Julia Makivic

Julia Makivic


Labyrinth is an alternative controller video game where players weave a pattern using rope and see it represented in an LED Matrix.

This project was commissioned by the Now Play This and A MAZE gaming festivals. I was partnered with Emma Wood, a weaver based in Berlin, to create a playable experience for Now Play This and A MAZE.

This game also received a shoutout in the Guardian

Game Play

This game consists of two main components, the rope and the LED Matrix sculpture. 

The Rope

This game uses a total of 12 strands of rope. Four of the strands are green and positioned vertically. Eight of the strands are blue and positioned horizontally. Each vertical rope is roughly ten feet long and each horizontal rope is almost five feet long. The green vertical ropes have eight conductive copper bars on each strand and the blue horizontal ropes have four conductive copper bars on each strand. The players need to connect the blue rope to the green rope at the conductive areas in order to form a connection for their pattern. In total, there are 32 connections that can be made with the rope.

You can see the layout of the rope below:

The LED Matrix Sculpture
The LED matrix sculpture consists of thirty-two 10 cm cubes. The cubes are acrylic with abstract, forest-like engravings along the sides. Each cube contains an LED embedded in the back. The LED is mapped to one of the 32 conductive areas on the rope. When a blue and green rope are connected, the corresponding LED is activated. By default the LEDs are a pale green color. They become blue when activated. 
This game does not have an end goal - it is an experimental play experience. Players weave a pattern of their choosing by connecting the rope at the conductive areas and activating the corresponding LED in the matrix. However, if players are able to achieve certain patterns like activating a whole row of LEDs, or activating the whole matrix, they will be rewarded with exciting LED animations. 

You can view videos of players interacting with this piece on Instagram and TikTok. 

Technical Implementation

The interaction for this piece is powered by an Arduino Mega. The Arduino maps the conductive areas on the rope to a corresponding LED in the matrix.  The rope has conductive threads woven inside of it. The conductive thread is soldered onto the copper rings on each rope. The blue ropes are connected to power and the green ropes are connected to ground and a digital pin on the Arduino.