View Full Version : Maze Design

01-23-2009, 06:51 PM
Can anyone help me with some basics to drafting the actual layout of a maze. I'm not asking for anyone to reveal trade secrets or business tricks. But if any of you wouldn't mind post some helpful info on the thread or would like to pm and talk that way it would help alot. I have tons of ORIGINAL ideas for rooms and themes but I have no idea how to organize the rooms into a proper pathway.

01-23-2009, 07:01 PM
You know, I've been saying this for a LONG time...but... There should be a DVD JUST ON THIS TOPIC!!!! You know how well that would sale? Yes I meant that too rhyme!

But it would be such a good how-to DVD and would help haunters with the MOST BASIC form of getting the haunts ready! -Tyler

Allen H
01-23-2009, 08:26 PM
Use graph paper to plan your layout,(the half inch/square kind not the 1/4 inch kind) it helps to have a few drafting tools like the plastic sheets with the shapes cut in them.
Make each side of the square = 4ft. It gets tricky with wanting tight halls but ADA requires 42inch halls anyway so when I plan 48" halls It gives me a bit of room to put things on the walls and such.
The more turns you have in your maze the more stable the walls will be. This is something that I (and many others) could write alot about. Here are the quick tips I suggest though. Have a room and then a few turns of hallway leading to the next room. you can use the hallways to make the transition from set to set or use them to tie in your main theme while the rooms diverge a bit. Dont forget to include a spot for actors to get ready and in makeup and storage of their things. Also include actor corridors and shortcuts for them to use (that way they can get several scares).
Feel free to PM me if you need more info to get you started, I do not have the time to write a book (by the way there are several out there already that are decent).
Best of luck,
Allen Hopps

01-23-2009, 09:58 PM
Great advice about leaving some dead areas where actors can get to their scare spots without walking in the maze. Also helps for management when operating. If you draw it out, you can come up with a very elaborate maze that still keeps all the actors in a central dead area. This is great for providing water and bathroom breaks for your actors. We kept 3 "supervisors" in our main dead space in costume. If an actor needed anything, one of these supervisors was in line of sight to all the actors. This really helped us manage some of the younger actors that had a tendacy to chit chat between groups and sometime risked missing a scare.

Keep the maze as tight as possible depending on your states legislation, I can go down to 36" throughout the maze and down to 24" as long as it is not for more than 8 feet or so, not sure on the actual distance.

Put a ceiling on your maze, this increases the dark factor, prevents the guests from using ceiling structure to orient themselves.

Theme each length of maze. In the maze leading up to the next scene. If you are approaching an evil surgeon scene, put some body parts and blood on the wall fo the maze. Paint some hospital doors, have a sign that says "emergency room". Also, theme your ambient sounc with speakers in that length of maze. Have hospital sounds or a saw blade cutting into bone, someone screaming in pain.

Make sure you abide by your states emergency exit laws. Every 75 linear feet in Indiana you need an exit out of the maze. Generally I place the exits right before or after the scene so that my actor can assist people in the maze to get out. Also another reason why the dead space is good in the middle, use it for a fire exit.

Last season we actually put yellow tape on the floor with arrows that glowed in the dark so that once people entered the dead area, they just had to follow the arrows to the outside.

Our supervisors and actors were all trained in exit procedures as well.

Strength, use angle supports at each corner, don't skimp on bolting one panel to the next, I've seen groups huddle together and run right through wall panels before. Breaking one off from the next.

01-23-2009, 11:12 PM
Thanks guys for all that info i really appreciate it.

01-24-2009, 11:23 AM
Just a FYI. Typically ADA requires 36" halls for occupancies less than 10 and 44" over 10. Doorways 32" min, no place is 24" OK. These are not local regs, they are federal law. I'm an Architect and have some idea here. In fact the law effects a lot more areas of a haunt. There are some exceptions, but cost and convenience are not on the list. This certainly applies to any permanent installation, I am checking into temporary uses. Some of the law will still apply in any case. On might think that is BS and no one will say anything, but jurisdictions all over are getting more sophisticated. We have even had some wheelchair riding extortionist go through are area and find businesses not in compliance and have his lawyer right the business and extort money. It worked, and they are out there.

01-24-2009, 11:37 AM
Any other legal requirments you can think of off the top of your head?

RJ Productions
01-24-2009, 04:05 PM
Any ramping, either up to, out of or within the attraction should maintain a 1:12 rise. That is for every 1 inch you rise you must have 12 inches of ramp. To if you need to step up 10 inches you need 10 feet of ramp! I believe you can not have a ramp of more than 30 feet without providing a platform (for rest purposes) You must also provide a platform if you are leading into a doorway or changing directions on your ramp. Platform is a min. of 60in each direction. All ramps must be 36 in wide.

So if you are trying to get someone up 36 inches you would need 36 feet of ramp with 2-60 x 60in platforms.

01-24-2009, 04:15 PM
Ok thanks for the ramp info. Basically NO ramps its a waste of space. Here is a pic from JB corn. I think the first one is the 60 degree one. And the second one is the 90 degree one. I'm just try to make sure I understand that correctly.

Jim Warfield
01-25-2009, 09:18 AM
My maze was 90 degrees right now, it's been zero here long enough!
I think putting a ceiling on your maze leads to potentially more trouble.
With no ceiling a powerfull emergency light from high overhead can illuminate more square footage of the maze.
Smoke detectors have more opportunity to sniff the air. Sounds you might need to be hearing like a customer or employee in actual distress can be better heard and their location pin-pointed making it unnecesarry for the Calvalry to run their stampeding horses through the walls to rescue someone.
Remeber when designing your maze, you need it "tricky" but not too tricky because low or absent lighting will increase the tricky factor greatly.

01-25-2009, 09:40 AM
Alright thanks. I guess having lots Emergency exits isnt enough.

Dr Spooktakular
01-26-2009, 09:42 AM
When you're ready to start building, take some 2x4's (with small piece of plywood attached to 2x4, 2"-3" high full length of 2x4), simulate where the walls will be on the floor from your floor plan. Once you have the hall or room layed out with 2x4's only, see if there are any potential problems. You will find that no matter how perfect the floorplan is, laying out a simulated wall/s before setting up will head off most potential problems before full construction begins. Once the 2x4's are in place and all looks ok, mark the floor with chalk around the 2x4's.

Jim Warfield
01-26-2009, 12:27 PM
I designed our JC maze, a very small, simple thing, on paper and those problems do glaringly make themselves known when the actual walls are standing!
The hallways got skinny!
Our material for wall construction were US surplus ammo boxes, we used them like big wooden bricks, not taking them apart, we covered them with sheets of cardboard to smooth them up, they were strong (with enough nails in them) but yes, they were thick!
These boxes were about 36 inches by 16? by 8 inches with a lid still on them with rope handles on the end.
$10.oo for a big truckload at the Savanna Army Depot.

01-27-2009, 01:23 PM
I have found it! At first i thought I was going to use a steel structure from someone like general steel but they have horrible customer service and once its up its up. Its TOO permanent. So my other option was to go with a tent but as we all know tents are crappy. I have finnally found the company that Las Vegas uses in their temporary structures.
These guys are great! I've actually seen these bad boys in action and if you've been to Vegas you have too.