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 RSS Claustrophobia Development Log #3

In which I get a lot of work done, but you have to take my word for it. And a .gif of highly sophisticated door opening techniques.

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Hello there, and welcome to Development Log #3! The good news: This week has been one of the most productive weeks since I restarted the project! Hooray! The bad news: Ironically, this will probably be one of the shortest Dev Logs so far. Boo! You see, majority of the things I have been working on are very behind the scenes - mainly ordering the structure of the item database, programming collectable objects, and working on interactive objects such as doors and crates. Of course, these are integral to Claustrophobia's gameplay, but leave very little to actually show. Except for pictures of empty rooms filled with dodgy placeholder textures.

One of the major things I have been working on is more comprehensive user interaction. Claustrophobia v1 suffered from multiple small issues in that department, such as being unsure whether you were attempting to pick up an item in a door, or close the door ontop of it, and inconsistancies between the functions of left and right click. This time around, tooltips are labled with the functions that you can perform, and your action will always apply to the item with the highest priority on that tile. The priority order generally goes Enemy > Item > Interactive Object > Movement.

Of course, this brings up a few design decisions, and while we're on the subject, I'd like to hear people's preferences. Would you rather left click controlled all primary actions (movement, pickup item, attack, open door, etc), and right click secondary actions (close door, place item, etc), or would you rather left click controlled only movement, and right click all interaction? Or any better ideas?

To demonstrate an example of tooltips and interactive objects, here's an in-game gif of everything working together, in the form of doors:


Well I did tell you that there was very little to show... Hopefully next week I'll be able to show some more of the new art style, beyond blank walls and floors. Maybe some characters.

Everything else I have been working on is either too small, or doesn't really have anything extra to talk about. So here's a summary for those interested:

  • Added unit health bars and floating combat text.
  • Completed the main work on item tooltips.
  • Added the stats that were discussed last week into the combat engine.
  • Created collectable objects which can be picked up and placed, and put in the players inventory by placing them on the player's tile. They also sparkle when on the floor.
  • Completed the main work on object cleanup. Now when an enemy dies or an object is picked up, it completes all its final processed and is then removed from memory.
  • Also messed around a bit with the map generator, which now lets me add objects during generation, which means I can make specific enemys/items/interactive objects appear in certain locations and formations (excuse the ryhme).

And that my friends, is that. Stay tuned!

Cheers,

Dan
@TheIndieForge

Comments
dalliance
dalliance

Sounds like it's progressing well. That is one smooth door action.

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Strand
Strand

One of the things that bugged me for quite some time with Minecraft was a similar issue with left/right click functions. Each time I accidentally slaughtered an animal or dropped the contents of a bucket of lava in my wooden house I'd yell, 'Consistency of interface, Notch!' It seemed like it took forever, but Mojang finally addressed that particular problem (with the exception of bows/swords).

The only issue I see with our suggestions is that, not having played the current iteration of Claustrophobia, it's hard to recommend which one's best. I'm definitely a fan of left mouse button always doing one thing (MAYBE two), with right-mouse clicking doing (most) everything else. Or vice-versa, of course.

After Claustophobia's initial release I made an observation about items picked up off the ground becoming the cursor and needing to be placed in the inventory. This, by far, was the biggest inconvenience I remember, as very rarely would ground-loot be immediately useful as the cursor. Placing them into the inventory, I felt, should be automatic.

You mitigated this somewhat by adding a modifier key that shoved items straight into the inventory (actually, I think you explained that it was always there and you just told us what key to press), but I found that I did this for every item I ever picked up and thought that surely it should be the default behavior.

As long as I don't find myself skipping a turn accidentally, consuming something I did not mean to or moving when I intended to remain motionless, I trust that whatever input combinations you employ will be sufficient. Remappable keys certainly wouldn't be unwelcome.

May the blessing of Squish be upon you!

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TheIndieForge Author
TheIndieForge

Thank you for the feedback! I will actually reconsider item placement, since I may be switching the inventory away from cells to a more RPG-ish list system based on encumbrance, which would remove the need to bind the item to the cursor. I think everyone is pretty unanimous about movement being left click and everything else right!

Squish's blessings to you! (I may have to start using that :D )

~TheIndieForge

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ChrisHateZ
ChrisHateZ

I don't really agree that list system is more RPG-ish then grid inventory, maybe on consoles but definitely not on PC (though there are some PC RPG's that use list inventory, they're mostly just bad ports).

I'd prefer having the current inventory system over an encumbrance based list (such as ToME has, never liked that system).

Can't you just make it so right clicking an item automatically places it in inventory if there is space for it. And make it so you get a message like "No inventory space left" in case you're out of inventory space for it.

That would be the best option, especially if you make it that left mouse button is for moving and attacking and right mouse button for picking up items and other interactions.

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TheIndieForge Author
TheIndieForge

I can do that. I'm not quite sure where I'm going with the inventory at the moment, the encumbrance system was just an idea that would have given another use to the strength stat. Plus I tend to like lists. But I know there are definitely advantages to the tile bassed inventory too. We'll see, I'll post more about that nearer the time.

~TheIndieForge

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FlyingShisno
FlyingShisno

The new art style is incredible! I'm loving it!

I prefer Left-Click for 'moving', like character movement, moving items around the inventory, navigating menus, allocating skill/stat points and the like. For Right-Click, I'd prefer 'interaction', like opening/closing doors, talking to NPC's, buying items, using items in the inventory, picking up items, etc.. Makes it harder to mis-click.

I can't remember if I brought it up already, so sorry if I did, but for whatever action you bind to Left Shift, can you make it rebindable to another key? My Left Shift has completely broken by this point, and rebinding would be great. :D

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TheIndieForge Author
TheIndieForge

Thank you! I think everyone agrees on left click moving, right click interaction. Don't worry about key rebinding, it should be in the first release this time around!

Cheers,
~TheIndieForge

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pos_car
pos_car

FlyingShisno nailed it; that seems like a solid way to go. On a related note, whether or not it's relevant, I prefer the keyboard for basic movement.

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FlyingShisno
FlyingShisno

Yeah, I prefer keyboard to for basic navigation. After playing Claustrophobia, DCSS, and ToME, I like using the mouse now for long distance traveling, or using a button to select a position on the map to travel too.

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TheIndieForge Author
TheIndieForge

Keyboard movement will also be available, most likely bound to the numpad by default, due to Claustrophobia's diagonal single-turn movement.

Cheers
~TheIndieForge

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ChrisHateZ
ChrisHateZ

Left clicking = Movement, attacking, clicking interface buttons

Right clicking = Picking up items, open/close doors, using consumables from inventory, equiping the gear piece when clicked on in inventory, buying items from the shop

This would be the best in my opinion. You should be able to both move and attack enemies with your left mouse button and do pretty much everything else with the right mouse button.

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Claustrophobia: The Downward Struggle
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