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Author Topic: Cogmind 7DRL (sci-fi roguelike from the creator of X@COM)  (Read 56421 times)

Orb

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Re: Cogmind (sci-fi RL from the creator of X@COM)
« Reply #330 on: June 27, 2013, 08:27:18 pm »

My personal, selfish opinion is that you should never work on any game except X@Com (Six Echo).

For a more balanced opinion, I'm not sure how well it would sell. Games like these seem like they sell better on the mobile market.
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gimlet

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Re: Cogmind (sci-fi RL from the creator of X@COM)
« Reply #331 on: June 28, 2013, 02:25:53 am »

I could never make progress.  As much as I like these sort of things, the inability to repair items means that the best laid plans WILL fail and it becomes entirely to the luck of what you pick up in the next few minutes.  So as much as I wanted to get into some good gear and spec out a decent build, I quickly realized that making a build was impossible and the only way to do anything was to make a mad dash to the exit.
For sure in the early/middle levels, IF you can stand the time it takes, it's pretty viable to play very conservatively and completely/near-completely clear levels, then go around gathering  the best of the stuff into 4 of the big backpacks before going down a level.  (Lots of armor, some of the better short range weapons, a couple engines, and some spare legs/wheels/wings are sure nice) Then try to get to an edge or corner or slightly defendable area, drop most of the spares and backpacks and get into combat configuration.  Then make brief thrusts out of the area, knowing you have a nice stockpile to fall back on if you have to.

Eventually I had trouble with this because of area-damage weapons blowing up my precious stash, although at least some of the problem was me not being careful *enough* using the longest range sensors to scout enemies, not using optimum configs to take 'em out fastest,  and not retreating quick enough when in trouble.  At some point it does seem necessary to switch to speeding through, but I think with careful play that would be only the last 3-4 levels.  And yea you do have to be ready to switch to other configs - an Uberconfig is fun while it lasts, but parts WILL get shot up and you're in trouble if you're not ready with a plan B.

The downside is it takes excruciatingly long, once I get back in the swing I will probably limit it to the middle levels, only picking up "enough" spares before going down on the easier levels...
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Mes

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Re: Cogmind (sci-fi RL from the creator of X@COM)
« Reply #332 on: June 28, 2013, 03:24:06 am »

This game is damn lovely, fun to play and aesthetically pleasing, both from video (duh) and sound perspective.
One thing, though - WHERE THE HELL CAN I SEE THE DAMN CONTROLS?

I'm kinda struggling, but the mouse support is a neat thing to have.
Also, killing excavators is a dickish thing to do, but damn I love mining!

Kyzrati

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Re: Cogmind (sci-fi RL from the creator of X@COM)
« Reply #333 on: June 28, 2013, 04:53:43 am »

My personal, selfish opinion is that you should never work on any game except X@Com (Six Echo).

For a more balanced opinion, I'm not sure how well it would sell. Games like these seem like they sell better on the mobile market.
My personal, selfish opinion: Fate should bestow unimaginable wealth on me through the lottery because I'd much prefer to just work on X@COM (maybe Six Echo) full time (this is an unlikely scenario given that I don't play the lottery).

I don't think it would sell exceptionally well, either. As long as it could perform okay, though, it's definitely something I can finish in a reasonable amount of time, and as a bonus continue testing/expanding/improving the shared engine for X@COM. Right now one thing's for sure, I won't have the money to continue putting much time into X@COM for a while, so I've been imagining making at least some kind of progress on related efforts based on the assumption that I could use a much-polished Cogmind to at least make some money, which has unfortunately become a prerequisite goal for the use of my time of late.

While Cogmind's quicker pace is probably something you'd be more likely to find in the mobile market, the required UI (both visually and control-wise) is not. The current mechanics would need to be totally redesigned for mobile, and I don't think this particular game could be as fun given the restrictions of those platforms. (Plus the idea is to use my existing engine to save on development time.)

I could never make progress.  As much as I like these sort of things, the inability to repair items means that the best laid plans WILL fail and it becomes entirely to the luck of what you pick up in the next few minutes.  So as much as I wanted to get into some good gear and spec out a decent build, I quickly realized that making a build was impossible and the only way to do anything was to make a mad dash to the exit.

Very fun game, it's got a SOLID engine (particularly like the terrain sensor function!) but as far as roguelikes go, it's a bit 'fast paced' and I personally can't get into it much...  Then again I never tried looking at mods so *shrug*.
Not every game's for everyone, of course. While gimlet's got a viable (albeit occasionally tedious) strategy, you do have a very valid point about the fragility of builds in general. It can be difficult to maintain a particular type of build for long in a lot of scenarios, since getting shot to pieces can be difficult to avoid (especially later on).

That said, part of the appeal for some players is, I think, making the best of what you find. And I wouldn't say it's "impossible" to make and maintain a certain build, just... difficult depending on your strategy. Ideally you're supposed to be avoiding as many enemies as possible, anyway, not fighting them.

Re-designing the game to enable you to always keep your build intact (not necessarily what you're suggesting, I'm just bringing it up for discussion's sake) would really change the game, pushing it more towards the everyday "deck your PC out with equipment, fight your fight, rest up, repeat" cycle. Having to frequently rebuild and adjust keeps the game dynamic and unique. Cogmind was definitely intended as a faster-paced roguelike, so the gameplay fits in that regard.

Some plans I've got so far which address related issues:
  • It will be possible to use machines in the complex to fabricate prototypes from blueprints, as well as probably manufacture normal items you've encountered before, so you could theoretically use this system to more easily maintain a certain kind of build.
  • One major addition, hacking, will enable you to slow the pace of the game by manipulating the levels and their inhabitants.
  • Repairing was brought up many times before and I didn't want to add it then since it would require a complete re-balance of the game, but this time there would be limited access to repairs of probably several kinds.

I remember playing this, though not much about it right now. I'll probably go get it again to be more detailed later, but for now your plan sounds sorta like the announcement I'd seen earlier related to Paradox and an improved edition of Teleglitch. Not a bad thing to compare it to, hopefully. :)
Nope, not bad at all, though if the original version of Cogmind was a 1, the new version's going to be a 10 ("improved" is hopefully going to be a huge understatement).

One thing, though - WHERE THE HELL CAN I SEE THE DAMN CONTROLS?
F1. Or '?'. Once you know what you're doing, manual2.txt has the advanced control set with some pretty useful features and customizations (almost exclusively the result of suggestions by B12'ers during development last year).
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Cogmind - Sci-fi Roguelike (devblog) | X@COM - The X-COM RL | REXPaint - ASCII art editor

puke

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Re: Cogmind (sci-fi RL from the creator of X@COM)
« Reply #334 on: June 28, 2013, 06:53:39 pm »

new features planned for Cogmind?  AWESOME!
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Kyzrati

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Re: Cogmind (sci-fi RL from the creator of X@COM)
« Reply #335 on: July 11, 2013, 10:35:01 pm »

Well, slightly fewer enthusiastic responses than I'd hoped for, but it'll have to do for now. At first I was a bit averse to making any moves on this since the plan tweaks my strong aversion to "re-doing large amounts of work with few changes," which is what the first stage of development will amount to (need to re-write the game from scratch with mostly the same base features but taking even more future possibilities into consideration). Now that I've made some progress planning those features, motivation and momentum are building.

Since I haven't "officially" begun any work on this project yet, just chipping away at preparatory tasks when I can, updates are being posted here for now.

Spent a good bit of time completely rewriting a much more powerful version of the map generator (did anyone even notice much about the map layouts in the 7DRL?). Here's a sample:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
This does not yet reflect actual map layout, since there will generally be a little bit less chaos--this is just something the map generator made based on a few parameters. (There's more to do on that front, but most of the further improvements will be game-specific as opposed to something a generic generator will handle, so that's been put aside for now.)

It's 200x200, as I'm considering quadrupling the map size from the original, because there's going to be more to explore/do in each level. There will also be special side levels, some with different themes (like caves), though these are only optional ways to explore the story further and find more powerful items--you can still always go straight up. Most maps include more open areas than before, some quite wide, which while inherently more dangerous will also provide opportunities for rewards as well.

While the map size is increasing, which potentially means more trouble and, you might believe, an even more dangerous battle against attrition, there are going to be many ways to deal with this. See below.

Next prep stage I'm in the middle of: Filtering through an extensive collection of notes to create a proper design doc. Some major features making the final list so far:
  • Hacking: Target terminals, fabricators, repair stations, "scanalyzers," and even other robots.
  • Allies: Build friends. Or jack into non-hostile robots and give them new instructions. Or hostile robots for that matter: fire projectiles that enable you to hack into them remotely, in the middle of combat.
  • Many new robot types. Operator. Researcher. Brawler...
  • Oh yeah, melee combat.
  • Full sound. *pew pew* *zszhqzhhszkz* *KABOOM* *rattle rattle*

There's now a proper story, too. It's cool (find out what and where Cogmind actually is, and why!), but exploring it is an optional part of the game if you just want to make robots and sneak around, blow things up, or cause general mayhem on your way to the surface.
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EuchreJack

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Re: Cogmind (sci-fi RL from the creator of X@COM)
« Reply #336 on: July 12, 2013, 01:58:45 pm »

If you want to sell the game, you need graphics.  A simple tile set overlay would be the bare minimum.

I could never make progress.  As much as I like these sort of things, the inability to repair items means that the best laid plans WILL fail and it becomes entirely to the luck of what you pick up in the next few minutes.

It's not entirely luck: Most robot foes have standardized equipment, so selective hunting can help.

As for builds, my first and best run was based around heroically running away a lot.
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Darkening Kaos

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Re: Cogmind (sci-fi RL from the creator of X@COM)
« Reply #337 on: July 12, 2013, 08:52:54 pm »

Hit F3 to go from ASCII to sprites, but they are so small, tiny, itty-bitty things you need a magnifying glass to see them - that would be my request, Kyrzati, please make the sprites larger, or scaleable at least.

And I would love to see repair stations - I get so many weapons damaged, that EM pulse rifle I picked up in the scrapyard lasted two fights, but did it do some awesome damage against that swarm of pests.  Re-arming with damaged lgt assault rifles, bugger.
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Aoi

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Re: Cogmind (sci-fi RL from the creator of X@COM)
« Reply #338 on: July 12, 2013, 10:31:40 pm »

If repairing is going to be implemented, I'd say to make it cannibalize another item of a similar type to repair a portion of the damage. Possibly something like 25% of the remaining durability of the disassembled item, up to 90% (nothing ever gets fixed perfectly...), plus 10% per tier if it's of a superior type, or -10% per tier if it's an inferior type. (So if there's a jump of more than 3 tiers, pretty much impossible unless you're running for the exit, you won't get any benefit at all. Technology's just too outdated.)
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Kyzrati

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Re: Cogmind (sci-fi RL from the creator of X@COM)
« Reply #339 on: July 13, 2013, 03:21:35 am »

If you want to sell the game, you need graphics.  A simple tile set overlay would be the bare minimum.
Most certainly. As mentioned ASCII is going to become an optional mode and the default will be a professional sprite set (= by artist, not me). The GUI will also be overhauled to make every command mouse-accessible, and there will be a *lot* more visual effects both on the map and HUD consoles. Remember, Cogmind was a souped up 7DRL that wasn't visually expanded at all after the first week (besides the addition of a sprite set and a couple low-resource indicators). The game will become an example of what I plan to do with X@COM.

they are so small, tiny, itty-bitty things you need a magnifying glass to see them - that would be my request, Kyrzati, please make the sprites larger, or scaleable at least.
There'll be larger versions, so long as you have enough screen space. (I didn't make any larger sets for the original 7DRL, just the small ones.)

As for builds, my first and best run was based around heroically running away a lot.
Since the game is about escaping to the surface and no killing is required to advance, running will still be a viable strategy (even more so than before since it should become easier to maintain fast stealth builds), but there will be several new strategies as well, some of which can be more fun while just as effective.

If repairing is going to be implemented, I'd say to make it cannibalize another item of a similar type to repair a portion of the damage. Possibly something like 25% of the remaining durability of the disassembled item, up to 90% (nothing ever gets fixed perfectly...), plus 10% per tier if it's of a superior type, or -10% per tier if it's an inferior type. (So if there's a jump of more than 3 tiers, pretty much impossible unless you're running for the exit, you won't get any benefit at all. Technology's just too outdated.)
I think repairing is necessary to some extent, but it will not be a way to always stay in perfect shape because you are, after all, on the run, and repairing takes time. Thus I intend for it to in most cases be feasible only to repair a few of your more vital components (which those are is obviously up to you). *If* there are consumable items (haven't decided on those yet), some should have limited repair capabilities. And of course note that the core, as usual, will still be impossible to repair without evolving, though it may become easier to protect your core from damage using certain strategies.

The only method by which component repair would be possible so far is to use a repair station, and those require hacking to access and use properly (seeing as how you're not exactly authorized to use them). They'd take the item from you and once a long enough time has passed spit it back out with full integrity (in the meantime you can wait around, or do whatever you need to do). How long it takes to repair depends on how good the station is and what you're trying to repair. The most important aspect is how well you hacked the station. You can fail completely, be detected, the station is locked down and a security team is sent to investigate the location; the repair could also have a chance to be unsuccessful and the item is either not repaired, malfunctions when you try to use it, or malfunctions randomly at some later time. The longer you use the same station the more difficult it becomes to do so without being detected.

The current plan for hacking is not some annoying mini-game, but mostly menus with available options and the percentages for successfully achieving that goal. So it'll be quick to carry out, which is important given how prevalent it will be. You can improve chances at hacking certain systems through certain modules, and through familiarity with each type of system as the game progresses (i.e., experience). The percentages for success are a bit fuzzy unless you attach a hacking assistance device that helps make more accurate predictions.

Besides using repair stations, hacking terminals is how you explore the story, and it also allows for things like access to various kinds of extra map info, prototype IDs, schematics for items/robots, control of tunnels and doors, etc. Hacking fabricators enables you to build items, or robots, from schematics. Hacking "scanalyzers" can give you the schematics for an item in your possession, so you can fabricate more of them. The map is no longer empty aside from robots and parts--it'll have these machines and more (non-interactive ones) as well.

Currently under consideration:
  • Consumable items? Repair kits, deployable decoys and turrets, and part upgrades (large variety). Not sure if I want these yet, as being able to change individual items may be adding a bit too much complexity, and there don't seem to be a whole lot of other uses for consumables. There are no mines, and not a huge need for other kinds of traps...
  • Items that are not parts or consumables? These would be solely for creating hard limitations on very special items you could build at a fabricator, otherwise extremely long wait times become the strongest limitation and that's boring.
  • Additional environmental hazards? Not sure if it's worth adding things like lava and/or acid. Pits probably wouldn't work too well since they have to lead somewhere, and melee combat will be adding pushing/throwing so it theoretically becomes possible to fall in, but I don't want the player going down a level. More likely are other theme-appropriate hazards like rooms full of powerful electromagnets, EM fields, or various machines, but these worry me somewhat: While fun, it can be difficult to balance them to prevent the player from abusing them with cheap strategies.
  • Sensor types? Not sure if it will be worth adding IR, EM, etc. scan types. Might not want to integrate it into the gameplay to the point where it's more than just a cool gimmick. Once it becomes necessary to switch all the time that's a new facet of the game which may or may not be enjoyable.
  • Fire/smoke? Affecting heat dynamics is interesting, but smoke implies a need for other sensor types... unless we just assume that robots are all operating multiple sensor types (and smoke/dust is just there because it's cool).
  • Multi-slot parts? These were initially a part of the 7DRL, but I had to scrap them after forgetting about the variable for a while and there wasn't enough time to go back and take it into account. I'll probably be adding these, though you wouldn't see any until later in the game (partially to avoid the confusion they might cause). This would be things like massive cannons, huge shields, or perhaps carrying around your own personal robot factory.

Um, that's a big enough wall for today...
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Cogmind - Sci-fi Roguelike (devblog) | X@COM - The X-COM RL | REXPaint - ASCII art editor

EuchreJack

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Re: Cogmind (sci-fi RL from the creator of X@COM)
« Reply #340 on: July 13, 2013, 09:35:59 pm »

Perhaps consumables can be separate from other items, as they're certainly not stuff you strap on like everything else.  Perhaps the number of stored consumable can be based on storage, but different.  So X storage of items means Y consumables can be held by Cogmind.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2013, 09:38:42 pm by EuchreJack »
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Darkening Kaos

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Re: Cogmind (sci-fi RL from the creator of X@COM)
« Reply #341 on: July 13, 2013, 10:12:42 pm »

   An option for repairs could be if you provide other items to be canabalized during the repairing process, each additional item, up to three, provides an arcanely derived percentage of material.
   For instance: if you want to repair a lgt assault rifle which is at 35% integrity and you have another at 25% integrity, they combine to make 60%, with the rest coming from matter and time.
   However, you could add another weapon, say a heavily damaged assault cannon at 20% integrity. As it is the same class - a weapon - it could add 1/2 its integrity to the repair process, thus another 10%.
   Anything else adds 1/3 of its integrity to the repair procedure, ie. a wheel at 60% integrity adds only 20%.
   Time taken to repair, might be in the order of twenty steps plus ten steps per 1% deficit, and 15-25 matter consumed per 1%.
   Additionally, any repair potential over 100% is lost, or at best, returned to Cogmind as matter.

   The benefit to this would be that you can repair an item quicker and clear out your storage inventory of some items that no longer have any other use.
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Kyzrati

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Re: Cogmind (sci-fi RL from the creator of X@COM)
« Reply #342 on: July 14, 2013, 08:27:49 am »

I like the idea of repairing items, at least partially, by cannibalizing others, so there will be a module for that. It'll be nice to have a mobile form of semi-repair since I decided to throw out consumables entirely, so no repair in that way. Other than hacking a repair station, having a repair class bot as an ally will help as well, though we'll see how that balances out.

Also dropped sensors, and any natural environmental hazards (at least in the main map sections). Said yes to multi-slot parts, though.
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Cogmind - Sci-fi Roguelike (devblog) | X@COM - The X-COM RL | REXPaint - ASCII art editor

Kyzrati

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Re: Cogmind (sci-fi RL from the creator of X@COM)
« Reply #343 on: July 15, 2013, 06:42:41 am »

Finished a majority of the overall design planning (i.e., minus lots of important details ;) ), and put together a quick mockup including some of the new ideas.
Spoiler: Mockup (click to show/hide)
The top center console would be able to show different views. Aside from combat calculations (pictured, originally added to the 7DRL on request, but in the log window itself), there would be a list of friendlies, a status summary, and an extended log (older messages).

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Mes

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Re: Cogmind (sci-fi RL from the creator of X@COM)
« Reply #344 on: July 15, 2013, 06:54:13 am »

I'm guessing that this mockup was made in REXpaint?
Great program it is, by the way. Been using it in (almost) all the suggestion games I'm running around here. It's very helpful.
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