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How to survive your first night in Terraria

4:00 PM on 01.30.2012 // Harry Monogenis

So you've finally decided to go and purchase Terraria; maybe your Steam friends have been pushing you to get it, maybe you liked some of the gameplay videos you saw on YouTube. Whatever the reason may be, nothing will prepare you for the sheer amount of content that Terraria has to offer.

Nothing will also prepare you for the dangers Terraria will throw your way. The inviting music, puffy clouds, birds, rabbits, and so forth might make this game seem like a fun, harmless experience, but in reality Terraria can be an unforgiving hellish nightmare when nighttime comes and you're faced with seemingly endless waves of Zombies and Demon Eyes.

In order for you to have any chance of surviving your first night, you're going to need to build a shelter, and with haste. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about house-building in Terraria, as well as provide some very helpful tips and insight.

You've spawned, now get some resources

When you spawn, you'll start off with a Copper Shortsword, Copper Pickaxe, and a Copper Axe. The first thing you should do is explore to get a better understanding of the area, but not to the extent where you find yourself in an area covered with sand; not only are there more dangerous enemies over there, but mining and general exploring becomes much more complicated due to the sand being able to kill you should it fall on you. Be sure to kill several Slimes that you may encounter and keep the Gel that they drop, you'll need it for later. Now, find a slightly long stretch of even ground; this will be where you build your house. If you're having trouble doing that, just use your Copper Pickaxe to mine blocks causing unevenness until you get your desired stretch of land. Keep the Mud Blocks that break off and go into your inventory, as you'll also need them later. 

Now that you have an idea of where the house is going to be built, the next step is to collect wood by cutting down trees using that Copper Axe of yours. Simply aim your cursor at a tree and hold the left mouse button until it's destroyed and wood will rain down. Be sure to always aim towards the very bottom of the tree in order to cut the whole thing as opposed to leaving a stump and gaining less wood. You'll notice that among the heaps of wood you'll collect, there will be several acorns too; while these acorns aren't needed in the house-building process, you should plant them somewhere out of the way where they'll later grow into trees. You should at the very least collect 150 pieces of wood, though 250 would serve you better in the long run.

Here's where you get to make a choice: either you collect just the wood (must be 250 if you choose to do so) and move onto the crafting process, or you can collect 150 pieces of wood and then mine around 80-100 Mud Blocks. Given the fact that you have limited time and mining is much more time consuming with a Copper Axe, I recommend you just collect the 250 wood -- though it's ultimately up to you.

Now, provided that you have at least 250 pieces of wood or 150 pieces of wood and 80-100 Mud Blocks in your inventory, you're ready to put the materials to use through Terraria's crafting system and begin construction of your house.

Hurry, get crafting!

Chances are, depending on how long you took gathering materials, the landscape is getting darker; time is running out for you to prepare. You may have already figured this out, but by pressing the ESC button, you will notice on the left corner that there is a menu showing items that you've never seen before. This is the Crafting menu. The bigger images show what you are currently able to craft, while the smaller images next to those show what materials will be consumed in the crafting process.

The first thing you should craft is a Workbench; it will be your new best friend throughout the early stages of Terraria as it will allow you to craft some of the basic items you'll need. By standing next to it, you'll notice that you are now able to craft a wider range of items than just Torches and Wooden Platforms.

Immediately craft the following items and place them all in your inventory:

  • Wooden Door
  • Wooden Chair
  • Wooden Hammer
  • 6 Torches
  • 120 Wood Walls (1 piece of wood creates 4 Wood Walls)

As you might have guessed, everything above will be used in creating the house apart from the Wooden Hammer -- that's for getting rid of misplaced Wooden Walls or other items. If you have enough wood left over, you might also want to craft a Wooden Sword as they are stronger than that Copper Shortsword of yours.

Once you have crafted everything you need, use your Wooden Hammer on the Workbench and let it go back into your inventory. You are now ready to start building your house.

Building your house

Now, technically your house can be as ridiculously small and empty as you want, but as you've probably already seen you have a little friend with you. His name will always be different given the fact that the game randomly generates names but everyone refers to him as "The Guide." NPC characters like The Guide are fussy people and will only get into a house that meets certain criteria. There's simply not enough time to build two separate houses. So what you'll need to do is build one house that the NPC will be able to occupy, while at the same time providing you shelter from the zombies; basically, you and The Guide can stay in the one house you're about to build.


Left click on your stack of wood and begin placing them alongside each other on top your nice, even ground. 10 pieces should be enough; if you don't have enough even land you can easily make it longer by placing Mud Blocks at either end.


Now you're going to need to make a roof. Go to the far left of your wooden floor and begin stacking pieces of wood upward while jumping on top of each new one you position; six pieces stacked on top of each other will be enough. After you've done that and you're on the top of the stacks of wood you've just placed, create a straight line of wood by aiming at your feet (walking over each newly placed piece of wood as you do so) until you're aligned with the end of the right side of your house, and then jump down and repeat the stacking process and close the gap. If at any time you find yourself unable to reach certain positions, use your Wooden Platforms, it's what they're there for -- just be sure to put them back in your inventory using your Wooden Hammer so that they don't get in the way of the building process.


The structure is now complete, but you're probably starting to wonder why I've just had you locked outside your own house. Don't worry, go to either side of the house and destroy the bottom three pieces of wood using your Copper Axe. Now, left click your Wooden Door and and place your cursor over that gap and hold onto the left mouse button until the door gets placed. Now that you're done with that, it's time to make the house suitable for The Guide to want to come in and not get killed by the looming dangers. In order for a house to be suitable it needs to have the following:

  • Light Source (Torches)
  • Entrance (Wooden Door)
  • Flat Surface Item (Workbench)
  • Comfort Item (Wooden Chair)
  • Wall (Wood Walls)

Notice how those items in brackets are the ones I told you to construct earlier? Well, now you know why. Place several Torches anywhere in the house, then a wooden chair towards either end followed by your Workbench (which technically counts as a table). The only thing preventing your house from becoming suitable now is the lack of any walls behind you. Get out those Wood Walls and cover up the background with them until you can't see it any more. 

If you don't already have it open, press the ESC button and look to the right; there will be an image of a greyed out house, click it. Now click on the white "?" image and drag it inside your house and click again. If you've done everything right, a yellow message will appear saying, "This housing is suitable" and a red flag will appear with a picture of The Guide. Yep, he has now claimed it as his own and will go inside when night time approaches.

Well done, your house is now a home but you still need to survive. Night time has probably approached now; the music has become much more eerie, you can see shining stars in the background and you hear this creepy screaming sound. The zombies and demon eyes are coming now.

Don't go outside, seriously

No, really, don't bother. Not during your first night. Not only don't you have any armor yet, but your current set of weapons will simply not do any type of remarkable damage and you will get slaughtered. The best thing for you to do now is stay inside your new home and make sure you do not open the door. Doing so for even a couple of seconds is enough to have enemies come inside and cause total chaos.

Simply put: wait the night out. During this time you can get to see what tips The Guide has for you, as well click on the "Crafting" option after opening dialogue with him to see what other kind of items you can create with your current materials.

Jump for joy!

Congratulations, you've survived your first night in Terraria. Now go out there and explore, there's a lot waiting for you.

Harry Monogenis, Contributor
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