There are several aspects of Fortnite that help separate it from the wave of battle royale games that are hitting mobile right now, but the one that stands above all the others is its building mechanic. As the game itself tell you in one of its loading screens, don’t have cover? Build it yourself.

If you watch top level Fortnite players like Ninja, one of the things that will immediate strike you is how they’ve mastered both the traditional third person shooter parts of the gameplay but are genius builders at the same time. Done properly, building can give you a tremendous advantage over other players who don’t quite grasp it, but you’ve got to get the basics down first. To that end, we’ve come up with some Fortnite mobile building tips and cheats to help you on your way to being a gun-toting Bob Vila.

Before you start building: An intro to materials

When you first drop onto the Fortnite map, you can’t build anything right away because you have nothing to use to build. You can rectify that pretty quickly, though, since you have a pickaxe, and that’s all you need to start gathering the game’s three materials: wood, stone and metal.

Fortnite

With very few exceptions, almost any object you encounter in Fortnite can be broken down into materials with each swing of your pickaxe. Simply target an item, equip the pickaxe and tap on the screen and you’re off and swinging. Objects will eventually be completely destroyed, but you’ll keep gathering materials until they are.

Common sense will let you know what materials to expect from any given object. Breaking down a tree will yield wood, while a car will give you metal. Any time you have a moment you feel somewhat safe, particularly in the early stages of a game when much of the map is still untouched by the storm, you should gather materials when you have a second.

What can you build?

Fortnite

Unlike the more robust building system in Fornite’s Save the World mode on consoles, the mobile Battle Royale game narrows things down to three basic kinds of structures:

  • Floor
  • Wall
  • Roof
  • Steps or ramps

All four structures are pretty self explanatory, and they follow more or less legit laws of physics. For instance, your roof will just sit on the ground unless you have one wall to support it, ramps can be shot out from underneath, etc.

Any structure can be built from wood, stone or metal, with the trade-off being that tougher materials take longer to build but have more HP. As for how you do that …

How to build structures in Fortnite mobile

Even though your in-game Fortnite character busts out a schematic while building, you don’t need any architectural prowess of your own to do it. Simply tap on the icon that looks like a crossed hammer and wrench next to your hotbar to get started.

You’ll default to the wall structure and your screen will look something like this:

Fortnite

The transparent structure shows where you will build it, and you can hold and drag to position it wherever you want. Pick a material by tapping on the the wood, stone or metal icons above your hotbar. To start building, simply tap the icon with an arrow pointing down on a stack of squares, and you’ll see your structure start to come together.

Fortnite

To switch back to weapons, just tap the crossed pistol and knife icon at the bottom of the screen. Also, keep in mind that you can switch back to weapons and even move around while your structure is still building.

That’s all you need to get started building structures that will hopefully bail you out of tight spots on your way to many a Victory Royale.