Better Worlds Through Terra(ria)forming, Part One

time2015-08-16It’s fair to say that I’m a moderately big fan of Terraria, the 2D sandbox/crafting game by Re-Logic. I downloaded it a couple days after it launched back in May 2011, and as you can see, I’ve sunk some time into it since then.

About 100 of those 400 hours were invested in the last month and a half, since the big version 1.3 update brought massive changes. As I did with 1.2 in September 2013, once my game was up to date I created a new world and started terraforming away.

One of the first things a player needs in any game like Terraria or Minecraft is a safe place to spawn and, if need be, hide out from enemies. (Garden-variety enemies pose no threat to me now pre-Hardmode, but I digress.) With my two prior “main worlds” I incorporated my own spawn point in with the dwellings for NPC characters. I’d started those two ventures with grand plans, but in the end was not quite satisfied with my results.

(Click on my screenshots throughout to enlarge.)

The flawed base on my first
The flawed base on my first “main” world.

My goal was to build a castle incorporating some defensive features – the parapets at the gates, the moats. Running through it all, underground, was a passageway to enable quick transport. Of course, now there’s not nearly enough room for all the potential NPCs; the defensive features don’t entirely prevent invading armies from harming my townsfolk; the symmetry’s off; and I now realize that the Hallow is not the positive force it appears to be. When 1.2 introduced so many features to the Jungle biome, I was forced to abandon this fortress for a world that could actually feature all that new content.

My attempt at recreating Yggdrasil on my second main world.
My attempt at recreating Yggdrasil on my second main world.

So I decided to try a “world tree” concept, inspired by the Living Wood Wand item. I kept putting off designing authentic-looking branches and focused on the village within the trunk, then the crafting spaces below (since gutted to supply my current main world.) This structure was safer, as enemy wizards couldn’t spawn quite so close to the NPCs when attacking me at the gates. The slope and the elevated gates have held off goblins and pirates alike with ease. Down below ground I recreated my super-tunnel, calling it the “roots of Yggdrasil;” this tunnel runs for long distances in both directions, paved with asphalt to the west and running straight through my Jungle Arena to the east. I started to build a network of teleporters for even faster transport to my bases in each biome, but never got it fully functional.

This design worked well, even if my tree-designing skills lacked. For my 1.3 world I decided to try something very similar: an underground (dwarven, if you will) fortress.

The current iteration of my base on World 3,
The current iteration of my base on World 3, “Crimtannia.”

I strip-mined dungeons from other worlds to build the base for this; I like that my base’s structure is indestructible, so meteorites can fall and dynamite can be thrown with less concern. (I’ve since taken to cutting some corners in this regard, as I was 60% done the series of biome towers I’ve built; I used the outstanding Builder’s Workshop map for quick access to full stacks of bricks, and a Drill Containment Unit for quick excavation. The only blocks obtained this way in the pic above, though, is the hellstone. I’d never complete this project otherwise. More on my biome towers next time.)

The base’s location is based off the center of the world; the throne is 0:0.

A stately throne room for the world's saviour.
A stately throne room for the world’s saviour.

Down below we have the start of what I call the Warp Zone, where the asphalt-paved highway begins. Descend from there down the plushly-appointed Hellevator.

WELCOME TO WARP ZONE
WELCOME TO WARP ZONE

Back up at the top, we have the grand entry hall. Outside these gates I hold off invading goblins, and the ample buffer space both keeps NPCs out of harm’s way and lends a certain grand scale.

The imposing entrance and the Hellstone Tower.
The imposing entrance and the Hellstone Tower.

The tower on top is for show, mostly; I haven’t fought the Martian Invasion event yet, and perhaps the altitude could be handy there? I wanted to represent all the biomes with their own towers, and thought making Hell’s tower above-ground would send a certain message. (As would making it cross-shaped.)

Let’s take a look at the common areas. On the west side are almost all of the NPCs one can get pre-Hardmode.

I had grand hopes for a fountain up in the right corner, but they didn't materialize.
I had grand hopes for a fountain up in the right corner, but they didn’t materialize.

Added on to the west wing is my artificial farm, which I haven’t fully built yet, but I did supply it with water (for shits-n-giggles) from the fishing hole up top.

I'll get around to setting this farming area up properly later, once I figure out what I want.
I’ll get around to setting this farming area up properly later, once I figure out what I want.

The east wing will fill up once I trigger Hardmode; for now, it doubles as an art gallery.

Oh yeah, forgot to put windows in here.
Oh yeah, forgot to put windows in here.

Note the mushroom statue and sign in the bottom right corner? Out that way is a long, narrow passage leading to an auxiliary tower and the man-made aboveground mushroom biome, ready for the Truffle NPC in Hardmode.

In Terraria, first you get the mushrooms...
In Terraria, first you get the mushrooms…

Further below are the more “personal” chambers for my character. I chose obsidian to be his signature material and crafted a special room for him – the “Obsidian Library.”

He slumbers surrounded by lost lore.
He slumbers surrounded by lost lore.

Across from his quarters is the crafting room and item hoarde. It was quite the endeavour to empty my vaults in my prior worlds and haul everything over, but the new inventory management options – simple as they are – made everything much better. It’s super satisfying to jump into the middle of all those chests and click the quick-stack button.

With all the specialty crafting stations I'm considering expanding this room to accommodate them.
With all the new specialty crafting stations I’m considering expanding this room to accommodate them.

There it is, my fortress away from home. Connected to this central hub are a series of biome-specific towers, but I’ll take you on a tour of them next time.

Just a taste of the Corruption biome (and yes, this is a Crimson world...)
Just a taste of the Corruption biome (and yes, this is a Crimson world…)

How do you approach base-building when you start a new world? What’s your favourite style of base? Do you have any signature design features in yours?