|This article is about an older version of DF.|
A ramp is a map feature that allows dwarves, wagons, and other creatures to move between levels. When viewed withthey are called slopes, and they occur naturally on most maps acting as hillsides. Dwarves may make them by digging ( + ) or constructing ( + + ).
Ramps are the only way that wagons can move between levels in order to access a trade depot. Unless you build your depot above ground or set into a cliff, you will probably have to create ramps to allow access to it.
Ramps are shown with the ▲ symbol (pointing "up"). The space above a ramp is shown as a ▼ and called a "downward slope", but is not something that is dug out or constructed, and functions otherwise as open space -- the ▼ symbol is more of a display nicety than a type of terrain. When the rest of this article refers to ramps, the upward (▲) space is meant.
Note that ramps function similarly to floors in that units can walk on them without any problems, even if they are over open space. They will also support adjacent buildings.
Natural or carved ramps that are adjacent to walls will collapse (disappear) if those walls are mined out. This can strand dwarves, so be careful when removing walls near those ramps.
In addition, trying to carve a ramp under something that cannot be dug out (such as a construction, building, or tree) will result in the space being merely mined, leaving the upper floor intact. This may create a cave in situation dangerous to your miners.
Constructed ramps will not collapse, and it is possible to create carved free-standing ramps as well, but the ramps will still not be usable without adjacent walls.
Unlike stairs, ramps do not feed every lower and upper tile they are adjacent to, which can cause pathing problems if used incorrectly. A ramp only connects the ramp bottom to the tops of walls adjacent to the ramp.
For a creature to use a ramp, all of the following are necessary:
- The space directly above the ramp must be open.
- The ramp must have a wall next to it.
- The space above one of the adjacent walls must be open.
If these conditions are met, creatures will be able to move back and forth between the ramp space and the walkable space above the adjacent wall.
Example A shows a situation where a ramp might be created that is actually unusable. Dwarves cannot ascend or descend (or cross) the ramp as shown because the walkable spaces above the ramp do not connect to the "top" of the ramp, the entrance/exit to the upper part. The ramp could be made usable by constructing walls underneath the floor spaces on either side of the ramp, which changes the direction that the ramp flows.
There are two ways for your dwarves to create ramps. The first is to carve a ramp into the earth itself (see digging). Dwarves can dig out ramps from adjacent spaces on the same z-level or the ones above; digging a ramp will also dig out the space above as if it were channeled.
Remember that the physical ramp is always "up", so to dig out a ramp which goes downward from a flat surface (for example, a ground level slope down into earth), you need to shift one level down and designate the ramp from that level. This is the opposite of channeling.
Note that dwarves will happily dig out or construct ramps that are not immediately usable. Check the criteria above if dwarves do not seem to be using the ramps they have made.
Natural and carved ramps can be mined out via the designation menu using the Remove Up Stairs/Ramps selection (-> , using the ingame interface). Like the selection says, only upwards slopes (and carved stairs) can be removed in such a manner, and only from the same level as the (upward) ramp. Selecting a downwards ramp in such a manner has no effect, and removing the upward ramp will automatically remove the downward ramp designation from the level above, replacing it with "open space". Ramps at the edge of the map cannot be removed this way.
Constructed ramps can be removed like any other construction via the designation menu with the Remove Construction selection (-> , using the ingame interface).
Ramps Versus Stairways
As explained above, ramps have important limitations, but if constructed correctly they can allow slightly faster movement than stairways. For example, if a dwarf wants to go down and to the north using a stairway, it will have to take two steps: one step down a stairway and one step to the north. Going to the same place using a ramp only requires 1 step.
Ramps Versus Channeling
Ramps are better suited to carving rooms spanning multiple z-levels than channels. They are safer, because your miners will not channel the stone from underneath each other and will not get stranded on a single rocky outcrop because they could not channel out the tile they're standing on.
For example, to build a dining room three z-levels high, create access to the middle floor (such as digging a single ramp up from the bottom floor, or mining out a square of the top floor). Designate the second floor as ramps to dig it and the top floor out entirely, then dig out the bottom level as ramps. Remove the ramps on the bottom floor, and voila, you have a large dining room your dwarves won't appreciate*.
- (* Because room designations never span z-levels, and just cover the one level from the item that designates them.)
Digging an execution pit is even simpler. Start carving ramps from the very top, and you'll need to remove them only on the bottommost floor.
It's also possible to use ramps to dig moats on the surface without sending your dwarves outside, by mining out a hallway around the outside of the moats and using ramps. Invaders will not be able to path into your fortress, and dwarves will not be able to path beyond the moat, so the miners should be completely safe from ambushes (though not missile fire, of course). This is a useful method for building the base of a sniper tower far from the entrance to your fortress, for example.
It is possible to create ramps that allow travel up but not down; see One way ramps.
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