Hello everyone! If you're reading this guide, chances are, you are making a map, are interested in making a map, or have already made a map and want to see the nonsense I spew out. I will be spewing out tips and tricks to making a great map, I will explain each genre of map and how to distinguish them, and I will provide many helpful links that will help you make a masterpiece.
I take no credit for any of the filters, programs, YouTube videos or external links provided within the post. All credit goes to the individual artists.
So, let's begin. The very basics.
1 - What are you hoping to accomplish?
Do you want to create a map for a tournament to win 20 Minecraft gift codes? Do you want to stack up loads of reputation? Do you just want the pleasure of watching people play your map on YouTube, or provide praise via posts? The first thing you need to do before you begin construction of your map is identify your goal. A map for a tournament may have stricter guidelines, and may have a time frame, so you need to have a rigid schedule. If you want reputation, praise or videos, you may want to be leisurely and take your time. Just make sure you know what you are doing before you make a map, you don't want to add a little bit here, a little bit here to make a hugely random blob of blocks.
2 - What genre is your map?
Do you want an adventure map? A parkour map, perhaps? Maybe a hybrid? Or do you want to create your own genre? Nobody is stopping you from mixing it all together, but sometimes it is best to stick with one or two genres to appeal to a certain audience. Sometimes, you want to create your own genre. Look at Vechs, for example. He had an idea for a great map - complete the monument. He decided to make his own type of map, and he did it well, and he spawned forth a new genre. Doing something like this is good as well.
Adventure maps are a very popular brand of map that usually involves exploring and/or following a story line. Some have restrictions, for example, you may only break sponge blocks, or you may not craft any items. The two main types of adventure map are linear and open world. A linear adventure map has a set path that the player is essentially forced to follow. An open world adventure map is a map that is a huge world, and the player can go in any direction and explore. Open world maps generally take longer to create, and play, than linear maps, but can be far more rewarding and immersive.
Survival maps are very different than adventure maps. For the most part, they have no goal, and they are just custom terrain to make the survival experience more exciting. Most survival maps can't really be beat, or finished, they are just like normal maps in that you make a cool base, and just live there. Goal survival maps are those that have a goal in it, for example find the five sponge blocks. Endless survival maps are those that have no set goal at all, and your only purpose is to survive.
Puzzle maps are their own unique brand. They are a generally a mix between parkour and adventure. Most puzzle maps do not allow you to break blocks, and force you to solve puzzles to advance the map. Redstone mechanics are very prevalent in this type of map, as are games of timing. Puzzle maps require intelligent creators to make truly mind boggling puzzles.
Parkour maps are very annoying to some, very loved by others. Taken from Wikipedia,
"Parkour (French pronunciation: [paʁˈkuʁ]) (abbreviated PK) is a training discipline focused on overcoming obstacles, involving moving from point A to point B in the fastest and most efficient way possible. It combines a variety of movements like running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, leaping, and rolling."
Minecraft parkour involves jumping on obstacles in the sky, usually ice, iron fences or other slippery or thin items. It is a genre that tests your platforming skills.
CTM stands for complete the monument. It is a genre coined by Vechs, and popularized by many YouTubers. This genre is a survival map loaded with dungeons, with the goal of filling a Victory Monument with every wool. You must find these wools in dungeons spread throughout the map. Most CTM maps are very dangerous and rely on traps, large numbers of mobs and hostile terrain to kill the player.
If you expect to make a map with flatmap and creative, sorry to say, you won't get anywhere. In this section, I will list popular map making tools. Note, these are not for things like custom spawners or potions, they are for creating your terrain.
McEdit is a Minecraft world editor that opens your level's level.dat file, and loads up the map in a 3D view that you can explore. It features tools such as fill and replace, brush, import, export and filter. Fill and replace allows you to select an area and fill it with stone for example, or replace all logs with ice. Brush allows you to make a "brush" of spheres or cubes, so every time you click you create an area of your selection. You can change the size and block of the brushes. Import allows you to add in schematics you can download on many popular sites (http://www.mcschematics.com/). Export allows you to export your selection as a schematic, that you can share, save, or use later. I will get into filter on a later section.
WorldPainter is a relatively new, yet very functional and simple map creator. It allows you to use brushes like in Microsoft Paint, to literally paint your own world. You can change the block you are painting, the height of where you are painting, which biome is where, where forests goes, where animals go, et cetera. It is a very good program for making smooth, natural looking custom terrain.
NBTEdit is a very old program, yet a very useful one. It allows you to edit many of your game's settings via a simple control panel. You can change the weather, your character's health, the gamerule, your gamemode, if you have cheats or not, and much more. It's a simple, lightweight program that you will likely find very useful.
These are my favorite external map making tools - several mods exist that help you make maps even better in game, but I prefer to use the latest snapshots, so I don't use mods often. If you don't really care about snapshots, then I have two mods you may enjoy.
Singleplayer Commands is a mod that adds SO many commands. I'll give a few here just to show you how amazing it is. You can type /freeze to freeze every mob, you can type /light to make everything bright, you can type /reach <amount> to reach very far, and much, much more. It is a very useful tool that I believe everyone should have. Unfortunately, it updates rather slowly due to the many commands, and in the latest update, it lost many of its commands.
This mod basically adds a panel to your inventory. It allows you to control weather, the time, it allows you to delete items if you want, and most importantly, grab any item out of an easily accessible window. I like it much more than creative, because for one, you don't need to be in creative for it to work, for two, it has many commands other than spawning items, and for three, it gives access to many items creative doesn't have, for example command blocks or water blocks. As another added bonus, Marglyph, the author, ALWAYS has it updated to the latest snapshot. +1 to her!
https://www.youtube....g?feature=chclk Subscribe to this guy. His name is Sethbling, and he is a genius. He is a mapmaker and a redstone engineer who uses McEdit to do crazy things. For example, making a mob spawner that spawns a pattern of falling sand reskinned to look like stone to create a statue. Yes, it sounds crazy, but he did it. You can make villagers with custom trades, you can create mobs with custom gear, and much, much more. Of course, more people than just Sethbling create filters. Several filters are already in McEdit. Just make a selection and click filter to see the magic. A simple google search will find you many filters, but if you go on Sethbling's channel, you will easily find many magical things. Downloading filters is relatively easy.
1) Open up your McEdit folder.
2) Open up the filters folder.
3) Dump in the .py/.pyo files in there.
4) Open McEdit.
5) Enjoy the filters.
5 - Tips and Tricks
Remember your goal in the map. If it's a parkour map, unless you state that it is so, you shouldn't lace it to the teeth with TnT traps. Likewise, a CTM map should have some degree of difficulty in it.
Design matters. If you are really good at making maps with a convincing story line, then people may just forget it, but if you make an epicly designed city WITH a convincing story line, then people will love it even more. Here is a link filled with links of build guides - enjoy. http://www.minecraft...-tips-and-help/
Use the latest technology. Command blocks are a-freaking-mazing. Tripwires can be used to make cool traps. The Wither can be a force boss fight using pistons to push soul sand into place. Mojang, primarily Dinnerbone, is adding many blocks and items and mechanics to boost mapmaking loads - it's best to take advantage of it.
Try to add some lore to your map if it's adventure or CTM. Not everyone likes reading, but many do. Just write some books and sprinkle them around your map. People will enjoy it, trust me.
Try to stay "in character". What I mean by this is stay within your theme. A medieval map shouldn't go so heavy on the redstone, and a science fiction map shouldn't have a dragon fight.
IGNORE THE RULES! Limitations are bad, as they hamper your creative ability. Yes, it's good to follow guidelines, but if you have a great idea that conflicts with any rules, then screw the rules and use your idea.
The snapshots being released before 1.4 added many features to Mob Spawners which allows for customized spawners which I think Vechs has already started using. Those will certainly help in CTM map making.
Saying you won't get anywhere with flat lands and creative is a load of crap. Using creative redstone, command blocks, custom mob spawning, and good building, you can make a great map in vanilla minecraft. I've used flatlands to make CoD vs. maps, CoD zombies maps, adventures, and I have a map in progress. All of them use nothing but vanilla minecraft, and natural terrain generation, so don't be saying stuff like that. it demeans the good maps I've played and made that only use those things.