Tips to Design Your Very Own Cave using CaveMaker
If you are familiar with Hannah and the Pirate Caves, you must also be aware that you have the power in your hands to create your very own level for other users to play, using a nifty program called CaveMaker. You can download CaveMaker by clicking on the heart icon on the Download or Save Level page.
Once you download CaveMaker, it is time for you to design your very first cave. First, you should set up your map properties. A title for your level is required. I usually tend to fill in this box once I have designed my level. This will let you come up with a name that suits your level the best. Directly below that is the terrain type. This does not have a role in gameplay, so you can just use your personal preference. However, if you want to include a secret area in your level (which I will discuss momentarily), I recommend the purple terrain. This makes the secret areas more difficult to see because it blends in with the background.
Next to that is the background type, but you only have one option, so you must use this background. To the right, select your water type. This is just for looks, and since Hannah can swim in all types of water, this is just a personal preference. Now you need to set the dimensions of your cave. The actual maximum width or height is 90, but you cannot enter in a number higher than 88 in CaveMaker (there is an explanation, but I won't bore you with it). I generally like to set this big so I have lots of room to work with, but if this is your first level, you should keep it at 40x40. There is also a minimum value of 16, by the way.
Once you have set this properties, it's time to start building your cave!
Before you start, you should get familiar with the icons on the right-hand side of your screen. These are all the objects or things that are encountered in Hannah and the Pirate Caves. Now, with CaveMaker, you are in the front seat, so you get to place these items on your map to customize your level.
Let's begin with the first item. If you've never played Hannah and the Pirate Caves, this is called the terrain. It comes in four types. This is your basic block of land. Nothing can go through it, but you can walk over it.
The next item on the list is the wooden crate. If Hannah runs into this, it'll break. If an arrow (coming up soon) hits it, it'll break. It can be blown up by dynamite crates. A crate can support other objects, so this is somewhat like breakable terrain.
Up next is the steel crate. This is just like the wooden crate, but it cannot be broken by Hannah. It can still be blown up by dynamite or broken by an arrow.
The next item(s) are arrow crates. These can be facing in four directions: up, down, left, and right. These can be set off in the same ways as wooden crates. Just don't try to hit it from the direction the arrow is facing!
Up next is the dynamite crate. This is set off in the same way as a wooden or arrow crate, but if you trigger it by hitting it with Hannah, a dynamite stick will come flying out! If you trigger it in the other two ways, the crate will blow up, leaving a brief cloud of fire where the crate was.
Now we've reached the steel dynamite crate. This has the same relationship to the dynamite crate as the steel crate does to the wooden crate. No dynamite can come flying from this one, though if broken, the dynamite inside will destroy certain objects within a short range.
Now we've come to the platforms. These are like little wooden bridges. The only way to destroy these is by dropping a boulder on them, breaking them with dynamite, or by hitting them with a flying arrow. Hannah is able to jump up through these, but she cannot go back down below.
The next item on the list is the heart crate. This is a special wooden crate that contains one bonus life if GRABBED BY HANNAH ONLY.
Similar to the heart crate is the gem crate, only this one contains a gem that is worth an extra load of points at the end of the level!
Now we've come to the all famous treasure chest. It is a chest that contains one gold coin. All of these must be collected in order for the door to open.
Next comes the ladder. It is what it says - a ladder. Hannah can climb it, and it can be destroyed by dynamite or arrows.
Now comes the boulder. Hannah can push these, and it will break a platform if it falls on one and will destroy stalagmites if it lands on them. It cannot break through anything else but those.
Next up is the stalactites and stalagmites. Stalactites are spikes that hang from the ceiling, and stalagmites are spikes that stick up from the ground. A life will be lost if Hannah touches these! They can be destroyed by boulders, dynamite, arrows, and anything else that could fall on them (except Hannah).
The next item on the list is the secret area. This appears as a block of terrain, but Hannah and enemies can walk through it. Any other flying objects will not go through these.
Now comes the starting position. This is where Hannah starts the level, and it is required.
Now is the door. This is the exit and is also required.
There are also five enemies that Hannah could face. Enemies one and three can fly, while all others will fall to the ground if placed in midair. A life will be lost if touched by Hannah.
Now comes the air pocket. This is a little air pocket for Hannah that hangs from the ceiling, but is only needed if you are making a water cave.
Next is the water start. This is where the water will come flooding from (the source). Only needed if you are making a water cave.
Water level is next on the list. This defines the surface of the water, but is not needed (only if you are making a water cave).
And finally come the tutorial arrows. These are visual guides that help guide Hannah to the exit, but people can be clever and try to mislead you!
Now comes the fun part! Now that you know how CaveMaker works, it's time to start building your level. To assign an item to an open space on the map, click on the space (you can highlight to select multiple spaces), then double-click the icon on the right panel. The picture should show in the open space you selected on the map. You should now start building your cave. However, there are certain requirements. To start, you must have both a starting position and a door. You must have at least one treasure somewhere on the map. There can be no more than one water level on the map. You must have a level name. Once your cave is built, and if your cave meets those requirements, then you're ready to upload it. Save your cave (.txt), then click Edit, View Map as Text. You'll see your cave, but each of the icons has been given a letter or symbol on the keyboard. Click Select All then Copy to Clipboard. Return to the Download or Save Level page to upload your cave. Paste your text into the huge box provided, then click the button to activate your cave. You now need to test your cave to make sure it's beatable. Open up the game window, click 'Load User Level,' then type your username and press 'Enter' or 'Return.' You'll see your cave in a map. You can now play it as if it were any other level in the real game. If you can beat it, you're good to go. If you are sure that it is impossible to beat, then go back to CaveMaker and make the adjustments needed (remember to upload it again).
If you think your cave is difficult enough, scroll up to the top of the Upload Page. See that part about the Cave Spotlight? Click the 'Submit' link. Type a paragraph about your cave and then submit it to be judged. If you're lucky enough, The Neopets Team will pick your cave to be the Cave of the Week! This means that all of Neopia will know that you designed the best cave this week, and your name will even be announced on the New Features page! If selected, you will be awarded a nifty trophy!
That's pretty much it for CaveMaker. Hopefully you'll be able to win that spotlight! Good luck!
*NOTE: This guide is also found on the petpage of the Neopet, TMac360.