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Understanding structural integrity in Valheim

ANALYST
Modified 24 Feb 2021
Feature

The brand new early access game, Valheim, has found its way to millions of players only a few days after its release. One of the more fascinating aspects of the game is that it sports an interesting building mechanic.

Valheim's structural integrity system is the mechanism that helps the game measure and judge a player’s ability to place objects in the world. Understanding it is key to building up bigger and more impressive structures.

Compared to other games that handle structural integrity, Valheim is actually really simple.

Note about the following: Everything here is for the early access build for Valheim as of February 2021. Because the game is still in early access, future updates may change this system.

Construction in Valheim comes down to just one thing

There is only one thing that players need to learn in order to start taking advantage of the building mechanics in Valheim: foundation. Stability and structural integrity in Valheim ultimately comes down to how many connections there are between a placed object and the nearest piece of foundation.

What the game considers foundation changes based on how the player has manipulated the ground and what the object is.

To see whether an object is considered a foundation by Valheim, open the build menu and highlight the object in question. Valheim uses a basic color scheme for determining how well supported each object is, from those which can’t support anything else (dark red), to those which are considered foundation (blue).

The main way something is considered a foundation is if it’s connected to the ground. From then on, each future object’s stability is determined by the stability of what it’s connected to.

What matters here isn’t necessarily what would be more stable in a real-world environment but rather the number of connections. This means that using longer objects, such as the taller beams or pillars, will result in fewer connections and greater stability.

Lastly, Valheim takes into account whether or not an object is supported vertically or horizontally. Building high (vertically) will be much more stable than building far (horizontally).

Getting off the ground in Valheim

This system inherently indicates that as a structure moves off the ground, it will get less stable, but there are a few ways to reset stability in Valheim. The easiest way to reset stability is to use stone. While stone buildings follow the same structural integrity rules as wooden ones, the two interact in a unique way.

Any wooden objects connected to a stone object are considered fully stable (blue) foundation pieces, effectively allowing players to reset their building stability off the ground.

Players who want to use this to its fullest potential will find that stone pillars are the easiest way to add some much-needed support to a tall building, but it’s not the only way.

For players with plenty of resources, wood iron poles function similar to stone in that anything connected to them will be considered a foundation.