Cortex Command

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In Cortex Command, you play as a prospector, explorer, and general in a time where complete cybernetics and whole-body amputations are common practice. Your severed brain is able to control many different types of bodies remotely from its underground bunker: clones, robots, spaceships, defensive turrets, and so on.

The game can be divided into 3 sections the meta-game, bunker building, and a hectic action-strategy section. The goal of the campaign is to become the wealthiest force on Midas. Then you need to mine precious gold from the de-formable pixel terrain in order to buy more and better ships, soldiers, weapons, digging tools, and deployable defenses. Use these assets to defend your disembodied brains and destroy or bankrupt your opponent!

Control your team of remote bodies either directly or let the friendly AI do your bidding through real-time strategy elements built into the game. Play with up to four players in split screen -- 2v2 team fights, a four player free for all, all four cooperatively against the computer, or even combinations of the three. You can also enjoy the campaign mode with friends.

Cortex Command is the flagship product of Data Realms LLC, reaching 1.0 release in September 2012 after over eleven years in development.
It is proprietary software made by a small indie game company in collaboration with its fan community.


Earth was over.

Once peaceful, our world was awash in bloodshed, wracked by wars backed by holy men. It was humanity's darkest hour, and the boldest decisions were simply all we had left.

Forged in the rush of war, a curious symbiosis between man and machine formed. Our numbers bleeding away, technology enabled the survivors to control robots and clones from safety. And in the end, we found our bodies an obsolete constraint, and cast them off. Brain and mind interfaced with machines, we became more spirit than flesh-- one person living through many bodies.

And in this new form we attained escape from the corpse of our world. Interstellar rocket ships for the decades-long flights to reach new worlds became common once life support for entire bodies was unnecessary.

Fleeing into the dark unknown, humanity discovered it was not alone, but also not important. Humanity struggled for acceptance in this alien community, eventually forging the Orion Spur Amalgam. Interstellar trade flourished, and with it came rapid expansion. As the era of faster-than-light dawned, humanity could live again in peace and prosperity.

But human nature wasn't cast off as easily. For every city and space station compounded the ever-growing hunger for resources. Worlds were stripped in civilized sectors where law ensured conquest by the highest bidder. So all eyes turned outward, to star systems where no law existed but what you could enforce.

As the gold rush brings commanders from several rival groups to one such world beyond the far eastern fringes of the OSA, all prepare to assume... Cortex Command.


Note: Techs replaced Factions in Build 27. Techs are distinct groups with their own sets of units, weapons, tools, bombs, and even vehicles, as well as access to Free Trade products. The player acts as a kind of local commander or franchisee of one of the Techs competing with the others. Cost to buy from Techs other than your own are four times the in-Tech price.

Free Trade

This is the "default tech". Items sold by Free Trade will be in the top-level of the Buy Menu not under a Tech heading. You cannot campaign as Free Trade, nor are they part of skirmishes.

Free Trade is a super corporation which owns and operates TradeStars, including TradeStar Midas which transports everything you purchase in the Buy Menu. They also sell a few units and weapons of their own as well as most all the tools available.


A militarized organization, the Coalition produce a large array of units and weaponry to choose from. They are versatile and powerful, making them a strong ally or a dangerous foe.


These robots were originally designed as test subjects for weapons, vehicle safety measures, and other lethal experiments, but an AI controller became sentient and broke off from its manufacturers, starting a new line of robots and weapons to defend itself.


Rag-tag parties of bandits who prey on weak and unsuspecting explorers. Their soldiers use stolen armor and their weapons are all leftovers from a bygone age, but they manage to get the job done. This faction is unique because while there are only a few different kinds of ronin units, there are a wide variety of faces.


A strong mercenary group who are fearsome when confronted up-close. What they lack in range is made up for in durability, allowing them to close distances while soaking bullets.


The Imperatus rely on pure brute force and the reliability of their sturdy and easy to produce armored units. They use simple low rate of fire guns and cannons which tirelessly deals out good damage.


An elite faction formed by a few high-tech corporations. They focus on expensive units and exotic weaponry, and have the distinction of being selected by Free Trade to occassionally provide security for TradeStar activities.


The Techs above were formerly called "Factions" and included with the entries below. After nearly a decade in development, Cortex Command shifted away from the planned storyline campaign to a more PvP or PvC mulitplayer battle campaign.

Almost all the Factions which did not become Techs exist only in the lore and storyline "fluff" on

Wildlife are the only Faction implemented in-game, and the Undead were absorbed into the base Free Trade offerings.


The critters that inhabit the gold-rich planet you're on, primarily crabs. Unfortunately for them, your fighting and mining is killing them and is laying waste to their planet.
Following a mass extinction event, crabs comprise almost all animal life on the planet, while a bulbous kind of plant is the dominant vegetation.


Became "Culled Clone" units sold by Free Trade as of Build 27.

Consisting of walking Skeletons and "Zombie" half-baked clones armed with archaic blunderbuss weapons and a dead simple grenade, the Undead are weak, cheap, and meant to be effective only in large numbers. They are some of the only infantry without jetpacks.

They formerly were a faction first encountered in a "Zombie Cave" mission also featuring a Ronin hit squad. They were most likely intended to be in the forces of Uzira, but she was never implemented.

Green Dummies

Largely identical to the familiar orange Dummies, these cheap general purpose labor robots were meant to be the player's starting units in the Tutorial Mission. They are what the Dummy forces were before their AI control unit became sentient and split off from its human masters.

It's unclear whether Green Dummies would still be for sale by TradeStar.

Remnants of Mu-ilaak

Alien robots of unknown age and origin, they were intended as the big-bad of Cortex Command's planned story mode. Dormant on the planet's moon, stranded after a battle in the distant past with human explorer Uzira, the Mu-ilaak awaken to wreak havoc using an apparent ability to convert organic (and possibly robotic) enemies into cyborg drones.


An early human explorer far into unknown space, Uzira was intended as the heroic ally of the planned story mode. Uzira's team ran into the ancient and hostile Mu-ilaak. Their battles left both sides exhausted and stranded on this planet's moon. Her troops are skeletons, sometimes with elaborate armor, and armed with blunderbuss-shaped weapons.


Alchiral is one of the largest manufacturers of organic human bodies. Most or all TradeStars in sectors with human populations carry a compliment of Alchiral VAT arrays. The technology is under strict control by Alchiral's overseers to ensure that their monopoly is maintained.


Aliens, sure; you really can't tell what species the brain is can you? You might be a Zxolophlox controlling those human bodies, because human bodies makes nice organic meat puppets. The opening cinematic briefly shows various alien lifeforms that might have been integrated into the game.


Cortex Command uses a simple variable-base object designing system to allow modders to create their own entities, along with lua for more complex features. Modding is easy to learn for Cortex Command, and currently there are many mods being released every day. Released mods may range from serious and realistic to fun and silly.

To find and download mods, you can go to Mod Releases.
For help installing mods, you can go to How to install mods.


The first recorded development of Cortex Command started on the 22nd February 2001, and was originally called D.I.R.T, by Daniel Tabar (a.k.a. DaTa, or Data), and a working alpha was released publicly some years later. Since then "Cortex Command" has gone through numerous changes and updates.

As the game carried on DaTa realized that he wasn't exactly the best artist and sought the help of Promster (a.k.a. Prometheus). Promster's graphical changes were implemented on the 27th of July, 2004 and gave Cortex Command the graphical style that it is now known for.

In 2008, he contracted several members of the community to do work for the game. These contributors included capnbubs, TheLastBanana and numgun. Following a huge amount of community support, CaveCricket48 was included onto the team, shortly followed by Lizardheim, and Abdul Alhazred.

The time lapse between public releases has occasionally been extensive, and it was for this reason, amongst other things, that the developer numgun left the team, and indeed the community. There was a gap of two years between builds 23 and 24, which was due to a lack of dedication from Data himself, and between those builds it was felt very much by the community that not enough had been accomplished. Following the release of build 24, Data improved his relations with the fans, and gave regular updates via his Twitter Updates. Very quickly build 25 was released, which was, by all accounts, a rousing success.

Build 27, the last public testing release before the full version of the game, incorporated a nearly fully working campaign, and de-activated the ability to injure team-mates, amongst other modding tools.

Release 1.0 was made in September 2012. It implemented all six Techs (Coalition, Dummies, Ronin, Browncoats, Imperatus, and Techion) in a working Campaign mode. Story mode was scraped with remnants of early stages as Mission Activities.

The project has been in development for eleven and a half years. It has been submitted to the Independent Games Festival four times, and the forth time it won two awards; one for technical excellence and the other an audience award. Cortex Command has a feature on the Great Games Experiment, and was featured in Play magazine. It was also one of the prestigious Humble Indie Bundles, where it was widely well received.

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