Zones and areas are groups of map tiles, marked by the player. They aren't structures, rather just marked sections of the map for organization and control.
Zones are groups of map tiles, marked by the player, and may be selected and configured. Zones are always contiguous. They define their own space and cannot overlap other zones.
The content of any stockpile, dumping stockpile or growing zone can be defined by selecting the zone and clicking the brown button that appears above the Architect menu. The priority of a stockpile or dumping stockpile can also be set there.
Stockpiles are where most of a colony's goods are stored. They can be configured to hold any combination of items, from individual items (metal stockpile, log stockpile etc.) to groups of items (weapons stockpile, meal stockpile etc.) or even all items.
Storage settings can be copied from stockpiles and dumping stockpiles to other stockpiles. Settings can also be copied to stockpiles from graves, sarcophagi, or shelves, however options that don't exist in the source (i.e. food) are copied as disallowed.
Dumping stockpile zone
Dumping stockpiles are, by default, enabled to hold debris and corpses, however they are functionally identical to regular stockpiles, differing only in name and default settings.
Some applications for dumping stockpiles outside of general storage include hauling debris to form makeshift defenses, or creating areas to dispose of raider corpses via molotov cocktails.
Growing zones allow colonists with the growing job enabled to grow plants. These plants range from food crops to flowers to improve the environment, to trees to provide wood. Soil fertility and the amount of available light strongly influences plant growth, and so are major factors to consider when placing growing zones. Some soil is super fertile (exceeding 100%) and will yield crops at a better than normal rate.
Growing zones are less efficient than hydroponics, therefore it is advisable to move food production to hydroponics when it becomes available.
Hydroponics are a necessity in extreme environments, like arctic ice sheets, where plants will not grow because of temperature or fertility. The hydroponic basin is placed indoors, where the temperature can be regulated.
The shrink zones tool allows players to shrink any type of zone square by square, allowing players to shape or remove zones according to their needs.
Areas are groups of map tiles, marked by the player, and act like an invisible layer on the map. Areas become visible only when using their expand or clear tools. Each type of area exists in its own layer, serves its own purpose, and may overlap other areas and zones. An area can be painted in any shape and may have disjoined sections - it need not be contiguous.
Each area tool is followed by a 'clear area' tool that is used to delete sections of that area.
An allowed area restricts where colonists and animals can travel. Items, locations, and tasks outside of a colonist's allowed area are considered forbidden to them. When pathing, colonists take the shortest path within their allowed area. If there's no path within their allowed area, they may leave the allowed area to take the shortest path, but they will not interact with any objects or perform any tasks there. A hunter will not hunt animals that are outside of his or her allowed area. Firefighters will not extinguish fire that is not inside both the home area and their allowed area.
Drafted colonists (and their tamed animals) ignore allowed area. Colonists that are set to Flee will also ignore their allowed area while actively fleeing from a threat, or when cowering after fleeing, and can identify a "safe" area to flee to that is outside of their allowed area. Colonists set to Attack will ignore their allowed area while actively attacking targets, as if they are drafted, and will attack nearby targets even if those targets are outside their allowed area. Colonists on mental breaks will also ignore their allowed area.
From the 'Expand Allowed Area' button, clicking 'Manage allowed areas' allows the player to create or delete areas, rename areas, or invert an area. Inverting an area allows a player to effectively paint the entire map except for the area as drawn by the player.
Colonists can be restricted to specific allowed areas using the Schedule menu, and animals can be restricted using the Animals menu. The default is 'Unrestricted'.
The Home area tool is very important - colonists won't fight fires or repair objects outside the home area. Home areas can be set to auto-generate around player built objects and structures, and can be toggled via the house icon in the lower right of the screen; this setting is on by default.
There are three different zones related to roofing:
- A build roof area will cause pawns to build a roof in the specified area. Keep in mind each roof tile needs to be within 6 range of a wall to not collapse.
- A ignore roof area will cause pawns to not alter the roof in a specified area
- A remove roof area will cause pawns to remove any roofs in a given area. This is useful for things like removing a large building without worrying about roof collapse or walling in vulnerable solar generators without blocking out the sun.
Removing an established roof is a low-priority construction job. You may want to manually compel a constructor pawn to do the job in a timely manner or cancel other higher-priority construction jobs. When removing wall-supporting roofs, make sure that the roof has been removed before the wall. This sequence is not an automatic priority.
When having difficulty with Roof Removal, check to make sure that the pawns can actually reach the sections of the roof being removed.
Snow clear area
The Snow clear area tool allows colonists to remove the snow from designated areas in order to increase move speed. Snow clearing is part of the Clean task, and takes precedence over actual cleaning.