The Stage Builder (ステージ作り, Stage Maker) is a feature in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that allows players to create their own custom stages by using the given stage parts, and in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's case, drawing on the GamePad and the Nintendo Switch, respectively. Players can also choose from a variety of backgrounds and pick any song on the games' soundtracks.
Builders must choose to create a small, medium, or large stage, which will affect the number of parts that can be placed and the location of blast lines. Next, the builder selects a theme: a mountain, a building in ruins, or a futuristic chamber. Each theme has its own set of special stage elements which allow for slight variations in stage design depending on what theme is used. The final step before building is picking music, which can be any track that has been unlocked. Only one track may be chosen per stage, though the player may change it to a different track after the stage has been built. Users must place a minimum of four horizontal areas (for spawning points) for the game to allow their stage to be saved.
There are different structures and building materials the player can use depending on the background chosen earlier. There are three different sizes for most of the structures, with the one exception being the ladder. The player can use a limited number of parts per stage (unless they remove the limit by hacking). Each piece used will use up a certain amount of memory for the map, and some pieces take up more memory than others. Once ready, the player can test the stage through the editor; however, the player is limited to using Mario with the default controls for the controller being used. One can also switch back to the editing screen to make more changes. Custom stages are compatible with SD cards. The limit to the number of custom stages a player can have depends on how much room one has in their internal Wii memory or SD card. The player can also send stages to their friends.
Types of parts the player can use in this mode come in three categories:
Custom stages could be uploaded to a Brawl server, with players also receiving a random stage uploaded by a different player via the Smash Service.
The game comes with three sample stages to demonstrate how the Stage Builder works.
There are three categories of parts: floors, structures, and features. The following table gives the name (unofficial), size, and description of each part.
There are also certain parts and features that can be unlocked to use in the Stage Builder.
Use in modding
Because of how Stage Builder loads custom data, a common method to hacking the Wii console involves exploiting this loading mechanism. Referred to as the Smash Stack, forcing Stage Builder to load a file that is too large can allow for a user to load custom data; this method of hacking is common in order to add the Homebrew Channel to the Wii, and it is also one of the main methods of loading gameplay mods.
In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, the Stage Builder was changed immensely. Players now have much more freedom when creating stages, with the ability to draw platforms of any shape using the Wii U's GamePad. An option is given to either make the platform grabbable by players or not. However, there are much less stage parts than Brawl, being limited to cannons, springs, moving platforms and magma. Jump-through platforms can be made by making a line, and tapping it. All objects' and platforms' locations snap to an invisible fine grid. A visible grid can be displayed by pressing the X button for easier alignment when placing or drawing. The visible grid has a "resolution" measured in units, while the invisible grid allows accuracy to one-fifth of a unit. The grid also shows where in-game boundaries will be, with a green border showing where the camera boundaries are, and a red border for the blast lines. Walk-off stages can be created because of their placement.
Custom Stages are not available in 8-Player Smash. All Custom Stages have Star KOs and Screen KOs, regardless of layout.
When testing a stage, pausing and pressing ZL or ZR on the GamePad will allow players to select their character, an opponent character (including a second player), and customized controls and names, with the exception of Mii Fighters.
Five new backgrounds share two textures that can be given to drawn platforms, whilst they have three unique textures of their own.
There are four types of special features that can be inserted.
On April 9th, 2019, an advertisement released by Nintendo discreetly revealed the Stage Builder icon on the menu, confirming that a stage builder mode was in development at the time of the advertisement's release. A promotional video on April 16th confirmed the inclusion of Stage Builder in the version 3.0.0 update scheduled to release the following day.
The stage builder was greatly revamped since the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U iteration. Besides the player-accessible layer, terrain can be placed in three additional decorative layers. Various materials are accessible to be used. Platforms can be drawn freehandedly, or using rectangle or oval tools. Their material can be changed at the player's leisure with the Fill tool. Instead of sets of moving platforms, rails can be freely placed by the player in order to make any platform follow it. Rotation effects can also be added to platforms, and both the rotation and travelling of platforms across rails can be toggled on or off mid-battle by placing switches. Many objects can be changed with a properties menu, allowing tweaks such as adjusting rail speed or enabling terrain gravity. However, unlike in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, custom stages cannot be used in Training Mode or Custom Smash, both of which notably enable the player to modify the gameplay speed.
Unlike previous games, custom stages can support up to eight players by default, although that limit can drop back to four if the stage becomes too complex, as shown by a weight gauge at the top of the screen. Going through a 4-Player stage with five or more players in Local Wireless will instead choose one of the game's normal stages instead.
Stages created using the editor are able to be shared or downloaded on the online Shared Content page.
When testing stages, the default characters for player and CPU are two Marios. However, as in for Wii U the player may change the default fighters via the pause menu when testing, and are retained for all future uses of Stage Builder.
When creating a stage, the stage size (small, medium, and large) can be chosen, as well as the background, and the music track. Neither the size nor the background can be changed later, but the music track can be changed at any time. The track can also be chosen among any of the musical tracks in the game, including ones that are normally unable to be played on any of the normal stages, such as Lifelight and Step: Subspace. The only song that can't be used is the song used for Home-Run Contest.
Unlike the originals however, these backgrounds are static 2-dimensional backdrops, meaning that they do not have depth and things that normally move in their original stages do not move (clouds, water, etc).
Hazards and tools
Unlike the Stage Builders in previous installments, the textures - now called terrain materials - are universal regardless of the background. Additionally, the ice block and magma are now treated as terrain material, rather than unique elements.
Each material has various physics attributes affecting how it interacts with other objects with gravity enabled. The attributes only affect the terrain's interaction with objects, not fighters. In the following table, the physics attributes are defined as:
Quirks and glitches
Ultimate's stage builder has a fairly large number of quirks, glitches and other issues, especially when compared to the stage builders in earlier games. These include: