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Claustrophobia: The Downward Struggle
January 5, 2013 - The Indie Forge

Claustrophobia: The Downward Struggle Alpha v0.1 is now live!

Play Claustrophobia: The Downward Struggle on Desura[]

Head on over to Desura if you wish to both buy into the early alpha, and support the game's future development! And if you do, I thank you greatly in advance.


  • Left Click: Move
  • Right Click: Interact / Attack
  • Tab: Skill Tree
  • Q,W,E,R,T,Y: Skill Keys (Press in Skill Tree to assign)
  • Shift + Right Click: Sell (In Shop)
  • Shift + Right Click: Pick up (From Floor)
  • Esc: Pause Menu

The alpha includes (despite what I said in the last update):

  • Fully randomly generated content for the whole first level
  • 10 enemy types
  • Randomly generated gear and gear progression
  • Visual Equipment
  • Full Strength and Agility Skill Trees
  • No Level Cap

From this point on, all game content will be added in the form of (hopefully) monthly Major Patches, and smaller, more regular Minor Patches, until all the planned content is added. This includes:

  • 50+ Enemy types
  • 5 Dungeon levels
  • 10 bosses
  • Intelligence Skill Tree
  • Visual Character Customization
  • Difficulty and Spawning Controls

Of course, I would like majority of the new features to be suggested by you, the players. So whatever criticism or ideas you have for the game, please, send my way, either on the Forums, or by email to

Happy Playing!

(and please try not to break it, it's delicate)


December 27, 2012 - The Indie Forge

Oops, so it’s been almost a month since the last update, and not to mention I missed the deadline I was aiming for for the alpha release. Apologies. I blame Christmas, work, (*cough* the Steam Winter sale *cough*), and all sorts of other things that are all probably my fault in the long run. Sigh.

Anyway, time for a much needed update I think. And it is rather a large update really.

Skill Tree Progress

So yes, this is the big progress. As I said weeks ago, the skill tree is the most complicated and time consuming part of the game so far, so I’m pleased to say that 2/3 of it is now complete! I give you, the agility and strength trees:

The agility tree took much longer than anticipated, mostly down to the addition of a number of utility skills (like traps and invisibility), which were not originally programmed into the main engine, and required a rework of the whole skill system. But the game definitely benefits from them.

Due to the time it took to complete the agility tree, and the fact that I missed the alpha deadline, I’ve decided that the alpha will be launching without the Intelligence Tree, in order to not delay any further. It is, after all, an alpha, and is meant to give a taste of how the game will be running once it is complete. There is more than enough content already to keep agility and strength builds interesting. Intelligence will be making an appearance in the first major patch after launch.

Alpha Release Info

The alpha will hopefully now be launching in the first week of January, over on Desura. The alpha will include:

  • The first randomly generating level of the dungeon, including 15 enemy types, and over 100 pieces of loot (these numbers will increase massively with the introduction of randomly generated enemies and gear, which isn’t quite ready for the initial release)
  • The strength and agility skill trees shown above.
  • Content up to around level 10 (the game will not end at level 10, but gear stops around that level for now)
  • Lairs (only 1 boss is currently implemented)
  • Client-side leaderboards (online leaderboards will be making an appearance later in development, but for now highscores are personal)
  • Majority of the Official Soundtrack.

After launch, major patches will be released hopefully once a month, possibly more frequently. I will be looking to you guys (the players), for what you want to see changed, added, removed, or amended each patch on the forums for the game, which will also launch at the same time as the alpha.

Official Soundtrack

Claustrophobia’s composer, Chris, has now completed two of the main tracks for the game, which are sounding brilliant. Both pieces fit the atmosphere of the game extremely well, so keep an ear out for music as you venture through the dungeon.


It’s getting very close to alpha release now. Everything is now falling into place nicely, so keep an eye on my Blog, Steam, and Desura for more information leading up to the launch. I’m looking forward to sharing Claustrophobia with everyone.


November 29, 2012 - The Indie Forge

Hey guys. Since posting the Skill tree design a week or so back, I have begun the massive task of creating, testing, and balancing all of the skills. Since there happen to be a fair few skills planned for the game, this process is taking quite a while. So, after a week and a bit of work, I present, the Strength Tree!

And that is pretty much everything I’ve been working on. Every skill there is fully functional, and quite a few of them actually change your style of play rather than just giving you new abilities.

You should know now that the planned release date of the paid Alpha is 20th December. Make a note, and a quiet prayer that I make that deadline.

And with that, I return to skill coding. To the Agility Tree!


November 17, 2012 - The Indie Forge

Just a quick passing update, as there's not that much to report this week. Just continual tweaks and changes to the combat system to try and get the balance between medium early level and harder late game content. Once the alpha is released, there will be a lot of changes to balance (as with any alpha), so I will hopefully get some forums online somewhere for bug reporting and the like. So anyway, on to the only real piece of news:

Skill Tree Concept Complete

For the past couple of months I have been trying to bring myself to work on the skill tree, and a month or so back I posted an image of it in its first state (i.e. with no skills). But I finally got myself to work on it, and after about 4 hours of work this morning, I have completed the layout of skills, and exactly what they all do.

OK, so it's an Excel document at the moment. So you can keep guessing at what everything does, but that's what it will look like. And this is a massive step towards the release of the alpha.


November 9, 2012 - The Indie Forge

Hey guys. Sorry it's been so long since an update, I've been away for a week. I've still been doing a lot of work though, and I've made quite a bit of progress in a number of areas. So, without further ado:

Visual Gear

Something that I always like to see in a game, and also something that is left out of many roguelikes due to the shear quantity of equippable items, is a visual equipment system. What I mean by this is that the gear you equip is displayed on your character. Originally, I planned for Claustrophobia to have various different playable characters, but that currently isn't working with the type of character customization I want to put in the game. So, instead, your gear will now be displayed on your character, which you can name and change body features on starting a new game.

Of course, now you have to decide what stats you want to improve with your gear and what looks the best. Talking of stats...

Stat Changes

Stats haven't had much of a mention so far, but if you'd ever checked through the released screenshots in detail, you'll notice values and stats themselves change around quite a bit. This is partially due to me trying different combinations of character builds, and partially due to me not yet settling on a balanced combat experience. There is a lot of horrible maths behind the stat engine (as there is in any RPG), but I think I'm settling with the current build. It looks like this:

From left to right:

  • Weapon Damage : The average damage dealt by your weapon.
  • Armour : Reduces the amount of damage dealt by incoming attacks.
  • Stamina : Increases health and health regen.
  • Strength : Increases the damage done by melee weapons, and increases armour.
  • Agility : Increases damage done by ranged weapons, and increases critical chance and dodge chance.
  • Intelligence : Increases damage done by magical attacks and increases mana and mana regen.

I'd really like feedback on this above anything else. What stats do you like to see in RPGs and how complicated would you like it to get? With this system I've tried to incorporate all the well know RPG elements and still kept it simple enough that managing your gear doesn't become absurdly complicated, and you can focus on combat and exploration. Which in turn ties into my final point (it's like I actually thought this through...):

Combat Changes

Minor changes here, really, but one that make combat a lot more satisfying and fun to play. I'll have a video up soon of this in action, but combat now has particle effects for blood, multiple sounds for each weapon type, hit animations for each major weapon type, and character/enemy attack animations. Base stats and combat difficulty has also been altered so that levels 1-5 are fairly easy going, then after that difficulty increases exponentially. Enemy gear will begin to out rank your own gear and you'll be forced to play a lot more tactically to take everything down at high level. And don't get me started on bosses...

No seriously, you really shouldn't, my hands hurt from typing so much.
Spare me.


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