This post will be work-in-progress and updated over time.
ARK building system is quite sensitive and starting out “wrong” will potentially mess up the big building plans players may have.
Terrain will prevent certain building blocks from being used at a certain location, which can cause other bricks not to fit etc. Some bricks may not align as player want and further cause building problems.
Planning, patience, and knowhow is the three keywords to build rather easy and functional buildings or compounds.
1. Planning :
a) Is the area big enough ? Ideally you would like an area that can cover atleast a 4×4 brick house with a decent size yard (which has to be fenced in, to keep bad stuff out). So 4×4 + 12×12 or 16×8 type size area is needed to get some decent space for few dinos later on ingame.
b) Is there easy access to water nearby, so you can do some plumbing and bring water into the compound to water your plants or get drinking water.
c) Does area have alot of other nice resources nearby like wood, fibre (from bamboo) and so on? Avoid building ontop of such resource areas but nearby, resources dont grow back if theres structures ontop/near.
d) Is the access to the area easy for the player and his dinos, while easy to defend or prevent other dinos from overrunning ? You dont want a house in middle of an area crawling with T-rex, spinosaurs and brontos. Even if the bronto isnt aggressive his tail will easily cause damage to a building, and they may just just walk over your property house or no house.
2) Preparation :
a) Get decent metal tools, axe, pickaxe, spear, water, food, clothes, compass, campfire, bed to respawn in.
b) Pre build 2x large storage boxes, 4x standing torches.
c) If you cant get to the area by foot, use a quick mount that you in worst case scenario can sacrifice. A raptor is a good mount for this type of project. Dont use slow or larger dinos.
d) Open the map, put a PIN on the approx spot of your new building area. Maybe one back at base aswell so you know the positions.
3) Building start :
a) Clear the area for rocks, plants, trees to get a full overview over the area so you once again can judge if its flat enough and can fit your project.
b) Check all four corners of the area and use a wood foundation (without putting it down) as a guide to figure out angles & distances.
c) Decide for one corner and get the wood foundation aligned so two of its sides will match a longside and a shortside of the compound / area. Then put it down. As in example above we started where green meet red line.
d) Now measure up the shortside and estimate approx number of foundations you can put down there. If it can hold 8+ foundation bricks then your good to go.
e) From the start corner again, measure up approx # of foundation bricks along the long side. If its atleast as long as the short side, even better if its 2x as long then it is a great spot to build on.
f) Quickly build 8+ bricks along the short side. Do same with long side.
g) From the starting corner again, go to the end of the shortside and start building the second longside. Once that is done, build from that end along the second shortside to the first longside.
h) The compound should now look a bit like example below (#ref)
i) -IF- the preparation / planning was done well one should now have the outer side of the area buildt. Theres no need to fill the entire land with foundation for now, and will only be waste of time & resources.
j) -IF- all look good now then start adding walls around the outside of the foundation bricks, like in example above. You need atleast 1 height of wall as a start but if you have the materials do the 2nd height right away.
k) Once fence is all in place figure out where to have a dino gate and build and place one, this will require you to remove 2 foundation bricks.
More examples :
1) Bad start example as the foundation along the red line is not well aligned with the terrain (left blue line) and thus lots of area is lost to nothing, plus right side foundation is jagged not straight lines. Player here loose alot of valuable space.
2) A -mining facility- which have other requirements than a base compound. This was buildt to fit the limited space of the mountainside, and is actually 2 locations next to eachother. Smaller construction in front have ladder up to the watertanks etc, while the main building have a larger roof ontop for landing of flying mounts.
3) Another great building example where player have fitted his construction ideas to fit the limited space of the terrain. With U shaped lagoon for water dinos, U shaped “canyon” that easily can be sealed off to keep dinos inside etc, this is a good example of planning that takes maximum advantage of the terrain.