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: The Long Awaited News

It's been quite some time. I finally detail exactly what's been going on recently, and reveal Claustrophobia's future, along with some big news.

Posted by on


Hello there everyone! I hope you’re all well. Before I begin, I must apologise properly for my disappearance and the general lack of development of my project over the last two months. Being a one man development team is difficult enough, but when you also happen to be at university and work starts to pile up, it becomes even more difficult. Therefore Claustrophobia has recently had to take a bit of a back seat while I sorted everything out, but it was never abandoned. Of course, this doesn’t excuse me from not explaining this until now, so I am sorry for that. With that out of the way, I’d like to talk Claustrophobia! That’s what we’re here for after all. To warn you in advance, this is going to be quite a long post of everything I have been thinking about, so I will provide a tl;dr summary at the bottom for those who don’t wish to read all of my thoughts.

I have recently been reviewing the progress of the game, as well as re-reading the source code and original design documents from the beginning of the project, and while I’m happy with majority of the gameplay decisions that I - and you, the players - have made, I am unhappy with the overall execution. As you may have noticed over the past few patches, many of the updates have been to improve coding style or efficiency, rather than to add new mechanics or features. This mainly stems from the fact that Claustrophobia’s base systems were written a little over 2 years ago now, when I had very little programming experience. This has made almost every addition or change unnecessarily hard, and has recently caused development to grind to a halt.

So, what can be done about that? Originally, the plan was to work through the major components, rewriting and restructuring everything, which I have been doing in the last few patches. However, doing so has proven to be way too time consuming, as much of the logic of the low level systems is badly flawed, and getting new content out to the players should be the main priority over battling my own code. This, as far as I can see it, leaves me with only one option, and I’ve been told by friends that I’m a little mad for even considering it. You can be the judge of that. Starting soon, I will be rebuilding Claustrophobia from scratch.

Let me explain a little more about why this is a good idea. Claustrophobia originally started out as a small project that I would put together in my own time in order to practice programming and game design. Of course, after it was met by good feedback from everyone who tried it, I turned to a small funding campaign to raise a bit of money to further development. Of course, the project was received very well by the communities of Desura, Steam Greenlight, and GamersGate, which far exceeded my expectations. I now feel like the product that you have all been playing is just not up to the quality that it could be, and I know that I could improve on every aspect of the game now. And that’s exactly what I plan on doing. So, here’s a little bit of a breakdown on exactly what to expect from Claustrophobia (Alpha 2?):

  • Completely redesigned graphics, upped from 16 x 16px tiles to 32 x 32px tiles
  • Development switched from XNA to Monogame, for multi-platform support
  • Redesigned combat/stat system, with enemy skills, improved AI, and animations
  • Much deeper gear customization, encouraging actual gameplay changing choices
  • A much more comprehensive class/skill system
  • The same explore/fight/loot repeat gameplay you’ve come to expect, but greatly polished

Once I reach a point where I feel the first new build of Claustrophobia is ready for testing, it will become available to previous purchasers alongside the current build of the game, which will no longer be updated from this point. I realise that this will probably become a little confusing with version numbers and everything, but I will do my best to sort everything out. Treat the current build of Claustrophobia as a taster of what’s to come.

Of course, it will take some time to work on all of this, especially with university work. I cannot set any dates for anything to be ready any time soon. I hope you can all understand why I feel like this needs to be done, and can support the fact that the final product will be something that will be worth waiting for. As someone said to me the other day, you can either eat eggs, sugar, and flour now, or wait a bit and have glorious gooey cookies. I talk to some strange people.

tl;dr: I am unhappy with the current state of Claustrophobia, and will be rebuilding it from the ground up to create a much better game.

I hope you can all support me in this decision, and I will be updating you all as frequently as possible on progress. If you have any questions, just let me know, either here, on Twitter, or at my email address. Cheers!

Happy Holidays Everybody!

Dan Millward
@TheIndieForge

Comments
FlyingShisno
FlyingShisno

Sounds good to me. Can't wait for the next Build. Hows Greenlight coming along btw?

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
TheIndieForge Author
TheIndieForge

We're currently #62, which means that we will probably be Greenlight in the next batch, with a bit of a push.
~TheIndieForge

Reply Good karma+1 vote
ChrisHateZ
ChrisHateZ

I voted YES on your greenlight today. Good luck.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
MrMas35
MrMas35

So once its greenlit, will you put it on steam early access?

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
TheIndieForge Author
TheIndieForge

That'll depend on the state of the game at that time. I will not be releasing the current version of Claustrophobia to Steam at all, but rather the redesign. So it'll depend on how development goes.

~TheIndieForge

Reply Good karma+1 vote
Strand
Strand

Thanks the update! I'm especially appreciative and impressed by the candor, introspection and confidence on display. Though I've found Claustrophobia thoroughly engaging thus far, I'm excited by the direction you're taking and fully support your decision.

Your help addressing issues with the various bugs I've experienced and your receptiveness to suggestions are among my most positive interactions with a developer, ever. Keep up the always excellent work!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
TheIndieForge Author
TheIndieForge

Thank you, it means a lot! I'm glad to have been able to help.
~TheIndieForge

Reply Good karma+1 vote
Winijaw82
Winijaw82

Sounds fine to me, you wouldn't be the first to do that.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
ChrisHateZ
ChrisHateZ

Starting from scratch in order to get a better game in the end sounds good. Though that does mean we'll have to wait like forever for the game to get released, which kinda sucks, but I guess I can live with that.

I'm just not very happy about you completely redesigning graphics because I love the way the game looks now. And I do hope that you wont change the current sounds, because the way walking sounds atm is just epic. The soundtrack is also pretty good and doesn't get annoying over time which is nice.

(Wrote this on your steam news first because I didn't know you posted it here too, so copy-pasted it now)

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
wuschelnuss
wuschelnuss

im veeeery excited, thank you!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Greshkaal
Greshkaal

Sounds like a good idea to me. I've loved the game so far, so starting over with a format that is easier for you to expand on would probably be a wise decision. Can't wait to see how this all turns out.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
plastic77
plastic77

i think starting over is a fine plan

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
dalliance
dalliance

Blimey, that's quite an undertaking. I've really enjoyed the game so far, but I can understand why you want to make it as good as you believe it can be.

All power to you, and keep us updated.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Post a comment
Sign in or join with:

Only registered members can share their thoughts. So come on! Join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) and join in the conversation.

Follow Report Profile
Icon
Claustrophobia: The Downward Struggle
Platforms
Windows
Creator
TheIndieForge
Engine
XNA
Contact
Send Message
Release date
Game watch
Follow
Purchase
News
Tags
Reveal
Browse
News
Report
Report
Share
Related Games
Related Engines
XNA
XNA Public Domain