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I'm trying to create a social/common area for my NPCs, so that they don't have to spend all their time hanging out in their bedrooms. Unfortunately, all my NPC housing to date has been apartment/hotel style and no one seems willing to leave their floor:

example of "apartment" or "hotel" housing

How should I instead construct my NPC housing so as to inspire them to mingle? I like the idea of having some kind of common room, but it's difficult to gather folks there if they're afraid of stairs.

Is there some way to get NPCs to travel up or down? (I'd prefer to avoid a sprawling, village-type layout.)

Update: Success! Based on Raven Dreamer's answer, I tried putting a single wood platform to split the difference between floors. Here's the merchant, having just bounced down:

working "stairs"

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Piston trap! Err...wrong game :( –  Domocus Sep 28 '11 at 1:12
    
@Domo That's OK, Minecraft and Terraria are basically the same game. ;-) –  bwarner Sep 28 '11 at 1:20
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@bwarner. As much as the Total War games and Starcraft are the same games. –  heishe Sep 28 '11 at 15:47
    
Glad you were able to get it working! I came by to post an updated picture, but found you had beaten me to the punch. Well done, sir! –  Raven Dreamer Oct 12 '11 at 4:13

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Bwarner has the right idea, but I have a different implementation.

The NPC pathing is pretty simple - amble back and forth, opening doors in their way. In your apartment style base, this restricts them to the same level as their "house", since they will not pass through wood panels, either by jumping up or by falling through (like you, the player is able to do).

What you can do is create what are effectively "one-way passages" for NPCs (no need to bother with removing floor that they're standing on!). In principle, this is quite simple: just put a drop of sufficient height (3 blocks should do it, 2 might, but I'd have to check) to the side of their house with their door. The NPCs will wander about during the day, fall off the ledge, and mingle in the pit you've created rather than alone in their homes.

Since NPCs teleport home at night (only when you're a sufficient distance away, though) their safety is not in question (though you could build a mosh basement as well, I suppose, that would keep mobs out regardless), and better yet, you won't have to re-corral them into the congregation pen every time you visited your town.

[I'm going to try and implement such a pit and post a picture here.]

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NPC's will never fall off a ledge that has more than a 3 block drop, so you'll have to build "stairs" to coerce them down. Can't find a source for where I got this though. –  Mr Smooth Sep 28 '11 at 0:22
    
Hm. That could be a problem. –  Raven Dreamer Sep 28 '11 at 0:40
    
This looks very promising! I'm going to give it a try and see how it goes. –  Ben Blank Sep 28 '11 at 1:30

Another option that does not require a special housing arrangement is to make use of the King and Queen statues. When these statues are activated via wiring they teleport a single male or female (respectively) NPC the statue's location. When activated repeatedly they cycle through all of the NPCs.

To make use of this simply place the statues in your desired 'Mosh-Spot', place a pressure plate directly next to the statues, wire them together and jump on the plate. A single female and male NPC will appear in front of the statue. You can now leave them to it: as they wander back and forth they will step on the plate several more times causing all of their NPC companions to join them soon enough.

This has the added advantage of being able to "Get This Party Started" whenever you choose.

I created my NPC hangout on a small platform high in the sky (all of my housing was airborne) - the NPCs would sometimes fall off but be rescued from death by someone stepping on the button and teleporting them back (usually :S).

Alcohol + Altitude is a dangerous combination.

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I think you need to build a mosh pit. Have the common area be directly below your NPCs' houses. Once they have moved in to their house, you should be able to get them to drop down into the pit by digging the floor out from under them. They won't be able to get back to their houses, but why would they want to leave the party anyways? As long as you keep them safe, they shouldn't respawn outside the pit.

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You are, however, forgetting that NPCs teleport home when the player is sufficiently off screen. –  Raven Dreamer Sep 27 '11 at 22:37
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@Raven Oh well, I guess the party can't go on forever. –  bwarner Sep 28 '11 at 0:55

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