I actually had some written out for Dream Diary Jam that I keep forgetting to post, so yes, you’re in luck.  In the small Yume Nikki fangame Community, we have a term called “Hell Mazes”, named after the original Yume Nikki’s big red pulsating map that was a bit frustrating to get through.  These maps are large, confusing, and serve to frustrate the player rather than to challenge them.  Here’s some steps on how to avoid one of those.

Whatever you do, I’d plan my maze out first.  Grab a sheet of paper or MSPaint and doodle down a rough idea of what you want.  Here’s my process of making a maze:

Step 1: Draw out your starting and ending points.  
Step 2: Connect them like this so there is at least one main path out of your maze:


Step 3:  Fill out the rest of the maze with branches leading to dead ends or connecting paths.


Now you got yourself a maze.  Start playtesting it from there and see how frustrated you get with it.  Remember: if you’re not having fun getting through a map, your player is not having fun.  You don’t want your player to be bored or frustrated when playing your game - that’s when they put it down in favor of doing something more fun like cleaning the house or rearranging their music collection.

More tips under the “Keep Reading” below:

If your maze is big, I’d put in interesting things for the player to discover or interact with along the way so the map has more of a purpose than just “Go from point A to point B”.  It’s also more entertaining that way.

Too many branching paths or dead ends are a pain, no matter how big the map is.  They work in mazes you’ll do on a piece of paper since the person completing the maze can see all the branches of the map at once, but they don’t work as well when players can only see a part of the map at a time.

It’s always a good idea to add in a few unique landmarks, like npcs or larger objects so the player can orient themselves better in the maze.  A hedge maze could have a few odd statues here and there, an area with a small pond, a small area where the maze breaks into a few flower beds, a gardener trimming the hedges… that sort of thing.

One person on the Dream Diary Chat brought up that it would be nice if the Hell Maze in Yume Nikki had different colored sections in it rather than all of them be red.  Mazes are easier to digest in sections as they become smaller mazes that are easier to understand. 

If there are chasers in your map, make the with of the maze’s pathways 2 blocks wide instead of one, and have a few areas that are 3 by 3 squares or whatever you like.  This gives your player more room to move around.  The more room they have to move around, the less likely they are to ragequit.

Speaking of ragequit, have chasers be at a slow or moderate pace compared to the player’s speed.  Having them outspeed the player in a large maze is unfair.

It’s ok to make a small maze.  You don’t need it to be 100x100, you can just have it as 50x50 and get the same effect.    

I’m of the mind that having paths that go off from the main path but then rejoin it is better than having paths that lead to dead ends.  The player can still feel lost when they go around in a loop, but without having to backtrack all the way from where they left off.

You can add in an item that makes it easier for the player to get through the maze, like a compass that guides them or a switch that makes all the enemies disappear.   Not necessary, but it feels rewarding when you discover a secret like that.

Have the maze be optional: instead of having one certain area that can only be reached via hell maze, have a back way to them in addition to the hell maze path.  Or have a way to bypass them completely by doing something like answering a question right.

Obscuring the player’s vision is a dick move.  If you’re going to make the area dimly lit or covered in branches or fog,  make the map simple.  The challenge of regular mazes is getting through all the branching paths since they’re confusing.  The challenge of obscured mazes is that they’re obscured by darkness or another object making it hard to see.  Resist the urge to punish players by making them go through that.  Even if it’s supposed to be scary, it will stop after the player gets used to the dark from being stuck in there for 15 minutes plus, or reloads their save file for the 3rd time to start over at the beginning.

If the player saves at save points instead of via the menu, have a few save points scattered around the map to help them out.  If there are chasers nearby however, that might screw over a player’s save file by saving too close to a chaser.  Having safe spaces chasers can’t get to near your saves can circumvent that nonsense.

Hope that’s what you’re looking for c:

original post 05/15/17 AT 5:53PM