Free-Form Construction: Building Structures

Buildings in OC provide an immense set of functionality, ranging from simple shelters from the elements to fortified combat positions. Construction itself is a free-form endeavor. Structures are built in whatever shape or size you want from a variety of construction materials, from low-tech stone to high-tech, structural plastics.

Simple construction of a small outpost.

More elaborate construction of a government palace. Note the office space and furnishings on the first floor.


  • Structures serve many functions, but the most obvious is protection from the elements. NPCs generally hate sleeping outside, especially in cold or rainy conditions. Structures are needed for your NPCs to live indoors, which is an essential element of keeping them happy.
  • Structures are all built from construction materials. Workable stone, wood, concrete, metal, tent fabric, and structural plastics can all be used to build structures. The materials you use to build will usually depend on the natural resources available to your expedition.
  • Building materials are used to make walls, floors, roofs, doors, and stairs. These must be arrayed in certain configurations, or your structure will suffer penalties.
    • Each structure should be capped by a roof.
    • Floor materials should be used at the structure’s foundation and to separate vertical levels.
    • Walls should enclose the outside of each level.
    • Doors are special structure tiles through which NPCs can walk. These are used to connect rooms to each other or to the outside.
    • Stairs are special tiles that NPCs can walk up or down. They’re essential for connecting vertical levels.
  • Interior spaces can be designated as rooms. Rooms can be communal (available to all members of an expedition) or individual (owned by a certain NPC and its family). Items can be placed in rooms for effect. This is covered more thoroughly in the room and item placement article.

Construction Walkthrough

The video above shows the construction of a very simple outpost on the shores of a lake. In the end, it consists of three occupied buildings: two private residences, divided into apartments, and one communal hut, designated for socialization. The larger apartment building that houses six units is made from structural fiberglass, while the smaller, two unit building is made from wood. The communal hut is built into the side of a stone wall that surrounds the compound.

Construction Materials

Before construction can begin, construction materials must be available to your expedition. These are manufactured, like any other sort of item. They’re manufactured at a construction material manufacturing station. Different structure materials make different looking structures, resulting in a variety of look and feel options for your settlement. A dark, stone castle, gleaming towers of steel, or clean, high-tech plastics – all are possibilities.


Some of the structure node types of different materials available in OC.

Issuing Construction Orders

Once sufficient building materials are available, you can issue construction orders to accomplish the actual building. The process for doing so is simple. The first step is to click on the “Issue Construction Order” button in the toolbar.


This will load the construction material specification button in the order details portion of the toolbar. Clicking this button will allow you to select the material to use in building.


Structure node type specification dialog.

Once you’ve chosen the desired construction type, the next step is to select the locations where it should be built. Clicking and dragging through the world view can be used. Once this is done, any personnel on their work shift with the construction activity enabled will gather the building materials, transport them to the construction site, and build the specified objects.

The power of this system is that it’s very open ended. You don’t just place structures that look a certain way in the world. Instead, you specify where the floors are built, where the walls are built, how the rooms are connected with doors, where stairwells are placed, and all the details of the building’s layout. OC can then recognize structures and their interior spaces, and it’s then up to you how they’re used by your expedition. This process ultimately confers a great deal of freedom, letting players build in very creative ways. The outpost demonstrated in the above video is very simplistic and rudimentary, but it should be apparent that much more complex configurations are possible, and even necessary for larger expeditions.

Structure Recognition & Rules

One important point to keep in mind when building structures is that different structure node types (floors, walls, doors, stairs, and roofs) have different internal properties and function differently in the world. You can cap a building with floor nodes in a pinch, but rooms in your structure will suffer penalties as long as the structure lacks a proper roof. Remember to build walls on the structure’s exterior, roofs at the very top, and floors at the foundation and in between vertical levels. Stairs and doors can be placed wherever you deem them appropriate. As long as you follow these common sense rules, your buildings will function well!

Posted in Industry, Structures