DevLog Watch: Cogmind, Fritz, Tiny Wizard

By Graham Smith on May 12th, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

Games: a bit varied, really.

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> Sorry, I had caps lock on. I've been trying to contact you for a fortnight, but a sinister threat has kept us apart. These "bank holiday Mondays" can only be the work of the Indie Cabal, hoping to keep their ranks closed by preventing the dissemination of hot, new GIFs and links to in-development games. But they can't stop our work. Come, dive quickly below. This message is beyond their reach, but not for long.

> Self repairing robots! The Great War! Unshitty wizards!

Cogmind

If you’re going to assault the iron curtain of indie developers, it helps if you can blend in. There’s no better way to do so than making a roguelike.

Cogmind swaps the traditional fantasy setting of most turn-based adventurers in favour of science-fiction, and finds plenty of interesting features in the mix. A Captain Forever-style build system for one, where you can “find (or take) power sources, propulsion units, utilities, and weapons, and attach them to yourself to create a slow tank bristling with weapons, or a fast-moving flyer zipping past enemies before they even have time to react, or a stealthy sword-wielding assassin bot, or whatever else you can come up with from the salvage you find.”

You can even use these discovered (or stolen) parts to construct your own allies. If I’m prone to bonding with monkeys in Brogue, imagine my sadness when a robot buddy of my own creation crumbles to useless parts by my side.

This is just a mockup.

While that image above from the first-page of the game’s TIGSource devlog is just a mockup, there’s plenty more work being done. The game’s own site is another devlog full of lengthy updates, explaining the function and design of the game’s audio system, and its designer’s attempts to accomodate those with colour-blindness. Sterling work. If you’re interested in a colourful, combat-optional, roboroguelike, add it to your watch list.

Tiny Wizard

Could any secret club turn away a tiny wizard from its door? I don’t see how, not when it looks to cross the structure of The Binding of Isaac with the screen-shake and crunchy destruction of something Vlambeery.

Tiny Wizard is only 10% complete, but is being made with Unity’s new-ish 2D tools. That’s allowing for rapid progress. In the five weeks since the devlog began, the game has gained duel-wielding, a new weapon UI, and a lot of polish and new items. It’ll probably be finished by the time I’ve written this paragraph.

Fritz

This column exists to cover games which might not be ready for their own dedicated frontpage post. On those grounds, there’s no game that’s too embryonic to be covered. I’ll send babies up against the barriers built by the exclusionary brood, if that’s what it takes to finally allow anyone to make videogames without constant fear.

That makes Fritz fair game, even if its subject matter is anything but. The “experiment in interactive storytelling and atmosphere” doesn’t yet have a programmer, which means its Great War setting is currently rendered only through the hopeful efforts of an artist and writer.

Is this the indie game equivalent of an untextured weapon render? Yes. But there was a point in every weapon’s life when it was untextured, and this game may be one set of eyeballs away from finding the programmer it needs. Do you wish to wander the pixellated trenches of World War I and be more concerned with killing time than killing soldiers? Do you wish to make Sensible Software’s Blackadder a reality? This could be your chance.

In briefs

Covering different games in each week’s DevLog Watch fails to capture something intrinsic to this column’s subject matter: devlogs should be updated regularly. Consider this your weekly set of patch notes for the.

  • Citybound’s week 9 update goes into detail about a day in the life of the citizen, and shows new footage of the city management game’s residents heading to and fro work, eating lunch, and otherwise living out their new lives.
  • Rain World continues its transition from Game Maker to Unity, and progress seems to be moving at a rapid pace. The latest update deals with how the level editor recognises shader information.
  • The Hit is a multiplayer stealth-shooter set in an open-world city, in which you’re directed to assassinate individual targets without being caught. It now has a trailer to go along with the screenshots we posted a month back, and the Kickstarter project is still on route.

From the archive

DevLogs have many brothers, sisters and cousins, but among the best are readme.txt files. These documents can be DevLogs which follow their games out into the wild, listing patch notes, offering friendly advice, giving glimpses of unfettered madness. Our own Alice is rather fond of them, collecting readme.txt’s from across the world of videogame modding. I’m sorry to repeat myself from two weeks ago and return to Counter-Strike, but… No, I’m not. And anyway, this is what Minh “Gooseman” Le did before that. From 1997.

While the technological improvements of most other warfare equipment has gone on at a feverish pace, the real of small arms fire has remained stagnant for the past 3 decades. The M16 remained the staple assault rifle for the western civilization. Going through few modifications it was considered by many in the world to be THE assault rifle of choice. In the late stages of the year 2010 the US Army was issued a new breed of assault rifle.. The M-16A3 !!!! Fa la la la ll al Da ad adad ad l a lala (que dramatic music)

Definitely unfettered som

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20 Comments »

  1. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I like the idea of keeping tabs on stuff already featured. Citybound looks interesting.

  2. Harlander says:

    I remember stumbling over Cogmind a while back (possibly on roguebasin) – and I’m pleasantly surprised to see it’s still being worked on

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Last time I stumbled across Cogmind, it was a ‘finished’ 7drl, and I had thought it wasn’t going to go any further. Heck, I still have it on this hard drive. A very, very different kind of roguelike, and effing incredible fun.

      • Kyzrati says:

        I thought it wasn’t going any further, either, but then so many people had fun with it I thought it’d be worth taking to the next level. Glad you guys enjoyed it, too!

        Quite a grind to reach that next level, but expect it some time later this year ;)

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          Consider my excitement-meter calibrated and ready. Have been perusing your updates, and am so interested to see where you take this.

  3. RedViv says:

    Well that’s an interesting effect to use in a roguelike, what’s the character system like I won-
    A Captain Forever-style build system
    GRABBY HANDS ACTIVATE

  4. JFS says:

    Fritz looks like a Great War game that might, for once, actually do the subject justice.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Yeah, it looks really interesting. My only worry is that they won’t find a programmer willing to realise their vision and (I assume) take on most of the work in the project. There’s a vast gulf between having a few ideas about how a game should work and actually making it, and working on someone else’s idea for free doesn’t sound like that much fun. it’s a nice idea, though, so maybe someone will step up.

    • Bluerps says:

      Yeah, it looks interesting, even though it’s just a bit of art, at the moment.

      “Are you sometimes sad too?”, the soldier says.

  5. Gap Gen says:

    Tiny Wizard looks like they really got the animation/feel of the game down. I remember that Vlambeer talk where they discuss how to beef up the feel of a game*, and it really captures the lessons from that.

    * https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJdEqssNZ-U – demo in the video description

  6. steviebops says:

    EVERY DAY IS INDIE DAY!!

  7. quietone says:

    Interesting fact: the latest addition to RPS regular columns is also the most RPSish of them all.

  8. kebabskal says:

    Heya, Tiny Wizard dev here. Thanks for the mention!
    I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s actually not finished yet, but I’ll let ya’ll know :D

  9. Phasma Felis says:

    Cogmind reminds me of a seriously beefed-up and polished version of Scrap, which is amazingly fun for a 10-day game, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes the idea of building a scrapmetal warbot out of the smoking remains of your foes. The interaction between specialized weapons and specialized armor is a bit confusing until you read the manual a few times, but it’s a lot of fun.

    Definitely going to check out Cogmind!

    • Kyzrati says:

      Cogmind dev here. Cogmind was originally a 7DRL from 2012, so you can even play that old version today. I call it a “prototype” and decided to turn it into a full game as it was pretty popular. At the time I hadn’t yet heard of Scrap (or Captain Forever, for that matter), but those associations have certainly been mentioned in the time since! The original idea came from some random forum post in 2011 where one guy was talking about how cool it would be to play a protagonist that could build itself from pieces of its enemies. Back then I was looking around for ideas that would make for a nice 7DRL, and that one really stuck as a simple core mechanic full of potential.

      And thanks for the mention RPS–hopefully some time in the next several months Cogmind will be more than just a dozen pieces of a game and ready for its own RPS article ;)

  10. The Random One says:

    Huh, looks like Citybound is going strong. I was one of the many who doubted the dev would achieve satisfactory progress but while I’m not popping the cork right now it looks like I’ll be proven wrong, which I’d like.

  11. Consumatopia says:

    Wow, this article just informed of a bunch of games that I had no idea were in development, but I now can’t wait to play.

    I haven’t had that feeling in a while.

  12. DanT says:

    One of the Fritz devs here. Thank you so much for featuring us! After this article we had a bunch of people messaging us to work with us, so we’ve just gotten a very big step closer to making the game a reality!

    Also I absolutely love “Be more concerned with killing time than killing soldiers.” I’ll remember that tagline.

    We’ll be sure to keep you all updated!

    • Fattsanta says:

      This looks SO GOOD! PLEASE finish this game so that I may salivate over it for hours on end.