Early this year Cogmind celebrated its 10th anniversary since it was first released as a 7DRL, and as the year comes to a close it's once again time for an annual review to take a quick look at where we've been, and where we're going!
First here's our yearly dev collage showing off in visual form some of the progress and work since our last review, version 2022!
Selection of images from the past year of Cogmind-related development as posted on this blog,
forums, and social media (larger size here).
While lots of cool things have happened this year, I'm a bit disappointed that the past couple months were shattered by health and IRL issues (mostly repeated Covid interruptions), slowing what would've otherwise been an even more productive 2022. Technically I put in 7.5% more hours than the previous year, but the total fell 13.7% compared to 2020.
Cumulative hours of Cogmind-related work, 2013~2022.
Looking at the cumulative chart, it's interesting to note that the past several years show a less steep incline, but also lack the obviously "shelves" from even earlier years. Those were from various vacations/traveling when I'd put development on a longer pause, though with Covid and travel issues out there it's now been nearly three years since I left the country xD
So development has been progressing at a more constant pace rather than the sometimes stop-and-go of before.
On reviewing the data I'm happy to see that my game-to-non-game-stuff work ratio has continued in my preferred direction (I shared a graph and more info about this trend back in the 2020 review), so more working on the game itself and less community-facing marketing-type stuff. The Year 8 ratio was about 4:3, while this time it's closer to 5:3.
Obviously community interaction is quite important and still plays an ongoing role in development, as always, but at this point I feel it's more important to focus on expanding content as much as possible.
By extension this does mean fewer blog posts and spreading the word about Cogmind through various secondary channels, which in turn means less revenue overall (down 20% this year), but patrons continue to help in that regard :D (so we get to focus more on the game itself!)
Of course that's only one factor in the revenue drop, but it definitely plays a significant role.
Cogmind Beta 11 release art, by Zyalin.
Following the Beta 11 release I was also finally able to put together the Beta 10 player stat summary, complete with graphs and analysis
Beta 12 was supposed to be released this year, but it was originally envisioned as just one new map and a faction to go with it. So yeah that's easy enough, right? Definitely could release it this year according to my plan, yeah? Well I hadn't even started on that before patrons voted to expand Garrisons, which sucked up a huge amount of time but everyone seems to agree has turned out quite well.
Cogmind's new Garrison layout generator considering locations suitable for inserting additional encounters in outlying areas (dark gray boxes). Read more about its design here on the blog.
In addition to lots of new content and strategic possibilities, the Garrison expansion even added a whole new faction system.
So we're done, right? Ready to do that Beta 12 map? Apparently not, because as part of the potential Beta 12 content I decided to experiment with a new kind of mechanic I'd been considering for years: randomly generated parts.
That turned out to be pretty complicated to design and integrate, and was successful in the end, though despite all the work it'll actually end up being a secondary part of the release with no direct connection to the main content... Still, it's fun and creates a whole new build style, and now I don't have to keep thinking about maybe doing it one day because it finally exists :P
leiavoia, creator of the Dataminer scoresheet viewer, has continued to improve its feature set (see community stats as well now, and compare your stats to those across the community), and on top of that created some great guides, like leiavoia's new player guide for those who want some more early-game tips
and the heavy combat guide, a style which leiavoia is very good at ;)
aoemica continued expansion of Cog-Minder, including not only the build and combat simulator and tons of raw searchable data but now also with an amazing new wiki including maps, encounters, strategies, and all sorts of good stuff.
A sample entry from aoemica's new wiki.
As a resource it already blew Cogmind's original wiki out of the water (so much so that earlier this year I just put a link on the front page of the wiki leading to Cog-Minder), but at this point I guess the official community wiki has been blown... clean off Tau Ceti IV xD
For my part, I've been doing less Cogmind streaming in 2022, instead sharing other roguelikes, but have done several prerelease streams to demo new features coming to Beta 12, and earlier in the year before Beta 11 was released we did some fun and useful dev streams with the community, a different sort of format for back and forth about mechanics and balancing than the usual approaches on the Roguelikes Discord server.
You can now find me on Mastodon, too, where I'll be sharing info about roguelike development, other roguelikes, and of course the occasional Cogmind update. After joining last month I also did a little summary of my roguelikedev history.
As usual, if you've got a moment there's some days remaining to vote for Cogmind here on IndieDB. Always nice to make it in their Top 100 list for a little extra exposure when that comes out. Made it every year since 2014, so may as well :)
I foresee, um, more Cogmind, yes ;)
As mentioned, Beta 12 is delayed into next year, and is going to be way bigger and even better than originally planned. Aside from the other new features already completed... that bit about it including one new map? Yeah that was wrong, too :P
Turns out I can't add a new faction and related lore without going a bit overboard with the whole thing, so what was one normal-sized map will now be three large maps spanning the early-, mid-, and late-game, plus a whole new ending (Cogmind's 10th) to top it off, this one quite unlike the others. Tons of new items, mechanics, robots, encounters, NPCs, and more on the way...
Sample item art from Beta 12 (open image for full size).
Progress has been good overall despite the relatively short amount of time invested on this part so far, since now we're mostly working in familiar territory, using all the tools I've put together over the years for content creation.
A new type of bot at work, busy doing... something :)
Some of the work I've been doing is even related to beta 13, which is closely tied to beta 12 in several ways, and will include at least one new map and lots of new mechanics and NPCs with more unique AI behavior. I can't promise that one will happen in 2023, but I will at least say it's not impossible.
(also Cogmind forever, apparently!)