This doesn't look like Minecraft. It looks like Harry Potter killing a bunny with a light saber while drowning in a pool of water.

This doesn’t look like Minecraft. It looks like Harry Potter killing a bunny with a light saber while drowning in a pool of water.

Hold the phone! What is a Terraria post doing on this blog?!

Well, it just so happens that I also play Terraria.

Waaat???

And today I want to share something I am in the process of building.

Waaaaaat??????

Calm down. Sheesh.

Terraria, being the two-dimensional side-scrolling wonder of a game that it is, has very little depth built into it. There is some. You have background blocks (walls), middle-ground blocks (furniture, wooden beams, etc.), and foreground blocks (the kind you cannot walk through, because your character is on the same plane as they are), and if you know what you are doing you can create some really interesting structures that play with perspective and appear to have depth. But when you built your first building, it was probably a rectangle of wood, possibly with some stone wall background, a table and chair, a couple of torches, and a workbench. Also, it may have had two doors: one on each side so you could leave in either direction without having to jump over your building.

Everybody's first Terraria house. You probably would put a door on the right side too so you wouldn't have to jump over your house to get to the right.

Everybody’s first Terraria house. You probably would put a door on the right side too so you wouldn’t have to jump over your house to get to the right.

As you advanced, and your building got taller, it became more and more vital that you had doors on either side of your building. But once you start facing Blood Moons and Goblin Invasions, you start to realize that doors are a liability – the more doors you have, the more fronts you have to defend or find a way of locking down. Ideally, it would be nice to have only one entrance for your complex, one front to defend against the slightly peeved hordes. The fire marshals might not like it, but fortunately there is not (yet, at least) a Fire Marshal NPC who requires multiple routes of escape in case of fire.

This is a fun but nevertheless basic cabin. Notice that it has multiple doors: one of the left, one of the right, and one in the basement. All of these must be defended during a Blood Moon or Goblin Invasion.

This is a fun but nevertheless basic cabin. Notice that it has multiple doors: one of the left, one of the right, and one in the basement. All of these must be defended during a Blood Moon or Goblin Invasion.

There are solutions. Probably the most obvious solution is just to build your building off the ground (or “on stilts” meaning above wooden beams, which are a middle-ground block that you can walk in front of). Then, you can build some steps up to your single door. Easy-peasy.

Build some steps up to the door on the right and you have a decent starter shelter. You can walk under this building because wooden beams are a mid-ground block.

Build some steps up to the door on the left and you have a decent starter shelter. You can walk under this building because wooden beams are a mid-ground block.

The thing is, visually this works well for log cabins and small to mid-sized buildings. But sometimes, particularly if you are trying to build a big enough complex to house all your NPCs, stilts start to look a little silly. What is needed is a more convincing way to design that first layer of background blocks and a staircase leading up to the single entrance to your base (which is technically floating off the ground, but it doesn’t look like it is).

Obviously, you could just skip the pretense and build your base floating in the air. But if you’ve read this blog at all, you know that I am not a strictly pragmatic player. I like to emulate real structures and real systems (and I mean emulate, not replicate). And I kind of fail to see what the fun of Terraria is if you’re just going to play it in a purely pragmatic manner where your sole criterion in making decisions is efficiency.

So having justified myself and my playing style, let me share the first stages of my first really big build in Terraria and the solution I have come up with for my “single entrance” problem.

The point of this is to set the bottom layer in context. The bottom looks as if the foundation of the house is made of stone slabs and stone brick arches. Most of that is made up of walls rather than foreground blocks, so you can walk in front of it. The center is a marble staircase that leads up to an enclosed room with a single door - the entrance to the manor.

The point of this wide shot is to set the bottom layer in context. The bottom looks as if the foundation of the house is made of stone slabs and stone brick arches. Most of that is made up of walls rather than foreground blocks, so you can walk in front of it. The center is a marble staircase that leads up to an enclosed room with a single door – the entrance to the manor.

Here you can see a closer shot of the marble staircase entrance. I have used marble platforms with marble wall blocks behind them. I used a hammer to get the edges to look like they were curling in. You can walk in front of this staircase or climb it by holding up while walking to the side.

Here you can see a closer shot of the marble staircase entrance. I have used marble platforms with marble wall blocks behind them. I used a hammer to get the edges to look like they were curling in. You can walk in front of this staircase or climb it by holding up while walking to the side.

The brighter layer above me are gray stone bricks. Below the lowest part of the arch I used stone brick wall pieces.

The brighter layer above me are gray stone bricks. Below the lowest part of the arch I used stone brick wall pieces.

Once the other wall pieces are filled in, the wall brick becomes a single block wide in appearance, making it look as if the arches go all the way to the ground and are completely in the background.

Once the other wall pieces are filled in, the wall brick becomes a single block wide in appearance, making it look as if the arches go all the way to the ground and are completely in the background.

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