Mario Builder Manual

Platform Builder is Out!

Hi everyone! I wanted to announce here that Platform Builder is out for PC! This program has a similar feel to Mario Builder, but it uses original graphics and music, and it is a lot more powerful! If you have enjoyed using Mario Builder, check this out!!




Welcome to Mario Builder! This toolkit is designed to help you create your very own Mario games with ease! This is the online version of the manual. It will tell you everything you need to know...

Part 1: Your workstation

    The lower portion of the screen with all the buttons and items is your workstation. With it, you can define all the properties of whatever mode of the game you're working on (overworld, course, etc.). On the top row there is a find button, a test button and a long chain of items to build from. On the bottom row from left to right are the info, background, music, special, and global buttons, as well as a short item description and a save button.
    As you may have already noticed, the info button displays this information you are reading right now, but you can also right-click on it for a brief description of the item you have selected. The background button does just what the name implies. It lets you select the background. In the same way, the music button lets you select music. With it, you also have the option to upload Midi, Mp3, or Wav files, but you must have then in a folder called "Upload_Files". This folder is located in the same folder that Mario Builder is stored in. The function of the special button depends on the builder mode you are in. In the overworld editor, it lets you change the size of the map. In the course editor, you can specify certain properties of the course. In the title screen editor, you are given tools for making a title display on the screen, and placing the selection box. The global button allows you to manage and edit different game modes, name the course or world, and return to the main menu. Finally, you can save your game as long as something has changed with the save button. However, this happens automatically when you move to edit something else.
    The "Rapid" button at the bottom of the workstation lets you click and drag for fast placement and deletion. When the "View" button is enabled, you can scroll the screen by moving your cursor outside the window of your screen. For example, if the cursor to on the right side of the game window, the game will scroll to the right. Some items need specific information specified to them after you place them down. The "Link" button handles this. (It is explained in more detail in Part 2 and Part 3 of this manual.) If the "Move" button is enabled, left-click to pick up and re-place an item. You can also right click as an item is picked up to remove it instead. The "Copy" button acts like an eyedropper tool. Enable this and click on an item already placed on the screen to make it your selection.
Part 2: Placing items

To start building your game, you must first select an item by getting it under your orange work box in the item chain, located in your workstation. To do this, move the items around with the arrow keys, or by clicking on the red buttons. You can also click on a displayed item and the orange box will move there. Many items have subcategories, so use the up and down arrows to channel through those if there are any. Some items have so many subcategories that they will have their own tile set. If so, the orange box will turn green, and you can click on it to select subcategories that way instead.
    Once you have an item selected, click on the screen to place your item. You can also right click to delete, or press the 'R' key to toggle rapid placement/deletion. If the workbox on the screen is red, then you can't place it there. Normally, this is because something is in the way. In the overworld editor, some of the items like Mario or levels are dot-only items, meaning, you can only place them on a dot, which is a separate item. You can right-click on the info to see if the item is labeled as "dot-only"
    Some items need extra information. For example, message boxes need a message, Bosses need selected music to play for the big fight, and the Mario items needs a spawn ID (explained in part 3). This extra information is usually prompted immediately after you place the item. You can use the Link tool to view or change such information. Press "L" to activate it, and the items with extra information will be highlighted. Simply click on a highlighted item to access the extra information. Note that you won't be able to place or delete items when this is turned on.

Part 3: The linking system
    When you start a new Mario Builder project, you will be asked to choose between simple and advanced mode. These modes have very little difference, except that advanced mode uses warping to its full capabilities, and is therefore a bit more tricky to learn. The following information is for just that. You are suggested to use advanced mode, and thy these following methods as quickly as possible to be sure you understand them. If not, then restart using simple mode. Due to the complexity of linking levels together, your choice of mode cannot be undone.
    Mario Builder utilizes a method that allows you to move between multiple courses in a single "Area", as it's called. Every Area uses at least one course, but there can be many. For example, an Area can start Mario in one course, and then use a pipe to go to a completely different course, warp to yet another place with a door, and warp back to a different spot of first or second place before finishing the Area up. It's all up to you- be it simple or a maze of doors and pipes. However, because of the nature of the system, some explaining is in order.
    In the global menu button, you can select "Level Manager". It is here that you can make courses for the Areas that belong to the overworld you are working in. You have the option to name the courses here, but the name is only for organizational purposes and will not be the one displayed in the course when you are playing it. (If you want to change the displayed name, then the option is located in the global menu of the course editor mode.) The Level Manager is also where to go if you want to go to the course editor or to a different course for editing. After you made a course, click on it to highlight it and then press "edit".
    When you are in the course editor, you will obviously need to place a Mario or something that will spawn Mario like a door or out-pipe. However, Mario Builder gives you the option to place multiple items of these, because each spot for where Mario starts would represent a different point of Mario's adventure through the Area. (This spot is where Mario starts, this spot is where Mario appears after he returns from a pipe he previously went in, etc.) Because of this, each Mario or Mario spawn item needs a unique ID. This can be anything, but it has to be different from all the others in the course, or else the game won't start. You will be prompted for it when you place one of these items. Whenever you enter a course, Mario Builder will need to know the ID of the Mario or Mario spawn item that you want to start at. Therefore, any item you place that warps Mario to a course form the overworld or to a course from a different course will ask for it. You can use the Link tool to label spawn ID's with these items. An example of this is in the next paragraph.
    If you want Mario to travel to a different course, you will need to use an item with a red warp icon. (The warp icons have a small "x" and an arrow indicated a change of course. These icons are found in some of the in-pipe and door subcategories.) When you have one placed, select on the Link tool, and click on your item. This takes you to the level manager but with a different purpose: to select a level you want your warp spot to go to. Afterword, you will need to provide a spawn ID. This is the ID of the Mario or Mario spawn item that is in the spot you want Mario to appear to in the course you selected.

A video has been made demonstrating the use of the linking system. If it doesn't work, try it from Youtube at


Part 4: Publishing your game

    To enable yourself to play a full run-through of your game, you must first publish your game. Check to make sure that all the worlds you want in your game have a green light. You can click on the red/green light button in the top-left corner of the screen to see how. (If the light is in the way of where you want to place an item, keep the mouse arrow over the light for a couple of seconds and it will shift to the side.)
    Next, go to the title screen and publish your game using an option you can find in the global button. Note that after publication, the game is saved and you are brought back to the main menu of Mario Builder. From there select 'play' to play your game. To return back to the editor, the game will have to be unpublished. You will be prompted to do so next time you try to edit the game. The really only means that any saved play progress is removed.

    If you own Game Maker 8 Pro, then there is an "EXE Maker" which you can use to turn your Mario Builder creation into an actual game that will run by itself, without the need for Mario Builder. It is a Game Maker 8 file that can be download at

    If you do not own Game Maker 8 Pro, then there is an alternative way to doing this. You can watch a video showing how this works at

Part 5: Miscellaneous

    Boss Battles: Mario Builder puts you in control of how you want boss battles to occur. You will find that there is a grouping of items labeled "Bosses" in the course editor. This includes BoomBoom, the Koopalings and Bowser. There are also groupings of stacked blocks with an arrow. The ones with the arrow pointing down are pathway blockers. When Mario passes one, it will close up and Mario cannot go back. The ones with the arrow pointing up are also pathway blockers, but they start closed and only open after the closest boss is killed. They are only necessary if you want to continue a course after a boss battle. However, a boss battle usually ends with the "?" sphere which will appear after the boss is killed (provided you have it placed). When creating a battle area with Bowser, use the special bricks and place lava below the bricks (located with "Hazards"). This is necessary because Bowser is killed by jumping on the special bricks, breaking them, and falling in the lava below. It is also recommended to leave plenty of vertical space for Bowser to jump.
    Bonus items: There is a grouping of items labeled "Bonus" which are for toad houses and the likes. The first is a txt toad. This is like a message box but the words are displayed when Mario is near toad. The other one is a box toad for toad houses, which are setups in which Mario chooses a chest ("box", as Toad puts it) and gets a random power up item. These chests are also with the Bonus items. If Box toad is present, then only one can be opened and the course will end soon after. If Box toad is not present, then the chest will not disable other chests, and will not end the course after you open it. The last item there is the 1-up with the hammer bro icon is the 1-up that appears to end a course of a mini bro battle, which is a common concept in Super Mario Bros 3.
    Templates: From the global menu, you can select "Templates" to load up a pre-built course. Some common ones are pre-made, but there is also the option to import. If you choose to import a file, you will be prompted for a Mario Builder save file. Be sure visit the file you want to upload beforehand, and click on the button that says "File" in your workstation. This will give you the information you need in order to import that file from the template menu. Just know that the file location starts in the folder that Mario Builder is saved into. A good place to make your own templates is in the Sandbox mode which can be accessed from the main menu. Importing files is also a good way to duplicate a file you already have.
    Uploading: Although Mario Builder has a large amount of music and backgrounds to choose from, you are also able to upload your own image and sound files from your computer. However, these files need to be uploaded from a folder called "Upload_Files", so you better move your files there first! This is necessary so that Mario Builder will always know where to look, even if your game is played off of someone else's computer. You can find Upload_Files in the same folder that Mario Builder is saved to.
    If you choose to upload a background, you have the option to make the background vertically tiled. This means that the background image will stack on top of itself so that it continues no matter how high up the screen you go. If you upload a background image that shows ground and sky, you probably don't want this enabled because the sky will become the ground again as you keep scrolling up the screen. If that's the case, you can choose what color you want to have displayed beyond the top of your background by clicking on "Set Color". You probably want to choose the color that lines the top of your background image for best results.
    Importing Tile Sets: Mario Builder can import tile sets for you to use in the overworld or course editor. To do this, you need a tile set that uses 16x16 tiles and no spaces between tiles (You will probably have to do some editing in a drawing program to make this happen). If you import tiles are are meant to be stood on, there are invisible solid blocks that you can use ontop of the tiles you import. The background color of your tiles will be the color of the pixel on the bottom-left corner of your image, so be sure to leave that space empty! An example image is included in your Upload_Files folder.    
    Item Merging: As you may have noticed, several item blocks have their hidden item shown to you in editor mode. However, you can also place an item ontop of a block to hide one yourself. For some blocks, you need to do this. Noteblocks, Invisible blocks, Winged q-blocks, colored blocks, and flipblocks can also hold an item if you place one ontop. You can also place an item over a chest to make the chest give the particular item. If you do not, it will give a random item.
    Secret Exits: Super Mario World introduced secret exits. This can also be done in Mario Builder. There are two different secret exits that can be used in your courses. They are the red flagpole, or the keyhole activated by the key. If Mario complets a course through a secret exit, then the overworld is able to reveal hidden pathways to extra areas. In the overworld editor, points have a second subcategory for a daker hidden point. If a path of hidden points connects to an area icon, then they will all be revealed if the area is completed via a secret exit. It's a nifty system, but you are recommended to allow level retake from the title screen game settings so that the player can revisit courses if he/she misses the secret exit.

Some Controls:

If you are in the editor mode and you see red arrows for selecting an item, song, or whatever, there's a good chance you can use the arrow keys instead of clicking on the arrow. Also, as you scroll through the screen in course editor, hold "q" to scroll faster.

When playing your creations, remember that the default key for jumping is shift, and the default key for run/attack/hold is ctrl. You can also hold "up" as you jump to perform a spin jump, and press the space bar to release a reserve item early. If Mario is on a slope, the down key will make Mario slide as a form of attacking.


Have fun! Mario Builder has been under construction for over two years now. If there are any problems, you can visit and contact Ting_Thing (me) with any bugs or annoyances you may find via personal message (as long as you have an account made on I am also on Youtube and Gamejolt. If you like Mario Builder, feel free to share it with friends.

Thanks for using Mario Builder!