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Constructing Construction Sites

  • Stronghold Map Design
  • 5 mins

by Lord_Chris

Have you ever wanted to create a construction site in Stronghold? Perhaps it will be a tower, church or even something as simple as a stone building. This tutorial shows you a very easy trick that allows you to make masons deliver stone to a building site and come back empty handed - without a single oxen in sight!

It all started when UnikUnok posted a Stronghold 1 map called Southern Cross where people noticed something odd happening in one corner of the castle:



At first glance, it just looks like some nice building work. However, a custom tower and even segments of the battlements without crenellations makes this part of the castle look incomplete. This is especially useful for mines, ancient cities or other buildings sites in general.



However, on closer examination still, we notice quite a lot of activity - a stone mason is making regular stone deliveries to the tower:



In flattened view, the secret finally reveals itself - there are stairs leading down to an Ox Tether. This is where the mason is delivering stone to. But wait, where's the Ox? The answer to this question holds the key to this trick...



If an Ox Tether has an accompanying Ox, then the mason will only be able to deliver 8 blocks of stone before the Ox will have to visit the main stockpile, which ruins the trick. However, when there is no Ox available, the mason will deliver stone indefinately to the ox tether. Each time he delivers 8 stone, the counter automatically resets to zero so he never has to stop.

There are two ways to completely erase the Ox - either erase it using the Terrain eraser, or stop it appearing in the first place. Although it's easier to just stop it appearing in the first place, you need to know how to erase it just in case it suddenly appears. The first method requires the placement of an ox tether while actually playing the game. An ox will appear eventually, like this:



Once the Ox has appeared, use the sav-to-map trick to create a new map file and then use the terrain eraser tool to erase the Ox from the map. The Ox will re-appear when the game is played, so we need to prevent it from doing so - which is possibly why this method is somewhat better.

There are numerous methods for preventing the Ox from (re)appearing, however nearly all revolve around placing obstacles in the locations where it would normally appear, within two tiles of the Ox.



So if obstacles are placed around the tether (such as stones, walls or raised terrain) then the Oxen cannot appear. However, you need your mason to be able to deliver stone to the tether so for the most part some stairs are in fact needed. We'll now show o­ne method of stopping the Ox from appearing. Remember though, this is just o­ne of many possible ways to stop an Ox appearing - you could use buildings or all kinds of other things to prevent the Ox appearing next to its tether. Our method is based on terrain height - anything over 16 clicks higher than the Ox Tether and the Ox won't be able to appear. Because we want to re-create UnikUnok's tower (or something similar), we're going to start by placing some mid-plain height land around the Ox Tether:



Note that normally you should completely enclose the tether, but to in order for you to see inside the enclosure, we will leave one corner missing. As we're going to need stairs for the mason to get down to the Ox Tether, we've left a 1 tile gap all the way round it as shown below.



Then the next thing we need to do is add those stairs:



When we go back into the standard view of the game, you can see how we placed a tile of wall on the mid-plain terrain, and then placed curved stairs down to the ground from that point.



Now we have the internal stairwell, we can complete more of the tower walls (and we also have to fill in that missing corner of our enclosure using more mid-plain terrain):



Before finishing the walls on our tower, we first need to get our external stairwell made. Place some stairs down until they reach a level of the same height of a normal wall, then add some normal wall to the end of them:



We now add some more standard wall tiles and then the final stairwell leading down to the ground:



And finally, we get to finish the walls on our tower:



The great thing about this particular design is that the Ox will almost never appear so you'll never have to mess around using the sav-to-map trick, erasing it. When you play the map, a stone mason will walk from the campfire to the Ox Tether and then start his task of collecting and delivering stone. Obviously, you'll need a functional quarry to produce the stone otherwise the Mason will just wait at the Ox Tether. If all goes according to plan, the mason will bring block after block of stone to the building site:



If you flatten the view, you can see him going down the stairs to deliver the stone to the Ox Tether, but as there's no Ox he'll be able to deliver an infinate amount of stone!



To ensure the mason is noticed by the player, it's best to make him walk a long way - hence all the stairs we made earlier. As shown by the arrows below, we've made him go on a nice long route so he's visible for as long as possible during each delivery of stone:



He first has to walk up two flights of stairs (green arrow) just to get to the top of the tower. He then has to walk half way round the tower (blue arrow) to get to the next set of stairs. Finally, he walks down the internal stairwell (red arrow) in such a way that the player can see him going down in to the tower.



You can use all kinds of other tricks in combination with construction sites such as customised armouries.