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What is the ideal maze?

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What is the ideal maze?

Postby P/o Prune » Sat Mar 02, 2019 11:19 am

Well, I know that David will say: ”No maze at all” rofl

But if you absolutely insist on having a maze in your game, what would be the best way to make it so the player doesn’t lose interest and drop the game altogether.
In my game the player comes across a maze s/he will have to go through in order to win the game.
If s/he is in possession of a certain object the maze will not be a problem at all. But if s/he is not then s/he has to work his/her way through the maze to get to the other side.

Any suggestions as to size, etc.?
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Re: What is the ideal maze?

Postby Denk » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:59 pm

P/o Prune wrote:But if you absolutely insist on having a maze in your game, what would be the best way to make it so the player doesn’t lose interest and drop the game altogether.
One way could be to tell the player something like this when the player enters the maze: "You quickly realize that you have entered a maze of corridors. Luckily you manage to retrace your steps back to the entrance of the maze. You may enter the maze once you are more prepared".

Only if the player has found the object, which will help the player through the maze, will you allow the player to enter the maze.

In this way, the player will never need to map the maze, which I think is the reason most people don't like mazes.
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Re: What is the ideal maze?

Postby Lumin » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:09 pm

There's absolutely nothing fun about traversing a featureless set of identical rooms with their exits swapped around.

I know Theo will insist Tingalan isn't a maze but I still think that's the right way to do it. I was lost in the forest with weird and terrible things and the trees were no help at all, but that was fine because dying in the forest over and over was fun and interesting.
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Re: What is the ideal maze?

Postby P/o Prune » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:30 pm

I haven't checked it out yet so this is a wild guess.
I was thinking about setting up an event so if the plater entered the maze without the "magic" object, he would have to wander around there for, say 20 turns. Then the event would trigger and give him the exit out.
Is this doable?
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Re: What is the ideal maze?

Postby ralphmerridew » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:42 pm

"Rooms that seem identical that can be distinguished by dropping objects in them" was original when Colossal Cave did it. It was old when Dungeon copied the puzzle.
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Re: What is the ideal maze?

Postby The0didactus » Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:34 pm

Lumin wrote:There's absolutely nothing fun about traversing a featureless set of identical rooms with their exits swapped around.

I know Theo will insist Tingalan isn't a maze but I still think that's the right way to do it. I was lost in the forest with weird and terrible things and the trees were no help at all, but that was fine because dying in the forest over and over was fun and interesting.


Yep, I'm here to report that Tingalan is not a maze. You will always be able to go in each cardinal direction, and over short distances anyway you will be able to predict your path perfectly. Tingalan is,in fact, a Snerd, which is a new term I just came up with for what Tingalan is. You will find a semiSnerd somewhere in Six Silver Bullets, but it is not a full Snerd.

Having said that, I do like mazes, however, I know most people don't.
I made an ADRIFT game, long ago, which was a series of "levels" each of which had a "maze" scenario with a monster in it. One mechanic I had was that there was always some way to "PULL OUT" of the maze. That is, with a single command you could warp OUT of the maze, so you only had to solve it "one way".

Another way to make it interesting is to add features, just not necessarily features linked with rooms, so the player has something to see/experience in those locations. "you hear water dripping"/"dark shadows gather closer"/"you see motion at the edges of your vision"/"the wind moans through the mouth of the cave" etc. This is done very well in Sunless Sea. You can make this more enjoyable with the use of items on timers. One of the first games my friend made when we were just getting into text games involved a dungeon where you find an egg...at a certain point, the egg hatches. You got frequent updates on how the egg with faring and how other items (like your pet weasel) interacted with the egg. It made for a funny adventure.
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Re: What is the ideal maze?

Postby The0didactus » Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:59 pm

Also I feel the archetypal "Maze" is one where you can't use room descriptions to navigate, only exits, and that's literally the opposite of how Tingalan works :)
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Re: What is the ideal maze?

Postby David Whyld » Sun Mar 03, 2019 8:20 pm

The only good maze is no maze at all.

Sorry, Po, but I'm still firmly of the opinion that people who put mazes in games should be rounded up, put against a wall and shot. Preferably twice.

The first maze I ever mapped was fun. The second was a bore. The third had me yawning. By the tenth, if I could have found the address of the game writer and mailed him an extra large bag of Super Itchy Powder, I would have done. However you dress them up, I just don't find mazes fun at all.
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Re: What is the ideal maze?

Postby EndMaster » Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:37 am

Yeah mazes have never been fun.

One of the main problems is they feel like pointless filler which could have used towards more important things. Not IFs, but always felt Zak McKracken was a much lesser game than Maniac Mansion due to having pointless mazes. (And those were fairly simple).

The solution of having a certain object to easily bypass the maze, reminds me of what Lurking Horror did with the reanimated hand and putting the brass ring on it so it would show you the way through the maze towards the end. Still, would have been better to have eliminated the maze altogether, and had a section with more detailed rooms and had a few other puzzles involving those instead.

You can get the same “labyrinth” effect just by having a large enough area where the player has to travel back and forth through so many rooms that the place feels like a maze due to size. The above mentioned Lurking Horror comes to mind (which didn’t really need a maze section because of it) along with Zork I.
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Re: What is the ideal maze?

Postby rotter » Fri Mar 08, 2019 10:20 pm

So many games in the past had a maze in them. Hate to agree with David, but leave them in the past!
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Re: What is the ideal maze?

Postby DazaKiwi » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:53 pm

One idea would be to allow the player to use breakcrumb method to track if they have visited an area before. This could be as simple as adding players location to group BreadCrumb trail, where you have a static object set to be in location group Breadcrumb trail. Obvious you might run into problems where a tunnel loops over and crosses paths. Perhaps the player can place other breadcrumb objects (a chicken(s)?) or have a mark wall with blue chalk which the object is set to display when visible at a location. This way the player can place a breadcrumb object when they want, at junctions or every location they visit. Still this might not be fun for some players, but just an idea to maybe make it somewhat easier for a player to find their way depending how big or hard the maze is.
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Re: What is the ideal maze?

Postby P/o Prune » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:31 am

The maze I’m planning is not going to be anything huge. I am thinking about, maybe just 4 – 6 locations.

If the player is carrying a certain object the maze will be simple, and he will find a way out very fast.
If he is not carrying this object he will be “locked” in the maze for a number or turns. Just enough to make him feel frustrated, ]:) and then create an exit that will allow him to get out of the maze.
So, it’s not like I am going to keep him in there indefinitely.

Oh, by the way.
If any of you have an idea as to haw I can do this I'd be very grateful.
I was thinking about using events, or perhaps variables?
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Re: What is the ideal maze?

Postby DazaKiwi » Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:53 am

I would do it this way. I would have an event run (triggered when the player enters the Maze) for required amount of turns before running another task that moves an object say "A hidden Door" to same location as player. Then have a Specific task for Open Objects (restriction could be reference object Must be "A hidden door") and when this runs the player is moved to where ever you want him.
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Re: What is the ideal maze?

Postby P/o Prune » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:55 pm

DazaKiwi wrote:I would do it this way. I would have an event run (triggered when the player enters the Maze) for required amount of turns before running another task that moves an object say "A hidden Door" to same location as player. Then have a Specific task for Open Objects (restriction could be reference object Must be "A hidden door") and when this runs the player is moved to where ever you want him.


Thanks DazaKiwi :thanks:
Works perfect.
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