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Stormynature

Searching for a credible maze monster's behaviour

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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

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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).

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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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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

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