Daedalus: The Lost Wings
Escape room based on the Greek myth of Daedalus
This spring the Texas Theme Park Engineering Group (TxTPEG) set out to accomplish an ambitious goal: to create a fully functioning escape room in 4 months under tight budget and time constraints. Four months after we set out with this goal in mind, our escape room’s immersive story, puzzle design, art, props, electrical and magnetic, structural, and lighting elements came together, forming an engaging, ancient Greece themed escape room experience open to anyone on campus. The success of the escape room was thanks largely to TxTPEG’s team of diverse student volunteers. We hope that all who entered Daedalus’ workshop had as much fun as we did bringing it to life.
In our preshow, guests were given an introduction to the story of the room. Through a pre-recorded video the goddess Athena explains to the guests that the gods had previously thought that King Minos burned down Daedalus’ workshop in anger. However, they had recently learned that Daedalus actually rigged his shop to destroy itself 45 min after he left. Athena realized that Daedalus must have left behind something that he could not allow Minos to have: an extra pair of his famous wings. Being the Goddess of craft and wisdom, Athena explains that she wants the wings but cannot intervene herself as it would draw too much attention from the gods of that time. Sending a group of mortals to retrieve them is her next best plan. With the goddess Iris’ help, she sends the guests back with 45 min to get the wings for her before the workshop explodes.
Schematics and Planning:
We divided our volunteers into different groups, each responsible for planning and fabricating a specific part of the escape room. These groups included the structural group (responsible for planning the PVC structure of the escape room), the electrical group (responsible for all electrical elements of the puzzles), the props and set group (responsible for the props and set pieces in the room), and the puzzles group (responsible for planning and fabricating the puzzles). Many of the volunteers worked on multiple teams and contributed in multiple ways to the planning and fabrication of the room.
Each team developed extensive planning work in order to best prepare for the fabrication of the room. Below are featured two of these schematics: a blueprint of the room that was made to decide the sizes and placement of large set-pieces as well as the necessary PVC joiners, and a schematic of the electrical wiring for our puzzles which relied on Hall sensors to sense if pieces were in the right places and thus open a maglock.
The planning that went into our project was not only based around the fabrication of the room but also around operations. One aspect of operations planning was the creation of our operation plan. This document detailed all sorts of manual overrides for puzzles, frequently asked questions, and procedures for fixing puzzles that broke. This document can be viewed here.
Goals and Statistics:
Our main goal with the escape room was to create an entertaining and engaging escape room that was fun for our guests while also serving as a platform to grow and hone our own skills: from fabrication to operations. However, our operational goals were more specific: we aimed to spend under $2000 and serve at least 150 guests. Amazingly, our project far exceeded these goals, allowing us to not only break even on the project but profit.
Part of this success was due to positive word of mouth advertising which led to our escape room selling over 240 tickets, almost 100 more than we had expected. Our room sold out the last 2 days of operation, which made us wish that we could have run the room for longer, as we had to close (due to university rules about booking spaces) just as demand was hitting its peak.
The $2410 made in ticket sales was complemented by careful budget control. We were able to contain our spending to under $1750. In order to make sure each team was adhering to our budgetary goals, we gave each team a budget limit that they had to stick to. We also encouraged borrowing items (ex. arduinos), made use of discount furniture stores, and reused items we had purchased for previous projects (ex. pvc pipes). In short, creative thinking helped us to stay under our budgetary goal while word of mouth led to ticket sales that exceeded our expectations.
Team Member List:
Kendall Duggar – Head Project Chair
Bria Briley – Structure, Build, Game Guide
Jack Hinegardner – Electrical Effects
Katie Kohutek – Build, Game Guide, Support for Project Chair
Natalia Martin Rodezno – Painting, Set Decoration, Build, Puzzles, Game Guide
Sarah Martinez – Myth Writer, Puzzles, Props, Supplies, Storage, Build
Bella Morgart – Actress for Pre-Show
Alejandro Nunez Bravo – Electrical Effects
Olivia Pierce – Master Planning, Props, Puzzles, Project Management Assistance
Emily Regner – Puzzles, Operations Guide
Zach Rezazadeh – Puzzles, Structure
Nikolas Risoldi – Structure, Build, Game Guide
Ian Sepdham – Lighting, Electrical, SFX, Marketing, Production, Story Writing
Jon Siemon – Structure Lead, Models, Game Guide
Nate Vutpakdi – Acting/Pre-Show Lead, Story Writing
Peter VanBenThuysen – Structure, Puzzles
*note: Although almost all of our members are first and second year students, we have one member who is a graduate student and so we have put ourselves in the “graduates and interns” category.*