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This isn’t a full guide, just one simple enhancement to make the most of your limited heat zone budget.
Frostpunk One Simple Urban Planning Enhancement
The rule is simple: A building is considered heated if at least half of the building is located within a heat zone. This seems pretty reasonable, but in fact gives you a huge opportunity to optimize both early and late game layouts.
Effectively, the trick is to always build your Tents with half of the Tent outside of the Generator’s heat zone. The Tent will still be considered heated, but your total build area increases effectively for free.
In the early game, this has the benefit that you can build more Tents before needing to enlarge your heat zone to range 2. In the very inner ring (call it rank 1), you can fit 10 Tents or Medical Posts, while offsetting that ring by 1 tile (rank 1.5) allows you to build 12. You do need to start building roads earlier as the offset ring is no longer adjacent to the prebuilt road surrounding the Generator, but there’s no need to build a full ring road right away. In scenarios where spoke roads already exist, you can start by clustering your Tents around the spokes, then only build the portions of the ring road that are necessary to connect your new construction. Wait to complete the rings until you have wood to waste on what is effectively a vanity project.
By the mid game, you’ll have unlocked a bunch of 3×3 buildings that benefit from 24/7 heating: Infirmary, Public House, Prison. The Child Shelter and Cookhouse are also good to keep heated for weird gameplay bug reasons.
(Specifically, both the Child Shelter and the Cookhouse need to be Chilly or warmer to work. That shouldn’t be a problem since they’re only used during the day, but if they become Cold at night, the game will consider them non-functional. The result is that you’ll lose the “all children have a space in a Child Shelter” Hope bonus at night, and your economy view will show your Food Rations production as 0 during the night even though the Cookhouse are operational during work hours. If you have heat zone space to spare, keeping these buildings heated makes life easier.)
So, it’s fortunate that there’s a nice and toasty space right next to the Generator where you can build 3×3 buildings! As you unlock higher tiers of housing, instead of upgrading the Tents or Bunkhouses in your inner ring, demolish them and build new upgraded housing elsewhere (the resource cost is the same). Now you have room for up to six 3×3 buildings (like the Infirmary) and one 2×3 building (like the Child Shelter).
(It may help to demolish any spoke roads not adjacent to the stockpiles to allow your builders to make optimal use of space. They can be rebuilt afterwards.)
The maximum range of your Generator is 8 tiles. Beyond that, the only way to expand your heat zones is piecemeal with Steam Hubs. Steam Hubs are great for your work buildings where you can avoid unnecessarily heating them outside of work hours, but are a waste of coal compared to expanding your Generator heat zone to cover those buildings that need 24-hour heating.
So how many Houses can you fit within the heat zone of the Generator before you need to start building Steam Hubs?
- Rank 1 – 10
- Rank 2 – 17
- Rank 3 – 22
- Rank 4 – 29
- Total – 78
By contrast, if you always build by overlapping the outside of the heat zone, you can fit:
- Rank 1.5 – 12 (assuming that you haven’t demolished this rank for larger buildings)
- Rank 2.5 – 20
- Rank 3.5 – 26
- Rank 4.5 – 32
- Total – 90
In fact, if you demolish rank 1.5 mid-game as suggested, you are left with room for the same 78 Houses, but with the innermost ring open for your Infirmaries and so forth – totally free.