City of Heroes: Base Building Tips and Tricks Tutorial

Hmm...I wonder - (my toon in-game)

Note: I understand that not everyone who reads this blog will require it, especially if they aren’t a fan of CoH (City of Heroes) or have ever played it. But for those players who DO play CoH, this goes out to you!

Have you ever wondered, “Man! How did they do that?!” when going into someone else’s Super-group base and you see how they have objects “stacked” or layered to create some pretty interesting, awesome, badass, and unique looks? Can’t seem to find a video on Youtube that will actually teach you some of the tips and tricks of the trade? Well WONDER and LOOK no MORE!

I was one of the few to wonder this myself, one of my Supergroup members (Rothgar – special love goes out to you man for making this possible) and another friend from my global list showed me some of their techniques in order to accomplish some of the AWESOME looks you might see in other Super-group bases, but have absolutely NO idea how they did it. I’m going to share these tips and tricks with you so you can have what you always wanted – an SUPER-SWEET-AWESOME base.

Step 1 – Tools of the Trade:

When it comes to making an AWESOME Super-group you need to get acquainted with your tools. These tools seem unconventional but they WORK and that’s what counts in base building.

  • Floor Safe (Found under Room Details)
  • Floor Tile (Found under Room Details)
  • Super-group Floorplate (Doesn’t matter which one, pick one that’s easy for you to see. This is found in Room Details)
  • Cubicle (Found under Other Furniture)

Now that you know what your tools are we can talk about how to use them. YAY!

Step 2 – Putting your Tools to work for you:

This is your safe. Yay Floor Safe!

You’ll be utilizing your Floor Safe quite a bit for all your base building needs.

Floor Safe & Floor Tile in "Stacking".

So here’s your first “baby-step” to base building that will be part of the foundation to how you are able to stack. As you can see the Floor Tile is actually in the middle of the Floor Safe. This is to show you that the two can be stacked upon one another. You can move the Floor Tile as needed where you desire it to be, up to the top of the safe or where I have it. If you need to stack something up a little higher all you need to do is adjust the Floor Tile where you want it and move the Floor Safe on top of the Floor Tile and YES it does work! The Floor Tile of course acts like a regular floor for the Floor Safe to sit on.

Houston - The Safe is on the Floor Tile, repeat, we have lift-off!

As you can see here is another visual example of how you can actually move the Floor Safe on top of the Floor Tile. Getting the picture of how this is handy for “stacking” objects? Most of the objects you can use t0 decorate your Super-group base can be “layered” over in some cases if you do your stacking right. This in turn can make for some seriously unique and interesting looks. The only limitation to your creativity is your imagination – and of course what CoH can provide you with.

Floor Safe (You can't see), Floor Tile, and Cubicle stacking

So what if you need to “Mount” something to a wall of some kind? Say like a Banner, Torch, lamp, window, vent, art or something else entirely? When you are stacking your Floor Safe and Floor Tile, get it to the height you want and against whatever object you want the object to look like it is “mounted” on and then place a “Cubicle” on top of the Floor Tile. Place the Cubicle on one of the far edges of the Floor Tile, where you no longer see the Floor Tile, then you are ready to mount a Banner! For anything else you shouldn’t have to place the Cubicle near the edge of the Floor Tile.

Floor Safe, Floor Tile, Cubicle and mounting

And here is an example of what a banner looks like mounted against the Cubicle. The torch I just threw next to it to help illuminate the banner. One of the few drawbacks to Base Building. Not all the objects you may place in certain areas will get the illumination they deserve to show off how AWESOME the look is. You may need to use lamps or torches to help shed some “light” on the situation (yes I went there).

Floor Safe + SG Floorplate = Stacking simplified!

So what if you don’t want to use the Floor Tile for your stacking? What if you want to use something smaller for much more confined spaces or finer detailed work that doesn’t require that big old bulky Floor Tile? You can just as easily use one of your SGs (Super-Groups) Floorplates. The “Stacking Method” works just about the same with the SG Floorplate, but positioning the SG Floorplate is key just as much as placing the Floor Safe.

Once you begin to master some of these tools and techniques you can eventually move on to create things such as these:

The Beginnings of SG member Dorm Rooms


Semi-Mess Hall with Bar and upstairs lounge

Step 3 – The Slide Method:

So recently you visited a buddies SG Base and they have a Super-AWESOME garden or created an outdoor like environment, “OH! Mighty Gwendolynn! Please tell me how I can create a B*tchen Garden and outdoor environment in my SG’s base”. Aww, when you put it that way, sure! It’s actually easier than it looks, but for those who DON’T know it can be a right pain in the neck to figure it out on your own without spending HOURS upon HOURS of fiddling around with the planters and floor.

First you need to pick the planter you want, I believe these are in the Room Details section. Once you have one picked out you place it in the room like so (for those users much more advanced you can just slide it where you want from the Room Detail section after you select it) and select to “raise” the floor by one segment, like in the above screenshot.

Select the Planter and carefully and slowly slide it into the segment you added to “raise” the floor. This may take a few tries. If you can’t get the Planter where you want it because it keeps bouncing to the top of the platform, try a different camera angle or selecting the Planter from a different spot(Which may bounce it to where you want it or not. I’ve used it to bounce Planters against the far parts of the wall where I can’t perfectly slide Planters into, but again it may take a few tries to accomplish so don’t get frustrated).

A "landslide" victory!

And voila! You’ve accomplished sliding a Planter into your floor to create a much more outdoor “natural” look. You can change the regular floor tile to whatever you feel best represents gravel or dirt and adjust the color as needed. There actually is a floor tile choice that I believe is something like “Miyuki Gravel” or something and that’s typically the one I use and adjust to a “green” color.


And this could be just ONE result of the “fruits” of your labor. You should have seen the garden BEFORE I decided to alter it. The original was fine and well, but since I knew this technique I decided I would see if I could improve upon the old, which I did thus.

Step 4 – Extra Tips, Tricks, and Goodies:

So I’m betting there may still be a few out there that have questions on how you can create certain “Looks” or achieve certain effects, whether it is “How do I create a proper Water effect” to “How do I create a hallway or doorway where I want it?

Water effects and doorways hmm...

Let’s address the first question about “Water Effects“. When trying to create a place or area that looks like there is “Water” on the ground somewhere, you need to make sure that the room is firstly one that can be fortified with special defense items. Don’t get ahead of me here, stay with me on this. Once you pick one of those types of rooms you will need to create, I believe it is, the “Slow” trap. It’s either this or another item, but basically what it does is it creates an interesting visual illusion that makes the ground look like there’s water on it. If for instance you happen to raise the ground around a certain spot within your SG Base to create like a “Pond” you can use the “Stack Method” and place this item on top of the Floor Safe (either by itself or with a SG Floorplate, I haven’t gotten a chance to really play with this but know someone who has). That way it actually looks like there is “depth” to your pond and not a “puddle“.

As for creating a Hallway or a Doorway where you want it? Just make sure the floor is NOT raised and that the walls are clear where you wish to place said doorway, otherwise you won’t see that spot you want available when you try to put it in. Pretty easy right?

Dawnfire Vanguard Command Center

Just for the sake of emphasis, if you can’t get something to stack properly the first time remember to try different camera angles. I find this helps if I’m having issues with trying to stack an item and you can do it sometimes while moving your safe, albeit there may be a little frustration to go with. Don’t sweat it! Keep cool and have fun! Eventually you’ll create a pretty cool and SUPER awesome SG Base!

Edit 10/21/11: Something I came to realize that you might have already – is somethings don’t like to “stack” nice. By that I mean they don’t look so good when you look up. That’s okay. Try playing around with the “Cabinets” section to help fix that problem to create the look you desire most.

Edit 12/28/2011:

Don’t forget the following:

Hold Shift to move along the Z axis only.
Hold Control to move along the X/Y axes only.
Hold Alt (Option on Mac) to rotate; this can make for some cool placements. (Ever see twelve of those matter analyzer tech details arranged in a circle?)

Contributed by Vince Ste Marie

Hi, Gwen!

These days, we no longer need the floor safe. Clicking an item and holding down the Shift key will allow you to “drag” the item “up” to whatever level you like!
Contributed by Dinah Geof-Craigs

It takes a little imagination, ingenuity, creativity, thinking “outside the box“, and imagination to get the job done when creating SG Bases don’t forget that! I’m glad you found my tutorial and I hope that it will serve you well in your “Base Building” endeavors. Good luck Heroes and Villains alike!

If any of you have maybe some screenshots you want to show off of your bases – please feel free to link or let me know in a comment and we’ll see what we can do about getting me to upload maybe them instead.

~Love, light, blessings, good fortune and more be yours, Namaste~

C.M.A.City of Heroes, City of Heroes: Going Rogue, City of Heroes: Freedom and anything related to City of Heroes including in-game toon screenshots and such belong to Paragon Studios, NCsoft, and their other respective owners. I am simply a player who plays the game that wished to share my enthusiasm with you in learning how to “base build”.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vince Ste Marie
    Dec 27, 2011 @ 19:11:40

    Don’t forget the following:

    Hold Shift to move along the Z axis only.
    Hold Control to move along the X/Y axes only.
    Hold Alt (Option on Mac) to rotate; this can make for some cool placements. (Ever see twelve of those matter analyzer tech details arranged in a circle?)

  2. Dinah Geof-Craigs
    Dec 27, 2011 @ 21:42:30

    Hi, Gwen!

    These days, we no longer need the floor safe. Clicking an item and holding down the Shift key will allow you to “drag” the item “up” to whatever level you like!

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