An easy maze



The Heads-Up-Display
(Training Mode)



The Heads-Up-Display
(Challenge 100 Mode)



A tricky maze



The Settings page.


LAser maZE        

Thread a laser beam through a maze of reflectors, absorbers, and prisms to strike the target: .

Laze is a strategy puzzle game designed to be something like pool (billiards). Study the angles, set up your shot, and see what happens. A solution may be only a small adjustment away, or you might have to try a completely different angle.

In the easier mazes (level 40-55) you may be able to hit the target by trial and error, but with the more difficult mazes (level 85 and above), you'll usually have to plan your attack carefully.


Laze can be played in any orientation, but I think it's most convenient to hold the iPhone in landscape orientation and adjust the source position with your left thumb/forefinger, and the beam angle with your right thumb/forefinger.

Remember, The Urban Dictionary says:


1. Laze:  to be lazy, to do very little work.


The Heads-Up Display

The game's Heads-Up-Display (HUD) can be summoned at any time by pushing the gear button: . To dismiss it, just tap.

    The maze history

During play, a list or "history" of mazes is accumulated. You can use the arrow buttons, and , to move forwards and backwards in this history. When you're at the rightmost end
of the history, you can add another maze to the list by hitting the plus button: .

In some modes, the plus may not appear until the current maze has been solved.

    Stuck ?

In some modes, the question mark button: will provide you with progressively more precise hints as to the location of a solution to an unsolved maze. Once you've asked for a hint, the light red region of the source area is where a solution can be found. Tapping the question mark again will make the red region smaller.

In all modes the question mark will show you the "official" solution for a solved maze.

    Settings/Preferences

The info button: takes you to the Settings Page, Where you can choose the current game mode, adjust training difficulty, and get to these handy help pages.

    Numbers in the HUD ?

In all modes, the difficulty of the current maze is displayed at the top of the screen. The difficulty is a number between 40 (very easy) and 100 (very difficult).

In Challenge 100 Mode, the number of the current maze (out of 100 total) is displayed at the bottom of the HUD.


Training Mode

The training library is composed of 500 mazes, with difficulties evenly distributed between 40 (very easy) and 100 (very hard). Each time you hit the plus button on the HUD, Laze will choose a maze from the library to add you your maze history that is as close as possible to the Training Difficulty specified on the Settings Page.

    Up to you ...

The point of training mode is to find mazes that are challenging, but not too hard. If you get frustrated with a particular maze, you have two choices: you can just skip the maze, and come back to it later ( you can use the arrow buttons, , and to move forwards and backwards your maze history), or you can ask Laze for a hint.

If you hit the button, Laze will provide you with progressively more precise hints as to the location of a solution to an unsolved maze. Once you've asked for a hint the light red region of the source area is where a solution can be found. Tapping the question mark again will make the red region smaller and smaller until the complete solution is displayed.

    Managing difficulty

By default, in Training Mode, laze will increase the difficulty of new mazes by a small amount each time you solve one. If you decide that you'd rather stick to a specific difficulty level, you can turn off "Auto Training Difficulty" on the Settings Page and use the slider there to set the difficulty to whatever is appropriate.


Challenge 100 Mode

To complete the challenge, you must solve 100 progressively more difficult mazes from easy to really hard.

To my knowledge none of the thousands of laze players out there has ever completed all 100. If you get there, please send me a screenshot !

One at a time

You have to solve each maze before you move to the next one in the list of 100 mazes. The plus button: will not appear until the current maze is solved.

The maze difficulty is displayed at the top of the screen, and the maze's position in the list of 100 is displayed at the bottom of the screen.

No hints, no peeking !

In this mode, the hint button: is not available until the maze is solved. Once you've solved the maze, you can use this button to view the "official" solution.


Settings Page

The most important control on the Settings page is definitely the "Help" button. This'll take you to a list of help topics, and the ability to email the developer with any unanswered questions.

The current mode

The Current Mode selector lets you choose the game mode you'd like to play. At the moment, Laze has two modes, Training and Challenge 100. Just tap to switch modes.

Note that you don't have to worry about "saving" your progress. Laze always keeps track of which mazes you've solved in all modes

Interaction hints

By default, every time you touch, Laze will display an icon designed to function as a hint about how to move your finger. If you touch in or near the gray source area, you should move your finger back and forth in a straight line to adjust the source position. If you touch elsewhere, you should move your finger in an arc to adjust the angle of the beam leaving the source.

Once you've got the hang of it, use the "Show Interaction Hints" toggle on the settings page to turn them off.

Training difficulty

The training library is composed of 500 mazes, with difficulties evenly distributed between 40 (very easy) and 100 (very hard). Each time you hit the plus button on the HUD, Laze will choose a new maze from the library to add you your maze history that is as close as possible to the Training Difficulty specified by the difficulty slider.

By default, Laze will increase the difficulty of new mazes by a small amount each time you solve one. If you decide that you'd rather control the difficulty level of new mazes yourself, you can turn off the "Auto Training Difficulty" toggle, and set the slider to whatever you want.


Support

Please send questions and comments to

laze@trombla.com

FAQ

Why doesn't the target light up immediately when I hit it with the laser ?
You have to hold the laser stationary on the target for 0.5 seconds before it lights up. This is to prevent an "unintentional" win from just swinging the laser around wildly.
What do I get when I complete the 100-Maze Challenge ?
Uhh ...    Satisfaction ?   Self-respect ?   Definitely bragging rights.   (I haven't managed to finish it yet, and I created the damn thing.) Actually, to my knowledge, no-one has been able to solve all 100 mazes. If you do, please send me a screenshot !
Sometimes the laser seems to bounce around inside a prism instead of being "bent" by it. What's going on ?
This is something called total internal reflection, a real property of refractors described by Snell's Law. Basically, when the ray leaving the prism is bent so much that it runs along the prism surface, it no longer passes through the surface and is reflected back into the interior of the prism instead.

See, Laze is teaching you optics ! At no extra charge !
Is Laze really teaching me optics ? Are all these reflections and reflactions physically correct ?
Partly. The geometry of the reflections and refractions is correct, and the beam does attenuate (sort of) exponentially. But the attenuation is not exactly right, and in particular the beam is not increasingly attenuated by the prisms as, I think, it should be. The index of refraction of the prisms ranges from that of glass to that of diamond.
Will Laze work on my iPod Touch ?
Yes! Laze has been tested and works perfectly on both first and second generation iPod Touch devices.
Hey, I beat this maze just by trial and error, this game is too easy!
Yes some of the easier mazes (level 55 and under) are solvable by semi-random guessing, but don't worry, the mazes in Challenge 100 mode quickly grow more difficult, and in Training mode you can of course choose a difficult maze with the slider. Exhaustive experiments with monkeys (who were not harmed) have shown that the more difficult mazes (level 85 and above) are not solvable without some intellectual analysis on your part.
This maze is hard! I think it's actually impossible ...
Every maze in the game has at least one solution (determined programmatically), and the solutions to the mazes in the Challenge 100 Mode list have been verified by hand.
When I'm manipulating the beam, my finger gets in the way!
Remember that you don't need to touch near the beam to manipulate it. Touch anywhere in the grey source area to manipulate the laser source position, and anywhere outside the grey source area to manipulate the laser beam angle.









© Alan Trombla
February 10, 2009