Want to create your own PvP map? How about an adventure map? There are some fundamental decisions you need to make in order to get started, and this guide should help you answer those questions. Before you even decide what kind of map you want to create you must ask yourself, "What am I going to use to create my map?"
Of course you could always just build something in the game itself, with no mods. It would take an insurmountable amount of time, but it can be done. For most of you though, your going to want to use a world editor to build it. Currently there are two mods that focus mainly on editing worlds, Buildaria and TEdit.
Buildaria uses your Terraria client, so you are still building in-game. The biggest advantage you get from building in-game is that you can test it out as you build it. TEdit on the other hand, is a separate program that can create and load worlds. You build like you would draw in Microsoft Paint. TEdit does have the feature of using Terraria's sprites to show you what it would look like in-game, but it's not implemented perfectly. TEdit is going to be faster at building large structures or terraform the land how you like it. Buildaria on the other hand, works well for refining an almost completed area to look just as you imagined.
I'm not going to go too in-depth about those two world editing mods, but you can read all about TEdit in the mod feature I did about it here, or you can read all about Buildaria in it's TerrariaOnline thread here. These are both great tools to help you speed up the creation of a Terraria map, but the content of that map is where it counts.
Once you figure out how you're going to create the map, figuring out what kind of map you want to make should be next, and if you've read this far you probably have an idea already. You can use the Work in Progress thread at TerrariaOnline to post a thread about the development of your map. You can also find plenty of other tips and map making discussions in the Map section of the forum at TerrariaOnline.
Tips for Adventure Maps
Adventure maps tend to be longer, focused more on combat and exploring the world. Puzzles tend to be easier, parkour is used a lot, and bosses are sprinkled about. Adventure maps rely on accessories to limit where you can go, and how you advance through the map. Balancing the distribution of accessories, armor and weapons can be tough, but that leads into my next tip, testing the map.
You can never test a map out enough. You can use your work-in-progress thread to recruit beta testers so you can fix all the little things before you release a map. It's tedious work, but testing every jump, mechanic, and the balance of items is essential, that's why outsourcing some testing to beta testers works so well.
If you really want to make an epic adventure map, you'll also need a story. It doesn't have to be much, but you do need to give the players something to go after. You need a carrot on a stick to drive them to that next temple, especially when it's halfway across the map and they have to run there.
And finally, my last tip kind of works with the story, the scenery. Creating the scenery is one of my favorite parts to creating adventure maps. For example, when I created "Adventure!" I wanted a typical "Zelda" forest, so I found that in TEdit I could line trees up, trunk to trunk and the game would allow it. It's little things like that, that'll keep someone playing your map.
Tips for Puzzle Maps
I'm no expert on making puzzles, so I asked the creator of Pyramid Adventure I & II if he had some tips. Here's what Scoopytwist had to say:
Not breaking the fourth wall.
What you should never do when it comes to designing puzzles is allow the player to pick up objects that are controllable with wires. For example, switches and levers. Holding these items in your inventory make all the wiring in your map visible. For me this is taboo, it breaks the fourth wall and ruins the immersion. It can also have a detrimental effect on other puzzles if you can see the wires, especially for surprise traps!
Here's a tip though, holding statues doesn't make wires visible so they can be used as keys. Activating a statue spawns the object the statue represents. The best ones to use for puzzles would be crabs, jelly fish and slimes. Unfortunately you can't bridge a connection using a statue. For example, say you have a door and a lever; the lever doesn't open the door because there is a gap in the wire. You can't bridge that gap by dropping a statue there and pulling the lever to open the door. Instead you'd have to think of way for the spawned creature to open the door instead.
Scoopytwist makes some good points, it's not much of a puzzle if you can hold a lever and see all the wiring. Also, his use of statues as keys is just genius. The amount of puzzles you can make in Terraria skyrocketed after the 1.1 update. With the introduction of mechanics, we've seen some really clever puzzles made, and I can't wait to see what others can come up with.
Tips for PvP Maps
I'm no expert on PvP map making either, so I asked the creator of Pacmap Arena if he had some tips. Here's what Herzreh had to say:
The most I can contribute is balance. If it is going to be gear-based, new characters, classes, etc. There has to be some kind of balance, even on the map. Evenly placed items, and one of the trickier things is making it mirror (on the maps I've done at least). Another thing I look at, even before I start building, is fun-factor. With the 8bit renditions it's hard, though, for it not to be fun. Testing and last-minute changes before you release a map helps too. It has been fun making the map(s) I have done.
Herzeh's YouTube partner and fellow map maker SlothMonster, who made Joust Arena, had some tips as well:
In my experience, the trickiest part is trying to balance gear, weapons, and spawn locations. Once you have that base laid you can start making gear/weapon changes and map modifications based on your play testing.
Play testing is extremely important. That's the one thing that will immediately let you know if something is wrong. Alter, test, rinse, repeat. Once you have everything balanced properly then you can start adding in the fun things such as mechanics and explosions
Creating PvP maps can be tricky. Balance is key, and the only way to figure that out is by testing the map out a lot. Testing PvP maps is also tricky because you need at least two people to fight and test balance.
Now make some maps!
With these tips, a little imagination, and some creativity, anyone can make a custom map for Terraria. I hope to see some new faces in the map making community. The survival of Terraria depends on the community now, and the more map makers we have out there making content for others, the better off the community is as a whole.
For more information on Herzreh's pvp map PacMap Arena go here. For more information about SlothMonster's pvp map Joust Arena go here. Herzreh and SlothMonster are part of a YouTube Channel called HoldResetGaming, check out their channel here.
For more information on Scoopytwist's puzzle maps Pyramid Adventure I & II go here. For information on Buildaria go here, and for TEdit go here.