Claustrophobia: The Downward Struggle is an indie RPG roguelike, with a retro graphic style and a terrible sense of humour. The game takes place in a series of ever descending randomly generated dungeon floors, packed full of monsters to slaughter and loot to pillage. The game plays like a traditional roguelike, but with a clean UI, a slick, action orientated combat system, and a massive range of enemy types, skills, gear and room designs. With features like crafting, skill trees, characters development, and just-one-more-room style gameplay, Claustrophobia is a love letter to traditional RPG rougelikes. Create your ideal hero, build your own custom class, then set out on your quest for glory, slaughter, and anything shiny!

Report article RSS Feed Difficulty Balancing - Patch Preview

Discussion on Claustrophobia's difficulty, and news on the Options Menu, map zoom, and Keyboard Controls.

Posted by TheIndieForge on Jan 11th, 2013

Hello everyone! It's been a busy week, what with quick fix patches flying all over the place, and me struggling to balance Claustrophobia's gameplay. Oh, and stitching together an Options Menu, map zoom, WSAD movement, and all sorts of other things that have been requested. Whew. On with the news.

Difficulty Balance

This is by far the most difficult part of the game so far. Ironically, the difficult part is making it difficult. The game's difficulty currently jumps all over the place, until, at around level 7-10, the difficulty vanishes altogether and you face-roll. So, I've narrowed this problem down to a few points. Feel free to add your own opinions about this:

  • Vampierre is too easy to kill, giving you free XP, and an overpowered item early on. This item is also scaled incorrectly and heals far too much each attack.
  • Stuns last for about 3 turns too long, easily allowing you to dispatch enemies which would otherwise deal you some damage.
  • Item stats are still broken - common items can be as good as epic ones.
  • Player damage and armour scale far too quickly - you gain on average at least 3 points in attack and 6 points in armour per level, while enemies only gain 4 in each.
  • This culminates in you being a tanky beast at a time where enemies begin to lose any advantage they had over you.
  • = Roflpwned

So, in an attempt to fix all this, everything you see here has either been reduced, fixed, or rebalanced. I will be releasing this patch tomorrow, so let me know how that goes. Any other balance issues you have, please let me know.

Options Menu

I've finally completed a (somewhat primitive) Options Menu. Although this will not allow you to change the window's resolution (and I'm having thoughts about not changing that at all), it will allow you to adjust volume, and set the game's draw scale. The draw scale is the size of the game's sprites and tiles, so basically allows you to zoom in and out on the action.

Keyboard Movement

Possibly the most requested feature, skills have now been shifted to 123456, and WSAD replaced as a second character control scheme. As moving diagonally in one turn is a big part of Claustrophobia, QEZX are also mapped to their respective directions. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but allows you to traverse long distances easily, and without your mouse hand falling off.

Map Zoom

Map zoom is the second most requested feature. So, here it is:

Still needs a bit of cleaning up to do, and some more detail to add to the actual map, but it's getting there. Still useful to find rooms like shops.

And that's about it. Patch coming out tomorrow.


Post comment Comments
Dancingg Jan 12 2013, 3:25am says:

Excited to see it!

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TheIndieForge Author
TheIndieForge Jan 12 2013, 7:49am replied:

Hope you like it :)

+1 vote   reply to comment
maVado99 Jan 12 2013, 4:22am says:

Keep in mind that different keyboard layouts are used to play your game, for example, my Z key is beside QWERT.

About resolution. I have a midibook with 1366*768, so the previous resolution was just fine. All I need right now is a way to fullscreen it. Otherwise I end up scrolling up and down in the application window. This is also the reason why I stopped playing the current build.

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TheIndieForge Author
TheIndieForge Jan 12 2013, 7:18am replied:

Those are two very good points. I'm not really sure what to do with the keyboard movement, I personally don't like the keyboard controls, but I'm not entirely sure what to do with it otherwise. The fullscreen issue I completely understand though, so I'll add a fullscreen mode.

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Spinewire Jan 25 2013, 12:38pm replied:

Allow us to customise everything then it doesn't matter, add a command for skip turn as well.

The double mouse click could be used to move a player to that point, rather than having to click each tile.

also i would prefer the map zoom to zoom in the window it is in not transfer to the main screen

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TheIndieForge Author
TheIndieForge Jan 25 2013, 1:08pm replied:

You can skip turns already, click the player.
Proper path finding (clicking on a tile more than 1 tile away will move you over towards it) will be added soon.
As nice as that would be, since the overall layout of each level is massive, and the map window so small, a zoom in that space wouldn't really show you much.

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Spinewire Jan 25 2013, 3:23pm replied:

I meant the skip turn on a button press as you mentioned peoples mouse hands falling off.

+1 vote     reply to comment
klatschbatsch Jan 12 2013, 7:29am says:

I, too got a keyboard layout with Z being next to QWERT (german layout, to be precise), so the current layout for diagonal movement won't really do the trick for me, either.

In regards of resolution: The current resolution is fine as long as fullscreen will be implemented as soon as possible. I don't want to always hide my taskbar and trick the window into a position where I can still see the last row of inventory space. ( If relocated, Windows forces the topmost part of a program window to be fully displayed [so you can reach the "Minimize", "Maximize" and X Buttons]. Due to my vertical resolution being the same as the game, the bottommost pixels vanish, hindering me of seeing the last inventory row and latest console message.)
So please, not everyone has a vertival resolution greater than 768 pixels. Consider Resolution changes and/or fullscreen as soon as possible.

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TheIndieForge Author
TheIndieForge Jan 12 2013, 7:53am replied:

Full screen will now be in the patch out today/tomorrow along with the other options. I'm sorry for all the resolution isses around at the moment, I'm working to fix them as soon as possible. I think I will also work on a widescreen version of the UI so that you can choose one or the other, because fullscreen at the moment stretches the window a bit.

+1 vote   reply to comment
pos_car Jan 12 2013, 8:18pm replied:

Number pad option for keyboard controls could be an option, too.

+1 vote     reply to comment
TheIndieForge Author
TheIndieForge Jan 13 2013, 6:52am replied:

The problem with that method is even with the keyboard controls, you still need to use the mouse, which leaves you without enough hands for skills.

+1 vote   reply to comment
pos_car Jan 13 2013, 10:41am replied:

Oh yeah, good point

+1 vote     reply to comment
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Claustrophobia: The Downward Struggle
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Released Oct 11, 2012
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Claustrophobia: The Downward Struggle
Claustrophobia: The Downward Struggle Single Player Roguelike
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XNA Public Domain Released Dec 31, 2006