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The Buildings of Zero-K are the backbone of your strategy. Build Metal Extractors and Energy producers to propel your economy, build Factories and Caretakers to produce an army, build defensive and intel structures to protect yourself from your opponents' armies, and build superweapons to end the game in spectacular fashion.

Properties shared by most or all buildings in Zero-K include:

  • They cost the same amount of Metal and Energy.
  • Once a nanoframe is placed, the ground beneath the building cannot be terraformed until the building is destroyed.

Building placement and construction[edit]

After selecting a building from the build menu, instead of simply left-clicking to place it, some modifiers can be used during building placement for additional control.

Command queuing[edit]

The normal command queuing options apply:

  • Hold Shift to append orders to the end of the queue.
  • Hold Space to insert orders at the front of the queue. This will come before the current task if there is one.
  • Hold Shift + Space to insert orders between existing orders. The order will try to be inserted between two nearby orders such that the constructor will minimize the added movement distance.

Build Facing[edit]

When placing factories or other structures, their orientation can be selected by clicking and dragging, rotated in 90 degree steps using [ and ], or rotated clockwise in 90 degree steps by pressing the R key.


Further information: Level Commands

Terraforming can be queued before construction to put a structure on a spire or in a hole. There are various ways to issue this command depending on your advanced settings in InterfaceBuilding Placement.

Height selection mode can be entered as follows:

  • By holding Alt and using the mouse wheel during structure placement.
  • By pressing B during structure placement. Press C or V to adjust the height.
  • If you have enabled Terraform by holding mouse click in your settings, by holding down the left mouse button during placement (keeping the cursor stationary). Once the terraform mode has been entered, the mouse can be moved up and down to adjust the elevation. Another left click finalizes the command.

After choosing the terraform height, click to place the structure as usual to issue the terraform and construction command. Structure terraform does not support multiple structure placement, but it does support queuing and insertion with Space and Shift.

An existing building can be surrounded by a terraformed wall by selecting the terraform command from the Special tab (hotkeys V, then X), then holding down Ctrl and clicking on the building. Release Ctrl and move the mouse upwards to set the height of the wall.

Line and Rectangular Grid[edit]

  • Hold Shift while dragging the mouse to place a line of structures.
  • Hold Shift + Ctrl to drag a line of structures in the 4 cardinal directions. If holding the mouse over a building, it will surround that building with the selected structure.
  • Hold Shift + Alt to drag a rectangular grid of structures.
  • Hold Shift + Ctrl + Alt to drag a hollow box of structures.

The spacing between the individual buildings can be adjusted by pressing X or Z.

Surrounding an existing building[edit]

By holding Ctrl + Shift during placement, an existing building can be surrounded with the selected building. For example, a fragile and expensive Fusion Reactor can be surrounded by sturdy and cheap Solar Collectors by first building the Fusion Reactor, then selecting the Solar Collector from the build menu, holding down Ctrl + Shift and clicking on the Fusion Reactor.

Placing Nanoframes[edit]

Holding Q while placing structures will place only the framework (nanoframe), which will let the structure be completed later. This is often used when there are Caretakers nearby that can finish the construction on their own.

Metal Extractors[edit]

There is a specialized Area Mex Command to place Metal Extractors in an area and optionally surround them with power generators at the same time.