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Mine for long enough and you'll find yourself surrounded with various stones and ores. How do you get rid of them?
Here follow several stone management techniques.
This method is easy and useful. However, some view it as an exploit, and it may not be allowed in later versions.
- Make a zone of 1x1 or 1x2 tiles, preferably either near the stones you want to get rid of or your stone-needy workshops, and mark it as a garbage dump.
- Press k and find a stone. Press d, and the stone will be marked for dumping. Alternatively, use the stocks menu (faster for mass dumping, but requires some bookkeeper labor first). You can also use d,b,d to designate mass items for dumping. You could also use a dumping macro to designate large amounts of stones at once. However, macros do not discriminate between stones and other items, so it is best to use them right after you dig out a new area. Be careful when you mark areas containing cave spider silk for dumping, as dwarves will actually come along and destroy the webs!
- A dwarf with refuse-hauling will come by, and take the stone to the garbage dump.
- Advantage: No matter how many stones you mark for dumping, they will all be placed on the same tiny garbage tile. So basically, mark all the stones you want dumped and they will be dumped. You are now able to place all the stones and ores in the fortress on 1 tile.
- Every dumped stone will be marked as "Forbidden", and will not be used in stone production. Use the stocks menu to globally un-forbid types of stone, or use the designation 'Reclaim Items' (d-b-c) to reclaim the entire pile. (If you want to only use specific stones, you must press k, find the pile, and press f on every stone you want on the list, using +/- to navigate through the list. Macros may come in handy when employing this method.)
- Anything else you dump, will end up on those piles too.
- Take care not to lose overview if you use several or temporary dumps.
Instead of smoothing rock to turn cavern floors into smooth floors, you can build a rough block floor on top of a cavern floor, a process known as 'paving'. Unlike smoothing, this uses up a stone. Since digging out a tile produces at most one stone, and it takes a stone to pave the resulting floor, it is possible to guarantee you will never have a surplus of stone as a resulting of digging alone. Building stone floors requires the masonry skill, but takes very little time. Idle dwarves with the masonry labor enabled can pave a large area in very little time, even if they have no masonry experience at all. It is best to start by paving floors where there are no stones, since dwarves are easily confused and will suspend construction of a floor with a stone on it if they can't find a place to move the stone first.
- Disadvantage: This approach will not allow you to engrave the floor unless you remove the paving first. Likewise, you will not be able to build walls, ramps, stairs, or fortifications on the floor until you remove the paving. If you choose to remove the paving, you'll get all of your raw materials back, meaning you'll still need to find a place to put them, or use some other way to deal with them.
Designate all your hallways as stone stockpiles. Since stone is a raw material, it has no quality score and will not be affected by the wear sometimes caused by excessive traffic. If you're playing on a level with flux (limestone, calcite, dolomite, chalk, or marble) or obsidian, you could set up custom stockpiles for those higher-value stones in the hallway near your masonry. This will make it easier for your mason to build high-value doors and tables. This method works even better if all the stone stockpiles that aren't near the mason are also custom stockpiles set to allow everything but the aforementioned valuable stones. Then whenever a valuable stone is dug up, it will either go to a stockpile near your masonry or sit there until a spot becomes free.
Note that to use flux stones or obsidian as described above, you must press z for the status menu, then go to "stones", and enable whatever economic stones you want to build with.
If you wish to get rid of the stone permanently, create a magma channel through your fort and mark the edge as a garbage pit. Any stone disposed of will be chucked into the magma, melt (except Bauxite, but in a fortress with magma you'll probably want to save it for magma-safe mechanisms), and be gone from your fortress forever. Of course, the disadvantage is that for anything else you mark as garbage (except for other items that aren't magma-safe) will also be lost forever. Another technique to remove stone is to build a stone stockpile in a channeled room. You will want to dig stairs down there to stock the stockpile. You then dig a tunnel to the magma source and flood the room. Not only will it melt the stone but you could then build forges, smelters and what have you in the room above it.
If the dwarves are instructed to dump the stone into a garbage zone adjacent to bottomless lava or chasm, that stone will be thrown over the edge and will fall off the bottom of the map and journey to the center of the Earth.
Build a catapult (or three), and assign dwarves to keep firing stones into walls, or at camels. This destroys the stone and also trains the dwarves in siege operating.
You can dig a channel, and make a zone over an adjacent tile. Mark it as a garbage dump, and dwarves will dump stones flagged for dumping down the channel. The stones will end up in the bottom tile.
Similar to the rock chute, but build a drawbridge in the pit and a pressure plate at the entrance to the chute, linked to the bridge. Make sure you set the pressure plate to trigger on citizens. Alternately, just link it to a lever and pull it every once in a while. Mark the channel and empty tile as a dump zone. When a stone is dropped, the drawbridge will crush the stone, permanently destroying it. Note: make sure the bridge is up when stones are dumped down it, or it will fling stone back up the channel. To achieve this, you will need to hook up another lever, and pull it once before any dwarves go on the pressure plate.
Level Z: ===== ==.== == == ==^==
Level Z-1: ===== =BBB= =BBB= ==D==
. - Channel = - Wall ^ - Pressure plate B - Drawbridge - make sure to set to raise while constructing, as opposed to retract. D - Door - keep locked to avoid accidentally crushing dwarves
Making use of stone
Use your masons to the fullest by creating doors, hatch covers, chairs, tables, coffers, cabinets, and statues. This builds up your mason's skill, and the furniture gives your dwarves good thoughts.
Skilled Craftsdwarves can produce large quantities of rock crafts very quickly. This trades the problem of tons of stone to the much easier problem of tons of crafts. As long as you have bins, managing a stockpile of finished goods is easy. Crafts can be sold to foreign traders, who have plenty of room for a lot of goods.
You can also use stones (or blocks) to build large structures above ground, and floors over areas such as sand, silt, or loam. The construction interface might be slow, but not only do you use up the stone from your excavations, but you can also create usable indoor space without having to mine any additional stone.
Building traps can use up stone as well. Mechanisms are also made of stone, and a stone-fall trap requires one mechanism and one stone.
The easiest way to avoid stone clutter is not to produce it in the first place. Use unskilled miners for initial fortress excavation to reduce the amount of useless stone they create, and don't dig out more than necessary. Produce lots of barrels and bins to cut down on your need for stockpile space.
However, unskilled miners also have a low chance of creating valuable stones and gems when they dig out a tile. It may require some micromanagement to prevent unskilled miners from wasting potentially valuable materials.
Building in soil, rather than stone, avoids the problem of stone altogether. Soil walls and floors cannot be smoothed, which makes it a bad choice for bedrooms and dining halls.
This is not a recommended method due to space and time requirements.
Build a large stockpile for stone away from your fortress. Dwarves will carry stones out to the stockpile, and they will no longer clutter up your fortress. The stockpile needs to be placed somewhere without stones, because only one stone will be placed per tile, and will result in long hauling trips.
Simply have the stone cut into blocks then stockpiled. As long as you have enough bins, this works quite well, since 10 blocks can be stored in a single bin. Depending on the rate you mine out the fortress, you may need several (Or even a dozen) Mason workshops. Just set them up wherever you want the stone cleared, and have them removed when they are no longer sitting amidst a pile of stone. This will also train up extra masons, which is helpful if you decide to make any large scale constructions.
A word of warning: The maximum number of artifacts your fortress will produce is based on the lowest of two numbers: mined out rock, and items produced. If you use this method to mine out a huge area, make sure you're prepared for the artifacts which could skyrocket your wealth very early, leading to sieges, nobles, huge immigrant waves, and fun.
Reasons for managing stone
On some stockpiles, you will be unable to use the tiles that contain a stone. It will therefore be a good thing to clear up room for the things you want to stockpile. Alternatively, if the top Z level comprises soil/loam rather than rock, then you can clear it out for stockpiles without worrying about stones filling the new space.
Many players find the fortress more enjoyable to look at if it looks nice and uniform. Random stones lying about are clutter which block the view of a tile (including any water or magma in it) and prevent stockpiles from being filled. Create smooth clear floor for a leaner, fitter, happier fortress.
- Note: this can now be negated by designating the freshly mined stone as hidden - using the commands designate building hidden.
Stocks Screen Lag
If there are a large number of a certain type of item, selecting it on the stocks screen will cause it to pause for a while as it processes them all, making it a pain to move past it to another category (although using 'page down' can skip over it). Stones are the most common offender in this way, and the stone category's proximity to some of the most useful other ones - namely bars - can cause a great deal of annoyance. Reducing the number of stones in existence (including those used for building) will reduce this lag.
If you designate constructions in multiple tiles containing stone, the stone for one construction will often be allocated from a different tile, and if the construction on that other tile is processed first, the dwarf will be unable to move the stone out of the way (as it is already assigned to a task) and will suspend its construction. This can get very annoying if you are building a 10x10 floor, for example, because you have to constantly check each tile for suspension.