Welcome to the third and final instalment of our blog series showcasing the upcoming Player-Built Settlements (PBS) system. This part will tell you about the new island layout, the various building types and their purpose, and the concept of control and assimilation. If you haven’t read the first two parts, it’s highly recommended to do so, in order to better understand the things I’m about to explain here. The first part about terraforming is here, and the second one about building and planning is here.

24 new islands to explore and live on

There’s been a lot of speculation going on on the forums about how many new islands there will (or should) be. Some said an absolute minimum of 12, some argued we shouldn’t stop under a few hundred :)

The new teleport network layout

While we’d love to have the latter number in the future, for now we have settled for 24 new terraformable gamma islands. We feel that this should provide ample space for our current and anticipated playerbase without creating a vacuum. Of course we’ll be ready to add even more islands in the near future if the demand arises.

We’re not only adding new islands, we’re also revamping the entire connection network of the current alpha and beta ones. Some of you have voiced your concerns, and we also feel that the current teleport network is so dense that it makes the world feel rather small. Being able to jump quickly from one end to the other also renders any kind of long-range transport routes near obsolete. The same is true for living on beta islands, with the main trading hubs (currently the alpha terminals) being just a few minutes away.

The basic concept and the reasons for the the new layout:

  • Less complex teleport network: can’t reach “anything from anywhere”, gives individual islands more importance and makes them more unique.
  • Breaking up the Alpha 1 triangle: factions get more meaning, and the trading of faction-specific items should be more induced (this will be complemented by further industrial changes, details in the next blog).
  • Inserting Alpha 2 between Alpha 1 and Beta islands: this is intended to give Alpha 2’s a middleground role between the starting haven Alpha and the total hell that are the Betas. Alpha2’s have higher level NPCs, and those venturing there should already be aware of the dangers that Betas hold.
  • Strategic variance in Gamma island connections: we have both relatively easily reachable islands with many entry points, and hard to reach “hinterland” islands with more defendable entries. We’re very curious which ones will be more craved for, and how they will be used.
  • No island with only one entry point by design.

We also intend to create an unlock mechanism for opening the new islands, so they won’t be available from the get-go, and we’d also like to provide certain exploration rewards for the first pioneers. We’re still looking at our options on how exactly this will work, so I’ll get back to you with the details as soon as it’s settled.

The structure network planner

The structure network management and planning interface

I have already shown you a crude concept of the network planner in the previous post, and before I start with the explaining of various building types, I’d like to show you our progress on it. As you can see, it all happens on a new tab in the world map window, and it’s available when you’re inside a terminal or out on the terrain, too. One grid cell in the planner is equivalent to one tile on the terrain, so buildings are shown accurately as they occupy an area.

Types of buildings are mainly identified by their icons and their size, but there is also the optional name-tag, and you can even rename any of them. You can also select an individual building to bring up an information panel with all its parameters and settings. We have a number of connection types between buildings (energy, control, booster, etc.), each of them having a specific shape and color for easy overview.

Building plans are displayed just like completed buildings, but in purple color. There are various options to help you in planning your network, the proper connection distances and validating the terrain where you intend to deploy a building. As said, it’s a fairly complex system and I could go on forever but I’d rather continue with the rest of the features. You’ll be able to read all about the details in the game guide and test it yourself :)

Building types

As you already know, the basic concept of PBS is a network of interconnected buildings. There are a number of building types, each of them having a special role within a structure network. In this section I will tell you a few details about each of them, and I hope this will help you get the big picture on the whole system. There is one important fact to remember while looking at the list: structure networks are limited by the number of connection slots of each building in the network, and by the balance of generated and consumed energy. Note that names can still change and some of the more specialized buildings may not make it into the first PBS patch.

Main terminal

The central hub of your network, everything starts and ends with it. You can dock into it, equip your robots and store items, just like in any other NPC terminal. It doesn’t need any upkeep or energy to work - once built, it will stay there until someone destroys or deconstructs it. (Oh yes, it will be possible to deconstruct your buildings.) The main terminal comes in three different sizes, varying in number of connection slots, amount of HP, and physical size.

Another important role of the main terminal is that it provides ownership, or in other words, broadcasts control to all its connected buildings, which in turn further broadcast it to their connections and so on. If a building loses the chained control link with your network, it stops providing whatever its role is and you won’t be able to change its parameters until you regain control of it. More importantly, it’ll become open prey for an enemy network to “assimilate” it.

Control tower

Like the name suggests, control towers broadcast control, and they can do this through relatively large distances. They can be used to create watchposts or mining outposts far from the core of your network and your main terminal. Control towers themselves do not need energy to operate, however they don’t transfer it either, so you need to build a reactor at your outposts too, in order to operate the surrounding buildings.

Control towers also function as defensive bastions, which I will explain further in the control and defense section.



Reactors provide the necessary energy for your buildings to operate. They work very similar to a robot’s accumulator, but since they’re much bigger, they are also much slower regarding recharge (think days here). Like robot accumulators, they also have their peak recharge potential at 50%. However, a deployed reactor starts with 0 energy, thus the recharge starts out very slow, and if you connect many consumers to it at this point, it will never “kick in”.

There is also a quicker but more costly way of generating energy in your reactor: by fueling it with certain commodities, like vitricyl or prilumium. You can use this method if your reactor or reactors can’t provide the necessary amount of energy for your network, or if you want to kickstart a newly built reactor. Reactors can also be fed from other reactors, so if you already have a working energy network (with the necessary surplus energy), starting a new reactor should be easier too.

Energy transfer nodes

These little nodes are used to transfer energy from the reactors to all of the consumer buildings. They have a certain cycle time for this, so energy propagation through the network takes some time. There is also a little bit of energy loss when it goes through them, so taking energy via a long chain of nodes will “leak” a small but notable amount on its own.

Energy transfer nodes come in two sizes: the large one can transfer large amounts of energy per cycle, and they have bigger connection ranges (can be linked together from further away), but have only a few connection slots. These are intended for your main energy lines, the “backbone” so to say. Then there are the small transfer nodes, which are pretty much the opposite: small throughput, small connection ranges, but more connection slots. These will be your endpoint distributors.

Standard facilities

Basic main terminals don’t include any industrial facilities, you have to get the DLC for them. What this means is that you need to build the factory, the prototyping facility, the refinery and all the other individual facilities, and connect them to your terminal; only then will they appear in its facility menu. The trick here, of course, is that the main terminal has a limited number of inward connections.

Facility upgrades

Facilities have low efficiency on their own, but luckily we have facility upgrades to boost just that. Naturally, the increased energy consumption will not make it as easy as it sounds.

Special facilities

We’ll introduce two brand new facilities, which will only be available to be built on gamma islands. One is the Calibration complex, which will let you combine calibration templates of an item to get a higher efficiency CT. The other is the Decoder forge, and as you can probably guess, it will combine lower level decoders to provide you with a higher level one.

Defensive turrets

Your trusty watchdogs when you’re not home. They hit hard, and they hit far. In their current implementation they work with pure energy, but later on we might convert them to ammo-consuming beasts too, so you can chose your damage type.

There are three basic types: EM turrets have the highest dps, missile turrets have very long range and have the highest burst damage, and laser turrets are the most accurate at the cost of damage.

Mining tower

Mining tower

The name may be deceiving, as it’s not something that does the work while you’re not there. Instead, it works as an aura to allow you to exploit a new type of mineral, available only on gamma islands. This new mineral will be used to manufacture higher tier buildings.


Provides a masking aura for the robots in its range, making them harder to detect for other robots. Has no effect on buildings.

Repair nodes

These can be connected to any building and they will automatically start repairing any damage done to them, provided they have enough energy to do so.

Booster nodes

Currently, booster nodes can have either of the following functions: reduce the cycle time of turrets, increase the range of turrets, or increase the armor resistance of any building. Once you have a working booster node, you can simply select which one of those functions they should provide, and you can change this any time later on too.

As said, not all of these may make it in the first round, and we still have more ideas, for example solar panels which generate energy depending on the time of day.

Control, defense and capture

As I mentioned above at the main terminal details, control linking is a very important aspect of holding your network together. If you build parts of your network in a way that they depend on a single junction point, it will easily become a weak spot that you’ll have a hard time defending, even if you surround it with turrets of doom. When you lose such a junction point, you risk losing control of entire parts of your network, together with any connected defensive buildings, so redundancy will be pivotal in planning a solid network.

It’s not just a matter of losing control, but you may even find that the neighboring network snatched away your buildings. Such assimilation operations will be entirely possible: if there are any “orphaned” buildings in the connection range of your own network, which noone has control over, you can simply connect them to one of your buildings and they will start working for you.

Of course, losing parts of your network is one thing, but losing your main terminal with all your assets in it can be disastrous. Thinking about various defense mechanisms that allow you to get some sleep while not worrying to lose your main terminal made me write this post on the forums. While the idea of making the main terminal invulnerable as long as any other building is connected to it sounded good at first, it also made us realize that it makes a capture mechanism near impossible. If you have to destroy everything first in order to break control, there won’t be anything left to capture. This is especially true for the expensive high-efficiency facilities, which are connected directly to the main terminal, with no way to break control other than destroying the terminal itself.

We also tried to avoid any timer mechanisms, but in the end there is no way we can control the number of players attacking a base, and there needs to be some kind of solid attack window that you can count on as a defender.

So the final concept of the main terminal defense mechanism looks like this: as I mentioned above, control towers function as bastions, which means if at least one control tower is connected to it, the main terminal is invulnerable.

Once there are no control towers connected to the main terminal, you can start shooting it. When its armor reaches 50%, its emergency shielding activates, and once again it becomes invulnerable. This state lasts for 3 days, plus an optional 0-24 hours that the owner can set before it gets into emergency state. This makes sure that the defenders can set their own time of day when the terminal comes out of its emergency state, and becomes vulnerable. Once an emergency phase ends, it cannot be activated for 4 hours - that’s the window when the attackers can finish it off. The time when the emergency period ends can be scanned the same way you can scan for outpost intrusion times.

The combination of these two mechanisms should make sure that a lone terminal can’t be lost overnight, but it also makes sure that complex networks with many control towers and extensive defense systems will be much harder to take down, and then some more.

It's the little things

Besides giving you the possibility of building your own empire, we're also trying to add in some little extras that will make you stand out, and let you feel home. One of these things is that every corporation will be able to set a signature color, and this will be used for all the owned buildings' tint stripes, as well as the terminal inside background color.

Furthermore, what is an empire good for if you can't show it off? From the beginnings already, we really wanted to show territories in some way. Now with PBS, the occupied area of buildings finally provides a way to actually make your territory visible on the world map. We're aware that this is not something everyone would like, since it obviously gives away some strategic information, even though no individual buildings will be visible, just a colored "blob" (which also uses the color mentioned above). So this feature will be optional, CEOs can decide whether they want to show off or not.

We need your help

By now you should probably have a rough idea of the sheer complexity of this system. Since we are still merely a group of 10 people, it would be pretty much impossible for us to test it on our own. The outcome would most likely be an unbalanced patch, crawling of nasty bugs.

We have already set up a separate test server and as soon as we are finished with all the features, you’ll be able to come and fiddle with terraforming, planning and building before we deploy it to the live server. How and when exactly this will happen will be announced soon, stay tuned.

Well, I think that’s about it regarding the basics of PBS. Of course I’ll try to answer any questions, and I’m sure you have a few of those.

In the next blog I will tell you the tale of how we turned the industry upside down, to the extent that we probably should call it Industry 2.0.

I love cliffhangers.

We received a large package addressed to "DEV GARGAJ" in the mail today. After the obvious security measures, we controlled our little EOD-robot towards the box, and as soon as the dust, debris and toxic fallout settled, we uncovered this:

I'm not exactly adept at expressing gratitude on a poetic level, but a gesture like this is not only appreciated for what it is, it also inspires on a more personal level to work harder/more on the upcoming patches. (Although that might be just the sugar rush.) Thank you very much on behalf of the remainder of the DEV team!

It also reminded me that we (somehow) forgot to mention our previous goodie-bag-by-mail, received last summer from Shea:

Again, thank you so much! <3

With the upcoming patch dealing with terraforming and player built settlements we also need to upgrade some of our current tools to better suit the challenges these new systems pose. The most basic such system involving the terrain is the one visualizing where players can go - the slope display.

As part of the work on the PBS patch we have upgraded the slope display so you'll not only be able to see where your robot can go, but also where robots of other classes can venture. More importantly the new slope display will also show areas which need to be flattened before a building can be raised at a certain area.

As these new tools won't be needed all the time we're making them optional. You'll be able to cycle between the different display modes using the slope toggle button.

Also, most of the server side code work on the individual PBS nodes has now finished and we're in the process of building the terraform blueprint system while the artists work on the gfx for the nodes. And before you ask, the next part of the PBS series blog should be out next week ;)

Defensive walls are probably the most controversial feature in Perpetuum we have ever had so far. On one hand they are supposed to bring more sand into the sandbox and provide passive defense for whatever you want to defend. On the other hand, many of you have voiced your concerns that it also greatly hinders everyday small-scale PvP warfare, which is hurting the game on a global level.

The first introduction of walls went not without issues and we have learnt the hard way that too much freedom can be bad. Based on player feedback, the majority of you think there is still too much freedom regarding wall placement.

Initially we didn't want to restrict the building of walls to outpost owners, because we didn't want to shut out the rest of our players from using them. Nevertheless, it seems walls are primarily used for outpost and SAP defense, so we decided to reconsider that stance.

Wall placement belts around outposts

In our next patch (planned for March 9), we will restrict wall placement to a fixed belt area around outposts. It's a belt because the 1000m inner no-build limit from outposts still remains, but there will be an outer limit of 3000m as well. The picture on the right should help you imagine it better. As you can see, some of the teleports' no-build areas also take their share. (Update: the image has been modified to include SAP areas too - thanks for the notice Arga.)

Another change is that only the outpost's owning corporation can build walls, and only around the owned outpost. Of course in case of an ownership change, the old walls won't fall down, but only the new owner will be able to place new ones. Unfortunately this also has a negative effect, namely that allied corporations can't help you placing walls around your outpost until we do a proper alliance feature. (Contrary to popular belief, we didn't abandon or deny an alliance feature at all, we just didn't get around implementing one yet.)

It's important to note that currently deployed walls won't be affected in any way by this, as long as you keep repairing them, they will stay there. However you won't be able to place any new wall units outside of the allowed areas.

And lastly, to steer things back towards the next part of the PBS series: yes, you will be able to build walls around player-built bases as well, but only around a certain "occupation" area of your own buildings.

Commence cheering/grumbling.

Hello everyone, we’re back with the second part of the Player-Built Settlements show, please take your seats. In the first part we have taken a look at how you can terraform a suitable place for your buildings. This time we’ll see how the building process itself looks like and how you will be able to plan a network of interconnected structures. Please note that some of the details discussed here can still change as we are closing to completion and start the testing process.

Acquiring buildings

The basic line of standard Syndicate-issued buildings will be available directly from the market. However, the Syndicate will also provide the option to relieve itself from the tedious task of manufacturing these buildings, so every corporation will be able to acquire the knowledge to manufacture them on their own as well. This will be achievable via new special kernels, available from Syndicate Supplies for either assignment tokens, or special artifact items. (These artifacts will be available throughout all islands.)

Later on we’ll also introduce higher tier buildings, but manufacturing those will need a new type of mineral, available only on gamma islands - more on this in an upcoming industry-themed blog.

Starting a settlement

Large player-buildable main terminal

PBS will work in a network system, and every one of them will have to start with a central control node, the main terminal. All other buildings will have to be connected to the main terminal via an energy link or a control (~ownership) link - more on this a bit later.

So let’s say you have the building blueprint item for your first gamma terminal in your cargo. You pick a nice spot on one of the gamma islands, and start to terraform the area to be suitable for building (if necessary). To save you from insanity, buildings won’t require perfectly even areas for building; small slopes below a certain threshold will work too.

There will be a few no-build areas, e.g. around teleports, but currently we have no other limits planned for placing main terminals. The only limit regarding them is that one corporation can only have one active main terminal per island. The activation/deactivation and unattended defense mechanisms (the usual timezone issues) are still being worked out, but our aim is to prevent multi-headed dragons, i.e. redundant networks that are very hard to destroy, while still allowing relatively easy upgrading of your central terminal.

The building process

Once you’ve found the right place for your main terminal, you simply deploy the blueprint item from your cargo. This will place a kind of holographic version of the building onto the tile you’re standing on, and at the same time, push you and everyone else out of its construction radius. (Construction radius is an outline area around all buildings, and no two can overlap each other. This prevents building very dense and impenetrable settlements.)

After the blueprint is out anyone can start building it, this is not limited to the owner corporation’s members. Construction is done with building modules equipped on their robots, which use building charges available from the market, but they are also manufacturable (this part is still heavily under discussion). Any number of Agents can help in the completion, the goal is to reach a certain number of building cycles until it’s finished.

When the building is complete, it’s still offline and it has to be brought online to be operational, and this is something only the owners can do. The main terminal is a special building in this regard, because it can be activated on its own. However all other buildings will need to be connected to the main terminal before they can be brought online.

The main terminal

In case it’s not evident for everyone, I must stress that you can enter a player-built main terminal just like any other NPC terminal. So once your terminal is finished and online, you can hop in, store your stuff, or equip your robot. The available base facilities include private and corporation storages with all their features, robot equipment, the market, and robot insurance. All other facilities like the factory or the repairshop need to be built as separate structures and connected to the main terminal.

The reactor

However, nothing works without energy (the only exception being the main terminal), so the next thing you want to build will be a reactor. This is a separate building, but you can’t just place it anywhere. Apart from the terraforming requirements, all your buildings need to be in the control range of another owned building, and for your second building this means the main terminal. (Well, that’s only half true: you can place your buildings anywhere, but you won’t be able to connect and activate them if they are not in range.)

The control links will generally also mean an energy link at the same time, but since the reactor is the building which is generating the energy in the first place, it will only need a simple control link.

Planning your empire

So now you have a main terminal, and a connected reactor, generating energy (not for free, mind you). This is when things will start to become complicated and the need emerges for some delicate planning.

Mockup of PBS planner and maintenance window

Granted, planning and maintaining an extensive network of buildings just by walking around it on the terrain would be a tad difficult, so we’ll introduce a new schematic map into the world map window, intended specifically for this task. The picture you see on the right is a crude mock-up of how the layout will look like, the final design will be of course much prettier.

The left main area is where the planning will happen. Not only that, but here you will be able to connect your buildings and watch over their health and energy levels as well.

The planning process itself will be somewhat like a puzzle (in the better sense of the word). You grab a building plan on the right, and drag it onto the grid. The grid represents ground tiles, so when you place a building plan, it will snap to this grid. When you’re satisfied with its position, you will need to finalize the plan, which will check whether it’s a suitable location regarding terrain, construction radius and all that stuff. At the same time it also places a marker onto the terrain, so you will know where to deploy what building blueprint. This way you will be able to make plans for an extensive network of structures before even laying a brick, and your crew can work towards your goals using the terrain markers.

Advanced networking

Example of a PBS network

The picture on the right is something DEV Alf has thrown together for your amusement. To be able to understand it, you have to know that every type of building will have a fixed number of inward and outgoing connection slots. A connection can be anything: a simple control or energy link, but it can also mean a functional link, like in the case of facilities connected to the main terminal. The important thing here is that all types of connections are using the same limits, and it will be up to you how you play them in order to have a logical and working network.

Since every building has limited connection slots, and because the area around the main terminal will soon become crammed, you will eventually need to use energy transmitter nodes. These buildings function like hubs: they broadcast both control and energy, but they too have limited connection slots. You'll even be able to set the energy priority for each node, so in case there is an energy shortage (because, say, someone destroyed one of your reactors), your critical buildings can remain operational. Our aim here is to provide you with basic building blocks and use your imagination and creativity to create extensive and efficient connection networks.

The picture also shows various other types of buildings, which I’m sure you’re eager to hear about, but unfortunately you’ll need to stick it out until the next part :) In that one we’ll have a look at all the building types you can create (even some never before heard facilities), and I’ll also try to explain why it will be good for you to own a gamma base in the first place.

Until then, let your anger or approving thoughts roam free in the comments or the forums.