Cogmind Manual

Beta 8.2


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This web version of the manual is tagged. Click on a header or bold text to jump to it, then the URL bar of your browser will show a link that will jump back to the place you clicked. For example, manuals.jakeirvine.com/cogmind/b8/#ARoguelike will jump to the 'A Roguelike' section below.
All formatting is added by me; original text written by Kyzrati

This file contains information regarding gameplay rules. For information about running the game see COGMIND-README.txt.

Intro

This manual is not an exhaustive description of everything that may happen in the game. Rather it provides an overview of the core rules necessary for a fundamental understanding of how to play, while also explaining some features that may not be made explicitly known during normal play.

As for features that aren't described herein, discovery is all part of the fun!

Other sources of information include the help screens (for commands), tutorial messages that trigger the first time an essential mechanic is encountered, and context help available through both the status and item data pages (left-click on a data entry, or use the Up/Down arrows and press Enter).

(Note that this manual is accessible via both the in-game UI, F1->3, and as a text file in the game directory: manual.txt. The latest version can also always be found online at gridsagegames.com/cogmind/manual.txt)

Using this Manual

It is not recommended for beginners to read through this entire manual, which could seem overwhelming at first. What you really need to know is covered by the automatic tutorial, context help, and basic item descriptions (e.g. matter). You can become a good intermediate player without even reading the manual, but coming back later to fill in any knowledge gaps could be an important step towards becoming an expert.

However, the next section ("A Roguelike") is recommended reading for everyone, whether familiar with roguelikes or new to the genre. And if you are having trouble with survival, or hope to improve your skills much more quickly, the following section ("Survival Tips") is highly recommended as well.

Note this manual is spoiler free.

A Roguelike

Cogmind belongs to an old genre of games called roguelikes, many of which traditionally share certain unique qualities. There's no need to describe them in full, but for any of you who are unfamiliar with the genre there are a couple that are important to be aware of.

Permadeath

Death is permanent. There is only one "save slot", used to save your progress when you exit, so returning later restarts right where you left off. Dying means you'll be starting over from the beginning, hopefully having learned enough from your previous experience to increase your chances of survival.

Turns

Action in Cogmind is played out in turn-based fashion, though individual turns may be carried out extremely quickly. That said, you can spend as long as you like thinking about what to do next, because the game waits for you to take your turn before allowing any other robots to act. All the robots will take their own turns in order, as the game proceeds at the pace you determine by how fast you enter commands. This system is explained in more detail in the manual section on Time.

Important Differences

But if you're coming from other traditional roguelikes, know that there are also quite a few aspects of Cogmind that might throw you off!

For one the message log has been deemphasized. It's not necessary to follow the log to figure out what's going on in combat; instead the map provides you with all the important information. When attacking a target, for example, the only truly significant hits are those on its core, and if you hit the core a little number pops up showing their remaining core integrity percent. Most robots are destroyed by just a couple core hits.

Cogmind also focuses on ranged combat, and the projectile mechanics are unique among roguelikes. Know that attacks will tend to miss a lot unless you design a build focused on accuracy or do more fighting at close range. Accuracy takes into account many factors, which you can read about in the manual under Combat (Hit Chance) to optimize your tactical superiority. If you see your projectile stop at the target's location then it hit somewhere on that target, though maybe not the core. This system is explained in more detail in the manual section on Combat, under Coverage.

Your own core is extremely resilient compared to other robots, so it is literally impossible for you to be "one-shotted," or even killed quickly, especially if you keep yourself covered with parts at all times. Use this knowledge to your advantage! It's more likely that you'll succumb to attrition over a longer period, or lose due to a series of mistakes made earlier than where you finally go down. But this resilience also gives you ample opportunity to rebuild and make epic comebacks, which are quite common in Cogmind.

Unlike in other roguelikes, rarely will you ever want to fully explore a map. Many are quite expansive, there is no XP to gain from taking on everything you see, and if your build is looking good you'll generally want to seek an exit and move on to avoid unnecessary damage.

Most importantly, remember that it's rarely just you vs. what you see in the local area! To an extent the world is alive on a macro level, and paying close attention to your surroundings is vital for survival. Observant players will learn to both intuit elements of the map layout and foresee dangerous situations.

There are many other significant differences between the average roguelike and Cogmind, but the rest are best discovered on your own.

Survival Tips

If you're having trouble surviving the early floors, below is a collection of spoiler-free beginners tips that will greatly improve your effectiveness.

Note some of these tips can and will be ignored by advanced players for various reasons, and you'll eventually be discovering your own play style and strategies, but in general terms they apply for new players and will help get you past early-game areas to the real challenges and fun stuff!

Items

Prefer higher-rating parts. At first the number of parts will seem overwhelming, especially if you feel the need to compare every detail to decide which you want to keep or use. While the item stat comparison info will help here (seen as red/green numbers after opening info for two items in a row), if you're having trouble deciding between two items or don't want to examine all the stats, there's a much faster method: Just compare their ratings. Ratings appear near the top of item info, and also as a number displayed next to the item name in the on-map labels, making it fairly easy to get a general idea of whether an item is worth it without even opening the info page. Prototypes, indicated with a *, are better than regular items of the same rating.

Builds

Legs are the best form of starter propulsion. They move fast enough, have a relatively high integrity, and you can salvage spares off enemy grunts fairly easily. Avoid using wheels if possible. And generally avoid mixing propulsion, since you can't activate multiple types at once, anyway.

The safest first evolution is two propulsion slots, since an extra two legs will help block shots, and you won't have any problems carrying any amount of mass you want. If you're running out of propulsion parts to fill your slots, as long as you're not hovering or flying you should temporarily keep even deactivated propulsion attached (especially legs and treads), because they don't count against movement but can block shots. For later evolutions pick whatever you want, except Power is not usually necessary until you find yourself frequently running low on energy.

Almost all robots have static loadouts, therefore if you're looking for certain parts to put together or maintain the kind of build you want, one approach is to hunt down robots you know to use them. For example, Watchers carry sensors, and Sentries use treads and armor.

Inventory Management

Keep a full inventory whenever possible! Even if you don't need surplus parts right away, before long you'll need replacements as yours are destroyed. There are usually parts lying around, especially after a battle, and since inventory contents do not count against movement or have any other negative side effects, leaving it partially empty is an unnecessary waste.

Also don't leave empty part slots when possible, because filling them, even with parts you don't need or won't use, will at least help block incoming fire and protect your core.

One of the safer ways to play is to carry at least one Storage Unit, preferably a larger one, to allow for carrying more spare parts in inventory. Make sure you have an extra power source and weapons, and probably spare propulsion, too. The t key, or button under your inventory, is useful for type-sorting your inventory to help ensure that you have the right amount and types of spares.

Combat

Avoid unnecessary combat. It's fun to shoot everything, but until you have a better grasp of the consequences, and how to excel at combat, fighting too much only puts you at a disadvantage. That said, once you've engaged enemies in combat, try not to run as you'll probably end up running into more enemies and the situation will continue escalating.

Positioning is extremely important. At the start of combat against multiple enemies, reposition to a less-exposed position, preferably diagonal to the inside of a doorway, or a narrow corridor that can serve as a bottleneck. It's even worth taking damage in the process of repositioning, as you would likely take even more damage continuing a fight from a bad location. Fighting in the open is dangerous when not properly equipped to do so, but if you have a launcher, then by all means do it in the open!

Retreating to fight in more isolated areas also has the advantage of avoiding additional patrols that might happen upon a battle in progress. Even when not in combat, hugging walls while moving is a good way to stay less exposed and make access to nearby doors and corridors easier when necessary.

Attach replacement parts even in the middle of battle, in order to better protect your core from damage, and stay at maximum effectiveness. Attaching and swapping parts is a quick action.

Other Robots

Shoot at Scavengers once and they'll go away. Sometimes this is a good idea even in the middle of combat, if you want to have any loot left to salvage when it's over.

If a Watcher doesn't send out an alert, that means there are no enemies nearby, otherwise be prepared!

Destroying Haulers might provide you with relatively powerful parts to attach. Other non-hostile bots are also good targets to salvage if you're low on parts or need spares to fill your inventory. They won't be good, but you never want to be without a backup power source, for example.

Hacking

Hacking machines is not too important for beginners, but as you start to get into it, be aware that if you are fully traced it's likely more units will be dispatched to that area to investigate. If you don't want company, always quit hacking a machine before the trace ends! Being initially "detected" is fine, so you can always safely hack a new machine until at least that point.

Difficulty

Lowering the difficulty setting is not likely to help teach fundamental strategies, but an alternative approach would be to set a manual seed (in the options menu) to some phrase, and repeatedly play the same world to focus on getting the hang of the mechanics, rather than dealing with so many unknowns. When you feel more confident, turn off the manual seed.

(This approach is not recommended right away. Instead, consider it after having read the other tips and tried to apply them in regular random worlds.)

More Info

For other tips, both spoiler-free and otherwise, see the Strategy section of the forums. Links to more resources will continue to be added there in the future.

In the end, know that once you're familiar with all the mechanics and possible strategies, Cogmind is not a heavily luck-based game, and skilled players streak wins repeatedly.

Difficulty

By default Cogmind has been carefully balanced to provide a fun yet challenging roguelike experience that can be reliably overcome given sufficient experience and skill. That said, some players simply don't have the time or inclination to strive for mastery, thus alternative modes are available that tweak multiple aspects of the game to make survival somewhat easier.

Keep in mind that Cogmind relies on a fairly tight design to begin with, and giving you the upper hand via easier settings somewhat destabilizes that design, resulting in a less consistent difficulty curve. Some areas will be significantly easier, almost trivialized, while others remain relatively difficult due to the nature of the world and its mechanics. Also note that even within the default mode the world contains places to go and things to do which make the game easier, or even more difficult, if that's your thing!

So that it's more apparent from screenshots which difficulty setting a given player is using, the parts list slot type divider lines in the HUD appear in a different color for each. The stat screen shown at the end of a run also uses different highlight colors.

Important: The same world seed will produce different results in each difficulty setting!

Easier Mode

"I can deal with this, just give me a little help."

This mode is still fairly challenging, and getting far will still take experience and persistence, albeit not as demanding as the default mode. Adjustments:

"You've got the wrong robot, I'm just here to shoot things!"

The easiest mode is quite easy for those with experience, certainly too easy by roguelike standards. Yes you can still lose, and certain parts of the world are still going to be pretty dangerous, though with just a little experience it will be easier to avoid them (if you want to) because you'll automatically know where all exits lead. Adjustments:

Anyone looking for an extra challenge, or a somewhat different experience, can activate various "challenge modes." These change one or more aspects of a run to increase the difficulty in exchange for extra points. This feature will eventually be accessible via an in-game menu, but that will come when more options have been added (the current set is a small-scale experiment). For now challenge modes can only be activated via /user/advanced.cfg:

Multiple challenge modes can be active simultaneously, except for any incompatibilities stated above.

Note that activating some challenges may cause a world seed to produce different results. Those that do are marked above.

Core

The most vital component of any robot is its "core". Once a core's integrity is reduced to zero, that robot is destroyed. Cogmind is no exception.

Over time Cogmind's core will evolve, gaining both integrity and the ability to interface with a greater number of parts at once. The reason for this evolution is part of the story to be uncovered.

Inherent Stats

Exposure 100
Visual Range 16
Integrity 250 (+150/evolution)
Energy rate 5/turn
Energy storage 100
Matter storage 300
Heat Dissipation 25 (+3/evolution)

System Corruption

Aside from integrity damage, robots are also prone to system corruption. Any core that is 100% corrupted is destroyed regardless of structural integrity. The most common cause of system corruption is electromagnetic damage.

Cogmind's own system corruption is wiped with each evolution.

Resources

Energy

Once per turn energy is generated by power sources, and is necessary for moving, firing energy-based weapons, and sustaining the operation of some utility systems. Robot cores also generate some energy of their own, though not enough to support significant activity.

Matter

Matter is used to fuse components, and is consumed by ballistic weapons and launchers, which convert it to the appropriate type of ammunition. It can be salvaged from robot remains, though the available amount varies depending on how the robot was destroyed. Cogmind automatically recycles 5 matter from each attached part that is destroyed.

Upkeep

While active, some parts may consume energy (or more rarely, matter) every turn. Utilities and hover/flight units are the most common parts to require upkeep.

Parts

Different robot cores are designed to interface with a unique set of parts. Parts fall into one of four categories: Power, Propulsion, Utilities, and Weapons. The Cogmind is special in that it can dynamically bind and interface with any type of part by expending an amount of matter and energy.

Attaching a part requires 20 energy and 10 matter. Detaching a part expends 10 energy.

Activation

Most parts must be activated in order to use them. Others are permanently "active" (usually when the state has no meaning for them, as with various storage units). Activating/deactivating parts are both free actions (i.e., take no time to perform).

Inventory

Robots can generally carry a few items, but inventory space is very limited unless expanded through utilities. Items contained in inventory do not count against the robot's mass limit for movement speed calculation purposes.

Prototypes

Newly developed more effective components may be found throughout the world, but without testing or prior knowledge it is impossible to identify and distinguish between working versions and their more dangerous faulty counterparts. Faulty prototypes will almost always malfunction and have serious side-effects when attached.

Rating

This is essentially a part's "level", and from a player perspective is just a way to quickly compare whether one component is likely more effective than another. However, always consider that prototypes are generally better than common parts with a similar rating, and other factors such as the current situation or a part's particular characteristics may be a reason to favor lower ratings.

Power Sources

Engines, power cores, and reactors supply the power necessary to run other systems. Be aware that most power sources will shut down temporarily when the core begins overheating.

Overloading

Some power sources are capable of overloading, which doubles both energy output and heat generation. However, overloaded power sources also have a chance to cause negative side effects, determined by its "stability" stat.

Propulsion

Treads, legs, wheels, and hover/flight units represent a spectrum from greater mass support and slow speed to lower mass support and fast speed. Exceeding the mass limit provided by active propulsion components will slow movement.

Base speed is measured by the time it takes to move one space, where an "average" speed is 100 time units. Check Cogmind's status screen for an indicator of relative speed as a percentage (100% is average, higher = faster), or see that same page or the main HUD for the actual cost in time.

Context help available for propulsion component stats explains the movement mechanics in more detail.

Note that only one form of propulsion may be active at a time, where different variations of the same form will use the average of their respective stats.

Note that while flying Cogmind can rush directly over blocking robots, even hostile ones, as long as not currently overweight.

Costs

Movement takes some amount of energy, and may produce heat. These amounts are deducted/produced for each move, while power generation and heat dissipation are only applied once per game turn; by extension, if your speed enables you to move many spaces per turn, these costs will be compounded before your other systems can deal with them. Consider this fact when calculating what kind of propulsion you can support with given power sources (and to a lesser extent, heat dissipation utilities).

Upkeep for applicable propulsion components (generally hover and flight units) is only deducted after one absolute game turn has passed.

Overloading

Some hover and flight units are capable of overloading, which boosts performance and associated costs. While overloaded, speed is calculated as if there is twice the number of units active at once, support is increased by 50%, energy costs are doubled, and heat generation is tripled. The performance boost comes at the additional cost of integrity strain (see a propulsion's "burnout" stat). For these parts, the normal activation/deactivation command will instead cycle between off, on, and overloaded states.

Core Movement

Unlike other robots, Cogmind's core itself is capable of movement using a built-in system of an unknown nature. It is automatically engaged when no other forms of propulsion are active, and while inefficient when weighed down, it is otherwise relatively fast. Cogmind's core moving under its own propulsion has the following stats:

Time/Move 50 FASTx2
Energy 1
Heat 0
Support 3
Penalty 50

Utilities

The largest and most versatile category of parts is made up of those classified as some form of utility. Each utility is built around a single capability, the effect of which is described on the part's info page. Where applicable, the description also indicates whether the effect stacks, an important factor for mechanics purposes.

Devices

The broadest subcategory of utilities provides a wide range of unique functions.

Processors

Lightweight components that generally serve to augment an existing ability. Once attached, a processor cannot be removed without rendering it useless.

Hackware

Processors dedicated to hacking are categorized separately for easy recognition. These provide either offensive or defensive capabilities applicable to machine and robot hacking. Once attached, hackware cannot be removed without rendering it useless.

Storage

A relatively small utility subcategory purely for holding resources or other components. Normally these are used to expand capacity while attached, but in the case of energy and matter storage they can also be detached with their contents intact. Non-attached storage components show their current contents in parenthesis. Surplus collected matter and generated energy will also be automatically transferred to non-full storage units in inventory, but cannot be accessed for use unless those parts are attached.

Armor

Protective gear, some of which does not indicate a particular effect, instead using high coverage and integrity to reduce the chance that other parts will be damaged. Unlike other parts, armor can never be instantly destroyed by critical strikes, taking 20% more damage instead.

Weapons

See weapon stat context help for explanations of weapon-specific mechanics.

Guns

Average-strength weapons that inflict one of kinetic, thermal, or electromagnetic damage.

Cannons

The most powerful method of striking a target with concentrated damage, but heavier than guns, and costlier to support.

Launchers

Area effect weapons that generally inflict explosive or electromagnetic damage, though the amount of damage decreases with distance from ground zero.

Special Weapons

Tools and other non-conventional weapons.

Melee Weapons

Limited to close range combat, but capable of inflicting one of impact, slashing, or piercing damage, each of which has a unique effect.

Multiple Projectiles

Some weapons indicate that they shoot multiple projectiles. In such cases, the projectile stats displayed apply to each projectile fired, e.g. a damage value listed as "9-12" for a dual-projectile shotgun can do up to 18-24 damage, although note that the hit roll for projectiles are also calculated individually, meaning that one of the projectiles may miss entirely, or each projectile could hit a different location on the target, thereby spreading the damage.

Overloading

Some energy weapons are capable of overloading, which doubles damage and energy cost while generating triple the heat. Overloaded projectile heat transfer is also one level higher than usual where applicable. However, firing an overloaded weapon has a chance to cause negative side effects, as reflected in that weapon's "stability" stat.

Time

Turns and the time required to perform actions are measured in time units. One absolute turn is equivalent to 100 units of time. Robots are given 100 time units each turn, and placed in a queue ordered by the amount of time units they have. A given robot can continue to act until it has <= 0 time, at which point its turn is over, and it is placed back in the queue. Taking a time-costly action can cause a robot's time units to become negative, in which case it will be longer before that robot can act again.

Action Costs:

Pick Up 100
Attach 100
Fast Attach 150*
Detach 50
Swap 150
Drop 50
Fire 200 (for one weapon)
Ram 100 (or move if >100)
Rewire 100
Wait 100
* Fast Attach triggers when replacing an existing part with a new one from the ground

Firing more than one weapon in a single volley is more time-efficient, and that efficiency increases the more weapons you fire at once:

# of Weapons Total Time
2 300
3 325
4 350
5 375
6+ 400

As you can see, firing a huge volley has its advantages. You can fire six times as many weapons for only twice the cost, and every weapon beyond the sixth incurs no additional cost. Note that regardless of individual or cumulative weapon delay modifiers, the time cost of a volley can never be reduced below 25.

Combat

Volley

When attacking, all active weapons in range of the target are fired at once. Firing a single weapon takes twice as long as a standard action, and subsequent weapons fired in the same volley will take less and less extra time, hence firing more weapons at once is always more time efficient. See the HUD's volley analysis readout to check the actual time required to fire the currently active weapons (which may be further modified by individual weapon delays), as well as the total resource cost of the volley.

Although the full resource cost of the intended volley must be available before firing, energy and matter costs for each weapon are not deducted until that weapon actually fires. All weapons immediately begin generating heat as soon as the volley begins, but for volleys that will require two or more turns, the heat produced is averaged over the total number of turns required to fire.

Targeting

Targeting is actually tested on a finer grid than is visible onscreen. Each map space is divided into a 9x9 grid of squares, and as robot sizes vary (S/M/L), they may take up more or fewer of these squares. This has several implications, e.g. you may be able to hit a larger target before it has completely rounded a corner, while smaller targets may require a more direct line-of-sight. It also means that smaller targets are actually easier to shoot around than larger ones. As long as the targeting line is green Cogmind has a clear LOF to the target, even if it looks like it passes through another robot or obstacle.

Hit Chance

Many factors affect the chance to hit a target. The chance shown in the scan readout takes into account all factors except those which affect individual weapons in the volley. Per-weapon chances are instead shown in the parts list next to their respective weapons once firing mode is activated and the cursor is highlighting a target.

Base hit chance before any modification is 60%.

Volley Modifiers Base chance: 60%
+3%/cell if range < 6
+2% per attacker tread slot
+x% attacker utility bonuses
+10% if attacker didn't move for the last 2 actions
+x% 0.03 * target heat (if heat positive)
+10% target is large
+30% target is huge
+10% target is immobile
+5% robot analysis of target
-1-15% target moved last action (faster speed = less chance to hit)
-10% attacker moved last action
-x% 0.03 * attacker heat (if heat positive)
-10% target is small
-30% target is tiny
-10% target is flying (and not overweight or in stasis)
-5% target is hovering (and not overweight or in stasis)
-20% for each robot in line of fire
-5% against Cogmind by robots with analysis data
-x% defender utility bonuses
Weapon Modifiers Recalculated for each weapon in volley
+x% weapon utility bonuses
-x% recoil from other weapons
-10% when corrupted (corruption% chance per weapon)

After all modifiers are applied, regardless of the final value hit chance is capped at 95% (or 100% for melee attacks). Similarly, there is always at least a 10% chance to hit a target. The cap is not applied to the per-weapon chances shown in the parts list in order to let you know how much surplus hit chance is available.

Sometimes the log will claim you "missed" a target, then destroyed it. That's because you got lucky and the random miss trajectory still hit the target! This is more likely to happen with closer, larger targets as per the mechanics described in the targeting section above.

Note that anything caught in an explosion radius is always hit--explosions automatically damage everything in each space they traverse, be it walls, items, or robots.

Volley modifiers reordered by type for comparative reference:

+3%/cell if range < 6
+10% target is large
+30% target is huge
-10% target is small
-30% target is tiny
+x% 0.03 * target heat (if heat positive)
-x% 0.03 * attacker heat (if heat positive)
+2% per attacker tread slot
+x% attacker utility bonuses
-x% defender utility bonuses
+10% target is immobile
+10% if attacker didn't move for the last 2 actions
-10% attacker moved last action
-1-15% target moved last action (faster speed = less chance to hit)
-10% target is flying (and not overweight or in stasis)
-5% target is hovering (and not overweight or in stasis)
-20% for each robot in line of fire
+5% robot analysis of target
-5% against Cogmind by robots with analysis data

Guided weapon behavior and operation are different from other weapons. Their projectiles follow a set path designated by a number of waypoints, and will always hit their target, but may not be fired as part of a volley. While a guided weapon is active, only that weapon will fire. Left-click or press Enter to set each waypoint, and use right-clicks or Escape to cancel a waypoint. When ready to fire, put the cursor over the final target and press f. Players preferring pure mouse control and attempting to target an empty space or space out of view can also click on the last waypoint to fire, or assign all waypoints up to the weapon's limit then click on a final target direction.

Coverage/Exposure

Each part has a "coverage" rating which determines its likeliness to be hit by an incoming attack. Values are relative, so attacks are weighted towards hitting parts with higher coverage. Robot cores also have their own "exposure" rating which determines their likeliness to be hit; this value is considered along with part coverage when determining whether an attack will strike the core. The exact chance of a core/part to be hit is shown in parenthesis after its exposure/coverage on the relevant info screen. You can also press c to have the main HUD's parts list display a visualization of relative coverage, i.e. longer bars represent a greater chance for a given part to be hit.

Some examples of how coverage determines hit locations will help understand how that stat actually works.

Example 1: Cogmind's core has an exposure of 100. Say you equip only one part, a weapon which also has a coverage of 100. Their total value is 200 (100+100), so if you are hit by a projectile, each one has a 50% (100/200) chance to be hit.

Example 2: You have the following parts attached:
Ion Engine 60
Light Treads 80
Light Treads 80
Medium Laser 100
Light Assault Rifle 100
With your core (100), the total is 520, so the chance to hit each location is:
Ion Engine 60/520=11.5%
Light Treads 80/520=15.4% (each)
Medium Laser 100/520=19.2%
Light Assault Rifle 100/520=19.2%
Core 100/520=19.2%

Enemy robots work the same way, so the more parts you blow off, the more likely you are to hit and destroy their core. Armor plating has a very high coverage, so it's more likely to be hit, while tiny utilities such as embedded processors have very low coverage, so you can expect them to last much longer (unless you have little or nothing else covering you). As you progress, your core will become more and more protected by attached parts, because you'll have many more of them, but by that time there are other dangers such as system corruption.

Damage Overflow

When a part is destroyed by damage that exceeds its remaining integrity, the surplus damage is then applied to the core or another part as chosen by standard coverage/exposure rules. Exceptions: Critical strikes that outright destroy a part do not cause overflow, there is no damage overflow if the destroyed part itself is armor, and overflow damage always targets armor first if there is any. Damage overflow is caused by all weapons except those of the "gun" type, and can overflow through multiple destroyed parts if there is sufficient damage.

Secondary Targeting

If a volley including only "gun"-type weapons destroys a target robot, any and all remaining guns in that volley will lock onto another target, prioritizing the most easily hit armed and active hostile currently in range. This mechanic is also called "gunslinging."

Salvage

How much of a robot remains to salvage when it is destroyed depends on the value of its cumulative "salvage modifier" which reflects everything that happened to it before that point. This internal value is initially set to zero, and each projectile that impacts the robot will contribute its own weapon-based salvage modifier to the total. Some weapons lower the value (most notably ballistic cannons), others have no meaningful effect on it (most guns), while certain types may even raise it, ultimately increasing the likelihood of retrieving useful salvage.

When a robot is destroyed, it leaves an amount of matter equivalent to its salvage potential (usually a random range you can see on its info page), modified directly by the salvage modifier. This means a large enough negative salvage modifier, e.g. from explosives or repeated cannon hits, has the potential to reduce the amount of salvageable matter to zero. A positive salvage modifier can never increase the resulting matter by more than the upper limit of a robot's salvage potential.

The chance for the robot's parts to survive, checked individually for each part, is ([percent_remaining_integrity / 2] + [salvage_modifier]), thus more damaged parts are more likely to be destroyed completely along with the robot. But even if that check succeeds, there are still two more possible factors that may prevent a given part from dropping. If the robot was corrupted, parts can be "fried," the chance of which is [system_corruption - max_integrity]; by the numbers, this will generally only affect small electronic components like processors, and sometimes devices. If the robot was overheating, parts can be melted, the chance of which is ([heat - max_integrity] / 4), so again less likely to affect large parts (though still possible, especially at very high heat levels).

Note that robots built by a fabricator do not leave salvageable parts. Also, anything in a robot's inventory (not attached) is always dropped to the ground, regardless of salvage modifiers or other factors.

Spotting

Even when you can see a hostile robot, they will not always notice you immediately. They can only register a target on their own turn, so if you are moving very quickly you can potentially pass into and beyond their field of view before they even have time to react. Sometimes when quickly rounding a corner and spotting an enemy, there is still time to duck back without being seen. That said, if you pass in and out of a hostile robot's field of view before they react, they may still take some notice and decide to investigate whatever they think they saw. Different AIs have a different chance to take notice, with those robots designed for surveillance, for example, being much more likely to investigate a potential passing target.

Another possibility to be aware of: while your own sight range is normally similar to that of other robots (approximately 16 spaces), if you enhance your visual sensors you can spot robots from afar before entering their field of vision. Likewise, hostiles with their own sensors may spot you before you can see them.

To know whether a robot has actually spotted you or not, there are two useful indicators. The first, directly on the map itself, is the sudden glow of their background when they spot you for the first time (also may display as a flashing '!' depending on other UI settings). After that initial sighting you can still refer to the scan window, which displays a red exclamation mark for any hostile robots aware of your presence.

Note that sight range is also reduced when line of sight passes through machines, making it possible in certain environments to get closer to hostiles before being spotted. Cloaking utilities also reduce the range at which enemies can spot you.

Attack Resolution

With so many mechanics playing into an attack, especially later in the game when there are numerous active parts involved at once, min-maxers looking to optimize their build may want a clearer understanding of the order in which all elements of an attack are carried out. This manual already covered hit chances above, but there are many more steps to what happens once an attack hits a robot. Below is an ordered list detailing that entire process, which applies to both ranged and melee combat. Note that you most likely DO NOT need to know this stuff, but it may help answer a few specific questions min-maxers have about prioritization.

  1. Check if the attack is a non-damaging special case such as Datajacks, Stasis Beams, Tearclaws, etc., and handle that before quitting early.
  2. Calculate base damage, a random value selected from the weapon's damage range and multiplied by applicable modifiers for overloading, momentum, and melee sneak attacks, in that order. Melee Analysis Suites raise the minimum damage here.
  3. Apply robot analysis damage modifier, if applicable (+10%).
  4. Apply link_complan hack damage modifier, if applicable (+25%).
  5. Apply Particle Charger damage modifier, if applicable.
  6. Reduce damage by resistances.
  7. Apply salvage modifiers from the weapon and any Salvage Targeting Computers.
  8. Split damage into a random number of chunks, usually 1~3 for explosions, or if Core Analyzer applies split projectile damage into 2 chunks (the second of which will automatically hit the core below). The process from here is repeated for each chunk.
  9. Determine whether the chunk caused a critical hit.
  10. Store the current damage value as [originalDamage] for later.
  11. Apply the first and only first defense applicable from the following list: phase wall, 75% personal shield (VFP etc), Force Field, Shield Generator, stasis bubble, active Stasis Trap, Remote Shield, 50% remote shield (Energy Mantle etc.), Hardlight Generator.
  12. Apply Thermal Converter effect, if applicable.
  13. Store the current damage value as [damageForHeatTransfer] for later.
  14. Choose target part (or core) based on coverage, if not already forcing a core hit for this chunk.
  15. Cancel critical strike intent if that target has applicable part shielding, or if not applicable to target.
  16. If targeting core, apply damage and, if robot survives, check for core disruption if applicable.
  17. If targeting a power source with an EM weapon, check for a chain reaction due to spectrum.
  18. If not a core hit or chain reaction, apply damage to target part, reducing the amount in exchange for energy (if available) if part is Powered Armor, and if not destroyed also check for EM disruption if applicable.
  19. If part destroyed by damage (rather than a critical hit), record any excess damage as overflow.
  20. If part was not armor and the attack was via cannon, launcher, or melee, transfer remaining damage to another random target (forcing to a random armor if any exists). Continue transferring through additional parts if destroyed (and didn't hit armor).
  21. If part not destroyed, check whether heat transfer melts it instead.
  22. Apply damage type side effects:

Melee Combat

Melee weapons can only hit adjacent targets, and can only be used one at a time. Activate a melee weapon and bump (move) into a target to attack it. Other options are to left-click on the target itself, or in that target's general direction. You can also force a melee attack, generally only necessary to use a melee weapon on terrain or a machine, by holding Ctrl-Shift while moving in a certain direction. (Note to vi-key users: Forcing a melee attack this way using vi-keys is not possible because the commands overlap with part swapping, use f to enter targeting mode instead.)

Hit Chance

Melee attacks use the same hit chance calculations as ranged combat, with a few exceptions:

Momentum

All melee weapons benefit from greater momentum in the direction of the attack. Moving multiple consecutive spaces in a row prior to an attack adds additional momentum, up to a maximum of 3. Current momentum is displayed as a number at the end of the HUD's movement data readout.

The damage bonus on a successful melee hit is +1~40% for non-piercing weapons, or +2~80% for piercing weapons, calculated as: ([momentum] * [speed%] / 1200) * 40). For piercing attacks the multiplier is 80 instead of 40. Speed% is current speed as a percentage of average speed, 100. Thus the more momentum and speed with which you attack, the greater the damage. Your status page shows the damage bonus taking current momentum into account. Note that while some utilities help increase momentum, the maximum bonus damage for a given weapon type cannot be exceeded.

Stopping, performing a non-movement action, or otherwise moving in a direction that does not match the current momentum resets your momentum to 0, except when moving diagonally in the same general direction (e.g. turning from southeast to south). The latter case instead reduces total momentum by 1. Also note that technically any melee attack can take advantage of previously accumulated momentum, regardless of direction. For example, approaching the southern side of a target from the east and attacking northward while passing below it will apply whatever momentum value is displayed in the HUD.

Sneak Attacks

Melee attacking an enemy that has not yet noticed you gives a base hit chance of 120%, and a +100% damage bonus which stacks with any momentum bonus. Sneak attacks work on any non-fleeing neutral targets as well, since they don't expect you'll suddenly attack them!

Multi-Wielding

Although only one primary melee weapon can be active at a time, other attached but inactive melee weapons have a chance to carry out "follow-up attacks" alongside the primary weapon. In Tactical HUD mode, that chance is shown next to each applicable melee weapon. Follow-up attacks are more likely when the primary weapon is slower than a given backup melee weapon. The chance may also be affected by supporting utilities.

Multiple follow-up attacks by different melee weapons are possible in the same action. Each weapon is checked separately, and once confirmed any follow-up attack has a +10% to hit the target. Each weapon incurs no additional time cost to attack aside from modifying the total attack time by half of their time delay (whether positive or negative). Momentum bonuses that apply to the primary weapon all apply to follow-up attacks as well. The benefits of all actuators also apply to every follow-up attack. If the target is destroyed by an earlier attack, any remaining follow-up attacks will switch to another target in range if there is one.

Datajacks cannot be involved in follow-up attacks, and these attacks are only applicable against robot targets.

Ramming

As a last resort, Cogmind can ram other robots to damage and/or push them out of the way. Damage is a random amount from 0 to (((10 + [mass]) / 5) + 1) * ([speed%] / 100) * [momentum], where speed% is current speed as a percentage of average speed (100) and effective momentum is a combination of both Cogmind and the target's momentum. However, the damage per attack is capped at 100 before the roll. Smashing into a robot headed straight for you can deal some serious damage, though there are serious negative consequences to go with this unarmed attack, and half as much damage is inflicted on Cogmind as well. Ramming increases the salvage potential of the target (by 3 for each hit), and also enables the collection of a small random amount of matter per collision.

Ramming with active legs has a 20% chance per leg to instead kick the target out of the way, damaging it as normal without damaging or destabilizing Cogmind. (Not applicable against huge targets.) Ramming with active treads always avoids self-damage/destabilization, in addition to a per-tread chance to instantly crush targets of medium size and below which have no more than 50 remaining core integrity. Crushed robots have their salvage modified by -20.

The time cost to ram is the greater (slower) of 100 and your current move speed.

Damage Types

Weapon damage is classified into 7 types, each with unique properties and effects.

Thermal

Thermal energy weapons generally have a shorter range, but benefit from a more easily predictable damage potential and little or no recoil. Thermal damage also generally transfers heat to the target, and may cause meltdowns in hot enough targets.

Kinetic

Ballistic weapons generally have a longer effective range and higher chance of critical strike, but suffer from less predictable damage and high recoil. Some kinetic projectiles, especially hypervelocity variants, are capable of penetrating one or more consecutive targets. Kinetic cannon hits also have a damage-equivalent chance to cause knockback, with a (10 - range) * 5 modifier and a +/-10% per size class (T/S/M/L/H) difference between the target and medium size (targets knocked into another robot may also damage and displace it).

Electromagnetic

Electromagnetic (EM) weapons have less of an impact on integrity, but are capable of corrupting a target's computer systems. Anywhere from 50 to 150% of damage done is also applied as system corruption, automatically maximized on a critical hit. (Cogmind is less susceptible to EM-caused corruption, but still has a damage% chance to suffer 1 point of system corruption per hit, or 5-20% of the damage on a critical strike.) EM-based explosions only deal half damage to inactive items lying on the ground.

Some EM weapons cause "disruption", which is a per-shot chance to temporarily disable an active part on impact. If a robot core is struck, there is half this chance the entire robot may be disabled. While disrupted a robot may be rewired by bumping into it (see Hacking Robots).

Explosive

While powerful, explosives are less likely to achieve a critical strike and often spread damage across a target. Explosive damage is divided into 1~3 chunks before it affects a robot, where each chunk of damage selects its own target part (though they may overlap).

Explosions also tend to reduce the amount of salvage remaining after destroying a target, and sometimes cause cave-ins in non-reinforced areas.

Impact

Impact melee weapons have a damage-equivalent chance to cause knockback, with a +/-10% per size class (T/S/M/L/H) difference between attacker and target (targets knocked into another robot may also damage and displace it). While incapable of a critical strike, they ignore relative coverage when determining which components to affect, and are therefore effective at destroying fragile systems regardless of armor and other protection. In addition, for every component crushed by an impact, its owner's system is significantly corrupted (+25-150%), though electromagnetic resistance can help mitigate this effect. (Cogmind is less susceptible to corruption caused in this manner.)

Slashing

Slashing melee weapons are generally very damaging, and can even sever components from a target without destroying them (damage/3% chance).

Piercing

Piercing melee weapons achieve critical strikes more often, are more likely to hit a robot's core (+33% core exposure for hit location calculations), and get double the melee momentum damage bonus.

Heat

Movement, firing weapons, and running power sources and some utilities generates heat. Some of this heat is naturally dissipated by the core's own heat sinks, but not enough to deal with heat generated by numerous/large energy weapons. Heat sinks and cooling systems can be used to avoid overheating, which can have a wide range of negative effects. Heat is only a significant issue for robots that rely heavily on energy weapons. However, note that when firing a volley the heat produced is averaged over the volley's turn duration rather than being immediately applied all at once.

Side Effects

Once heat reaches the "Hot" level (200+), active utilities and weapons may be temporarily disabled. At "Warning" levels (300+) power sources are likely to shut down. Many more serious (and permanent) effects are possible, especially at higher heat levels.

Disabled power sources automatically restart when possible, but other parts must be manually reactivated.

Heat effects are not calculated until after the dissipation phase, so heat can temporarily spike very high with no side effects as long as there are sufficient utilities to dissipate it.

Hacking Machines

Interactive machines appear in color rather than gray. Access their interface by bumping (moving) into the solid color space containing the representative letter.

Factors

Each function/command at a machine has its own base difficulty to hack, though there are numerous other factors at play in determining your chance of success.

From your point of view, hacking is simply connecting to a system and choosing/entering commands. However, the system itself responds in three phases:

Note that successful hacks (especially those which were difficult to pull off) have a chance to cause an increase in local alert level, though this result is less likely while using defensive hackware.

Terminals

Terminals are the most common type of interactive machine, providing access to local and central networks and databases. At the time of access, the terminal interface lists all potential hacking targets found for direct hacking. Unlisted targets can be hacked by manually entering the associated command, though so-called "indirect hacking" is more difficult (-15% chance per security level, though offensive hackware can be used to counteract this difficulty). The precise difficulty of indirect hacks is also an unknown factor, making them more dangerous for the inexperienced hacker.

Terminal records are purely informational, and will teach you more about the world and its inhabitants. Those you have never hacked before, and therefore do not yet appear in your lore collection, will have a '!' prepended to their target name. This reminder can be deactivated in /user/advanced.cfg via the markUndiscoveredLore option.

Operators are stationed at some terminals. Destroying the operator and retrieving its data core will extract its dynamic key and provide a 1.5x bonus to the first hack at that operator's terminal, but only if the connection is established before the key expires. Nearby trap locations can also be de-encrypted from pre-expiry data cores.

High-security terminals have direct access to more functions at once.

Fabricators

Fabricators construct parts and robots based on schematics. Schematics can be acquired by using scanalyzers or hacking terminals, then loaded into a fabricator which will report the resources required to complete construction. matter is drawn from the local fabrication network.

High-security fabricators are capable of faster construction.

Repair Stations

Repairing parts is a two-stage process. First instruct the station to scan a component currently in your inventory. Then initiate the repair process, which both fixes broken parts and restores them to full integrity.

The separate "refit" command scans a robot and attempts to restore missing functionality using simple backup parts.

High-security repair stations are capable of faster repairs.

Recycling Units

Recycle components by loading them from your inventory and initiating the process. Recycling units collect matter until they reach a certain quota (500), after which it is transferred away to a central system. Instruct the unit to report matter to examine its current stores. Hack the retrieve matter command to have it eject its contents.

Similarly, unprocessed parts can be listed and retrieved via other system commands.

Scanalyzers

Scanalyzers provide schematics for existing parts. Insert a part from your inventory, followed by the instruction to analyze. See your status page for access to a list of schematics currently in your possession, and note that in part info visualization mode (q) data preceded by a '+' indicates you have a schematic for that part.

More powerful scanalyzers generally require fewer scans to successfully create a proper schematic, and are less likely to damage the scanned part.

Manual Hacking

Manual entry of hacking commands has multiple uses. At terminals this feature can be used to indirectly hack unlisted targets. The text to enter commands is learned by observing the results window output during a regular listed hack. (For example, enter "Alert(Check)" at any terminal to attempt that hack.)

To simplify repeat hacks, all previously entered manual commands are stored in a buffer; once the >> command prompt is active, press Up/Down arrows to cycle through them. (If necessary you can edit this buffer directly, found in /user/buffer.txt, though editing should not be done while the game is running.)

Manual hacking also supports autocompletion. As you type it will compile a list of all matching commands, showing the first as grayed out text, possibly followed by a number indicator if there is more than one match available. Press spacebar or tab to accept the gray text rather than typing it out in full, or press up/down to cycle through other options. From the outset all common commands are considered for the autocompletion list, while unauthorized hacks you learn on your travels are considered only after you discover them (or if you have entered them directly at least once before).

Successful indirect hacking of central "database-related" targets (queries, schematics, analysis, prototypes) incurs a 25% chance to trigger a database lockout, preventing indirect access to those types of targets at every terminal on the same map. The chance of a lockout is reduced while using defensive hacking utilities.

Specific to manually hacking robot schematics and analyses, note that entering the class name will auto-select the best relevant variant available at the given terminal, from among those you don't already have. (For example, "Schematic(Grunt)" tries to hack the best applicable Grunt-type variant.)

Manual hacking can also be used to enter unique codes obtained on your travels. Any such codes learned in the current run will be listed automatically on beginning a manual hack. Non-mouse players can type the code prefix \\ to cause the focus to switch to that menu in order to select an option by letter (or Escape/Backspace to return to the normal text entry).

Manual hacking commands are case-insensitive, including both the command itself and any optional arguments.

Hacking Robots

Access a robot's system using either a melee or remote datajack. While the parse_system hack be used on almost any robot, most other hacks are limited to certain targets. Using a datajack on a target is not considered a hostile action, and targets won't even notice.

Requirements

Any hacks listed in the Basic category are accessible with nothing more than a datajack. "RIF" category hacks require that you've installed a Relay Interface Framework via the dedicated machine found in any garrison. Most hacks require having also attached a robot-appropriate Relay Coupler, which can be acquired in a number of ways.

Cost

The cost of performing a coupler-based hack is listed next to the hack, and deducted from the coupler's remaining value when performed.

Manual Hacking

Manual entry of standard robot hacking commands is not necessary, but offered as an optional method.

To simplify repeat hacks, all previously entered manual commands are stored in a buffer; once the >> command prompt is active, press Up/Down arrows to cycle through them. (If necessary you can edit this buffer directly, found in /user/buffer_robot.txt, though editing should not be done while the game is running.)

Manual hacking also supports autocompletion. As you type it will compile a list of all matching commands, showing the first as grayed out text, possibly followed by a number indicator if there is more than one match available. Press spacebar or tab to accept the gray text rather than typing it out in full, or press up/down to cycle through other options.

Manual hacking can also be used to enter unique codes obtained on your travels. Any such codes learned in the current run will be listed automatically on beginning a manual hack. Non-mouse players can type the code prefix \\ to cause the focus to switch to that menu in order to select an option by letter (or Escape/Backspace to return to the normal text entry).

Manual hacking commands are case-insensitive, including both the command itself and any optional arguments.

Rewiring

While a robot is disrupted (usually after taking some forms of EM damage to its core), bump into it to attempt a rewire, which if successful will assimilate it. No additional utilities are required, though the chance of success is improved by offensive hackware. Disrupted allies can be instantly reactivated in the same manner.

The base chance of rewiring success is 10%, or 50% with a datajack.

If flying, note that you'll need to switch to some other form of propulsion in order to come down and rewire a target via bumping.

Allies

At various points you may find help in the form of friendly robots that will assist you, or even follow your orders.

Types

Friendly robots can be divided into three categories.

Orders can be issued to any robots listed in the allies menu (F6), which includes only those controllable allies currently in sight. (Orders can also be issued directly on the map: Shift-right click on a robot, or press o then its corresponding number, or enter keyboard look mode, move the cursor over the robot and press o.)

By default these robots will follow you and, in the case of combat-capable robots, attack on their own initiative. Both general and specific orders are available:

A number of allied robots provide unique benefits when under your control. Most of these will be obvious in the right circumstances, but a couple may be difficult or impossible to discover and are therefore recorded here:


Intel

Map intel is accessible via the top-center display (F7). Intel includes the locations of machines, squads, stockpiles, and sabotage results. Gain intel by hacking terminals, which adds glowing markers to the map at their respective locations. Squad markers only indicate their last reported location at the time of hacking, so that information will be outdated before long and those markers therefore disappear on reaching that area. For convenience, all previously seen machines are permanently added into the intel database (because they are stationary).

Click on an intel entry (or enter intel mode with z) to toggle the filter setting for each type of intel.

Traps

Traps are most often found in groups called arrays, and appear in a variety of layouts including rows, blocks or sparser "minefields". They are, however, usually triggered individually.

Triggering

Moving over a trap does not always trigger it. The chance is instead determined by the form of propulsion:

Treads 100%
Legs 75%
Wheels 50%
Hover 40%
Core 40%
Flight 20%

If overweight, the chance is always 100%, regardless of propulsion type.

Once triggered, the trap at that position is spent and will not trigger again. (Some traps exhibit special behavior in this regard.)

Note there are also multiple undocumented circumstances under which a trap may be triggered, not simply regular movement. Also, stasis traps are a special case and their chance to trigger is the opposite of the values listed above (Flight ex: 100 - 20 = 80%).

Press > while on top of a known trap (or left-click on self) to force it to trigger.

Detection

Cogmind has a 1% chance to detect each trap in view, checked every turn, where each active structural scanner provides a +2% bonus. Hack terminals to reveal entire trap arrays at once. Nearby allied operators will also reveal hidden traps within your field of vision, and local trap locations can also be extracted from a pre-expired operator data core.

Removal

The simplest way to remove one or more traps is to destroy the section of floor housing it. Arrays of traps can be permanently disarmed via terminal hacking, and disabling traps on an individual basis is a possible side effect of hacking one with an active melee datajack.

Reprogramming

By default traps are programmed to trigger on detection of any foreign robot, a setting that can be modified via hacking. Known traps may be reprogrammed with an active melee datajack by bumping them, and entire arrays of traps can be reprogrammed at once from nearby terminals. Reprogrammed traps will no longer recognize Cogmind or allies as a threat, instead reacting to local combat robots. As part of the new programming, each trap's sensitivity will also be set dangerously high, ensuring it will trigger whenever a hostile moves over it, regardless of propulsion.

Advanced UI

Most of the UI is labeled and self-explanatory, though in some cases extra information is provided in extremely condensed form via abbreviations, unlabeled numbers and letters, or sometimes color.

Tactical HUD

An optional mode that provides more detailed UI info, recommended for all advanced players and roguelike veterans. Activating it in the options provides the following features:

All other subsections of this Advanced UI guide assume Tactical HUD mode is active.

HUD

The top-right HUD area shows primary stats and related data.

Energy: The first parenthesized number is energy cost per turn when stationary, followed by total cost per move when mobile. Any energy currently stored in inventory containers is totaled at the end after the "I:" indicator.

Matter: If any attached and active Field Recycling Units are processing matter, parenthesis enclose the amount released per turn followed by the total amount remaining to process. Any matter currently stored in inventory containers is totaled at the end after the "I:" indicator.

Temperature: Like energy, this gives total values under stationary and mobile conditions. If any active coolant injectors are attached, their combined dissipation is shown as a third value.

Movement: The time cost per move is shown in parenthesis, followed by a single digit that represents your current momentum. The base momentum factor usually ranges from 0 to 3, and is increased by repeated movement in the same direction. Higher momentum confers a bonus to melee and ramming damage, thus you'll see your current momentum reflected on the status window damage modifier list.

Scan Window

Hovering over objects displays their basic data here. For robots the top block color reflects their current integrity, the bottom block color indicates their current heat level (not shown when temperature is cool), while the color of the name indicates their current relation with you: red for hostile, gray for neutral, and green for friendly. When spotted by a hostile, a red '!' appears in the bottom left corner. When a robot has some dialogue that requires you to be adjacent or bump into them to hear, a green '?' is shown there instead. The '?' instead appears gray if you've already collected the associated lore and listening to them does not offer any repeat per-run benefits.

Evasion Window

This contains a summary of all defensive modifiers to the chance to be hit by an incoming projectile. It assumes the standard base hit chance of 60%, and cannot take into account the many attacker-sourced and situational factors, thus it is not generally an accurate representation of the actual chance to be hit, instead serving to demonstrate the relative defensive value of certain circumstances and part configurations. Hovering the cursor over the window (or holding \) opens the full details, which lists each component by name and will also indicate why a given value is grayed out (i.e. inapplicable). Note that while the summary window updates in real time, the details window does not (in the rare case that you're toggling parts while also holding that window open).

Volley Window

While in firing mode, the evasion window is replaced with the volley window, showing summary data for the volley if there are any active weapons. 'R' indicates the range from your current position to the cursor. Letters in brackets refer to all active weapons (using their parts list letter), where those which are not currently within range of the cursor target (and therefore will not fire) are grayed out. For all weapons that will fire, the total resource costs are listed in the second line: time required to fire along with energy ('E'), matter ('M') and heat ('H'). energy and matter are displayed as total costs, while heat is instead the amount generated per turn over the volley duration.

Parts Window

On the top border of this area is current/max mass, and if overweight an "0x#" indicator will appear in which '#' is the number of times you currently exceed your propulsion support limit, a vital factor in movement mechanics. If flying, the overweight indicator appears red since you lose your dodge bonus while overweight, and are no longer capable of flying over non-allied bots.

To the right of each part is extra information about each depending on the current mode (coverage/energy/integrity/info). Info q mode is the most esoteric, but provides a useful at-a-glance summary of stats relevant to each type of item, usually enough to make quick comparisons without opening the full info window. The first number for all parts is always the rating, preceded by a * if it's a prototype, or ** if an artifact. A '+' also appears before that to indicate when you currently have a schematic for that type of part, though note that in the case of a few late-game weapons, there may not be enough room in their summary to show the + reminder. Subsequent values differ by item type. All parts except propulsion indicate their mass with 'M'. Power sources indicate energy output with 'E'. Propulsion indicate base cost/move with 'T', and support with 'S'. Utilities show an ABBR/###, where ABBR is a very short four-letter abbreviation for its effect type, followed by the strength/value of its effect. Because each utility has only one primary type of effect, there isn't much point in learning to recognize those abbreviations (though there is a scheme to them). Instead the number is what's really important.

In Vulnerability c mode, the graphs are derived from a combination of coverage and integrity, where those parts with greater vulnerability are more likely to be lost before others, statistically speaking.

Before the slot letter for processors and hackware is a dark ':', which is simply an indicator to remind you that removing or replacing that part will destroy it permanently.

Note that the order parts are listed does not matter, except in the case of weapons, where active weapons in a volley will fire from top to bottom as listed. Reorder weapons as necessary depending on the tactical situation. All parts can be autosorted by subtype with the : key, which by default will also sort weapons, but the latter behavior can be manually overridden with the partSortIgnoresWeapons in /user/advanced.cfg.

Inventory Window

The list of inventory items displays used and free inventory space on its top border, and also inherits the current info mode of the parts list.

Sorting by type/mass/integrity, accessible via the bottom buttons/keys, can also be reversed by double-clicking/pressing the same button/key.

To tag an inventory item with a text note, press Shift-Alt-t followed by its inventory number. This feature is generally used to tag unidentified prototypes and alien artifacts that are known based on other factors or meta knowledge, so that they're not lost in the inventory later. Erase an existing item tag by entering an empty tag for it.

Calc Window

Among the optional top-center windows is the calculations output, the detail level of which can be set in the options menu. At full detail this will give a complete breakdown of all components factored into your attacks. This feature might get an overhaul to improve readability, but for now it shows a string of abbreviations with the following meanings:

r range
s size, target
t treads
h heat
ht heat, target
u utilities
ut utilities, target
m movement
mt movement, target
ft flying, target
im immobile
ob obstructing robot
a analysis
ha hacked targeting
di disruption (from a hack)
tc tactical coordination suite

Be aware that internally the game uses decimals to calculate hit chance, so the values shown may be slightly inaccurate due to rounding.

When set to full, the log contents are also mirrored to the left side of the map in order to show more at once. Use /user/advanced.cfg to adjust the length (mapCombatLogMaxLength) and duration (mapCombatLogDuration) of the mirrored messages.

Info Window

When viewing detailed info for a utility, their effect might be followed by one or more of the following indicators:

<stacks>: This effect is combined with those from all active utilities with the same effect.

<no_stack>: Effects from multiple utilities of this type do not stack, only the best available is applied.

<parallel_ok>: Multiple active utilities with the same long-term effect continuously apply that effect at the same time.

<resume_ok>: If deactivated then later reactivated, this long-term effect will pick up where it left off.

<consumed>: Attaching the utility activates it, using it up permanently.

Map

Various temporary indicators may pop up for robots on the map:

The origins of sound effects heard but not seen are also temporarily marked on the map, and color-coded by type as follows:

Combat-related - Door open/close - Trap trigger, ARC deployment, garrison dispatch - Machine destroyed - Emergency door open/close, phase wall destroyed - Walls destroyed, cave-in

This feature can be disabled via disableVisibleSfx in /user/advanced.cfg.

Open spaces previously occupied by now-destroyed walls and earth have a slight glow to them. Moving through these unstable areas may cause a cave-in, but only if doing so for extended periods. Tunneling between rooms, or through a wall-earth-wall scenario, will not cave in.

You can export an image of the entire current map by using the Shift-Alt-m command. The image is placed in a new /screenshots-maps/ directory and tagged with the map's name, depth, and current map turn number. This process may take a few seconds because it needs to sequentially render numerous frames across the entire map, compiling them together into a single PNG. Images exclude any temporary overlays and animations.

Targeting Behavior

On entering firing mode via the f command, the cursor will automatically shift to the most recent previous target, be it a robot or empty space, and any previous guided waypoints will be recalled (if still in sight). If there is no previous target, or it is no longer valid, the nearest target is chosen instead. Cycle forward and backward through targets sorted in near to far order via the Tab/Shift-Tab, -/=, and Numpad -/+ command pairs. Only armed hostiles are included in the cycle, or if none are visible it will instead cycle through all non-allied targets.

Examine mode uses the same cycling commands, but always includes all non-allied robots, armed and unarmed. When the intent is to attack an unarmed target while other armed hostiles are visible, examine mode can be used an alternative to cycle through both types of robots, and from there switch directly to firing mode once the desired target is reached.

Note that item examination also allows the same near-to-far cycling scheme, but requires the Ctrl key (Ctrl-Tab/Ctrl-Shift-Tab and Ctrl-Numpad -/+).

Part Auto-Replacement

When attaching parts from either the inventory or directly from the ground, if there are no available slots of the corresponding type, the interface will attempt to automatically pick a part to replace instead. Replacement candidates are prioritized in the following order:

If none of the conditions are met, it will simply report "No free slot." The list of rules is relatively short and basic because anything more results in too many complications and lowers predictability. Auto-replacement needs to err on the side of not swapping parts, so it's kept simple and predictable, based on only a few variables. To avoid smart replacement entirely, simply use the manual swap commands, or free the required slot first.

Note that this feature only works for parts that occupy a single slot.

Auto-replaced items are moved to the inventory, or if the inventory is already full, space will either be freed by comparing the item to all those carried based on the same rules above and drop a worse corresponding item, or where no comparison is possible, the replaced item itself is simply dropped.

In addition to attached part replacement, when attempting to pick up an item and put it in a full inventory, the same rules are applied to auto-replace (drop) an applicable inventory item to make room for a better new one. Where no comparison is possible, the pick up action will simply fail with a message indicating the inventory is full.

Lore Collection

In the lore collection interface, lore discovered via terminals is ordered alphabetically by topic, where the category simply refers to its origin. As a shortcut to finding a particular topic, type the first letter of its name to scroll to that section. Below terminal records is dialogue lore, organized by source. Their numbers have no significance and exist simply to serve as a distinguishing identifier for reference purposes. The last group are all robot analyses.

To the bottom right of the lore window is an export feature, convenient for those who wish to read their lore outside the game, share it with others, etc. Left-click a button or hit its corresponding letter key (shift for upper case) to immediately export your current lore to that format. The results are output to your /user/ directory. For export purposes, terminal records are reordered by category, and alphabetized within their category. As with the in-game UI, placeholders are shown for undiscovered lore in the TXT and HTML versions, though the CSV version solely includes your discovered lore. The HTML version is both colored and includes a table of contents with links to each section.

When manually updating to a newer version of Cogmind, records of previously collected lore are only retained across versions if you migrate your old /user/ data, specifically the game.bin file. (Unless using Steam autoupdates or a -nonportable/custom file path, in which case this is handled automatically.)

Item Gallery

All items attached across all runs are tallied in the gallery, which leaves empty spaces for those which have yet to be found. The parse_system robot hack may also be used on other robots to add their items to the gallery, especially useful when working with allies equipped with unique parts.

To find a particular item more quickly, type the first letter of its name to scroll to that section. Note that this search method ignores name prefixes, e.g. if looking for a "Exp. Transmission Jammer" you should type a "t"; all of the jammers will be next to one another within the "t" section.

To the bottom right of the gallery window is an export feature, convenient for those who wish to review item stats outside the game or theorize about potential builds. Left-click a button or hit its corresponding letter key (shift for upper case) to immediately export your current item stat collection to that format. The results are output to your /user/ directory. Undiscovered items are not included in the export, nor are there placeholders for them. The CSV version is best for number crunching in spreadsheets, the TXT version lists items with only those stats which apply to them, and the HTML verson is both colored and includes a table of contents with links to each slot type.

When manually updating to a newer version of Cogmind, records of previously attached items are only retained across versions if you migrate your old /user/ data, specifically the game.bin file. (Unless using Steam autoupdates or a -nonportable/custom file path, in which case this is handled automatically.)

Achievements

Achievements earned throughout all runs can be browsed, filtered, and sorted in this interface.

All achievement descriptions refer to requirements that must be completed within a single run, except where otherwise noted or obvious. Some descriptions are hidden until earned, in order to avoid plot spoilers, or in a few cases to avoid revealing achievements that are fun to earn at random but otherwise boring to aim for. If a Steam player, it is strongly suggested to avoid third-party achievement managers that reveal all hidden achievements because most are spoilers. There is no need to expose and aim for any hidden achievement, as they are things you'll uncover naturally through regular play.

Achievement pop-up notifications are enabled by default, but can somewhat ruin the atmosphere at various points, especially where plot is concerned, so if you like they can be disabled in advanced.cfg by setting achievementPopupDuration to 0. Similarly, setting showAchievementMessages to 0 also prevents those messages from showing up in the log.

If playing on Steam there is bidirectional syncing of your achievements between each system, so if you reinstall Cogmind elsewhere it'll also download all previous achievements and include them in your local meta data (though in that case you'll have lost some info about your achievements like which game and highest difficulty level they were earned in, because Cogmind stores more achievement-related data than Steam's database). Playing the non-Steam version then later migrating over to Steam will also upload all previously earned achievements that are not yet earned on Steam.

All achievements are equally accessible regardless of difficulty setting. If for some reason you want to remove all your achievements, for example having earned many on lower difficulties and want to try again from scratch on a higher setting, add "resetAchievements=1" to advanced.cfg. This change cannot be reversed so you'd better be sure! The resetAchievements option is only valid for non-Steam players due to automated syncing while connected to Steam.

Regular achievements are not available if any challenge modes are active, during which only the "win that mode" achievement may be earned, although you can earn multiple such achievements in a single run by combining more than one challenge mode.

To the bottom right of the achievements window is an export feature, convenient for those who wish to review their achievements outside the game or maybe process them via other means. Left-click a button or hit its corresponding letter key (shift for upper case) to immediately export your current achievement list to that format. The results are output to your /user/ directory. Note that it only exports the currently listed achievements, so your filters and sorting do affect the results.

When manually updating to a newer version of Cogmind, achievement records are only retained across versions if you migrate your old /user/ data, specifically the game.bin file. (Unless using Steam autoupdates or a -nonportable/custom file path, in which case this is handled automatically.)

Alt-Tab Oddity

Alt-Tabbing between programs in Windows is known to cause issues with software that requires use of the Alt key. The software doesn't always know the correct state of the Alt key after performing such a command, and therefore may believe the Alt key is down when it really isn't. This can be extra noticeable in Cogmind's keyboard mode, which makes heavy use of the Alt key, by necessity. If you frequently Alt-Tab between programs, on returning to Cogmind you might want to tap the Alt key a couple times to make sure its state has been reset, otherwise you may accidentally enter an unintended command. It doesn't happen every time, but it's worth knowing that this is a possibility which can lead to otherwise confusing results.

Custom Cursors

By default Cogmind uses a 16px hardware cursor, but that may not be suitable at extremely high resolutions depending on OS cursor scaling settings. If the cursor appears too small (or for some other reason you'd prefer a different style), Cogmind includes a way to display a much more flexible software cursor.

Simply put a file named "cursor.png" in the /rex/ directory and it will be detected automatically on startup. Any image dimensions are accepted, and any pixels that use the hot pink color (255,0,255) will be transparent (see samples provided in that directory). The top-left corner (position 0,0) is always considered the "hotspot," or where the click is actually detected.

Advanced Options

There are a number of special options allowing finer control of certain features, or toggling very specific features some players might find useful. However, these options are only accessible via the /user/advanced.cfg file. As in other config files, binary on/off values are represented as 1/0. Make sure to only edit values while the game is not running.

system.cfg also contains a few settings which can be used to manually adjust system-related features:

Normally all files are saved within the Cogmind directory, and you can even play it off a USB stick, but some players may want the option to store their saves and other files elsewhere.

You can specify a save path by adding "-customFilePath:PATH" to the COGMIND.exe command line parameters, where PATH is the absolute or relative file path under which to store all settings, scoresheets, screenshots, and the backup archives. Alternatively, the "-nonportable" parameter can be used to automatically assign the path based on the Windows default: "C:\Users\[USER]\.Grid Sage Games\Cogmind"

To change command line options in the steam version, right click on the game, click "Properties" and "Advanced Launch Options"

Note that custom file paths are not compatible with Steam Cloud, and like other game-related paths cannot include non-ASCII characters.

Color Customization

Custom UI and map color schemes are currently controlled via two advanced.cfg settings: renderFilter and renderFilterMap. These can be used to specify one or more filters that adjust the appearance of the map and/or UI as a whole. For example, renderFilter=BRIGHTNESS(80) will set the brightness of the entire game to 80% of what it is by default. Or renderFilterMap=BRIGHTNESS(80) will only darken the map.

Each setting supports mixing as many filters as you want, though remember that each additional filter requires more processing time per frame. Combine filters by separating them with '|'. E.g., renderFilter=BRIGHTNESS(90)|SATURATION(90) lowers both the brightness and saturation by 10%. If there are multiple filters they are applied in the order listed, and all map filters are applied before any program-wide filters.

The available filters are as follows:

The following additional filters are only applicable to renderFilter, not the map-only version:

Note that any filter changes affecting color that are made while a run is in progress will in some cases cause areas outside FOV to appear strangely until leaving for a new map.

Fonts

Available font sets are controlled via data/fonts/_config.xt. Currently all sets share the same map ASCII style, but for extra readability in ASCII mode some fonts can be converted from the default to another style by opening that file and setting their "Available" column value to 1.

"T+" (sizes 12/14/16/18) is Terminus, a thin and readable sans serif font

"VGA+" (size 14 only) is IBM VGA, one of the classic DOS fonts

"V+" (size 16 only) is Verite, a fat mostly-serifed font

"K+" (size 16 only) is Kaypro, a thin-stroked stylized techno font

Although these settings only affect those who use the indicated font sizes (fullscreen or windowed), more map ASCII alternatives can be added upon request.

Additional information will be added to this section later once a tileset modding guide is available.

Key Commands

While it's recommended to use the in-game basic and advanced command lists that group commands by their functionality and within the window to which they apply, commands are also listed here alphabetically as an alternative way to reference them (and so that they can be viewed externally in the text version of this manual).

a Get Item and Attach
b Vi Move: SW
c Part Info Visualization: Coverage/Vulnerability
d Modal Remove/Drop Mode (follow with letter or number)
e Part Info Visualization: Energy/Heat
f Fire
g Get
h Vi Move: W
i Sort Inventory: Integrity
j Vi Move: S
k Vi Move: N
l Vi Move: E
m Sort Inventory: Mass
n Vi Move: SE
o Order Mode
p Part Management Modal Menu
q Part Info Visualization: Info/Matter
r Run Modifier
s Status
t Sort Inventory: Type
u Vi Move: NE
v Volley Range Toggle
w Part Info Visualization: Integrity/Mass
x Look Mode
y Vi Move: NW
z Intel Mode
1 Label Enemies/Traps
2 Label Allies/Traps
3 Label Items
4 Label Exits
-/= Scroll Multiconsole (or cycle targets in targeting mode)
Enter Center on Self / Set Guided Weapon Waypoint / Set Ally Order Target
Backspace World Map / Center Cursor on Self (targeting mode)
Spacebar Previous Message / Stop Run
Escape Cancel / Close / Game Menu
[/] Scroll Inventory
; Cycle Propulsion
" Toggle Utilities w/Upkeep
' Toggle Weapons
: Auto-sort Parts
, Detach-Drop (compatible with d)
>/< Up Stairs / To Branch / Trigger/Install Trap / Release Drones
. Wait
/ Part Swap Mode (follow with letter or number)
\ Evasion Breakdown (hold)
` Mapshift Mode (movement keys shift map)
? Game Menu
Num -/+ Scroll Log (or cycle targets in targeting mode)
Num 1~9 Movement
Num 5 Wait
Num Enter Advance Dialogue / Center Cursor on Self (targeting mode)
F1 Game Menu
F2 Toggle Keyboard Mode
F3 Toggle ASCII Mode
F4 Expand Log
F5 Multiconsole: Extended Log
F6 Multiconsole: Allies
F7 Multiconsole: Intel
F8 Multiconsole: Calculations
F9 World Map
F10 Part Auto-activation Toggle
F11 Toggle Audio
F12 Screenshot
Ctrl-F3 Toggle FPS Counter
Ctrl-F4 Toggle Cursor Forced Centering
Ctrl-F5 Toggle Auto-Waiting
Ctrl-F6 Toggle Inventory Auto-Sorting
Ctrl-F7 Toggle Tactical HUD
Ctrl-F12 Toggle Mouse Warping

There are more commands, but this list excludes mouse commands and most of those requiring Shift/Ctrl/Alt modifiers.

Keyboard Logic

While all features are accessible via mouse, using the keyboard can make for much more efficient play. Thus it is helpful to at least gradually learn some or all keyboard commands. Fortunately there is a general logic to the command modifiers that makes them easier to remember and keeps the input scheme consistent throughout the game:

Ctrl: (Parts) Attachment/activation ("up")

Alt: (Parts) Detach/Drop ("down")

Shift: Information

Shift-Alt: Rare/special commands

F-keys: Interface mode changes

Escape: Cancels/exits pretty much anything

Anyone preferring to manage parts via keyboard input without using any Ctrl/Shift/Alt modifiers can access all the same functionality via the modal part management menu. Press p to activate the menu and see the full list of options, then select a submenu option and appropriate target letter or number. In this mode Drop always refers to a direct drop to the ground, even if there is sufficient inventory space to hold a dropped attached item. Use Remove to instead attempt to put it in inventory first, or on the ground if not enough capacity.

Key Holding

Certain instances in which it might be preferable to hold a key to repeatedly perform an action can be safely done until the desired effect is achieved, without negative consequences. Examples of possible uses for this behavior:

Holding a movement key to rewire a robot or trap (1-second block)

Holding wait while a visible fabricator or repair station completes its task (2-second block)

Holding wait while waiting for a hostile to enter view

Holding wait while waiting for a System Backup Module to reduce system corruption to 0%

Notes

Did you know these manual contents appear both in game and as a text file "manual.txt"? You can read the manual outside the game hmm, or even edit the file and have the change appear in game as well. Like... erase this text and add your own notes! (Note that only basic ASCII characters are accepted; foreign language characters are ignored because the engine cannot display them.) (Yeah you can't do this on the website. We do get unicode though! If you have any suggestions for the web version of the manual feel free to send them to me on discord at KernelPanic#1563)

WARLORD FOREVER!