Tutorials/Creating a challenge map

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You might want to make a challenge map. Need some pointers? Don't know where to start? Read on!

Planning[edit | edit source]

If your map is going to be more than a sequential bunch of random puzzles, it is very helpful to plan out your map in advance. Though a plan can range from a simple bullet list to a block-by-block blueprint of the entire world, a good plan should include:

  • Theme of the map; what it will be about
  • Type of map
  • General storyline (if any—used more for story-based adventure maps)
  • A basic outline of what traps, challenges and dungeons you will put in (what they are and where they will be)
  • Basic blueprints for any large structures that will be put in the map
  • Redstone contraptions tested in another world.
  • Loot and rewards the players will gain along the way

Types of Challenge maps[edit | edit source]

Before you choose to make a challenge map, you need to choose what type of map you want it to be. Some types are;

Adventure 
A challenge map made for players that go on an adventure in order to accomplish some goal. Most of them have the /gamerule keepInventory to true to make it easier. E.g.: Zombie apocalypse maps.
Parkour 
A map that's just made for parkour.
Survival 
A survival world that is changed to make survival more difficult, or easy. A good example is the Skyblock map.
Puzzle 
A map that's made for puzzles.
Game 
A Minecraft mini-game, showcased in the form of a challenge map.
PvP 
Maps made for PvP.
Arena 
An arena with mobs spawning that you must defeat.
Dropper 
A type of map when you need to survive falls in style.
Capture The Flag
A type of PvP, but the goal is to capture the other teams flag(s)

.

Tips and tricks[edit | edit source]

Customize the Superflat world type[edit | edit source]

See also: Superflat § Customization

Changing the Superflat options can make a good Superflat survival world.

Make a spawn area[edit | edit source]

See also: Spawn

You could make a spawn pad, a pre-made house, or anything you can think of!

  • Top tip: You must add spawn jails to prevent players from escaping!

Add Bonuses[edit | edit source]

Hide some little rewards for the player. Extra surprises make a challenge map exciting and fun. Diamonds or emeralds work well, since it can be a fun way to keep score. If you want a surprise ending for the players to build up to (literally and figuratively), make the maximum bonus count a multiple of 9 (if the prizes are diamonds, gold, lapis, emeralds, or iron (maybe even coal!) to make the necessary blocks, for others it may vary).

Beacons give extraordinary powers, so why not add a mystic powers room? Haste, speed, strength powers etc., an enchanting table, the XP farm outlet, and some positive splash potion dispensers (maybe add some negatives for the lulz.)

Make obstacles[edit | edit source]

Add pits, traps, etc. Check out the Puzzles and Traps section. Note that the giant slime dispenser of doom you want to build would probably require a lot of redstone and/or MCEdit knowledge.

Add a kick-death[edit | edit source]

Yes, you will get kicked by a player with an opinional reason. E.g.: You are banned from this server! Reason: went to illegal point. When the player dies, he/she is kicked out of the game for 1 minute! The problem is, it is very hard to do this without the /kick command being hacked!

Add a perma-death[edit | edit source]

Most challenge maps have unlimited tries to solve a puzzle. However, if you make a tripwire that sets a new spawn point for players and the players fail, then they need to re-download the map. In the fail room, add a large game over sign and a message saying:

Unfortunately, you lost all of your tries to complete and you need to re-download the map.

Alternately, you can make a command block that prevents players from moving and a command block saying:

Game over. You must re-download the map.

This adds an extra degree of difficulty, but if you make a command block saying:

Warning! If you fail, then it is game over and you need to re-download the map.

Then players will be extra careful, especially in the "test your brain" test!

Make dungeons[edit | edit source]

Making pre-made dungeons hidden around your map can give players a very fun time!

Add some fancy stuff[edit | edit source]

Hack stuff into your inventory. Monster Spawners would be useful for some traps or funboxes, or simply decorations. Ender Crystals look very elegant, but due to their obstructive and explosive powers, can be used as sorts of obstacles the player has to safely destroy. (Check out the "Look before you Detonate" trap!)

Make a boss[edit | edit source]

You can make a boss out of redstone and dispensers. They are a great way to end any map. Also, you could spawn an enderdragon/wither in a room. Just remember to use the command /gamerule mobGriefing false, or weep! Alternatively, add a made up boss! Customise your own boss mob by adding extra data tags. Even better, create custom mods with your own made-up boss! NOTE: To do this, you must be able to use Java programming.

Other tips[edit | edit source]

Checkpoints can be created by placing pressure plates, with command blocks underneath them.

You may even want to have a secret button. For example, a player gets given a bow and some arrows, and if they shoot a button, a secret door or path appears, leading them to a bonus room. It is ideal, though, to have obstacles in the way of the button, so take this into consideration when making the map.

Bedrock or end portal frames could encase areas where you do not want the player to escape from, and is a genius idea for spawn jails.

Firework finale[edit | edit source]

When you finally finish the map, why not enjoy the occasion with a fireworks show? Hook up redstone to some dispensers, craft up some fireworks then let them fly! Or you could just add some diamond dispensers. Either way, it looks awesome. If you don't want to use dispensers, use command blocks to spawn fireworks.

Puzzles and Traps[edit | edit source]

Basic parkour[edit | edit source]

Make a large room and put lots of lava at the bottom. Now place a bunch of floating blocks which leads to a small alcove with a valuable chest. The aim is that the player must carefully jump on the blocks to get to the chest.

Any blocks sitting next to the wall can be controlled with Sticky Pistons to extend and then go back into the wall, to time jumps.

"Tightropes" can be made by putting strings of glass panes or iron bars.

The Cakes Are A Lie[edit | edit source]

Place 5 cakes in a line over BUD switches for the player to eat. One of the cakes, when eaten, will push up a small chest area with valuable stuff. The remaining 4 will send the player into a very deep lava pit!

That Hurt![edit | edit source]

Create a tripwire hooked to an arrow dispenser that one tripwire hook is on. The victim will start running then get pushed down a hole, causing fall/lava and arrow damage.

This trap is avoidable. If the victim runs fast enough and/or realizes, then the victim avoids the trap, but if you put a furnace facing in, the player might think that the dispenser is just an ornate tripwire dropping a prize.

What Tiles?[edit | edit source]

Create a room with a grid of wooden and stone pressure plates. Only some plates are good. For example, wood pressure plates are safe to walk on while stone ones push the player into the Void. This can be achieved by using command blocks to teleport the poor helpless victims to y=-64.

Be Flamin' Careful[edit | edit source]

Create a maze with netherrack sides at ground level. Set the netherrack on fire. Players will find it hard to complete this maze without a scald. To stop them jumping over the flames put some floating obsidian/bedrock/end portal frame blocks two blocks above the maze path. For some extra amusement, make it a maze that climbs upwards and then add a lever saying "Trophy" which when pulled will make a lava flow chase the player, who has to either burn in lava or burn in fire.

Be smart...[edit | edit source]

Put a hard question to solve with 3 answers. To do so, put 3 levers and 3 signs with answers. The right answer will open a path for the player to pass. Others will throw lava into the room. Take advantage of the fact that dispensers with Buckets can place lava, then suck it back up. Or, if you wish for a fancier way to kill your hapless victims, you can always use command blocks to do cruel stuff like zap a player with a lightning bolt, or blow the player up with instantly detonating TNT. Here's the command:

/summon PrimedTNT @p {ExplosionPower:-10,Fuse:0.5s}

It's in my way!!! (Player ragequits)[edit | edit source]

In a loooong corridor/mine, put a block at head height and place a redstone torch on it. Connect it to a sticky piston just below a huge tower of gravel! When the player breaks the torch block, the piston will retract and the gravel will fall down! Or make a double NOT gate leading to a command block that teleports the player to a Funbox room! MUAHAHA!!! Note that this can be bypassed with enderpearls. Put bedrock on the bottom to disallow this.

It's just H2O![edit | edit source]

Make a path that goes slightly underground, then fill it to the ceiling with water. Add some air pockets so your players can breathe. Spawn some squid if you want to see some ragequits. In third party mods, you could make the squids hostile and make them shoot ink to damage and blind the players. Or you could go for a similar effect in vanilla minecraft and have some command blocks that cause blindness every time the player touches a squid. Or perhaps you could use the new 1.8 mobs, the Guardians, to deal damage. Maybe even an elder boss room.

"Bedrock!"

Make a BUD switch next to a bed that detects when a player is in that bed. Hook it up to a command block that teleports the player to a bedrock room that you made! NOTE: This is hilarious!

Creepers[edit | edit source]

Creepers are nice for dealing with your challenge map victims but can blow up parts of your structure, so try building the creeper room out of obsidian and add some inaccessible charged creeper spawners. Alternatively you can use /gamerule mobGriefing false to make it so that Creepers, Endermen, Zombies, Ghasts, Withers, and (why ever you would spawn one in the first place) Ender Dragons can't damage the environment.

Also, you might want to drop the player into a pit full of creepers. One of the nice things about this is the pit gets bigger as the creepers blow up. Give them a cheap tool like an iron pick to kill the creepers with, and add some small elevations or safe spots. Or some complex redstone device that can make them invisible. You could also add a disablable "creeper generator" that adds in creepers, and the player has to break it to stay alive.

Look Before You Detonate[edit | edit source]

We all know that ender crystals explode when you destroy them? OK, so why not add this simple trap to your map (no rhyme intended).

Put some lines of TNT underground, 1 block under the floor. Line these up to a central Ender Crystal obstructing the player's way. A simple lesson: look before you detonate something.

Sand Falls...[edit | edit source]

Tripwire is a very good tool and plays a role in this trap. Place a tripwire, then wire it up to a set of pistons. When the player comes along they will not see the tripwire, trip over the wire, and stumble into a hey... where did all the sand go? Make it fall into a ravine, a room with plenty mob spawners, or, if you are really mean, an end portal.

Run Fast[edit | edit source]

This trap takes advantage of the very fast speed you can achieve by sprint-jumping in a two-block high passageway. First of all, build a two-block tall passageway of whatever length you want. Put a pressure plate at the beginning of the hallway, and connect it to pistons that will retract the floor. Put in a delay, so that the floor will retract just after a sprint-jumping player gets through. If they aren't fast enough...

Test Your Brain[edit | edit source]

Put numbers along the game that players have to remember, then add a room to enter these numbers. If they get it right, they can move along. If not, they'd better explain it to the cactus. It is probably a good idea to prevent the players from going back to these numbers somehow, for example, using pistons to create a door that locks behind the players(Note:If in multiplayer one player could be in the number room and one could be in the question room and the one in the number room can tell the person in the question room the answer and then the one in the number room is stuck but he can tp to the one in the question room and carry on(if cheats are on).

Door Explore[edit | edit source]

Make piston doors with multiple keys. For one, you could make a comparatored End Portal Frame that must be activated with a hidden Eye of Ender. For another, a combination lock would rock. Another idea is that one must rename a stick to the correct name (hidden on a secret sign!) and put it in a hopper chest, powering a comparator for the door.

There! Oh, no nvm.[edit | edit source]

Make something like Indiana Jones-ing. Put attractive blocks like diamond / gold stuck to a wall. When the player touches it -Pressure plate/tripwire etc. etc.- the block would come to the other side and the player would fall in... The void? The end? Lava? Water? Charged creepers? Up to you.

Indiana Jones-ing... again...[edit | edit source]

Now that Dispensers can face upwards, fill them with arrows and put a pressure plate or tripwire on top for an instant semi-hidden trap.

Falling Floors[edit | edit source]

To make your level exciting, arrange a floor of TNT, with gravel on top. Then add a pressure plate on the gravel, so when you step on it, it disintegrates. Make some parts of the floor not fall (replace TNT with any other block), or a fail would render the level unplayable.

Button Brain Mash[edit | edit source]

Use buttons, or possibly comparatored item frames, for a simple combination lock.

Minecart Mania[edit | edit source]

Make a huge underground minecart roller coaster and give them a bow. Add some hard to shoot wood buttons. The aim is to shoot all the buttons and get them all to activate, turning on an And gate that changes the track to the next room.

The danger chests[edit | edit source]

First, fill the first trapped chest with useful loot and then place a block underneath the chest and then TNT. Then place a second trapped chest 2 blocks away from the first chest and place a block then a dispenser with flint and steel and then minecart with TNT underneath. Then place a regular chest 2 blocks away from the chest. Then fill it with useful loot. Add signs next to the chests like: Armor/food/swords/reward inside!

Here's a side view:





















































The ender puzzle[edit | edit source]

The end can be tough due to the dragon and endermen. If you want to make a course, then direct it the finish portal and add a huge reward at the end. Add something that really helps them in the game like the strength V, full diamond enchanted armor, A stack of enchanted golden apples, resistance II, an enchanted bow with arrows, to buy stuff they get 5 stacks of the stuff they need to use to buy and an extra reward for players, they get to keep their inventory! Kill the dragon first or you get spammed.

Invisibility Cloak[edit | edit source]

Make a long room (bedrock or obsidian) filled with creepers. In the beginning, make a chest with a 3:00 min. Invisibility potion. The player must reach the exit in time or face a massive exploBOOM

Cake Shaft[edit | edit source]

Give a few really strong hunger potions to each player. Make a huge vertical shaft of cake. The aim is that the players must drink potion and eat the cake to go down to the next brain teaser.

Splitup path[edit | edit source]

This divides your players into smaller groups and make 2 doorways and place iron doors at the front. Then place pressure plates next to them. Make a different route from each other. Make sure all of them direct to the same finish line. Alternatively, you could make it that only one of the paths win, and the other players will be turned into some fresh cooked meat by some lava. The surviving player is the "winner"

RUUUUUNNN![edit | edit source]

This is similar to the other one except add some curves to make it trickier and holes and blocks that crush you. Make a command block that affects you with speed III. Otherwise this puzzle will be unwinnable.

Fake trap[edit | edit source]

Put pressure plates around a diamond block or chest, or make it look like there's redstone coming from a trapped chest. The player will think this is a trap, with a 28% chance of rage quit.

Chain reaction[edit | edit source]

Why not wire up your traps with some rube goldberg wiring? As well as looking cool, some things can be deadly and could leave spatters of blood on the wall. Take Greenstone as an example; you could stack a lot of sand on the sand, and when it falls, the player will fall through it and when it lands, they won't be able to breathe anymore. Get as creative as possible.

Funbox[edit | edit source]

Funboxes are 3x3x3 spawners that are very hard to disable.

Types of funboxes[edit | edit source]

Deathdome: Use MCedit or commands to make primed TNT spawners. Set them to 1 tick minimum and 20 ticks maximum. Set to 8 ticks as current time. Add a spawning range. Don't forget to cover the room with obsidian including the spawners or weep! When the players enter the room, hundreds of TNT will explode right into their faces! Add diamond armor for them.


Don't look: Add endermen spawners. Make the room out of bedrock. When the players look at the endermen, they will attack them! Don't say I didn't warn you!


Monster maker: Add random hostile mob spawners. Then it will be chaos!


Meat room: If you are feeling nice, then add a reward with a funbox of pig spawners so players can kill them for food? Add fire aspect swords or a furnace with a chest of coal. If you don't want players killing pigs, then add a cooked pork funbox.


Potion funbox: Make a funbox out of positive potion spawners (add negatives for the lulz.). Also, put it in an enchanting room!


Buried alive: Make a funbox out of falling sand or gravel spawners. (Add the rare anvil.) Fill the large room with sand. Give the players some stone shovels. Add blockades to the room. Set the spawning cooldown to 4 ticks minimum to 5 ticks maximum. Set the current spawning cooldown time to 4 ticks. When players dig up the sand, the room will rapidly start to fill up with sand and then they will die! Give them one torch each to remove some of the gravel.


That hurt!: Make an arrow spawner. This is better than the dispenser one since it has unlimited ammo. Add leather armor for them.

The sudden ultimate death "Peaceful" map[edit | edit source]

Make a detector that detects players that switched to peaceful, then create a command block that teleports them to another room. Make a sign saying:


You have switched to peaceful and therefore you must complete this "peaceful" map to continue.


Make a command block that clears their items from their inventory. Make a new spawnpoint for the unlucky player in a bedrock room with no way out. Make a map that is near impossible to complete. (E.g. Parkour map.) Add a few small rewards for the player to progress. Make the level really long with no checkpoints. When the player reaches the end, make a hidden button teleporting to the end of the adventure map in a good way. (WARNING: Contains spoilers) In the bedrock room, make a sign saying:


GAME OVER. You have failed the sudden death challenge on this map and you need to re-download the map.

You could also take the post down after a certain amount of views is reached, so they'll never be able to download it again! MUHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Some redstone tips[edit | edit source]

  • Powering unpowered redstone that's next to floating sand/gravel/water/lava will cause it to irreversibly obey physics.
  • For a really nice map, having a large amount of command blocks can be good, but not always. Sometimes 1 well thought out command can be better than 10 useless commands.

The Test Series[edit | edit source]

Create a series of challenges, where if you fail, you get teleported to the next test. But, if you win, you get a reward like armour and a sword. After a certain amount of tests have them go to The End and fight the Ender Dragon with their current equipment. This is a good way to end a good challenge map.

Sans Decency[edit | edit source]

Give your player a jump boost 6 effect, then make them dodge waves of arrows and lava towers, moved by command blocks. At the end, make them dodge circling lines of arrows. If they die, teleport them to a bedrock room with a sign that says "geeettttttt dunked on!" (or whatever you want)

Elytra Crawlspace[edit | edit source]

Create a upside-down slab tunnel which is only accessible by using elytra. Fill it with spiders or silverfish to add some enemies to fight.