Madness and the Minotaur: The Third Dimension   3 comments

I’ve got a little better grip on the overall map, although I’m not done sorting it out yet.

I used this isometric drawing tool.

Blue parts represent “normal” rooms, grey rooms are the Maze where every room looks alike.

I made a guess (after the four maps from my last two posts) that the structure matched the image above, but when I got into one of the 3 by 8 layers by entering from a “small library” on the first floor I found myself confused and worried there was teleporting between floors or my concept was wrong altogether.

The passage marked “random” is what I’m referring to — it always seems to go to somewhere in the maze, but after some testing one of the consistent rooms was a room with a scepter, so that was the starting point I used. On one of the other random starts I found a goblet that I knew later was on the same floor, so I think that the teleporting on this exit really does only happen within the first floor, not between floors.

The map strongly resembled a 3 by 8 block without any barriers, and where every exit went up or down. I found out from testing that going up or down four times looped back to the room I started in, so I think the maze just wraps around.

However, it wasn’t quite a 3 by 8 block, and it certainly didn’t just loop east-west; going west repeatedly did not go back to the scepter. I puzzled for quite a while and found the author had just done a slight perturbation.

The green room is the scepter room, the exit to the northwest goes to a maze room on the bottom floor, and the west and east do wrap around.

One slight twist was all it took for me to be puzzled for over an hour. What I find interesting about this setup (other than it not matching any other maze we’ve looked at for All the Adventures) is how, from the author perspective, this seems like a minor change. I expect the author misestimated the level of difficulty. In practice, the small “offset shift” made it easy to become confused and made the maze quite difficult, a little like navigating a moebius strip.

Having said all that, I’m still not totally sure I have the floor mapped right, because of one slight detail: when entering the small library immediately before entering the maze, the game does a long pause; the sort of long pause that indicates something is being fiddled with from behind the scenes. Is the maze slightly tweaked before entering? Is the pause just from randomizing the south exit? Is there some other obscure technical reason for the pause? I still find it possible that everything I think I know is still wrong.

One last detail: it is easy to get confused reading the description since it recurs so often. Do you see that there’s no north exit? Remember that room descriptions just repeat if you can’t go a particular way, so it is possible to visually miss the lack of north, try to go north, add an entirely wrong space on the map, and go on a completely impossible tangent.

Posted July 14, 2021 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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3 responses to “Madness and the Minotaur: The Third Dimension

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  1. I wonder if this “offset shift” is even something deliberately implemented, or just a natural consequence of the data structure left alone; if the rooms were laid out in a one-dimensional array, going north could be “room number + 8”, and going west could be “room number +1”, and so going west from the westernmost room would naturally take you to the easternmost room one row up… I’ve seen that happen in plenty of programs like this as a bug; I’d be willing to bet it was just ‘promoted’ to feature when the creator realised it made things that much more confusing!

  2. I guess this resulting complexity explains why randomness in text games has never caught on.

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