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Comprehensive Guide to Using Building Sites

By Ouly

Many people have had trouble getting building sites to work properly, including myself, so I thought an article on the subject was in order. Any errors or incorrect assumption that may follow are mine and mine alone and a big thankyou to Doomsword and Sir_Vet for their invaluable help in figuring all this out.

There are three different building sites in the game. The beacon, the bridge and the monastery. Each 1 has unique characteristics as follows:

Beacon - The beacon is built by 2 monks using only wood. It builds in 10% increments and has the lowest priority level. (more on the priority level below)

Bridge - The bridge is built by 6 monks using 50% wood and 50% stone. It builds in 7% increments and has a higher priority level than the beacon.

Monastery - The monastery is built by 6 monks using only stone. It builds in 5% increments and has the highest priority level.

Available building sites.

Note: A monk only takes 1 unit of wood or stone each trip.

Building site priority level - Each type of building site in the game has a priority level associated with it. Since only 1 building site can be controlled, this priority level allows the program to determine which building site on the map, when there are multiple sites, is the 1 'under control'. Beacons have the lowest priority, bridges have a higher priority and monasteries have the highest priority.

Placement of building sites - While the placement of the beacon rarely causes problems because of the small footprint, the bridge and the monastery are another matter. Be sure that the ground for the foundation is perfectly flat. Use a default terrain height to ensure this. When placing the bridge, try not to span too great a distance.

Note: If for some reason you need to delete a building site, do not just replace it, as this may cause the site to fail to finish properly when playing. (bridges disappear and monasteries never finish) Placement of these structures somehow corrupts the tiles under them and the tiles need to be reset before you can replace the structure. Reset the tiles by radically changing the terrain height in the area of the foundation and then return the land to the height you want. Now you can replace the building site and it should function properly when playing. (This does not always work, see below.)

Bridge constuction begins.

The bridge is by far the most difficult building site to get to work properly. If you delete a bridge and then replace it, it will likely behave strangely, but not always. I have a map with 4 bridges that were deleted and replaced in the same way several times each. 3 of the bridges act weird while 1 works perfectly. This is what I have discovered. A bridge that disappears does so because it's foundation on either end does not end up on buildable terrain.

Usually this is caused by the bridge actually shifting it's position on the map towards the river by 2 tiles when it completes. I have no idea why it does this. Most times this causes the starting foundation to land in the river so the bridge disappears. It may be that the bridge is returning to the spot where you initally placed it before the first deletion but I've never seen it shift sideways or back, only forward towards the river.

While I can't explain why this odd behavior sometimes happens and other times doesn't, or how to stop it from happenning, I can predict if the bridge is going to shift position and to allow for that shift. When you try to re-place the bridge, make note of how close to the river you are allowed to place it. If you can't place the bridge foundation right next to the river tiles, then the bridge is going to shift position upon completion. If you can place the foundation next to the river tiles, then the bridge will stay where you put it. If you know the bridge is going to shift position, place the starting foundation leaving at least 2 tiles between it and the river. This is going to make the bridge look out of position and the other foundation may look like it is in the river. It will only look right when it finishes construction and shifts position.

If you still can't get the bridge to work after trying the above tactic, move the river instead. Narrow up the river, move it away from the bridge 1 tile, then test. Once the bridge finally stays on the map after a test or 2, you can then fix up your river to look right. As long as the river is between, and not under, the 2 foundations when the bridge is finished, it will work. How it looks during construction may be annoying but getting it to work is the important thing.

Some other points to understand about building sites:
- Monks will head to the stockpile of the estate the building site is placed on.
- Bridges must be placed entirely on 1 estate color. If you try to span a river from 1 estate to another that have different owners and you are using the middle of the river as the boundary, then the bridge will stop construction part way through. Use the color of the estate containing the starting foundation, for the entire length of the bridge.

38% complete.

- Building sites will not begin construction or may halt construction temporarily if the stockpile the monks are heading to does not have the resources needed. Getting the needed resources to that estate will start the monks working.
- You can only click on a building site on your own castle estate to see it's completion progress. If you want to see how complete a site is on any other estate, you need to watch a monk deliver his load to that site.

Unfinished beacon.

Using multiple building sites - While it is possible to place multiple building sites on a map, you need to know 2 things. First, you can only control 1 building site on any map. While you can have different script for the controlled site from 1 mission to the next, you will be controlling the same site. Second, and most importantly, you can only control the first building site placed that has the highest priority level. As mentioned previously, each type of building site has a priority level. A beacon has the lowest priority, the bridge is next and the monastery has the highest priority level.

Example: Place 2 or 3 beacons, and the first beacon placed will be the 1 you can control, since they all have the same priority level. Add a bridge to the mix, and it becomes the site under control. Add a monastery, and it becomes the site under control. Add a second monastery, and you'll see that the first monastery placed will still be the site that is under control.

Any other building site that is on the map , besides the 1 under control, will begin construction at the start of the mission with the first monk appearing at +1 months and other monks appearing at 1 month intervals until reaching the maximum number of monks for each type of building site. These other sites will simply build normally on their own.

I hope this all makes sense because it is imperative that you understand all this if you want to use multiple building sites on a map and have things work the way you expect.

Bridge almost complete.

Associated Triggers - There are 2 triggers associated with building sites. 'Building site complete' and 'Building site percent complete'. It is important to note that both of these triggers apply to the building site that is under control.

Building site complete: This trigger happens when the building site under control finishes construction.

Building site percent complete: This trigger happens when the building site under control reaches or exceeds x % set by you.

Building site % complete panel

Building Sites Action - This action is used to control the one building site 'under control' on the map, in a variety of ways. If only 1 building site exists, then it can be controlled with this action. If more than 1 building site exists, then this action will control the first building site placed on the map with the highest priority level, as explained previously. The action is comprised of 2 buttons. One labeled 'no change' that can be changed to a % value with the mouse wheel. The other button switches between 'active' and 'inactive' with a left mouse click. While initially this appears like a simple action to use, it is deceptively versatile.

Building site control panel

You can delay the building site's start time until a set amount of time has passed or it is triggered to start.
example:
-building sites inactive, no change, always (+0 months +0 delay)
-building sites active, no change, always (+6 months +0 delay )
This will cause the building site to begin constuction after 6 months game time has elapsed.

example:
-building sites inactive, no change, always (+0 months +0 delay)
-building sites active, no change, no wolves left on the map (+0 months +0 delay)
This will cause the building site to begin construction after all the wolves on the map have been killed.

You can reduce the number of monks working on a site or change how fast they appear by turning a building site on and off one or more times.
example:
-building sites inactive, no change, always (+2 months +0 delay)
This will cause 1 monk to appear at the start of the mission ( +1 months ), who will work on the site until finished, or until he is killed.

example:
-building sites inactive, no change, always (+2 months +0 delay)
-building sites active, no change, always (+6 months +0 delay)
-building sites inactive, no change, always (+8 months +0 delay)
This will cause 1 monk to appear at the start of the mission ( +1 months ) and another to appear after 6 more months game time has elapsed.

You can set how complete a building site is at the start of construction as well as increase the % completion at any time.

Note: The % complete you set will be rounded up to the nearest multiple of its' default building % increment. ( 10%, 7% or 5% increments for the beacon, bridge and monastery respectively )
example:
-building sites active, 5%, always (+0 months +0 delay)
This will cause the beacon to begin construction at the start of the mission at 10% complete. The bridge would start at 7% complete and a monastery would begin at 5% complete.
example:
-building sites active, 11%, always (+0 months +0 delay)
-building sites active, 45%, always (+3 months +0 delay)
This will cause the beacon to begin construction at the start of the mission at 20% complete and after 3 months game time has passed and 2 monks have appeared, the beacon will jump to 50 % complete. The bridge would begin at 14 % complete and jump to 49 % complete after 3 months and the monastery would begin at 15 % complete and jump to 45 %. Make sense?

Note: You can only help a building site finish faster with this technique. You can't un-build the site. Any value lower than the site's current % completion, will be ignored.

You can use any of the above techniques together, along with triggers, to achieve a variety of results.
example:
-building sites inactive, no change, always (+0 months +0 delay)
-building sites active, 5%, no wolves left on the map (+0 months +0 delay)
-building sites inactive, no change, no wolves left on the map (+1 months +2 delay)
-building sites active, 30%, building site percent complete 20% (+1 months +0 delay)
This will cause a monastery to delay the start of construction until all of the wolves on the map are killed. Then it will start construction at 5 % complete and only 1 monk will appear. After the monk gets the monastery to 20 % complete, the site will jump to 30 % complete and the rest of the monks will begin appearing at 1 month intervals.

Note: Be very careful with techniques involving making a building site inactive. If all of the monks die when a site is inactive they will not re-spawn. This could cause the site to never finish construction. In my last example, if the monk is killed before he can get the monastery 20 % complete, construction will never finish and the mission is likely lost.
A little experimentation and imagination will have you controlling a building site in interesting ways in no time.

One final note on the behavior of monks. When a monk delivers his load to the construction site, he will head back for another load of whatever is needed, if the site is not complete. Even if the next monk in line completes the construction (or delivers the last load of wood for the bridge) the previous monk(s) will continue on their way to the stockpile for whatever they thought was needed. (They apparently don't talk to each other.)

Finished Bridge

I hope you now have a little better understanding of using building sites. I know that this stuff can be a little confusing to understand which is why experimentation will probably be required to get a handle on all this.
Happy designing!
-Ouly

Silhouette of a beacon
Write-up by Ouly.

Pictures by Doomsword.

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*) denotes a former staff member.