Sketchy Maze

"a drawing-based maze game."

Welcome to Sketchy Maze!

Sketchy Maze is a drawing-based maze game themed around hand-drawn maps on paper.

In Sketchy Maze, players may draw their own custom levels and play them as in a 2D platformer-type game. You can make your levels look like anything you want, and you decide which colors will be solid or which are fire; and then drag some "doodads" such as buttons, keys and creatures into your level to make it interesting. Oh, and those doodads? You can make your own, too, and program them in JavaScript to do whatever you want!

The game also features a "Story Mode" with some built-in levels, and players may also compose their own such Level Packs to share with others, too!

Runs on:

This game currently runs on GNU/Linux, Windows and macOS (Intel) computers and on Linux handhelds like the Pinephone or Librem 5 (arm64). It is currently available as an early, open beta release. See the Downloads page to try it out, free!

See About, FAQ and the Guidebook for more information about the game.

v0.13.1 Released

This release brings a handful of minor new features to the game.

First, there are a couple of new Pixel Attributes available in the level editor:

  • Semi-Solid: pixels with this attribute only behave as “solid” when walked on from above. The player can jump through the bottom of a Semi-Solid and land on top, and gradual slopes can be walked up and down as well, but a steep slope or a wall can be simply passed through as though it were just decoration.
  • Slippery: the player’s acceleration and friction are reduced when walking on a slippery floor. In the future, players and other mobile doodads may slide down slippery slopes automatically as well (not yet implemented).
  • These attributes are available in the Level Editor by clicking the “Edit” button on your Palette (or the “Tools -> Edit Palette” menu). The Palette Editor now has small icon images for the various attributes to make room for the expanded arsenal of options.

Doodad/Actor Runtime Options have been added:

  • In the Doodad Editor’s “Doodad Properties” window, see the new “Options” tab.
  • Doodad Options allow a map creator to customize certain properties about your doodad, on a per-instance basis (instances of doodads are called “actors” when placed in your level).
  • In the Level Editor when the Actor Tool is selected, mousing over a doodad on your level will show a new gear icon in the corner. Clicking the icon will open the Actor Properties window, where you may toggle some of the doodad options (if a doodad has any options available).
  • Options can be of type boolean, string, or integer and have a custom name and a default value at the doodad level. In the Level Editor, the map creator can set values for the available options which the doodad script can read using the Self.GetOption() method.
  • Several of the game’s built-in doodads have options you can play with, which are documented below.

New and updated doodads:

  • “Look At Me” is a new Technical doodad that will draw the camera’s attention to it when it receives a power signal from a linked button. For example, if a button would open an Electric Door far across the level, you can also place a “Look At Me” near the door and link the button to both doodads. When the button is pressed, the camera will scroll to the “Look At Me” and the player can see that the door has opened.
  • Anvils will now attract the camera’s attention while they are falling.

Several of the game’s built-in doodads have new Actor Runtime Options you can configure in your custom levels:

  • Warp Doors: “locked (exit only)” will make it so the player can not enter the warp door - they will get a message on-screen that it is locked, similar to how warp doors behave when they aren’t linked to another door. If it is linked to another door, the player may still exit from the ’locked’ door - essentially creating a one-way warp, without needing to rely on the orange/blue state doors. The “Invisible Warp Door” technical doodad also supports this option.
  • Electric Door & Electric Trapdoor: check the “opened” option and these doors will be opened by default when the level gameplay begins. A switch may still toggle the doors closed, or if the doors receive and then lose a power signal they will close as normal.
  • Colored Doors & Small Key Door: you may mark the doors as “unlocked” at the start of your level, and they won’t require a key to open.
  • Colored Keys & Small Key: you may mark the keys as “has gravity” and they will be subject to the force of gravity and be considered a “mobile” doodad that may activate buttons or trapdoors that they fall onto.
  • Gemstones: these items already had gravity by default, and now they have a “has gravity” option you may disable if you’d prefer gemstones not to be subject to gravity (and make them behave the way keys used to).
  • Gemstome Totems: for cosmetic purposes you may toggle the “has gemstone” option and the totem will already have its stone inserted at level start. These gemstones will NOT emit a power signal or interact normally with linked totems - they should be configured this way only for the cosmetic appearance, e.g., to have one totem filled and some others empty; only the empty totems should be linked together and to a door that would open when they are all filled.
  • Fire Region: you may pick a custom “name” for this doodad (default is “fire”) to make it better behave as normal fire pixels do: “Watch out for (name)!”

Improvements in support of custom content:

  • Add a JavaScript “Exception Catcher” window in-game. If your doodad scripts encounter a scripting error, a red window will pop up showing the text of the exception with buttons to copy the full text to your clipboard (in case it doesn’t all fit on-screen) and to suppress any further exceptions for the rest of your game session (in case a broken doodad is spamming you with error messages). Cheat codes can invoke the Exception Catcher for testing: throw <message> to show custom text, throw2 to test a “long” message and throw3 to throw a realistic message.
  • Calling console.log() and similar from doodad scripts will now prefix the log message with the doodad’s filename and level ID.

There are new JavaScript API methods available to doodad scripts:

  • Self.CameraFollowMe() will attract the game’s camera viewport to center on your doodad, taking the camera’s focus away from the player character. The camera will return to the player if they enter a directional input.
  • Self.Options() returns a string array of all of the options available on the current doodad.
  • Self.GetOption(name) returns the configured value for a given option.

Some improvements to the doodad command-line tool:

  • doodad show will print the Options on a .doodad file and, when showing a .level file with the --actors option, will list any Options configured on a level’s actors where they differ from the doodad’s defaults.
  • doodad edit-doodad adds a --option parameter to define an option on a doodad programmatically. The syntax is like --option name=type=default for example --option unlocked=bool=true or --option unlocked=bool; the default value is optional if you want it to be the “zero value” (false, zero, or empty string).

Minor fixes and improvements:

  • Add a “Wait” modal with a progress bar. Not used yet but may be useful for long operations like Giant Screenshot or level saving to block input to the game while it’s busy doing something. Can be tested using the cheat code “test wait screen”
  • Detect the presence of a touchscreen device and automatically disable on-screen touch hints during gameplay if not on a touch screen.
  • Mobile Linux: mark the Sketchy Maze launcher as supporting the mobile form-factor for the Phosh desktop shell especially.
  • Fix the Crusher doodad sometimes not falling until it hits the ground and stopping early on slower computers.
  • Small tweaks to player physics - acceleration increased from 0.025 to 0.04 pixels per tick.

See the Downloads page to try it out!

v0.13.0 Released

A new major update to the Sketchy Maze beta has been released! This update continues to improve on performance and stability with a new file format for Levels (& Doodads) which greatly reduces memory use when playing large and colorful levels such as Azulian Tag - Forest – down from 1.5 GB of memory to closer to 200 MB, making these larger levels playable on lower power devices.

Your existing levels & doodads created with earlier versions of the game still work! The update is backwards compatible and your files will be transparently upgraded to the new format on its next save.

Screenshot of the start to the Jungle level (v0.13.0)

This release also comes with a lot of new content:

  • Swimming mechanics:
    • The water pixels on your levels actually do something useful now!
    • When the player character is wet, swimming physics apply: gravity and jump speed are slower, and the jump button can be spammed infinitely in order to “swim” upwards a small amount. Hold the jump button to ascend slowly, spam it to ascend more quickly.
    • The Azulians can swim, too! By default they’ll sink and walk along the bottom but if they are tracking the player character they will swim up to catch you.
  • 4 new levels:
    • The Jungle (First Quest) - a direct sequel to the Boat level, it’s a jungle and Mayan themed platformer featuring many of the new doodads from this release such as Snakes, Gemstones and Crushers.
    • Gems & Totems (Tutorial, Lesson 4) - a tutorial map showing how the new Gemstones & Totems work in a safe environment.
    • Swimming (Tutorial, Lesson 5) - a tutorial to explore the new swimming mechanics that come in this release!
    • Night Sky (Azulian Tag) - a third installment in the Azulian Tag survival mode levelpack!
  • 11 new doodads:
    • Blue Bird: a new variant like the Red Bird, this one flies in a sine wave pattern about its target altitude and will dive at you from a greater height.
    • Snake: a green snake that sits coiled up and always faces the player. If you try and jump over it, it will jump up to try and catch you. It is harmless to other Snakes but will still jump with you.
    • Crusher: a block-headed enemy with an iron helmet which tries to drop on you from above. Its helmet makes for a safe platform to ride back up like an elevator.
    • Gems & Totems: four collectible gems (in different colors and shapes) that slot into Totems of a matching shape. Totems may link together and require you to collect multiple gemstones before they’ll emit a power signal to other linked doodads (such as to open an Electric Door).
  • 5 new wallpapers:
    • A dark version of Dotted Paper and 4x new Parchment Paper wallpapers are now available (the latter come in white, red, blue, and green varieties). As always, you may select a custom wallpaper for your levels if you like!
  • New brush pattern: Bubbles! The “water” color of each of the game’s default palettes will use the Bubbles pattern.

New doodads including the Crusher, Snake, and gemstones

There are a handful of other changes and smaller features which you can see on the change log. Head over to the downloads page and try out the latest release today!

v0.12.1 Released

A new version of Sketchy Maze has been released and this one focuses on improving performance and memory usage of the game. Two of the game’s levels (“Azulian Tag - Forest” and “Shapeshifter”) were especially taxing on the game and 32-bit builds could sometimes crash for running out of memory! The game tries to be much nicer about freeing up memory when not in use and more proactively loading/unloading level chunks during gameplay.

This release also fixes a long-standing bug where the player character could “climb” walls to their right. See the full details on the change log and download the latest version!

v0.12.0: the Azulian Tag Update

A new beta release of Sketchy Maze is now available. This release brings a lot of new features to the level editor, such as a Text Tool and Flood Fill Tool, and adds a couple new levels for a game mode called “Azulian Tag.”

In Azulian Tag, the player who is “It” (that’s you) needs to avoid being tagged by the enemy characters, most of which are Azulians. The Azulians on these maps have an infinite aggro radius and will chase after the player no matter how far away you are! To get the gold medal high score, you need to find the secret exit hidden in each level. Otherwise, you’re awarded a silver high score based on how long you survive until one of the Azulians catches you!

Azulian Tag

New Level Editor Features

Some new drawing tools are added:

  • The Text Tool makes it easy to stamp text messages onto your level, choosing from one of the built-in fonts (including the Azulian language font!) and using any of your level’s colors.
  • The Flood Tool implements a paint bucket to replace contiguous regions of your drawing with a new color.
  • The Pan Tool lets you easily scroll your level viewport with your left mouse button or finger swipe on mobile. This is especially useful for devices with touch screens so you can avoid accidentally editing your level when you just wanted to scroll it!

New Game Rules can be customized on your level to change the game’s default behaviors, including:

  • A Difficulty setting that can adjust the way enemy mobs behave. On Peaceful, enemies ignore the player and do no harm. On Hard mode, enemies become more aggressive, such as the Azulians having an infinite aggro radius and run at the player at level start!
  • The Survival Mode rule changes the meaning of “high score” for the silver medal tier: you’re awarded for how long you survive before dying rather than how quickly you beat the level. On these levels, the gold tier for finding the Exit Flag unscathed is still awarded for fastest time finding the flag.

Download the latest release now or see the change log for full details.

v0.11.0: the Creatures Update

This is a new, major release of the Sketchy Maze beta. There are a bunch of new tweaks to gameplay including controller support and an A.I. overhaul for the enemy creatures.

Download the latest release now or see the change log for full details. The highlights of this release are described below.

Screenshot of The Zoo

New Features

Creatures are more aggressive

The game’s creatures have had an update to their A.I. and many of them will now become hostile to the player character. There have also been updates to their behavior when controlled by the player character. Some of the changed behaviors include:

The Azulians will track and follow the player character and jump if you are above them. Azulians are friendly if the player character is an Azulian or a Thief. Each color of Azulian has a different aggro radius, speed and jump height with the Blue Azulian being the weakest of them all.

The Bird will search for the player and dive-bomb at them when it sees a shot it can take. Birds do not attack players who can fly, so they are friendly to the player character if you play as the Bird. When under the player’s control, the Bird can dive to kill other mobs such as the Azulian.

The Anvil, under the player’s control, is invulnerable to damage from enemy mobs and it can crush other mobs by jumping onto them.

Game controller support

Sketchy Maze can now be played using an Xbox-compatible controller, including some from Nintendo such as the Switch Pro Controller.

If you have a Nintendo-like controller where the “A/B” and “X/Y” buttons are each swapped compared to an Xbox-like, you can choose the “N Style” button layout in the game’s settings. Every PC game controller in my house is a Nintendo-style one, so this button mapping is a first-class citizen in my game!

See the Gamepad Controls in the Guidebook for full details!

New Levels & Doodads

Two new levels have been added:

  • The Zoo: this Tutorial level shows off basically all of the doodads in the game and features a “costume room” to try playing as different creatures.
  • Shapeshifter: this addition to the First Quest needs the player to swap between different creatures to complete the level

And there’s a new doodad:

  • The White Azulian is the strongest Azulian and has a larger player search radius, speed and jump height than the Red Azulian.

Scripting updates for custom doodads

The JavaScript syntax used by doodad scripts now supports many modern ES6 syntax features, including the let and const keywords, arrow functions, Promises, and for-of loops, which brings a massive quality of life improvement for programming custom doodads!

For the technical details, I’ve replaced robertkrimen/otto with dop251/goja - check their documentation for updates on ES6 syntax support!

There are also new features in the scripting API to allow doodads to search the level for the player or other actors. Check out the functions tagged “v0.11.0” on the Script API Reference for full details.

Check it out!

Download the latest release for Windows, Mac OS or Linux!

Copyright © 2022 Noah Petherbridge.