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Author Topic: Released: Alpha 7  (Read 2229 times)

Kyzrati

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Released: Alpha 7
« on: March 22, 2016, 08:20:47 PM »

Whew! The longest dev cycle yet has come to an end.

Alpha 7 is ready.

As planned, work on this release was especially involved because it also had to finish laying the foundations for a completely different part of the world: caves. In that respect I've actually already gotten a good head start on Alpha 8, since its features are so closely intertwined with Alpha 7 that I had to skip ahead to work on that stuff for a bit.

Once again I've put together a collection of preview gifs and images you can browse to check out some of the visual features.

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

Caves!

All those locked exits in the Factory? Pretty much all of them are now open for business :D

That said, most of them don't yet lead all the way to their intended destinations. There are four cave branches in all, of which one has been completed. The other three will dead end at locked areas (from where you can still turn around and head back upward--you won't get stuck), but I've left them accessible for a couple reasons:
  • If you want to head out that way now you can start to familiarize yourself with what is located where.
  • Those caves can still serve as helpful early exits from the Factory when necessary, and even though they don't link up with their branches yet, the caves themselves of course have their own content.

Specifically, there are two main types of caves leading away from the Factory levels: Lower Caves and Upper Caves. Upper Caves do not yet lead to accessible special maps, but Lower Caves accessed from either -7 or -6 (it's random) will lead to the one completed branch.

The caves themselves are also still a work in progress, to be further improved in Alpha 8 with more content. If you're looking to take a true tour of the caves, the next release will be much better for that, but caves are already helpful in their own right and come with a good number of encounters to discover, not to mention the new special map hidden out there somewhere... Do stop by ;)

World Map

Cogmind 7DRL (and for the most part Alpha 1), began as a more or less straight shot upward from your subterranean starting point to the surface, but now we have a growing number of branches providing alternative routes.

We're at the point where taking certain routes will preclude others, so those players who want to attempt route planning will want to learn the rules behind how the world is structured, and making use of the world map is a good way to form that understanding over time.

Among the new features, there are also multiple methods to learn in advance where in the world certain areas are situated, important since they're not always at the same depths. This requires checking the map for a visual representation. Mouse users can click the new MAP button in the bottom right corner of the HUD to open it, and anyone can press Backspace or F9 to open/close it as well. (The Up/Down keys can be used to navigate the map display in kb mode.)

You can read more about the world map and the design process behind it on the dev blog.

Difficulty

Alpha 7 is more challenging than Alpha 6, reversing the general trend towards an easier game we've been seeing since Alpha 1.

For one, Hunters are back to their deadly selves again, plenty willing to shoot you through walls, and are even armed with a third weapon now. Terrifying.

And for the masochistic, if you can figure it out there is a new way to make the latter half of the game more difficult (or at least somewhat "different," because the difficult aspect is balanced against new advantages).

Those having trouble with the mid-game might find it a little easier because you'll be able to escape into the caves. The balance there hasn't yet been settled though, since they're incomplete, so it's hard to say whether this would definitely make progress easier. It will depend on player strategy, and luck, seeing as these are branches ;).

Recycling Units

The gradual revision of interactive machines has begun with Recycling Units.

You'll find them quite useful now, since you can hack or shoot them to retrieve parts hauled away by those thieving Scavengers. Of course using the shooty method is also likely to damage the goods (more so if you use powerful weapons).

Repair Stations, Fabricators, and Scanalyzers are all on the list to get a similar treatment, it's just a matter of when.

The UI Stays

After taking all the UI analysis feedback into consideration, I decided the best course of action for Cogmind is to keep the grid resolution as is rather than reduce it in order to enable larger fonts on smaller screens. To compensate, I did spend more time adding new fonts for Alpha 7, while also improving on some of the original ones.

The default text font has also been changed at all resolutions, and I'm growing rather fond of the new one. Of course all the old options still remain, so combined with the new ones there are a heck of a lot of choices (but yes we'll continue to get even more eventually :P).

Let me know what you think of the new fonts, especially Smallcaps!

The full Alpha 7 (0.10.160323) changelog:

* NEW: Branch maps "Lower Caves"
* NEW: Branch maps "Upper Caves"
* NEW: Branch maps "Proximity Caves"
* NEW: Branch map "[redacted]"
* NEW: World Map! (Backspace/F9/new "MAP" button) (examine your route, and possibly learn layout in advance)
* NEW: Score sheet contains list of complete route taken through the world, by depth and map
* NEW: New category of interactive machines: Derelict terminals
* NEW: More lore to uncover in dozens of terminal records
* NEW: Learn many forms of intel about areas before visiting them, including depth, zone layouts, trap/machine/guard locations and more
* NEW: New special item type akin to Data Cores: Derelict Logs (effect unrelated, though they are similarly auto-collected)
* NEW: New Trojan hack (secret)
* NEW: Some Trojans and brute force hacks can now be learned via in-game/in-theme methods, as can the access code to Recycling
* NEW: 1 new prototype robot
* NEW: 4 new Derelicts
* NEW: Several new types of drone bays, with corresponding unique drones
* NEW: A dozen new rare parts
* NEW: First alien artifact!
* NEW: A couple dozen more encounter types
* NEW: One more story-related major NPC encounter (new NPC robot class)
* NEW: Target robot system corruption increases chance of hacking success (+X/3%)
* NEW: Minor NPC dialogue now animates over the map itself, color-coded by relation w/speaker
* NEW: Scene descriptions no longer confined to the log, shown as cyan messages over the map
* NEW: Mouse users can pan map by holding Shift and simply moving cursor
* NEW: Stockpile intel from terminal hacks also provides item-specific map labels on request
* NEW: Attempting to move while severely overweight will give a warning before the first such move in a while
* NEW: Four new size 12 font options (720p): "Tall", "Smallcaps", "Fuzzy", "Tallcaps" (8 total options at that size now)
* NEW: Smallcaps typeface manually scaled to 8 additional sizes in three variants (Cogmind includes over 100 font bitmaps now)
* NEW: Second variant of the 14/Terminus font, crisper with some glow to it
* NEW: Initial tutorial messages include a notice about changing the text font
* NEW: 24 more score sheet entries (total = 434)
* NEW: Added Ctrl-PrtScn as duplicate command for PrtScn, for players with PrtScn already assigned to an external program
* NEW: More Recycling Unit features, including component storage and hack or shoot to retrieve stored components
* NEW: Mining Claw may on rare occasions rip parts from target and put them directly into your inventory (or drop if space insufficient)
* NEW: All hover propulsion gives a +5% to dodge when not overweight or in stasis (e.g., hover now has half the flight bonus)
* NEW: All supporter names registered since Alpha 6 added to in-game list (see Credits menu)
* NEW: All item-attribution names registered since Alpha 6 added to the item collection gallery
* MOD: Hunter armament buffed--they're scary again
* MOD: Nerfed high-level Targeting Computers, Melee Analysis Suites, Target Analyzers (too easy to stack now); buffed entry-level variants
* MOD: Nerfed high-level Sensor Array and Terrain Scanner ranges; buffed entry-level variants; all energy costs slightly lowered
* MOD: Coverage of all Storage Units halved
* MOD: Drone Bay integrity and coverage tweaked, now doubles as makeshift armor
* MOD: Exp. Signal Interpreters now more capable than Advanced variant
* MOD: Adv. Signal Interpreters can no longer detect H-88 Terminators (requires Exp. level)
* MOD: Momentum damage modifier cap for melee attacks doubled from 20%/40% to 40%/80% (non-piercing/piercing)
* MOD: Dormant, unpowered, disabled, and broken robots outside view can now only be discerned by Exp. Signal Interpreters
* MOD: Default font changed from "Cogmind" to "Smallcaps" w/glow variants (former renamed to "Cog")
* MOD: Shift-LMB to center map on cursor position works, but is now an undocumented command
* MOD: Inventory displays item sprites rather than ASCII when in sprite mode
* MOD: Intel overlays for stockpiles display item sprites rather than ASCII when in sprite mode
* MOD: Effects of Maneuvering Thrusters and Reaction Control Systems do not apply when overweight
* MOD: Behemoth core exposure reduced by 5%
* MOD: 50% increase to effect on alert level from destroying or jamming a garrison access point
* MOD: Improved visibility of projectile count on info page for multi-projectile weapons (was easy to overlook)
* MOD: Ramming non-combat robots counts as an aggressive action and they'll now flee and send out distress calls as with regular attacks
* MOD: Machine serials that used unique letters derived from the current map name now always use the first letter of that name (cosmetic)
* MOD: Garrison Access terminal seal animation improved (also fixed issue where it might not finish playing on slow machines)
* MOD: Size 10 font "All Caps" renamed to "Smallcaps"
* MOD: Some glyphs in all Terminus fonts modified
* MOD: Terminus (non-bold) fonts given a faint glow at sizes 18, 20
* MOD: Added slight anti-aliasing to 12/Terminus font to further improve readability (especially on smaller screens)
* MOD: Help screen commands for keyboard control of allies more clearly indicates how to enter required mode
* MOD: Drone Bay ASCII art tweaked
* FIX: Crash on Tab-cycling targets after causing time to pass by swapping parts before original target destroyed by another actor without having exited look/fire mode [Sylverone]
* FIX: Score sheet missing Garrison Status hack tally, throwing off the dozen hacks listed after where it should be [zxc]
* FIX: Score sheet recorded turns spent in Hub_04(d) to Armory [Sherlockkat]
* FIX: Score total for prototype IDs didn't account for those learned via hacking or Component Analysis Suites [Enno]
* FIX: Jamming a Garrison Access point via brute force hacking now applies same Programmer dispatch reduction as sealing/destroying it
* FIX: Crash on replacement of attached Processors or Hackware direct from ground while inventory full
* FIX: Basic/Imp. Signal Interpreter indicators remained on map even in view if moving multiple spaces per turn
* FIX: Overlapping simultaneous explosions could not affect the same robot more than once (Gamma Bomb Arrays etc. will be more effective now)
* FIX: Hunters could no longer track targets through walls (Alpha 6 regression)
* FIX: EMDS missing projectile name in penetration message text
* FIX: Toggling sprite/ASCII modes from the option menu (instead of via hotkey) didn't update previously seen areas until seen again
* FIX: Fullscreen successful win animation might not play out on slow machines
* FIX: Botnet trojan success text used incorrect plurality when value is 1
* FIX: Typo in new offensive hackware effect description
* FIX: 20/Terminus text font missing integrity block glyph
* FIX: Size 8 mini font wasn't grayed out in the option menu's font list while tileset active
* FIX: One line-junction glyph in the size 8 mini CP437 font misaligned

(As usual, if you haven't already, 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.)
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Josh Ge, Developer - Dev Blog | @GridSageGames