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Exploits and Cheats for Terraria: Skipping the Grind
Terraria, released in May 2011 over Steam, is a 2D sandbox game that takes more than a bit of inspiration from Minecraft. Creating your own character and worlds, you can spelunk through caverns and dungeons in the search for rare minerals and special items, using the resources you collect to create new equipment and build structures ranging from humble wood cabins to massive castles. While searching for gold and glory is plenty entertaining, however, the road trip for certain materials can sometimes become extremely monotonous, particularly when it comes to special items like life-increasing Heart Crystals and rare minerals. A few choice cheats here and there can save you a lot of grief, and players have found and developed several exploits and programs to facilitate such.
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Entirely Subjective: The Fine Art of Save-Scumming
"Save-Scumming" is the act of saving your progress in a game right before a specific sequence, playing through said sequence, and reloading your progress before that sequence for the purpose of going through the sequence again in hopes of getting a different result. Though you could technically use the term to describe any action of this sort, the name's most associated with the action of creating save game back-ups for Roguelikes and other "hardcore" types of games where save conditions are specified by the game and your saved game is deleted if you should die in-game. Most save-scumming is done through a file manager program like Windows Explorer, though games being played through emulators can be save-scummed through the use of the save-state function, which most emulators incorporate.
The way that Terraria saves your progress gives rise to an interesting method of save-scumming. Characters and worlds each have their own save files, stored in the "Players" and "Worlds" folders in the Terraria folder of your "My Games" directory. Any time that you load or save a game in Terraria, both a character file and a world file are called and overwritten. Because each world and each player has their own inventory, however, an interesting little exploit becomes possible that allows you to multiply your material resources.
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Move the Swag, Zip the Save Game; Move the Swag, Unzip the Save Game...
All you need is a chest and some swag you want to duplicate. Dump a stack of items (Heart Crystals and Fallen Stars are great, as maximizing your health and mana is essential) into the chest, then quit to the main menu. Create a back-up of the world file you're using for duplication (WinRAR and similar programs are great for this) and reload your game. Grab your items out of the chest, quit to the main menu, then delete the world and put the back-up in its place. Reload the world again, and another stack of items is ready for you to take. Keep taking the swag and replacing the world file until you've got as much of the item as you want or need. You can also bounce items between the character's inventory and the chest, which will allow you to snowball your stack's contents until the stack is at maximum capacity.
While duplicating works best in single-player, you can also duplicate items in multi-player mode if you can find a friendly server where you can do said duplicating with security. Place a chest and fill it with stuff to duplicate, then press Alt+F4 to kill Terraria right then and there. Because you didn't log out of Terraria in the proper fashion, your character file won't be updated, and you'll still have the items you set out for duplication. Re-join the server and access your chest, and you can take your stuff back and double your investment. This method, however, runs the risk of someone stealing your swag while you're disconnected, so cheat with caution.
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I Spy With My Electronic Eye: The Terraria Map Viewer
While part of the fun of Terraria comes from braving the unknown terrors of the deep in search of treasure and raw materials, sometimes exploration just doesn't cut it. As an example, the only way to increase your maximum health is by finding a Heart Crystal, a rare item only found in specific areas underground. With the way Heart Crystals are distributed, however, it's easy to miss them while spelunking, and your paltry 100 HP at the start won't let you brave the depths for long.
For those searching for specific resources like the aforementioned Hear Crystals, the Terraria Map Viewer allows you to take a peek at a block-by-block visual recreation of your world. Besides revealing the layout of your world's caverns, corruption, dungeon and floating islands, however, the Terraria Map Viewer incorporates a legend system that flags specific special items, such as Heart Crystals, chests, Shadow Orbs and the various gems scattered about the world. With this information in hand, you can make a beeline for the items you're most in need of and save yourself the agony of blindly searching or trudging on in your deprived state. Best of all, as the map viewer was developed and debuted on the Something Awful forums, you can be sure of your computer's safety when using the map viewer compared to other external programs.
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All information in this article is based on the author's own experience.
Image 1 is from Terraria. Image 2 is from a Terraria Map Viewer output file.