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Building Maze

Aerial view from the north

Owner SlowRiot, Flippeh, runechan
Category Attractions
Underground? No
Public? Yes
Started 12 August 2010
Completed 13 August 2010
Size north to south 37m
Size west to east 57m
Height 5m
Coordinates X=-108
Dimension Overworld
Nearest warp Maze
Map link
Screenshot of the maze map from the film
Shot of the tabletop version of the maze in the film
Kubrick's shooting plan for inside the maze
Sunset view of the maze before addition of the snow
Map view of the maze with snow

The maze provides an opportunity for players to test their problem-solving and endurance abilities.



"It recently occurred to me that I hadn't seen any good mazes in SMP yet, so I set out to build one on our server - with a lot of help from Flippeh. And what better maze to build, than the Overlook Hotel's maze from The Shining? It's rectilinear, big enough to be challenging but small enough to be practical. And the walls and paths are equal thicknesses - perfect for a block-based game." - SlowRiot

Conceived early in the history of Freedonia when Minecraft survival multiplayer was still young, it was felt that the online community suffered from a dearth of quality mazes. Which was strange, since Creative featured mazes heavily. A couple of the three original admins set out to remedy this situation.

Initial construction

The construction of the maze predates tools such as Cuboid which would have made an admin construction of this nature easier. Instead, it was built entirely by hand.

First an appropriately sized area was chosen, a distance that was judged to be remote from Spawn at the time, at the edge of the currently explored region of Freedonia. The hilly terrain was excavated by hand and levelled to the specified size.

It was felt that avoiding grief at the maze would be impossible (as the construction long predated the grief alert system), so a focus of the design was to make grief obvious and easy to repair. For this reason smoothstone walls were chosen, as it was felt that a griefer (or maze cheater) would be unlikely to accurately replace smoothstone walls, and any modifications in cobble would be easy to spot.

Initially the layout of the walls was plotted in smoothstone, one block tall. The gaps in between were then filled with sand.

Sand was chosen as a flooring material, as it was known that griefers or maze cheaters would opt to dig their way out of the maze, and the falling sand would make it obvious where this had occurred. Having a differentiated smoothstone foundation also ensured that if any section of wall were removed, a telltale difference in flooring material would make it obvious where this had happened.

The sand was placed atop a dirt layer, in anticipation of a surprise punishment for future would-be tunnellers, as it would be easy to dig through one layer of dirt rapidly without thinking, leading maze cheaters to fall into the Sauna.


"sorry tyler suana needs fuel" Bobafette469

The name Sauna was chosen as a euphemism by Flippeh. It is a large room floored with two layers of lava, running the full width and length of the maze, placed directly underneath. When it was still possible to cheat at the maze or attempt to grief it, those who would attempt to tunnel out of the maze would be in for an unpleasant surprise, as they suddenly fell into the lava beneath.

In later times, Sauna earned a warp of its own, the destination being a single wooden block in the middle of the lake. As long as the warping individual did not panic and stayed perfectly still, they would be safe. Despite this, most visitors to the sauna never returned intact.


As more was learnt about the advanced workings of Notch's server, a write protection scheme was put into place around the maze. Due to the way chunks worked, it was possible to write-protect individual chunk files at the filesystem level. A griefer could visit the maze, and indeed destroy it to their heart's content. However, when they left and the chunk unloaded, the server would attempt to write the updated chunks to disk, and of course would fail. Subsequently, when the next visitor came to the maze, the chunks would be loaded freshly from disk, and the maze would once more be intact.

This "soft" protection scheme was in use in many areas of Freedonia, such as UngriefableTower (the proof of concept for this technique), Pyramid and PirateShip.

Unfortunately, migration to the mcregion format removed this simple protection method as a possibility. Subsequently, the maze was protected with Cuboid. It later became evident that this could be used to add a further game dynamic - removing the possibility of easy escape by use of teleport commands, which are disabled inside the maze. For added challenge, the protection was extended down to include Sauna also.

Later as fly mods became more prevalent, a "no fly zone" was created above the maze which prevents both ingress and egress from above.

In February 2013 the protection systems of the maze were modernised. The lionsArea plugin was used to replace the outdated cuboid, which prevents donor commands from working in the maze once more. However, simpler techniques that were not formerly possible, such as throwing ender eyes, or simply using /jumpto from outside to point at the floor of the maze, required a physical ceiling to be placed on the maze at last. Thus the wall height was raised by one block and an iron grating placed across the gaps to prevent cheating.

After a ban, what was once taken from the ground is returned, so that the cycle may begin again.
A triumphant player has collected his reward

Reward chests

From the beginning, the maze was conceived to contain reward chests at the centre. Initially they contained a variety of useful building materials - ladders, torches, and so forth. After a time, however, people became aware of the soft protection system in use (see above), and began systematically harvesting these chest contents as they regenerated - one notable offender being Madjock999, for whom a plaque was even erected above one of the chests. As a result, the chests were emptied of loot.

Once the protection system changed to Cuboid, the chests started to be used to give out one-off rewards once more. At present, many moderators and admins are in the habit of populating the maze chests with items they obtain from banned griefers.


As the above habit of stocking chests with griefer loot grew more prevalent, it became evident that some individuals had charted and memorised the shortest path through the maze, and were systematically clearing out the maze chests.

It was felt that this was rather unsportsmanlike behaviour, and so SlowRiot took it upon himself to complicate matters somewhat.

Using automated Craftbook doors, portions of the maze were automated to reconfigure themselves based on certain conditions. As a result, it became far more challenging to complete the maze in a predictable and straightforward manner.

It is now rumoured that dark arts must be used to successfully complete the maze, involving either nocturnal rituals or a human sacrifice.

Either that or a minimap mod.


Subsequent to the above mechanisation, and following the new protection scheme in use, it was decided to cover the maze in snow. This was felt to be more in keeping with the original Shining reference.

The snow also serves as a potential hint to the operation of the maze's mechanisation system.


Subsequent to the 1.5 update on 27 April 2011, the new web block was introduced throughout the maze to add a deeper strategy to navigation, aiming to discourage blind blundering or inefficient following of the right-hand rule.



External links

See also

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