Home Game Development Rebalancing Cogmind – Cogmind / Grid Sage Video games

Rebalancing Cogmind – Cogmind / Grid Sage Video games



A decade of growth into an enormous undertaking is nearly unavoidably going to build up some quantity of cruft. Mechanics which can be by no means fairly value profiting from, objects that haven’t lived as much as their potential, or have been later outdated by different choices however remained unchanged, and even long-term experiments that have been included in some unspecified time in the future however by no means up to date/expanded/eliminated.

Cogmind started its life as a 7DRL, and a portion of things designed again when the sport was general a really totally different setting didn’t evolve on the identical tempo. Now clearly probably the most egregious of those have been progressively addressed over time–we don’t need these types of issues protruding like sore thumbs, and it’s not like such points have been fully ignored. That might be dangerous 😛

Nevertheless it’s all of the tiny bits and items right here and there which add up through the years, and throughout the breadth of the sport, which do have to be examined and polished to suit into what the sport has change into. For probably the most half, components that haven’t been addressed but have been comparatively minor, out of the best way sufficient that they could possibly be safely ignored, although the pursuit of perfection necessitates a correct full move to refine… properly, something that wants it. And if we wish to discover a proof apart from quickly suppressed OCD, the present timing of this course of is important: Cogmind is properly previous “full” standing, particularly ever since Beta 10 launched in 2020 and completed off the final of the required options (ambient audio), so now’s the time to do a extra thorough job refining every thing earlier than embarking on new expansions.

Some roguelikes don’t attempt for steadiness, however sustaining steadiness has all the time been necessary to me for Cogmind, because it suits higher with my imaginative and prescient for any such recreation, heavy on robust, advanced, and consequential decision-making at a number of strategic and tactical ranges.

Really, starting over 5 years in the past there was a plan to sooner or later do a sweeping evaluate of Cogmind’s elements, particularly utilities (as they symbolize the majority of Cogmind objects and provide the widest number of distinctive results), principally to make sure that every thing was working collectively easily and had its correct place in some compelling Cogmind construct or one other (or at the very least for different robots!). The primary a part of this so-called “Nice Utility Replace” started throughout Alpha 12 with a number of elementary mechanical adjustments, however since then the undertaking remained on the to-do checklist till 1) much more content material was added to the sport, and a pair of) we collected extra information about what objects folks have been and weren’t utilizing, and why.

It made sense to attend so long as attainable to hold out this course of, however the wait is lastly over! Beta 11 is lastly tackling this undertaking, and we’ve already seen it manifested throughout propulsion, weapon mechanics, storage models, fabrication and extra, however the complete item-by-item evaluate has solely come to move as a part of the conclusion to this dev cycle. I have to say this has been an thrilling time, having the chance to revisit every thing to iron out as many kinks as attainable, in lots of locations including new construct prospects and even complete new mechanics.

The scope of this rebalance is means too massive to cowl in its entirety, and whereas I don’t plan to write down about each side, we’ll be trying on the broad strokes and select some consultant examples right here and there.

Earlier than doing a full item-by-item evaluate, I began with two particular classes of distinctive build-defining objects: aliens artifacts and Exiles prototypes. These are objects comparatively restricted in availability, and solely a small subset could be acquired in every run, although they’re additionally extraordinarily highly effective when used successfully. Attributable to these shared traits, whereas reducing throughout slot sorts, it is sensible to work on their design as a group–they’re balanced in opposition to each other as a lot as they’re in opposition to different elements.

Alien Artifacts

I received’t get deep into the artifacts right here, however there have been a good variety of adjustments.

One particularly was eliminated as a result of its impact was sadly not possible to steadiness (considerably humorous as a result of virtually nobody used it for years till discovering its true potential)–the Stasis Generator was an instance of an merchandise with a mechanic added “purely as a result of we may, not as a result of we must always.” Some early utilities received results like this throughout pre-alpha growth, earlier than Cogmind was launched, when nobody had even performed the sport but and I used to be experimenting with extra excessive mechanical prospects and not using a robust tactical foundation for his or her design.

Beta 11 added six new artifacts although, with even cooler (however balanced :P) results, in order that makes up for it 😉

It’s necessary when rebalancing to attempt to make up for any losses in gameplay choices by including new ones.

Exiles Prototypes

The Exiles prototypes, accessible from the early recreation, are typically not meant to be extremely OP gear to hoard for many of a run when it may give an edge within the late-game.

Even after updates that is nonetheless an inexpensive purpose and superb in some instances, and lots of of them began off deliberately extremely highly effective (for enjoyable, proper?), although having loads of collective expertise them it grew to become fairly clear which may use a little bit of a nerf, buff, or… [my favorite kind of change:] another type of distinctive twist 😉

Cogmind Exiles Prototypes ASCII Art

ASCII artwork for Exiles prototypes.

For instance, by far probably the most wanted prototype was Lightpack 2.0, the low-mass storage unit with big stock house. I initially favored that it may allow very totally different builds for those who lucked into it, however being a storage unit it was generically wonderful for everybody fairly than resulting in fascinating options–an outright vital energy increase, and one that may final a whole run, at that.

Now that I used to be allocating all this design time to rebalancing objects, there was loads of impetus to do one thing extra advanced with it. (Again once I was first including the Exiles prototypes, there have been already a number of which individually required a number of particular plumbing, a number of days value in some instances, so when it got here so as to add one thing as “mundane” as a storage unit it was good to take a break and pace issues alongside by drawing some artwork and slapping new stats on it.) So for Beta 11 I got here up with a brand new mechanic which was positively going to take some implementing…

The thought is that the Lightpack does certainly enable for any construct to benefit from low-mass storage, and I even vastly elevated its storage capability, although it achieves this miracle by using unstable extradimensional house which typically swallows an merchandise. It’d return that merchandise when subsequent disturbed (e.g. storing one other merchandise), or would possibly destroy it perpetually. The extra objects packed into it, the higher the instability.

Total the mechanics are balanced such that it’s a boon for builds that care much less about shedding particular stock objects, however clearly not everybody goes to wish to use one thing so unreliable. This aligns with the idea that though Exiles prototypes are supposed to be superb, they’re additionally normally flawed not directly, equivalent to finally breaking down, blowing up in your face, or one thing in between 😛

Subsequent we will truly deal with the item-wise evaluate, principally them one slot sort at a time, e.g. all energy sources, propulsion, and so forth.

The latter have been technically lined as a gaggle early on throughout Beta 11 growth as a result of it will underpin a number of different potential adjustments all through this rebalance–along with storage, propulsion is probably the most elementary a part of a construct! As Beta 11 advanced I did revisit propulsion a bit later, although only for smaller tweaks fairly than to the identical extent as seen with different elements.

However energy sources positively referred to as for a complete evaluate, so it was time to interrupt out the spreadsheets!

For those who’ve seen them right here on the weblog earlier than, you could recall that my very own tab-delimited Cogmind information information are much like spreadsheets, and have their very own syntax highlighting, however they’re not true spreadsheets. For the aim of analyzing uncooked stats it may be good to drop all of the related information into a daily spreadsheet, since having the identical information in a distinct format can reveal features that could be tougher to watch of their regular setting.

That is positively the appropriate time to just do that, so I used Cogmind’s information exporting function (which gamers have entry to as properly) to output CSV information, then prettified them to assist with the evaluate course of.

Cogmind Beta 11 Item Data Spreadsheet: Power Sources

Energy supply information in Excel, formatted and together with updates together with supporting formulation. New or modified values seem in crimson textual content.

One other benefit of spreadsheets we will use right here is the power to outline formulation and inform us extra about objects past what’s proven immediately by the stats alone. Particularly with energy sources the generation-mass ratio is very necessary when evaluating throughout sorts, and with that column I recognized a number of that wanted tweaking. Conditional formatting can also be very helpful right here to assist sure values stand out, an method I’ll be making even heavier use of additional beneath, nevertheless it’s already come in useful with energy sources.

For probably the most half I used to be already happy with the development of energy sources, extra simply balanced since they’re the smallest (and technically least inventive…) slot sort, with fairly well-defined subcategories. Beta 11 does, nevertheless, transfer in direction of making energy slots extra enticing by rising selection and potential advantages. Except for the handful of stat tweaks, a brand new subcategory was added (“hybrid” energy sources that are lighter and generate much less power per flip, however retailer lots), Fusion Compressors and their matter-to-energy conversion mechanic was transformed from a utility to an influence supply, and the one artifact-level power producing half was additionally transformed over from being a utility. I think about extra shall be added sooner or later, however for now we’ve a seemingly balanced state to work from.

Cogmind Beta 11 Item Data Spreadsheet: Airborne Propulsion

As one other instance right here’s an excerpt of airborne propulsion information in Excel, from once I revisited propulsion stats for the umpteenth time throughout Cogmind’s growth, seen right here with formula-based supporting information factors and conditional formatting.

Though the unique intent years in the past was to finally concentrate on updating utilities, at this level weapons truly wanted a number of refining, number-wise much more so than another slot sort!

Once more in a basic sense there was nothing massively out of whack that wasn’t addressed already as vital, however Cogmind’s mechanics have expanded considerably for the reason that early years when the templates on which the weapon designs have been based mostly made sure assumptions about the remainder of the sport on the time. Taking a contemporary take a look at every thing may enable for brand new views and recommend even delicate adjustments that may end in an general improved expertise.

In all probability the most effective instance of a change that happened as a mirrored image of Cogmind’s mechanical evolution was truly utilized to a whole subcategory of weapons fairly than a single one: Virtually all kinetic weapons had their max vary decreased by 4.

I didn’t initially count on to make such a categorical stat shift at this level, nevertheless it is sensible in context. One of many huge objectives of Beta 11 has been to make sure objects are sufficiently differentiated, and whereas cannons and weapons have been diverging through the years by way of a number of mechanical adjustments, for some time weapons have had the higher hand in lots of tactical eventualities, particularly since “gunslinging” was added. Kinetic cannons may use just a little one thing further, so that they have retained their max vary as a kind of benefits. That mentioned, common kinetic gun vary nonetheless exceeds visible vary typically anyway, so this transformation is just related to sure construct sorts.

One other space I’m as an alternative not so shocked to see sweeping adjustments is impression weapons. I preserve experimenting with updates to these yearly since they use a distinct hit location mannequin than all different weapons, one which isn’t typically conducive to probably the most generally fascinating purpose of fight (destroying targets), and Beta 11 isn’t any totally different. So I reimagined them but once more, bearing in mind their distinctive concentrating on mechanics and what meaning when preventing different bots.

The most important change there was merely but extra vital injury buffs. They’ve all the time been fairly scary when used in opposition to Cogmind, and I’ll must say they’ve technically change into even scarier! However in addition they could be pretty extra helpful for Cogmind now. We’ll must see if extra adjustments are vital (…nerfs???) since this was fairly a buff for weapons which have been technically already beginning to get good in their very own area of interest xD. As is the adjustments are too new and we’ll must see what actual playtesting turns up.

Nice tuning

The weapon balancing course of didn’t end in that many blanket adjustments, although, it was extra about adjusting particular person objects, normally at most only one or two stats wherever they’d change into unreasonable for one purpose or one other.

Cogmind’s objects have been initially designed and balanced based mostly on a big set of desired information ranges and largely linear development from the bottom to highest scores, although it’s been many a few years since that point, and a few objects have been later adjusted for numerous causes, normally bearing in mind the unique scale, however not all the time different necessary elements like all probably associated different present objects, main in some instances to both undesirable deviations from the scales, or extra annoyingly objects that weren’t distinctive sufficient to justify their existence.

After all the thought of scaling for steadiness right here is referring primarily to generally out there objects, not distinctive one-of-a-kind objects or different particular gear, that are the place much more of the enjoyable comes from. However we’d like a steady core set of things, and that’s the place the robust need for steadiness is available in, particularly now in Beta 11, after which we are going to once more be free to start out including new and fascinating elements to the fringes 😀

Even with a scale on which to base balancing selections, its values can solely be utilized to a smaller variety of core objects, whereas there are various elements out there at every score, and every one ought to ideally be totally different someway, whereas nonetheless probably value utilizing in some construct, if attainable. (“If attainable” as a result of there’s all the time some instances the place an element is meant primarily for the AI bots, although it’s good when these may also be made helpful to Cogmind as properly; plus there’s all the time the instances the place Cogmind will take something they will get in a pinch!)

So anyway it was lastly time to have a look at each. single. weapon., tons of of them, and take note of all kinds of balancing elements whereas doing so. There are a variety of checks and axes alongside which stats are in contrast:

  • Does every frequent weapon have appropriate stats for its score?
  • In a basic sense [<-insert this phrase before all statements here :P], is it distinctive sufficient in comparison with different weapons equal to its score [this one, too->] in the identical class?
  • Is it higher than weapons of the earlier score?
  • Are prototypes at a given score higher than non-prototypes at that score?
  • Are prototypes considerably equal to non-prototypes of the subsequent greater score? (although maybe nonetheless have some distinctive high quality which may make them higher)
  • Do weapons utilizing a given prefix have traits that precisely mirror that prefix?
  • Do weapons throughout totally different scores that share the identical tech/title additionally share related traits?
  • …and possibly some extra issues however these are the large ones

Observe: Evaluating between classes, e.g. thermal weapons vs kinetic weapons, is often wanted however not fairly as necessary anymore since every class already has a reasonably clearly outlined set of traits that make all of its constituent weapons pretty totally different from these in different classes.

Balancing normally takes the type of merely adjusting numbers to satisfy our objectives right here, although it’s value declaring that one of many benefits to doing this now, as late as Beta 11, is that we’ve extra levers than we did again when these elements have been first created. New mechanics have been added through the years, giving us new advantages and downsides to think about, and even use to immediately management the steadiness by assigning model new values and transferring a few of these further levers. The unique weapon designs weren’t capable of benefit from stat-based mechanics like warmth switch, distinctive important strikes, and EM spectrum, or as talked about above even extensively relevant new mechanics like gunslinging.

For instance, neutron-based weapons got spectrum results (and disruption), the primary non-EM weaponry to have them, as that impact didn’t exist again in 2014. Technically this was a taste factor, nevertheless, since these weapons didn’t want to be extra highly effective or efficient, however a part of this course of has additionally been making certain that weapon traits match the tech represented or implied by their title. Extra on naming later.

Under is the weapon spreadsheet I labored with, the place new or modified values seem as crimson textual content, highlighting solely these adjustments that have been made as a part of the great evaluate throughout late-Beta 11 (thus excluding all new weapons and changes made earlier in Beta 11 growth):

Cogmind Item Data Spreadsheet: Weapons (spoiler-free)

That’s a number of weapon information. I’ve stripped about 50 spoiler entries and uniques, largely on the excessive tiers, and it’s also possible to obtain the Excel file right here. (The picture excludes among the launcher information values and some different lesser-used columns off to the appropriate.)

Whereas analyzing the weapon information, some oddities that wanted addressing have been extra more likely to stand out on this spreadsheet format in comparison with my regular method. For me it was additionally merely useful to visually parse a ton of compact information utilizing a small font 😛

After I used to be achieved working by means of the spreadsheet alone, I additionally streamed it to share the method with the neighborhood, for those who’re occupied with testing extra:

In the course of the stream I lined most of the particular person adjustments and logic behind them, and we even made a number of extra tweaks based mostly on suggestions.

Not… Cogmind?

One necessary factor to recollect right here is that merchandise adjustments are inclined to have an effect on bots that use these objects! Cogmind isn’t the one one counting on this stuff to function, and a few robots have been barely redesigned right here in consequence, however for probably the most half adjustments are simply accepted, for instance some Hunter variants have been not directly nerfed because of the minimal injury discount on their major weapons. I’m certain they’ll nonetheless handle to satisfy their obligation simply superb, in order that’s okay 😉

That is much more true with adjustments to energy sources and propulsion, as these are extra elementary elements supporting a whole construct. So after a batch of adjustments is full, I all the time have to return and verify over the robotic builds to ensure they received’t… you understand… soften, deplete their power then sit round, hearth a number of instances then run out of sources, and so forth.

For that goal I’ve a instrument I can run which outputs a variety of bot efficiency information that summarizes features we care about, like reporting their efficient pace based mostly on how a lot they’re carrying, and their capacity to maintain fight, preserve correct warmth ranges, have adequate power below totally different eventualities, and many others.

Cogmind Robot Variant Build Test Output (excerpt)

An excerpt of output from my construct testing instrument, which prefixes drawback values with a ‘?’ that the syntax highlighting picks up on and colours crimson so I’ll discover it and tackle if vital (some bots are deliberately designed with “drawback values” exterior regular parameters, however there aren’t many such instances).

Finally we’ve reached the ultimate class, the one for which the Nice Utility Replace was initially named… regardless of ending up making use of to a wider vary of elements 😛

Earlier than beginning this item-wise evaluate course of, I used to be actually questioning what could be one of the simplest ways to gather extra helpful suggestions about what utilities we wished to vary and the way/why. One method I thought of was making a public spreadsheet itemizing all of the objects and simply let anybody contribute opinions there, however whereas perhaps enjoyable it additionally appeared fairly chaotic and inefficient. With the success of the primary dev stream I did with the weapon spreadsheet, I noticed that may additionally make a reasonably good format for getting suggestions on utilities.

After all after literal years of ready to do that I additionally had loads of prior notes to work from in lots of instances, however it will nonetheless assist to go line by line with a few of Cogmind’s most frequent gamers and get up to date opinions, particularly from those that’d been enjoying the Beta 11 prerelease builds, which embrace fairly a number of adjustments and new options of their very own (so already a fairly totally different expertise from the general public launch at that time).

So along with my notes, various utility changes got here from discussions spanning a collection of streams totaling ten hours in all:

The streams have been largely for dialogue of areas to handle fairly than making precise adjustments or closing selections, elements of the method I’d go on to finish later, one purpose being that, not like weapons, utilities are much less of a number-focused merchandise sort, revolving as a lot or extra round their mechanics and performance they allow. Because it’s extra than simply numbers it’d take extra focus and broader consideration to finalize particulars after figuring out what they might entail each architecturally and design-wise, actions which can be tougher to do properly whereas streaming.

A number of the tweaks have been simple sufficient, whereas some utility redesigns even received their very own spreadsheets to extra precisely take a look at their results 😛

Cogmind Rebalance Spreadsheet Data: Core Analyzer Mechanics Proposals

Analyzing a number of attainable mathematical approaches to a extra simple Core Analyzer impact.

I’ll decide a number of examples to debate beneath, and extra could be seen within the movies (since we actually went down your entire checklist xD).

Overload Utilities

Cogmind has all the time had overloadable power weapons (toggled for further warmth and power prices however higher injury and a random likelihood of triggering a nasty facet impact), and again throughout pre-alpha when making an attempt to pack as many various mechanics in as attainable into the utility set, I made a decision so as to add Overload Amplifiers and Overload Regulators to particularly buff this subcategory of weapons. So sure this was one other of these early “purely as a result of we may” issues with none playtesting or robust design foundation, and it will definitely confirmed.

Overloadable weapons have been already situationally first rate even with out assist from utilities, and it didn’t actually make sense for a construct to trouble with such utilities since there aren’t that many overloadable weapons, so possessing each this type of weapon and a supporting utility geared solely to it will be comparatively uncommon, to not point out the unintended effects are typically undesirable vs. the predictability of standard weapons.

Following this realization, I made a decision one thing would finally have to be achieved about it and easily made them a lot rarer till that would occur. Effectively… one thing was finally achieved about it: Beta 11 eliminated them 😛

Comgind ASCII Art: Overload Utilities

Overload utility artwork. Possibly we’ll see you once more sooner or later?

I hardly ever outright take away objects from Cogmind. I desire to strive fixing no matter’s incorrect with them (nerf/tweak/buff) in order that they’re viable on some construct (and fairly acquirable for that construct within the arms of an skilled participant), or if that’s not attainable then flip them into some different merchandise with a brand new mechanic simply to all the time preserve the variety of objects and fascinating choices steady or increasing.

One factor that made these tougher to work right into a system like Cogmind’s is that they’d such a distinct segment use that you simply don’t need them to be all that frequent a find–most folks would ignore them, however that additionally means they’re even tougher to use to conditions the place they may truly be helpful. What I love to do is add elements to at the very least some robotic construct that gamers can then search out and goal for salvage, however overloading just isn’t an acceptable mechanic for different frequent bots to be using, in order that technique doesn’t actually work right here.

So that they have been eliminated, however having achieved so I additionally determined this may be the proper time to revisit the overloading mechanic itself since overloadable weapons have been now “merely” highly effective fairly than being buffable right into a ridiculously highly effective state anyway (which was technically attainable earlier than).

Eradicating the utilities allowed me to take away probably the most detrimental (and solely everlasting) facet impact, meltdowns, whereas rebalancing the severity and weight of different random results. Total the adjustments are a web optimistic for the mechanic, because it’s usable in additional conditions now, however we now not have to steadiness for the low-likelihood synergy between devoted supporting utilities.

Apart: I don’t truly take away mechanics like this from the supply code–they’re nonetheless in there in case they wish to make a comeback some day for no matter purpose, however the objects have been eliminated so it’s merely now not attainable to entry this mechanic.

Lure Extractor

“Trapper builds” have by no means fairly been a factor in Cogmind, or at the very least not a plannable critical construct sort one can work towards. For an extended whereas we’ve certainly had a number of non-guaranteed distinctive elements that significantly facilitated trapping methods, but when they’re not assured (and in addition not replacable…) that’s not a long-term construct. To not point out this technique is fairly limiting because it locations an outsized burden on stock house, with every lure taking on one slot.

Beta 11 adjustments all that.

Lure Extractors, which take away pleasant/hacked traps from the bottom, have new performance permitting them to retailer these traps in an inside cupboard space, as much as a sure restrict. For the primary time ever in Cogmind, stock objects can retailer different objects…

I’ve averted going this route for a really very long time as a result of it may simply be taken too far and result in all types of extra difficult stock administration eventualities (and steadiness points) that we don’t need, however for trapping particularly it could possibly be value it, and it seems that the function could be enabled fully by way of present half interplay performance, an important side when deciding what mechanics to implement.

By design, Cogmind doesn’t have a approach to enable for extra detailed/distinctive interactions with particular person parts–everything should match into the present vary of fundamental inputs. Luckily it was attainable to work out an appropriate method for lure storage and deployment by means of an merchandise’s cycleable third state, normally used for overloading, or in more moderen years different secondary management features that have been additionally used to enhance some utilities (for instance the Discipline Recycling Unit).

So the three states for Lure Extractors at the moment are inactive, extract, and drop, the extraction working as earlier than, and the brand new “drop” state dropping one contained lure per flip. Clearly for this to work proper we additionally must restrict every extractor to holding just one sort of lure at a time, which is ok. There’s additionally nothing stopping gamers from carrying a number of extractors, which is probably going what an actual trapper construct will do now.

Cogmind Trap Extractor Inventory Demo

Lure Extractor demo.

It is a fairly good instance of the heavy affect interface limitations can have on recreation design. Generally devs are tempted so as to add but extra esoteric or one-off interface options to assist some fascinating or in any other case fascinating mechanic, however then it’s now not a web optimistic for the sport as a complete because it provides to confusion and the dangerous type of complexity.

It’s higher to construct a versatile sufficient easy interface that may assist a desired number of interactions, and all the time create options that keep inside these constraints, both redesigning people who search to interrupt constraints, or just go away them out. If the interface was versatile sufficient to start with, there’s all the time loads of totally different options that will work!

The appearance of trapper builds would possibly require extra steadiness tweaks to extractors down the road (particularly with regard to their inside cupboard space), however they’re very new so we’ll have to attend for extra playtesting. I stay up for making an attempt these out myself!

Throughout Beta 11 this new functionality did already result in a change with AOE EM injury triggering traps, since setting off a gaggle of them (particularly Soiled Bombs) was all the time very efficient, however buying the means to take action has change into a lot simpler. Now the prospect of chain reactions is lowered to compensate.

Total there may not be too many adjustments, although, since there may be nonetheless a little bit of hazard related to trapping, and you continue to can’t produce traps by yourself and are due to this fact extra reliant on the setting.

Drive Booster

Drive Boosters have been all the time form of a bizarre utility, and on account of these oddities typically underused… Prime steadiness goal alert!

Excessive useful resource prices necessitating precision toggling apart, their fundamental goal was to extend melee weapon injury, however they did so not directly by boosting momentum. Even with injury modifier previews to assist, conceptually it’s simply not nice to make that pointless leap, so that they received a reasonably vital redesign.

The brand new design immediately will increase most melee injury by a proportion (so technically will increase the injury vary, for the reason that minimal stays unchanged), and additionally decreases accuracy. That is the primary frequent utility to steadiness its personal impact with a simultaneous damaging impact as a tradeoff, which I feel is a neat new method that I’ll have to bear in mind.

Cogmind Force Booster Demo

Drive boosting in motion.

(This alteration from the outdated dynamic momentum-based mannequin additionally loses the power to robotically buff ramming/kicking injury, however that’s not essential.)

Whereas designing the brand new Drive Booster mechanics, I included further calculations in my weapon spreadsheet to indicate what boosted injury values appeared like for various melee weapons:

Cogmind Item Data Excerpt: Force Booster Calculations

Drive Booster impact on melee weapon injury (partial excerpt, inexperienced values).

The 60% buff within the chart above could be the results of combining two of the most effective boosters since they’ve the <half_stack> tag, one other new Beta 11 mechanic that was decided earlier than the great evaluate because it positively knowledgeable various utility balancing selections.

That certain is a number of injury…

To Be Continued?

I’m fairly happy with the outcomes of the balancing efforts, with so many enhancements everywhere, though there have been a number of subjects of debate surrounding utility mechanics that concerned some compelling concepts however have been finally inconclusive.

For instance there may be competition across the capacity to extract sources from containers on the bottom and what it means for techniques, and there may be some fascinating potential within the course of permitting drone bays to restore and construct new drones by consuming their very own integrity as a useful resource.

These and extra received tabled in my notes and perhaps we’ll see the identical discussions resurrected once more sooner or later (truly the useful resource factor has been hashed out at size a number of instances earlier than…), however there weren’t but robust sufficient arguments on one facet to drive change.

The very last thing I did on the finish of this course of was one other full move over the objects trying as an alternative at their names. I felt there have been locations the place we may probably scale back confusion and cognitive load, particularly the place there could be too many various names for utilities which have the identical sort of impact.

In naming objects there’s the everlasting dilemma of taste vs. perform. Do we would like naming schemes to lean extra on the practical facet, which tends to be drier and lack character (see POLYBOT-7, the place I leaned closely in that course!), or extra on the flavorful facet, a route I made a decision to take with Cogmind 7DRL, and by extension the following business model, however have progressively scaled again over time.

The 7DRL may benefit from flavorful names as a result of it had fewer really distinctive elements (being a 7DRL…), so the thought was that this was a fast means so as to add some taste, by giving distinctive names to different-tiered elements with the identical impact sort (simply differing in energy). However now in spite of everything these years we do have much more objects that really do one thing totally different, so having totally different names be extra more likely to even have totally different results is a much less complicated method.

As a very loopy instance, ever for the reason that 7DRL Cogmind has had a Weight Redistribution System, Gravity Neutralizing Equipment, Inertial Stasis Machine, Quantum Shading Machine, and Dimensional Manipulator, all of which share the very same impact sort as a utility which attracts power to offer an quantity of mass assist xD. So now you in all probability have a greater concept of what I’m speaking about for those who didn’t already.

Unifying the names of things with the identical sort of impact additionally reduces the uncooked quantity of terminology to recollect, necessary since Cogmind is technically a recreation of static objects through which you’re finally meant to be conversant in them and never must even study stats to be able to know whether or not one thing shall be good in your present construct/technique, and may also higher plan upfront for buying sure elements. Having too many various names simply complicates that course of (and we’re positively going to wish to preserve opening the house for much more distinctive objects down the road!).

Since I ended doing loopy stuff like that afterward because the merchandise pool expanded, there’s a very good purpose to return and scale back some situations the place it went overboard.

Typically I’ve caught with tiered utilities all sharing the identical root title with a separate prefix for every (the ever-present “Improved,” “Superior,” “Experimental,” and many others.) although I’ve typically allowed for 2 or three totally different names in different instances the place it’s value it as a result of the objects are further particular.

Taking the mass assist instance above, that was simplified as follows:

Cogmind Mass Support Utilities Renaming Scheme

There wasn’t actually a greater low-variety, prefix-based method that would accommodate the identical variety of tiers we would have liked. Mass assist is definitely a considerably distinctive utility in that it’s so generally utilized by different bot designs to make them work, and we’d like a number of tiers for flexibility.

On the less complicated entrance, Maneuvering Thrusters and Response Management Techniques have been merged below the latter’s title, as have been EM Shields and EM Dispersion Fields, and System Backup Modules and System Restoration Modules. This additionally opens up a few of that terminology for future use in different new objects, like Maneuvering Thrusters could possibly be a complete totally different factor, if an appropriate mechanic is desired in some unspecified time in the future.

Renaming was primarily a difficulty with among the utilities, however I did some renaming elsewhere, too, together with one sort of weapon which is value a point out: Electrolasers have been categorized as thermal weapons, however technically they need to be doing electromagnetic injury based mostly on, you understand, actual electrolasers 😛

This was identified to me by a participant, and Cogmind does lean on a number of tougher sci-fi ideas the place attainable (loads of analysis went into the objects!), so I’m all for altering one thing like this.

It was truly actually laborious to give you a becoming replacement–I couldn’t change the injury sort or something as a result of that’s not how Cogmind design works, I wanted a thermal gun with these stats and that score. Developing with an alternate title that additionally match snugly between all the opposite names of weapons round that tier took hours. Ultimately I settled on fairly a impartial sounding “Discipline Laser” (non-existent and just about meaningless? excellent xD), which was truly an honest match contemplating the bots armed with it (front-line grunts). All through such an extended course of I’d listed out so many attainable names that additionally began suggesting new concepts for weapons tech that could possibly be utilized elsewhere, one in every of which I even ended up implementing then and there, the Thermic Laser.

BREAKING: Renaming Results in New Mechanics

In the course of the naming evaluate I made a decision it was time to think about eradicating the bottom tier of terrain scan processing utility, the one one dubbed a Seismic Analyzer in a world the place all the opposite tiers have been extra clearly named… Terrain Scan Processor. Nobody makes use of it, in spite of everything, it’s actually simply there for taste, as an element on one of many frequent non-combat bots (Excavator).

However I favored that taste, and actually wished to someway preserve it within the recreation, so in a roundabout means I received to considering again to new kinds of sensors I wished to have, and that this would possibly simply be a very good alternative for a kind of: a seismic sensor.

Now as a “sensor” merchandise we’d must convert it from a Processor to a System, and I assume meaning additionally renaming it to “Seismic Detector,” however… hey, we’ve one more new sensor within the recreation! It’s cool. (Observe Beta 11 already added a number of new sensor sorts, for instance the Energetic Sensor Suite. Actually there at the moment are six new sorts coming on this launch.)

Even higher is that this sensor could be acquired from a typical bot, which means that it’s but an alternative choice ceaselessly on the menu for anybody seeking to salvage some infowar capabilities. So what does it do…

Effectively clearly it senses vibrations, which means it supplies a approach to detect some robots, some machines, some weapons, cave-ins, principally a subset of objects and actions occurring within the surrounding areas, any that trigger a vibration, although with out explicitly figuring out what these distant readings represent–that’s on the participant to determine based mostly on what it appears to be like like or the way it behaves, e.g. form, depth (as a result of stronger readings are brighter!), motion…

Cogmind Seismic Detector Activation Animation

Like all sensors, there may be an animation related to its activation, one which additionally displays the detection vary.

The thought is that Seismic Detectors provide a novel new slice of knowledge, one which cuts throughout quite a few object classes, however is proscribed to a subset of every one. So whereas it’s a really fascinating utility because of the large number of objects it could actually detect, like several sensor information the consumer should pay attention to its shortcomings, since for instance it received’t embrace non-mechanical machines, flying objects (airborne patrols!), or stationary objects (guards!).

Under are some examples of the Seismic Detector in motion.

Cogmind Seismic Detector Exploration

Exploring with an lively Seismic Detector.


Cogmind Seismic Detector Combat Readings

“Seeing” fight exterior a room play out by way of precision seismic information. Kinetic projectiles additionally mild up targets (together with terrain) because of the impacts, and firstly of this battle you may see two mechanical machines fall silent after being disabled.


Cogmind Seismic Detector Explosion Readings

Main seismic readings from our harmful pal inflicting explosions exterior on ambushing a patrol.


Cogmind Seismic Detector Effect - Dev Recording in Waste

Bonus dev picture exhibiting seismic information in a Waste space 😉

So yeah, this neat new merchandise happened on account of a reputation move, and I assume it doubles for example of prioritizing repurposing over elimination, woohoo 😀

And that concludes our very complete complete evaluate… for now. Balancing by no means ends so long as there’s new content material being added, and there’s positively new content material so as to add 😉



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here