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Messages - Kyzrati

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1
Certainly the ASCII is going to be a bit easier to read (and give you that "bolder" feeling) with its lower detail and therefore less of a need to reserve pixels for different sub-elements. The tiles have to fit in a 12x12 area, and that's not much to work with! Letters, by contrast, aren't too hard to fit into that :)

2
Ooh, switching to ASCII mode :D. It's even more thematic and I certainly enjoy it myself, though when showing the game to others I tend to use tiles, or at least switch back and forth between the two, since the average person can get a somewhat better idea of what's going on that way :P

Too bad about the expedition into the deep--surviving that area is definitely for the tough and hardy!

3
Seems to be improving a bit, at least, though currently not yet enough that I can continue work without possibly causing another relapse... Fingers crossed that the next week or two of my new approach will help.

But yeah at least I finally figured out all that tax and business stuff, which had worried me for a while and was pretty boring to deal with!

4
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.

5
Terrain scanners are definitely useful, especially at long ranges. To effectively find stairs you'll want a scan processor as well, but even without one the bits of scattered terrain hints can inform your exploration strategy and help you escape more quickly. Try one out if you find something with decent range.

Playing, on the other hand...even when I'm not recording, I tend to get a little too into it!
Me too :P. I'll start playing to test a new pre-release version for any glaring issues, which only requires playing a map or two, and a couple hours later I'm a dozen maps in, heh.

6
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!)

7
Wow, long run, and almost a win! I wanted to see how the last floors went down for you, but I guess you didn't upload those parts? (Needed to get through them more quickly to try to keep up, eh? :P Streaming/recording does slow things down...)

Kyz, you mentioned 'proper stair discovery methods', would you care to elaborate?
I just wandered around, hoping to run into the stairs, which is leaving it up to luck, and the maps are so large that a lack of luck can kill non-fast bots. I didn't even rely on proper strategy for that approach, because honestly I did find an exit, and plenty early on, but it was to the caves and I decided to look around more for a different exit. One can't be choosy if using the "randomly luck into exits" method! So that was my fault.

"Proper methods" would mean mostly hacking or terrain scanning, and sometimes Zion intel if available (but that one can come down to luck as well, so it's not as reliable).

I actually had a bunch of hackware in my inventory, so I clearly could've played that better, too. I was saving it for Access to do my hacking there (where it's even more important), but, well, I think I need to focus on short-term survival just a bit more xD

8
but I have no way of testing that since I don't actually own a non-English keyboard.
On Windows at least you don't actually need a real keyboard--you can use the virtual keyboard, which can be set to any of the common ones fairly easily. Like I don't have a French keyboard, but I was able to pull up an AZERTY keyboard on screen and click keys to test out the system. It's how I tested this rebinding system (with Dvorak, too), the development of which I wrote more about here.

I got around this limitation by programming a key command (mapped to Ctrl+Tab IIRC) to toggle the remapping of the other keys...
Ah yeah, that would be important :P. In Cogmind there's the manual hacking interface (and name/seed entry), which the 7DRL didn't have.

9
General Discussion / Re: New fonts/tiles for the old prototype
« on: August 05, 2017, 04:25:04 AM »
Speaking of missing tiles, is there (or will there be) a tile location/description list for the commercial game, similar to the prototype's list?
Something like that eventually, yes. In fact it already exists (of course the pixel artists needed one!), it's just not public because I would have to write up more instructions, and it'll still be expanding somewhat as well (plus it contains spoilers!). It'll become available at some point, perhaps not until after 1.0, though it also depends on Steam community reception.

10
Nope, in the 7DRL those two places are the only way to find them all (it's just two lists! pull up the manual2 list next to a copy of the game and that's everything).

That sounds like a really cool project though!

I wonder if an external solution like that would be feasible for modern Cogmind players using non-English keyboards, since I probably won't be able to support all of them internally.

11
Competitions / Re: Weekly Seed #91 [Beta 2.1] [Seed: GuidedRemoteWheel]
« on: August 04, 2017, 07:11:09 PM »
Ah welcome back, sve9 :). Always nice to see some old names, and yup there's definitely been a ton of stuff added since back then!

The early game went pretty well, although I had a hard time finding storage units on -10.
In situations like that you can also start with Sml/Med units from Recyclers/Haulers. (For me mediums are more or less the same as large anyway because when I carry the latter I also pack it with a spare, which takes up half the additional space :P)

I'll be doing this seed run next week some time... need to get a win in after several humiliating defeats now xD

12
General Discussion / Re: New fonts/tiles for the old prototype
« on: August 04, 2017, 07:00:12 PM »
Oh for sure, I was also considering having a version of your gradient font in there, too, though I've already added so many fonts--plus it's yours--that this is probably not something I'd do on my own anyway.

I'd wait until I make a public guide about adding new fonts/tilesets and you can add it yourself :P. In that case it would be an external add-on, anyway (separate download), and you can credit yourself any way you like. (I prefer not to add stuff by other people to the official game package because it's a commercial project and I'd need a contract and other boring things.)

But yeah the current Cogmind only uses square fonts for the map, and all other text is rectangular for easier reading, so the font as is wouldn't be usable for text (which kinda defeats the purpose xD). Might be interesting to apply a gradient to one or more of the existing text fonts, though. That style seems to work best on thick fonts, especially those that take up a lot of vertical space within their cell.

13
General Discussion / Re: New fonts/tiles for the old prototype
« on: August 04, 2017, 06:02:16 AM »
Oh man that looks really neat, as expected. Now I really want learn to play with it just for fun. (We can get a version for the new Cogmind at some point as well :D)

14
Hm, not sure how something like this would really work, not on the UI level but in terms of the console architecture.

I'd have to see a sample use case to have a better idea of the ultimate goal, but even then I don't think it could be supported without adding this as a feature to the engine itself, which would slow the whole thing down.

That and not including it in the .xp format would be kind of annoying (loses it's long-term value...), but adding complexity to the format isn't something I'd want to do, either. We'll see what happens in the future--a feature like this would be beyond a lot of other higher priorities at the moment (which are all themselves still sitting behind the highest priority: finishing Cogmind xD).

15
Everything REXPaint / Re: Show off your REXPAINT creations
« on: August 04, 2017, 05:51:06 AM »
I've also been adding stuff to the gallery for reference, including another batch just a few days ago.

16
General Discussion / Re: New fonts/tiles for the old prototype
« on: August 03, 2017, 10:17:15 PM »
Hahaha, a binary font?! That'd be pretty awesome if someone picked that up. At a larger size even, just so it's more readable (though one would still have to get used to interpreting it). That sounds like an interesting challenge, and a fun way to confuse the hell out of people while streaming :P

17
General Discussion / Re: New fonts/tiles for the old prototype
« on: August 03, 2017, 07:41:57 PM »
Thanks for posting it here--I've been following your work as you occasionally shared progress elsewhere over the past months :)

I really like the text font in your sample screenshot there, with the way its subtle gradient helps distinguish separate lines while still allowing for large, thick fonts. It also adds a lot of sci-fi character. Really nice job!

And wow that's a great page of summary screenshots, kinda like what I did with the new previews <3. The map ASCII with gradients look cool, too. (And I wouldn't call the 6x6 version ugly, just tiny :P)

I recognized those weapon art influences--"unknown artist L" is ShroomArts, by the way.

I've linked your work from the 7DRL site's files page. (Directs here to give it a little more context than just the github page.)

18
Everything REXPaint / Re: Show off your REXPAINT creations
« on: August 03, 2017, 07:10:11 PM »
Animation and mockup look really nice! It would seem odd to many that you'd stick with RP for what is mostly pixel work, but I guess it does force you to make interesting decisions, as well as impact how you break everything down to begin with.

19
Aaahhh, strategic miscalculation :P

Died on -4 because I decided not to take the exit I found early on, instead running all over the Factory floor looking for a way straight up (randomly, without actually focusing on proper stair discovery methods xD)

I didn't stream this one because I couldn't find an opportunity when my son wasn't around and others might be around to watch (he was out in the afternoons instead of morning). We also had a typhoon that knocked out the power (and another one the night after that!).

But it was a pretty different run for me because for the first time my son actually decided to sit down for several chunks of it and got interested. (Before this he'd just seen a few gifs.) I was explaining how all the rules worked, what different robots were doing, and about the tactical circumstances I was finding myself in... He even came up with some proper strategies! That was rather surprising, hearing him suggest that I do something that even other beginner (adult) players don't necessarily realize.

It was kinda like a private stream for an audience of one :P

This time I intentionally sought out Zion for the imprinting, which I haven't done for a while. Left in great shape.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I was certainly feeling confident here, with this build that can annihilate almost anything. Was pretty awesome for a while--one volley = one scrapped bot.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

On -4 I found the exit quickly, but it was caves and I decided to keep exploring. After all, I was in okay shape and had quite a lot of explosives :D
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Overall my build was pretty weird, though, a combat bot often using lots of different infowar parts.

This particular corridor in -4 was what wore me down. It was pretty obvious that was going to happen, but I can't help myself--forge ahead! (into repeated squads...)
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Died in this room after a bit :(
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
I did take out the Hunter by stabbing it to death, but was so slow that it beat me up pretty badly and my core was almost nothing by the time the programmers and assault ARC came through both doors xD (They were obviously getting really mad at me by this point!)

Still haven't won a Beta 2 run! Two extremely close calls in the previous runs, and then this--oops. All were obvious mistakes though... (and for some reason every time I go with Zion I end up getting my butt kicked even worse! Warlord, on the other hand...)

Spoiler: Score: 18,109 (click to show/hide)

20
General Discussion / Re: Improving the Tutorial for New Players
« on: July 27, 2017, 01:59:35 AM »
Yeah I'm sure eventually on Steam with more players that will be quite effective, as it's what other games do as well. Not everyone guesses (or notices) there are already some decent simple guides here and linked from other places. I'm pretty familiar with the fundamental areas players are having trouble with, so it'll be easy to come up with a quick list for the manual and will start with that next version.

And I believe that once players who do need help internalize a few simple strategies they'll be able to get a lot further by continuing to improve skills on their own. At least that's what we've seen so far...

21
General Discussion / Re: Improving the Tutorial for New Players
« on: July 26, 2017, 06:33:43 PM »
These questions from beginners are to be expected because of how different Cogmind's world is from other roguelikes (and games in general), but I don't feel that it's a standard roguelike tutorial's place to teach tactics and strategy, which is where these players are primarily failing. (As you mention, what they need are "tips and strategy guides.") Modern games do tend to hold players' hands and provide that kind of assistance, but I wanted Cogmind to be more about closely observing the world to figure out how to survive.

That said, it's easy to be overwhelmed because there is a lot going on, on multiple levels, so it does seems to take a more dedicated, relatively skilled player to learn quickly enough how to survive the early game, or someone who just goes and reads a list of tips from an outside source, like our beginner's guides here :P

On my list of features under consideration is an in-game tips/strategy help system, but I'm reluctant to add it because it ruins the atmosphere I want to create,
and more or less the same results can be achieved by reading an outside guide. (Note the in-game tutorial is for mechanic purposes only.)

I could also add a basic survive guide as an early section of the manual itself, and suggest players who are having trouble read that (it could even include some spoilers and a spoiler warning). The tutorial messages could mention it as well, after a number of early deaths. This is the first thing I'd try, as it's the least intrusive.

22
Announcements / Update 170725 - Beyond the Beyond
« on: July 25, 2017, 12:48:03 AM »
Well I wasn't going to release more updates prior to Steam, but that could be a while and the manual bug introduced in Beta 2 could be quite annoying for new players who pick it up between now and then, convincing me to put together a package worthy of a minor patch. Thus we have Beta 2.1 "0b10 Decoder," which includes some new parts, item stats in the gallery, and a batch of tweaks and fixes.

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

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

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

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

23
Of course Raine has to show me up with such a decent run :)

The hero part was a Katana I had at the beginning and managed to keep all the way
Same! It's always that last melee weapon that brings you back from the brink, I love it :D

24
Strategies / Re: Master Trapper: What i think about it
« on: July 21, 2017, 08:39:20 AM »
Yeah you can't plan for it, or a handful of other really special items. And the total number and variety of such items will quite likely increase in the future. It's nice that way, though, because then they can be intentionally designed to be OP and fun :D

25
Alrighty, well thanks for the info! I've found and resolved it.

It's an older engine-based method of showing warning and error messages that wasn't fully compatible with the newer display methods introduced after the 7DRL. It was normally being overdrawn by the map so you couldn't actually see the messages at all, but if you open the hacking window it actually stops drawing the map, thus allowing the engine message to appear (garbled due to the display incompatibility). It does this for simple warning messages, too, and there are a few of those when starting up a regular game, so if you open the hacking within withing 5 seconds of load, the temporary message display duration has not yet expired and will freeze there, continuing to show until you close the window and let the map overdraw it. We shouldn't be seeing these anymore.

Whew :P

The glyphs just seem to blend well within the hacking environment, as if the glyphs are the codes that Cogmind was trying to decode. Definitely feels like the least bug-like to me.
Yeah that's why I decided not to fret over that one in particular. I've basically just been waiting for someone else to notice and confirm/report it before bothering with it again.

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