A new assignment, a new maze. Or at least a remake of the old maze. That is right, for this assignment we have to rework our previous maze based on the information we gained from our last one. I would say it went well, but, despite not changing nothing but the path width, I have to say that I feel like I got worse results this time.

I made the map larger to accommodate for the larger path, but otherwise, the path itself stayed the same, and so did most of the props. I have, yet again, only gotten 6 responses. A small amount, but hopefully enough to make the criticism relevant. Either way, here is how people answered to the questions I asked.

What went right?

  • The pathways were open and easy to get around
  • Reached the end under 2 minutes, collected all coins.
  • The map had things to collect which was nice and there were multiple paths to take
  • The map is nice and wide for movement, there are also coins that reward you for the time spent searching areas that ended up being dead ends.
  • Pretty straight forward map
  • good pathing and control of player movement, well directed and good circulation

First, let’s start with what went well. This time around people appreciated that the paths were wider and that there were several paths you could take. So, I feel like I did well by listening to previous complaints and widening the path.

What went wrong?

  • There was only one pathway however where I got stuck. (Top Left, the one with the three coins inside). It was because of the blocker placement which made me shuffle around until I eventually got in.
  • Got stuck on a lot of fence corners. got lost. A lot of dirt distracts and confuses. Remember this is easy level.
  • I clipped on a couple things and I had a feeling that there wasn’t any reason to explore the alternative routes because the end was just at the top.
  • I was able to find a few of your corners on the fences that weren’t blocked off but let me walk through the fence yet then blocked by the other fence blockers. The map was also a bit barren, just a lot of fence line which
  • I was not forced to go through the top portion of the map.
  • lack of variety, only using the fences to block movement. as well some immersion elements were off, ie fences just ending rather than having a final peg to hold it up as well as some collision boxes not existing on fences

Ignoring the “got lost” comment (because it is a maze), people seemed to have gotten stuck on fences, which I don’t even understand how that is possible. I played the map myself multiple times and never got stuck once.

The top left corner, where I put some coins, people got stuck, but I think it is because they didn’t know that I had some blockers removed to allow better passage (which is what I assume happened when they said they could clip through a few things).

But the major complain seemed to be variety of props. Understandable, that maybe the map looks too plain and samey, at the same time I think the old west was exactly that, plain and samey. I also think that creating a map with these props was just too annoying to create a nicer map. Planning the map is not hard, setting things up by constantly pressing buttons is what makes this difficult.

In the future I will try to make the maps more interesting, but at the same time, I think the game is just bad and I can only do so much. You can have the nicest level in the world, if the game is just bad, nothing can save it.

How could the level be improved?

  • Maybe add something interesting to the end goal. I was a bit disappointed when I ended up from one shack to another.
  • create more horizontal and vertical paths to create a easier paths to move along.
  • make the end at one of the side paths rather than just at the yop
  • For the corners put some blockers;) and for the fencing, around the border try placing some more buildings, this will enhance the players interest because they wont only be walking by fenceline
  • Some how if you could guide the player upwards maybe. Less coins maybe, so that it doesn’t feel like they’re just everywhere.
  • use some different props, also make the environment more diverse to make it not feel like there are only walls that the player walks through and instead it feels like a town or just an environment.

I am glad to see each and every one of the testers had some suggestions on how to improve as well. Definitely number one suggestion is to add more variety. Also, it seems I forgot to add some blockers in corners, so next time I will make sure to add in every non-walkable space.

While I understand what the 2nd tester means by vertical and horizontal paths, as I saw that example in his work, there is a problem with that design and that is that the props themselves were not meant for this type of map. He is basically suggesting making it more of a 2D side view, rather than an isometric view, literally having a straight line. While this indeed gives perfect movement, as I said before, the props were not made for that style of map. Also, while play testing his map, the horizontal paths were blocking the way, due to how collision works in the game.

Was the critical path obvious?

  • The path to the goal was not obvious
  • Not until about half way through, coins spread throughout.
  • yes
  • No, not really. Seeing so many coins threw off the path, making it seem that the exit could be anywhere. But there were coins there so it was alright, to me that is. shinnies are nice.
  • Pretty much more or less.
  • somewhat, i knew i had to head in the direction with coins and fences but there wasnt much telling me where to go specifically, more exploration based rather than directing the palyer

So, is the critical path obvious? Maybe. They say that the coins were just everywhere and made them feel like the exit could be anywhere. The thing is, that was my intention all along. I never wanted the exit to be obvious. It is a maze, so I wanted to trick them into exploring places that they might think the exit would be, but not have a trail of coins just lead them to it.

Were there circulation elements?

  • I liked how at each dead end there was coins. I also liked how the background was not too bland.
  • I suppose so, a bunch of corridors and doorways. However I would like to see more variety within the corridors otherwise I would get bored.
  • couple of “doorways”
  • Yes there were
  • Pretty okay circulation elements, got confused about where I was during portions of the map
  • a few places are designed to have circulation but if i get the

Conclusion? Yes, I do have circular elements, as obvious from the map itself.

How was the overall flow?

  • pick up the coins, try every path possible to find the goal
  • I think it was enjoyable, though clunky at times. Try to iron out the flow problems liek getting caught on edges and getting lost.
  • good
  • It was easy to maneuver around and get from place to place, it just took a little while which in some games will happen so its not all bad
  • good, felt compelled to finish

So the flow was good, but getting stuck on edges caused some issues.

Was the level easy?

5 out of 6 found the game to be easy. To me that means the game is. Then again, easy is subjective, as most things are in life, which is why the other person felt the level was hard. The level itself is actually easier than most children mazes. Especially if it takes you less than 2 minutes to complete it, even with collecting all coins. I feel like it would be hard if it literally took you 15 minutes or more to find the exit.

There were 23 coins on the level. Did you find them all? Did you try to collect them all? Did you feel fulfilled picking up the coins?

  • I did feel fulfilled in picking up the coins.
  • I did feel fulfilled when I picked them all up but then that was slowly replaced with dread of trying to find my way back to the exit without the line of coins to help me. I need more visual indicators.
  • I didn’t try to pick up all the coins
  • At first I was seeing if the coins would lead me to the exit, instead lead to dead ends, once I found the exit I did see some other coins in an area that i didn’t explore so I went back and got them
  • Nope, I collected so many in the beginning I gave up trying to find all of them
  • i cant recall, i think i was missing like ten or so

A question I didn’t ask before is about coins. This time I counted them and asked to see how many did they actually discover, to hopefully see if they were attracted to the idea of collecting them.

The problem is some of them were using the coins as a visual indication as to where the exit was. In my opinion that would defeat the purpose of a maze. Why bother trying to solve a maze if you know exactly where the end is?

Some felt fulfilled, others gave up trying to collect them all. So in the end, what does this tell me? Well, that different people have different personalities and objectives when they are playing games. Nothing is true and you can never satisfy everyone, no matter how hard you try.

There will be plenty of people suggesting you one thing to improve your levels, while others will come and say the opposite. In the end, you just have to try your best to make a level fun and interesting for as many people as possible. And that, is the life of a level designer.