What am I missing to get an NPC to butcher some corpses?

The corpses are piled onto a table, which is the corpse loot zone. There is a constructed butchering rack next to the table. The tools loot zone is 3 tiles from the corpses (includes a butchering kit and hacksaw). The corpses are still fresh. All I get back is “The required items are not available to complete this task.” I’ve rearranged things a couple of times and still can’t seem to get it to work.


Did you make sure that the tools are not in use in any other way at the time (vehicle de-/construction or crafting for example)?

Adding a game version to your report would be helpful, as the game is updated multiple times a day and without knowing if this is an old and already fixed bug - or a bug at all - is turning support into a guessing game almost no one wants to play.

Assuming that your tools are not in use and this isn’t just some oversight, I think the amount of forum posts that this produced (topic 1, topic 2 & topic 3) justifies some deeper look.
Would you agree to upload your save file somewhere (google drive / dropbox / …) - if it isn’t a “tool in use” problem - so I can take a look at your setup and don’t have to go through the pain of trying to reproduce this behavior myself?

Sorry, I wasn’t thinking of this as a bug report. I ended up bumbling into what I was doing wrong when I was preparing to put up an issue about this. NPCs are now butchering fine… Currently on 0.F-3301-g09fe2dd701 [64-bit]. I build nearly daily from master.

I’ve stumbled into some requirements that I was missing by a hair in various ways…

  • NPC must have line of sight to the tools (loot zone) from where they will stand to perform the butchery work. In my case the NPC wants to stand directly south of the butchery rack, that puts a wall between their intended workspace and the tools so couldn’t see them. I didn’t know this since they failed out of the work while standing right next to the tools (as pictured).
  • NPC must be able to carry all the tools…
    – In one case an NPC had no additional weight capacity, couldn’t pick up the tools, not even wield, failed out.
    – In another case the hacksaw was inside a toolbox inside a bag… NPCs didn’t have the volume capacity to pick up the bag of tools.
  • NPCs not only pick up but retain post work any tools they need to do the work…

I didn’t realize that NPCs keep the tools they pick up to do the work. Firstly I didn’t know they picked them up. Secondly I (very briefly) assumed they’d be returned as part of the tidying up process. One of the NPCs still had my only spare hacksaw from the one time I got them to butcher… I’ve been avoiding trade interface due to a recent-ish fix which also causes an old bug to really stand out annoyingly… it’s complicated. Anyway that retention is notable in partly explaining why I could sometimes get one NPC to butcher once but then later not a different one. Or even the same one as their wielded weapon got changed to something better but w/o butcher quality.

Noticed some other things… Finally figured out what the tidying up step is, they shift the results of recent activities to the nearest unsorted loot zone. That step has been bugging me since 0.E stable. If the NPC decides they like the saw (in my tests, a wood saw) as a weapon they will wield it and then apparently use that to the exclusion of a nice butchering kit. I don’t consider that behavior a bug. There are various overrides that prefer your wielded item so it fits that it happens on NPCs too.

Hopefully that mass of text helps others out…