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Report RSS Cogmind Beta 9 "Wizardry"

Massive update brings upgradable bothacking, siege mode for treads, Explorer/Adventurer modes with optional permadeath, even more detailed scoresheets, and much more!

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Cogmind's 9th major beta release, "Wizardry," is a big one where you can

  • upgrade with permanent bothacking abilities!
  • become a mobile fortress with siege mode for treads!
  • pore over greatly expanded scoresheets!
  • make use of optional quicksaves!
  • enjoy tons more QoL!
  • etc! yes! more!

In the works for more than half a year, this release brings us pretty close to 1.0, at least based on the fact that there's little left in terms of "must-have" features on the roadmap.

Lots more details can be found in the release notes and sample images further below, but first, the changelog...

Cogmind Beta 9 "Wizardry" (191022) changelog:

  • NEW: 17 new items (4 new mechanics)
  • NEW: 2 new unique superweapons
  • NEW: 89 new scoresheet entries (total = 888)
  • NEW: 1 more Garrison Access hack
  • NEW: 1 more Trojan() hack (secret)
  • NEW: 1 more brute force hack (secret)
  • NEW: 2 more robot variants
  • NEW: 1 new robot hack: amplify_resonance
  • NEW: 1 new cave encounter
  • NEW: 6 more parse_system text entries for NPCs
  • NEW: Relay Interface Framework now upgradeable by connecting to more RIF Installers
  • NEW: RIF abilities UI accessed through new HUD button when available (or via keyboard: Shift-Alt-f)
  • NEW: Added dedicated difficulty selection menu on first startup
  • NEW: Adventurer/Explorer difficulty settings include a manual quicksave/load slot (Ctrl-F7/F8, or in game menu)
  • NEW: Option to remove quicksave/load feature for Adventurer/Explorer modes (activate in advanced.cfg: noManualSaving)
  • NEW: Manual includes a section on "Saving/Loading"
  • NEW: Additional tutorial message on first time using a RIF Installer
  • NEW: Siege mechanic available to all multislot treads via overloading, enforces temporary immobility but provides numerous buffs
  • NEW: Item info window lists Siege stat for all treads, either N/A, Standard, or High
  • NEW: Robots entering siege mode temporarily show as a flashing a yellow X on map
  • NEW: Option to automatically activate treads when attacking, if possible (activate in advanced.cfg: autoActivateTreadsOnAttack)
  • NEW: Option to automatically transition applicable treads out of siege mode on attempting to move (activate in advanced.cfg: autoDeactivateSiegeModeOnMove)
  • NEW: Most robots with Critical immunity converted to the new Coring immunity, only protects core instead of both core and parts
  • NEW: Scoresheet analyzes and records class distribution of Cogmind builds, and dominant class per map
  • NEW: Option to show dynamic build type analysis above parts list (activate in advanced.cfg: showBuildType)
  • NEW: Scoresheet includes ASCII map of surroundings at run end
  • NEW: Scoresheet data divided into more subcategories
  • NEW: Scoresheet records per-map values for many stats
  • NEW: Scoresheet records hacks counts at non-Terminal machines as well
  • NEW: Scoresheet explicitly lists all Trojans installed
  • NEW: Scoresheet includes brute force hack records
  • NEW: Scoresheet robot destruction tallies differentiate between subtypes
  • NEW: Scoresheet indicates specific cause of death, if lost
  • NEW: Scoresheet "Parts Attached" subsection divided into subtypes
  • NEW: Scoresheet fabrication list also indicates whether schematic preloaded
  • NEW: Scoresheet includes breakdown of all slot types and when added
  • NEW: Scoresheet subdivides average slot use by subtypes as well
  • NEW: Scoresheet includes last 20 message log lines preceding end of run
  • NEW: Scoresheet lists complete history of notable actions and events during the run
  • NEW: Scoresheet stats tally actions individually
  • NEW: Scoresheet "Game" and "Options" section entries have their values aligned
  • NEW: Scoresheet parts/inventory list includes content/attribute details, e.g. Drone Bay and Relay Coupler contents
  • NEW: Added score component "Regions Visited"
  • NEW: Several new sources of bonus points
  • NEW: Output stat dump for in-progress run (Shift-Alt-s or via Records menu)
  • NEW: Mid-run stat dumps also output full message log based on Log Output settings
  • NEW: Part swap menu includes autopairing detection for easier reswapping of multiple parts
  • NEW: Parts with an applicable autopair have a tick next to them
  • NEW: Show all applicable autopair names by holding Shift-Alt-a, or hovering cursor over an autopair tick for 500ms
  • NEW: Swap all applicable autopairs with Shift-Alt-w
  • NEW: Manual hacking autocomplete shows available relevant options as a list in most cases, including item schematics which are filtered while typing
  • NEW: Manual terminal hacks use the direct hack chance if an identical hack is listed at that machine
  • NEW: Added a way to teach new players about extermination squad tracking mechanics and assault dispatches
  • NEW: Advanced commands help explicitly lists F12 as a screenshot key alongside PrtScn
  • NEW: Manual "Advanced Commands" section lists every command, including a few otherwise previously undocumented special (rare) commands
  • NEW: Manual explicitly states that damage overflow from non-gun weapons has no additional defenses applied to it
  • NEW: Robot data CSV export includes precise core exposure beside percentage value
  • NEW: Robot data CSV export includes total energy generation
  • NEW: Alternative type of Proximity Caves base
  • NEW: Doubled the duration of Modified TNC Hauler realtime manifest popups
  • NEW: Control Modified TNC Hauler realtime manifest popup duration via advanced option "modifiedTncPopupDuration"
  • NEW: Integrity/mass sorting of inventory also subsort by integrity (high-to-low) for otherwise matching items
  • NEW: parse_system robot hack gives component IDs even for targets with otherwise special text
  • NEW: Scan window includes abbreviated explosion data for explosive props
  • NEW: Starting to move via overweight flight requires confirmation
  • NEW: Player-dropped parts crushed due to lack of room now reported in message log
  • NEW: Score data that should be uploaded but fails because offline or bad connection will be reattempted on subsequent startups until success
  • NEW: Scores and stats now uploaded to a proper database
  • NEW: Scoresheet appends URLs for online TXT/JSON access to that run, if uploaded
  • NEW: Special codes menu for manual hacking includes explicit notification about using Esc to enable typing in that mode
  • NEW: Tutorial message explicitly indicating that machine info contains effect descriptions for installed Trojans
  • NEW: Will Glynn added to credits for leaderboards database
  • NEW: All Alpha supporter names registered since Beta 8 added to in-game list (see Credits menu)
  • NEW: All patron supporter names registered since Beta 8 added to in-game list (see Credits menu)
  • NEW: All patron item-attribution names registered since Beta 8 added to the item collection gallery
  • MOD: Removed a number of scoresheet entries (obsolete under new format)
  • MOD: Renamed a number of old scoresheet entries
  • MOD: Degree of system corruption-induced component data loss differentiated in message log by text instead of only color
  • MOD: Scoresheet high/max security percentage folded into same system as lower alert levels
  • MOD: Scoresheet "Average Slot Usage (%)" and "Naked Turns" entries no longer tallied in Scrapyard
  • MOD: Scoresheet "Salvage Created" includes that from machines
  • MOD: Scoresheet "Spaces Dug" now records only intentional digging, while new "Terrain Destroyed" entries refer to all wall/earth destruction
  • MOD: Scoresheet "Major NPCs Destroyed" renamed "Uniques/NPCs Destroyed," includes broader range of non-primary plot characters
  • MOD: Scoresheet "Play Time" and cumulative value formats changed
  • MOD: Scoresheet speed records use time-based speed rather than percentage-based
  • MOD: Scoresheet no longer lists Prototype IDs
  • MOD: Scoresheet propulsion-related entries always list legs before wheels, matching part ordering behavior
  • MOD: Scoresheet route no longer records discovered exits blocked by special modes like Gauntlet and Super Gauntlet
  • MOD: A number of low-value sources of bonus points removed from scoresheet (included in history log instead)
  • MOD: Increased bonus point value of Zhirov's final act
  • MOD: Changed command line syntax for forcing AFD modes ("-forceMode:AFD[year]")
  • MOD: Command line parameter for preventing AFD/special modes now "-noSpecialMode"
  • MOD: Hvy. Explosive Trap (in deployed form) renamed to Heavy Explosive Trap
  • MOD: Gui. Missile Launcher slightly weakened
  • MOD: Quantum Capacitor size and integrity doubled
  • MOD: Weapon Cycler effect cap lowered to 30
  • MOD: Humpback mass doubled, capacity increased 25%
  • MOD: Doubled defensive hackware protective effect against allies being hacked by hostile Programmers
  • MOD: Greatly improved Q-Series loadout algorithm
  • MOD: Linked Autogun rating increased from 5 to 7
  • MOD: Cld. Cesium-ion Thruster coverage reduced
  • MOD: Cld. VTOL Module support reduced
  • MOD: Burnout rates on all hover/flight units increased
  • MOD: Desublimator matter output increased
  • MOD: Significantly increased mass of all Powered Armors
  • MOD: Mass of heavy armors increased 50%, medium armors increased 30%
  • MOD: Increased range of Sensor Array and Improved variant
  • MOD: Increased range of Terrain Scanner and Improved and Makeshift variants
  • MOD: Increased effectiveness of Seismic Analyzer and Terrain Scan Processor
  • MOD: Heat Shielding and Thermal Generators less common
  • MOD: High-tier slashing weapon delay increased, along with other smaller adjustments
  • MOD: Greatswords' coverage decreased
  • MOD: All electromagnetic weapons consume twice as much energy
  • MOD: All datajacks once again compatible with autoswapping system
  • MOD: Damaging a Garrison Access randomly destroys some of the Relay Couplers inside
  • MOD: Ejecting Relay Couplers from a Garrison Access never dispatches an investigation from that source
  • MOD: Coupling squads now always composed of a single Programmer
  • MOD: "Signature Confirmed" achievement conditions more specific
  • MOD: "Equal Opportunity Bot" achievement requirement increased to 30 to account for additional class divisions in new scoresheet
  • MOD: Being scanned by a Researcher no longer has the same effect in all Research branches
  • MOD: show_paths robot hack uses same coloring for Swarmer paths as for other common squads
  • MOD: Temporary input mode indicators at top of parts list now use background color matching UI borders
  • MOD: Overweight indicator at top of parts list now matching UI border color, and overweight flight/hover use yellow instead of red
  • MOD: Manual hacking autocomplete uses a two-step process where a command includes a variable, rather than treating a full command as one
  • MOD: Manual hacking autocomplete adds new content only via Tab, rather than Tab or Space
  • MOD: Ctrl-Backspace while typing a manual hack erases back to the previous '(' if there is one, rather than always clearing the command
  • MOD: Robot analyses from conduit interaction now included in scoresheet total
  • MOD: Breaching an Access Garrison triggers maximum security at turn 3 instead of 5
  • MOD: Scoresheet "Regions Visited" value excludes Scrapyard
  • MOD: High-rating Phase Shifter effect reduced
  • MOD: "Fragile Parts" challenge no longer applies its rule to any storage units
  • MOD: Disabled Programmers cannot be rewired with Datajacks
  • MOD: Disabled Imps can once again be rewired by bumping without a Datajack
  • MOD: Rebalanced one of the final branch fights
  • MOD: Assault squads are somewhat more powerful
  • MOD: High Security dispatches grow increasingly deadly with each dispatch
  • MOD: Proximity Caves base can only appear once per run
  • MOD: Piercing weapons double target core exposure for hit location calculations (was x1.33)
  • MOD: Coupling squads no longer appear randomly in -8/Materials
  • MOD: Machines that release parts push away nearby items if no immediate room to place, rather than rolling over to furthest available position
  • MOD: Ferrying EX-Prototypes out via allied Haulers will be caught as usual
  • MOD: Component Analysis Suites also show a log message when re-identifying common part data lost to corruption
  • MOD: Relay Coupler [NC] rating dropped to 1
  • MOD: advanced.cfg disablePersistentAccuracyInfo option itemLabelRelativeRatingCutoff does not affect Relay Coupler labeling
  • MOD: Adv. Salvage Targeting Computer no longer a prototype
  • MOD: Lab cheese tactics addressed (x2)
  • MOD: Core reset also clears sensor layout knowledge from a certain NPC's data core
  • MOD: 8R-AWN can no longer appear in Materials during Gauntlet or Super Gauntlet challenges
  • MOD: Difficulty modes rebranded, now referred to as Rogue/Adventurer/Explorer instead of default/easier/easiest
  • MOD: Reversed order of difficulty modes in options menu, hardest listed last
  • MOD: Manual "Difficulty" section updated
  • MOD: Options.cfg "easyMode" setting renamed "difficultyMode"
  • MOD: Removed log message reporting difficulty level at beginning of new runs
  • MOD: No Operators spawn at depth -10 in Adventurer/Explorer modes
  • MOD: No Operators spawn within view of starting location below depth -8/-7 in Adventurer/Explorer modes
  • MOD: No Alarm Traps found below depth -7 in Explorer mode
  • MOD: Increased brightness of bars and numbers for data visualization of inactive parts in Parts and Inventory windows
  • MOD: Gallery prompt for player name also mentions Sage+ patrons
  • MOD: References to "0.10" versioning removed from all changelogs
  • MOD: [Steam] Achievements retroactively downloaded from the cloud no longer count as achieved in the current run, CSV exports indicate ? for Game Number
  • FIX: Certain special/plot-related Terminal hacks could be accessed manually outside of the intended locations [lsend]
  • FIX: Explosives could reveal invisible triggers which protected floor cells from destruction [lsend]
  • FIX: Terrain Scanner activation animation temporarily pinpointed unrevealed traps [lsend]
  • FIX: Crash on passing time via 'p' menu action while an item inspection window is open when Chronowheel reversion takes effect [lsend]
  • FIX: Attaching a 1-integrity Chronowheel had no effect, but would continue the animation indefinitely [lsend]
  • FIX: Entering a backslash while tagging an inventory item briefly opens the full-size Evasion window [lsend]
  • FIX: Having a second info window open to inspect a target's part while tagging an inventory item would cover part of the tag UI [lsend]
  • FIX: Using the keyboard to open attached part info while dragging a part with the mouse then releasing the drag hard locked the interface [lsend]
  • FIX: If advanced.cfg stopOnThreatsOnly option set to 1, holding wait key wouldn't pause action for ARCs coming into view [Tone]
  • FIX: Holding wait key didn't pause action for approaching hostiles if no FOV changes involved [Tone]
  • FIX: Transport Network Couplers included inactive Haulers in mapwide Hauler count [Tone]
  • FIX: drop_inventory hack reported wrong numbers in message log when Hauler carrying multiple part types [Tone]
  • FIX: FarCom prevented specific robot variant name popups outside FOV [Tone]
  • FIX: Two log messages during a particular extended run battle appeared in reverse order [Tone]
  • FIX: Inventory item predicted coverage visualization values were incorrect, did not take into account the part itself [Tone]
  • FIX: Bypassing inventory via direct drop/attach of part in coverage or relative vulnerability mode did not update inventory visualization [Tone]
  • FIX: Scoresheet "Combat Hostiles" melted tally wasn't accrued in all cases, nor was "Pyromaniac" achievement always checked [Raine]
  • FIX: Gallery HTML export Drag stat added in Beta 8.1 caused misalignment in propulsion stat headers [Raine]
  • FIX: Phase Shifter effect description did not indicate they only work against ranged attacks [Raine]
  • FIX: Impact-caused corruption always showed as "1%" in the message log, regardless of the actual value [Raine]
  • FIX: advanced.cfg hudHeatPerMoveTurnwise/hudEnergyPerMoveTurnwise options displayed incorrect results in the HUD [Raine]
  • FIX: Assault squad support units dispatched against groups always favored Demolishers, and dispatched more than intended [Raine]
  • FIX: "Overflow Damage" in scoresheet was not being tallied based on player attacks [Valguris]
  • FIX: Derelict logs pre-locating and identifying specific exits was broken in some cases [Valguris]
  • FIX: Letting the Chronowheel take effect removed the multiconsole buttons until restart [Valguris]
  • FIX: Triggering a single Alarm Trap in the Extension main corridor did not deactivate others in same array [Valguris]
  • FIX: advanced.cfg disablePersistentAccuracyInfo option blinked the per-weapon targeting info rather than removing it [Valguris]
  • FIX: Crash on Mines cave-in encounter if no room for excavation squad's escort to enter map [Valguris]
  • FIX: Broken or unpowered bots could be considered threats in some cases [Joshua]
  • FIX: Slowdown when a squad leader stuck in any area inaccessible to other squad members [Joshua]
  • FIX: Allied Abots normally capable of activating kill switch for Enhanced bots did so even when the latter are allied [Joshua]
  • FIX: Random traps could still spawn in special encounter rooms [Joshua]
  • FIX: Derelict Logs recording an entrance to a later map only showed popup label when applied, no corresponding log message [Joshua]
  • FIX: "Fragile Parts" challenge crashed on attempting to swap parts affecting inventory capacity when at maximum capacity [CaptainWinky]
  • FIX: One of three Researcher part identification situations referred to Cogmind instead of the Researcher in message log [CaptainWinky]
  • FIX: Hallucinogenic terminal effect modifying sprite mode settings retained permanently if entered a new map while in progress [CaptainWinky, Pimski]
  • FIX: Targeting mode could not autotarget/tab to enemies currently on right or bottom edge of map [Maiker]
  • FIX: Gunslinging would never choose enemies currently on right or bottom edge of map [Maiker]
  • FIX: Taking a shortcut to Zion after visiting Exiles did not appear correctly on the world map [Maiker]
  • FIX: Researchers being disrupted while holding target in stasis kept the beam active for a bit afterward [3.14]
  • FIX: Data Miner dispatch redirects could still occur despite player having affected DM in certain ways [3.14]
  • FIX: Left an unintended clue about a secret superweapon [Trione]
  • FIX: A Beta 8.1 alert modification made it unlikely to trigger Ride The Lightning achievement [Gobbopathe]
  • FIX: Potential PHP issue related to score uploading [antifed]
  • FIX: "Label Object Under Cursor" command removed from in-game list since that already occurs automatically [Gerhard]
  • FIX: Some sources of system corruption might show in message log even after Core Membrane took effect [Happylisk]
  • FIX: Attempting to keyboard swap parts while the status window closing left swap menu open until '/' pressed again [Suslik]
  • FIX: Regular Thieves could steal as effectively as Master Thieves [Zyalin]
  • FIX: Autonomous weapons might target broken or unpowered targets [Sylvia]
  • FIX: Attacking Exiles while they're already under attack by others made the hostility announcement but did not turn them hostile [Decinym]
  • FIX: Hallucinogenic terminal effect modifying sprite mode settings did not correctly revert if applied a second time while already in effect [roushguy]
  • FIX: Dropping the SCP then attempting exoskeleton activation would make it impossible to successfully execute that command when SCP reacquired [muxecoid]
  • FIX: Comparing Latent Energy Streamer stats with other weapons did not match up explosion data properly [JSLIN]
  • FIX: Dropped items did not avoid turret positions, making them irretrievable until turret destroyed [MTF]
  • FIX: Opening a Scanalyzer Insert() list containing an unidentified non-scannable part would show it in blue, revealing otherwise unknown info [zxc]
  • FIX: Using Escape to close robot hacking menu to cancel hacking ended background sfx, but using close button would not [SirMrDrProf]
  • FIX: Scoresheet records of autonomous weapon attacks weren't limited to Cogmind only [NikolayAg]
  • FIX: Typos [Joshua, Rumbl3, Nxg, Valguris, Trione]
  • FIX: Beta 9 prerelease bugs hunted down by: [MTF, CaptainWinky, Sylvia, Raine, Joshua, Tone, SirMrDrProf, Suslik, Zyalin]
  • FIX: A Beta 8.1 tweak to the hacking UI architecture caused a crash in one of the special win animations
  • FIX: A Beta 8.1 tweak to one of the special endings could cause the animation to crash under certain conditions
  • FIX: Assimilating Q-Series renamed them incorrectly
  • FIX: Indirectly hacking an explicitly listed item or robot schematic that would normally be beyond the given Terminal's authorization wouldn't work
  • FIX: "DIRECT" and other temporary keyboard state indicators could appear over temporarily opened Evasion window
  • FIX: Defensive hackware did not block machine trace feedback effects as often as it should
  • FIX: Overflow damage destroying subsequent parts did not report them to the message log
  • FIX: 01-MTF sprite changed from Grunt to Programmer, to match propulsion
  • FIX: Misfires due to corruption could trigger autonomous weapons as well
  • FIX: Scoresheet "Download EX-ID Prototypes" entry renamed to fit within standard name width
  • FIX: Subspace Access Node destruction could be heard from any location on map, regardless of distance

RIF Abilities (permanent bothacking upgrades)

One of the highlights of today's release is another big expansion of the Relay Interface Framework, the new bothacking system introduced back in Beta 7 ("Hack the Planet"). Beta 9 now allows you to also install permanent bothacking upgrades, either enhancing existing abilities or granting entirely new ones!

I have a blog post going over how RIF upgrades work, but in short you'll gain a new ability for every additional RIF Installer you use. So yep this requires you visit a bunch of Garrisons, but hey bothackers are right at home inside Garrisons, yeah?

That said, the new system makes it very tempting to visit every Garrison you possibly can, even if it's possibly a bad idea at the time xD (speaking from personal experience here, as one of my Beta 9 streams demonstrated...)

RIF was already decent on its own (still is!), but for each new ability you get you'll probably be that much more effective (the abilities are mostly randomly handed out, and may not synergize with your immediate build/plans/tactics), eventually reaching pretty epic proportions. Abilities include features like getting more out of your Relay Couplers, using Phasewalls, and making allies immune to Programmer hacking.

The new RIF abilities UI for listing learned abilities and their effects (to open click on the HUD's RIF button, or Shift-Alt-f):


Check out the blog if you don't mind spoilers and want to read up on the full details.

Robot hacking also got a cool new hack option, amplify_resonance, which essentially turns a robot's power source into a proximity bomb that will detonate when near another power source. This can truly wreak havoc on squads, and is a lot of fun. overload_power still has its place (and is cheaper), but also more challenging to control (and slower) if using it to take out groups of targets.


And for those with or without RIF, if you're using a Datajack to run parse_system hacks on unique NPCs that might report special text to let you see their thoughts, those will now also add their unique parts to your gallery, so you don't have to murder them (or try to find a way to get them killed) just to get those IDs :)

Siege Mode

If the silent approach isn't your thing, there is also a new way to make an even deadlier statement with your firepower: siege mode.

As most other forms of propulsion already do, all multislot treads now have their own special effect when "overloaded" (toggled a second time), transitioning them into siege mode in which you exchange your mobility for combat buffs, becoming immobile but gaining bonuses to accuracy and coverage, with even some damage resistance.

Entering and exiting the mode does take some time, as you can see in this demo here:


During the transition only the negative effects are in play, so when to activate and deactivate are even more tactically relevant decisions.

Treads also have a new Siege stat in their info window where you can access the context help and learn all the specific details.

Robots entering siege mode temporarily show as a flashing a yellow X on map, so yeah, enemies can do this, too, and you probably already know which ones ;). Yeah, it's kinda scary, but it also might give you a better opportunity to reposition or escape!

Siege treads originated as a new mechanic voted for by patrons during Beta 9 development, and were expanded from there. You can read a lot more about the process behind designing siege mechanics on the blog here.

Sample info page for Hvy. Siege Treads, one of the new dedicated parts especially effective in siege mode:


The Evasion window explicitly shows the negative avoidance modifier for being immobile:


Advanced.cfg comes with some new tread-related options, too. Set autoDeactivateSiegeModeOnMove to 1 to have siege mode automatically start transitioning out of siege mode if you try to move while in the mode, which is quicker than toggling the treads manually. And set autoActivateTreadsOnAttack to 1 to automatically switch to treads when attacking (for the accuracy boost and anti-recoil properties), which also automatically switches back to the original propulsion once moving again. This second option is quite useful for "halftrack" wheel+tread builds:


Scoresheet 2.0

Cogmind's scoresheets have been pretty awesome over the years, allowing players to see and share a large number of statistics from each run, but as we approach the end of Beta development it was finally time to make them even awesomer, so now we've got an insane variety and level of detail with per-map stats for all those many hundreds of values, a complete history log, an ASCII map of where the run ended, a more detailed breakdown of robot types destroyed, specific cause of death (if the run ended in a loss :P), relative class distribution and dominant class per map, and so much more...

I've written an in-depth four-part "Building the Ultimate Roguelike Morgue File" series on the blog starting here, which covers a range of topics around the design and content of these new scoresheets.

But wait, Cogmind doesn't have "classes," what do you mean by "dominant class"?! As part of the new scoresheet development I devised an automated system for categorizing your build based on your current loadout and sometimes other factors. You can choose to display your current build classification (dynamically updated!) directly on the HUD with the advanced.cfg option "showBuildType". Here's a combat build supported by infowar utilities, called a "Skirmisher":


In terms of scoresheet data we'll be able to see how builds evolved over a run:


As well as which build was favored by the player over others based on total relative time used:


It'll be really cool to examine these new stats later :D

The performance stats which count towards score ended up mostly unchanged, but were expanded slightly with the addition of Regions Visited. Rewarding exploration is a good way to encourage it, so a set amount of points are earned for reaching each new map. In the early years points for "Evolutions" served that purpose well enough, earned at each new depth, but back then the world was narrower, whereas players can now spend up to a half or even three quarters of a run inside branches, exploring horizontally. While it’s true there are also bonus points to earn in branches, not everyone may actually earn those anyway, and it’s worth recognizing that they still made the trip.

Some sources of bonus points were removed, but that's because they were originally piggybacking on the bonus point system as a kind of makeshift "history log" throughout Alpha/Beta, whereas the new scoresheets actually have a full history log containing all the notable events during a run.

There are currently several hundred different types of history log messages, and reading the log is like reading a pretty decent summary of the run. Here's a short example:


With history logs we'll be able to see more specfically what special encounters players found, and how they made their way through each floor, more in word form rather than all the number-based stats (although I'm sure the turn counter will in some cases be pretty elucidating, too).

I wrote a bunch about designing and building the history log here, which includes more samples.

So as you can see these scoresheets are jam-packed with fun and useful stuff, and you also don't even have to wait until the end of your run to have access to one! Mid-run stat dumps can be created using Shift-Alt-s in the main UI, or via the Records game menu:


Dumps are great for sharing with other players, or checking on the details of your progress.

Sample causes of death recorded while I was testing that system (demonstrating a variety of sources):


Sample ASCII map of final surroundings (more on its visual design in the relevant blog post):


Over the years all of Cogmind's player scoresheets have simply been uploaded as text files, then each day I'd copy the files and run a program that produces the leaderboards and some stats, but those days are behind us now. All the new stat uploads will instead be entered into the brand new database!

This database will power the new leaderboards (among other public stat uses), which aren't currently set up, but the data from new Beta 9 runs is being collected so don't worry--as long as you've got uploads enabled, it'll all be included later.

You can even already see your run data on the server by using the URLs appended to your local scoresheet, which look something like this:


The TXT form will be an identical copy of your scoresheet, stored online, and the JSON format is one way to represent the server's internal data for that run (sample). With the new scoresheet format, a long run can end up with literally tens of thousands of data points!

Thanks goes out to Will Glynn for being instrumental in getting that up and running. So I updated the credits menu :)


Difficulty Modes

Difficulty modes have been rebranded! They've now got names--Explorer/Adventurer/Rogue, and are no longer hidden in the options menu. We've had these settings for a while now, but they're underused since who knows how many people didn't seem to know they even existed xD (among other reasons discussed in the relevant blog post which goes into more detail).

Now it'll be impossible to miss them since the first time you start up Cogmind you'll be presented with a new menu that appears even before the title screen, asking which difficulty setting you want to choose.


The balance changes for each mode are more or less the same as before, as described in the manual, though there have been a few tweaks, most notably the removal of Alarm traps from Materials in Explorer mode, keeping Operators out of sight of the Materials starting locations so they don't call reinforcements right away in Explorer/Adventurer modes, and outright removing them from -10/Materials in those modes. Altogether these factors tended to significantly compound the dangers of the early depths and contribute to a lot of deaths from being overwhelmed, which doesn't really have a place in the early game for easier difficulties. (These factors are expected challenges of the traditional Rogue mode and remain unchanged.)

A bigger change to Explorer/Adventurer modes is the optional quicksave feature. So yep, permadeath is technically not enforced in those modes, allowing you to save/load to your slot at any time via Ctrl-F7/F8, or via new buttons on the game menu.


The game over window also includes a new button that allows you to load back to your last restore point instead of dying (and if you never manually created a restore point, it'll lead to an automatic quicksave made at the beginning of the current floor):


Non-permadeath/loaded runs will not be uploaded, however, and therefore not included in the leaderboards. You can see whether your current run has been loaded before, and how many times, via a new indicator that appears in the top-right corner of the HUD:


You can read my thoughts on permadeath and this feature on the blog under "Quicksaving and Restore Points," as well as in the manual under a new section titled "Saving/Loading."

For those Explorers/Adventurers who want to remove the temptation to make or use quicksaves, the feature can be entirely disabled in advanced.cfg by setting noManualSaving=1. All the relevant buttons will disappear and the hotkeys won't do anything :)

Balance

There have been quite a few balance changes, partially a result of this release taking a while to make it out there, but also because we're closing on the end of Beta so it's time to iron out a few things.

Assault squads can be a bit more powerful now, and high security dispatches grow increasingly deadly with each dispatch, changes which mainly just affect those who are out there repeatedly farming these opportunities for points--they really weren't deadly enough :P

One of the extended-game fights had also become easier than intended, so that's been rebalanced.

Research branches are somewhat less scary because the results of being scanned by a Researcher are different by area, rather than always calling in, uh, death on wings. This might have something to do with the Q-Series loadout algorithm being rewritten for Beta 9 to make them more formidable opponents ;)

In other good news, crit builds are back in business! Crit-stacking was amazing back in Alpha, but eventually got nerfed by giving the most dangerous enemies immunity to critical strikes, making it hard to fully rely on crit tactics when dealing with tougher challenges, and leading people away from those builds in general. Now almost all the bots with Critical immunity have been converted to a new "Coring" immunity, which only gives their core immunity to critical strikes, but all their parts are fair game, so it's possible to use a good crit build to strip even a powerful target, just not outright destroy them purely from critical strikes alone.


If you've been having some bad experiences with thieves, that was a bug, oops xD. Regular thieves you can run into in the caves are pretty annoying, but they shouldn't be downright evil like Master Thieves are--the code for the latter new type was accidentally also applied to the former in Beta 8, giving them all the ability to both steal from your inventory and always pick your most valuable parts! Regular thieves now once again only steal the first thing they can get their grabbers on.The largest area of balance was part stats, and I won't go over every single one mentioned in the changelog, but some of these deserve a bit of discussion...

  • Quantum Capacitors have finally been switched to occupy two slots rather than one. It's always been far too good at one slot considering the powerful low-weapon builds it enables, so now requires a bigger utility slot investment in exchange for that power. And it's still really good! Weapon Cycler effects have also been capped at a lower amount (30%) to maintain their balance against capacitors.
  • Humpbacks were made somewhat irrelevant with the comeback of Hcp. Storage in Beta 8, so they've once again got their niche back and store even more parts at an even higher mass cost (!).
  • Burnout rates were effectively negligible on hover/flight units due to the types of builds people have been using them in, so those rates are now high enough to be worth taking into consideration now--the extra speed should come at some cost :P
  • Beta 9 is the great armor mass nerfening, mainly because good flying builds were sporting way too much powerful armor, which when combined with ridiculous speeds made them practically invulnerable. It'll be harder to put together an all-around OP build like that now, while combat builds won't have much trouble supporting the extra mass so the changes don't affect them nearly as much. Light armor mass is unchanged, but medium and heavy armors are 30% and 50% heavier, respectively. Powered Armors in particular are an outlier and weighed almost nothing so had their mass increased significantly (their original balancing factor in the design was rarity, but it's not that hard to acquire them! I'd like to preserve their current availability but make it so that it's more likely combat-focused builds will use them, rather than flight builds for which they are far too good with their amazing coverage and damage reduction).
  • Beta 9 will also be known as the great EM nerf. Every single electromagnetic weapon was adjusted to consume twice as much energy per shot. This includes guns, cannons, launchers--all of them. Despite the change, EM weapons are still great, but will require a little more support from other parts (power sources and/or batteries) to use extensively. They're definitely more balanced now.
  • High-rating Phase Shifter effects got a significant nerf as well. They're still good, but not insanely so as they were before. This change also indirectly nerfs one of the toughest hostiles in the game, so there is a silver lining here ;)
  • Early-game sensor utilities got a bit of a buff to make them somewhat more useful (before they're of course quickly replaced by better versions anyway). This includes Sensor Arrays, Imp. Sensor Arrays, Terrain Scanners, Imp. Terrain Scanners, Mak. Terrain Scanners, Seismic Analyzers, and Terrain Scan Processors. So maybe give them a second look if you're already used to ignoring them :P
  • Piercing weapons got a buff to their special effect, doubling target core exposure rather than multiplying it by 1.33. The original figure sounded large but the way it's calculated made for almost negligible gains--the new value is significant enough to matter against the average target.
  • Hover units will be easier to find and use to maintain a build throughout an entire run, especially with the addition of two new varieties of hover, including some very high-end stuff. The main drawback of hover as a propulsion choice in the past was difficulty in restoring or replacing older/damaged units, but not anymore.

Useful Stuff

Surprise (not really), there are lots more little QoL features in Beta 9!

Machine hacking got some nice upgrades, probably the coolest being the one voted for by patrons during Beta 9 development: expanded autocompletion with a menu based system.


This is especially useful with part schematics, listing all those valid at the current machine given the current depth, with partial name matching of course, and tab autocompletion.


As you can see in the demos above, the new behavior uses a two-step process treating the command and variable separately, rather than treating the entire string as one for the purposes of autocompletion as before. As a result, using Ctrl-Backspace only erases back to the previous open parenthesis if there is one, rather than always clearing the command.

Note that changing the system's behavior also required limiting autocomplete to the Tab key, rather than allowing either Tab or Spacebar.

Manually hacking a machine target which is already listed as a direct hack no longer incurs the usual indirect hacking penalty, either, for those who just want to type and not worry about first checking what already might be available.

And there are several new hacks to discover out there...

Because we can never have enough ways to facilitate part management, here's another: Swapping back and forth between two parts is now even easier via the new autopair system that remembers which parts have been swapped. You don't even have to think about it or look for a specific part in the list, because it's always assigned to 'Y' in the swap menu.


Notice the tick mark to the left of parts that have an autopair, as a reminder.

Parts ejected by machines now push away other parts, rather than rolling the ejected part over others. This is to ensure the newest part is actually placed instead of possibly being crushed due to lack of space.


Player-dropped parts crushed for that reason are now explicitly reported in the message log so they don't seem to disappear mysteriously (although technically they have always played special sfx and the parts list animation for destruction).


Inventory type-wise and mass-wise sorting also subsort by integrity (high-to-low) for otherwise matching items:


Prop explosion data is now shown in the scan window, making this more apparent without having to open the full info window:


I hope you enjoy Beta 9, a big release which is really like two major releases in one :P. Although the new leaderboards aren't ready yet, be sure to activate uploading in the options menu (and set your desired player name!) if you want to participate in them when they do go live. Next up I'll be sharing some stats from the lengthy Beta 8 period, as usual.

Saves from earlier versions are incompatible with Beta 9, but even if you're on Steam and Cogmind automatically updates, Beta 8.2 is still available via its own legacy branch and you can roll back to finish a run in progress first if you like.


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