I recently received an email containing a solution to one of my mazes, along with a what I’ll interpret as a fan-letter and some constructive criticism. Check out the incredibly detailed solution & the message below:
And the accompanying email:
From: Rick Jaspers
Date: Mon, Jun 25, 2012
Hi, I saw a post in which you asked people to solve a maze, and send the solution to you, but I just can’t seem to find the post now. Oh well, here is my solution.
It was a great maze! Your style of utilizing tight squiggly paths and many dead ends made it a real challenge to solve. I enjoyed the complexity and design of this wonderful maze.
I did find a couple issues that I should bring to your attention. I hesitate to say anything because I fear it could be taken in the wrong spirit. But I assure you that even though we don’t know each other, I wish you every success with your mazes. The things I found are very minor, and things I have done many times myself, and not caught until much later. Furthermore none of these issues keep this from being a very good maze.
With that said, this is what I found (refer to the attachment for a visual):
The areas marked in red are closed off from the rest of the maze so the solver is not able to get into them from the starting line. This is an easy fix, open up an end in each of these areas, and you have created additional dead end to frustrate the solver.
The second thing is the three loops marked with green dotted lines. Some maze designers use loops, others do not. Personally, I don’t like using loops except in certain specialized mazes. As the designer, you get to chose the rules you apply to your designs. Since you only have a small amount of loops, I am thinking that they were not intentional. Again, if you did not mean to include loops, they are easy to fix. Closing off one end makes yet more dead ends. Having loops along the solution route adds a further complication of having alternate paths which lead to the end, and these other ways to get to the finish must be shown when you provide solutions.
If you can bare one more suggestion, here it is. As you make the last turn for the finish line, the trail forks off into three paths. When solvers are so close to the finish, they can see which path is the right one. I would recommend closing off the two false paths at this point, and finding another place to open them up, so you create two more dead ends right at the finish.
These are all minor things, but I hope they help. I don’t see myself as an expert maze designer. Many of my mazes are poorly designed. I lack a mathematical sense, which can be very helpful in designing mazes. Also I have a really horrible sense of direction, seriously. I am constantly getting lost when I go places. But I enjoy making mazes, so I do it.
I sincerely hope you can find a way for more people to enjoy your fine mazes.
So, I wrote back…
From: Waldo Lunar <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, Jun 26, 2012
To: Rick Jaspers
Thanks for taking the time to complete the maze & for all the pointers! How did you find me?
I should be able to look through them to find the one that this matches without a problem.
I don’t know if I really “design” mazes, I kind of just draw them. I do appreciate your advice though… it would be easier to complete without the loops, and more challenging without the areas that are closed off.
Do you have any of your mazes up online anywhere?
Would you mind if I posted your email in a blog along with your solution?
Thanks for writing!
From: Rick Jaspers
Date: Wed, Jun 27, 2012
Subject: RE: Maze Solution
I enjoyed doing your maze, so no problem. Much more challenging than any of mine.
Originally, I found your site when I did a WordPress Topics Search for “Mazes”, and was able to get a hold of you because your e-mail was listed on your About page.
I do not have any mazes on-line. I no longer own the rights to the 33 in the published book. All of the other mazes I have done are part of unpublished or unfinished books. I guess I don’t like the idea of putting mazes on-line that I am trying to get into print.
You are welcome to do whatever you wish with the solution I made, and if you want to include my e-mail, that is fine also.
That’s pretty cool! Rick had to take some serious time solving the maze & doing his photo-editing work in the solution. This encourages me that there are more people out there who dig mazes, & we all may benefit from me getting a book published. Maybe I can put more though into my mazes, instead of just doodling. I certainly could use more money to buy goofy guitars.
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