Functionality of Buildings

I was wondering how the function of a building is determined, how the game and the Settlers know its supposed to be a simple house for dewlling, a community hall, an armoury, a kitchen, a forge, or a combination of all those. If you guys haven’t figured out something already, I would suggest the following: Let the player be able to place predetermined zones with defined functions. This could work similar to placing a stockpile zone as seen in one of the pre-alpha videos.

Examples of Zones and how they could work:

Domestic Zones

Sleeping/Resting Zone
Settlers go here to rest. If there are beds placed within this zone, Settlers will use them. Better beds give better resting bonus. If the zone remains empty or has no beds placed in them, Settlers will unroll a sort of sleeping bag, giving the impression of impromptu solutions during the early game before there is a proper economy established that produces beds.

Social/Eating Zone
This zone can be placed both inside and outside of buildings, so we can have both private family kitchens, huge public dining halls as well as benches and tables outside (I really want to have a German style outdoors Biergarten supplied by the brewmaster for my Settlers to socialize during Spring and Summer).

Work Place Zone

One generic Work Zone which functionality is determined by the furniture/assets/equipment placed inside. So the Work Place Zone with a forge becomes usable by the blacksmith, the Work Place Zone with the mortar and pestle by the herbalist.

Military Zones

Archer Zone
This zone could be placed for example on turrets, watchtowers or castle towers, ramparts and walls. In the event of an attack, archers would go to their designated Archer Zone and rain arrows on the enemy,

Rally Point Zone
All military personnel designated to this zone would gather here in case of an attack, ready to be grouped by the player and send whereever they’re needed.

Many Other Zones I didn’t mention or think of yet

The idea is that players can designate the function of a building themselves by placing the desired zones within the building’s walls. So the same building template can be used to house a family of four or a single alchemist with his workspace. Players could mix and match different zones according to their own preferences.

Functional equipment and assets, such as beds, workbenches, forges and such, would need to be placed in the proper zone to be usable, thus determining the function of the workplace. The Work Place Zone can support only one functionality, so either the blacksmith or the herbalist have their equipment placed and work there, not both at the same time. Assets and tools need a minimum of tiles to be zoned, some more than others.

Also Settlers would need to be designated to certain zones, so Settlers would know which house is theirs and don’t wander about, randomly sleeping in a different bed every night. Same with workplaces, so blacksmith A and B have their own seperate houses and forges.


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Now i can tell where your thought are coming from since i play DF alot!, but its already stated that buildings will have certain rolls on the get go. if i understand what you’re saying is that you can use any building for any purpose or job, then why not make the same building for everything? why not make one giant sprawling hall and have different zones in it?
i think that buildings should act like “workshops” in DF, and basic housing will have variants that effect the quality of the building and improves the mood of the families who live at said houses

I’ve never played DF, just took the concept of the stockpiling zone the guys have shown further.

Also I disagree with your deduction:
We can already use any building for any job, because we can build anything the way we want it. I can already make my forge look like a church.

And why not have a huge community hall? With the freedom people will have in this game I expect this to happen anyways. The limitations to a giant sprawling hall with different zones would be both building time and resources, so an early settlement would naturally consist of several small houses while a big city or kingdom could indeed have something like a town/meeting/drinking/community hall.

The quality of the building and impact on the settlers would be determined by the assets created (no bed in sleep zone standard rest, hard bed in sleep zone +1 rest, and soft bed +2 rest).

I’d think the building functions will be determined entirely by what we put in them; so a workshop is a workshop since it has a forge and an anvil in it, and a house is a house since it has beds in it. Empty buildings would have no inherent purpose. There would be probably be some law of diminishing returns to prevent one giant uber-building with everything in it, or maybe a few large multi-purpose buildings will be a viable strategy. People did live in the place that they worked for much of human history, after all.


I believe it is the placeables that makes the functions not the building itself.
For example you could build a dirty great hall and place all of your crafting workbenches in it. So you have one building with multiple uses.

If you look at the Carpenter screenshot in the archives, it has all the tools and furniture necessary for the craft but no specific building.

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but then buildings become redundant and all you need is a great sprawling hall with bits of workshops here and there

I think people should be free to choose their preference in the matter. Since it is a city building game choosing the way it looks and functions shouldnt have any restrictions. Making a building like the giant crab husk from Ald Ruhn (Morrowind) in which you have everything would be awesome.

Considering my experience with other games with similar functionality (with zones, without zones and coupled both together) I would likely go the way, to at first make wild placements of whatever, just to get a start and with time, make something specialized.

For example, I would start with a big area divided into the needed zones or just the needed tools placed down or the tools in designated zones. While the work continues and the first buildings are raised, I would begin to designate them accordingly. I would take one building and make it the carpenters place. There would be the bed to shorten ways but his needed tools as well. In addition I would add small stockpiles there while I am erasing/deconstructing/… all the former placed zones/tools.

In time everyone would have their own places and I know where to look if I think there is an issue like not enough wooden crafts getting produced. The buildings might even get more elaborate, like big enough to house 3 carpenters plus tools plus big designated stockpiles. This would be better and more easy to manage (at least for me) than one huuuuge area/building with all the stuff mixed.

At least, this would be my personal take on this matter, regardless if it would be zoned or not. Two of the screenshots show that it is at least right now unlikely that zones are used for anything else than stockpiling and building. One shows barracks, the other one a smith, in both cases, no visible zones to designate sleeping or working areas.

In real life buildings are just enclosed space which provides facilities, mostly only discernible to what they are used to because we humans tend to use the concept “form follows function” and because experience tells us that buildings with certain features are used for certain purposes.

In a game though a building is nothing like that at all, if buildings follow real life rules in a game then this is a design decision.
So whatever else a building in a game stands for, it always stands for an idea, a concept its a unique cog in a machine that becomes ever more complex the more elements you add.

Strategy games involving buildings, where you cannot easily distinguish the buildings are just unnecessarily arduous.
It adds no interesting challenge to the game to demand of the player that he basically memorizes what is going on at which location.

My point is I am all against having buildings that are so versatile that it will be impossible to easily see what it is being used for.
So whatever decision about how buildings exactly are going to work is being made, for me the most important thing is that recognizing the purpose of a building must be easy.

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I think, this design-choice should be up to the player.
If you want to be able to recognize the purpose of a building, use the same blueprint every time if you want a certain building.

An additional Idea that had been brought up was, the ability to color/tint buildings in some way, this would help in addition. Like making every building that houses a carpenter brown as tree’s bark is brown as well while the smith’s buildings receives a bronze hue just cause they work with bronze at an early stage and a medic maybe receives green, just cause you can do it.

This sounds a bit like an approach I saw in space strategy games where you can heavily modify your space ships.

Color cues could be important, but having a certain color imposed on your building design would be distressing.

Maybe a mixture of both could work, lets assume you need certain facilities to enable a building doing certain things, like a chimney for a blacksmith or a baker.
So having a building do certain things would require predefined components, which have a certain color code, but which one could relatively freely place and desing the building around.

That would be pretty much like we recognize the function of real world buildings anyway and making buildings unrecognizable would take more work.
As blueprints go, it should be easy to create buildings that are recognizable and difficult to do it the other way around.

Also given that there probably will be multiplayer it would not be fair if critical functionalities are too easily obscured. So there should be elements in buildings that are always recognizable, well at least if the player will do some attack strategizing and its not all totally AI decision based.

Dang waiting for the game will be sooooo nerve-stretching!

Wouldnt it be awesome if you tricked an enemy raiding party into going for what they thought was a barracks, but turned out to be a deathtrap (with the help of an engineer).

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Without any available countermeasures or ways to be smart about it: no that would only be frustrating and quickly become standard practice.
Laying traps should require work and effort and not be easily done by just giving a building a paintjob.

Im guessing a way to be smart about it would be to just destroy the place from the outside (using catapults perhaps, not sure if there will be any though).

That’s only true if all resources are close at hand, but they probably won’t be; you’ll often want to build facilities nearby the resources they need to use to be more efficient. And large multipurpose buildings certainly can be a realistic solution; the medieval castle was a home, a defense, a workspace and a storage facility all rolled into a few connected structures.

There’s also some level of physics in the game, so we don’t know big and sprawling buildings can be yet.


I love the idea of having a town hall with a bell. And having that designated as your safe zone. Then having archers and infantry zones. Then when you ring the bell. All your citizens who can’t or won’t fight will run for the town hall for safety whilst all your fighting men strap on the armour and weapons and head to their zones ready to protect the town!


People should be free to craft whatever building they desire, if they want everything in a single building they shouldn’t be limited to do so. That is the spirit of the game.

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Cool idea! I would definitely like that.

I too think that the obvious present system is good and also logical: determine the use of the building by the furniture you put in it.
A house full of beds will be a sleeping hall, a house full of tables and chairs will be a cantina and so on.
Also, that way we can make multiuse buildings in early stages of the game to get everyone a roof over their heads. Later we can go on to singleuse buildings if we so choose.