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Messages - Kyzrati

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1
Announcements / SITREP Saturday #55: Upscaled Modal Interface
« on: February 23, 2024, 05:12:32 PM »


Early this month I introduced Cogmind's first new upscaled layout option, then immediately followed up with development of our second new option! While the other option (to become the new player default) is "Semi-modal," we'll now have a third and even more extreme "Modal" layout which, as you can see in the sample above, hides away the top-side consoles in order to reclaim more of the map view.

That sample screenshot happens to be taken with optional map zoom activated as well--although I think the upscaled grid size across the board means modal layout players are less likely to need or want to zoom the map, the function is of course available and the new zoom-related QoL will come in especially useful.

With the top-side consoles hidden, message/combat logs can be opened and read in full as usual, but for convenience they'll also show temporarily over the map (adjustable count and duration), as seen here with two columns of message log data:



A mix of message log (left) and combat log (right):



Above the map are the familiar buttons for interacting with what is normally visible in those consoles:



See below for some additional sample screenshots from the Modal UI layout (open images to full size if necessary).

Early game (zoomed, 1080p):



Late game (not zoomed, 1080p):



The same scene as above, but in 1440p and using one of several new fonts added to Beta 13 (Tamsyn):



If you want to see the Modal layout in action, earlier this week I streamed a run making use of it, actually the conclusion to my last stream that began with the other/Semi-modal layout:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XolIIvhIta0

All three UI layout options are available right from the top of the Options menu (requires a restart to take effect):



More information, as well as a summary of the Semi-modal layout, can be found on the dev blog in Part 5 of the the "Full UI Upscaling" series, "Completion and Demos."


-
If you're itching to try these new layouts yourself, the good news is... they're coming next week! The results of testing have been very positive, and Beta 13 release is now scheduled for February 27th :D

2
Yeah it was intentionally set a little lower by default to avoid being annoying, since that's a core tenet of the design, to keep the map as static and low-distraction as possible, but depending on how much you rely on comments, and what for, lowering that value to make them really noticeable could be desirable and helpful--make them as annoying as you want ;)

3
The configuration feature already exists, it was introduced together with map comments when they were first added to the game, and is described in the manual under Map Comments.

You can set your interval (or turn it off) via mapCommentHighlightInterval.

Not planning to add another key for it though, you'll have to enter comment mode for that.

4
Announcements / SITREP Saturday #54: Map Zoom QoL
« on: February 16, 2024, 04:13:17 PM »


I recently finished my Adventures in Map Zooming series over on the dev blog, and the most recent and final part covers what is from a player perspective the most important zooming-related topic: QoL!

You can read the full article for every detail, but this being a set of vital new features I figure it's worth providing a quick summary here in announcement form as well.



Before we get to that, another important notice: Since last week's introduction of a new fully-upscaled UI layout, I also had the opportunity to stream that layout and demonstrate it in action while talking about its various features:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nf4pS_sph2Q

Work on modal layouts has continued this week, including the addition of our third even more modal variant I know some you have been looking forward to as well. Yep, the "Phase 4" UI is already on the way... I'll be featuring that one in my next stream.

Movement QoL

Spinning the mouse wheel is normally a convenient way to wait for turns to pass, and we wouldn't want to take that away, but many folks are already using the mouse to pan the map view around while holding Shift, and Shift-Wheel is not taken, so provides us a natural alternative for toggling zoom state rather than always requiring usage of the ZOOM button or 'z' key.



That’s low-hanging fruit, though. We’re going to need much more powerful QoL...

Beginning in Beta 13, you'll be able to manually adjust the map centerpoint to keep more focused in a particular direction of interest (important while zoomed in because the visible map area is smaller):



Non-mouse players can similarly set a manual centerpoint via keyboard, which is still fairly fast if you're familiar with jumping the examine cursor:



Keyboard players can also take advantage of several types of algorithms for automatically adjusting their centerpoint while zoomed, trying to shift the view without any manual input in order to keep interesting features visible (it seems weird and takes some getting used to, but at least in the non-modal UI layout it works as a pretty nice supplementary feature):



Offscreen Object QoL

Once you’re zoomed in on only a quarter of the normal map area, it’s literally impossible to always see everything you might need to see in every situation. We need new indicators for important objects outside the current map view, especially those which are still within FOV (and probably even attack range!).

While manually panning the map or designating a centerpoint to keep an eye on a particular direction is useful, and temporarily zooming out to get a general idea of the surroundings is another option, to save time there are a variety of new markers that can appear at the edges of the map view to denote objects in that direction. You’ll see markers for offscreen hostiles, non-hostiles (both neutral and friendly), new items, and sensor data. Each marker category uses its own unique background color, and in the case of sensor data is also darker and blinks in and out to reflect the fact that it is not a directly visible object like the others. Items are only marked until automatically labeled for the first time after entering view.

A demo of flashing offscreen zoom markers for visible robots (I have some drones out here to help demonstrate):



Threats appear on a dark red background, while non-hostile robots use dark-green. As usual, the colors used are different if colorblind mode is active.

Flashing offscreen zoom markers for new items, which use a dark gray background:



Dark offscreen sensor data markers with a low-frequency blink out effect:



Indicators are great, but still not quite enough. After all, what do you generally want to do when a new threat comes into view? A quick visual check! What exactly are they, what’s their status, do they have company, what’s the surrounding environment like... These can be important questions to answer before making your next decision, and by default Cogmind already pauses for a moment in these situations in order to let the player have a moment to take it in (and avoid accidentally wasting valuable turns), so why not also use that opportunity to automatically shift the view over to spot the threat?

Automatically shifting the view a bit more to the left as soon as a Sentry is spotted down at the end of a corridor:



Another autoshifting example, in this case simultaneously spotting enemies down two different corridors and shifting to put them all in view:



The full article has other samples, such as shifting the map view to highlight a Watcher reporting a threat to nearby allies, or entering a Heavy's potential sensor range. Automated shifting can also be applied to useful situations such as machine pings (RIF Installer discovery, Zion Terminals...).

whether zoomed or not, another new feature that became more desirable with the advent of zooming is the new HOSTILES button that can appear above the map. This serves as a reminder that there are enemies in view, and is also clickable to center on said enemies (or back on oneself):



There you have it, anyone planning to stick with the original 60-row UI layout and combining that with map zooming will likely be making heavy use of many of these features, which will also come in handy even when not zoomed in if using a new modal layout.

Progress has been so good that unless there are too many unexpected discoveries during ongoing testing, Beta 13 might just release a lot sooner than later... this month even? (I do hope that we can get some more reviews going--been a slow... years in that regard :P)

Again I'll soon be streaming further playtesting of the modal layouts, including the newest one I have yet to properly introduce. Sharing that will probably be a good opportunity to finish my other run, the melee-crab-turned-flier :)

Aside: While there's no Community section to today's announcement, I feel it's worth pointing to a recent masterpiece by u/dogawesome. They've been posting a lot of memes to r/Cogmind lately, and recently concluded with a video meme compilation that summarizes a lot of Cogmind experiences in a pretty funny way. While one could say it contains a lot of spoiler references, they're almost all so esoteric and indicated by acronyms such that you only know if you know, so maybe not really that spoilery after all. In any case, consider checking it out here for some laughs :)

5
Ah well actually yeah there are definitely some restrictions as far as placement goes, but other than that it's quite random, so they won't be right near your entrance, that's true (unless it's a special prefab or something, but we're talking random traps here).

I wasn't clear enough in that what I meant was they're not in this particular instance blocking the only path out of that part of the map. Their location is appropriately distant from your start though, yeah, as intended :)

But also as stated, theoretically though you could in fact be blocked in an area by one or more fully trapped corridors, they just won't be right nearby.

6
Ha, I think truly evil would be if they were stretched across your only entry point, as opposed to here having multiple alternative routes available there! But it is actually random so the former could indeed occur as well. Plenty of traps out there, so generate enough maps and some of them will have more brutal areas ;)

Always be prepared! Or prepared to face the consequences... (Actually specifically for chute traps some people will identify the nearest threats in advance through whatever means they can, if worried about one, like jacking a Worker.)

7
Everything REXPaint / Re: .gpl File type Support.
« on: February 10, 2024, 04:39:13 PM »
Oh cool, thanks for the indirect feature support in that case :)

8
Ideas / Re: Would smoke grenades be a good idea for Cogmind?
« on: February 07, 2024, 11:56:17 PM »
Hell yeah, lotta cool new items coming down the pipe! Just need to finish this UI interlude first so I can get back to that stuff...

9
Ideas / Re: Would smoke grenades be a good idea for Cogmind?
« on: February 07, 2024, 06:54:56 PM »
Ah, the perennial question (okay it's not all that common, but it does come up every couple years or so). This was discussed here in 2015 among related topics, and it's still the same philosophy, so nope, no smoke (or any such effect).

We do have some similar effects through parts, however, like cloaking for example, or the new upcoming ID Mask.

10
Announcements / SITREP Saturday #53: Full UI Upscaling
« on: February 02, 2024, 05:09:00 PM »


With map zooming and lots of other work already complete and ready for the upcoming Beta 13 release, early last month I began building the optional new UI layout to make everything larger! I first shared the specifications last year, and more recently have been writing about them as relevant architectural work got underway in earnest.

That series began with the new year, where you can read in Part 1 about the history and theory behind Cogmind's UI layout, where it's been and where it's going.



The current layout will continue to exist as an option, generally being the most efficient way to play, but we'll be getting a new default layout that increases the size of everything across the board by 33%. In other words, for example those of you using size 18 fonts and tiles (the majority of players), will instead be using size 24 under the new layout.

Here is a sample screenshot of the 1080p 45-row terminal layout:



And the intro image at the opening of this post can be opened to full size for a side-by-side comparison of the 1080p resolution appearance before and after the changes.

More on this project further below, but first...

Map Zooming COMPLETE

First of all a quick update for those who might be interested in the separate map zooming feature and haven't been following the blog: it is now fully implemented and works great. (This is different from the UI upscaling, which applies to the entire interface--the map can be further zoomed in addition to that.) I've documented the work behind that process in a series of articles on the blog--lots of engine work, testing, and new feature development.

The coolest part is all the related QoL that helps mitigate the drawbacks of a zoomed map view so that it's actually decently playable, which I'll be sharing in more detail later this month (the blog is kinda overflowing with content lately :P). I already demoed a lot of it in that earlier video, but it wasn't a concentrated demo, and when that info comes out in article form you'll be able to browse all the features more easily, with many samples.

However, what I'm actually working on now could in many cases make it so that you will not even need or want to to zoom the map :)

Full UI Upscaling

A couple times before, including most recently as part of my Year 10 of the Cogmind update, I shared this diagram (to scale) of my UI layout plans:



To summarize, Phase 2 is complete, and I've been making very good progress on Phase 3. As I work on it, I'm also starting to lean towards going all the way to Phase 4 with this right now, if only because it will probably be more playable overall than Phase 3, though doing so will of course take longer. It's going to happen eventually, so may as well do it now while the UI iron is hot, yeah?

Phase 1/3/4 would each represent different UI options, with Phase 2 work representing map zooming, a feature technically available regardless of layout.

If you'd like to read more about the implementation details, I've been sharing it across several articles so far:

Full UI Upscaling, Part 1: History and Theory: Background and summary of the intent and plans behind building Cogmind's fully upscaled semi-modal interface layout.

Full UI Upscaling, Part 2: Holy Mockups!: Revisiting many of Cogmind's windows to make adjustments enabling everything to fit into fewer rows for the semi-modal UI layout.


Full UI Upscaling, Part 3: Dynamic Terminal Swapping: Figuring out how to get Cogmind's many 60-row ending animations to play nicely with a 45-row terminal layout.


There's no specific timeline for completion of this project (I don't want to offer up any dates because my preference is to prioritize the addition of even more unexpected features when opportunities present themselves rather than striving to hit particular deadlines), but I will say that I hope to get this out there as soon as possible since it's already delayed what I was originally working on (the expansion proper), not to mention the last Beta release was a while ago. Unfortunately the sheer scope of this UI project has had a lot of architectural repercussions, requiring a lengthy testing process to ensure the stability and quality Cogmind is known for, as well as eventual knock-on effects like requiring me to finally redo a significant portion of Cogmind's media screenshots and info prior its release.

Anyway, quite an undertaking, and I really look forward to getting back to the Scraptown/UFD expansion when this is done some time in the next couple months. Oops, I said a date.

In the meantime, more info will be coming to the blog and elsewhere, as usual :)

Upscaled UI Demos

That's not all! You want details! I haven't recorded absolutely all the new stuff in action, but below you can see some highlights. The first 1080p screenshot I shared above was before the inventory becomes modal, which doesn't occur until you've evolved enough slots to need that space for your parts list (this isn't generally until you reach -5/Factory). Here's another scene after the inventory has switched to its modal form, accessed via that button down there at the bottom:



(All of the following images were recorded using a 1080p interface, so open them to see at their true size if necessary, and of course if you actually play using a resolution even greater than that, everything will be scaled up accordingly in use, as usual.)

Once modal, adding an item to your inventory, whether from the ground or detaching it, has a new indicator to show it went there:



Drag-dropping works normally, and you can even drag attached parts directly onto the inventory button to send them there without opening it:



We have related QoL, like situations where the inventory is automatically opened and closed for you, for example when using corresponding relevant functions of the modal 'p' part management menu:



In the above example, hitting 'p' to activate the part management menu, then 'a' for attach, automatically opens the inventory, from which '2' is selected for the Transmission Jammer, attaching it then automatically closing the inventory again. For other keyboard input options, besides toggling the inventory with 'i', simply using any key for inventory sorting or scrolling will also automatically open it.

Of course the regular old swap menu also works just fine, even when the inventory is modal, meaning opening the inventory is often not even necessary:



The inventory-first keyboard swap system has also been modified to remain compatible with a modal inventory, with automated opening/closing if necessary:



Once you've evolved enough slots, in order to keep the inventory visible for as long as possible the parts headers will also be removed to condense the list into a new format. The sidebars are clickable just like the regular CYCLE buttons, so that mouse users can retain access to that functionality if they need it:



Secondary UI windows that were in most cases designed for at least 50 rows (and to fit in the map view area, like when hacking machines), now occupy the entire height of the program, and were adjusted to fit into 45 rows as necessary. Like for items the best solution was to move their art off to the side:



Likewise, item searching has to cover the entire HUD, as well as reduce its help text area, but there's still enough room down there to show the essentials (huh, Imgur seems to have messed up the final frame of this gif xD):



The added height pressure meant that in a handful of rare cases it might be possible for robot info to not fit in 45 rows, though in all such cases the info fits if we apply the "More" button to resistances (functionality originally added to support longer descriptions for items in Beta 13):



Multiple changes were required across the content of game menu pages, which in most cases turned out as described in the earlier mockups I shared. Here's a demo of the new basic commands/button layout, and two-page access to advanced commands:



All three types of collection UIs (gallery/lore/achievements) were reworked specifically for this layout, for example achievements:



Although in the new layout those windows occupy the entire screen, they don't normally extend to all edges in the full/original layout, nor do the supporter/patron lists do so in any layout, so I've finally taken the opportunity to rework the archirtecture such that the background can be darkened while these modal windows are open (something I've wanted to do for years):



As with other secondary windows, in this layout the world map view also occupies the entire program height, and was somewhat condensed in order to fit within the limitations, but the good news (for everyone!) is that I also took this opportunity to do something else that I've wanted to do for years: speed it up. Although I started with this fun vision of a map animating the route you took to get where you are, while not too problematic in Cogmind's early years, the continued addition of new areas and potential for lengthier routes could make it a bit of a slot to view the full map in the late game, so I've rebuilt it to appear in its entirety almost instantly :D



As described in Part 3 of my series on terminal swapping, here's a demo of the new 45-row layout temporarily switching to 60 rows for the end game sequence and final screen (which would include any win animations)--the corresponding font goes from size 16 Terminus to size 12 Terminus, which I've recorded in a 720p window (though of course further shrunk here for display--open for full size):



This new "semi-modal" layout for Cogmind will likely become the new default, and can be changed in the options menu (though taking effect requires a restart):



There's a good chance that I'll be taking this development all the way to "Phase 4" right away, the even more modal layout hiding the top-side consoles as well in order to restore much more of the map view. That would become a third optional setting.

Stream

If you want to check out these features live, and ask questions, listen to dev talk, or just hang out with other players, I'll be playtesting this layout on stream next Monday (Feb. 5) starting around 7:30 PM EST for likely a few hours.

After that you'll be able to find it archived here.

UPDATE 240205: I was about to stream at the announced time today and suddenly discovered that I'm locked out of my Twitch account for about the next week xD

I tried to see if it could be resolved quickly, but no go. And I was all ready to do that stream, too :/

I'll have to reschedule the demo stream, maybe for the same time next week, but we'll see (it'll be announced separately in the forums and elsewhere...).


UPDATE 240212: Alright, as of now I'm back into my account and will schedule this upscaled stream for the same time this week, so in about 12 hours: Monday (Feb. 12) starting around 7:30 PM EST!

The results of the stream are now archived here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nf4pS_sph2Q

Wiki Replaced

Wiki links now instead to lead to this new front page with lots of links to useful information, including a separate community wiki database and tools that people have been redirected to for a while now anyway:



Beta 13 is on the way! Probably won't be more than one SITREP before then, if any, though I may put one out to highlight some of the map zooming QoL, just to once again drive home what's coming so that folks are aware :D. Oh right, Phase 4 would likely be something worth sharing in advance as well... I'm super curious what ratio of players will end up wanting to use the new layout(s), and will be eager to examine and share those stats with you all when the time comes.


11
Ideas / Re: [QoL] Request of advanced options for item labels
« on: January 31, 2024, 07:00:08 AM »
Caught me at just the right time, I guess, since I was just about to start handling a few minor things to warm up, and this would fit right in so rather than throwing it on the TODO list I decided to just go for it.

12
Ideas / Re: [QoL] Request of advanced options for item labels
« on: January 31, 2024, 02:00:33 AM »
There ya go:


13
Ideas / Re: [QoL] Request of advanced options for item labels
« on: January 31, 2024, 01:23:16 AM »
Interestingly, even as an experienced player, I wouldn't want to turn off label ratings myself, since I'm using labels rather than tiles to determine how valuable something is, and don't want to immediately read all the actual label text on first pass. (Examining tiles isn't as fast or reliable since labels can cover them if you're looking at a lot of labels.)

Anyway, everyone has their own preferences, hence why they exist :)

14
Ideas / Re: [QoL] Request of advanced options for item labels
« on: January 31, 2024, 01:16:53 AM »
Those could be some good options, sure :)

Expect them in Beta 13!

15
General Discussion / Re: How does line of sight work with structures?
« on: January 29, 2024, 04:17:23 PM »
Oh yeah it's great for tactics, making encounters and exploration much more dynamic and interesting overall.

If you need a conceptual way to think about it, consider that machines do not fully occupy every inch of space available to them in a given area--some are shorter (you can partially see over them), some are not as dense (you can see through parts of them, just not as fully/clearly), and so on.

If you've ever walked through a factory, or seen the inside of one, think of it like that. You can often see pretty far, but not quite as clearly as you can across completely open ground! (and the further you try to see the less clear things are, even if you'd be able to see what's on the other side of machines just fine if they weren't in the way, given the distance).

Solid blast doors, by comparison, block all vision of course.

16
General Discussion / Re: How does line of sight work with structures?
« on: January 28, 2024, 06:52:10 PM »
Pretty much, yep. The manual discusses robot FOV and spotting behavior in the section on Combat > Spotting:

Quote
Note that sight range is also reduced when line of sight passes through machines, making it possible in certain environments to get closer to hostiles before being spotted.

The more pieces of machinery blocking a given direction, the shorter the total line of sight in that direction.

17
General Discussion / Re: About music for Cogmind
« on: January 25, 2024, 12:54:28 AM »
Hi Jivya! Nah, I went full in on the immersion via ambient audio sources and just general background ambience. I don't think actual music is a good fit.

18
Ideas / Re: Utility: Reconfiguration Set
« on: January 23, 2024, 06:39:54 AM »
Yup, definitely know those Gundams!

Definitely fun, and although I'd love to add more if and when there are opportunities, I would say... yeah as you guessed we do sorta have things along this line ;) (Scrap Engine only sorta qualifies, but much more directly in this vein, that's essentially the
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
, which you may not have discovered yet--it is a favorite though, and very good. Oh yeah there's also the big spoiler Exo, that's gotta count here, and is one of the most powerful things in the game, though very late and deep...)

In any case, there are a few other types of tech coming in the expansion I've been working on which fall near this category as well, nearer to the beginning, though I tend to do these things in a very Cogmind-ish way for balancing purposes, yeah.

19
Strategies / Survival Tips for new players
« on: January 11, 2024, 10:02:07 PM »
Cogmind's manual includes a section on Survival Tips, some basics to help newer folks get ahead without too much frustration, and the only recommended reading from that manual for a new player, so I'm putting a copy of it here as well, for reference:



-----------------------------------------------------------------
 Survival Tips
-----------------------------------------------------------------

If you're having trouble surviving the early floors, below is a collection of spoiler-free beginners tips that will greatly improve your effectiveness.

Note some of these tips can and will be ignored by advanced players for various reasons, and you'll eventually be discovering your own play style and strategies, but in general terms they apply for new players and will help get you past early-game areas to the real challenges and fun stuff!

 Items
-------
Prefer higher-rating parts. At first the number of parts will seem overwhelming, especially if you feel the need to compare every detail to decide which you want to keep or use. While the item stat comparison info will help here (seen as red/green numbers after opening info for two items in a row), if you're having trouble deciding between two items or don't want to examine all the stats, there's a much faster method: Just compare their ratings. Ratings appear near the top of item info, and also as a number displayed next to the item name in the on-map labels, making it fairly easy to get a general idea of whether an item is worth it without even opening the info page. Prototypes, indicated with a *, are better than regular items of the same rating.

 Builds
--------
Legs are the best form of starter propulsion. They move fast enough, have a relatively high integrity, and you can salvage spares off enemy Grunts fairly easily. Avoid using wheels if possible. And generally avoid mixing propulsion, since you can't activate multiple types at once, anyway.

The safest first evolution is two propulsion slots, since an extra two legs will help block shots, and you won't have any problems carrying any amount of mass you want. If you're running out of propulsion parts to fill your slots, as long as you're not hovering or flying you should temporarily keep even deactivated propulsion attached (especially legs and treads), because they don't count against movement but can block shots. For later evolutions pick whatever you want, except Power is not usually necessary until you find yourself frequently running low on energy.

Almost all robots have static loadouts, therefore if you're looking for certain parts to put together or maintain the kind of build you want, one approach is to hunt down robots you know to use them. For example, Watchers carry sensors, and Sentries use treads and armor.

 Inventory Management
----------------------
Keep a full inventory whenever possible! Even if you don't need surplus parts right away, before long you'll need replacements as yours are destroyed. There are usually parts lying around, especially after a battle, and since inventory contents do not count against movement or have any other negative side effects, leaving it partially empty is an unnecessary waste.

Also don't leave empty part slots when possible, because filling them, even with parts you don't need or won't use, will at least help block incoming fire and protect your core.

One of the safer ways to play is to carry at least one Storage Unit, preferably a larger one, to allow for carrying more spare parts in inventory. Make sure you have an extra power source and weapons, and probably spare propulsion, too. The 't' key, or button under your inventory, is useful for type-sorting your inventory to help ensure that you have the right amount and types of spares.

 Combat
--------
Avoid unnecessary combat. It's fun to shoot everything, but until you have a better grasp of the consequences, and how to excel at combat, fighting too much only puts you at a disadvantage. That said, once you've engaged enemies in combat, try not to run as you'll probably end up running into more enemies and the situation will continue escalating.

Positioning is extremely important. At the start of combat against multiple enemies, reposition to a less-exposed position, preferably diagonal to the inside of a doorway, or a narrow corridor that can serve as a bottleneck. It's even worth taking damage in the process of repositioning, as you would likely take even more damage continuing a fight from a bad location. Fighting in the open is dangerous when not properly equipped to do so, but if you have a launcher, then by all means do it in the open!

Retreating to fight in more isolated areas also has the advantage of avoiding additional patrols that might happen upon a battle in progress. Even when not in combat, hugging walls while moving is a good way to stay less exposed and make access to nearby doors and corridors easier when necessary.

Attach replacement parts even in the middle of battle, in order to better protect your core from damage, and stay at maximum effectiveness. Attaching and swapping parts is a quick action.

 Other Robots
--------------
Shoot at Scavengers once and they'll go away. Sometimes this is a good idea even in the middle of combat, if you want to have any loot left to salvage when it's over.

If a Watcher doesn't send out an alert, that means there are no enemies nearby, otherwise be prepared!

Destroying Haulers might provide you with relatively powerful parts to attach. Other non-hostile bots are also good targets to salvage if you're low on parts or need spares to fill your inventory. They won't be good, but you never want to be without a backup power source, for example.

 Hacking
---------
Hacking machines is not too important for beginners, but as you start to get into it, be aware that if you are fully traced it's likely more units will be dispatched to that area to investigate. If you don't want company, always quit hacking a machine before the trace ends! Being initially "detected" is fine, so you can always safely hack a new machine until at least that point.

 Difficulty
------------
Lowering the difficulty setting is not likely to help teach fundamental strategies, but an alternative approach would be to set a manual seed (in the options menu) to some phrase, and repeatedly play the same world to focus on getting the hang of the mechanics, rather than dealing with so many unknowns. When you feel more confident, turn off the manual seed.

(This approach is not recommended right away. Instead, consider it after having read the other tips and tried to apply them in regular random worlds.)

 More Info
-----------
For other tips, both spoiler-free and otherwise, see the Strategy section of the forums. Links to more resources will continue to be added there in the future.

In the end, know that once you're familiar with all the mechanics and possible strategies, Cogmind is not a heavily luck-based game, and skilled players streak wins repeatedly.

20
Everything REXPaint / Re: .gpl File type Support.
« on: January 09, 2024, 09:06:35 PM »
Automated .gpl/GIMP palette importing is now included as part of REXPaint 1.7!


21
Announcements / REXPaint 1.70 released!
« on: January 09, 2024, 08:51:02 PM »
Progress on Cogmind has recently led to numerous engine improvements (and a few bug fixes), so combined with feature request patches from the past few years we're getting an official release for the new and improved REXPaint!

Big items this time around include autoscaling of font bitmaps, .gpl (GIMP) palette support, and even better .ans (ANSI art) support--for the first time REXPaint can automatically import a format other than its own!

First, the full changelog...

REXPaint 1.70 (240110) changelog:
  • NEW: Support for automated upscaling of font bitmaps (see manual under Custom and Extended Fonts)
  • NEW: .ans file automated importing and conversion (ANSI art)
  • NEW: .gpl (GIMP) palette support
  • NEW: Ctrl-v during active file naming dialog or Text tool pastes text from system clipboard (single line only)
  • NEW: Reopening REXPaint recalls the last glyph index and brush foreground/background color in use
  • NEW: Remap all layer colors to closest from current palette (Shift-Alt-p, or Ctrl-Shift-Alt-p for all unlocked layers)
  • NEW: Added full list of valid color names to skins.xt file for reference
  • NEW: Command line support for creating new image files (see manual Appendix H)
  • NEW: Command line support for opening REXPaint with specific image selected (see manual Appendix H)
  • NEW: Command line support for exporting specific image as PNG (see manual Appendix H)
  • MOD: .ans export format optimized for reduced file size
  • MOD: C:DDA image exports now also reference custom Unicode glyph assignments in cases where users may want a custom font layout besides CP437
  • MOD: Updated installation instructions with new MSVC DLL download location
  • MOD: Manual Appendix H rewritten to encompass multiple types of command line options
  • MOD: Manual Appendix I changes official C:DDA font reference to reflect switch from Unifont to Terminus, provided on website Resources page
  • FIX: Reloading all images via Browse window blocked further mouse interaction with some popups like Resize window
  • FIX: Potential rare crash due to multithreaded logging
You can download REXPaint here, and note that as of 1.04 it's also available on itch.io.

.ANS Importing!

While REXPaint has had .ans exporting for many years and could therefore be used to create traditional ANSI art, only art created from scratch using REXPaint's native format could be used to do this. Now .ans files can be imported as well!

Simply drop any .ans files into the /images/ directory structure, and on startup if REXPaint does not see any corresponding .xp files by the same name, it will automatically convert them for editing access. Although REXPaint only edits .xp files directly, you can re-export to .ans at any time. Original .ans files remain unchanged unless you choose to overwrite one with an export.

REXPaint will import and view .ans files even when ANSI mode is not active, though properly exporting to .ans again would require that mode to be active as usual. (Note: REXPaint strips SAUCE metadata when it converts .ans to .xp, and therefore does not contain any on export, either.)

Animated .ans files are beyond the scope of REXPaint and ignored--only static ANSI art is compatible.

Here is a demo of .ans conversion:



We've had text and image file importing for a while, but those are more fiddly, while this automated feature was a much bigger production. I spent a while researching the format in order to enable imports, and as a result was also able to optimize REXPaint's .ans exports to reduce the resulting file size.

(Note that one of these optimizations involves giving "cursor" instructions to skip over empty space, but if you're intending to use REXPaint's .ans exports with Discord's ```ansi feature, know that Discord's implementation of ANSI is pretty terrible and incomplete so you'll probably have to set the new ansOutputNoCursorShift cfg option to make images containing that sort of empty space compatible over there.)

Some other new features in action

Import .gpl (GIMP) palettes, for example from here, by dropping them into the data/palettes directory:




Have a tiny font that you want to increase by a whole number scaling factor? No longer do you have to manually create a separate set of bitmaps for it! Just add a new line in the font configuration file and let REXPaint do the rest:




The system clipboard can now be used to copy-paste text from another program into REXPaint's text entry tool (although this currently only supports a single line of text):




The UI will recall the glyph and colors in use when last closed, if possible:




Over a decade since the first release and REXPaint is still going :)

I've still got lots more planned, including huge features, but, you know, when I get to it :P

22
Confirmed Bugs / Re: [Beta 12] I Spy achievement.
« on: January 08, 2024, 05:18:51 AM »
Yep, good catch, those achievements were implemented back before the beta versions in which the ranges were shortened, making it easier to get them than the listed descriptions. Will have to update the internal checking (since in order to make it faster I hard-coded them to the values, even though those ended up changing in the stats :P).

23
Confirmed Bugs / Re: [Beta 12] Inconsistent machines hacked count.
« on: January 06, 2024, 02:06:24 AM »
Ah yeah, there does appear to be an issue there! It's the way those triggers are checked--you probably hacked a non-MAINC machine (which doesn't count for the achievements) as your 10th one, so it skipped the first achievement! You'll still get it on a later run normally, but yeah I'll have to fix this bit to improve the achievement detection and make it more reliable, thanks.

24
Everything REXPaint / Re: Hard wrap for ANSI mode
« on: January 01, 2024, 11:58:39 PM »
Aright I've added an option to enable a hard wrap for .ans exports.

Heres a patch you can try out and let me know how it works (should be able to just overwrite the standard download's .exe).

To use it you'll have to enable ansHardWrap=1 in the cfg file.

The earlier test comes out as


Edit: Patch removed, feature now included by default in REXPaint 1.7.

25
Everything REXPaint / Re: Hard wrap for ANSI mode
« on: January 01, 2024, 09:42:45 PM »
Mmm, in that case maybe as an option would be the safest thing to do, especially since I'm not well versed in, or making personal use of, any of the ANSI-specific side of things.

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