I'm playing Terraria again with the 1.0.6 update so I started a new world for a fresh experience. Unfortunately, I'm running into the same frustrations I've hit before when exploring. Starting from spawn where my crafting/containers/npcs are, I head out to explore vertically (though it applies horizontally too, I suppose) and follow natural caves looking for chests/hearts/etc with the eventual goal of mining some hellstone from the Underworld. Eventually I get close to death/filled up on items/bored and I use my mirror to return home, losing my progress underground in the process. Now I have to find my way back down to where I was while being bothered by all these low level monsters in the process, and it takes a significant amount of time.
Do I really have to walk all the way down to continue exploring where I left off? Is there a better way to explore far away places without having to bore myself with the trip to get there (the second time)?
From 1.1 With Love
By using a on/off wire trigger block you can effectively "open" your bed's wall and invalidate the room it's in, leading you to spawn back at the middle of your world. If you're close enough (wiring only works for 2000 blocks or so) you can just hook up a switch at your spawn that'll change the blocks again and allow you to spawn back at your home base. Otherwise, you might be able to coax a contraption with a statue spawner/pressure plate/lava block to toggle it for you automatically.
This post on the TerrariaOnline forums in particular has an interesting bird-based reset circuit that seems to be fairly popular, but you'll need a bird spawner.
Digging the hard way
From your main base, just dig a hole straight down (the classic "Hellevator", if you will). When you get tired of exploring your caves, just start digging left/right towards your shaft. It'll take a while, but you'll at least probably find some goodies (more caves, ores...) on the way, and getting back will be a lot easier. You can even use a depth meter to align all your "escape routes" to the same depth, so that eventually you can just have one long path across the world that speeds up travel.
Previously, on Terraria...
A trick that worked in 1.0.5 was to start up a multiplayer server and explore with a friend (or just explore with two characters locally), then follow the instructions:
If you did it properly, you should travel back to where the bed is. This might not work in 1.0.6, though, and it's only good for exploring together -- if either of you get separated, you'll have to travel back manually.
If you're exploring solo, your only real option is just to take the time to improve the path. Wooden platforms over minor gaps and flattening out bumps will help a lot with horizontal movement, and creating a double shaft with a soft landing area (e.g. water) on one side and a wooden platform tower on the other will make vertical travel easier. Using background walls other than dirt will also stop the enemies from spawning.
It sounds like you need a patent-pending Orior Gate™!
Using revolutionary gravito-silicate domicile disruption technology, the Orior Gate™ makes a remote getaway temporarily invalid! This means you can activate the Gate, teleport home via mirror, then teleport back via mirror at your convenience! Orior Gate™!
The materials are simple: a bed, sand, and walls or the means to make them. These items can be easily obtained even by starting characters and fit neatly alongside your adventuring gear! Orior Gate™!
Here's how it works: Create a barely-valid house will a large vertical chute. At rest, a block of sand completes the house's ceiling. To activate the Gate, move the sand to the top of the chute (invalidating the house), drop it, and port home while the sand is falling. After you arrive, the sand settles and restores your remote house.
The way I do this is to make a tunnel that goes straight down to hell ending a bit above where hell starts with a pool of water, the tunnel is only 3 blocks wide so no mobs can get in and any time I want to explore down there I just drop in. This is a bit of effort the first time but once its done it saves so much time.
To make this easier you can also create some stairs on one side of the tunnel so you can just hold the jump key to get back to the top.
For exploring the world I have created a house with a tower then a walkway that runs left or right so I can just walk safely to each of the different zones. Again its a bit of a pain but not too hard to make and it means you can just go wherever you want without having to fight.
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