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freak 'n' stein
07-03-2010, 11:13 PM
I'm going to try and avoid case-specific questions here, but in the event I do, please forgive me now...

What characteristics/variables determine maze paths?! Do you use other haunts as a guide when you design your paths?!

I know square footage would be a big thing, but what I mean is how do you plan ahead for emergency egress, actor passage ways, the layout in terms of walkways vs open rooms?!

I'm in Myrtle Beach for the 4th of July weekend and tonight I went to the Ripley's Haunted Adventure for the second time and still wasn't too impressed and I tried Nightmare Haunted House and loved it. Nightmare had switch doors that took you back to the same places and the actors locked doors in the middle of your group to split you up. How do you plan such things while keeping safety in mind?! Has anyone else done switch doors?!

Does everyone still use good old fashion pen to paper when drawing out a basic maze or has everyone gone to google sketch-up? I prefer a pen and paper but gsu has it's perks.

Don_OfThe_Dead
07-04-2010, 12:07 AM
We prefer to use Google Sketch-Up. It's a very simple CAD program, easy to use, and free. The best part is making your haunt 3D to get a good feel for it as a walkthrough. Obviously though a chalkboard or pen and paper is quicker to use for basic design layout.


As far as the layout- Egress takes 1st precedent, Rooms 2nd, walkway 3rd, and actor movement is last. I dunno, thats all sorta loose I guess, not definite.

You have to take into consideration your environment as well, are you looking for a permanent layout? One that can be modified easily? Set rooms for years to come? It almost becomes a case by case point for it. I've been behind the scenes at a few haunts and the best method I can think of is to go with a central command/actor area that accesses all the rooms from the same point. We use the center of our haunt for this since it's where the actor bathrooms are located anyways. From there we build modular- decide how many open rooms/scenes we want, build them outside the haunt and determine their size, then put them into SketchUp with the dimensions of our building already set...from there it becomes a game of connecting the dots really. A little more complicated than that yes, but what's important to you? Sometimes we build duplicate rooms and place them in different sections of the haunt- or right after each other, so it confuses people. You could have movable opening also, but we prefer a strait shot that is confusing as can be. It's all up to how much space you feel you need and how many actors you want to dedicate to keeping control of the flow.

Boni
07-04-2010, 08:37 AM
Before I had Google Sketch Up, I had taken the blue print for our building and put it on Excel. I made all the cells perfectly square and made the scale so each square was 4', the size of our walls. So by simply playing with the boarders of each cell, I created our wall pattern. It might be basic, but it worked for us. Now if I want to change something, its really easy. It prints easily, and it allows you to color code your areas very easily.

I started out by putting in all my permanent walls, poles, and doors. Then I color coded emergency exits from the door back into the haunt. Using our state guidelines I made enough routes to satisfy the fire marshall. While these doubled as actor and supervisor roaming areas, I then added other actor areas branching off from the emergency exit (some of these were changed as I actually filled in the maze) then I took my story line. I broke my story line down into about 10 zones, then I placed the zones on the sheet, within each zone were 4-6 scare points or rooms. I placed those next, and then took then filled in the maze on how I wanted people to enter and exit each room, then connected the entry and exit of each scare point with some sort of maze action.

In summary

Establish your perm structure items
Place your emergency exits
Add actor space
Create zones
Break down your zone with scare points
Connect the scare points with maze.

This worked so much better than year 1 when I made the maze first, and then had to keep revising to accomplish all the safety and actor areas, it also made me have to alter some rooms because I couldn't get the guest entry exit like I wanted it.

freak 'n' stein
07-04-2010, 11:12 PM
Just what I wanted to know! Thanks guys!

The haunt I help run now has permanent walls, problem is, when it was first built, the building had about 7 big rooms and a maze. As the years went on, the 7 larger rooms got broken down into 14 smaller rooms and corridors...no room to get large props in/out...everything essentially has to be built and taken down IN the room.

I was just taking in considerations for future reference. THANK YOU AGAIN!!