Welcome to another chapter of the H1Z1 Survivor's Handbook, where we'll give you an in-depth guide to base building. Considering the amount of death and destruction that happens in this game, not all of us have time to experiment. First we'll get started with the absolute basics, then we'll move on into more advanced tips, tricks, and techniques. Whether you're looking for something small or planning to layout a mega-structure, we've got you covered!

If hiding a secret stash just isn't cutting it anymore and you want to finally make a bigger mark on the world, you're going to want to do some planning. You can always claim map-generated structures and barricade them or build walls and things around them - but nothing will be quite as defensible as building a fortress from the ground up. Whether you just want to build a single small castle of your own, or plan to construct a super-city with a group of friends, it all starts with the location.

Location, Location, Location!

By far, the edges of the map are the safest place you can start building a base. Even the most secluded and remote areas in the middle of the map risk getting discovered simply by players stumbling upon them in their journey from point A to point B. It all depends on how often you plan on defending or repairing things. The disadvantage to picking a very remote and secret location is that it makes for a much longer run (or drive) to ferry loot back to start building up a stock-pile. And anyways, if you're going to build a massive and epic base, why not show it off for the world to see? That's the real point of it anyways isn't it?

Important First Notes

As an important note of reference, all building components can be rotated by scrolling your mouse wheel up or down. Another important thing to keep in mind is that you're going to use a ton of metal during base construction, followed closely by lots and lots of wood. So it might be worth your time to start stockpiling those materials in a nearby stash for easy access between crafting and placing items. Also if here is a quick recipe list for base building you're going to want to discover prior to starting:

List of Metal Components

Scrap Metal - Found in the world
Metal Brackets - Made from Scrap Metal
Metal Shards/Bars - Made from Scrap Metal
Metals Sheets - Made from combining Metal Bars
Nails - Made from Metal Shards
Pipe - Made from Metal Sheets

List of Wood Components

Wood Logs - Harvested from chopping down trees
Wood Planks - Found from breaking crates or crafted from Logs
Wood Sticks - Harvested from very small trees or crafted from Logs

Basic Base Building

Laying the Foundation

Deck foundations are the first real building block of base-construction, and you can think of them as sort of a 3x3 grid. Most of the bigger structural components of bases snap to this 3x3 grid on top of the deck foundation, which although it may seem restrictive - still leaves the door open for plenty of customization. Even if you plan on building a multiple-foundation base, it's important to understand how each one functions so that you can properly seat them next to each other and optimize your space, protection, and utility.

Deck Foundation Recipe:
4 Wood Logs
8 Metal Brackets
16 Wood Planks
20 Nails

Securing Your Platform

Once you've got your foundation down, the first things you're going to want to get up are a gate and a couple walls (or a large shelter) to block access to your foundation platform. These will keep unwanted visitors out while you're working on the rest of the base. When you consider the amount of supplies that will be needed to construct it, you're going to make sure no one starts leeching materials off you.

Metal Gate Recipe:
2 Wood Planks
2 Metal Brackets
2 Metal Sheets

Metal Gates snap to the outer edge of your foundation and generally pivot away and to the left (if you're standing on the foundation looking out - you would be "inside" the gate). Gates function best at the top of your foundations stairs on the end, or in the middle. There are other ways to create an access point to a base, but this is the easiest and simplest method.

Metal Wall Recipe:
4 Wood Planks
4 Metal Sheets

First Secure Storage

Metal Walls are a quick way to block off the rest of the stair-side access to your platform (and other sides, if the edges are close enough to terrain or objects for players to jump up on). They aren't too resource intensive, so this is a great way to secure your base early on. If you've got enough resources for a Large Shelter though, it makes for a great first-addition to your base (and can serve as a two-grid wall to block off the stair-side edge of your foundation next to your gate). If you plan on storing anything inside this Large Shelter - than I suggest creating a metal door to go with it.

Large Shelter Recipe:
8 Wood Planks
8 Metal Brackets
8 Metal Sheets
16 Nails
Metal Door Recipe:
2 Metal Brackets
2 Metal Sheets

Customizing Your Base

Other than the Large Shelter, which takes up 2 grid squares on your foundation platform, most all other components snap to and/or fill only 1 single grid square. There are only a couple different components you can attach to your deck foundation, so I'll list the rest of those here for your convenience.

Shelter (Regular) Recipe:
8 Wood Planks
8 Metal Sheets
16 Nails
Structure Stairs:
8 Wood Planks
8 Wood Sticks
4 Metal Brackets
8 Nails

If you've placed a set of Structure Stairs, you should be able to get up onto the second level, where another set of recipes will allow you to build and upper level on top of your existing Structure Stairs and Shelters (regular and Large). While the recipes are mostly the same components, they do have a few slight differences you'll want to account for.

Upper Structure Stairs Recipe (same):
8 Wood Planks
8 Wood Sticks
4 Metal Brackets
8 Nails
Upper Level Shelter (Regular) Recipe:
8 Metal Brackets
6 Metal Sheets
16 Nails
Upper Level Large (Shelter) Recipe:
8 Wood Planks
8 Metal Brackets
6 Metal Sheets
16 Nails
Upper Metal Wall Recipe (same):
4 Wood Planks
4 Metal Sheets

It's important to keep in mind that upper level modules can only go on the upper level of your base, while standard modules can only go on the ground or on the base foundation level. Also, you cannot stack additional upper level modules on top of one another. You only get two levels. However, clever use of deck foundations can help you achieve the illusion that your base has more than two levels.

(If you're still scratching your head and looking for a visual guide, here is a realtively short video I found. It's probably longer than it needs to be, but it does a great job of covering most of the basics.)

Advanced Base Engineering

In this section we'll cover the more advanced base engineering techniques. I've dug hard and deep to find a bunch of useful short tutorial videos to help you understand what kinds of things I am talking about. Hopefully they help you maximize the effectiveness of your base and make it that-much harder to break into.

Mapping Out a Blueprint

Trying to place and plan complex upper level modules can get a bit tricky, so if you're planning to build something more advanced and/or specific, I highly advise scratching out a building plan before you even start placing your bottom level. Grab a pen and notebook or even pop open MS-Paint and start drawing squares. It's best to start out with a 3x3 grid and go from there.

Stairs & Access Points

Pay close attention to how you orient your structure stairs so that you don't block of shelter doors and things like that. You can have the lower portion of the structure stairs in front of a door and still gain access (via crouching), but blocking the door with the upper section of stair will prevent you from going inside. Also pay attention to any exterior stairs or nearby vehicles, buildings, or objects that might allow access into your base from the outside.

Overhangs & Bridges

Additionally, Large Shelters can overhang off the edge of your foundation (on both the base and upper levels). Use this to your advantage to maximize space, or pull off more clever utilities - like bridging over to a nearby map-generated rooftop, for example. Gates can also be used to achieve this affect - with the added bonus that only you will have access to "enable" the bridge and others who manage to break into your base, won't be able to do the same.

Concealment, Cover, and Utility

You should also keep in mind that all shelter rooftops will potentially serve as overlook positions, so you'll want to plan your walls and stairs accordingly. Using furnaces as parapet walls is an excellent way to maximize the potential of your very highest rooftops. I also find combining furnaces and gates on non-entrance sides of your foundation can provide nice, adjustable cover. The ability to open and close the gate in front of the furnace barricade means that you have a way to provide total concealment of your base from the outside, while also having the utility of a stand-and-fire barricade to defend from. The video below provides a great example of this concept.

Boxing It All In

Until the developers give us some type of solid small-platform that can be walked under (sort of like structure stairs, but without any stair or opening), there isn't really any way to prevent players from jumping into your base. Players have found plenty of clever ways to jump up and over walls and other things, so it's difficult to make your base truly impenetrable. However, one player has figured out how to overlap structure stairs to block out the roof openings, as featured in the following video.

Elaborate Custom Layouts

I've spent some time designing several elaborate layouts, both compact and expansive - ranging anywhere from just a single deck foundation to much large multi-deck configurations. There really isn't much of a limit to how you can create a truly custom base - especially if you manage to encapsulate some of the pre-generated buildings, structures, and terrain to use it to your advantage.

Fully claiming buildings or wrecked vehicles is a great way to ensure yourself some guaranteed loot (if you're on a PvE server). Although if you're on a PvP server, that probably means your base will be much more noticeable and easier to find. Additionally, if your base is blocking off known loot - it gives players even more incentive to try and beat the doors down while you're away.

Functional Outfitting

Last but not least, it's important that you equip your base with a few comfort and convenience accessories to save yourself some time and trouble (since you're going to all the effort to build this thing to begin with).

A Crafting Station

Because players can craft with proximity items, creating a crafting station with a bunch of nearby tools and containers all in close enough proximity can create a true: one-stop-shop for all your crafting needs. The ideal situation is having a ground-stash, furnace, barbeque, and dew collector all close enough together that you can pull from any one of them without moving. As long as you keep resources stockpiled, you can simple enter the center of your crafting station and click on whatever recipe you need, without worrying about which container to pull from. I'm providing a list of recipes for the crafting station components below.

Bar-B-Que Recipe:
3 Pipes
8 Scrap Metal
Furnace Recipe:
1 Metal Bracket
8 Scrap Metal
Dew Collector Recipe:
4 Wood Planks
4 Wood Sticks
1 Tarp
Ground Stash Recipe:
Create with Hand Shovel
1 Wood Stick
1 Scrap Metal

Additional Defense & Perimeter

Last, but certainly not least, you're going to want to craft additional perimeter defenses. These can consist of lots of different objects, and every situation is entirely unique. You're going to want to lean on your surrounding environment and terrain to decide how best to set up perimeter defenses. Above all else, remember that the primary function of these defenses isn't to keep players out, but to funnel them into fields of fire. Knowing where all your covered positions and outlook points are, you're going to want to "send" players to perimeter locations that will make them easy-pickings from your most defensible firing positions.

There are plenty of ways to achieve this, but some of the most easy and convenient ones are simply punji sticks and barbed wire. Both of those only do minor damage to players, but the average person won't run straight through them if they can help it. Typical logic will cause players to avoid this small damage and pick the route you've designed for them.

You should also consider your defenses by looking at your base from a raider's mindset. If you were going to raid your base, how would you do it. That should give you plenty of ideas as to how to arrange your defenses and also to prepare a few counter-measures or additional surprises for the rare potential of going up against raiding veterans. Landmines and IEDs are great surprises you can rig up for those who might spot the true weaknesses to your design.

Custom TenTon Layout

If you're having any trouble coming up with ideas, I've decided to share my first epic base design with all of you. It features a compact design, lots of cover and vantage points, a single access gate (but 4 egress gates), blockable stairs, 10 unique lockable units, center crafting hub and center storage, as well as lots of tight choke points in the event you finally get overrun. It idea for four people and can fit 8 or even 10 where each person can have their own personally pin-coded unit. It isn't on the blueprint but I also highly advise placing furances behind each gate as cover while crouching in the event you want to open your gates and lay down lots of surprise fire on advancing hostiles. It doesn't have perimeters designed yet - as those generally depend on the location you place the base in. Enjoy!

Survivor's Handbook Index

Quick and Dirty Starter Tips - H1Z101
Navigator's Compass & World Atlas
Crafter's Recipe & Blueprint Compendium
Scavenger's Item & Resource Locator
Official H1Z1 Links & External Information
Plots, Shots, & Airdrops: A Combatant's Scope on PvP

How to Throw Down in a Battle Royale
50 Shades of PvE: The Real Hardcore Mode of H1Z1

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our H1Z1 Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 15, 2016

About The Author

Alex has been playing online games and RPGs for quite some time, starting all the way back with Daggerfall, EverQuest, and Ultima Online. He's staying current with the latest games, picking up various titles and playing during his weekly streams on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings with both MMOs and MOBAs being feature plays. Hit him up on Twitter if you have a stream request for Freeplay Friday! Two future games he's got a keen eye on are Daybreak's EverQuest Next and Illfonic's Revival.