An introduction to structured maze design
Ever wondered how to design your own mazes? Well here's
how I designed some of my own, personal favourites. The Drinks
tokens, Duvet, Nine crossroads and Walk
on walls (see Maze gallery) all
owe their existance to this process, which I began to develop
in the mid 80s and still often return too, when in need of fresh
inspiration. The variations on this theme are virtually limitless,
and a carefully designed maze template will produce a multitude
of good mazes. I have also experimented with hexagonal (isometric)
variations on this theme, samples of which can be found in the
Step 1: Using squared paper, or your favourite graphics software
tool, design a small maze building-block that repeats well and
leaves just a few gaps. See diagrams (a) and (b) below.
Step 2: Close off the open-ends round the edge of the design
following the flow of the design as much as possible. You can
choose to dead-end some paths, or link them together in groups.
A group of three or more creates a fixed junction in the maze.
In diagram (c) I have chosen to link paths in strict pairs creating
no dead-ends or junctions. Note that at this point you may choose
to leave two open-ends as entry and exit points.
Step 3: Finalise any further fixed sections of the maze, including
start and finish points (if not already chosen). Again follow
the flow of the design and use symmetry where possible. These
fixed sections, like the outside edges, may include dead-ends
and junctions. Diagram (d) for example, includes no dead-ends
but several junctions.
Step 4: Now you have a maze template. See diagram (e). The
next stage is to design a selection of plugs that can
be used to fill the gaps (nodes). These plugs are the variable
element of the maze, give it a degree of randomness and allow
many mazes to be drawn from the same template. In this instance
I have chosen four plugs which, as it happens, are all the same
except for rotation. See diagram (f).
Step 5: Take the template and experiment filling the open
nodes with the chosen plugs until you have your final maze with
a least one route from 'A' to 'B'. See diagram (g).
material and maze design
© Andrea Gilbert 2000