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Topics - Kyzrati

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1
General Discussion / High Score List Generator (python script)
« on: June 22, 2017, 05:13:08 AM »
DBrickShaw over on r/Cogmind has built a python script you can use to generate a high score file from all your score sheets. It's kinda like the existing scorehistory.txt but orders based on score, includes some different stats, derives some interesting metrics, and also comes in a colored version <3

Samples text output:


Sample colored HTML output:

2
Announcements / Update 170621 - In a Bind
« on: June 20, 2017, 09:30:08 PM »
Hello [Cogmind] World!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

3
General & Off-Topic / Come learn how to make your own roguelike!
« on: June 13, 2017, 10:52:32 PM »
I know we have some interest among the player base when it comes to roguelike development. We've certainly got a bunch of seasoned devs with their own games around here, but there are also those who'd like to dabble but simply haven't had the right impetus.

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



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

4
Announcements / Cogmind Alpha Year 2 Sales Data (Pre-Steam)
« on: June 13, 2017, 09:33:19 PM »
Like last year, I've posted an update and analysis of our financial status, "Cogmind Alpha Year 2 Sales Data (Pre-Steam)." Within you'll find a summary of Cogmind's second year of alpha (early access) sales data, including revenue, pricing effects, and a breakdown of development time. In short, it's doing okay for now, thank you all <3

Lots of interesting graphs to check out...



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



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

5
Announcements / Update 170531 - Hard Times
« on: May 31, 2017, 05:38:22 AM »
Well, it's a good thing that I already made it past the major Beta milestone, because it looks like I have no choice but to take a little break here...

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

6
Stories / Cogmind's First Super Gauntlet Run
« on: May 21, 2017, 07:01:35 AM »
So as of Beta there are a bunch of new challenge modes, and not all of them have even been attempted yet (really because everyone's still getting into the new regular content!). After winning my first 1.1 run last week, I decided it was time for something a little different: I wanted to see just how hard the hardest challenge mode really is :)

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

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

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

Strategy

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

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

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

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

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

The Run

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


A couple thousand turns later I found the right one.


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

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

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

I started out in fairly good shape.


And was growing pretty confident with all those missiles :D


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

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

Quite a few times things were looking pretty bad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here I am having come out the other side :)

No matter and Programmers on the way!

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


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

Pretty quickly found some better propulsion, at least:


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


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


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


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

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

Addendum

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

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

7
Today marks Cogmind's two-year anniversary since the beginning of Alpha! Sure has been a while, but wow has it turned into so much more than it was even then :D

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



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



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

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


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


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

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

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

8
As of Beta, for which I added some new data for part info summary strings, it's possible for those strings to be longer than the allotted area, and sometimes the game will crash when you are in INFO mode with such an item attached or in inventory.

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

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


9
Confirmed Bugs / Unable to enter any commands during your turn
« on: May 11, 2017, 01:13:21 AM »
It's apparently possible to get the main UI into a state where no commands work.

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

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

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

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

10
Announcements / Cogmind Beta 1: "The End"
« on: May 08, 2017, 07:13:36 PM »
A major milestone, a big ending, and a new beginning, all in one! After four years in development, Cogmind's story is truly complete, and today we begin a new phase: Beta.


Welcome to Cogmind Beta!

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

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

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


The End

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

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

Challenges

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

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

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

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

Visible Sfx

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

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

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

Notable Mechanics

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

Hacking Tweaks

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

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

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

Difficulty

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

QoL

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

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


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


The full Cogmind Beta 1 (0.10.170509) changelog:

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

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

Where to?

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

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

11
General Discussion / Beta 1 "The End" Discussion/Feedback/Updates
« on: May 08, 2017, 07:13:17 PM »
Discuss the latest release! (release notes)

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

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


Update 170511 / Beta 1.1 - "NERF Cannon"

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

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

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

Beta 1.1 (0.10.170511) changelog:

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

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

Only showing applicable damage modifiers:


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


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


Update 170523 / Beta 1.2 - "Path to Success"

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

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

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

Beta 1.2 (0.10.170523) changelog:

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

Some images and notes on the new features:

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

A lot of 1.2 changes involve pathfinding QoL:

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

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

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


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


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


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

12
Announcements / Cogmind Beta Preview
« on: May 05, 2017, 08:30:43 AM »
Next week Cogmind will break its own record again with yet another "biggest release ever." The story is finished and, having given this release an extra week in development, for once I finished my entire list of features I wanted to get into a single major release, rather than having to postpone some.

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

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

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

Beta 1 non-spoiler features, in images:


Lots and lots and lots of new ASCII animation work:



Some new items to play around with:



Sources of unseen sound effects are shown on map:



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



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



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



(A still shot comparing the difference:)



Treads crush instead of ram:



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



Also kicking mechanics for legged Cogminds:



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



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



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



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



Allied Mechanics can now repair again!



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



Even destroyed walls can cave in:



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



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



Did I say new items to play around with?



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



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



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



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



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



Leaderboards ready to handle different win conditions:



As well as a dedicated board for challenge mode players:



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



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



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



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



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



Also a UI effect for Cogmind on the same:



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



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



New Transmission Jammer activation animation to match its revamped mechanics:



All successful hack results are mirrored to the message log:



Subzero temperatures are now possible:



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



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



See you May 9th for the release notes :D

13
Announcements / Progress Update: April 29th, 2017
« on: April 29, 2017, 08:37:52 AM »
Well, the last progress update was going to be the final one before our preview and release, but I've decided to not put out Alpha 15 next week and instead spend one more week on it, so it's worth updating everyone on this development now. Pretty much every release has gone out with me postponing some little features I'd wanted to get to, forcing them to wait until some other release down the line. But no longer!

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

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

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


An army of Mapping Drones exploring an entire Materials floor.


Visualizing actors' relative time.


Overlapping utility activation animations.

...

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


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

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

14
Announcements / Progress Update: April 23rd, 2017
« on: April 22, 2017, 09:11:50 PM »
So, what's happening these days...

New items! As usual, adding a new map means new robots and mechanics, which often means new items :). Like:

That new map is finally done, meaning all 30 map types are now in. There could be more to come (along the way I've accumulated half a dozen interesting concepts I'd like to fit in), and some of the ones that already exist will still be getting some more content, but for now the world is officially "complete."

I've added a bunch of new challenge modes, which you can read about in this thread (updated OP). We now have eight, including also:
  • Devolution
  • Gauntlet
  • Super Gauntlet
  • Inhibited Evolution
  • No Salvage
  • Pure Core
As of a couple weeks ago I was thinking of releasing Alpha 15 next week to make the end of April, but then ended up adding too much extra unplanned content before (just now) getting to my still-long list of other little features and fixes. (How the project flow works I described on the blog in my dissection of the Alpha 14 changelog.) So that pushed the release date to May 2nd. No problem, more content is worth it!

Then cue this fateful week, where I ended up in the ER twice for separate serious injuries. Bad RNG! *Xom is highly amused!* (This can only be good for future dev, right? :P). So I'm no longer 100% sure I can make that date, but I'll try :). If not it'll be the week after that. In any case, as usual I'll post an image summary some days before it happens!

15
Stories / MTF's epic combat hacker win (videos)
« on: April 21, 2017, 03:08:13 AM »
This week MTF streamed one of his many wins, and a bunch of regular players were along for the ride. Quite a ride it was, almost ending multiple times, but each time he came back:
  • Part 1: The first half, mostly running a light combat build while trying to build up a store full of the parts necessary for a flight-hacker transition. But stumbling a bit here and there :P
  • Part 2: In the second half, the hacking starts to pick up until eventually MTF is an untouchable god-tier hacker at the head of a large army.
Warning: Lots of spoilers in this run, but it's a good demonstration of flight strategies, both defensive and offensive.

16
Announcements / Cogmind Price Now $19.88
« on: April 17, 2017, 06:09:11 PM »
We're coming up on the two-year anniversary of Cogmind's Alpha Access, as well as the 15th major release to complete the story!



It's been a long road, but we're finally here--almost a year since it was last adjusted, Cogmind has been lowered to its final base price of $19.88 :D. That's now available on the buy page, along with a link to purchase as a gift for someone else (a feature that's been requested a few times before).


Once again, thank you all for making yet another year of improvements possible! I'll probably be doing some kind of second-year analysis going over the financial state of the project before we add Steam as a second option.

As usual, lots of good stuff in the works...

17
General Discussion / Build Classifications
« on: April 16, 2017, 07:53:02 PM »
I wrote a summary of Cogmind's "character archetypes" over on r/RoguelikeDev, and thought it'd be appropriate/interesting to drop some of that content here as well.

The idea was to get a general idea of what types of builds are possible/used in Cogmind. Some of these have become possible as more items and mechanics have been added over the past couple years, and cover a good range of possibilities. There are of course many more subtypes and hybrids, but these represent the extremes and major classifications.
  • Offensive Combat (ranged): Basically ignoring defensive capabilities and allocating as many slots as possible into immediately gunning down everything that shows up. This is achieved by stacking processors and (usually to a lesser extent) weapons.
    Spoiler: "Fighter" (click to show/hide)
  • Defensive Combat (ranged): Fewer weapons, but plenty of armor, shielding, and/or force fields to tank damage while the weapons and some offensive utilities do the work.
    Spoiler: "Knight" (click to show/hide)
  • Infowar Combat: A combat build that can hold its own in a fight, but attempts to avoid unnecessary battles by employing a handful of support utilities that can spot enemies far away and/or out of view, block their transmissions, scan/sense the map layout, etc. Maybe even with a little hacking thrown in for terminal manipulation.
  • Flight: A very fast build that is more about stealth and cunning rather than combat. With the right expertise flight builds can avoid combat altogether, either by combining their speed with infowar tactics, or simply outmaneuvering and outrunning almost any pursuer.
    Spoiler: "Rogue"/"Thief" (click to show/hide)
    Spoiler: (another example) (click to show/hide)
  • Combat Hacker: Often played as a specialized flight variant that clearly has its own strategy (though theoretically could played using other forms of propulsion as well), combat hackers use 1) datajacks and 2) lots and lots and lots of hackware. With this they can basically do whatever they want at any terminal, and moreover, use their rather overpowered hackware stacks to hack and outright destroy or take control of most robots, creating an army that snowballs its way through each area.
  • Melee Combat: Multiwielding a variety of melee weapons, almost certainly with support from melee-associated utilities. Probably picks fights when possible, and makes heavy use of armor and/or infowar. (This one is still relatively new, since melee mechanics have only really come into their own in recent releases--no really representative screenshot :P)
(This list was honed during a recent discussion over in the #cogmind channel, where players also provided the relevant screenshots.)

18
Announcements / Progress Update: April 13th, 2017
« on: April 12, 2017, 08:14:38 PM »
Aaaaaaahhhhhh...

Okay, so I'm still really busy. (What's new :P) Starting to pull 12-hour days just to try to stay on schedule, but this is partially because I decided that five endings just wasn't enough--now we have seven, heh. And lots more to do before Alpha 15 will be ready...

Among the little features I've been adding on the side:

I've always been somewhat annoyed at the long string of numbers that make up a random seed, so I came up with a fun to way replace them. Taking a cue from gfycat, Cogmind's random seeds are now actual words, or more specifically a combination of three words, two adjectives followed by a noun. The result of each is a fake item name, because the individual words are all sourced from the game's item list itself! It's pretty fun :). Sample list of random seeds:

There are plenty of combinations possible so there is effectively no loss of randomness. It's just a better, more human, way to handle seeds. Plus I'm sure they'll be cause for the occasional laugh!

Alpha 15 includes an experimental "visualization for sounds you can hear but not see the origin" feature. Example: "Seeing" a battle between allies and a patrol backed by garrison forces around the corner, including an exploding machine array. These are all sounds you can hear, but also shown at their precise locations, and color-coded by type.


More or less the same situation, but without the map, for comparison:


Bonus image: Cogmind mapgen visualizer I made a couple weeks ago.


Bonus 2: The Boulder.

We live up against a semi-rocky mountain that's not very stable, and one afternoon while I'm sitting in my chair on the fourth floor coding, this thing comes racing down the slope, smashed through the shed next door, and shook the entire alleyway o_O

No one was hurt, but the firemen did have to call in some guys who spent an afternoon drilling it apart in order to clear it out. I took a picture then got back to work. An interesting 5-minute break at least :)

19
Announcements / Music for Cogmind?
« on: April 04, 2017, 06:51:32 PM »
It's finally here. After over a year of saying "we'll get to this discussion eventually," I've put together a starting point for talking about potential music in Cogmind.

It's over on the dev blog, and you can add to the discussion there or here on the forums.

20
General Discussion / Music for Cogmind?
« on: April 04, 2017, 06:51:10 PM »
It's time to consider what to do about the music situation for Cogmind! You can read my thoughts on the dev blog, and reply here or leave a comment over there.

(Also more discussion has been happening on r/Cogmind)

21
Announcements / Progress Update: March 24th, 2017
« on: March 24, 2017, 08:31:49 AM »
Heads up! As we approach what would time-wise generally feel like the final stretch leading up to a new release, I should say that Alpha 15 will be longer in the making. Definitely April, but I'm trying to cram in all remaining major pre-EA features, and complete the story, and there are a lot of things to handle. Much of it won't even be seen by the majority of players, but it's better to get it all out of the way at once right now.

That said, as usual I'm also slipping in features that everyone can enjoy, like this week's TREAD CRUSHING! :D


All treads can do it, some better than others :P


Aside from the chance to instakill when ramming robots, using treads to ram also offers full protection against self-damage and destabilization.

Oh yeah, and if you use legs while ramming you can possibly just kick them out of the way and take no damage either (the victim takes no extra damage, just the usual mass-based ramming impact damage):

With five legs the chance is 100%... Outta my way!

Last week I celebrated passing the 7,000-hour threshold on Cogmind development...

How did I celebrate, you ask? By continuing to pile on the hours, of course!

I'm going to get much faster fiber installed (it apparently barely costs more than what I already pay...), so my future streams will hopefully be smoother once that happens :) (unfortunately when they tried to install it this week they found some issues to resolve and it has to bounce through a couple departments, so not sure when this might happen--living on a higher floor of a very old building has its drawbacks :P)

22
Announcements / Progress Update: March 14th, 2017
« on: March 14, 2017, 04:01:09 AM »
Hm, too much secret stuff! I haven't really had any news to update with lately, because I'm working behind the scenes on some art and animations for the win state. The current end-game animation is only one part of what you're supposed to see, and seeing as the story is just about complete, it's time to put the finale together! It's coming along nicely, but I can't show it off...

I did post to the blog a new article in which I dissect the Alpha 14 changelog to show some interesting aspects of development--check it out if you're interested in the dev side of things.


I've also gotten back into streaming again, so drop by Monday evenings (EST) if you're feeling like some robot mayhem.

Still lots more secret stuff to work on for the next release, but I'll try to also fit in some other features so there's something worth updating everyone on in the meantime :D

A few little things I did do recently:

Keyboard autotargeting will conveniently "forget" intentionally destroyed machines:


Machine resistance info will be free (no Structural Scanner required):


Keyboard players will also have access to wall/door armor/resistance info (no good way that I can see yet to give mouse users access to this same information):

23
Fixed Bugs & Non-Bugs / Friendly O8 hack in Zion stopped working
« on: March 06, 2017, 11:43:36 PM »
Oops, typo in the data broke the O8 encounter hack in Alpha 14. Reported by MTF.

Just dropping this here so anyone stopping by knows it's a thing and I'm aware of / fixed it for next release. (Until then that encounter will be useless.)

24
Ideas / Alien Artifact ID Scheme [semi-SPOILERS]
« on: March 02, 2017, 11:59:38 PM »
So ever since they were introduced, Alien Artifacts showed their art but not their other stat details until identified, usually by using them. Art was a meta method one could rely on to identify one immediately on obtaining it. This was a temporary approach aimed at being a little more lenient when it came to learning which do what before actually using them. Then Scanalyzers became capable of at least identifying anything, so for Alpha 14 I finally removed that bit of meta--no art until they're identified, as with other parts. Of course with experience it's still possible to guess what some are via slot count or mass (though this isn't as reliable as art). And this change also brings to the forefront one of the Core Reset Matrix's many uses--to automatically identify all artifacts.

Now I think the ID situation here is about right, but maybe there is some desire or need to be able to distinguish unique unidentified artifacts from one another, in case you have duplicates? Duplicates aren't all that common, but do happen with a few items. One of the possibilities here would be to assign each unique artifact a random un-ID'ed name at the beginning of each run, e.g. AA04, AA07..., as we see with potions and scrolls in many roguelikes.

Any other ideas on this subject?

25
Announcements / Greenlit! And what is "1.0"?
« on: March 02, 2017, 02:59:33 AM »
Cogmind was Greenlit on February 28th, the same day of its first update since putting it up for voting two weeks before (possibly somewhat related :D). A big thanks to everyone who voted, helping Cogmind take the first big step towards introduction to a wider audience!



So of course the next big question is when will Cogmind actually come to Steam?

Well, Alpha 14 just went out, and following that we still have one more major release to do, the final content update that will add in the last map we need to be considered "story complete" (a map which only a small handful of people are even aware is a place...). My thoughts in recent months have generally assumed I'd call that the great 1.0 milestone, launching on Steam as a "full game"... and then just keep on working from there. While Cogmind has been fun and polished for a long while now, there are certainly more optional maps I'd like to add, as well as plenty of other mechanics and more add-on content/features. But when I first went to write this announcement about Greenlight, the additional realities and implications of a full launch suddenly hit me, and the alternative I'd never really taken seriously started to seem like a good idea in some respects: Steam EA.

So I took a little while to think on it, and believe it's best to not immediately declare 1.0 at that milestone, but rather put Cogmind in Early Access and gradually work towards it, in the process adding some of these "post-1.0" ideas I've been wanting to get to.

Keep in mind that this decision has no negative impact on long-term development. My planned feature list is unchanged (heck I've no doubt it'll keep growing), it is essentially a change in name only, one that seems more in line with signaling that "there's even more to come!" In the short term, the good news for everyone here would be that this means Cogmind will come to Steam sooner :).

I'll admit that from a business angle this is possibly a poorer route when compared to a concerted push for 1.0, but it's actually better for development, and I've always been about doing whatever's best for the game and its players. I'll be able to continue working on updates while gradually tending to the other aspects involved with an eventual full Steam launch, rather than having to pause progress for a while in order to sort all that out at once before 1.0.

TL;DR: Let's not call the huge milestone "1.0," but instead do Steam EA and just keep running with more features, which we were going to do anyway. Might as well clearly signal that there's lots more to come by calling it Early Access, even if by pretty much anyone's standards Cogmind long ago ceased to be an "alpha" or "EA" game.

On the subject of versions, although I've been using the Alpha designation for public releases, Cogmind technically has pure version numbers, every single one starting with 0.10 (plus the date of the release), essentially meaning "Numbers? Bah! This is just the foundation on which all future releases are built--1.0 is a myth." Roguelikes especially are known to have plenty of room to evolve new features like that :D. Would the EA versions maybe be called something else to differentiate them from what came before? Maybe switch from, say, Alpha 16 to "Release 17," picking up wherever we leave off?

Anyway, what exactly does "come to Steam sooner" mean? Some time in Q2 seems reasonable. I still have to work on setting up the necessary business arrangements (ugh), and that involves factors I'm quite unfamiliar with, making it hard to be specific. Development-wise, any time after Alpha 15 is fair game, so it'll mostly be a case of seeing how the non-game situation develops.

And the full release after that? Whenever it seems convenient, really. I'll want to wait until the right launch window, which could play a significant role, but none of that has any bearing on what's most important: more features and polish :)


For the interested, here are Cogmind's lifetime Greenlight stats:

A good number of followers to start with :D

And here you can see how most of the traffic arrived in the first couple days, much more quickly than... everything else :P (The only advertising I did was on the first day, telling people in the usual places that Cogmind was on Greenlight--no press)

(The little uptick at the end is existing players who hadn't heard already learning about it via the Alpha 14 update.)

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