Building in Valheim has an interesting structural stability mechanic that can be tricky to get the hang of. Buildings seemingly have a size limit, but with proper planning and attention to detail, players can use the building mechanics to their advantage. In reality, we have to worry about gravity, material limitations, compression, and expansion while building. In Valheim, construction is far more straightforward, with the only consideration truly necessary being the distance a “structure” is from a foundational piece. Mass of objects attached to structures like floors or support beams has no visible effect on structural stability.
As structures get further away from the foundation, the number of attachable objects decreases. The number of attachable items is determined by the distance a building component is from a foundation, not by the total number of building components attached. This makes building with Wood, especially roofing, a challenging task. Once Vikings hit the Iron age, things drastically change with the introduction of stone building – but be warned, things are about to get heavy.
A whole new world of building is unlocked with the Stone Cutter and Iron reinforced building pieces. The most important thing to understand before starting is the primary indicators of the structural stability mechanics. While building, when hovering over a building piece with a hammer, the piece will be highlighted in blue, green, yellow, orange, or red. A blue piece represents a foundational piece. Dark green pieces are the next most structurally stable, and the gradients between green and red represent the distance a piece is from a foundation (their stability). The stability is determined by the total number of items between a supporting floor, wall, or support. For example, if a player places a single support, they can build out up to four Wooden floors in any direction. If another Wooden pole is added atop the first Wooden pole, the new pole is added to the total distance from the support structure, and the player will only be able to build three items out from the second pole.
Stone and Iron reinforced structures add a way to go even higher with fewer supports. Any object connected to a stone wall, floor, or pillar will act as a foundational piece. For example, if Stone pillars are stacked to their maximum build height of 7 tall, and a player places a Wood or Core Wood building item attached to the stone pillar, and the game will treat it as a foundational piece. If the player connects a long Core Wood support beam to a wall, everything connected to that support beam will be fully supported (dark green). Using Stone, players can build bases almost twice as tall as a basic wooden home.
First and foremost, players need to have the Stone Cutter unlocked. To do this, the player will need to hold an Iron ingot. Once unlocked, much like the Workbench, it will need to be placed anywhere the player wants to build with Stone (10x Wood, 2x Iron, 4x Stone to build). The Stone Cutter’s construction radius is relatively small, so have supplies nearby to place a couple, or use one and break it to move the Stone Cutter while working. A key difference in building with Stone compared to Wood is with the Stone Floor. The Stone Floor can only be placed on the ground and cannot support a Stone Floor attached to the side of it. The only way to place a Stone Floor above ground is by supporting it with a Stone Arch on the side of a Stone Pillar, creating a base for it. As of now, it’s far more space and cost-effective to do a Stone floor for ground-level, completing all subsequent floors with Stone Walls and wooden floors.
From here, it’s up to the player for how they want to design their base. It is certainly worth investing in creating a sizable foundation for an end-game base, even using a deep basement to house all the Viking loot and trophies collected. A central chimney is a great place to start a build, and remember if it’s built around Stone Pillars it works great as a primary supporting structure for flooring. Abandoned stone towers make a great place to farm stone, but remember to bring the Sone Cutter! Good luck building, and may Odin bless your Hammer!
Valheim is in Steam Early Access and is available for PC.