the artistry and psychology of gaming


Rugged Area (Maze Hunter 3D)

Rugged Area (Maze Hunter 3D)

I’ve already mentioned the labyrinth that floats through outer space, and today, I’d like to revisit that.  It never ceases to amaze me when a man-made structure houses so many different natural environments.  Of course, this labyrinth does have a section that is nothing more than metal, but as you go deeper, you find several natural habitats, complete with unusual denizens.  You’ll see monsters that look very organic, as well as those that resemble abstract shapes and colors.  Some of these creatures are even versatile enough to survive in multiple sectors.  Who made this labyrinth and why continues to be one of the great mysteries of the universe.

I’d like to take some time to talk about the Rugged Area, which is the desert sector.  I don’t know where this labyrinth’s creators explored before designing this celestial world, but they hadn’t visited what we perceive to be a typical desert.  These were no smooth dunes with gentle ripples delicately cut by fine blades of wind; it lived up to its name.  On the upper layers, the sand looked like it had been packed solid, then dried out and cracked, and had a rather coarse texture.  The layers slightly beneath were also fairly atypical of what you’d see in an ordinary desert; they had a slightly Southwestern feel to them.

The coloration suggests a late evening aesthetic; the coarse sand at the top layer is yellow with brown cracks all through it.  Up here, you’ll occasionally see large gray cubical rocks that are also cracked, but no less an obstruction.  The next layer down, which cannot be traversed, is decorated with orange and brown diagonal stripes; I could only guess their true nature from afar.  Lower still is another sandy layer, this time in dark brown and red with lighter ridges; it’s like the way an oven in a hot kitchen down there.  The very deepest layer – the one upon which you can accidentally fall out into space – is comprised of dark red tiles with dark yellow patterns upon them.  This is also where most of the dark yellow checkerboard goal tiles are found.

The first maze in the Rugged area is fairly straightforward.  You begin atop a snaking path that never branches out.  There is a hole on either side, each leading to a different part of the lower level.  I took the long road to the northwest first, entering the hole at its end.  I came to a slightly winding path.  At the end, I found two boxes, the contents of one of which was a key.  After aquiring this prize, I headed back to the upper layer, returned to my starting point, and entered the hole that was nearby.  This led to an almost perfect mirror of the other low-level portion, though this one had the exit tile.

The second maze was a bit more complicated than the first.  The top layer had a split in the path; I headed west, around a loop, and north into a hole.  Down here was a tight, but snaking path that eventually led me to a small chamber with the key.  Heading all the way back to the very first split, I traveled south into the nearby hole.  This led to a wider snaking path, which was more difficult to navigate, since the creatures had much more room to move around.  At the end, I entered a hole that led me to a small gully in the middle of it all, which in turn, led to a walkway above empty space.  I carefully traversed the tiles making my way to the exit.

Despite having only one traversible layer, the third maze was the most labyrinthine thus far.  Its design was pure chaos; there was no discernable pattern to it.  Nevertheless, I wandered through it until I found the key in a dangerous alcove.  The creatures were becoming more ferocious and greater in number; I even encountered a sentient cloud that emitted electricity in many simultaneous directions.   Frantically, I searched for an exit as I battled my way through legions of monsters with only an iron bar.  Eventually, I did find that exit tile in an unassuming location, and it was quite a relief!

The final maze wasn’t nearly as complex as some of the others, but it was still tricky to navigate.  There were two traversible layers, both of which were large square outlines, though the lower layer had a partition in the middle of its south border.  In the very center of it all was the exit tile in a W-shaped chamber.  The problem wasn’t complexity, but the fact that much of the maze was a fake-out.  The southwestern corner of the upper layer was completely worthless, and the entire western side of the lower layer was close; there was only an enhancement at its end.  Upon the lower layer, the way to go was the eastern side, which had a snaking path leading to the key; it was an arduous journey just making it down and back.  Eventually, I returned to the upper layer and descended to the W-Shaped alcove to exit the Rugged Area altogether.

It’s no real secret that I love deserts; they may be my favorite type of enviromnent.  While I greatly enjoy the typical smooth-sand deserts, there is something very special about the more Southwestern-looking deserts.  The oranges, browns, and even dark reds give the environment a deep seething aesthetic, and the rough ridges help this along.  Orange and other hot colors make a desert appear to be burning, conjuring the feeling of a sharp, painful heat; deep reds and browns present the kind of heat that more of a slow, simmering heat the debilitates you to the point of outright lethargy.  Greater diversity still is seen in a desert under moonlight, giving it a white, pale blue, or even pale lime hue, which provides a more crisp feeling.   Perhaps what I love about deserts so much is the versatility of their mood, changed by a mere swap of palette; colors actually have a very deep meaning to them in such an instance.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *