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Author Topic: Cogmind Beta 11 "Mechanical Renaissance"  (Read 8914 times)

Kyzrati

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Cogmind Beta 11 "Mechanical Renaissance"
« on: March 17, 2022, 05:51:48 PM »



Today on Cogmind's 10th anniversary, I'm excited to announce the release of a massive update, in the works for more than a year now. Inside you'll find a huge array of new challenges, more fun mechanics, and most importantly an extensive rebalancing aimed at improving every aspect of the experience. Beta 11 has been heavily playtested across a dozen large prerelease versions by patrons helping fund its development (HUGE THANK YOU <3), and having played a lot of it myself, I agree that it's by far Cogmind's best version yet. Time to share it with everyone!

Cover art by Zyalin, feast your eyes upon the 1080p version for more detail.

This release is so massive we're going to deviate a bit from Cogmind's normal announcement format, starting with a summary of major features and changes existing players will want to be aware of, followed by a changelog excerpt listing only the more important entries, then the usual feature details and demos.

The Big Picture

Before we get into details, with Beta 11 it'll be helpful to have a simpler guide through the most important balance-related aspects of this mammoth release, especially for those of you who definitely aren't going to read much beyond the first bits of this announcement or the articles backing it (there is a lot of writing behind the development of this release over on the dev blog).

Have some bullet points!
  • Easily the biggest paradigm shift in Beta 11 is giving all storage units the <no_stack> tag, and redesigning storage capacity around this idea. No longer will you be potentially allocating numerous utility slots just to expand inventory size, freeing up those slots for more interesting utilities, of which you'll find many in Beta 11! :D
  • Hover and flight were too similar overall, with the latter form of propulsion in particular capable of surprisingly powerful builds despite also having the ability to easily reposition or avoid danger. Lowered mass support has now shifted them more towards the intended evasion/hacking role, at which they also do a better job due to lowered energy costs. This is part of the wider efforts to further differentiate builds and parts in general in Beta 11.
  • Ground-based propulsion overweight penalties were also adjusted to make it somewhat less desirable to shrug off that drawback with insufficient consequences, while doing so remains a viable strategy for some builds.
  • The number and types of challenges in the main Complex 0b10 areas have increased, and that also generally means greater difficulty, though Cogmind now also has even more tools at their disposal, alongside a greater number of better balanced options that might not have been as viable before. As usual the alternative difficulty settings (Adventurer/Explorer) have been updated to make adjustments to new content so it's less punishing for players looking to reduce the challenge there (adjustments listed in the usual place in the manual).
  • Fabrication was redesigned such that each Fabricator can only be hacked to build something once, unless using Authchips (which also avoid the new consequences of successful fabrication). Fabrication is still a useful supplementary tool, though unlikely to be able to create almost complete builds from scratch as before.

I'll be discussing some of these topics in greater detail further below.

Cogmind Beta 11 "Mechanical Renaissance" (220317) changelog (excerpt):

I divided the changes up categorically this time since it's... long :P

Content
  • NEW: 1 new intermap area "DSF" (Distributed Storage Facility)
  • NEW: 61 new items (including new mechanics)
  • NEW: 49 new sound effects (total = 1089)
  • NEW: 2 new types of Storage Unit
  • NEW: 6 more alien artifacts
  • NEW: 2 new unique superweapons
  • NEW: 2 new common 0b10 combat bots (6 variants) and related mechanics
  • NEW: 1 more Hauler variant
  • NEW: 4 more Specialist variants
  • NEW: 1 new derelict subvariant
  • NEW: 2 new prototype robots
  • NEW: 13 new encounters and events
  • NEW: 45 lore entries related to new features and content
  • NEW: 12 unique critical strike effects for different weapon types
  • NEW: 3 more unauthorized hacks
  • NEW: 1 new non-RIF robot hack
  • NEW: 1 new type of build class modifier
  • NEW: Unique new late-game build type with special access conditions and effects on some major NPC interactions
  • NEW: Alternative non-assault response due to rising alert, depending on reasons behind alert increases
  • NEW: New type of squad dispatch in some areas
  • NEW: Sterilization process capable of melting more objects
  • NEW: Researchers carry random Schematic Archives
  • NEW: Additional major NPC data core available for retrieval (special effect)
  • MOD: Garrison patrol composition adjusted in some cases
  • MOD: Increased Behemoth core integrity
  • MOD: Broadened variety of Specialist spawn pool at each depth
  • MOD: Updated many bot designs to account for changes to parts
  • MOD: Some areas might sterilize more quickly than others
  • MOD: Data Miner schematics now mostly randomized
  • MOD: Reworked Network Hub response event
  • MOD: Lab sensor count reduced
  • MOD: Command garrison composition adjusted to reflect new dispatches
  • MOD: Deep Caves wall more easily disturbed
Mechanics / Items
  • NEW: Legs increase evasion while moving but decrease accuracy, where degree is based on current momentum
  • NEW: HUD Movement readout displays "Running" instead of "Walking" if current momentum is leg-based
  • NEW: Kinetic cannon projectiles blast matter off target robots based on salvage modifier
  • NEW: Most machines and walls penetrated by projectiles failing to destroy them might eventually collapse
  • NEW: <half_stack> item tag allows second best part of matching effect to contribute half of its value (applied across eight different utility effects)
  • NEW: Trap Extractors can hold multiple traps, cycle to DROP mode for placement
  • NEW: Trap Extractors also prevent user system corruption from accidentally triggering a trap at current location due to movement
  • NEW: Triangulator also pinpoints tracking hostiles outside FOV, within a certain range
  • NEW: System Guard converted to Processor, given new effect: reduces effective system corruption
  • NEW: Corruption Screen converted to Processor, given new mechanic: degrades to block new system corruption
  • NEW: Structural Scanner identifies cells behind visible solid cells
  • NEW: Phase Generators also scramble all structural and terrain scanning effects
  • NEW: Robots corrupted by EM damage drop Corrupted salvageable parts, which cause side effects when attached
  • NEW: Waste EMP discharge less likely to fry parts, but may also corrupt them
  • NEW: Integrated Mediator may now also prevent negative effects of attaching Corrupted parts
  • NEW: Cogmind power sources susceptible to EM-induced chain reactions from AOE sources
  • NEW: Power Shielding protects power sources from EM-induced chain reactions
  • NEW: Dirty Datajack redesigned with new stats, effects, and lore
  • NEW: Seismic Analyzer renamed to Seismic Detector, converted to Device and given new functionality
  • MOD: Kicking a target never damages self, regardless of leg count
  • MOD: Storage Units can no longer be stacked
  • MOD: Adjusted stats of all Storage Unit variants, increasing both capacity and mass
  • MOD: Cogmind base inventory capacity increased to 5
  • MOD: Mass support utilities can no longer be stacked
  • MOD: Multiple Exiles items rebalanced with new mechanics
  • MOD: Integration Mediators converted to artifact with corresponding permanent effect
  • MOD: Energy/dissipation artifacts reworked
  • MOD: Integrity Redistributor exchange ratio reduced
  • MOD: Removed Stasis Generator
  • MOD: Increased overweight speed penalties for all ground propulsion by varying degrees
  • MOD: Flight propulsion rebalanced for lower mass support and reduced energy cost
  • MOD: Hover propulsion rebalanced for lower mass support and reduced energy cost
  • MOD: All flight array integrity increased
  • MOD: Reduced capacity of energy storage utilities
  • MOD: Sensor Array range progression tightened, ratings increased
  • MOD: FarCom detection range reduced from 20 to 18
  • MOD: Terminal-based tracking ranges reduced
  • MOD: Structural Scanner no longer identifies unstable machines
  • MOD: Increased rating of most Signal Interpreters, Terrain Scanners, Optical Arrays, and some Terrain Scan Processors
  • MOD: Coolant Injectors degrade twice as fast
  • MOD: Lowered all Hardlight Generator coverage
  • MOD: Mid/high-tier Shielding utility integrity reduced
  • MOD: Armor Integrity Analyzer success rates reduced
  • MOD: Damper Plating size increased (3->4)
  • MOD: Increased shot count for most vortex weapons
  • MOD: Mni. Smartbomb Launcher weakened
  • MOD: Salvage Targeting Computers incompatible with multiprojectile guns
  • MOD: Removed treads accuracy buff
  • MOD: Increased integrity of most thermal weapons
  • MOD: Decreased coverage of most thermal weapons
  • MOD: 0b10 Decoder Chips variants given different discovery rates, some faster than before
  • MOD: System Restoration Module mechanics reworked to operate faster but deplete their integrity over time
  • MOD: Any system corruption side effect can occur at any level, thresholds removed but relative corruption-based likelihood of each type unchanged
  • MOD: Removed potential negative weapon accuracy mod due to system corruption
  • MOD: Restricted number of situations in which system corruption causes misdirections
  • MOD: Misdirections caused by system corruption no longer happen if attempting to move into a solid object
  • MOD: Missed shots far less likely to accidentally hit an intended target due to random luck
  • MOD: Many weapon crit chances updated for compatibility with new variable type system
  • MOD: Electromagnetic launcher ranges decreased by 2
  • MOD: Impact damage overflow now also uses slot-based targeting instead of coverage-based targeting
  • MOD: Slashing damage part severing side effect removed (replaced by equivalent critical effect)
  • MOD: Core Analyzer effect changed to simply increase target core exposure for all coverage-based hits
  • MOD: Piercing damage side-effect changed to match new Core Analyzer effect
  • MOD: Critical and Coring immunities on a robot no longer confer immunity to Core Analyzers
  • MOD: Rebalanced various thermal cannon stats, including Hvy. Plasma Cannon, Matter Neutralizers
  • MOD: Rebalanced various EM cannon stats, including Hvy. Proton Cannon, Com. HERF Cannon, Hpw. Disruptor Cannon
  • MOD: Rebalanced various kinetic gun stats, including Gauss Rifles, Coil Guns, KE Penetrators
  • MOD: Rebalanced various kinetic cannon stats, including Com. Linear Accelerators
  • MOD: Kinetic gun base range reduced from 22 to 18
  • MOD: Removed meltdown side effect of weapon overloading; strengthened heat surges, weakened energy bleeds
  • MOD: Rebalanced all melee impact weapons: doubled integrity, increased coverage 50%, increased damage 50%, delays reworked, given -salvage modifiers
  • MOD: Differentiated melee impact weapons with additional stat adjustments
  • MOD: Metafield Generator integrity decreased (100->80), coverage increased (8->30), upkeep reduced (20->15)
  • MOD: Kinecellerators allowed to buff weapon's minimum damage beyond maximum
  • MOD: Force Booster momentum mechanic replaced with direct melee damage buff, accuracy malus
  • MOD: Force Boosters mass, integrity, coverage increased, upkeep decreased, no longer as rare
  • MOD: Stasis Canceller reduced to one tier, rating reduced (8->5)
  • MOD: Stasis Canceller effect simplified to completely ignore all stasis effects, including both immobility and defensive benefits
  • MOD: Transmission Jammer ratings and upkeep increased, effects buffed at lower tiers
  • MOD: Hardlight Generator thermal resistance increased to match kinetic resistance
  • MOD: Hardlight Generator effects increased 25~50%
  • MOD: Mobile Assembly Unit production time reduced (50->10), in turn reducing matter cost
  • MOD: Matter Drive converted from Utility to Power
  • MOD: Matter Drive no longer a guaranteed find
  • MOD: Fusion Compressor type converted from Utility to Power
  • MOD: Fusion Compressor energy generation increased (15->20)
  • MOD: Trap extraction consumes 5 matter per attempt
  • MOD: Chance of AOE EM damage triggering allied traps reduced to match chance of triggering hostile traps
  • MOD: Door autohacking utilities also work on those requiring manual unique codes
  • MOD: Non-explosive projectiles reaching max range no longer affect open ground
  • MOD: Programmers can clear corruption on a wider range of bots
  • MOD: Improved internal uniqueness of multiprojectile AOE weapon signatures to prevent overlapping explosions from sometimes inflicting less damage
  • MOD: Drones may now trigger cave-ins
  • MOD: Trackers now immune to coring
Hacking
  • NEW: Additional method to build schematics at Fabricators, via Authchips
  • NEW: Schematics list accessed via Fabricator includes alternative color and text indicators when applicable Authchips available
  • NEW: Manually hacking robot schematics/analyses and loading schematics can also match case-insensitive partial substrings (e.g. "troop" -> "G-47 Trooper")
  • NEW: Scanalyzer list of insertable items includes inventory tags
  • MOD: Removed explicit central matter system for part fabrication
  • MOD: Complex 0b10 use of Fabricators follows same build process utilized by players rather than random sudden spawns
  • MOD: Complex 0b10 use of Fabricators to produce parts no longer follows stockpile rules, instead producing extra amounts of single item type
  • MOD: Fabricator Network(Status) hack given different functionality under new fabrication system
  • MOD: Fabricator Trojans reworked for new fabrication system
  • MOD: Fabricator loaded schematic cleared once the build completes
  • MOD: Parts produced via preloaded Fabricator schematic now automatically identified on completion
  • MOD: Trojan(Siphon) removed (no longer applicable)
  • MOD: Modified Complex 0b10 response to Reprogram hack
  • MOD: amplify_resonance hack effect ends immediately after affecting a single active power source on target
  • MOD: Command Fork RIF ability description explicitly states matching Relay Coupler requirement
  • MOD: Limited-function 0b10 Terminals no longer affected by Zion integration
Allies / AI
  • NEW: Expanded Watcher chasing AI behavior block to include greater number of ally types
  • NEW: Assign custom names to controllable allies (see button/command in info window)
  • NEW: Message and history logs report number of allies that failed to survive the journey between maps
  • MOD: Combat AIs now prefer to avoid dangerous terrain in more cases
  • MOD: Allies ignore Watcher targets if Cogmind has Watcher Feeds RIF ability
  • MOD: Increased area within which active drones and controllable allies will follow to a new map
  • MOD: Mostly removed hard caps on number of allies that can follow to a new map
  • MOD: Allies following to new maps will not always start as close as possible
  • MOD: Hacking Drone no longer able to perform indirect hacks at door/special terminals
  • MOD: Ally transfers between maps give additional priority to those carrying items in inventory
  • MOD: Zionite followers given somewhat more freedom during engagements
QoL / UI
  • NEW: Special Commands window accessed via Spacebar, allows context help and alternative keyboard/mouse access for many special Shift-Alt commands
  • NEW: Find known/remembered items on map via new realtime search interface (Spacebar+f or Shift-Alt-f)
  • NEW: Ruler overlay mode for quickly measuring ranges from any position to any other position (Spacebar+x or Shift-Alt-x)
  • NEW: Map commenting mode (Spacebar+c or Shift-Alt-c)
  • NEW: Filter on-map item labels by category (all/power/propulsion/utility/weapon/nonpart) while mass labeling (cycle category with Tab \ -/= \ KP+/-)
  • NEW: Volley visualization ('v') now also highlights visible destructible terrain in Tactical HUD mode (see manual under Advanced UI > Volley Window)
  • NEW: Warning on attempting to fire through terrain, as with robots
  • NEW: "Analyses" button in Status window to access known list
  • NEW: Exiles give second warning about accessing Research branches with FarCom on entering Research
  • NEW: Matter/Protomatter labels outside FOV now include their last known amount
  • NEW: On-map popup labels for critical effects where applicable, including part severing
  • NEW: DISPOSABLE and UNSTABLE weapons also append remaining uses to name while in inventory, or on open info page
  • NEW: Dedicated sound effect for low core warning
  • NEW: Input blocked on game over screen for 2 seconds to prevent accidental presses after a sudden death
  • NEW: FPS counter also shows at top of HUD when active, setting stored in system.cfg to recall between sessions
  • NEW: Second threshold when attempting to move at extremely slow speed, with different warning message (advanced.cfg: extremeSlowMoveSpeed defaults to 600)
  • NEW: Asset loading progress reported on screen during startup
  • MOD: Recolored Data Core tiles/ASCII to reflect the variety of categories
  • MOD: Gradually expendable utilities (Injectors, System Restoration Modules) have unique SFX on depletion
  • MOD: Minigun and Barrage Gun SFX shortened by removing spinup and some spindown
  • MOD: Assault ALERT announcement more clearly distinguishes singular vs. plural dispatches
  • MOD: RIF ability hotkey changed to Shift-Alt-i (also compatible with new menu with Spacebar+i)
  • MOD: "Clear/Previous message" keybind switched from Spacebar to 0
  • MOD: "Go naked" command now referred to as "Purge all parts"
Help
  • NEW: More specific descriptions added to some items, including some drone bay types, Exiles prototypes, Datajacks and Relay Couplers, and non-part items
  • NEW: 0b10 Decoder Chips effect description lists potential data types
  • NEW: In Tactical HUD mode, info page for power sources also includes chain reaction explosion details
  • NEW: Watchers explicitly list Sensor Jamming as a trait
  • NEW: Unique context help for robot info page "ID" entry depending on current state
  • NEW: Unique context help for item info page "State" entry depending on current state
  • NEW: Unique context help for machine info page "State" entry depending on current state
  • NEW: Manual section "Salvage" (under Combat) expanded to describe Corrupted parts
  • NEW: Manual Kinetic/Impact damage sections give details on chance of knockback to displace a second robot, and the damage inflicted
  • NEW: README now includes info about requiring restart on changes to desktop resolution or pixel scaling
  • NEW: README includes troubleshooting entry referring to manual section on Custom Cursors for resolving cursor display issues
  • MOD: Adventurer/Explorer mode include tweaks to make new content and mechanics less difficult (added to manual list)
  • MOD: Add your personal notes in user/notes.txt rather than in the last section of manual.txt
  • MOD: user/game.bin file renamed meta.bin
  • MOD: Updated context help for immunities and critical strikes to reflect new rules
Scoresheet / Data
  • NEW: All patron supporter names registered since Beta 10 added to in-game list (see Credits menu)
  • MOD: Destroying robots with no score value also no longer counts towards Robots Destroyed total
  • MOD: Score from robot value and destruction counts capped for replenishing bot variants on a per-map basis
Bugs
  • FIX: Melee sneak attacks tripled damage rather than doubled damage as intended and indicated in manual [aoemica]
  • FIX: Super Gauntlet challenge now blocks all branch access in Materials, to avoid shortcuts to other branches, and prevent FarCom use [CaptainWinky]
  • FIX: Single alarm trap array could in some cases trigger multiple times if caused by an EM explosion [zxc]
  • FIX: Engineers under influence of ignore_repairs hack might call for reinforcements if attacked while incidentally moving towards repair location [zxc]
  • FIX: Sentries did not respond to generate_anomaly [Heavyrisk]
  • FIX: Propulsion Burnout stat context help did not explain how overloadable propulsion could break normal max speed restrictions [breylinlee]
  • FIX: Modal part management menu (d)rop command did not automatically bypass inventory as intended [NikolayAg]
  • FIX: Patrolling ARCs were no longer emergency deploying on destruction like assault ARCs
  • FIX: Save file sizes might get unnecessarily large across a long run, padding with an extra 30-50% empty score data
  • FIX: Melee impacts on certain materials did not play any sound for the impact itself

The full changelog is so long that I decided to split it in two, where the above is actually less than half of its actual content, but includes all the more generally important updates, the kinds of entries I would normally highlight in past changelogs. Experienced players interested in additional details (and options) will probably want to also check out the full changelog included with the game, or available online here.

Saves from earlier versions are incompatible with Beta 11, but even if you're on Steam and Cogmind automatically updates, Beta 10.2 is still available via its own legacy branch and you can roll back to finish a run in progress first if you like.

Rebalancing Cogmind

One of the cornerstones of this version is the comprehensive review and subsequent rebalance of many items and mechanics, about which I wrote a lengthy article on the dev blog, conveniently titled "Rebalancing Cogmind." It's not a complete list of changes or anything (although it does include links to spreadsheets :P), but it does cover a lot of the whys and hows while sharing the entire process behind it.



It also links back to previous in-depth design articles written about related subtopics such as propulsion, weapon mechanics, storage units, and fabrication.

Power sources, propulsion, utilities, weapons... no category went untouched, and lots of individual items and mechanics were tweaked to better balance them in the bigger picture of the game Cogmind has evolved into over many years, especially focusing on weakening clearly overpowered parts, or in more cases increasing the viability, desirability, and fun of otherwise previously subpar items. As a result, some old strategies may need to be rethought, though the overall results feels really good once you get used to the changes, with more tradeoffs to consider and more ways to get creative or augment your abilities, made even easier by the storage rework ;)

With so many changes large and small, I recommend that long-time players reset assumptions about many items since they may no longer hold true. You'll likely find that something you ignored earlier is now perfect for your preferred strategy, or some other kind of build you've been considering. Hopefully you're not too paralyzed by all the juicy new possibilities, not to mention all the chaff that was removed to leave room for good stuff, or turned into the good stuff itself!

Major UI Features

We've got yet a ton more QoL features, including some major ones that people have been looking forward to, like the dedicated item search UI. (I described the related features in more detail on the blog here.)



It even supports all kinds of filters for more customizable searches, with help text right there in the interface. And selecting an item (listed by distance from your position) shows the fastest open path to that location, and can also be used to move there automatically.



Similarly, it can be convenient to tab through different categories when viewing item labels on the map, e.g. all weapons, all propulsion, etc.



Anyone with a distaste for Shift-Alt commands (or just anyone who has trouble remembering the command when they actually need one :P) will be happy to know there's a new Spacebar menu specifically for special commands. (We've got an article about this one, too. Because of course.) Just hit Spacebar followed by the letter key (or use the mouse) to use one of these helpful features, several of which are new to Beta 11.



Content Highlights

We have a new class of combat bot! The "Heavy" can be pretty tough because they have a powerful cannon, cloak other combat bots, use sensors to eventually pinpoint hostiles snooping around their defensive zone, and summon more allies to reinforce the area. Scary! Fortunately they telegraph their location due to their powerful Active Sensor Suite, allowing you to generally avoid them if you must, or want to, though they tend to guard important locations so you'll likely have to deal with one sooner or later.



That's not to say everyone will want to avoid them, since they are a pretty great source of good gear, if you can salvage it after tearing them to pieces.

They have a great line of destructive new heavy kinetic cannons.



They also have a whole set of very useful utilities, among them the very sensor suite they're using to find targets, one that you can also take advantage of to penetrate all forms of cloaking and sensor blocking (though at the cost of sometimes giving away your position).

The suite is even capable of analyzing the environment for tracks to determine pathways that likely lead to points of interest, like machines and exits (there's a whole article on this sensor type as well).



Friends called in by the Heavies to look for hostiles are not very nice, involving either a random Specialist variant (of which Beta 11 has added 4 more!) or another brand new combat class, which carries one of these and will do a number on you if they can get close (fear the SFX!):



There are lots more details about the Heavy class in an article about "area denial".

Note: The Active Sensor Suite environment data for non-Complex areas was not actually completed in time to be included with Beta 11, but it's still already very much worth using.

Heavies generally aren't moving around (well... not usually ;)), so you don't often need to worry about staying out of their path, or that they'll suddenly show up and ruin your plans, but cargo convoys will definitely ruin your day if they surprise you. (The article with lots of details about convoys is here.)

Imagine lots and lots of really good loot, and that loot is on the move and being escorting by lots and lots of dangerous bots, not to mention held inside an armored freighter armed with its own autonomous laser system. That's a convoy, and ambushing one is quite an accomplishment and extremely rewarding, but also makes you think twice whether you're really ready for it!

They'll enter a main map, travel along a predetermined route, then leave. As you can imagine if you're familiar with intercepting Haulers, you can use various means to determine their cargo and intended path, so you can try to hit them at just the right moment. Get creative :D

Mmm, a Modified TNC from the Exiles shows us the loooooot... (the loot is also significantly out of depth, so you can get late-game experimental gear in the mid-game)



Sample convoy route:



Newly active convoys are announced globally, so you'll at least know there's one on the move when it happens, and can consider reacting accordingly.

If that's not enough risk reward for you, you can try raiding a DSF (article with more details). "Distributed Storage Facilities" have been in the lore since the beginning, but they were never a place you could visit, at least not until Beta 11 :)

We have Garrisons, and Waste, and together with those we now also have DSFs, the third kind of small map-between-maps. These store tons of good loot inside, as you might expect, though of course it's also guarded, not least of all by a Heavy stationed in the middle, plus a rapid sterilization system engaged when things get hot (to make them... hotter? :O).



You'll see entrances to these all over Factory and Research, but the only way to actually get in is to hack it open before any combat bots on the floor have even spotted you (or any other threats, for that matter).



Strategically these can be a great place to get a whole new build (or buff up your current one) if you're confident, although doing so also gives up any potential branch rewards at that depth since their exit leads up to the next depth.

New Toys

There's plenty more new toys than I'll cover here (including many which are big spoilers and a lot of fun), but let's highlight a few of the more common ones.

Machine Analyzers reveal machines networked to the machines currently in view, super useful for tracking down similar interactive machines, or even just knowing where other non-interactive machines are located to help learn more about the map's layout.



This new processor also let's you know when an explosive machine has been destabilized, and when it will blow, functionalities which used to belong to the Structural Scanner.



For its part, the Structural Scanner itself is technically now "new," but it's certainly been redesigned with a more focused purpose, and offers a great new bit of intel, telling you about the terrain immediately behind each wall. Great for quicker navigation through labyrinthine areas where making your own doors is probably faster!



(Machine Analyzers and the revamped Structural Scanner were covered in more depth here along with other infowar work.)

Because you can never have enough intel, we also have Seismic Detectors, one of the six (SIX!) new sensor technologies added to Beta 11. These offer a wide and very interesting cross-section of data since they'll tell you info about distant machines, robots, and certain events, but only those which generate seismic readings, brighter for stronger signals.



They're also pretty easy to acquire--I'm sure your neighborhood Excavator would be happy to oblige if you just blow them to pieces.

It won't help you avoid airborne patrols, but with the right knowledge you can deduce a lot about the signals you're seeing on the cheap. Big brain utility right there.

(The end of the Rebalancing Cogmind article has more Seismic Detector details and demos, and more design info about... Trap Extractors).

TRAPPER BUILDS ARE HERE!

So yeah for a while we've have a number of trapping-related parts, but most are either uniques you have to luck into finding, or hard to build around as a primary strategy. Inventory space was the biggest limiting factor when it came to extensive trap use, but the redesigned Trap Extractor solves that by allowing it to also store and deploy traps that you've hacked or acquired through other means.



Carry more extractors to load up on additional trap types, and watch disarmed enemies run around like headless chickens, or on fire, or just explode into tiny bits.

The new Trap Scanner might also come in handy for trapper builds, or just anyone who wants to speed around without suddenly getting blasted, chopped, or sucked into a chute.



The completely redesigned Force Booster is an example of a rarely used (or confusing/hard to use) mechanic that has been given new life, and why you might want to reassess your opinions that may have formed over previous runs as to which items you like and which you avoid. It now simply increases max melee damage.



It actually also has a clear drawback to using it (one of the first such utilities to do this), in that it decreases accuracy, but if you can overcome that (or ignore it), Force Boosters sure can make already deadly melee weapons that much more devastating.

Force Boosters are also one of the new utilities to take advantage of a new tag halfway between <no_stack> and <stacks>, called... yes, <half_stack>. So you are allowed to simultaneously use a second one to add half its bonus, increasing damage even further (for example the best one gives a 40% damage boost, so half-stacked it's +60%!). Some items with effects that could not be stacked earlier are actually allowed to partially stack now! Another point to review :)

Look, Target Analyzers can be half_stacked, too!



Like I said before, a bunch of new toys fall into what I would consider spoiler territory (go out there and discover things!), but I'd add least like to point out here that a few of the new toys resulted in adding engine support for new twists on old mechanics, especially in the projectile department, and along with that we now have support for "directional explosions." So instead of explosions always projecting outward in all directions, we can get them exploding in an arc, like, oh I dunno, claymores? ;)

Here's a sample of the mechanic in action, where this wide explosion technically doesn't actually blast Cogmind or the Terminal (this was an engine test--there is no weapon exactly like this):



With these kinds of things having engine-level support, I'm sure we'll see some more real examples in the future.

To end this section we have not a new toy, but a new feature for an old one: Autohackers can now hack through doors that require manual codes, too, making them somewhat more useful (and of course aligning with what one might expect them to be capable of!).



Mechanics

There are a ton of little mechanical additions and changes, which is what the changelog is for (well, except where I left out a ton of new stuff because it's more fun to just find it), but anyway there are some bigger changes that deserve a bit of discussion. Let's go over some of those mechanical highlights...

There has always been a player tendency to want to build up a massive inventory capacity and hoard items like there's no tomorrow.

I mean yeah, there are indeed a lot of useful parts out there, and you're also going to lose parts and need replacements, but when the hoarding starts getting so out of hand that many of your utility slots are taken up by inventory-expanding parts
and it cuts into your actual ability to fight, or use intel, or... have a real build, then that's a bit of a problem where the game design needs to come in and save players from their own tendencies (as a player I, too, am guilty here xD).

Having huge inventories also leads to inventory management annoyances, and there's always going to be an inventory management aspect to Cogmind gameplay, but we literally had players with 10 pages of inventory items... like... wow. Okay so that's an extreme example and a more common number might be 40-50 or so on a heavier build, but still.

The solution was to only allow you to use one storage at a time (so basically add the <no_stack> tag to all storage units). And of course this change isn't made in isolation--all storage units get a redesign towards this new goal, meaning capacities increased and mass updated etc. Basically we decided what a reasonable cap would be for inventory size, and extrapolated a reasonable scale for the units under this new system, taking into account both build balancing needs and the desire to avoid going overboard on inventory management.

It feels great.

There is indeed more inventory pressure since you can't just keep expanding it to accommodate more (aside from upgrading to a larger, heavier type of storage, up to the limit), but if you were a hoarder before you now have so many more free utility slots to actually use interesting parts and also increase your build effectiveness at whatever it is you're doing, be it evasion, hacking, intel, combat..., and this actually results in 1) a more engaging experience along with 2) likely less part attrition in the first place!

Even bothacking builds are fine, one of the first setups I was eager to test under this new system, since I like running them and traditionally they relied on a huge inventory. But all those extra utility slots meant I could actually attach a bunch of couplers and better use them in combination with RIF abilities. Botlord, indeed.

It might take a little getting used to, but your builds are going to be a lot better for it, and... if you must, there are some newer very large and heavy storage units, but the extra slots come with increasingly diminishing returns in terms of mass. So far most people testing the game haven't really gone for the largest possible inventory size anymore. Enjoy your new utility slots ;)

As part of the storage changes, Cogmind's base inventory size also increased from 4 to 5 slots, without any storage utilities at all.

Oh yeah, of course there's a whole article on this topic here with lots more details.

Your choice of storage is important when coming up with a build theme, and so is propulsion, which also saw some fairly big adjustments. This, too, is where experienced players are really going to have to suppress expectations and reevaluate strategies.
  • Treads: Treads lost their innate accuracy bonus, as they're clearly quite good now and can eventually take advantage of siege mode for that accuracy (and other benefits) if they need it, not to mention using some of those freed up utility slots for optional targeting computers. Their overweight penalties increased because it was too easy to ignore the slowdown in exchange for all the extra support it offered, though for some people/builds the penalties are still within acceptable/usable limits. That's always my goal with balancing, to make it so that some people will make use of a particular approach or mechanic, but not everyone or most people. So treads nerfed a bit but still very good at what they do: support combat builds that blast everything in sight while taking a beating and laughing it off.
  • Legs: Legs are carving out a bit more of their "mobile but pretty combat-capable" niche with a new momentum-based mechanic that increases their evasion with momentum, but decreases their accuracy at the same time. So they're now even better at repositioning while under fire, though suffer if they try too much running and gunning while out in the open. On that note, by extension this also improves legs as a choice for heavy melee combat--chaaaaarge!
  • Wheels: Wheels didn't change much, already serving their niche pretty well as the propulsion known for being fairly fast, supportive, and easily acquired but also easily shot off. They just got a little bit of an overweight penalty nerf.
  • Flight: Flight builds definitely got a mix of buffs and nerfs, trying to reorient them away from having such crazy combat potential, especially in the late game. They're already super fast, they don't need to be super powerful at the same time? xD. They're still just as good at scouting, escaping, hacking, and anything that benefits from speed and can rely on lightweight gear, though flight unit mass support was reduced, making it that much harder to fly around with bulky stuff. It's still possible to get creative and make a decent flying build that can fight if it has to, though its effectiveness won't be as extreme as it once was. Energy costs were also reduced, making it easier to power the core of a flight build, or easier to stack more units for even faster speed.
  • Hover: Hover is the new (old) flight. It's pretty fast, and it can definitely still support some of those combat builds flight was running before, but doesn't have the flight advantage of being able to hop enemies and get out out of almost any scenario without actually destroying anything, so at least more balanced in that respect. Hover is still basically filling that "jack-of-all-trades but also challenging to maintain" role.

Obligatory propulsion article.

Like propulsion, damage types in Cogmind have undergone a fair number of updates over the years, and Beta 11 is easily the most balanced they've ever been. They've all got their proper niche now, and more importantly are all worth using if you want to build around that niche, or have a situation that calls for one type or another. For all the details check this article.

Thermal weapons were too easy to lose before, so were outright buffed by increasing their longevity via a combination of increased integrity and lower coverage (as balanced it's a niche since they're less likely to be hit than other weapons, but still have lower integrity, meaning if well-protected they will last even longer, but will be lost more quickly if not protected).

Kinetic cannons were very hard to sustain as a long-term build solution because they didn't leave much if anything of targets to salvage (most importantly matter!), but now they blast matter right off victims with each hit.



EM got nerfed, uh, again :P. Who would've thought that being capable of bypassing almost all defenses would require so many counterbalancing drawbacks!

The new tradeoff is pretty interesting, where EM creates "corrupted" salvage, which adds to Cogmind's system corruption when attached.





There are ways around this, for example preventing or getting rid of the corruption via other utilities, or evolving it away,
but it does often mean that salvage (which EM is actually otherwise quite good at obtaining) obtained like this may not be immediately usable without some extra drawbacks.

As you'll find, Beta 11 actually comes with several new utiltiies for dealing with corruption. The System Backup Module mechanic (actually since merged with "System Restoration Modules" for Beta 11) was also changed to have them operate more quickly but damage the module in the process, which is overall a better design approach that avoids require tedium.



Be aware that point blank AOE EM tactics can actually now cause a chain reaction in Cogmind's power sources, in the same way as it could for other robots. There's no log in this recording, but you can clearly see the secondary explosion and screenshake!



You don't need to worry about other bots doing this to you, which would be sorta unfair, so it's always your fault if it happens :P. Power Shielding also protects against the effect, so at least that's one way to more safely use this strategy.

Impact melee got buffed (AGAIN!), and having used it in my stream earlier this week I must say it's pretty formidable. Those weapons were totally redesigned and despite their unusual targeting mechanics can really pulverize a robot good...

Prior to Beta 11 there was only ever one meaning of "critical strike" in Cogmind, and it meant destruction of the target part/core, but we've now got 12 of them! This is good both for further differentiating weapons as well as adding new tactical options. The in-game context help will be useful here as you examine weapons to learn more about them.



The Blast crit, generally found on kinetic cannons, can blast parts right off of a target:



See all your (and their) critical effects reported right on the map, too:



So that's all the general weapon-related topics I wanted to cover here, but know that lots of individual weapons got tweaked, too, so be on the lookout for changes :)

Fabrication is another area that got a big shakeup. (There's an article for that: Fabrication 2.0.)

Gone is the central matter system and its seeming vagaries, but Fabricators lock themselves and call for an investigation after a single build using the traditional method (hacking). At the same time, you have safe access to an unlimited number of build orders as long as your supply of (consumable) Authchips lasts.



There are many ways to acquire them (and more will be added in the future), but the DSFs mentioned before are one of the guaranteed sources.

Beta 11 also removes or repurposes hacks that were no longer applicable under this system, and adds some useful new ones, which can come in especially handy since Complex 0b10 also now uses Fabricators in the same way you as the player do, loading up schematics, starting builds, etc, and you can tap into that to potentially hijack something, or steal its schematic, or something else creative :)

The overall result of switching to the new system is to generally reduce the number of potential fabrications for most runs.

QoL

Tons of QoL, as usual. What I'll be doing here is mostly just running down a list of those I have a demo for to share that.

Map comments (article) are now a thing.



The map comments system is even integrated into some of the other new features, because the game can add comments for you automatically in some cases (shown in a different color), for example in response to the new find_dsf non-RIF hack:



We have a map ruler! (for the measurement lovers out there) (article)



Volley visualization mode has a new coloring scheme! (article) Red walls/machines if you are capable of destroying them with your active weapon(s), yellow if capable of destroying them with some weapon(s) in your possession, otherwise no highlight.



Like Trap Extractors mentioned above, Field Recycling Units have a third toggle state (COLLECT) which makes it safer to operate them so you're less likely to eat an item you actually need :P



Disposable and unstable weapons append their remaining uses directly next to their name while in inventory or in their info page.



Machines/robots/items now have state-specific context help for each of their different values, to give more targeted information about what those mean.



Custom {} tags are also shown in the Scanalyzer item list, especially useful when you've got a bunch of artifacts and have a general idea of what some of them are/aren't based on where you acquired them, and therefore know which you might want to scan to confirm.



Case-insensitive partial string matching for hacking specific robot variant schematics/analyses and loading schematics.



Descriptions were added to all unique items that did not have one, in some cases giving mechanical details where important, although in a small handful of special cases the descriptions remain vague. Some examples:



As described at the end of the manual, it can be extended with personal notes that will also appear in the in-game version, which some people have done in the past, but unfortunately updating to a new Steam version will overwrite the manual and erase those notes (and even outside Steam it would require manually copying the notes out of your old version of the manual). To make this feature more user-friendly, personal notes tacked onto the in-game manual are instead drawn from an optional user/notes.txt file.



Cogmind now supports system clipboard integration, which might come in handy for copying text from outside the game, for example copying a seed rather than typing it out. Just ctrl-v in any text entry field.



A while back several people found the active terrain scanner animation distracting, so I added the disableTerrainScanAnimation advanced.cfg setting for them to turn it off permanent, but I suggest that anyone who did so at the time consider turning it back on, since the default behavior has now been updated to only highlight newly discovered (or changed) spaces, rather than highlight any space that it is scanning on a given turn. So the animation will not be a lot less distracting while at the same time providing only useful info.



Other Details

Projectile mechanics were originally designed such that "misses" could still randomly hit the intended target if you were lucky, which I thought was fun, but it was also confusing to some people while (far more importantly...) others had even started abusing this mechanic in combination with certain weapons to significantly increase their potential damage output. So yeah I rewrote the miss mechanics so that misses will generally actually miss the target. Sad, I know :P

Because allies in Cogmind live such long and prosperous lives at your side (narrator: they did not), you can also use a new button on their info page to give them a custom name. This way you can get all personal with them, like "there goes Fred again, walking straight into an ambush no matter what I say..."



So you're not faced with a blank screen for however long it takes Cogmind to start up on your machine, wondering if anything is happening (or sometimes waiting for your OS to start thinking Cogmind has stalled xD), we now have an actual startup process shown right there in the bottom left corner! \o/



The shutdown sequence is much faster, usually completing in a couple frames, but let's also animate that for good measure :D



Notice: As you can see there have been a lot of item changes, including a few removals (or conversions), so if you were a founder with item attribution and yours was removed, congratulations you probably got (randomly) reassigned something more interesting!

Community

For those of you just starting out, leiavoia has put together a nifty guide to Cogmind, one which avoids any major spoilers. It's got pictures and everything!

As always, aoemica's Cog-Minder is a useful Cogmind reference and theorycrafting tool for advanced players, or just someone who wants to look up stats for some robot or item.

And leiavoia's Dataminer offers a great alternative way to examine your scoresheets or those other players have uploaded.

The leaderboards will finally be reset tomorrow now that we have a new major version out!!!

I've been streaming Beta 11 prerelease versions throughout the past year (archives), and look forward to continuing with more runs in the completed Beta 11, and of course yet more prereleases as we eventually head towards... Beta 12 ;)

But let's not get ahead of ourselves...

Up Next

Having just dropped this huge update it's a little early to go into depth about what's to come, but in short, I imagine we'll next see an 11.1 with some more fixes and tweaks, especially some little stuff I wanted to include in Beta 11 but didn't have time for (also that Active Sensor Suite data for non-0b10 areas). Then after that we'll be on the way to beta 12 and 13, each of which will be adding another new faction ;)

Eternal Cogmind Updates: Powered by me and the patrons. Thanks for your support!
« Last Edit: March 18, 2022, 06:01:54 AM by Kyzrati »
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Kyzrati

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Re: Cogmind Beta 11 "Mechanical Renaissance"
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2022, 06:44:01 AM »

We've got a little update for Beta 11, not the full 11.1 I was originally planning, but there are a number of fixes and tweaks here that'd be nice to have out sooner rather than later, so here you go! (I also threw in a rare new weapon for fun.)

Cogmind Beta 11.1 "Heavy Dawn" (220422) changelog:
  • NEW: 1 new part
  • NEW: Base slow move speed warning threshold now adjustable (advanced.cfg: slowMoveSpeed)
  • NEW: Containment Facilitator info includes effect description
  • NEW: Context help and manual explicitly indicate how multislot parts factor into target selection for impact damage
  • NEW: [Player 2 mode] Additional situations with more dialogue lines (total = 773)
  • MOD: Multiple Operators cannot be stationed at Terminals near one another
  • MOD: Part auto-replacement requires that two weapons deal same damage type rather than only belonging to same item category
  • MOD: DSF lockdown no longer triggered by extermination/assault tracking or Heavy class active sensor detection, requires direct hostile contact
  • MOD: Maximum security response to Exo build no longer triggered by extermination/assault tracking, requires direct hostile contact
  • MOD: All standard forms of jamming block DSF access lockdown response
  • MOD: Certain autonomous weapon systems will not fire on their creators
  • MOD: Asb. Focal Cannon integrity increased from 150 to 155
  • MOD: Loss of part data due to system corruption also removes custom tags on matching items not currently in possession
  • MOD: Attempting to recall newly-invalid guided waypoints instead clears them and shows warning message
  • MOD: Exo build purely exchanges lost slots for additional innate energy/dissipation rather than potentially overriding previous permanent modifiers
  • MOD: Exo build worth much more than usual formula for scoresheet peak state purposes
  • MOD: Explorer mode Fabricators no longer automatically trace and investigate BUILD commands hacked without an Authchip
  • MOD: Loading save/quicksave or entering new map blocks actions for 1 second to prevent potential issues prior to full UI initialization
  • FIX: Gallery item tile/ASCII color affected by knowledge loss in current run in progress [R-26 Lightspeed]
  • FIX: Dialogue during particular W base sequence of events might appear in unexpected situation [R-26 Lightspeed]
  • FIX: EMDS lore entry reflected pre-Beta 11 stats [R-26 Lightspeed]
  • FIX: W-25 Informer analysis referred to older sensor range [R-26 Lightspeed]
  • FIX: Mouseover labels for individual robots outside FOV positioned over unknown map locations did not show [R-26 Lightspeed]
  • FIX: Asb. Alloy Leg integration completion while in siege mode resulted in failure to update part name color [R-26 Lightspeed]
  • FIX: Exo build failed to report heat dissipation increase when activated [aoemica]
  • FIX: Enemies losing Cogmind position while out of view still flashed '!' when appearing in FOV, regardless of whether actually know about Cogmind [aoemica]
  • FIX: High/Max Security/Sterilization disabling of Chute Traps only affected the first in each array [aoemica]
  • FIX: Arrows and numpad were not properly scrolling item search result list [zxc]
  • FIX: Part range highlight showed on map while item search UI active and cursor hovering over part in underlying window [zxc]
  • FIX: Fabrication BUILD hacking without an Authchip was still capable of frying hackware as a feedback effect (unintended) [3.14]
  • FIX: Trap Detection section in manual still referenced old Structural Scanner mechanic [3.14]
  • FIX: New Special Commands menu "RIF Abilities" button could only successfully open the info using keyboard instead of mouse [Valguris]
  • FIX: GOLEM build rate had indirectly dropped from 3 to 2 [Valguris]
  • FIX: History log recorded parts stolen by any thief as if a Master Thief [JackNine]
  • FIX: Terminus 12x12 tileset missing new Cutter class (no affect on appearance in game) [Ape]
  • FIX: Manually setting alternative FPS cap aside from 60 would reset cap if toggled on/off again while running [Luigi]
  • FIX: Crash on using a Core Expander within milliseconds of loading save/quicksave [Mitchell]
  • FIX: Megawrench repair of attached faulty part did not immediately remove prefix in part list [[/\ ---===e]]
  • FIX: Could not mass label robot scan records outside FOV in some cases if detected purely via Sensor Drone [Youngster]
  • FIX: Possible crash on new Beta 11 behavior (spoiler) related to a particular rare NPC ally [Benjamin]
  • FIX: Particular broken NPC might be given a line of dialogue in a certain extended game scenario (spoilers) [MTF]
  • FIX: Tactical HUD composite energy upkeep values can now show values between -1.0 and 0, even though they will not be subtracted due to truncation [ktur]
  • FIX: Extended map (spoiler) could sometimes spawn a certain type of conditional robot inside a machine [Mitchell]
  • FIX: Fabricator LOAD chance always showed 100% if attached Authchip applicable to currently loaded schematic [Maiker]
  • FIX: Explosive machines outside unheard/unseen due to distance would set off explosion for each piece, rather than once for the entire machine
  • FIX: External commands customization file named one item search UI input "Scroll Down" instead of "Scroll Up"
  • FIX: New example in damage resistance context help had incorrect info regarding negative resistances

Saves are not compatible with Beta 11, but as usual if you're on Steam and it'll autoupdate you on the default branch, there's a new legacy branch you can roll back to to complete a run in progress if you like.

Have a cool animation put together by Maiker and shared on the Cogmind Discord :D

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Re: Cogmind Beta 11 "Mechanical Renaissance"
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2022, 02:08:25 AM »

Another Beta 11 update! This one is even more simply focused on fixes and stability, including addressing a long-standing multithreaded logging issue that could theoretically cause CTDs, but only recently started to rear its head, so I spent some hours rewriting the logging architecture to get around that.

The primary version number isn't increasing here--still 11.1, since saves are compatible. I was going to add a few extra things, but decided keeping saves compatible would help make this version an even smoother upgrade.

Cogmind Beta 11.1 (220513) changelog:
  • NEW: Option to disable Shift-Move Cursor map panning (advanced.cfg: disableShiftCursorPan)
  • NEW: All patron supporter names registered since Beta 11 added to in-game list (see Credits menu)
  • NEW: All patron item-attribution names registered since Beta 11 added to the item collection gallery
  • MOD: Cryocooling Ducts given more padding space to avoid blocking doors
  • MOD: Overloaded Potential Leg shows updated speed value in parts list info mode
  • MOD: Access door terminals now limited access
  • MOD: purge_threat cost increased (10->15)
  • FIX: Mobile Refinery had a superfluous word in its effect description [R-26 Lightspeed]
  • FIX: Imp. Signal Interpreter allowed manual labeling of specific variants within sensor range [R-26 Lightspeed]
  • FIX: Having map data wiped then detecting previously viewed cells via terrain scanning recalled original color instead of showing green [R-26 Lightspeed]
  • FIX: Natural alert decay could reset after many thousands of turns [Vectis]
  • FIX: Self-destructing parts did not apply to prototype robots in caves, most noticeable during a particularly large event [Vectis]
  • FIX: Some response squads in extended game map may eventually remain guarding their last approached position [aoemica]
  • FIX: Directional explosives fired at adjacent wall always deflected south [aoemica]
  • FIX: Machine SECURITY LEVEL header only color coded for Terminals instead of all interactive 0b10 machines [Infomantis]
  • FIX: Double-clicking on an item in search results did not path to it [the cat]
  • FIX: Could autoswap even unknown items into a full inventory if applicable target [MTF]
  • FIX: Custom tagging of multislot inventory item did not properly rename all relevant entries [Youngster]
  • FIX: Hammer maximum damage was not increased in line with Beta 11 rebalance plans [JackNine]
  • FIX: Certain autonomous weapon systems might still fire on creator-associated NPCs [Decinym]
  • FIX: Recent change to some part-targeting abilities including relevant traps, Saboteurs, Thieves, and Compactors had decreased their effectiveness [MTF]
  • FIX: Rare scenario possible inside certain DSFs could cause crash upon entry [laserbat]
  • FIX: Potential rare crash due to multithreaded logging
  • FIX: Overloading Potential Leg no longer highlights unchanged support value in parts list info mode

My last weeks were occupied by a lot of 7DRL stuff, so now that that's in the past, I'll be moving on to the next big things (for which I've intermittently been working on plans for, but letting those stew for a bit). Among the supplemental roadmap options, "Revisit garrison interiors" received the largest number of patron votes, so we'll be starting with that, adding new garrison layouts as well as a chance to encounter random events within, plus other updates like a new RIF ability!
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