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How to Design and Build the Best Base Layout in RimWorld

RimWorld, the renowned space-based settlement-building game, recently released the Biotech DLC that adds numerous long-awaited functions to your base like children, robot workers, and gene editing. All these additions make numerous changes to the way you should build the layout of your base since you’ll now need to include four or five additional room types into your RimWorld repertoire.

You are provided an immense amount of flexibility with the new types of buildings and new methods of base defense, breaking you from needing to build the predictable superstructure format. We’ll break down all the new methods you’ll want to use for building the perfect base layout in RimWorld.

Construction Basics

Building your settlement is a major part of the creative process for starting a new game of RimWorld. The way you build the base will influence every single aspect of your story, for better or worse. There are a lot of principles you can follow from the get-go that will help keep your base from getting in the way of your colonist’s goals.

Construction Basics
(Image: Ludeon Studios via HGG / Nathan Hart)

First and foremost, don’t be afraid to renovate as you go. It can be very bewildering to try and plan out the layout of your entire base from the start, especially if you’re new to RimWorld. At the start of the game, you really only need to know where a few things are going to be located in the long term.

These long term plans include your power generation, farming fields, and food storage. These will need well-planned locations because power generation relies on certain environmental fixtures, like steam vents and wide open areas.  Everything else can be re-purposed as you go, as many kinds of furniture can be picked up and moved.

Planning for Colonists

Your colonists have at least three places they will need to visit every single day: food storage & a table to eat at, their workplace, and their bed. Keeping the layout of these locations as close together as possible in your RimWorld base will maximize the efficiency of your settlers, lowering their commute time. This will be a central challenge to your construction as you go along.

Lighting is also critically important if you decide to build a superstructure with all necessary rooms contained in one huge compound. You’ll need to make sure that you properly illuminate all of your hallways.

The balance between beauty and utility will also be important to keep under your control. “Decor bombing” is the practice of putting a bunch of beautiful objects like sculptures or flower pots all over an area that is otherwise lacking in beauty. Your colonists will face a mood debuff from being in areas that lack beauty. Flooring is a great way to keep rooms beautiful, reduce how much filth is generated inside your base, and keep your colonists moving at top speed.

Food Prep

Food Prep - rimworld base layout
(Image: Ludeon Studios via HGG / Nathan Hart)

Food preparation and storage should be at the top of your list of priorities early in the game. The kitchen will be the beating heart of your colony. Thus, you should plan on it taking a fixed position for the entire game, planning the rest of your RimWorld base layout around it.

If you’re lost as to where you should place it, first find a big patch of rich soil. Food grows significantly quicker around these, and they typically have wide open fields nearby to construct a ranch for your animals. If you can, try to find a patch of rich soil that is located close to a stone wall. Mining into these areas is a quick and easy way to build your deep freezer, provided you have a colonist with decent mining skills.

Deep Freezer

Placing your deep freezer area is one of the most important decisions you’ll make throughout the game. The smaller you build it, the less power it will take to keep it cold. However, this also means the less food you’ll be able to stockpile for winter. Hotter maps, thus, don’t require as large of a deep freezer.

You’re going to want to build at least a double-walled box with space for numerous shelves. It’s a common strategy to add an “airlock” room in between your deep freezer and everything else. This simply consists of a small room with a single space in between two doors, which will help to keep the warm outside air from entering your deep freezer, and vice versa. Swap these doors out for auto-doors as soon as you unlock that technology. You’ll also need to set up a cooler, with the hot exhaust from the cooler flowing directly outside. Alternatively, you can vent the hot exhaust into other rooms of your base to keep them warm if you’re living in a colder climate.

Butcher Table

It’s common to put your butcher table inside the deep freezer as well, as this task is very quick, so the 30% loss of work speed from cold temperatures in the room isn’t a major loss. Some players place their butcher table in a separate room with a sewing table, preventing the need to haul leather long distances.

Whatever you do, do not place the butcher table in any room that is used as a pathway, nor inside the kitchen itself. Simply having a butcher table in a room reduces the cleanliness of a room by -15, and having that in the same room as your stove is a fast track to food poisoning. Poisoned colonists being too weak to deal with an emergency has been the downfall of many rim settlements. These rooms also benefit from using easy-to-clean tiles, whether they’re steel tiles or silver-infused sterile tile floors.

Commons Areas

Common Areas
(Image: Ludeon Studios via HGG / Nathan Hart)

The rooms where your colonists gather to try and relax, eat meals, and enjoy each others company can have a massive effect on the overall mood of the settlement. Keeping your dining room and rec room both in tip-top shape allows you to stack two different consistent mood buffs. Alternatively, stacking the rooms together makes it easier to make a single, massive, high-quality room.

If you own either the Royalty or Ideology DLC, you can also mix these common rooms with either the throne room or your temple room, furthering the impressiveness of the space. Be warned that throne rooms will require fine tiles eventually. This can potentially take a huge amount of labor and resources if the throne room is added to a very large common area. You’ll also need to ensure temples are kept clean for rituals. Unless you have plenty of extra labor around to keep them clean, you may want to keep the temple separate from an area that will be super high-traffic like the commons areas.

Keeping the dining room close to your kitchen will cut down on labor significantly. You can either keep your meals in the walk-in deep freezer or on a shelf directly in the dining room. While this might make some meals spoil at times, this can also be a strategy to keep a massive food stockpile from raising your wealth too highly. Think about keeping some lavish meals frozen for special occasions.

Bedroom Tips

Bedrooms are affected more by the individual personality traits of your colonists than any other building you’ll construct. At first, your crash-landed settlers or lost tribe of colonists will need to shack up together in a barracks.

Bedroom Tips
(Image: Ludeon Studios via HGG / Nathan Hart)

Placing more than one bed in a room will turn it into a barracks, providing a mood debuff for any colonists who sleep in there. On top of the flat debuff from sharing a room, your colonists will also likely be awakened by each other’s comings and goings, making a barracks a last resort for your colonists’ sleeping quarters.

Bedrooms can be located on the outermost fringes of your base, as your colonists won’t need to revisit them in the middle of the day. They should be kept warm in cold months and cool in hot ones, otherwise, your colonists will take a mood debuff every single night from sleeping in inappropriate temperatures. Their preferred temperature will be calculated without any of their clothing being taken into account, meaning fur-skinned yttakin or imps with heat resistance can handle more extreme respective temperatures at night.

Settler Traits

If your colonists have the ascetic trait, you want to try to give them as minimally impressive a bedroom as possible, likely just a 5 or 6-tile room so you can still fit a bed, end table, and dresser inside. Greedy settlers just want a very impressive bedroom, which isn’t too difficult to give them after long enough. Setting up a couple of art pieces in their room is typically enough to satisfy their greed.

Jealous colonists are the most difficult to deal with, as they want their bedroom to be nicer than anyone else’s. Having two jealous colonists means someone will always be unhappy about the status of their room. Unless the impressiveness of their rooms becomes exactly the same, like if they share a bed together.

Science Lab

Researchers will keep your colony moving forward, unlocking numerous invaluable construction projects. At first, they’ll be doing this with a regular research bench, and it’s very common for the early-game research lab to share space with your hospital. This is because both of these rooms will benefit from having sterile tiles installed. Sterile tiles are important for speeding up research in your lab.

Science Lab - rimworld base layout
(Image: Ludeon Studios via HGG / Nathan Hart)

You won’t need to consider building a dedicated research lab until you unlock the high-tech research bench. High-tech research benches take up 5×2 squares, while the multi-analyzer you’ll eventually need to construct to reach higher tech levels will take 2×2 squares. While the analyzer can be moved around, the high-tech research bench cannot, so you’ll need to properly plan for its layout in your RimWorld base. If you decide not to mix your research lab with your hospital, you can make it fairly small, allowing you to minimize how much silver you spend on sterile flooring.

If you have the Biotech DLC, the second kind of laboratory you can create involves all of the new high-tech equipment for altering the genetics of your colonists. Gene labs don’t need special tiles, and their buildings won’t work any better if you have them.

The only requirement for these rooms is that you have enough space to keep a big library of gene-packs in storage, but the storage containers are movable once placed. If you can, try to keep your gene labs in close proximity to your prison, since you’re likely going to be plugging a lot of prisoners into your gene extraction machine.


Hospital - rimworld base layout
(Image: Ludeon Studios via HGG / Nathan Hart)

Hospitals are also important rooms to keep clean and should have sterile tiles added as soon as possible. You don’t need to add sterile tiles under the doorway for the entire room to count as sterile, but add some kind of flooring to it anyway because unfloored areas have a chance of generating filth.

You’ll also want to leave room for hospital beds, and accompanying vitals monitors. You should place a television in the room, facing the beds where patients will be staying. This can help them get some recreation when they’re stuck in bed for long periods of time.

Operating Theater

You may want to separate a small room from the rest of your hospital, with a single hospital bed and vitals monitor. Keep this room very small. It will be used as an operating theater – the spot your colonists go when they’re undergoing a voluntary, well-planned surgery or childbirth.

Reserving this hospital bed for these occasions will keep the room from ever getting dirty, that way you don’t need to have someone clean it up before surgery. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry too much about the base layout for this room in RimWorld. Simply disallow access to the door of the operating theater when it’s not needed. This will ensure that the hospital bed isn’t used automatically when colonists sustain minor injuries.

Workshop & Storage Solutions

Workshop & Storage - rimworld base layout
(Image: Ludeon Studios via HGG / Nathan Hart)

Your workshop is where the skilled crafters and artists of your colony will get their work done. This room should contain almost every production facility that gets a bonus from toolboxes. This includes the stonecutting bench, the smithy, the art bench, the machining table, the fabrication bench, and even the drug lab. Building these in a circular fashion around two toolboxes will optimize the crafting facility.

This is a fine room to have towards the center of your base. Keeping other production buildings nearby, perhaps in an adjacent room, can cut down on traffic as well. The production buildings that don’t get bonuses from the tool bench are largely for refining trash items into usable goods, like the electric smelter or biofuel refinery.

The workshop is also a good room for general item storage. You want to try to cluster your item storage into as small of an area as possible. This way your colonists can quickly access what they need. Plus, when you reach microelectronics and start to ship goods off to passing spaceships, you won’t need as many orbital trading beacons. Keeping your items on shelves will reduce clutter, as well as remove the beauty penalty the room will get from having items just lying around on the floor.

Raid Defenses

While we go over the essentials of defending your base in this guide, you can get more detailed strategies and tips by checking out our RimWorld defense guide here!

Raid Defenses
(Image: Ludeon Studios via HGG / Nathan Hart)

Defending your base is one of the important priorities once you’ve established yourself as a raid target. When it comes to base design aiding your defense in RimWorld, the overall layout of the compound is an important factor for deciding on your defense strategy. If you build all the rooms together into a megastructure or dig into a mountainside, you’ll likely have one main corridor that works as an entrance or exit. 

This corridor will eventually be turned into what the community refers to as a “killbox”. This is where you amass a huge number of traps, turrets, and defensive positions to mow down charging attackers. Placing sandbags in between the spike traps will convince your targets to walk directly into the traps instead of taking the movement penalty of moving over sandbags. However, this will require a large number of resources to achieve and doesn’t give you a lot of tactical flexibility for some of the more unusual raider types like breachers.

At some point, you’re going to want to add some exterior walls around the edges of your home territory. These walls will help funnel attackers into more controllable areas, hopefully giving you a chance to whittle their numbers down before facing a full assault. If you choose not to build a superstructure and instead want to design a more village-style commune, your walls will need to be a lot bigger to contain all of the individual structures.

Mechanoid Rooms

Mechanoid Rooms
(Image: Ludeon Studios via HGG / Nathan Hart)

The Biotech DLC brings a lot of new features to the game. This includes mechanoid helpers that can perform all sorts of tasks that humans needed to do themselves before. In order to support your mechanoids, you’ll need to build all sorts of infrastructure to keep them operational. First off, you’ll need gestational chambers to produce them out of steel and components, and chargers appropriate to the size of the mech.

Chargers will produce toxic waste packs. These waste packs will gradually decay, poisoning the area around them and anyone unlucky enough to be in their immediate vicinity. You’ll need a second, large waste storage facility for quite a while until you unlock the technology to atomize the waste packs. And even then, a waste pack atomizer takes up some very high-grade materials, so its unlikely you’ll ever be able to truly keep up with the production.

Managing Toxic Waste Packs

The solution is to place all of your mech chargers very close to an unroofed area inside your base. In this unroofed area, set up a number of drop-pod launchers. You can fill drop pods up with toxic waste packs, and launch them at enemy settlements. You could launch them at seemingly neutral terrain as well, but you run the risk of angering a faction that you could’ve forged an alliance with.

Just note that by launching them at hostile nearby settlements, you do run the risk of them launching packs of their own at you. Alternatively, they will possibly outright begin attacking the moment you send waste their way. However, this is preferable to poison spreading throughout the entire layout of your base in RimWorld.

Deathresting Chamber

The Biotech DLC introduced a number of “xenotypes” to the game. The most decisively game-changing one is the sanguophage. These space vampires can heal their allies and rip enemy raiders to shreds. They also make excellent leaders for your colony due to their high social skills and near-invulnerability. However, they occasionally need to fall into a “Deathrest” in order to keep their powerful bodies operational.

Deathresting involves building a casket, and you can also create five different kinds of structures to upgrade the effects of a Deathrest for your vampire lord. These structures might cost hemogen, which you can harvest from prisoners or take voluntarily via an operation on your own colonists. You will also need to ensure that you build Deathrest upgrade buildings within line of sight of the casket’s head position, although the in-game tooltips don’t state this as of 1.4. You’ll also need your sanguophage to consume doses of “Deathrest Serum” in order to use the upgraded structures.

Deathresting Chamber - rimworld base layout
(Image: Ludeon Studios via HGG / Nathan Hart)

Build your Deathrest chamber somewhere out of the way, but still in a defensible spot to make sure any wanna-be Van Helsing raider can’t put an end to your Dracula while they’re in their weakest condition. Combining your Deathrest chamber with your crypt, where fallen colonists go to rest in sarcophagi, can be a fun look for a settlement. Though try not to sacrifice an optimal layout for your base solely for aesthetic purposes in RimWorld.

Nursery & School

Unlike adults, the baby colonists that were introduced in the Biotech DLC don’t mind when their cribs are put together in one single room. Contrast this with adults, who dislike sleeping in a barracks no matter how nice it is.

Nursery and School - rimworld base layout
(Image: Ludeon Studios via HGG / Nathan Hart)

However, putting a crib into a room that has adult beds in it will still make that room count as a barracks. This basically forces you to separate children into a nursery until they reach the age of 3. After that, kids generally have low enough expectations that you can put them together into a child barracks and you shouldn’t expect to have many problems.

Wrangling & Educating Kids

Kids will occasionally get lessons from adults at the school. Constructing three blackboards and a desk for each child will maximize the growth points that your budding colonists will get. This will increase the chances that you can give them good character traits instead of negative ones. Plus, it will likely raise how many different topics they can be passionate about.

Try to keep the school relatively close to where the kids sleep, just so they don’t have to go as far. Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep any child-related structures deep within the interior of your base and zone children accordingly. Letting them wander anywhere with dangerous animals or potential hostile foes is a recipe for tragedy.

Making this more problematic is that you need to prevent children from going far away from your base to go “nature running”. As in real life, children are often getting themselves into danger. However, unlike real life, you can force kids to obey the strict zones’ limitations you place down.

Join the High Ground

Building your base and figuring out its layout in RimWorld is something you need to take one step at a time. Trying to plan it all ahead of time will be overwhelming, and you’ll likely make some major missteps along the way. But if you respond to what you need, and try to prepare for the future as you go, this guide will help you construct a base that truly lets you keep the high ground.

If you have any more questions or think we should include another tip, let us know in the comments below. And make sure to subscribe to our newsletter for more RimWorld guides and other gaming content.

Happy gaming!


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