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Author Topic: Cogmind Beta 12 "Encrypted Comms"  (Read 5503 times)


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Cogmind Beta 12 "Encrypted Comms"
« on: March 02, 2023, 03:56:43 PM »

Welcome to Beta 12! Embrace the new Scrap Engine to create unique parts by feeding it other items, and explore significantly expanded Garrisons with major new rewards.

With the huge Beta 11 already completing our full balance pass and turning out quite well, Beta 12 is just the first step towards many new features to come in what is essentially our second "post-1.0 cycle." Although originally planned to include one brand new map, the Beta 12 concept was then expanded to two maps, then three maps, and in the meantime patrons voted for a Garrison expansion... That became a big deal on its own, so what I've done here is package up a separate Garrison + Scrap Engine update to release early, allowing you all to play with these features while I get back to working on all the content related to the new faction(s?). Technically I've already built a sizeable chunk of one of the new maps, but want to at least offer it together with a second map which has yet to be created.

But enough about the future, let's talk about what's playable now in Beta 12!

Expanded Garrisons and ???

The first stop on our so-called "detour" I mentioned in my announcement last October is the new Garrison design. There's a whole article about those I've pointed to before, detailing how they're put together, and some of what that design means for gameplay.

Hacking a Garrison registry to get All The Intel (yes, Garrisons can even have hackable Terminals in them now!):

The core layout should be familiar if you've set foot inside one before, but aside from a few new base layouts, the focus is really on integrating a variety of localized encounters, some good, some not so good, some risky. Sometimes you may even stumble across big events in there...

In the past, RIF (bothacking) builds have always been the most likely to visit Garrisons, often infiltrating many across a single run, so that alone is a good enough reason to improve Garrison variety. And in that vein we have new robot hacks (now up to 72), a new RIF ability (Code Merge, mmmm...), and even a new type of coupler (I won't spoil the surprise on that one, but it's huge).

But now aside from RIF builds I'm sure we'll be seeing just about any type of build willing to go into a Garrison under the right circumstances as part of new meta strategies, since doing so can earn favor with one of the other major factions. I've always wanted to make that connection, and expanding Garrison was the perfect opportunity to do just that, hence the introduction of the new utility after which this release happens to be named: Encrypted Comm Array (ECA).

Whether it's just one or two Garrisons, or many of them, getting in there and destroying stuff will make a certain robot very happy (if you know who I mean), and this will in turn open up new doors as you progress... One of the most obvious direct benefits you'll get is access to allies who you can track down and join up with to aid you in various ways, be it fighting at your side, repairing your parts, or even hacking terminals.

My most recent stream happens to be doing an "ECA run," although due to a royal screw up on my part we don't acquire the necessary tools until the end of that particular stream, which I'll be continuing next week. (Another screw up: The audio balance on that stream was completely off for the first segment, having accidentally used the wrong settings from a previous setup and only later being notified and adjusted it to achieve proper results xD) It also happens to be a full melee run, albeit a very non-optimal one, but evading and bashing things is fun? :D

For the RIF challenged, new types of Garrison intel could come in handy assuming you can't bring down a Phase Generator to use your own infowar utilities, like locating all the Phase Walls:

The Scrap Engine

It's here.

Now you, too, can feed the engine in an attempt to influence what parts it creates for you, right on your core. The Scrap Engine introduces a whole new build type, and as such requires new strategies aimed at taking advantage of your strengths while avoiding exposing your weaknesses. It is very strong, but getting the most out of it requires a high level of "dedication" in your build--at the extreme end, become an almost unstoppable force of metal and might at the expense of funneling your build into a narrower set of tactical options.

In short, it vacuums up many types of parts to generate "constructs" in your empty slots, so picking what to feed it, and when, are key to success. There's a lot to learn about guiding its creative potential...

You can read a lot more about its features in the dedicated article. All you really need to know now, however, is how to acquire this thing in the first place.

The way you will normally find the Scrap Engine has not yet been added, so for now it spawns on the floor right at the entrance when you arrive in Recycling (sounds fitting, yeah? :D). It appears there because Recycling will indeed be the map in which it's found later, albeit not right at the entrance. Currently there is only one reliable route to reach Recycling, via Storage, so in this version you'll have to head that way if you want to try your hand at building constructs, but soon there will be a new second route to access that area... all of that's coming in Beta 13.

Other contents of Recycling itself have also changed, in preparation for what else is coming off in those parts... For one, the Spotters are gone o_O

Among the QoL things you'll notice while using the Scrap Engine, "edible" resources intermittently blink white while in view and the engine itself is in COLLECT mode:

And a list of your Scrap Engine's current contents (the items it will use to build new constructs) appears over the left side of the map any time you toggle it, or feed it a new item:

Effective use of the Scrap Engine will require experimentation and observation, especially when you're just starting out. I suggest you feed it some armor sooner rather than later ;)

RIF and Bothacking

As said, of course RIF users will enjoy the added variety on their many Garrison visits, making diving more fun and interesting both with new challenges and rewards. You'll quickly note that RIF Installers may be a little harder to find since they can appear anywhere now:

At the same time, once you've found the first, subsequent installers won't be so difficult to locate since you can ping them from a distance:

(...assuming you're doing it to actually install the RIF system rather than... *gasp* blow them up)

And in the rewards category, you can even find more than one installer in the same Garrison!

I'm sure bothackers will also enjoy the new coupler type and RIF ability, and can rejoice at the removal of [ARC] couplers, which had their slots in the pool replaced by [Specialist] (those being more common now given Heavy activity) while ARCs can now be hacked using regular [NC] couplers, and even fully controlled (including their contents!) if you have that much power.

purge_threat was also restored to its original (cheaper) cost (10, yay!), now that I had more time to implement the true intended effect of repeatedly using it: diminishing returns.

Little and Not-so-Little Things

So that brings you up to speed on Beta 12's key content, but there's more! Actually there's still the full changelog so let's have a look at that...

Cogmind Beta 12 "Encrypted Comms" (230303) changelog:
  • NEW: 30 new encounters
  • NEW: 11 new items (including new mechanics)
  • NEW: 1 new derelict robot class (multiple variants)
  • NEW: 3 new Terminal hacks
  • NEW: 1 new unauthorized Terminal hack
  • NEW: 1 new RIF ability
  • NEW: 1 new Relay Coupler type
  • NEW: 2 new robot hacks: emergency_deploy, formatsys_deep
  • NEW: 3 new build type descriptors
  • NEW: 1 new corruption effect
  • NEW: 1 new scoresheet entry
  • NEW: 1 new ambient machine track
  • NEW: 25 new sound effects (total = 1123)
  • NEW: Multiple lore entries related to new content
  • NEW: Expanded Active Sensor Suite activity paths to include all maps and prefabs
  • NEW: Exposed earth cells make use of background color to help differentiate from walls in ASCII mode
  • NEW: Garrisons redesigned with new map generation algorithm including many encounters and events
  • NEW: Major new way to use Garrisons to interact with a particular faction, without RIF (new mechanics and effects across multiple maps)
  • NEW: RIF enables pinging of nearby RIF Installer locations
  • NEW: Pinging a new special machine location via RIF or other capabilities automatically blocks movement for a moment
  • NEW: Recycling entrance area includes free access to Scrap Engine (placeholder acquisition method)
  • NEW: ECM Suites also prevent alert increases caused by 0b10 pursuers losing track of Cogmind
  • NEW: Derelict Wizard class includes terminal hacking AI behavior under certain circumstances
  • NEW: Additional AI behaviors during particular large-scale battle in Research
  • NEW: Extended game major NPC data core contains additional map information
  • NEW: Some derelict classes capable of moving through Twisted Machinery
  • NEW: Item info window explicitly lists Chunk count for AOE damage, which may not always be 1~3
  • NEW: Gallery data exporting includes explosion arc values for applicable weapons
  • NEW: Tearclaw descriptions indicate they ignore armor
  • NEW: On-map popup shows in white when attached part rejected due to system corruption
  • NEW: More detailed old save incompatibility detection and help system
  • NEW: Options for reporting on botnet effectiveness (advanced.cfg: reportBotnetSupportedSuccess/reportBotnetInsufficientFailure)
  • NEW: [Polymind mode] Hosts require 1~2 turns to reboot after being released
  • NEW: [Player 2 mode] Additional situations with more dialogue lines (total = 789)
  • MOD: RIF Installers placed randomly instead of always near Garrison entrance or exit
  • MOD: Having RIF installed no longer immune to "Garrison interior compromised" alert
  • MOD: Alert increases from Garrison interior compromised effect slower to kick in, but rate increases over long term
  • MOD: purge_threat cost decreased (15->10), has diminishing effect with each successive use on a single map
  • MOD: Removed Relay Coupler [ARC]
  • MOD: Relay Coupler [Specialist] more common
  • MOD: Relay Coupler and Authchip descriptions listing multiple robot classes now order them alphabetically
  • MOD: Heavies no longer call sensor-based reinforcements while aware of Cogmind's precise position
  • MOD: GOLEM Unit activation never triggers within 5 turns
  • MOD: Deep Caves wall more proactive if chambers disturbed
  • MOD: Removed one potential Shearcannon source
  • MOD: ARC storage type changed from Large to High-capacity
  • MOD: Mechanic class built-in inventory capacity increased from 10 to 12
  • MOD: Mass info no longer listed for unidentified items
  • MOD: Some multislot treads not quite as common
  • MOD: All VSS Leg coverage reduced (60->50)
  • MOD: Imp. Q-Thruster support increased from 8 to 9, base speed reduced from 35 to 40
  • MOD: Cmb. Linear Gravjet support reduced from 17 to 14
  • MOD: GOLEM parts and installation of backup parts do not trigger Lightpack effect
  • MOD: Wall/door destruction at a depth of -10/-9 in 0b10-controlled areas increases influence by 1
  • MOD: Ranged robots no longer proactively back away from melee-equipped hostiles while standing in an open doorway
  • MOD: Scrapyard renamed to Junkyard
  • MOD: Adjustments to certain Mines layouts
  • MOD: Operators/Mechanics no longer always start immediately adjacent to their assigned interactive machine
  • MOD: Research branch firing range encounter no longer allows victims to attack one another if only some assimilated
  • MOD: Zion more reactive to potentially hostile actions
  • MOD: Zion defenses no longer infinite
  • MOD: Data Miner now has Disruption immunity
  • MOD: Propulsion of the same category may not always have the same Mod/Extra speed modifier (updated stat context help)
  • MOD: Recycling defensive measures replaced
  • MOD: Updated several lore entries to reflect changes to Recycling
  • MOD: Expanded conditions under which Decoy Drones might self-destruct
  • MOD: Latent Energy Streamer special behavior indicated as part of description in part info window, rather than under Effect header
  • MOD: Several events with disabled bots no longer include possibility of Programmer class
  • MOD: Updated large robot AI around blocking terrain
  • MOD: Part auto-replacement system allows power sources of different subtypes to be swapped with each other if swap is desirable for other reasons
  • MOD: Updated "Rincewind" achievement description to be more specific in light of NEM artifact
  • MOD: Switched Toggle part auto-activation hotkey from F10 to Ctrl-F10
  • MOD: [Player 2 mode] Player 2 ignores Fusion Compressors
  • MOD: [Player 2 mode] "Corrupted" prefix not shown for items listed in Player 2 loadout
  • MOD: [Polymind mode] Suspicion reduction from attacking 0b10 enemies restricted to more reasonable applicable scenarios
  • MOD: [Polymind mode] Stasis bubble strength transferred between host and Cogmind where applicable
  • FIX: Wall/door destruction in -10/-9 increased influence by 3 instead of 0 due to regression in Beta 11 [aoemica]
  • FIX: Particular broken NPC might be given a line of dialogue in a certain extended game scenario (spoilers) [aoemica]
  • FIX: Crash during rare Shearcannon-related NPC event if targeting its own position [aoemica]
  • FIX: Scoresheet Last Messages section could include player notes [aoemica]
  • FIX: [Polymind mode] Gunslinging by 0b10 bots could choose to target Cogmind even if unsuspicious [aoemica]
  • FIX: Ablative armor flashed while at 200 heat, despite its description stating it doesn't take effect until rising above that level [aoemica]
  • FIX: Interactive machines in extended game map were locked instead of disabled after major event [aoemica]
  • FIX: Beta 9 update unintentionally dumbed down extended game major NPC during certain combat situations [aoemica]
  • FIX: Swapping positions with stationary FOV-sharing drones did not update their FOV until a later visible action forced an FOV update [R-26 Lightspeed]
  • FIX: [Polymind mode] Assimilating targets via hacking-capable host caused them to always share FOV with Cogmind [R-26 Lightspeed]
  • FIX: Fabnet effect audio played globally regardless of map position [R-26 Lightspeed]
  • FIX: Beta 11 Watcher Feeds AI targeting update also caused hostiles to ignore assimilated Watchers [R-26 Lightspeed]
  • FIX: Item search window scrolled in opposite direction if using LMB on darkened item [ktur]
  • FIX: Item search window could crash while attempting to scroll in some situations [ktur]
  • FIX: Scoresheet could increment Reinforcement squad tally even if none was able to be dispatched in a certain extended map [leiavoia]
  • FIX: Using full or partially loaded Trap Extractors moving over free nonmatching trap items would attempt to collect them [leiavoia]
  • FIX: Prefabs might create door into adjacent room, which could later be blocked by a different prefab-placed machine [gammafunk]
  • FIX: In rare cases certain actions during the Mines cave-in event could cause numerous excavation squad dispatches over a long period [Lumberblack]
  • FIX: Context help for robot DORMANT state still indicated hacking was possible [nogimagogi]
  • FIX: Context help for weapon Arc stat reworded to clarify projectile mechanics [Benkyo]
  • FIX: Derelict-infiltrated ambush traps could exist in Research branches [Infomantis]
  • FIX: Updating from certain older versions to newer versions with a run in progress could delete an older primary save file, leaving only backups [2zz423]
  • FIX: Hard Hitter achievement could be earned indirectly by triggering Z-Power destruction [Paperbell, DeadlyBlueApples]
  • FIX: Mechanics could complete repair tasks on target no longer affiliated with them if conditions met prior to faction change [CaptainWinky]
  • FIX: Repairing or Scanalyzing a Broken part at a machine could break it again [JackNine]
  • FIX: Crash due to replicating Broken LC Capacitor [Boris]
  • FIX: In rare cases a patrol initially present on new map may remain stationary until certain unlikely conditions met [Youngster]
  • FIX: Typos [Eltons Kuns, aoemica, lyra]
  • FIX: New Control(Release) special hack missing from scoresheet records affected recording of some other extended-game spoiler hacks
  • FIX: Relay Coupler [NC] description missing Minesweepers from list of applicable targets
  • FIX: Attached broken multislot parts fixed by a Recalibrator did not update their "Broken" prefix for additional slots automatically
  • FIX: Potential crash during system corruption IFF burst if passing turns while Cogmind offscreen near right/bottom map edges
  • FIX: DSF deliveries could stack a cache on top of existing items
  • FIX: Dying to a Fire trap caused game over screen to report death by cave-in
  • FIX: [Polymind mode] Crash on taking control of Programmer host while default info panel already open

Saves from earlier versions are incompatible with Beta 12, but even if you're on Steam and Cogmind automatically updates, Beta 11.2 is still available via its own legacy branch and you can roll back to finish a run in progress first if you like.

Regarding save compatibility, Beta 12 actually comes with a more helpful detection and notification system which will display a log message like so:

(If you're not using the Steam version it would leave out the Steam-specific part, since updating is manual anyway.)

Cogmind always keeps your old save files, even in the event of an automatic update on Steam, so finishing a run from an earlier version is as simple as switching your branch to the one indicated (as read from the save file version). For example:

In pretty picture updates, the Active Sensor Suite first introduced back in Beta 11 alongside a bunch of other new infowar utilities has had its "desire path" data fully fleshed out!

All the main 0b10-controlled maps already had the majority of their paths set based on existing procgen content, but many outlying branch maps rely on heavy use of prefabs which, even though placed procedurally, also needed to specify just what kinds of realistic paths they might contain, and therefore how they might link to other parts of the map. This process involved revisiting hundreds of prefabs to manually place markers in order to help define paths that reflect the activity one might expect in these areas.

It's now done, making the Active Sensor even more useful than before, while also helping bring outlying areas to life from a different viewpoint.

The above example shows full Active Sensor data for a larger Proximity Cave base linked to an 0b10 outpost deeper in the caves, and below you can see an interesting scenario I came across that shows path activity generated for a small Warlord outpost linked to some of their guards nearby in the caves:

As one might expect, there's room for environmental storytelling out there, too.

ASCII mode also got some prettification in the new rendering style for earth cells, which make use of a background color, although technically the impetus there wasn't aesthetics, but a need to visually differentiate cave walls from earth in that mode. (Tiles didn't need this, since that mode uses separate tiles for each anyway.) See here:

Doing various things to expose or view earth tiles:

Okay where we really needed the distinction was in the caves:

There weren't many more item adjustments in Beta 12, since Beta 11 took care of that with a comprehensive review, although we have a few stragglers that got tweaked. ECM Suites were buffed for stealth-minded Cogminds, while one of the top-tier flight units (Imp. Q-thrusters) got a 12% increase in support, and the only top-tier non-prototype hover (Cmb. Linear Gravjet) had its support dropped by 18% to bring it in line with the tech behind it. (Use the lower-tier Cmb. Antigrav System to fill the more heavy-support hover role, albeit without the linear hover speed.) Another notable propulsion update: Late-game multislot treads were way too commonly found just lying around, especially given how much they've been buffed over the years as even more types were added (technically increasing prevalence further), so they are generally a little more rare now to bring them back in line.

Overall balance is looking good, though, which is great because it confirms the foundation is ready for yet more exploration of interesting new mechanics :)

Beta 12 also brings a fair number of AI modifications, some specific to certain areas or events, but also a few applied more generally. Of particular note, robots fighting in doorways will no longer back away from melee-using enemies, so to use automatic doors as a convenient temporary shield you'll just have to rely on impact weapons to send targets flying back out the door ;). You can even hook up with AIs capable of hacking machines, something they can go off and do on their own before returning to report what was learned.

In the general QoL department, if system corruption rejects a part, in addition to the several other sources of warning feedback you'll now also get a popup on the map showing the name of the item:

Note we've always had the cogmindPartLossMapIndicator advanced.cfg option which could do this, but this new behavior uses a different color, and is always active.

You might enjoy one or both of the two new botnet-related settings in advanced.cfg, in order to know when your previously-installed botnets were what enabled you to succeed at a given hack, or inform you that you were close enough that you would've been successful with just a slightly bigger botnet, altogether useful for assessing how that ability fits into your overall hacking strategy (but entirely optional, and off by default).

Wiki on Cog-Minder

aoemica's ultimate Cogmind tool Cog-Minder, including robot/item/hacking/lore reference materials and a battle/build simulator, has more recently been expanded with a great wiki full of strategy info and useful tips. There are tons of screenshots showing various encounters, supporting diagrams, and more.

Most of the maps are in there, with a great level of detail, but there are also plenty of wiki links and other topics that could be filled out with more info. Consider contributing if you have something to add!

Have fun playing around with Encrypted Comms! And in the meantime I appreciate the help with leaving reviews since the December Polymind update (after forgetting to remind everyone for so long xD), very helpful! I'll be analyzing Beta 11 stats to share soon enough, as usual, then be getting back to work on Beta 13. That expansion already includes several brand new robot classes and 25 new items, most with new mechanics, and that's just some of its tangential pieces--the real meat is going to be exciting stuff, as one would expect from a new major faction :)

A preview of more to come...

Josh Ge, Developer - Dev Blog | @GridSageGames | Patreon


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Re: Cogmind Beta 12 "Encrypted Comms"
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2023, 06:48:30 AM »

I hope the scrap gods are treating you well, or the garrison encounter gods, whichever the case may be! In the week since the latest major Beta 12 release went out, I've been working on some adjustments on the side. Saves are compatible, hence no new minor version number, just a new build number...

Cogmind Beta 12 (230310) changelog:
  • MOD: DSFs now remain accessible even after emerging from a Garrison
  • MOD: Encrypted Comm Array explicitly fries itself in more plot situations
  • MOD: Weapon constructs take projectile count into account when setting or updating critical strike values
  • MOD: Weapon constructs lose Burn critical effect if heatTransfer negated through some other means
  • MOD: Spotters only care about armed hostiles
  • MOD: Cargo Storage integrity increased from 700 to 1000
  • FIX: Zionite tip regarding Spotter behavior still gave Recycling map location despite Beta 12 rewrite [lyra]
  • FIX: One Relay Coupler-related lore source needed adjusting due to coupler changes [lyra]
  • FIX: Potential crash on entering a Garrison during a certain rare event [Finestep]
  • FIX: Any Encrypted Comm update's reported force multiplier remaining unchanged since previous report always displayed current value of 1.00 [ktur]
  • FIX: Modified propulsion constructs could seemingly retain siege or burnout capabilities after switching to incompatible type [Terminus]
  • FIX: Entering a new map did not reset robot momentum [Luigi]
  • FIX: Typos [Cracklepappy]
Josh Ge, Developer - Dev Blog | @GridSageGames | Patreon