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« Blogs Index < Game Guides < HATPC Guides < Cave Design
« Jebby's Blog


So you've opened the cavemaker and you're  fumbling about wondering where to start. When you've made a few caves and you  have some experience on how to make caves, you'll have three routes to take –  each one having further routes coming off of it. Let's go through these three  options:

1) Masterpieces

Fairly self-explanatory. Sometimes, you  want to make a cave with the best design possible – a really beautiful cave  that is as perfect as you can make it. When you start off, your masterpieces  won't be that great, but you will feel really proud of yourself when it's  finished. These types of caves are generally the best you could possibly do and their standard will increase as  you become a better cavemaker.

2) Entertainers

These are built mainly for the satisfaction  of the player rather than the maker. These are usually simple to make and  revolve around one theme. A good choice for the beginner as good timing isn't  necessary.

3) Artistic  Caves

These caves are carefully planned out and  often use very original themes – a common factor is that they give the player  many choices as to where they go. There are rarely any boundaries or  limitations in these caves as the player is free to go where they like within  the borders of the cave. Various incentives lead the player to the door. Not  recommended for when you start caving, but can be as satisfying to create as a  masterpiece.

Now that we've looked at the three major ways you can make a cave, let's look at some of the more specific concepts:

Big  or Small?

Size is something that can be planned or it  can be something that grows as you go along. You could choose to place a door  in one place on an 80x80 map with the starting position on the other side and  fill the space up with traps. The other and more popular option is to place the  door in an area where it doesn't get in the way and build up from one spot,  increasing the cave size as you want. If you're new to cavemaking, it's good to  stick with the standard 40x40.

Tall  or Wide?

I personally think that 'tall' and 'wide'  are cave themes as they greatly affect the traps you can make. Most caves are  square or large rectangles with a particular theme within – the shape of a cave  rarely comes into play. There are a few types of cave that use a tall/wide cave  shape:


The player starts at the top of a very tall  thin cave and plummets to the bottom while avoiding spikes and other bits of  devilry along the way.


The player starts at the bottom of a tall  thin cave and takes the strenuous journey up to the top.


One long trap that goes on and on… and on.  Usually a speed trap (time limited) on a long horizontal plane.

Although there are probably other  variations possible, these are the general themes that are used for stretched  cave shapes.

Bog  Standard

The most common layout: a nice square with  simple traps from starting position to door. A good starting point, but you  won't become particularly distinguished if you make these all the time.


Similar to 'Bog Standard', but features a  big monster of a trap in the centre, beginning or end. The main trap is ringed  with smaller traps

Dual Core Processor

The player has two possible routes at the  beginning. The player may or may not have to beat both halves of the cave. If  he/she does not, no treasure chests will feature on either side to remove the  incentive. An alternative to this is to have the door next to the starting  position – after completing each half, the player returns to the beginning  again to take on the other half.

Dude, Where's My Cave?

A particularly common cave type, this one:  many rooms are mysteriously separated from each other. The solution is that  secret areas interconnect each room. These can make navigation difficult but  engaging.

Continuous Motion

These ones are very difficult to make, but  an intense ride. There are no pauses whatsoever – the player is pushed into the  next trap the moment he finished the last. These are an absolute monster to  test and good timing is a must.

Skeleton Key

To make one of these, you have to have the  starting position and door near to each other. You also need several rooms that  all lead back to the starting position. Each room gives access to a treasure  chest or removes one part of something that blocks the way to the door. In  other words, you are unlocking the door with a key/s. These can be impressive  if you get them right.

Enough Room to Swing a Cat

These are not that common, but are very  good practice for timing caves and are very enjoyable to play. The player stays  on the same spot for pretty much the whole cave (you can split it into separate  areas if you want to expand it a bit). The player sets off an arrow and a long  chain of arrows and treasure go past him/her until the end of the cave/trap.  These can take up a lot of room with little space for gameplay.

Rubik's Cube

These are based mainly or purely on  puzzles. To unlock the next room, the player must defeat each puzzle trap as  he/she goes along. Can be made more difficult and exciting by time limits.

Imagination Raider

These are generally known as themed caves  and are not all about traps. They often depict scenes, strange environments or  pictures. 'Christmas' or 'Cityscape' would be examples. Let your imagination go  crazy here.

Water Caves

We'll deal with water in the next section.

'Bog Standard' is a good place to start,  but as you start improving you can begin to add more interesting compartments  to your caves and try different layout ideas.

All of these ideas have originated from  common cave layouts that have appeared over the years. There are many caves  that don't follow any of these frames and have used totally new ideas. There is  also the world of glitches, fake crates and floorless caves that can spice up  more advanced cave designs, but we'll look into those later. Now to learn how  to make an effective water cave.

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