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Author Topic: Cogmind Beta 1: "The End"  (Read 3823 times)

Kyzrati

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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
« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 07:52:51 PM by Kyzrati »
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Josh Ge, Developer - Dev Blog | @GridSageGames