Whether an escape room provider builds a new room or remodels an existing one, there is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that are required to create good puzzles is enormous. Some may think that creating a new room is easier than spicing up an existing one. That is the mistake. For a completely new escape room, many points must be considered so that the room is ultimately well received. But let's take a look at the thing one by one:
The most crucial thing for every good room is a well-written story that can put a spell on its teams. Once you come up with your own story, it would be the basis for all the actions, as well as the puzzles in the room.
As an example, we can use a fictional scenario. We chose an underwater scenario. Something that might be played in a submarine that is stranded at the bottom of the sea. Are the teams trapped in this submarine? Do the teams have to salvage this submarine? These two questions alone set the course for future puzzles, as well as for the interior.
So, let's assume that we're trapped in this submarine. We must find a way to get back to the surface safely before we run out of the air, or have we woken up a giant octopus at the bottom of the ocean that threatens to crush our submarine?
Again, the direction where the story goes is decided very early. Whether the thing is going to be a rescue mission, or is it going to lean towards horror? How would you decide?
There are not that many rooms in which team players are the only relevant “characters”. In most cases, there are fictional or historical personas that will be established during the quest and be represents as the villains that the teams must defeat.
It depends on the story in which character sees the light of day. The more back story the characters get, the livelier they become for the teams. If you introduce too many characters, you run the risk of not taking your time properly to build up the existing characters. Say more than 3, a maximum of 4 different people should not be there. Here you keep an overview and can incorporate one or two surprises. Incidentally, such as “story twists” are very popular and provide additional elements that let the player dive deeper into the story.
As an example: The originally friendly gardener who helped you through the entire quest suddenly becomes a supervillain who wants to seize the world domination.
Setup and puzzles
Now we have our submarine in a horror scenario set deep in the ocean. Accordingly, we would also adapt the interior to a submarine. Steel or metal at every nook and corner. Small stairs or transitions that are led over thick pipes. There is no limit to creativity here and some rooms are so impressively and lovingly furnished that as a player you can completely get lost in the story.
Nevertheless, it is now important to integrate the planned puzzles directly into the setting. So, the entire cockpit of the submarine can be a 3-step puzzle, in which you first must turn on the power, start the machine again and try to get rid of the octopus somehow.
When creating the puzzle, the complete interior should be taken into consideration. It makes a lot more sense to push a few buttons and pull levers in this submarine than to put a pink stuffed unicorn on the captain's chair. Sure, it sounds funny, but it would bring the atmosphere down.
This goes hand in hand with the decoration and can also contribute very much through tones, background noises, light or light effects so that the teams can immerse themselves in the story. If you pay close attention, you will notice that it is no complete silence. Even at home, the fridge may be humming quietly from the kitchen, or you may have a little car noise from the street in front of the house. Such small details don't sound so important, but they add a lot to the atmosphere and shouldn't be missing in any good escape room.
Since there are many more things to consider before the new room is even built, we will put a line here and ask you instead:
Which scenario would you like to experience in an escape room?