Any advice for making an impossible maze?


I promise I have a twist on it! The point is, I want a practically impossible maze that is not meant to be mapped but solved another way. But I think it’s beyond my skills for now.

One relatively easy solution, I suppose, is to just make it huge and make sure the player doesn’t have enough items at that stage of game. But I’d like to cover my bases and have a good line of code for it so it can’t be solved by fool’s luck. (It’d also save me the time of mapping it.)

inb4 you ask: You’ll have a guide once you’ve solved another puzzle. That I can easily do with the skills I have.

1 Like

Make one room with random exits that always leads back to same room. Also clear the “visited” flag to make the apeqr as unvisited. Don’t allow any possessions or make dropped possessions disappear.


Disappearing them seems a little mean. Maybe just instead rule dropping anything. That’d actually be good also from the viewpoint that that way the player won’t even try doing it the old fashion way and won’t get frustrated and rage quit. But yeah, your solution should work fine!

1 Like

There are mazes in several of the Monkey Island graphical adventures that can be navigated but can’t be “solved” (solving allows access to a specific hidden location; e.g. a special clearing in a jungle maze) until an object is found that gives the player a specific route to follow. This workaround might be something to think about. It allows you to create something that works like a maze, that is mappable by the player, but doesn’t reveal its secrets until later in the game.


Yeah, MI has good maze design. My favorites are actually in the Telltale one! An underrated game in my opinion.



It’s a very bad trope that has been done to death and generally serves no storytelling purpose. Find another way to integrate slowing the player down or finding important objects.

This is like one of the top 10 “don’t do that” items in IF and that’s from 25 years ago.

Eh, if you’re talking about conventional drop-stuff-to-map-them mazes, I agree, but IMO mazes that are actually puzzles, like this one, are fine (and can even be fun!) The key thing is just communicating to the player that they can’t (and shouldn’t try to) brute force the thing.


I disagree, if it’s done right. Having to map your way through a maze by trial and error is bad, passe, old, done. Having a maze that you navigate by some other fun mechanism is still great. See The Bones of Rosalinda for a recent example.

Jinx, Mike!


Yeah, my response is relating to the generic drop items to map concept.

It’s important to push back on these questions and force the author to think about “why” they want a maze. What purpose does it serve within the story? Can the player navigate it based on information within the story?

If they can answer those kinds of design questions, then use any trope you want.

The old adage is true. If you implement any trope well and it’s integrated with the story, you’ll get lauded for it.

But if you do it lazily, without any plan…LIONS!


It’s very Zorkian flavor to have a “Lost and Found” bin somewhere meant to contain plot/puzzle critical items the player might drop to give them a nudge they shouldn’t have done that.


Except for foolish people like myself (who played this game last week) who didn’t realize there was a mechanical solution to the maze and instead hand-mapped it… :frowning:


And then there’s Milliways where if you don’t map it out by hand you won’t figure out the solution!


In the book The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster, there is a detective that gets hired to follow a man. The man seemingly wanders randomly on the streets of Manhattan each night. The truth is reveald when the detective draws the wanderings on a map.


Well, a) the game i’m making is an adaptation of a browser based game a friend of mine made a year ago, and a maze fits with the vibe and idea behind the original puzzle, and b) the way I’m having the puzzle solved teaches the player a core mechanic of the game.


Have the guide reveal a secret exit?

It’s what you need to do to get that guidance and the form it takes that’ll come back later.