Map making: Tips & Tricks

You're either reading this because you're interested to find something about map-making you didn't previously know, or you're here because you're new to map-making and want a few headers. I don't claim to have come up with any of these ideas, nor do I claim that any of these are "pro-tips", I just thought I'd share some of the stuff I commonly do in maps with the community.

For the Newbies

If you want a detailed explanation of every little aspect of map-making, then go somewhere else. Good luck finding one. There is so much to map-making and so many levels of skill that typing it all here would give me arthritis in the fingers. Not that I claim to know everything about it, though...

Getting started

Getting started I can assume that you're familiar with the vast majority of blocks and items in Minecraft. If not, then perhaps map-making isn't for you. If you are confident in your Minecraft knowledge, then read on.

The most flexible kind of map is an adventure map. They can have so many genres, they can have an intricate rollercoaster ride for a story or no story at all, and the goals, obstacles and level of difficulty are all up to you. Basically, they're a videogame in Minecraft.

There are also puzzle, parcour and survival maps. Puzzle maps are fairly straightforward: they contain little or no story, and the aim is to complete a series of puzzles, whether logic-based, skill-based, or even redstone-based. Parcour maps are just plain and simple jumping, and probably the most common kind. They're alright, but in my opinion they can get repetitive and boring, and require little skill to create, so I won't be talking about those much. There are also survival maps, which are basically worlds played in survival, but of course, the world is customised, and the creator usually sets goals for the player.

Now that you've chosen what kind of map you want to build, I'll explain some things most map-makers do to make their maps worthwhile.

Commonly used tricks: redstone

Commonly used tricks: redstone By far the most important, map-changing block you could ever have in your map is the command block. We're talking /tp for movement, /say (and for the more advanced, /tellraw) for dialogue, /setblock to create giant flying unicorns, you get the idea. Nothing is impossible in Minecraft when it comes to command blocks, although it can get pretty dang hard.

This is an obvious one, but one that some people don't seem to acknowledge. Hide yer redstone!! Unless the redstone is there for aesthetic purposes (blood, wires, etc.) the player doesn't want to see a strange contraption through the window of the mansion.

Speaking of redstone, remember: whatever you want your map to look like is much more important than the efficiency of the redstone. Of course, your redstone needs to work exactly as planned, but there are many ways to have wireless redstone, while building things around the redstone means it's not what it's meant to look like.

Commonly used tricks: aesthetics

Commonly used tricks: aesthetics My biggest pet peeve when it comes to adventure maps is grammar. If a map has bad grammar, then it turns me away. It makes the map look messy and unofficial. This is just my opinion, but there are others who share this opinion, so it's best to appeal to us as well.

Don't forget, there are more sources of light than just torches. You can use lava (under glass preferably), glowstone, redstone lamps, and sea lanterns, each for different aesthetic purposes. For example, lamps can be used in a horror map, accompanied by a redstone clock, to create flickering lights. Lava can double as a hazard. Glowstone and sea lanterns can be intergrated into the wall, ceiling or floor of a building. All things that a mere torch cannot do.

When customising items such as weapons for your map, don't just name them with an anvil. There are so many other options, like lore, unbreakable, and attributes. Be sure to have looked at every possibility for your supposedly overpowered sword. If you have trouble with long commands.

The hardest part of all... I think?

The hardest part of all... I think? Time and time again, have I been told that publishing your new map is the hardest part. Well, it's the part that most people stuff up, so I'll give them that. But honestly, it's not that difficult. Just upload your world save to MediaFire or Dropbox and create a post here or on the Minecraft Forums (there are other places, but they're less popular). Be sure to include a thorough description and lots of screenshots. Do NOT post a single thumbnail completely irrelevant to the map and the phrase "PLZ PLAY MY CUSTM MAP IT IS GUD OK BYE -[insert random letters here]CRAFT", because shockingly, that does not compel people to actually play it.

Once you've got that down, following the rules of wherever you posted it, it's a good idea to advertise it in some way so that people will notice it. Never comment on somebody else's post advertising your map either, because that is disrespectful to that person and is in no way feedback about their post. A great place to advertise is in the chat room, where you may do so once every fifteen minutes. Most people who see it will actually click on your link out of curiosity (I know I would).

For the Not-Newbies

Like I said before, none of these are "expert" tips, but maybe, just maybe, you'll learn something new. Even if you're level 80-something, there may just be something worth reading in this section.

oThrillest's Guide to Making Circles

oThrillest's Guide to Making Circles Usually, when it comes to Minecraft, a simple octagon can cut it as being round. But if you really want a legitimate circle, here's how to do it, with nothing but squares.

Take some graph paper and something circular. Trace the circular thing onto the paper. Now shade in the squares where the line of the circle passes through. Transfer those squares onto your Minecraft world with a block of your choosing, and voila.

Take some graph paper and something circular. Trace the circular thing onto the paper. Now shade in the squares where the line of the circle passes through. Transfer those squares onto your Minecraft world with a block of your choosing, and voila.


CustomNPCs One of my favourite tools to use when map-making is the CustomNPCs mod. Sure, it means the player has to download a mod, but it's definitely worth it, especially in RPGs. It means you can create custom enemies with models, textures, stats and AI all to your preference. It also includes a quest system and a treasure trove of new weapons and armour. On a puzzle or parcour map it probably wouldn't be the best idea, but it can improve adventure maps by a mile. You can download it here.


/gamerule Whenever I start making a new adventure map, the first thing I do is go through all the gamemodes and set them to my liking. The main ones for adventure maps are commandBlockOutput (you're gonna want to set that to false), mobGriefing (again, false is a good idea) and doFireTicks (false unless you want to burn the house down). If there's a problem with the map you can't fix, it may lie in one of the gamrule settings. To look at a full list of gamrules.

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