Its impossible to explain everything in just one post. The amount of planning and technical work that goes into building an escape room completely shocked us at first, but after a lot of "Googling" and watching YouTube videos we came up with a procedure that guided us through the process. This is the procedure we followed.
Room Theme and Puzzle Line
Layout and Prop List
Prop and Wall Construction
Prop Installation and Wiring
In this post I will cover the first topic.
Room Theme and Puzzle line
The single most important part of any escape room is its theme and puzzle line. This is what customers are drawn to, and ultimately this is what will keep them coming back. There are a lot of things that must be considered when honing in the theme and puzzle line such as; difficulty of the puzzles, what people are expecting the next puzzle to be, what the atmosphere of the room is, and how long on average it takes people to escape the room.
Tyson Knoll is the primary developer of the room themes, he is responsible for coming up with unique puzzles. He always start with brainstorming on paper, writing down different themes and doing research on what our target demographic would find interesting. Once we agree on a theme, he does more research on what sort of puzzles have been done before and what new puzzles we could invent. We try to include one or two jaw dropping things in each of our themes with either a prop or decoration, it is important that every single person who enters the room encounters something that they have never seen before.
Tyson makes a list of puzzles that would fit well in the room and shows them to me; there is often a lot of back and fourth since if there is a puzzle that is impossible to construct, or is out of scope/budget it must be changed before we begin construction.
Once we agree on the puzzles, he thinks of how they can lead into one another and considers the timing of the room. It is often beneficial to start and end the room with easier puzzles since it helps customers warm up, or leave happy that they solved something and weren't stuck the whole time. I then organize the puzzle line into a flow chart that will be referenced throughout the process.