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Having played a lot of both single-player and multiplayer Terraria at this point, I've noticed that more enemies spawn when I'm exploring with my buddy than when I'm alone on my server.

It doesn't look like we get double the enemies with 2 players, but we clearly get more than in single-player.

Does anybody know how the scaling works? And is it global to the server, or local? If 3 people on a multiplayer server all explore alone far from each other, do they get the single-player enemy spawn rate in their area?

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I'm not sure, but I think it's also based on whatever gear you or anybody else on the server has on them, because I seemed to get more baddies spawning on my single-player server as well, once I got, like, Molten Armor and a few artifacts. –  Ragnar Jun 6 '11 at 7:05
    
I think the server delegates NPC spawns to the client, so each client would spawn their own enemies and thus double their numbers. This is mostly speculation, though, so I can't be sure. –  lunboks Jun 6 '11 at 11:28
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@lunboks: In game development that would be considered a bad thing to do because you are creating unnecessary network traffic and CPU overload on the clients, other than that the clients only have a small chunk of the map available for them. It's much easier to add a line that sends the NPC spawn and updates to the relevant clients than it is to forward and track NPCs over multiple clients. It could however be a nice idea in a distributed LAN game, when the CPU computations would be too much to handle... –  Tom Wijsman Jun 6 '11 at 21:26
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up vote 9 down vote accepted

Each player spawns his own enemies.

On the server, the spawn rate and the maximum spawns are determined for each player. These have varying values depending on whether it's day or nite, the layer you are in or being in any of the special zones like the Corruption, Dungeon, Meteor or Jungle; not to forget about the Blood Moon...

The harder the time, depth and zone; the harder your adventure.

They don't spawn each X seconds but rather by a chance on each single game tick up to a limit.

The spawn rates and maximum spawns from high to low for the same time and layer depth are

  • Dungeon, the skeletons must kill you! (not influenced by depth and time)

  • Blood Moon, it's an invasion... (not influenced by depth)

  • Jungle, to make it harder than other zones by sending those hornets.

  • Corruption and Meteor

  • World, which also covers the Underworld.

Thus, depending on when and where you are you can get different order in the lower three. The trend is that you get more spawns in the night and the middle of the map as you'll see zombies, skeletons and all kind of slimes annoying you on your path...

Please note that you can also influence this yourself, increasing chance by 25% and limit by 50%.

How can I test this out?

Is it really about chances?

This is a hard one given that it's works based on a chance and thus could result in a different outcome. A good example of the chance can be seen when chasing down a dungeon without killing the Skeleton first, you'll see a random amount of skeletons spawn after a random amount of time.

On my first attempt I ran down and took the contests of a chest, on another I got killed by 2 of them.

Do the time, depth and zone really affect the amount of spawns?

This is easy to verify, check the amount of slimes that visit you when you stand still during the day compared to the amount of zombies that hunt you during an invasion or even just the amount of fire balls that annoy you when you are mining a meteorite.

Do we really get more spawns together?

The best way would be to play together with a lot of people to drastically increase the amount of spawned monsters, playing with 8 players together on the same screen should give a noticeable difference against just 1 or 2 players. I've been mining a meteorite with my sister and noticed that we each got separate fire balls hunting both of us and when she died I only saw the half the amount...

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Nice and detailed. What I'd like to know, though, is who is actually in control of the spawns, client or server. Your answer could be interpreted in both ways. Griefing videos on YouTube have led me to assume the former, but maybe it's just for boss monsters. Also, I'm not sure why you'd link to the unofficial Wikia wiki when their article on the Water Candle is riddled with misinformation. –  lunboks Jun 6 '11 at 21:39
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@lunboks: The server enumerates over the players and makes sure that monsters spawn for them, I've listed that in the first paragraph. I don't know what grieving you are referring to but I could guess it's probably by increasing the spawn rate severely. Please read this Gaming.SE answer on the Water Candle for more information, I have to agree that the Wiki isn't based on proper reverse engineering but it still serves the purpose of explaining what it is and how it looks like... –  Tom Wijsman Jun 6 '11 at 21:48
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Thanks for clarifying. By griefing, I meant abusive players joining random servers and being able to spawn dozens of enemies to kill everyone. Also, I wrote that answer you linked to. :) –  lunboks Jun 6 '11 at 21:54
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Amusingly it looks like part of my perceived spawn increase was due to the 1.03 Water Candle/Band of Regeneration bug. –  lilserf Jun 6 '11 at 22:06
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