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Topics - Kyzrati

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1
Announcements / SITREP Saturday #5: Clean Slate
« on: December 08, 2017, 05:54:37 PM »
> BOOTING...
> CORRUPTION=LOW
> IDE=ARMED
> STATUS=LOGGING

Feels great to be back, and the rest has done well for my post-concussion issues. Me and my brain have been humming along at full blast all week since returning, and here's what we've been up to :D

As much as I want to get working on major new features right away, my priority is always to address bugs ASAP. Since a number of rare issues were discovered following the new activity on Steam, I had to spend a few days squashing all those.

I'm happy to report I've now moved on to the next phase of pre-major stuff: The near-term feature list. A lot of little feature requests and tweak ideas have piled up, and since many of these are both easy to do and already confirmed in my plans, I'd prefer to get most of them out of the way before moving on so we can start the next big things with a clean state. (Plus medium-priority tweaks and whatnot have a way of piling up quickly when untended across multiple versions, and I don't want that to turn into an endless list!)

Robot Info

I've made a few updates to the robot info window, starting with a list of immunities below any resistances they might have (including context help describing each).

The vast majority of robots have no immunities, but without a few immunities it'd be way too easy to cheese to death major NPCs and some-late game robots by taking advantage of basic combat mechanics :P

For example the most common immunity is against critical strikes, because kinetic crit stacks are a super effective way to plow through enemies. Really this immunity just more or less puts major bots on par with you, since you're not that susceptible to crits either! (Not that this immunity is new--immunities have been around since the beginning, but since they only come into play late in the game most of the experienced players have figured this out. But it needs to be made more apparent so I've been wanting to explicitly show immunities for a while...)

Some robots also have previously hidden "traits" which are essentially passive effects. These are not usually all that important to the game and were originally meant to be something to discover--the lore usually mentions them in one way or another. But their details are now fully revealed and explained in a new dedicated window.


In order to make room for all this stuff, I had to put robot Analysis text in a separate window, too, but that's not really needed all that often, so this was a good change, freeing up valuable space to fit more important info! (also technically a few late-game analyses were so long they didn't fit into the robot's window, so this was going to happen eventually anyway)

(the recording shows an immunities button from an earlier test build--they don't have their own button anymore)

Although there's context help explaining the meaning of resistance values in Cogmind, which uses an old X-Com method of "damage modifiers," to help new players more quickly grasp the data I'm changing all resistance displays to use the more modern and common system of positive values representing resistances and negative values implying a weakness.


So this applies not only to robots, but all objects with a list of resistances:


Coincidentally I wrote a bit about information transparency yesterday over on r/roguelikedev, where you can also read about how it's approached in some other projects.

Corruption

We have a new corruption effect, which is dangerous but more rare than any of the others.

Not only is it rarer, but I'm also adding corruption thresholds for many effects--so no more misfires at 1%--and this new one has the highest threshold.

For extra fun, corrupted bots also now misfire or outright target random bots.

(this sample image is not indicative of the intended frequency--I recorded during testing with a 100% chance :P)

This essentially gives yet another boost to EM side effects, but on the flip side Programmers are now capable of resetting some allied bot systems to fully purge their corruption.




Miscellaneous

As requested, pure keyboard players will now have access to comparisons between two or more items on the map.


I seem to have spotted a bug in the new Programmer corruption purge system that caused it to instead attempt to hack a friend, but I couldn't repeat it so that might still be in there. I'm thinking it was probably the Programmer itself being corrupted and deciding to attack instead of help an ally (under that new mechanic...), which would be fine :P. In any case, it was fun to try to repeat the bug--spawning a horde of allies and repeatedly zapping them all :D


I fixed a bug with the color-coding in the repair/scan item list when scrolling through more than 26 applicable items--the colors are still pretty with a huge and messy inventory, though :)


Player Raine357 has scraped all 30k+ Beta 3 scoresheets into a database to run queries on them, like this one showing average player damage type distribution throughout the game, demonstrating how all the types become equally viable by the end (EM has additional effects and does only about half damage compared to other weapons).


Stream

By the time I got back, my previous stream linked from the last SITREP was no longer saved on Twitch, so the first thing I did was stream the weekly seed.

It was a three-hour winning combat run, pretty straight to the end except for a fair bit of craziness as I approached the end and got sidetracked into a bit of trouble before making a typically epic Cogmind comeback <3

There's a summary here.

I've also (finally) decided to go ahead and upload my streams to YouTube so they don't disappear like that in case some of you want to check them out later!

A Question

So I was approached by Valve recently letting me know they'd like to feature Cogmind later this month on the front page for an extended period.

This is great news, but they also said that to be featured I'd have to do a 25% discount. Technically Cogmind has been available at its current price for eight months now, so even though it's only been on Steam for two of those months, maybe it's about time to allow players to join us at the fairly decent price of $15? That said, technically I also not long ago promised to not do any discounts greater than 10% during EA (at the time not having any idea that Cogmind would be graced with such attention from Valve :P).

So I've already initially refused their offer on the grounds of that promise from a couple weeks back (yes, a lot of people are calling me crazy xD), but am a bit conflicted because it might be the best choice for Cogmind at this point, since an opportunity like this probably won't be available again.

Any opinions?

Update When?

Progress overall has been good for a week back at the helm so far, though I'm not yet sure how much I want to stuff into the next release. I think it'll be Beta 4 instead of 3.2, but calling it that implies packing in even more features :P

At least according to my old system... I'm still trying to figure out a reasonable way to adjust my dev cycle and other factors to emphasize more frequent updates rather than packing too much into each, but I've always rather liked meaty changelogs.

Anyway, there won't be a public update next week, but depending on progress over the next 4-5 days I might put something out the week after that. More in next week's SITREP :D

Reminder: There's still a couple days left in the first round to vote for Cogmind on IndieDB!

2
Announcements / Voting Now: IndieDB Game of the Year 2017
« on: December 04, 2017, 04:21:53 PM »
It's that time of the year again...

IndieDB has begun voting for Indie of the Year 2017, so head on over to the Cogmind page and give it a click.



The voting happens in two phases, first (now) just to determine the Top 100 group, then those 100 compete for one of the Top 10 spots. While I don't think Cogmind has the numbers to break into the latter crowd (it's a popularity contest, after all, and Cogmind's audience is pretty niche!), I'm pretty sure we can make the Top 100 again. Cogmind has been in the Top 100 for several years now thanks to fans helping vote it past the first round. Thank you!

Registration isn't required.

I won't be posting a dedicated reminder about the next phase, but will mention it in the news assuming Cogmind makes it past round one.

(Also if you haven't done so yet, for those of you with Cogmind on Steam, leaving a review is really helpful!)

(Also, on IndieDB go vote for your other favorite roguelikes that have an IndieDB page--lots do!)

I'm back from my trip and have started work on the next Beta. More news on that come Saturday! Yesterday I streamed the weekly seed and won--that was pretty fun (details and video links), and the rest of the week will be devoted to preparing the next release.

3
Announcements / SITREP Saturday #4: The Autumn Cogmind
« on: November 24, 2017, 05:16:44 PM »
As announced before, development is on a short pause right now as I take care of some business-side Cogmind issues, plus some time visiting family on the other side of the globe.

To recap, last week Beta 3.1 went out on what was certainly an odd release day I've never tried before. There's not much online activity on weekends, especially Sunday, so it's not a great day to release. This time I didn't have a choice since the new version had to be out before going on this trip, while also leaving enough time to deal with issues should any arise. At least the release went smoothly so that rather than dealing with any issues I could start working on the next few things on my list!

I didn't get started immediately, however, instead streaming some Cogmind on the date of the update. This is something I've always felt like doing in the past, but also always felt like I needed to be ready to react to release issues, or even just comments. I had released privately a couple days early, though, and it was doing fine so I figured it'd be okay to be away for a stream. Plus I really wanted to play, and we have a lot of new players now so it'd be good if I could get in another stream before leaving. I ended up streaming for five hours with the "biggest" turnout ever, peaking at over 30 viewers. It was an unusual day for me to stream, but if I can I'll try again for a weekend stream in the future.

As for the stream, this time I just wanted to try some different crazy strategies, expecting to die and play a few runs in the same vein, but surprisingly that one run went on for five hours and I made it to the last map, anyway, despite all the handicaps from the non-optimal decisions along the way. Was fun :) (I had only a few utility slots to work with!)

Regarding the 3.1 release, one of the main features was Steam Cloud support, but I noticed that even though I'd enabled it in the Steamworks options and it was working normally, the fact that a game has this feature is not shown on the store page unless you manually set that in the page options. I only learned this a couple days later after finally getting a reply from Steam support. I had completely forgotten that was even a setting, because of course it's not on the cloud settings page... Hopefully that didn't confuse anyone, but yeah Cogmind has cloud support.

A couple of fun things following the release...

DDarkray converted one of the greatsword ASCII art pieces to a cursor for use with the new custom cursor feature:


I was reading through a bunch of the reviews and came across this pretty funny section in one of them:

That's one way to put it :P

As usual, I like to record events and report on them, hopefully learning something in the process, so to culminate this fun and informative process of launching on Steam, I put together an in-depth postmortem: "Data and Thoughts from a Month on Steam." Some interesting and useful discoveries were made.

The store page got 236k visitors in the first month...


So if you're interested in behind-the-scenes details like that, check out the post for all kinds of graphs to explore. Cogmind is 10% off for the Steam Autumn sale right now, so it'll be interesting to see how that data compares to what I have so far. (Most people tend to buy Steam games when they're on sale...) Note that while Cogmind will occasionally have 10% discounts during Early Access, they'll never be more than 10%. (Also, the same discount is available from both Steam and direct from my site--I'll always mirror discounts for DRM-free version.)

In other roguelike news, if you're interested in the genre's history, Slashie has done some great research into the origins of the term "roguelike". Read about how someone suggested this genre be called "sucrpgs" :P. He presented his findings at the most recent Roguelike Celebration which unfortunately I couldn't make this year but it's funny because that was only 10 days ago and I am near San Francisco right now xD (I gave a talk at last year's celebration which you might be interested in)

I won't be back for another week, so our next SITREP will be in a couple weeks so I have more progress to talk about!

4
Announcements / Cogmind Beta 3.1 "In the Cloud"
« on: November 11, 2017, 06:20:40 PM »
Our first post-Steam update! Below you'll find a fairly hefty changelog considering it's only a minor version increment, but there's no new content--instead I wanted to get a lot of little feature requests and tweaks out of the way as soon as possible before moving on to bigger things. Beta 3.1 brings us Steam Cloud support, ALERT messages you can't miss, and all maps accessible from any difficulty level...

Cogmind Beta 3.1 "In the Cloud" (0.10.171111) changelog:

* NEW: [Steam] Steam Cloud support
* NEW: ALERT log messages also appear over the map at the top left (adjustable via advanced.cfg: mapAlertDuration)
* NEW: Most ALERT log messages/announcements accompanied by a sound effect for emphasis
* NEW: Triggering High Security is accompanied by a special sound effect
* NEW: Message/combat logs prefix lines with turn numbers in Tactical HUD mode (toggle via advanced.cfg: disableMessageLogTurnNumbers)
* NEW: noFluffLogMessages option to never show purely atmospheric log messages related to some robot actions (toggle via advanced.cfg)
* NEW: Ctrl-RMB on walls/doors for their stats (if a info window already open, simple RMB works too)
* NEW: Custom cursor support (see manual under Advanced UI)
* NEW: Descriptions for all 49 advanced.cfg-only options added to manual under Advanced UI
* NEW: WORKMAN keyboard layout file
* NEW: Partial keyboard layout files for QWERTZ, ABNT2, UK
* NEW: Numpad Enter also closes context help, advances transmission text, and works on game over screen to restart
* NEW: Tutorial message explicitly indicates purpose of matter on first acquiring it (same as item description)
* NEW: Several situational tutorial messages regarding energy management
* NEW: Weapon penetration stat context help explicitly mentions that Huge robots count as a single object
* NEW: "Inventory Autosorting" in options menu toggles automatic type-sorting of inventory items (equivalent to 't')
* NEW: Attached part relative coverage visualization also shows specific values in Tactical HUD mode
* NEW: All Alpha supporter names registered since Beta 3 added to in-game list (see Credits menu)
* NEW: All Alpha item-attribution names registered since Beta 3 added to the item collection gallery
* MOD: All maps accessible in all difficulty levels (most challenging areas no longer blocked off in easier modes)
* MOD: Structural Scanner no longer required to get explosion data in machine info (but still required to know if such a machine has been destabilized)
* MOD: Structural Scanner effect description explicitly states that it <stacks>
* MOD: All keyboard map-shifting commands now jump the map by default (single-space shifting no longer possible)
* MOD: Shift modifier no longer required for keyboard mode to shift map view (Alt-only), except for vi-keys
* MOD: vi-keys no longer need Shift or Alt modifier in dedicated mapshift mode (`), simply hjklyubn will do :)
* MOD: /user/cogmind.cfg split into three files: system.cfg, options.cfg, advanced.cfg
* MOD: "Show Part Range" and "Invert Map Pan" removed from options menu (now in advanced.cfg)
* MOD: advanced.cfg autoSortInventory renamed to matchSortInventory
* MOD: Lowered integrity of all Coolant Injectors
* MOD: Slightly nerfed Mak. Salvage Targeting Computer
* MOD: Tread crushing effect description includes explicit notice of max core integrity to be crushable (50)
* MOD: Removed critical hit stat context help mention of effect on machines, large doors, and barriers (no longer applicable)
* MOD: Walls/doors destroyed by launchers cause alert increase as with other weapons
* MOD: Experimental/pre-release builds no longer warn about version number not matching server records
* MOD: Scan window uses a much quicker, quieter sound to prevent overlap when hovering cursor across groups of items
* MOD: Text printing/scrolling sfx replaced by a more subtle version with lower pitch and volume
* MOD: Doubled matter extraction rate of all Field Recycling Units
* MOD: Save file naming scheme changed to reflect internal save version, and extension changed to .sav
* MOD: Tunneling hack more useful
* MOD: Resource containers no longer have a LOAD setting (since the desired behavior is now automatic anyway)
* MOD: Integrity-wise sorting of inventory now orders by absolute integrity rather than percent remaining
* FIX: Attaching Core Expander from inventory via any means of direct swapping would crash game on subsequent key press [russomatroso]
* FIX: 0b10 Decoder Chip [G/L] crashed on attempting to reveal an item outside FOV dropped on a chip-discovered trap [Darg]
* FIX: Manual referenced older damage modifier for critical strikes against armor (is 20%, not 25%) [zxc]
* FIX: Clicking 'X' button to close robot manual hacking window with code list open didn't also close the latter, and would later crash the UI [Valguris]
* FIX: Potential to crash in the combat log if a certain sequence of messages quickly appeared under rare conditions [LordKee]
* FIX: Using a Reconstructor while affected by a Stasis Beam to move outside the beam range would maintain the hold as long as no new obstructions [DDarkRay]
* FIX: Unidentified prototypes in inventory indirectly revealed coverage and integrity values through respective visualization modes [DDarkRay]
* FIX: Saving files would silently fail if player manually deleted the target directories [The Renderer]
* FIX: Ctrl-CMB to toggle volley range visualization not working under some conditions [Uninstall Wizard]
* FIX: On some Linux/Wine setups online News update feature might occasionally have a trailing 0 causing repeat news content to flash as if new [Joshua]
* FIX: Typo in lore [zill]
* FIX: Unidentified prototype resource containers held in inventory could still indirectly collect and store energy/matter
* FIX: With non-green console border colors, the first item comparison in the gallery would still have two inside corners appear green
* FIX: Removed critical strike stat context help mention of props being destroyable by crits

Cloud Saves

Beta 3.1's main attraction is compatibility with Steam Cloud, allowing anyone playing through Steam to preserve their settings, save file, and metadata across multiple machines, automagically.

This required the somewhat altered config system I talked about a couple weeks ago. As such, there are two important steps to follow if you're going to take advantage of the cloud support:
  • Your settings will only be migrated properly if you update to this version, Beta 3.1, so do that first.
  • Also if you've played Cogmind before, be sure to start playing on the machine with the settings and data that you want to keep! Just running it once should be enough, and then you can use either/any machine.
Note that 3.0 saves are compatible with 3.1, so you can update immediately, even in the middle of an ongoing run, and just keep going.

Know that this won't always be the case in the future--major versions and any updates that add new content do break save compatibility. That said, beginning with this release Cogmind stores saves under a new filename that reflects its internal save version, and what I plan to do is leave prior versions of Cogmind available as separate branches on Steam, so even if you do update (perhaps by accident), you'll still be able to rollback your install and play an unfinished run on a previous version if you like.

Difficulty

Difficulty hasn't been significantly altered with this update, though do be careful with those explosives. They're lifesavers in a lot of situations, but now they also piss off the Complex more than they used to. Each wall and door destroyed by non-AOE weapons has always raised alert by a small amount, but explosives were exempt from that rule until now. Obviously collateral damage with AOE weapons is much more likely, so the consequences are now more in line with their power.

A few items were nerfed, the only really notable category being Coolant Injectors, which have always been pretty OP since they were introduced--now they might not last you forever :P

I buffed the secret hack that everyone loves to hate. Now you'll probably want to use it a lot more often if you're planning a specific route through the world.

The biggest change to difficulty comes outside the default Roguelike mode, since there are no longer any limits on where Easier and Easiest mode players can visit. This is the way it was early on when I first implemented these modes, but the active community was much smaller then and almost no one was really playing the easier modes anyway, so there was a stronger cry to gate the most secret lore behind the regular difficulty. Now it's all open again :)

Beware though, the other half of the reason I thought it was a good idea to close off some maps was that they are disproportionately challenging even on the easiest mode! Cogmind's world was balanced for the default difficulty, so on the easier modes it's possible to wander into what are still very deadly areas. But hey, at least it's definitely easier than what you'd face on the regular mode, and it gives you access to all the lore.

(Currently fewer than 10% of players are using either of the easier modes.)

Accessibility

As described last weekend, Cogmind now supports custom cursors. The manual shows how to do it--it's super easy. While I fixed most of the odd behaviors caused by enabling optional software-rendered cursors that Cogmind didn't originally account for in its architectural decisions accumulated over the past four years (:P), there could be some undiscovered issues if I missed any UI combinations during testing. Let me know if you end up using a custom cursor and find anything fishy.

3.1 also includes more keyboard layouts, which I tried to support to the best of the ability of the system. The thread for how to use those is here.

Feature Images

A collection of demos from this release...

Optional automated inventory sorting:


On-map popups for important ALERT log messages:


Numbered log lines:


Example 2:


Explosive machine details are now freely available (without Structural Scanner):


Ctrl-RMB on a wall or door to inspect it for armor and resistance info (or just RMB if window already open):


Coverage visualization includes precise numbers:


[Non-serious] custom cursor in action!


Further differentiated config files:


Ctrl-CMB also toggles volley range visualization:

5
Announcements / SITREP Saturday #3: YAQOL
« on: November 10, 2017, 05:29:20 PM »
Anyone who looks back through Cogmind's release history will see that I've always placed a lot of importance on maintaining good QoL. I love adding content and mechanics (and have oh so many plans...) but the priority is always to take care of the little things that help improve what we already have, and since we have a lot of new players now--over 1,000 on the leaderboards (counting only named players), it's natural that the influx has brought with it a lot of requests we can reasonably accommodate.

So that's much of what I've been working on this week.

Beta 3.1 is around the corner, and focuses on quality of life among other small changes and features (including of course the Cloud support I talked about last time).

Small features like optional automated inventory sorting:


I was actually going to release earlier this week, but kept postponing it because there was a really odd bug which didn't make any sense given the source code, so I thought it might be the compiler and couldn't confirm that, and basically had, and still have, no idea where it's coming from. An old game file I no longer use (and since deleted) kept popping up out of nowhere, recreating itself when there is clearly no code in the game to do that. This file affects the operation of the game so it was rather important to figure out, but it's completely random. I thought it was the compiler using old code but rebuilding from scratch didn't stop it. Anyway, I filled an entire page with notes about this bug trying to figure it out, as I encountered it a few times each day, adding more and more tests in between working down the list of other features that we wanted eventually anyway. I never did find the bug, but release can wait no longer so I coded a workaround that will at least prevent it from screwing things up should it appear again. Strangely enough, this file didn't appear at all in the past day...

Progress

Other progress from the week, best demonstrated in images:

New on-map popups for very important ALERT log messages!

These are accompanied by a very obvious alarm sound, because despite being so bright in the message log ALERT messages were still easy to miss, but they often have serious implications for survivability. If you want to keep the good old "what where'd that assault ARC come from?!?!" experience, there is a way to turn map alerts off :P

Coverage visualization graphs are now accompanied by their specific percentages in Tactical HUD mode:


In case you don't want to use the 'v' key/button, Ctrl-CMB now works to toggle the volley range visualization:


Explosive machine details are now free. No more Structural Scanner required, just inspect the machine:


The mouse can also now inspect walls and doors via Ctrl-RMB (or just RMB if the info window is already open).

Good strategy sometimes calls for knowing what it'll take to create new doors. (Though know that unless it's a special wall, melee weapons and non-EM cannons are usually enough to do the trick.)

More Coverage!


  • Cogmind got two pages in the November issue of Canard PC, the "leading video game magazine in France, Belgium and Switzerland." They rate it "Sans Danger," meaning it's safe to buy even though it's in Early Access :)
  • I did an interview for Indie Hackers, where I answered questions/wrote about things like marketing, revenue, creativity, advice for others, and Cogmind/my background. (This is a site for entrepreneurs, so it's not really about the game itself.)
  • I also did a little interview for Goomba Stomp. This one's more about Cogmind, and also roguelikes in general.

Upcoming Schedule

Beta 3.1 is coming very soon (like this weekend soon), about which I'll have a separate post covering the changelog and release notes.

Then there are some things coming up which will slow development for a bit. I have to spend yet more time at the hospital (the situation worsened recently, but there are new leads and therefore hope to get rid of this problem for good), and in addition to that I'll actually be out of country visiting the US for a while. I have to head over there for Cogmind-related business reasons (of all things...), but decided since we have family over there celebrating the holidays I may as well bring everyone along and stay a little longer. Trips that far are expensive, anyway, might as well make it more worthwhile! Everyone's always asking us to visit but I've always been too busy working on Cogmind to make the trip xD

I'd prefer to not be away having only recently released the Steam version, but perhaps finally being somewhere I'm not tempted by my full workstation here would be good for the recovery, too! In any case, during this period I'll certainly be available online as usual, just not able to reply nearly as fast as I normally do :P

Unless something really interesting happens, since there won't be as much progress I will probably skip the next two SITREPs before returning to our normal weekly schedule.

Really looking forward to December, when I'll push through all the remaining high-priority and near-term items so we can move on to much more significant features!

6
Announcements / SITREP Saturday #2: Cloudy with a Chance of Saves
« on: November 03, 2017, 07:02:42 PM »
A 100% chance! Cloud saves (and settings) are coming to Cogmind soonish.

I chose to go with Steam's "Autocloud," which doesn't require any code changes. Instead it's just some backend settings that specify which files to migrate between machines. The cloud itself was really easy to set up.

Testing a cloud-enable version of Cogmind:


Using the Steam console to ensure the proper files are being synced:


After which I started up the game on my old laptop to make sure it resumes where it was with all the same options... Yes! I was actually worried at first that this would be a process full of headaches because I followed the (simple) instructions and... it failed to notice any files to sync :/. Then I just tried again and it worked fine. So yeah, um, I guess it works.

The whole process only took a couple hours, but I'll test it some more to make sure it'll be stable. In any case, Cogmind also keeps multiple backups of your /user/ files for emergency recovery purposes, so nothing to worry about :D

When the time comes, you'll want to update to Beta 3.1 first, and also be sure to start playing on the system that has the original files! (Don't worry, I'll remind you in the patch notes.)

Although Steam Cloud is simply a setting I can flip on now, I won't be enabling it until the next update because there was another much more involved change required for proper cloud support: adjustments to the config file. I already talked about that bit last week, but that requirement means I'll need to push an update before activating the cloud. (In the meantime, I also finally added to the manual a description of what each advanced.cfg setting does, since their names can only hold so much information.)

Features

In terms of Cogmind itself I've just been handling some little bug reports, with a lot of other stuff piling up on the near-term TODO list since I'm still too busy to deal with it.

As it turns out, Cogmind's default hardware cursor doesn't work on one particular player's 2160p setup, so I added support for custom "software" cursors, which basically means it's now possible to wrest control of the cursor's appearance from the OS and make it look like anything :)

Custom cursors can be made to different shapes, colors, or even sizes in case you enjoy crushing tiles:


It's as easy as drawing a little .png and dropping it in the right directory.

This scary guy was helping me debug the new system...

...but I had to destroy him in the end.

BUGS!

When you use a custom software cursor on top of a display system relying on dirty rectangles, the cursor has to save what's behind it as it enters a new position, and redraw the background when it moves again.

Otherwise it just becomes a big mess :P


Yesterday I slipped in one of the recent features requests... probably not hard to spot which one :)

Log messages can now come with turn numbers! This is the default in Tactical HUD mode, though new advanced options can be used to turn them off if you don't want them.

Another example:


This has been on my TODO list for a very long time, but the "best" implementation I was planning would take a while (and no one had been requesting it in recent years), so I kept deprioritizing this one. Then another request came this week and I decided fine, I'll just do it the easy way so it's at least in there as an option! I like how the extra numbers make it appear nice and computery, too :)

Videos

This week I finally got to stream again! Thanks to everyone who showed up, it was a lot of fun (especially once I actually got OBS to recognize my mic again xD).

I haven't played much over the past several months, and got a little overconfident and died after about an hour, but then started a new run and at least made it to the late-game before, again, dying :P. I make a lot of different decisions while streaming than I normally would (I won the run I did before streaming, really!), but it's all fun so no matter :D

There are still a number of others recording Cogmind content, too, including newcomer LuckyLuckLuc who is getting good fast and just recently streamed his first win. Shobalk is continuing his intro video series.

7
Announcements / SITREP Saturday #1: Getting Steamy
« on: October 27, 2017, 06:26:31 PM »
What a launch week! Thanks for your continued support, and welcome to all our new players!

Our leaderboards are now packed with over 700 unique Cogminds fighting their way to the surface. We've got lots more players and data than that, but note that you have to set your name in the game options menu in order to appear. (Even if you weren't aware of that, this week I changed the leaderboards code to retroactively associate you with your old anonymous scores if you do choose to name/rename yourself.)

With help from streamers, some articles, and no doubt the launch discount, Cogmind lingered at or near the top of a number of Top Sellers charts, even making the Steam front page for a little while. Gonna have to save that screenshot for history :)


Cogmind was pretty prominent in the Early Access category, and even did very well in the Indie and Strategy categories alongside mostly no-EA games. For the first week Cogmind also sat on the first page of popular games tagged "rogue-like" (along with a very nice lineup of... roguelites xD)


I was occasionally taking screenshots and recording performance data, which I hope to later use to write some kind of article on the process, but honestly I didn't have much time to really follow that stuff closely. Throughout the first ten days of release I was completely buried in emails, various forums, and social media, responding to players and others with questions or wishes.

Coverage

Cogmind has been recently played by a number of LPers, among them:
  • quill18 streamed some Cogmind and has been uploading it to YouTube
  • Aavak has an ongoing LP series
  • Nookrium does as well

Some of Cogmind's regular players have been uploading videos, too, which you may find helpful:
  • Shobalk recently uploaded a Getting Started Tutorial
  • nuzcraft (who records all our weekly seeds, too :P) also shared some quick Survival Tips
  • zxc, one of Cogmind's best players, recorded a full combat win with Beta 3
  • I'll hopefully be streaming next week--I always play combat (and currently hold #5 on the leaderboards, so I'm not terrible :P)

On the publication front, there haven't been too many pieces yet, although a number of websites are planning to do something in the coming months, and Cogmind will even appear in a major gaming print magazine in Europe next month.

I did an AMA on r/gamedev last week if you want to check that out.

Progress

There's still more to do in the transition from non-Steam to Steam development, so progress will be a little slow for a bit here, but there is a ton of game in there for everyone to explore, and it's been through years of expansion and polish so that should keep you occupied for a while ;)

As one would expect with exposure to any sizeable new group of players, the top priority is to address any little accessibility needs as possible, so that's primarily what the first update will entail. (Fortunately there aren't too many of those!)

For those of you who haven't previously been following my work, know that I had a serious head injury about half a year ago and it has been an obstacle ever since. That's the reason Cogmind came to Steam a little later than planned, but I wouldn't have released on Steam if I wasn't already on the mend. While still not back to normal, I have at least finally found treatments that are working (and most importantly enable me to work at all! :D). I have no idea how much longer it'll take--brains are weird like that, but for now I still have to spend about 10 hours per week in the hospital and that eats into potential dev time. I've still been managing a good 45 hours or more per week, and that's enough to keep things humming along.

This week dev time has been spent organizing plans for content and features for the earliest updates based on feedback so far. That's in addition to the already extensive plans I had already prepared xD.

Now that we're on Steam, because it's not too hard to implement and I presume a number of players want it, the first thing to see to is Steam cloud support.

One cloud prerequisite is that I split Cogmind's configuration file into at least two parts, so I did that yesterday. In fact, it's now three files.


Two of these, system.cfg and options.cfg, are comprised of automated settings or those controlled from the in-game options menu. Advanced.cfg is the one that contains special toggles or tweaks only modifiable via that file. With the next release I'll also be including descriptions of what each of those advanced options actually does :) (quite a few have been accumulated over the past couple years, mostly used by players who've been around for a long time, or asked for them in the first place)

Anyway, it's all the same stuff we have now, just stored in different files to facilitate user-friendly cloud saving.

I'll be updating you with informative SITREPs at this time each week--see you around :D

8
Stories / nero4983 and the Garrison
« on: October 21, 2017, 07:45:30 PM »
Ok, so I got into a few sticky situations but I managed to survive for two evolutions. Right after my second evolution I find a grey terminal with a G which piqued my curiosity so I check it out. There's a command to open the Garrison door and I had a 50% shot so I figured why not and I succeeded on my first attempt and lo and behold a door opens right on the other side of the terminal! So I go through the door and it's a different floor, but everything is red. I end up finding an axe and figure why not, I'd like an axe. Earlier I was wondering who would use a melee weapon in this game after reading about them in the manual but holy shit did it come in handy. I had five enemies coming after me and I was holed up in a small room diagonal to the door and I killed every one of them in one hit as soon as they entered the door. Later I end up crossing a big room and triggering an alarm and two enemies are set after me. In the chaos of the battle another alarm is triggered and several other enemies start aggroing on me. I'm a sitting duck in this large room and everything starts breaking until I'm just a hovering core with an axe and take out all but two enemies. At this point I just want to run and I stumble onto the stairs to the next floor! Holy shit, I might actually live! So I bump into the stairs to go to the next level, praying for an evolution to save my ass, only to find out the stairs are locked down, I'm assuming due to the alarms I triggered. So I had no choice but to wait there for the last two guards to finish me off, ramming into them as a last act of defiance.

Holy fuck I love this game

9
Announcements / Cogmind Released on Steam
« on: October 16, 2017, 06:44:59 PM »
It's finally happened. After over four years and more than 8,000 hours of work, Cogmind has just been released on Steam :D

"Released" but Early Access. Some say that as soon as you release on Steam, EA or not, that's it--you only really get one launch and the "full release" won't make as big a splash later. That's fine, since Cogmind is a very complete experience and it's time for anyone who's been waiting for this opportunity to jump in.

There are of course a lot of people who don't have much faith in Early Access games, but as long as they're interested in the concept of Cogmind I don't think it'll be too hard to win them over while we spend the coming months adding optional features and content, especially considering the amount of development already allocated to ensuring maximum polish.


Break out the fireworks! (Or missiles, depending on how you look at them :P)

Thanks to everyone who's helped make this possible! Cogmind has come way beyond what it would have been without as much support as everyone's provided over the years, be it financial, spreading the word, or offering feedback and suggestions. A few months back I shared a lengthy rundown of features that didn't have to happen but have certainly made Cogmind better for it, features that you all made possible.


A logo image recently put together while preparing for Steam.

Cogmind feature highlights, as it launches into the wild on Steam:
  • Build and modify a unique robot from nearly 1,000 parts, whether found or salvaged from other bots
  • Highly dynamic character development without XP/grinding
  • Dozens of robot classes, each with unique behavior within the ecosystem
  • Mechanics and environments that enable one of the most compelling stealth experiences in a roguelike
  • Extensive hacking systems--nearly 100 machine hacks so far
  • Procedurally generated world, including dozens of map types into which hundreds of hand-made areas are mixed
  • Hundreds of NPC encounters and thousands of lines of dialogue form a rich story
  • Seven different animated endings to discover
  • Fully destructible environment
  • Nearly 1,000 pieces of ASCII art
  • Huge range of particle effects like never seen in a terminal (except my other project :P)
  • Everything has sounds--more SFX than any roguelike, ever
  • Advanced terminal interface, with numerous built-in input options and tons of information at your fingertips

Composite demo of various Cogmind features.

Other interesting points regarding design and development:
  • Cogmind is all about atmosphere--there isn't even a main menu, the player is dropped right into the game world
  • Cogmind was designed entirely in CP437, with aesthetics conforming to limitations imposed by a two-colors-per-cell grid-based display (nothing breaks that rule)
  • There is a tileset available by default (since approximately 75% of players prefer to use it!), but even that was designed to mimic the ASCII aesthetic so as to not ruin the style
  • Despite the limitations, Cogmind's UI explores many features never before seen in traditional roguelikes
  • A niche game like Cogmind managed to raise more than $100,000 from players to fund alpha development, which was how it could keep expanding for over four years :)
  • To help build Cogmind I created REXPaint, a free editor now in use by a large number of artists and gamedevs

Cogmind inventory management demo with bonus ASCII destruction and repair :)


Alpha Supporters
I've sent out emails to alpha supporters who bought back when a Steam key was promised as part of those tiers. So check your inboxes (and spam, just in case) and email me at gridsagegames@gmail.com if you were supposed to receive a key but did not. Note that my response time might be a little slower than usual due to a much higher volume of activity around release time.

Those of you migrating from DRM-free to Steam can import your settings and metadata as usual. After installing via Steam, open the Steam-installed local files and copy over your old Cogmind /user/ directory into the new one. That's it. It will automatically update from then on for subsequent versions.

A little Beta 3 was put out last week to coincide with this Steam launch, so anyone not on Steam will want to update manually. See the announcement for notes on that.

For those of you who bought ages ago just to support development and are only now being reminded you own the game but never registered your copy, therefore your name doesn't appear in the supporters list (or more importantly the art gallery if you bought that early), go back to your original download email and use the linked form to register. There are still quite a few unclaimed items in the gallery, mostly because a lot of you probably didn't notice the form link (just a couple quick fields to fill out, otherwise I don't know what name you want to use!). After some time on Steam I'm going to have to reallocate remaining unclaimed items to other players!


Purchase Options
Although Cogmind is now available on Steam, it will also always be available for sale from my website as well, and the DRM-free version will continue to receive the same updates (though technically the two versions are slightly different packages).

In the near term, however, as has been indicated on the buy page for a little while now, direct purchases will NOT include a Steam key.

A big part of the reason is to encourage purchases from Steam to help push up the overall review score. Everyone playing Cogmind on Steam please take some time to leave reviews! They're vital for encouraging more sales, and more sales is how we're going to get more features!

Further down the line this key policy could change, but it depends on a lot of factors and we'll have to see how things play out. So if you haven't bought Cogmind yet and are interested in doing so to play on Steam, buy from Steam. For a DRM-free non-Steam version instead buy direct here.

GOG I'm not sure about, because despite proactively expressing interest in Cogmind they haven't responded to my later emails, so for now I've decided to shelve that route.


Coverage
There hasn't yet been a whole lot of advance press coverage about Cogmind's Steam release, partially because I requested that most influencers hold off on their coverage until on or after the actual release date, though I'm still not sure what kind of reception we'll see since Cogmind is pretty niche, after all. Some pre-release happenings:
  • Purely coincidentally, leading up to this release PC Gamer published an article full of praise for Cogmind, and despite his short time with it the author did a great job of understanding and conveying the essence of the game.
  • Well-known roguelike let's player Aavak has started a Cogmind series which has been pretty popular.
  • Two Credits has a quick summary of the launch news, but otherwise there's not much out there just yet.
Gonna have to rely on word of mouth and continued updates to get attention! :D

If you have any favorite LPers/streamers you'd like to see try Cogmind, or a reviewer who's opinion you'd like to read, let them know! I've already written to several, but I can't possibly find them all (and I imagine lots probably won't notice my email anyway, but if some of their fans let them know that can be even more powerful than me self-promoting my way into their inbox).


Cogmind combat demo with particle effects.

10
Announcements / Cogmind Beta 3: "Steam"
« on: October 09, 2017, 03:37:58 AM »
It's the most minor major version release yet! :P

Beta 3 is here, and while unimpressive in and of itself, there are several good reasons for us to advance that number (as opposed to the original plan to just bring a 2.3 to Steam):
  • We're going to Steam with this version, and it would be nice to have the next batch of stats be able to distinguish more clearly between pre- and post-Steam, rather than awkwardly straddling the transition.
  • Any initial issues and/or little features or adjustments specific to Steam, made in the near term after release, are better handled as minor updates to a new "this is Steam" major branch.
  • Betas 2.1 and 2.2 together added the equivalent of a major release's worth of updates anyway.
Also, Beta 3 was going to go out simultaneously with the Steam launch next week, but since it's ready now there's no real reason to wait on it, especially since it fixes a pretty nasty bug added by 2.2. Oops :P


Update ASAP

If you're currently playing Beta 2.2, I strongly recommend you update now. ...Here I was trying to be nice and have multislot parts all gain automatic immunity to severing, without realizing that the way said immunity was handled meant that this across-the-board change would completely prevent multislot parts from being dropped as salvage at all. Across the board xD

So for Beta 3 I expanded the implementation to support enough nuance that multislot parts can keep their newfound immunity and still drop. But this also means that in 2.2 you'll have more trouble acquiring these parts (i.e., good luck trying to salvage double-slot treads and heavy armor).

Note: Saves are compatible with Beta 2.2 if you want to transfer over.

Note: If you were using the manual key rebinding system, or had even activated it, before updating you should delete your /user/commands.cfg, then apply your rebinds again after the updated version creates a new one. If you don't this your Escape key won't give access to the game menu. I wasn't aware anyone was really using this system and a change made for the Steam version sorta borked one of the command entries, making it read the old settings file incorrectly. (I'll have to be more careful with that next time, because obviously people are using the system!)

New Scoresheet Default

From Beta 3 Cogmind will now default to uploading scoresheets, instead of requiring manual activation. This will allow us to see data for more players who never bother to look at all the options, and it's also pretty normal these days for games to collect play data (without even an option to deactivate it...). As usual there is no personal information collected--it's just your run statistics and some of your option settings, and you can see everything transmitted in your scoresheet text file.

Note this change of defaults won't affect any of you who are using an existing options config file from a previous build (in fact, for all old players who never activated it, it will remain off). It'll only upload by default for new players/installs, and it can still be deactivated manually in the options menu, as before.

I imagine this will result in a lot more Anonymous (default settings) submissions, so going forward I'll probably be excluding those from the leaderboards (set a player name!), though all scoresheets will still be on record for data analysis.

Steam Integration

In my recent blog post I talked about the process of preparing for Steam, including the dedicated Steam build, where you can read more about the details. But where Beta 3 is concerned I'll mention here that although Cogmind is not compatible with the Steam Overlay, you can however use the standard method of uploading screenshots.

F12 (or PrtScn) will take a screenshot and allow you the option of uploading it as with the Overlay:


These screenshots will even be tagged by location:


And everyone's screenshots, including non-Steam players, will use new more descriptive file names:


Note: The Steam and DRM-free versions are actually not identical--the latter isn't capable of hooking into Steam to take advantage of its features like screenshot uploading (and more in the future, although Achievements will be available to all players regardless of platform).


Cogmind Beta 3 (0.10.171017) changelog:

* NEW: Basic Steam integration
* NEW: [Steam] Overlay-free screenshot uploading via standard Print Screen key
* NEW: [Steam] Screenshots uploaded to library are tagged by location
* NEW: F12 also takes screenshots (in addition to PrtScn)
* NEW: Scoresheet records include "Steam" indicator under Options
* MOD: Scoresheet no longer contains "X=" string
* MOD: Leaderboard submissions on by default (can still be manually deactivated in options)
* MOD: Screenshot filename format changed from simple counter to "cogmind_[YYMMDD-HHMMSS]_[LOCATION]"
* MOD: Core Stripper buffed
* MOD: [Steam] No download email reminder when new versions are available
* FIX: Opening info for a map object while in kb mode, then toggling off that mode and closing the window, would cause cursor to jump [DDarkRay]
* FIX: Multislot part sever immunity added in previous update also indirectly prevented them from being salvaged [GJ, lsend]
* FIX: Subatomic Replicator could cause a subsequent crash if used on a certain plot item which was then picked up [lsend]

(Yes, that's all there really is. If you want to have fun reading a long changelog go check out Beta 1 xD)

11
Announcements / Update 171007 - Horizon Green
« on: October 06, 2017, 10:31:00 PM »
Cogmind itself is good to go for the next big phase :D


Pre-release testing is done, and it was pretty funny how simple and clear-cut the Steam players country graph was for a while there :P


Last week we had the store page approved, and this week was the second and final step, build approval:


Over on the dev blog I shared details about the entire preparation process, so check that out if you're interested in what goes on behind the scenes before a game can be released on Steam.

All that's left is notifying reviewers/LPers/streamers and writing all the announcements and other boring stuff. Now that's a short sentence beginning with "all that's left," but trust me this stuff is extremely time-consuming xD

Even before beginning that task, though, PC Gamer ran a flattering article about Cogmind, CoQ, and Unexplored this week. Perfect timing on that :)

Other announcements:
  • DDarkRay has written up a useful new strategy guide on positioning, super important stuff for any players focusing on combat to consider.
  • The Announcements board here on the forums now supports replies! I should've done that a while ago, but didn't have a mod that would retain post order even when others comment. Now that's settled and this particular board might not seem so lonely :P. (Plus there won't be a need to make separate discussion threads when there's some announcement-related topic to discuss--just reply here in the announcements.)

This will likely be the last update before... you know :). I'm off to continue preparations!

Note: Some time before (or at) the launch I'll be sending out emails with keys for those who want to switch over from the DRM-free system to Steam. They might end up in your spam box so if you don't have one by Steam launch, look there :)

12
Announcements / Cogmind is officially "Coming Soon" on Steam!
« on: September 27, 2017, 05:30:40 PM »
Things are in motion! Cogmind is officially coming to Steam, with a new store page already set up and everything.


The official launch is set for October 16th, 6pm PDT.

Check out the Coming Soon page for more info, and to wishlist it if you'd like to be notified by Steam. (I'll of course be posting my own announcements everywhere.)

As mentioned before, Cogmind is coming to Early Access so it's technically not a "full launch." Cogmind is already a very complete experience--fully playable, balanced, and generally free of bugs, filled with tons of content and even seven endings to discover. So why EA? Basically I have a lot more stuff I'd like to add if possible, including major extra features, and declaring it EA is one way to signal that.

The full EA spiel as seen on the Steam page:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

In the meantime, I'm working on putting together a Steam build, and all the other required announcements, marketing stuff, and whatnot. Let me know if you have any favorite streamers/LPers in mind that would be appropriate to contact about playing Cogmind. I have an old list I'll be referencing, and some have contacted me already, but I'll be on the lookout for more in the days to come.

Thanks everyone for your support so far, and I'm hoping when the time comes you'll review Cogmind on Steam to help convince prospective players that it's a project worth supporting! More support means more features :D

Spreading the word would be a great help as well!

Release News:

Our final pre-Steam version, Beta 2.2 "Shields for All," came out earlier this week. Glance at the changelog:
Spoiler: Beta 2.2 (click to show/hide)
or check out the full release notes and images here.

The first Steam version will essentially be the same as this.

Here we go!

13
Announcements / Update 170922 - The Button
« on: September 22, 2017, 12:08:51 AM »
I've hit a certain button around here...


Yep, it's time.

Release should be some time in October, but I still have plenty to take care of before then and can't yet set a specific date. Note that it'll be "Early Access"--as mentioned before I think it's worth just putting it out like that and continuing to add some new features rather than finishing up the last little bits of polish that must be done before I'd call it 1.0 and doing a full release first.

Pretty soon I'll see about putting up a Coming Soon page on Steam to help raise awareness. That'll be announced here (etc.) when it happens.

In other preparations I finally replaced the two-year-old gifs on Cogmind's main page. The content is similar to what was there before, though at least with the better font and faster FOV response, along with being somewhat busier:




This weekend I'm also submitting to IGF 2018. Not much chance of Cogmind being recognized there (too niche!), but it's something I've always wanted to do so why not :D

I'll be submitting... the newest build, actually, which is coming next week! It's Beta 2.2, and it's got some nice stuff for you (especially for combat builds). More on that when it comes out, but I'll mention now that it also comes with a new collection of Survival Tips, which will be useful for helping beginners avoid the scrap pile. (Probably a good thing to have before it hits the Steam masses :P)

14
Strategies / Proposed in-manual list of "survival tips"
« on: September 18, 2017, 11:56:17 PM »
Starting with the next release, I'm adding a "Survival Tips" section towards the beginning of the manual. It's basically a collection of important and useful strategies that some players are slow to learn and therefore have trouble getting past the early game. I've compiled it from other guides and simply the kinds of things that we find ourselves repeating to new players a lot. After new players die a few times, on starting a new run the tutorial messages will point out that this in-game guide exists, and repeatedly remind them each time until they actually go open it :P

The current content is as follows. Any opinions? Suggestions?

(As of Beta 2.2 this is included in the in-game manual, and I'll be leaving it here for reference as well.)



-----------------------------------------------------------------
 Survival Tips
-----------------------------------------------------------------

If you're having trouble surviving the early floors, below is a collection of spoiler-free beginners tips that will greatly improve your effectiveness.

Note some of these tips can and will be ignored by advanced players for various reasons, and you'll eventually be discovering your own play style and strategies, but in general terms they apply for new players and will help get you past early-game areas to the real challenges and fun stuff!

 Items
-------
Prefer higher-rating parts. At first the number of parts will seem overwhelming, especially if you feel the need to compare every detail to decide which you want to keep or use. While the item stat comparison info will help here (seen as red/green numbers after opening info for two items in a row), if you're having trouble deciding between two items or don't want to examine all the stats, there's a much faster method: Just compare their ratings. Ratings appear near the top of item info, and also as a number displayed next to the item name in the on-map labels, making it fairly easy to get a general idea of whether an item is worth it without even opening the info page. Prototypes, indicated with a *, are better than regular items of the same rating.

 Builds
--------
Legs are the best form of starter propulsion. They move fast enough, have a relatively high integrity, and you can salvage spares off enemy grunts fairly easily. Avoid using wheels if possible. And generally avoid mixing propulsion, since you can't activate multiple types at once, anyway.

The safest first evolution is two propulsion slots, since an extra two legs will help block shots, and you won't have any problems carrying any amount of mass you want. If you're running out of propulsion parts to fill your slots, temporarily keep even deactivated propulsion attached (especially legs and treads), because they don't count against movement but can block shots. For later evolutions pick whatever you want, except Power is not usually necessary until you find yourself frequently running low on energy.

Almost all robots have static loadouts, therefore if you're looking for certain parts to put together or maintain the kind of build you want, one approach is to hunt down robots you know to use them. For example, Watchers carry sensors, and Sentries use treads and armor.

 Inventory Management
----------------------
Keep a full inventory whenever possible! Even if you don't need surplus parts right away, before long you'll need replacements as yours are destroyed. There are usually parts lying around, especially after a battle, and since inventory contents do not count against movement or have any other negative side effects, leaving it partially empty is an unnecessary waste.

Also don't leave empty part slots when possible, because filling them, even with parts you don't need or won't use, will at least help block incoming fire and protect your core.

One of the safer ways to play is to carry at least one Storage Unit, preferably a larger one, to allow for carrying more spare parts in inventory. Make sure you have an extra power source and weapons, and probably spare propulsion, too. The 't' key, or button under your inventory, is useful for type-sorting your inventory to help ensure that you have the right amount and types of spares.

 Combat
--------
Avoid unnecessary combat. It's fun to shoot everything, but until you have a better grasp of the consequences, and how to excel at combat, fighting too much only puts you at a disadvantage. That said, once you've engaged enemies in combat, try not to run as you'll probably end up running into more enemies and the situation will continue escalating.

Positioning is extremely important. At the start of combat against multiple enemies, reposition to a less-exposed position, preferably diagonal to the inside of a doorway, or a narrow corridor that can serve as a bottleneck. It's even worth taking damage in the process of repositioning, as you would likely take even more damage continuing a fight from a bad location. Fighting in the open is dangerous when not properly equipped to do so, but if you have a launcher, then by all means do it in the open!

Retreating to fight in more isolated areas also has the advantage of avoiding additional patrols that might happen upon a battle in progress. Even when not in combat, hugging walls while moving is a good way to stay less exposed and make access to nearby doors and corridors easier when necessary.

Attach replacement parts even in the middle of battle, in order to better protect your core from damage, and stay at maximum effectiveness. Attaching and swapping parts is a quick action.

 Other Robots
--------------
Shoot at Scavengers once and they'll go away. Sometimes this is a good idea even in the middle of combat, if you want to have any loot left to salvage when it's over.

If a Watcher doesn't send out an alert, that means there are no enemies coming, otherwise be prepared!

Destroying Haulers might provide you with relatively powerful parts to attach. Other non-hostile bots are also good targets to salvage if you're low on parts or need spares to fill your inventory. They won't be good, but you never want to be without a backup power source, for example.

 Hacking
---------
Hacking machines is not too important for beginners, but as you start to get into it, be aware that if you are fully traced it's likely more units will be dispatched to that area to investigate. If you don't want company, always quit hacking a machine before the trace ends! Being initially "detected" is fine, so you can always safely hack a new machine until at least that point.

 Difficulty
------------
Lowering the difficulty setting is not likely to help teach fundamental strategies, but an alternative approach would be to set a manual seed (in the options menu) to some phrase, and repeatedly play the same world to focus on getting the hang of the mechanics, rather than dealing with so many unknowns. When you feel more confident, turn off the manual seed.

(This approach is not recommended right away. Instead, consider it after having read the other tips and tried to apply them in regular random worlds.)

 More Info
-----------
For other tips, bother spoiler-free and otherwise, see the Strategy section of the forums. Links to more resources will continue to be added there in the future.

In the end, know that once you're familiar with all the mechanics and possible strategies, Cogmind is not a heavily luck-based game, and skilled players streak wins repeatedly.



Spoiler: old version 1 (click to show/hide)

15
Announcements / Update 170908 - Something Stirs
« on: September 08, 2017, 08:22:43 AM »
I'm back! Well, sort of and mostly :P

A couple weeks ago I was getting desperate and had exhausted all the other approaches I could think of, so the next step was to try Chinese medicine. Hell yeah for Chinese medicine. And needles.

This was me for a bit (only yeah not so much like the body of Neo the porcupine and more on my head :P)

And actually still every other day, but this and the medicine are keeping my brain in semi-functioning order. After the first week of continued rest to more effectively compare the effects to the results of my previous health-related experiments, I decided I'm good enough to begin some serious work.

So this week I started moving forward again (not at full speed, but we're definitely moving). Resting longer would be nice, but this okay-but-not-quite-okay state could very well continue for months or years, and money's not okay around here right now, so I need to forge ahead. At least I can think again! It sucked barely having any time during the day when I could concentrate on more than the simplest things. (I was mostly putting that time to use on our roguelike Reddit subs when I had it :) )

In forward progress, unfortunately I discovered some more business-related hurdles this week while running around talking to various government offices, and that ate up a ton of time and energy. In any case it was a necessary annoyance and now have a clear understanding of how to proceed.

I noticed recently that someone started a little Cogmind stub on Wikipedia. Yay, we have our own page! The release date is off, but overall it's a good start <3.

And because it's been a while since I showed anything, I had the idea to do some fun "alternative wall" images. No these aren't in the game or anything, but it's pretty quick and easy to see what Cogmind looks like with differently-styled walls, so we may as well try it out :P

First we have your regular small blocks:


Then larger ones:


And completely solid walls:


Solid walls without any floor dots:


And I even found the old X@COM wall code still sitting in the Cogmind code base, so here we have oriented narrow line walls:

(Mixed in there you can also see the earth still represented as # within the walls.)

I wanted to see what some wall-related animations might look like as they interact with the different cells, so I tried an Exp. Terrain Scanner on the solid walls:


And then also on the line walls:


Pretty neat, eh? (Cue endless requests...)


It still might be a bit quiet around here in the meantime since I will be working towards the Steam release as the next step, rather than any major update. Of course I'll post updates as available, though much of the progress over the next few weeks will likely not be newsworthy or worth showing around (if there's anything to see at all :P).

16
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.

17
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!)

18
Announcements / Update 170725 - Beyond the Beyond (+b2.1)
« 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

19
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.

20
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

21
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).

22
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.

23
Discuss the latest release! (Beta 2 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"
Update 170926 / Beta 2.2 - "Shields for All"

24
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/advanced.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). (*however, do not remove the domain header line for any domains which contain modified commands, otherwise the game will not know which domain they belong to)

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.
  • To avoid conflicts, remember that if you bind a command to a new key, you'll want to also rebind the other command in the same domain that was originally bound to that same key (if there is one).
  • 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.



Addendum: If you're looking for a WASD layout, Shadowfury333 has shared one here.

25
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

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