Unseeable Maze

After having done a few iterations, and built upon the initial concepts that were developed with Ren, Jeana, and Ziqiang, I have decided to revisit a couple of key points we had brought up when we created The Paradox Room, and Misinterpretation. For both of these projects, we were focusing on how an environment can feed to the viewer information that were not always true (this does not necessarily mean that the information was false). This concept manifested in two ways: the first being that the viewer was given different pieces of texts within a room that they can only see if they were wearing certain types of glasses. The second form was that the viewer cannot fully study and understand an object present within a space, because of the way the lighting illuminated said object. We also wanted to explore the idea of a viewer not being in control of the space that they are in. In both of these spaces, the viewer cannot control how they are given information. That factor was decided for them before they entered the space. These concepts led me to the question: how can I create an environment that a player can navigate through without seeing it for themselves? Unseeable Maze was created to answer the question.

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The Unseeable Maze was created by first drawing the layout in Adobe Illustrator, then laser cutting the maze out on plexiglass. I ran into some issues there, because I forgot about the fact that pieces needed to be connected to other pieces in order to stay together. Luckily I had another piece of plexiglass with me that I was able to glue the maze to.

In order to play the Unseeable Maze, the player needs to play with a partner. The two players sit on opposite sides of each other, with one blindfolded navigating through the maze. The “seeing” player has to give directions to the “blind” player that will guide them from the starting point to the end point. The difficulty with this task is that the directions given by the “seeing” player have to be in reverse given that the players are sitting on opposite sides of each other. Additionally, the “blind” player has to rely on the information they receive from the “seeing” player to accomplish their goal.

After doing some playtest, I figured out that what I thought was an elaborate maze, was actually not that difficult. Both times that the maze was played, it was completed in under two minutes. However, the feedback I received from the playtest was what I was hoping they would be. Aim, who was the “blind traveller”, said that she felt like she was not in control and that she really had to trust her “seeing guide”. Though she said that she was okay with this, because she did not have to think about what she was doing and she could just go with the flow.

My next steps for this project would be to make the maze a bit more difficult. I would ideally like to implement a lighting system on the maze, kind of like the one we had in Misinterpretation. So, what I would do is to enclose the maze in a space, as if the player was actually in a dark room. Within the room, there would be a light that would fade on, and fade out. This means that the “seeing guide” can read some of the information of the maze, but only for a set amount of time. At the current stage, I feel that the Unseeable Maze partially answers my design question. The “blind traveller” is unable to see, so they are relying heavily on the guide. However, the guide is not yet hindered by the space that they are in. Their only difficulty at the moment is trying to give the correct directions to get the traveller from the starting point to the end point. So, I feel that to implement the lighting system, both players lose their control of the space that they are playing in.

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