Terminology to Avoid confusion
"Terminal" = Refers to the terminal as a whole.
"Maze Puzzle (Panel)" = Meant to refer to the actual maze puzzle mechanic (Panel) on each terminal
"Maze Ball" = The small ball that the player has to navigate through the Maze Puzzle
"Ball Key" = This is a larger ball that acts as the one and only key to activate any terminal in the Labyrinth.
"Labyrinth" = Refers to the whole world the game takes place in .. ie a labyrinth.
1. Will Unlock Entrances to New Areas of the Labyrinth
2. Will Reveal Clues/Hints to New Areas of the Labyrinth
1. To Provide a an extra layer of gameplay over Labyrinth exploration in the form of solving maze puzzles (as apposed to just switches)
2. To provide a causation mechanic for the "Ball Key" to be relocated in a different area of the Labyrinth for the player to find again.
As the player progresses through the labyrinth they will encounter areas that are inaccessible due to a locked gate or some other obstruction.
To unlock the entrance to these new areas of the Labyrinth will require the use of Terminals. These Terminals will unlock the entrance to an area and also show you clues to aspects of the next area of the Labyrinth.
Each Terminal in the Labyrinth will have a consistent "Rotating Maze Mechanic" Puzzle to solve.
Each Terminal in the Labyrinth requires a key to activate it.(Ball Key)
The player starts the game with a ball/globe about the size that will fit into the palm of a hand. This Ball Key acts as a master key to all the Terminals within the Labyrinth.
Each time you active a Terminal by placing your Ball Key into it, and after you successfully solve the puzzle in the time limit, the Ball Key will be transported (unseen) to a location somewhere in the next area of the Labyrinth.
On successful completion of any Terminal puzzle, the Terminal will reveal information/hints/clues on the next area of the Labyrinth including clues on the location of your Ball Key so you can retrieve it to activate the next Terminal.
The Elements to the Terminal
1: The Puzzle Maze Panel - (Backside: Hint/Clue/Map)
2: The Center Hole where the Maze Ball comes out.
3: Example of an Outer Wall Gap, so the ball can drop out into the exit hole.
4: The Exit Hole the Maze Ball will ultimately drop into.
5: The Timing Mechanism.
6: Terminal Reset Button
7: The Tray you put your Ball Key onto to activate the Terminal
8: Hold Button (MAYBE Read Further for Explanation on this)
9: The Maze Panel Rotation Lever.
The Sequence of Mechanics
1: Player places their "Ball Key" onto the tray in the center of the Terminal
2: The Terminal is activated and the tray drops down into the Terminal itself.
3: The "Maze Ball" drops into the Maze Puzzle out of a hole in the center.
4: Player moves the Lever "right" to rotate the Maze Puzzle Clockwise, and moves the Lever "left" to rotate the Maze Puzzle Anti-Clockwise.
5: Player rotates the Maze Puzzle to navigate the Maze Ball through it and to the outer wall where one gap exists so the ball can fall out.
The puzzle must be solved within a time limit as visually represented by the Timing Mechanism. The mark will move from left to right as the timer is active. This timer started the moment the Maze Ball was initialy dropped into the Maze Puzzle from the center hole.
6: On success the ball drops out of the Maze Puzzle and into a hole at the bottom of the frame.
7: Once a puzzle has been solved within the time limit the tray where the player initially placed their Ball Key will rise again, but without the Ball Key which has now been relocated somewhere else in the next part of the Labyrinth for the player to try find.
At this point a gate/door will unlock so the Player can make progress into the next part of the Labyrinth.
8: At this point the Timer Marker will jump to the end (right) of the Timer Mechanism, and the Maze Puzzle Panel will swivel around 180 degrees.
9:: The back side of the Maze Puzzle panel reveals the various hints, clues, maps, or info that will be needed to navigate the next area of the Labyrinth more efficiently and show hints/location of where the "Ball Key" has been relocated to. Once this backside has been shown the Timer will start to move back to its original starter position. Once back in its starting position the Maze Puzzle panel will swivel back 180 degrees to its original side. At this point the Terminal is considered reset.
1. On failing to solve the Puzzle in the time limit.
..... a: Maze Puzzle panel will quickly swivel around 360 degrees (with a blank backside). when its original front is revealed again the Maze Ball will no longer be there and the Maze rotation will be reset to its original state
..... b: The Timer Mechanism Marker will jump back to its original starting point (left)
..... c: The "Ball Key" Tray will rise again with the "Ball Key" on top of the tray ready for the player to use again in the Terminal or pick up.
2. On pressing the Reset Button before the Timer limit
will trigger the same result as 1. (On failing to solve the Puzzle in the time limit.)
3. On pressing the The Hold Button
I am not sure about this one but here is the gist of it.
This button is only active during the phase when the player has solved the Puzzle and the Backside (Clues) side has rotated around with the Timer countdown started. This Hold function is intended to give a player a pause feature on the Backside (Clues) side.
If the player feels they understand the Clues on the back well before the timer is finished counting down, but they are not 100% sure , they can press the Hold Button and the Timer will Halt but the Clues side of the Panel will also swivel around to the Maze side so the player cant see the Clues/Hints Map. At this point the player can explore around the next area of the Labyrinth and if they are finding it hard to find where the "Ball Key" is located (or some other aspect to the Labyrinth) they can return to the previous Terminal , press the Hold Button again and the timer will continue from where it left off and the Clues side of the Panel will swivel back around. The player can keep doing this Holding process until they have either found the "Ball Key", which will trigger a total reset of the previous Terminal, or, the Timer eventually runs out on the Terminal meaning the player will have to find the "Ball Key" with only from what they remember from the Clues side of the Panel. If the player has managed to find the Ball Key but is having difficulty working out another aspect of the Labyrinth that had Clues, they can use their Ball Key again in the pervious terminal , but they will have to solve the Maze Puzzle again to reveal the Clues again.
The reason why I am not so sure about this Hold Button idea is, well there is nothing really to stop people from writing down the clues or even taking a screenshot while the Clues side of the Panel is reveled the first time on any Terminal, so I think from that point of view its enough just to have a countdown when its revealed the first time and have no Hold button at all.
The idea behind this is to give "honest" players that wont cheat by taking screenshots or notes the opportunity to hold the timer so they can see if what they have already memorized is enough for the way ahead. So this Hold mechanic works with an aspect of the game I might call the "Memory Factor" which is an extra layer of challenge for people who play the game as intended (without taking notes or screeshots)
The same argument might be made for card match games, where the player could easily take sceenshots or notes of where each card is to match, but they don't because it defeats the memory challenge point. however in the context of my game this memory factor is a minor thing that may end up being a pointless mechanic.. I dunno.
will increase as you move further into the labyrinth
Each Terminal will be effectively the same in Mechanics, the only difference between them will be the Maze face itself, which will have varying degrees of complexity and difficulty depending where you are in the Labyrinth. Early on in the Labyrinth the Maze's can be easy to solve and in a good time, while the later Maze Puzzles will have more complexity / hazards / and/or reduced time limits.
1: This is an example of a Maze Puzzle with moderate difficulty. Notice the only one possible path to the exit is short in relation to the rest of the maze. The player can make wrong turns to different areas of the maze that will ultimately lead to a dead ends meaning the Player will have to double back and try find where they made the wrong turn to continue to the exit before the Timer stops.
2: This is another example of a Maze Puzzle. Notice this maze has the same number of radial walls as the maze previous but the path is longer meaning it will take the Player longer to navigate the ball through the maze. However this also means the player has less chance to make a wrong turn since much of the possible path is taking up most of the maze space.
3: This example shows another level of difficulty in that there is a greater number of radial walls meaning more complexity within the maze.
Each of these 3 examples of how to generate varying degrees of difficulty or challenge can also be combined with a reduction or increase in the speed of the Timer. So a maze with the same amount of complexity can be used throughout the labyrinth but have the timer increase its speed as the players progresses deeper into the Labyrinth.. Very advanced Maze Puzzles could have more complex mazes (more radial walls) AND have a increase in Timer speed too. In other words, the Path Length, Complexity of Maze (number of radial walls) and change in Timer rate can be mixed/combined to create a series of puzzles on the Terminals that increase with difficulty/challenge as the Player moves deeper through the Labyrinth without having to modify the gameplay mechanics of the Terminals.
Other Possible Features that can be used on top of the basic Maze Puzzle idea (ie. Maze, Ball + Gravity)..
1. Holes in the Maze - So its possible for the players ball to fall into a hole after a wrong turn. (resetting the Terminal)
2. Rotating pieces of the maze - Sections of Maze wall that constantly rotate.
3. Anti-Ball - Another ball that already exists in the Maze that the Player cannot make contact with or Terminal is reset.
4. Hazard switches that may trigger event such as timer to suddenly start to speed up
The Terminal Aesthetic and How it fits into Labyrinth as a whole.
The example model of the terminal may not necessarily be in that shape, right now it sort of looks like a arcade games machine, so it might look totally different or for example be set into the walls of the Labyrinth. The screenshots are just to demonstrate how the mechanics of the terminal work.
The Terminals might have a solid physical mechanical feel to them with no electronics.
The idea is theses Terminals have passive Mechanicsm that dont require any power, instead using weights, pullies..etc.
These terminals will feature throughout the Labyrinth and will be needed to unlock entrances to locked areas of the Labyrinth so the player can keep progressing through. Although the Labyrinth may feature other puzzles, these Terminals will remain a consistent feature in the game and considered a "Global Puzzle Mechanic"
If you have ever played the game The Witness and seen how that game uses the terminals where you have to swipe through a puzzle maze to unlock areas, well my terminals are pretty much the same idea in that they will be a consistent global puzzle mechanic.
1: The Terminal needed to unlock the gate to the next area of the Labyrinth
2: The Gate to the next are of the Labyrinth
3: Example of the Exit Chute where the players Ball Key comes out after using it it in the Terminal
The Clues/Hits/Map side of the
Maze Puzzle Panel
The sort of clues on the back of each Maze Puzzle Panel will depend on the nature of the Labyrinth ahead of any Terminal.
For example if there is an area of the Labyrinth where the Player's Ball Key was relocated, that area might be blocked with a door. Just before this door on the floor are 4 panels on the floor that the player can step on as switches. Each of the these floor panel switches have their own symbol on them, (A - B - C - D).
In order to unlock the gate the Player must step on each of theses switches in a perticular sequence. For example the correct sequence to stand on the switches is: B, D,C,A
The last Clues on the last Terminal you used that unlocked the area of the Labyrinth you are now in had hints pertaining to the correct sequence you must stand on.
This is just one example of a type of clue that could be on the back of the Maze Puzzle Panels
Showing a map of a small section of the next part Labyrinth with hints to where to go.
Word / Language puzzles
Other examples of general information that could be on the back of these Maze Puzzle Panels
Narrative / Story Text