Townforge boasts an expansive 3D terrain, with plains, mountains, cliffs, gullies and other features. This brings up a question: where should you build your buildings ?
Beyond purely aesthetic reasons, buildings will cost money and earn income. You’ll want to try and get a good deal. Here are the basics:
Land cost and tax
Of course, cost is a major consideration when buying land. Townforge makes it simple here: both land cost and tax only depend on the distance from the town square. Land close to the town square is expensive, with the price dropping off very quickly, then starting to increase slowly indefinitely. This makes the land close to the town square very prestigious locations, while keeping a cheaper ring further way, and adding slow cost pressure as the town gets larger and more people move in. Land tax also increase with distance, to discourage people from building at silly distances.
Both purchase price and tax scale linearly with the size of your new land. Land tax also scales linearly with the economic power of any building you build on that land. For anti abuse reasons, an extra tax applies if a plot of land stays empty for too long.
The Townforge terrain is divided in small squares, and each of these is assigned a value for several properties, or potentials. Some of them matter for every building, such as ground stability (more stable ground means slower decay, and thus less repair costs), while others only matter for some buildings, such as stone quantity, which controls how fast a stonecuter can churn out stone blocks from the ground.
In game, you can view those maps by opening the “Terrain” section in the main UI panel, and selecting the map you want to see in the map type list. A black and white overlay will be drawn on top of the terrain, allowing you gauge where the juicy locations are. You can also view up to three maps at once: these overlays will be shown in each of the colour components (red, green and blue).
Try it yourself and find out what other potential maps exist.
Several building types are more suited to various types of terrain. For example, stonecutters have a bonus if they are on a cliff, where it more accessible. Agricultural buildings prefer to be surrounded with higher ground, to be better protected from the harsh wind of Greenland, while luxury residential buildings get a bonus from being on higher ground, providing the landlord with a commanding view of the surroundings.
There is some interplay between nearby buildings: bonuses and penalties can apply depending on what other buildings are close by.
Active buildings have an influence area, based off their size and economic potential. The higher that area, the further away other buildings will be influenced. To be influenced, a building must have at least half of its area within the influence of another building, or of multiple buildings of the same type.
How about an example ?
A basic residential building will get up to 4x bonus if it lies within the influence of other basic residential buildings: people prefer to live among other people, creating residential blocks. Similarly, a basic residential building will get a penalty if it is within the influence of an industrial building, because who wants to live near a smokestack (well, nobody will for now, since industrial buildings will be unlocked in the future as the game progresses).
Bonuses and penalties add or subtract from a building’s production or payouts, so you want to try to get as many bonuses as you can while avoiding the penalties. Note that it does not matter who owns the buildings, your get bonuses and penalties from anyone’s buildings, including yours. The only requirement is that the buildings are active.
Some buildings also need some influence to be active (and either produce materials or receive income). For example, craft buildings need influence from agricultural buildings or they will not activate. Agricultural buildings themselves need to influence for activation.
The complete list of influence bonuses/penalties can be found in the manual.
Roads can link different buildings, and give bonuses when they do. Some buildings, like commercial buildings, benefit more from road links than others. Making linked roads to join several blocks will get even more bonuses for the roads and the buildings they link. However, a road can only link to another building if their economic power differs by at most 50. That is, an EP 150 road will link to an EP 180 stonecutter, but not to an EP 250 stonecutter. Additionally, road links need the road to reach right up to the building it links to. If the length of the common link is less than 8 tiles, the bonus is cut proportionally (commercial buildings will get bonuses for more than 8 tiles).
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to have automated rules to rate the 3D models players will design on their land, but we have the next best thing: some badges are reserved for people who create beautiful buildings, and will be awarded by the devs (yes, there is a bit of centralization left, but the scope of this is limited by the consensus rules). Clever use of geography will certainly play a part, so pick a good spot and let your creativity run wild!