: Potential UI crash if in possession of an Omega Cannon with INFO mode active [Nikola Kolodziejczyk]
* FIX: Dedicated robot destruction codes retrieved from [redacted]'s decrypted terminal stopped working after Alpha 14 [MTF]
* FIX: New cave-in system allowing guaranteed passage through wall-earth-wall tunneling scenarios wasn't working as intended, might cave in [MTF]
* FIX: Was possible for fabrication network matter reserves to fall slightly negative if randomly drained close to zero while a build in progress [MTF]
* FIX: New bonus points for Network Hub destruction tallied incorrectly [GJ]
* FIX: Reversed score sheet ending name (only in header) for two of the seven endings [zxc]
* FIX: The conditions required for a plot-relevant end-game hack that used to be possible to obtain mid-game were no longer possible [zxc]
* FIX: Typo in Thermal Resupply hack name [zxc]
* FIX: Typo "Fabriactor" in new score sheet entry [zxc]
* FIX: Ramming a target off stairs may in some cases fail to immediately ascend [zxc, DDarkRay]
* FIX: Pair of typos in Zion [DDarkRay]
* FIX: Missing space in intel message revealing a single exit to a particular map [Amphouse]
* FIX: A particular encounter in the Mines could make it impossible to exit from one of the two stairs, though still showed the stair label [Senjai]
* FIX: Scanalyzer Insert Component list showed all items with matching name and integrity as broken if the first in inventory was broken [Senjai]
* FIX: Repeat consecutive messages in calculations log did not immediately show their multiplier suffix unless scrolled out of view and back again
* FIX: Super Gauntlet challenge mode could crash on -8/Materials if no Garrison Access generated for that map

Some images and notes on the new features:

Demonstrating guaranteed safe passage through wall-earth-wall scenarios.


While I personally don't use the combat log, some players swear by its highest detail setting, so I can totally understand you'd want something larger than the meager six lines it contains :P. Yeah it can be scrolled, but that's obviously not enough in a firefights with a half-dozen participants, much less when you yourself might fire 4-5 weapons in a single volley. So I put it right on the map.


There's plenty of room for it over there, and the default length of 20 lines will generally keep it from covering any of the action on most players' 16:9 map view. Plus it'll only be there for a bit before disappearing anyway. But you can adjust both the number of lines and duration in cogmind.cfg.

(And if you want to keep using the Full detail setting but not the log mirroring, you can do that too by setting the number of lines to 0.)

Your allies got a little better. They'll no longer chase after fleeing Watchers, which are hard to hit and can distract from other targets or split up your army. Once the Watcher leaves your FOV they'll leave it alone, so if you want everyone to come along just keep moving.


Programmers can remotely rewire bots for you, so you don't have to do it yourself if you've got one of these awesome friends :D.

(This ability actually applies to hostile Programmers, too, although it's a lot less often that your enemies manage to disrupt a bot.)

A lot of 1.2 changes involve pathfinding QoL:

Mouse-based pathfinding intelligently avoids moving obstacles when it will save more time than waiting.

The maximum deviation from the most direct path is +2 spaces, and it's on by default but you can deactivate this feature and restore pathfinding to the way it used to work in the cfg (disablePathfindingRobotAvoidance).

Allied followers no longer take long circuitous routes when a more direct desired route is blocked. Extension will be a little less annoying to fight in with those narrow corridors!


Mouse pathfinding automatically avoids potential cave-in areas where feasible.


The AI will avoid those areas when they can as well!


Although leaderboards are compatible and won't be reset, saves are not compatible this time around.

24
Announcements / Cogmind Beta Preview
« on: May 05, 2017, 08:30:43 AM »
Next week Cogmind will break its own record again with yet another "biggest release ever." The story is finished and, having given this release an extra week in development, for once I finished my entire list of features I wanted to get into a single major release, rather than having to postpone some.

Following my blog post on Versioning Schemes earlier today, you'll notice that we are leaving Alpha. Cogmind is still not truly "done," but I've decided that from here until 1.0 we'll be calling them Beta releases to signal that while development is still not complete, it's no longer as early as "Alpha" might imply. This is a huge milestone, technically bigger than the future 1.0 itself, and the switch also reflects a coming change in pace: we'll be seeing fewer large releases in favor of putting out smaller updates more quickly.

What all comes with our first Beta release? The final missing map, seven animated endings, lots of challenge modes, visible sound effects, revamped combat scoring, crushing, kicking, and gunslinger mechanics... the list is very, very, long. Check out some of these new features and more below.

[Update: Beta 1 "The End" released! Full release notes and changelog here.]

Beta 1 non-spoiler features, in images:


Lots and lots and lots of new ASCII animation work:



Some new items to play around with:



Sources of unseen sound effects are shown on map:



Same scenario without seeing the map, to demonstrate more clearly:



All-gun volleys have a good chance to continue firing at additional targets if the first shots in their volley destroy their initial target:



Part info data visualization has a mode with shorter bar graphs with specific values:



(A still shot comparing the difference:)



Treads crush instead of ram:



And of course there are some new ones that are better at it :)



Also kicking mechanics for legged Cogminds:



Non-part item info includes battery indicator for those with limited use:



Game over screen now has buttons at the bottom for mouse access:



Random seeds are now procedurally generated fake item names (more info on blog). Examples:



EM spectrum types now also explicitly display their chance to trigger their side-effect:



Allied Mechanics can now repair again!



Alien artifact labels/names are marked with two asterisks instead of one, to differentiate them a bit from prototypes:



Even destroyed walls can cave in:



But you get free knowledge of which spaces those are, including in the caves:



And you can make them brighter temporarily by holding Ctrl and Alt:



Did I say new items to play around with?



If no weapons active, volley range visualization glows entire FOV red instead of showing nothing:



Active challenge modes are listed in the log, because there are now many and most can be activated together (if you're that crazy):



Pure Core Challenge mode, where you have no inventory and storage parts are all converted to matter instead:



Super Gauntlet Challenge mode, where you can only advance through garrisons because everything else is blocked off:



Devolution Challenge mode, where you can start like a godbot and get continually weaker:



Leaderboards ready to handle different win conditions:



As well as a dedicated board for challenge mode players:



Allies will no longer step on known avoidable hostile traps, i.e. no more of this:



New utility CYCLE button for mouse users (and the " key for keyboard players) to toggle upkeep utilities all at once:



Machine resistance info is now free (no Structural Scanner required!):



Stats for doors and walls are now available in keyboard mode:



Corruption due to part destruction by impact shows a blue ASCII animation on target:



Also a UI effect for Cogmind on the same:



Never-before-seen lore- or benefit-related dialogue markers now blink until you talk to the NPC:



No target autoreload after destroying an intentionally targeted machine in keyboard mode:



New Transmission Jammer activation animation to match its revamped mechanics:



All successful hack results are mirrored to the message log:



Subzero temperatures are now possible:



Damage type abbreviations are color-coded in weapon info summaries:



Part info summaries for overloaded parts reflect their modified values (and highlight them!):



See you May 9th for the release notes :D

25
Announcements / Progress Update: April 29th, 2017
« on: April 29, 2017, 08:37:52 AM »
Well, the last progress update was going to be the final one before our preview and release, but I've decided to not put out Alpha 15 next week and instead spend one more week on it, so it's worth updating everyone on this development now. Pretty much every release has gone out with me postponing some little features I'd wanted to get to, forcing them to wait until some other release down the line. But no longer!

This time I'm going to finish the entire Alpha 15 list as it is, and maybe even have time to pick something off the optional "bigger features" list (the kinds of things that alone take a day or two to complete).

Rather than gearing up for automated testing yesterday like I normally would be about this time before a release, in just the past couple days I got to give the Data Miner some new content, added a new event to the Mines, created another method to gain access the Deep Caves, changed the way Waste works, and flew through a slew of QoL bonuses.

Since you'll see most of the upcoming features in the preview I won't post that stuff now, and instead use the opportunity to show some dev shots--stuff you wouldn't normally see in a feature list:


An army of Mapping Drones exploring an entire Materials floor.


Visualizing actors' relative time.


Overlapping utility activation animations.

...

Okay I can't resist... here's a feature sneak peak:


Firing a single volley at multiple targets if the first is destroyed with guns left to spare :D (guns only!)

...Now I can say that the next announcement will be the release preview.

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