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Searching for a credible maze monster's behaviour


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#1 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 05:54 PM

Currently I am working on a puzzle design which incorporate 2 mazes -- 1 maze acts as the roof to the other. At various points in the maze you have the ability to transition from 1 maze to the other. The idea being to utilise both mazes in order to reach the centre. Within a game context I would want the roof maze to be visible to the ground maze - so that paths could be tracked through the opposite maze by simply looking up and figuring it out. In of itself the maze idea is fairly straightforward - transition points I would signify by something akin to a light beam stretching between the exit/entry locations on both mazes enabling the player to have a reference point from which to map the maze opposite.

 

The seconday aspect of this puzzle is the monster who pursues the player and this is where I am having an issue. 

 

How do I ensure that the player successfully navigates the maze under the time constraint provided by the monster without the monster actually catching up too quickly. Several thoughts I have had on this are:

 

  • There are 2 monsters - 1 on either side - they only pursue whilst the player is on their side
  • There is only 1 monster on the "ground" side where the maze is completely contiguous and the player must use the "sky" maze which consists of smaller mazes against each other to try and leapfrog the monster. The monster not being able to use a transition point.
  • A simple pursuit aka Slender man by where you have x amount of time to navigate the maze before you are simply pounced upon.

 

This puzzle is in connection to a horror genre.

 

What are your thoughts on how the monster should behave?

 

mazepuzzlegravitymanipu.jpg

 A conceptualised idea of the maze - gah forgot to mention fair use of another's work

 

 

Note: Forgot to mention - When you transition gravity is reversed - so your ground becomes the sky and the sky becomes your ground.


Edited by Stormynature, 24 January 2013 - 06:23 PM.


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#2 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4914

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 06:27 PM

Are you sure you actually want to have a monster pursue the player through the maze and in a "successful" run the player never actually comes into contact with the monster?  This doesn't seem like a particularly scary or interesting approach.  Especially if there are no traps or anything in the maze.  Personally I would either have the bad guy go first, setting traps along the way, as the increasingly beat up payer tries to catch up to the escaping bad guy, or I'd have multiple monsters that growl at the player through the walls, and maybe also have the ability to call other monsters for help to dogpile the player.  And archers shooting at the lower level from the upper level.  (I think I just described an average Skyrim dungeon, lol).


Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#3 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 06:37 PM

Especially if there are no traps or anything in the maze. Personally I would either have the bad guy go first, setting traps along the way, as the increasingly beat up payer tries to catch up to the escaping bad guy, or I'd have multiple monsters that growl at the player through the walls, and maybe also have the ability to call other monsters for help to dogpile the player. And archers shooting at the lower level from the upper level. (I think I just described an average Skyrim dungeon, lol).

 

Unfortunately the constraints (my apologies for not mentioning) are that the person is solo within a much larger edifice of which the maze is simply one small section. Which is why I basically am akin to your thinking, in that what I have currently is not sufficient. Combat is very much a situation to be avoided and the use of traps not available.

 

 

I'd have multiple monsters that growl at the player through the walls, and maybe also have the ability to call other monsters for help to dogpile the player.

This has some possibilities in it though.

 

I like the maze puzzle but unless I can generate a depth of horror etc into I may have to drop it sad.png - have also considered having no monsters and the mazes themselves reacting to the player as they transit...not sure tbh.


Edited by Stormynature, 24 January 2013 - 06:38 PM.


#4 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4914

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 06:49 PM

Hmm, those are some constraining constraints.  What is the game's normal gameplay?  Hopefully something other than just walking through the maze?  Maybe puzzle which are not traps, but the player has to solve them quickly to keep moving through the maze, and the longer they take the closer the monster gets?


Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#5 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 06:57 PM

Normal gameplay is avoidance of dangers or navigation through them. Basically combat = Death.

 

The game itself centres around the story arc, exploration to some degree and puzzles - physical, mental and in some particular cases moral/ethical,

 

The monsters associated with the game are individuated and no puzzle is really multiply used...though there are some puzzles that are built on top of earlier ones to provide a learning curve for players to cope with increased difficulty.



#6 Got_Rhythm   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 07:28 PM

I think the easiest solution would be to have one monster which inhabits one of the mazes. When you are in his mass he pursues you, but when you are in the other maze he prowls 'randomly', as in, just goes aimlessly wandering.

This would create a huge amount of tension, flipping between a 'safe space' and forcing yourself to dive into the dangerous maze. This would also give the player a little time to relax and collect their thoughts.

#7 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4914

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:33 PM

Normal gameplay is avoidance of dangers or navigation through them. Basically combat = Death.

 

The game itself centres around the story arc, exploration to some degree and puzzles - physical, mental and in some particular cases moral/ethical,

 

The monsters associated with the game are individuated and no puzzle is really multiply used...though there are some puzzles that are built on top of earlier ones to provide a learning curve for players to cope with increased difficulty.

Well then, puzzles as obstacles to proceeding through the maze seem ideal.  Whether it's a sliding block puzzle to make stairs for the player to climb up, or a puzzley lock on a door, or an ice barrier that needs to be melted, or whatever, there can be one blocking each passage to the 'safe' upper maze.  The monster can stay sniffing and pawing at the place the player exited the lower maze until the player re-enters, the lower maze, then the monster can chase the player to the next puzzle.  That seems like it would be pretty exciting to play.


Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#8 TheChubu   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4333

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:58 PM

The thing about "If the monster finds you, you're dead" worked pretty well with Prince of Persia Warrior Within. The various Dahaka encounters were there to put some pressure on the character and to railroad him when the path wasn't so clear. While you could exert some control on time itself, it still wasn't on your side, the only option was to run.

 

So you where there, doing your usual platformer stuff and then Dahaka encounter! And you had to run for your life. 


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#9 dakota.potts   Members   -  Reputation: 455

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:10 PM

Sounds to me like you are describing something similar to Amnesia. Have you ever played it?

I'm wondering if you couldn't do something with multiple monsters that could weaken you mentally or something. The larger monster will pursue you very inefficiently (this will end up being a factor of implementation, not ideas, in my opinion), but the other monsters will make you disoriented and slow you down, the effect becoming more pronounced each time you encounter and are unable to avoid them.

#10 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:41 PM

Haven't actually played amnesia though have looked into it's structure and setup. It definitely share's certain elements in common with this project esp. being of same type of genre.

 

 

I'm wondering if you couldn't do something with multiple monsters that could weaken you mentally or something. The larger monster will pursue you very inefficiently (this will end up being a factor of implementation, not ideas, in my opinion), but the other monsters will make you disoriented and slow you down, the effect becoming more pronounced each time you encounter and are unable to avoid them.

 

I like the use of multiple monsters combined with the actual singular larger monster but unfortunately have already used this particular mechanic in another place within the project. Though in that particular circumstance the smaller monsters did nothing more than watch/follow/surround you and over time that population level increased until such a point as the larger monster arrived.

 

I can see a similar mechanic being used inline with what you are thinking but am hesitant atm on it - nice thought though smile.png


Edited by Stormynature, 24 January 2013 - 10:42 PM.


#11 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:44 PM

I think the easiest solution would be to have one monster which inhabits one of the mazes. When you are in his mass he pursues you, but when you are in the other maze he prowls 'randomly', as in, just goes aimlessly wandering.

This would create a huge amount of tension, flipping between a 'safe space' and forcing yourself to dive into the dangerous maze. This would also give the player a little time to relax and collect their thoughts.

 

This is one of the avenues I have been thinking about. The difficulty was that you had the rest and recuperation in the safe side I had been thinking possibly a mechanical aspect to the safe side such poison gas (it will not be poison gas) to limit the time that would be spent on that side.



#12 dakota.potts   Members   -  Reputation: 455

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:37 AM

PM sent regarding this project.

#13 BinaryToshokan   Members   -  Reputation: 110

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 04:31 AM

Why not think of the maze itself as being the Monster.  Where as if you fail to escape in time it, the maze, consumes you.  The simplest effect of being consumed would be to have a hole open up under the player's feet and have him or her sucked into the darkness.



#14 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 06:34 AM

Why not think of the maze itself as being the Monster.

 

Nice idea - reminds me of the houses that sucker people in, only turn out to be something that is not a house and the suckers are the new meal.



#15 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2764

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:12 AM

I had a board game as a kid about a wizard maze that consisted of different passageway tiles and players took turns pushing tiles into the board to reshape the maze, with the goal of moving the wizard to collect the most token pieces.

 

What about something a long those lines?

 

You have two simple mazes with a number of survivors and monsters.  Monster and survivors can move any distance in a turn. If a monster can reach a survivor it eats them.  The player's goal is to save as many of the survivors as they can by manipulating the two mazes.



#16 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:03 AM

You have two simple mazes with a number of survivors and monsters. Monster and survivors can move any distance in a turn. If a monster can reach a survivor it eats them. The player's goal is to save as many of the survivors as they can by manipulating the two mazes.

 

It's a nice idea unfortunately the constraints mentioned earlier means there is only one survivor available as a food source.

 

 

I had a board game as a kid about a wizard maze that consisted of different passageway tiles and players took turns pushing tiles into the board to reshape the maze, with the goal of moving the wizard to collect the most token pieces.

 

Sounds like Master Labyrinth from memory



#17 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3665

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:27 AM

Maybe instead of a monster make a classic timer? The two mazes start as far apart, they are slowly coming closer and closer and when they meet the player is crushed.


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#18 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:05 AM

G

The two mazes start as far apart, they are slowly coming closer and closer and when they meet the player is crushed.

 

Nice mechanic have something similar developed in another area but in this case it is water filling in at the bottom while poison gas pumps in at the top and you need to solve the puzzle before you get floated into death smile.png

 

Unfortunately though one of the constraints of this particular location is that both mazes are basically static and your only real freedom beyond walking each maze is to port from one maze to the other and vice versa at a number of different locations. At the moment I am leaning to the idea of a monster on one maze's side which hunts for you when you traverse that maze and on the other maze a toxic environment which limits the amount of time you can spend up there and depending on how much time you spend there defines how much minimal recovery time you need on the monster's maze.

 

But I am very much open to suggestions improvements or more ideas :)


Edited by Stormynature, 01 February 2013 - 05:07 AM.


#19 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3665

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:32 AM

Unfortunately though one of the constraints of this particular location is that both mazes are basically static

No, no, I mean only a graphical effect. The first picture you posted, simply decrease the space between these mazes over time (with a nasty heavy metallic/rocky sound). It would not change the gameplay at all, these two mazes are still static, this "movement" does not change the shape of these mazes at all. It would be merely an aestetic thing.

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#20 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:39 AM

No, no, I mean only a graphical effect. The first picture you posted, simply decrease the space between these mazes over time (with a nasty heavy metallic/rocky sound). It would not change the gameplay at all, these two mazes are still static, this "movement" does not change the shape of these mazes at all. It would be merely an aestetic thing.

 

Ah I see what you mean - to be honest not sure if good for here though I can see an aspect in which it might work -- mostly I think it would come down to the technical side saying whether it was possible or not....(mental note: organise a technical side sometime!)






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