Minotaur’s Maze is a 4-player treasurehunter race in which players must cooperate and compete to attain the biggest pile of riches, all the while avoiding a deadly minotaur.
The music in the trailer is not mine in any way.
Incorporating ‘game feel’ into the control of the player character
Gradually making changes in a cycle of adding changes, playtesting and polishing
Fleshing out original concept while staying true to it
Result / Evaluation
Positive reactions from targeted audience
Hardware requirements (4 xBox controllers) limits marketability
Playtesting gives a way of solving discussions and answering unknowns in the design of the game
Constituting clear design goals and sticking to them gives a focused design and thus a focused experience
Not having to program gives more room to think about (level) design
Well actually, the minotaur never really made it into the game.
Minotaur’s Maze started off with a single week in which the basic concept was formed by just two people. At the end of this week, the concept was pitched to peer students. Two decided they wanted to work on this concept, which gave us a team of four to create the final game.
This original concept was: unreliable information, indirect contact with other players through trails and following an unknown other being.
There were a lot of possibilities that all fitted in the original concept. At a certain point in time these different possibilities starting conflicting with eachother and we had to make a decision to keep a clean design and focused game.
We could create a game focused on exploring. When in a maze there’s a lot to explore! A symbol language and lots of details in the maze would improve this kind of game. Alternatively, we could create a game centered around a horror element, using the minotaur as an unseen threat that could pop up any moment. Our third option was making a party game, with frequent playful interactions between players.
We decided to make a party game and started valueing our game elements around positive interactions between players outside of the game, something we called ‘hectic fun’ and the design goal that there should be no dull moments in the game. You had to be constantly busy in an interesting manner.
We quickly created the basis of the game, and used that to playtest. This became a good habit: whenever we weren’t sure of changes we made or we wanted to go in two directions, we used playtests to see which change allowed the player to reach the design goals more easily.
At the end of the project we shifted focus to adding polish effects.
We spent the last week preparing for the ‘launch’ of the game, making a poster and coming up with a marketing stunt. We spread little paper coins with a text on the back prompting people who found such a coin to come play the game in the room we set up Minotaur’s Maze-style: dimly lit, with flickering torches on monitors and a big couch to play the game on.
Because this was one of the longer projects I’ve worked on, and because the basis of the concept had already been established, this feels like one of the most thought-out and clear designs I’ve made so far. That’s funny, because at the same time I see a lot of improvements still to be made.
Below you can see a onepage design of the core idea of the game
Niels de Jong – designer, some programming
Youri Stans – environment art, designer
Mike Ottink – programmer, designer
Annelieke Henzen – character art, audio
started the 29th of august 2016
published the 10th of june 2016
Note: the game is designed for playing with 4 xBox 360 controllers, and plays best using that setup. However, you can play with up to three players without any xBox 360 controllers.
Note: when playing the game using keyboard, make sure Num Lock is turned on, or the second player’s controls won’t work.Minotaur's Maze windows (71 downloads)
Minotaur's Maze Playtest (68 downloads)
Minotaur's Maze Documentatie (64 downloads)