Official development blog

Teleportation Mechanics

Teleportation. It’s cool. You like it. Your enemies maybe not so much.

The ability to teleport across short and/or long distances to instantly arrive at some destination is fairly common throughout the roguelike genre. Although teleportation can be used for tactical repositioning, or to perhaps reach otherwise unreachable areas (especially if the target is controllable), one of its most common applications is as one of many possible “escape” methods.

Sometimes you find yourself in situations where you’re at a significant disadvantage and would really like some sort of “reset” option, a perfect opportunity for teleporting. There might be drawbacks, like ending up in a worse situation than you left because you can’t control the destination, though as in any roguelike gameplay calculation you weigh the potential costs against the benefits.

Cogmind generally has fewer such direct escape options, but teleport mechanics are out there, if an advanced tech not usually available until the late game.

As a general concept teleportation technology exists in quite a few varieties throughout the world of Cogmind, though the player only has access to some of them. I’m going to go ahead and just make this a SPOILER discussion as far as game content goes, so that I can write freely about related mechanics, so maybe don’t read this one if you’re spoiler averse and not familiar with teleporting.


So the first and primary form of teleportation is the original alien tech, Transdimensional Reconstructors. These offer very little control over direction, although based on their rules if you’re aware of the surrounding terrain you can possibly get a decent idea of where one might send you given your current position. The High-powered variety has a pretty significant range boost as well.


Have a clip from my epic September 2020 stream (eventually a Warlord extended win), which was challenged to teleport when things were getting a little iffy, then they got just a little more iffy xD

These were also more recently expanded to support group teleporting--Cogmind and all nearby robots, but it’s only possible to create one of those in a single run (if that), essentially added for a fairly specific use in the extended game.


Come one, come all! No wait not like that.

Aside from those, there is the even more chaotic Navigation Efficiency Matrix, which forces unlimited but unpredictable repeat teleporting (basically “teleportitis” in roguelike terms). Like TRs it causes enemies to lose track of your position, which can be great for losing pursuers, but can also make travel quite difficult and if enemy density is high can even repeatedly put you right in their crosshairs while you’re trying to get away.


NEM has a reputation for being annoying, but also has its perks.

Unlike teleportitis in other roguelikes, NEM is “incurable” and stays with you for the remainder of the run, so it’s important to not acquire it unless you have plans to take advantage of the effect. It’s also possible to unintentionally acquire its effect if not careful in a certain area, so those who are aware of NEM’s mechanics might take measures to avoid that possibility, or maybe just risk it :)

The incurability aspect was important for balance, since being able to control the duration or timing of its effect, even broadly, would be far too powerful in Cogmind. While it’s possible to first activate it at a desired time, which affords at least some level of control, the inability to ever turn it off again always looms with the potential to cause regrets…


The thing is, in any form (even a random one!), teleporting is a crazy good ability, so we need strong limitations on it to avoid abuse or simply circumventing many of Cogmind’s challenges.

For TR-based teleportation, that limitation is their single-use nature, a pure consumable. It’s a nice hopefully-get-out-of-jail-free card for your inventory, and you can collect as many as you want to fit, though taking up inventory space for each such one-shot opportunity is an obvious drawback, too, so you need to decide just how many it’s worth carrying for your intended goals or play style.

NEM and its chaotic effect is a whole different ball game that can be great for some builds, but there’s always the chance it’ll mess you up, so it takes a special embrace-the-chaos sort of mindset to use. Extreme randomness aside, its primary drawback is the fact that it cannot be stopped once started, leaving even less room for control.

Controlled Teleporting?

What Cogmind doesn’t have is a consistent way to do controlled teleports. Part of the reason such a mechanic was never originally considered is for input reasons--aside from attacks and hacking, which are direct in nature, Cogmind does not have a concept of arbitrary non-FOV targeting input, and I wanted to avoid adding such a method because it starts to suggest all sorts of other indirect targeting abilities, which become new ways to unnecessarily slow the gameplay. By extension teleportation ends up being more of the random variety.

Technically we do already have some teleport control, in fact very precise control, by combining TRs with Dimensional Node Initializers, but that requires having both of the necessary components and also having visited the intended destination beforehand to set up the node. It is a way to make a perfect escape back to a specific location, but obviously that is for preparing specific strategies rather than a general use case.


Oops no that’s the wrong gif, don’t do that.



That’s better, although still not necessarily worth using up these potentially valuable tools, just a random scenario I recorded to demonstrate these items being used together.

Back in NEM’s earlier history when it was still under consideration for more serious mechanical adjustments, among those adjustments I thought about giving it a controllable teleport role, allowing you to stack multiple NEM in order to gain the ability to influence its direction through your prior movements, just still not always doing precisely what you want. I decided against that approach after seeing how others played with the NEM (and trying it myself), which seems to be in an okay spot.

So here we are in 2023 still without a way to manage controlled teleports, what do we do? How about we add one, maybe using this new type of charging mechanism (described towards the end).

In fact I have two new concepts for teleportation tech, which is kinda funny because of how they evolved out of the same idea. Some time ago I wrote some notes on a particular type of derelict likely capable of teleporting. Then more recently while away from those notes, and having forgotten many of the details, I jotted down a few more notes on the subject. When it came time to implement this feature last month, I discovered both sets of notes and realized they were describing two somewhat different systems! Both can fit into the lore rather nicely, though, and in fact be related to one another.

One form of this tech will be introduced now, and the other belongs elsewhere in the lore, a source which I’m not sure whether or when will ever be realized, since as I see it now it’s beyond the 1.0 horizon.

Personal Teleporter v0.10

You may have spotted this little thing among all the art I shared for new items last time:


…or not because there was a ton of art samples collected there xD

That is the Personal Teleporter. Clearly an early version of it because it’s not super precise… but it is controlled!

Once fully charged, which takes some time and energy as explained in my deep dive on that mechanic, your next move in any cardinal or diagonal direction will send you off in that general direction, and through any obstacles blocking the way.


A double personal teleport. Normally you’d at most probably have just one, but I’m testing it so I get two ;)

Like with microwarping and spacefolding (also somewhat comparable forms of teleport-like movement!), the interface will warn before your movement command is interpreted as a teleport in case you want to turn it off instead of flying off through the nether and using up your precious charge.

As part of this update I also improved the mouse behavior as it works with both this and microwarping, so that it will always immediately take that action on the first step (and highlight the intention as such) rather than moving to a more distant selected target location then warping, as it currently does in Beta 12.


While the Microwarp Drive is active, you can see the usual one-step highlight of an adjacent cell indicating direction.

Now just while you’re thinking you got off easy, time to hit you with the drawbacks (no, silly, simply needing to charge the PT is not a massive drawback compared to what you get!).

First a little relevant dev note: When creating new item-based mechanics, internally I’ll generally use more generic names for effects. In other words the name “reconstructor” would not be used in the source code, since that’s specifically an item name, which 1) who knows, may change for whatever reason and it’s a public-facing name for that specific instance of a mechanic and 2) multiple different items could use the same ability with different values, so we don’t want an internal name that matches only one or another. The Personal Teleporter’s capability is known as a “rough teleport,” and now you get to find out why it earns that name (or you can stop reading now and find out later? spoilers :P).

The thing is, not everything that goes through this process might make it to the other side, or at least not take the exact same path to the destination area.

Yes if you’re feeling lucky (and are actually lucky :P), everything will go swimmingly and you’ll be on your merry way, but there is also a decent chance that one of your parts will be ripped off and flung over to some other nearby location. Or may simply not make the trip with you at all. Or if you’re really unlucky it could get stuck in subspace forever.


I didn’t need my reactor anyway.

So a teleport may result in a need to put yourself back together, if you have the luxury, which if you’re teleporting you may not exactly have, yeah? And if your part was left at the origin (not nearly as common, but it happens!), then if it was something really important you might have to try to find a way back, or do without. There are some other nuances in there which I won’t get into, but anyway, “rough” yeah? :)

I can see some people having a lot of fun with this thing, and I imagine it could get tweaked a bit after playtesting, but there are a good number of levers to tweak with this one.

It should also be noted that this cruder form of directional teleporting doesn’t lose any pursuers, unlike other more random teleportation capabilities, though the ability to pass through walls is probably sufficient to escape a lot of trouble when necessary (albeit perhaps at the cost of losing something, though to be honest my guess is the current cost vs. benefit is generally going to lean towards the latter in most cases!).

After the Personal Teleporter I also added a second source of “rough teleports” which is less rough, though quite challenging to find and has another kind of limitation.




As part of this expansion, I’ve also updated the scoresheet calculations to include all forms of teleportation for that particular tally, whereas before it was purely TR types. So NEM and/or the new PT could inflate those numbers if and when acquired, which will also be obvious causes noted in the history log. The Subspace Traveler achievement will also be earned through any of these methods. Early on we only had one form of teleportation, so it’s about time to update these other bits in tandem. The Rincewind achievement is still specifically TR use, since that’s a challenge achievement rather than being discovery-oriented, aimed at acquiring that many TRs to begin with.

Happy teleporting!

This is the second post in a series on new item mechanics. I won’t be covering anywhere near everything (or even the coolest mechanics because I don’t like to spoil much :P), but some of these also offer a chance for relevant discussion of the bigger picture:

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