A lot of people, who draw or doodle mazes, do them either absent-minded or in a focused manner. For those who draw them without any particular thought, it’s likely an expression of the subconscious mind, where creativity usually reigns. It may be an attempt to gain a medium that breaks free of the rules of language or interpretation, through indirect symbolism. A maze can possibly represent a person’s feelings of confinement or emotional barriers. It may reflect a personal obstacle or challenge the doodler is experiencing, or it may be that the person is living too fast-paced & craves an opportunity to slow down. And regarding those who attempt to do them purposely, it’s typically an activity for those of an introverted or obsessive nature, as well of those who are simply fond of patterns that evolve. A maze also has a nice ambiguity in that it can be both structural, yet abstract. It expresses both the fear of getting lost, as well as the pleasure and challenge of exploration. These opposing meanings, not uncommon in symbols, explain partially our fascination with them. Mazes and labyrinths have been a part of human culture since 2500 BCE, and can be found all over historical sites around the world. Humans have always been fascinated by them, as they provide a person the willingness to get lost upon entering. Penelope Doob, a Stanford Professor and author, points out that mazes and labyrinths reward us for our persistence, memory, and intelligence. One can force you through a set journey, while another can deliberately seek to confuse and frustrate.
Do you want a difficult maze? Then having paths branch several times before dead ending will make it a lot harder, even having large sections of the maze all be futile. But also making the real oath long and circuitous, doubling back on itself in many places so trying to move towards the goal overall is counterproductive, and having the most complex dead ends branching off in such a direction to make it easier to fall into them.
Adding something interesting about the maze can be a good way to make it better. For instance, the maze itself could form a shape, or the path through could spell out something. Or you could add something it make the solve be more of a puzzle than a blind wander. You could also have some added dimensionality, such as multiple levels, or a stateful maze, so you have to flip switches at certain locations to change which paths are traversable. Or you could add in waypoints you must pass through without doubling back on your path.
Because without such twists, once you get past a certain complexity, solving the maze is just a matter of grinding it out. You can apply various methodologies to it, but it all boils down to exhaustively checking each oath until you find the right one. Twists can take the structure of the maze and add in more problem solving to make it more of a challenge rather than a slog.
What makes a great maze? I’m teaching my 5 yr old to draw mazes on a huge whiteboard at home. We already made many of them. We tried adding coins to grab from within the maze, treasures, monsters. What would you do to make a maze great? – walls, traps, confuse the person walking inside the maze, etc
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^^ that’s how you find base keywords.
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