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Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd, South
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
(239) 590-1000 or (800) 590-3428

DONALD SMITH

MAZE

Senior Project APRIL 2017

Mazes are spaces filled with confusing twists and turns that lead to a specific destination. They are designed to make the participant remember where they have traveled and how to improve on finding a way in or out of the maze. Two-dimensional puzzle games are brain games that challenge the player to navigate obstacles as the levels of the game become increasingly difficult. Both visually and conceptually, puzzle games are quite different from the three-dimensional narrative action games such as Call of Duty or Halo. The puzzle games are more like mazes that convince the players that they are on the right path but end up tricking them in the end. The designer has to think carefully and cautiously on how each level or room is made, and what type of strategy could be used to best achieve the objective. The only question is what is going to help - or hinder - the player from finishing the game in time?


For this Senior Project, I have chosen to use the maze as the inspiration for a multi-level puzzle game. I designed the levels by increasing the difficulty to encourage a fully engaged response from the player. I chose videogames because I am a gamer who loves puzzle games as well as other genres su
ch as action, sports and online multiplayer. The intention was to bring in both pro-gamers and non-gamers to enjoy a game that is both simple and consuming to play. Obstacles and misdirection are incorporated into the mazes, and moving obstacles drain time off the clock. In order to make it through the level before the clock reaches zero you have to time your movements in order to slip by the obstacles. The misdirection is found in the colors and patterns of the game including the background and the specific shapes of the borders. Colorful patterns are emphasized to distract the player, who is trying to reach the next level before time runs out.


The design process for the game began with sketching mazes, deciding how many levels to make, and choosing visual formats for the levels. Adobe Illustrator was the primary tool used for creating the designs for the levels, and Gamemaker, an easily learned software for videogame designers, was used to mold the game into a playable format. Experimentation with the Gamemaker software allowed me to refine the game with specific enhancements such as the clock and sound effects. Piskelapp, an open source website, provided additional characters, backgrounds and objects for my two-dimensional game. With these tools I was able to produce a game that appears to be very simple but creates a nearly obsessive desire to beat the game before the clock runs out on each level. Midway through the levels I chose to alter the visual format of the game in order to surprise and refresh the player and explore the possibilities of how the idea of a maze could be presented in a videogame.