Construction is in some sense the main point of a sandbox game, but it can be employed in different ways for different gameplay styles.

  • As the setting for roleplay, with houses, roads, or other terrestrial features.
  • In PvP with pre-built arenas, or actively placing blocks to obstruct and trap your opponent.
    Even turn-based puzzle or "board" games.
  • For creating 3D sculptures, or exploring creative uses of the game mechanics.

Where to build

General restrictions

  • You can place a block in any free cell
  • Placing a block makes you the holder of a cell
  • You can place and remove blocks in a cell held by you
  • No-one can place or take a block in a cell held by someone else
  • NPCs do not spawn in held cells
  • Removing all blocks from a cell frees it

Wilderness (anyone)

  • unoccupied = free
  • occupied = held

Town (citizens only)

  • Non-citizens have no build permissions.
  • Town officials can remove any block, causing it to return to its owner.

Capital City : As for Wilderness.
Player City : Any citizen may add or remove blocks from any cell.

First Project Advice

Don't expect to complete anything too ambitious straight away; experience will give you new ideas, and might even change your mind about what you want to acheive.
Practice and experimentation with smaller projects will also make you better at planning the best approach so you will be less likely to face big setbacks later.
Challenging projects can be instructive and inspiring, but the freedom to be flexible is also important at the beginning, and will lead to more enjoyable and productive gameplay.

Inventory and Tile Selection

Any inventory item can be used as a building material, with the exception of swords.

Swords are specifically blocked to prevent accidentally dropping them during combat. There is no way to override this behaviour, no matter how many swords you have. You will however therefore be forced to sell them if you use /sellallinv.

The active item is set by opening inventory (shortcut "i") and clicking on the tile you wish to use.

If you switch frequently between tiles during building, and perhaps between placing and removing as well, you might prefer to keep inventory open. But if this uses up too much space, you might consider remapping your keyboard to swap "e" and "i" for easier access during concentrated building sessions.

Tiles of the same type are rotated automatically as they are removed from inventory, remaining active until none remain. While the order of rotation usually won't matter, it can be useful to remember if carrying multiple pre-written signs, for example.

Tile placement is automatically disabled if nothing is active and will have to be re-enabled manually after setting a new active item. Switching tasks while something is still active can therefore make things a little easier.

Space Basics


Coordinate directions

World coordinate directions are displayed to the right.
  • Z is the vertical direction, perpendicular to the ground.
  • X and Y are horizontal directions, parallel to the ground.

By default, the pointer (mouse) targets objects according to their graphical area in the game window.

Handling Tiles

Pointing into Space


Object vs Cell targetting.

The game uses two methods to decide where in space the player is pointing to:
  • Object targetting uses the 2D graphical areas displayed to choose an object, or if no object is beneath the pointer, the cell at ground level.
  • Cell targetting ignores objects and uses the coordinates at ground level to choose a cell.

Tile Placement


Auto, XY-lock (shift), and Z-lock placement modes.

  • Tiles are always horizontally aligned to the grid of cells.
  • Their altitude (Z coordinate) is that of their base.

Three methods are available:

Auto places the tile immediately on top of the target object.

XY-lock confines placement to the target cell.

  • Activated by holding the shift key.
  • The active tile is initially at ground level and can only be moved vertically in steps while shift is held.
  • The active tile moves one step for every half-step of pointer movement.

Z-lock confines placement to a set altitude, restricted to multiples of 8 pixels.

  • The active tile can only be moved horizontally by whole cells.
  • The pointer remains at ground level with the active tile a fixed distance above it.

Tile Removal

Note: The term "pick" is commonly used in other contexts for selecting the active item (or color) by clicking on an example of the same type in the world (or a picture). Although not currently implemented in 8bitMMO, I avoid using "pick (-up)" in case it is applicable in future.

Only object targetting is used, and the same mode applies to both tile removal and drop collection.
Tiles return to their owner's inventory when removed from the world.
You can only remove your own tiles if you have inventory space for them, but Town Officials are not subject to this limit when removing others' tiles.

Tile Packing

Tiles can be forced to occupy the same space using any placement mode, although Z-lock is the most convenient for deliberate use. Simply set the altitude (usually 0) and place multiple blocks in the same place.

The packed tiles can be retrieved later by repeatedly removing from the pack.

This provides a very convenient way to manage excess inventory, as it is possible to load and unload a large number of tiles without moving the pointer from place to place. Especially useful if lag prevents you from knowing immediately whether the last action worked.

Other uses include disguising traps or telepads, although display priority limits which combinations are effective.


Packing can easily occur accidentally and unnoticed, effectively losing tiles or at least offending some artistic ideal. It can also produce the following...

Packed tiles sometimes produce outlining on surfaces that should connect seamlessly. The exact conditions for this to occur are not yet known, but the only permanent solution is to remove the pack and rebuild without packing.

Advanced Topics (links)

Visual Space details how things actually appear in-game.
It includes a section on Seeing in 3Dwith tips on interpreting ambiguous arrangements.
High Altitude offers advice concerning the value and methodolgy of heading skyward.
Shadow Painting provides guidance for planning and building to create deliberate shadow shapes.

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