Here I will show you how to make the best and most advanced base/world, for experienced players only. Take a look at my other guide, Renewable Farming for ways to make efficient farms in detail for things this guide doesn't cover.
Location, Location, Location.
Before you improve your base, you need to have one. But where should you build it? You COULD just build anywhere, but the best bases are located in specific locations. The best place to build your base would be somewhere that has resources that cannot be moved to your base, like rabbit holes or Boons. However people who want to just survive easily may just build where there is, for example, a beefalo herd or a lot of berry bushes. Now I will list some places you should build your base and the benefits of doing so. Keep in mind that some of the places could be spawn near each other in world generation, which are the best spots for main bases.
It can be beneficial to build a base near large groups of rabbit holes, which are normally found in the Savanna Biome. During the day, these holes will spawn Rabbits, which have a variety of uses. They can be caught with Traps and harvested for Morsels, or kept alive and used to craft a Prestihatitator or Rabbit Earmuffs. It is also a good idea to have chests designated for rabbits and or birds as they can be stored alive indefinitely (Note that this is not possible in DLC-enabled worlds). Additionally, if the player's sanity is low enough, rabbits will turn into Beardlings, which are a source for Beard Hair. Since rabbits will spawn in any season except Spring, having rabbit holes close-by can also be advantageous during Winter, when other sources of food may be scarce. It is possible to place traps on the rabbit hole to avoid using resources to bait the trap.
You may find tallbird nests in rocky biomes. It is best to be near, but not too close because the tallbirds can be a trouble if you build your base right on top of one. The tallbirds can be killed to receive meat and will respawn eventually. The eggs can be harvested to provide a good boost to hunger or be hatched to provide a smallbird follower. But players will need to be wary since as the smallbird gets older, it will act aggressive and can possibly kill the player if not prepared.
Pig Villages are home to Pigs, sentient creatures that can be allied with Meat and can be used to help in combat or chores. Most Pig Villages also have lots of Berry Bushes, Grasses/Twigs, Flowers, Carrots, sometimes a Touch Stone, or rarely a Pig King, who is a valuable source of Gold Nuggets due to trading. Giving him Gravedigger items or Meat will result in being rewarded with lots of Gold Nuggets which comes in useful for crafting several Science items.
Be aware, however, that the only non-replicable benefit of a Pig Village is the Pig King, which exists up to once per world. Therefore, once players have a sufficient supply of Gold Nuggets, building a Pig Village of your own is more practical.
The Walrus Camp is a structure only active during Winter, in which it becomes the Walrus Camp, which will start spawning the Mactusk N' Son Walrus Hunting Party, a crew consisting of Mactusk, his son, and two Blue Hounds. In the Summer it is nothing more than a muddy pile. The hunting party is a hard lot to take down and they all have their own strategies (Mactusk having ranged attacks and his son using the Hounds to fight and running away when his dad dies) but killing them all provides many useful items such as the Walrus Tusk (which is used in the creation of the Walking Cane, a speed-boosting item), Meats, Blow Darts and the Tam o' Shanter, a Hat that restores a very respectable +6.7 Sanity a minute and has a mid-tier insulation factor of 120, granting an extra two minutes a player has before they must return to a fire to warm up again during the winter.
The base should be located a distance from the Walrus Camp, in order to allow the player to avoid engagements if they so choose. This is possibly a location more suited to a secondary base, with Fire Pit, a single Crock Pot, and a Chest containing some prepared supplies.
Although setting up your base directly in the Swamp is a bad idea due to the constant threat of Tentacles, having one not far from your location is a good idea. They're the best place to find Merms, which can be killed for Fish and Frog Legs for sustenance. They're the only place where Reeds spawn naturally. Spider dens are very common in this biome, and usually go into combat with Tentacles and other mobs, leaving you with plenty of Silk and Spider Glands. If you're feeling brave you can take on the Tentacles for Tentacle Spikes and Tentacle Spots, both useful items.
A Sinkhole is the only way to access Caves, and, therefore, the Ruins. Forcing yourself to undertake a lengthy trip immediately after spelunking can be problematic. Therefore, it is advised place a base nearby, although some distance will prevent the Batilisks that spawn during Dusk and Night becoming as problematic as Tallbirds or Spiders.
This is particularly true when players may lose track of time underground, and emerge to discover the onset of Winter, or an imminent Hound attack.
Now we will start building the base. Before now, you probably built and improved your own base. At the center of the base is the fire pit. Now you surround the fire pit with science/regularly used structures. A list of things that should surround the fire pit: Shadow Manipulator, Winterometer, tent, bird cage, and a lightning rod. Note that if placed too close to the fire, Winterometers will give a higher reading due to heat from the fire.You should spread lightning rods around your base to prevent fires, but having one near the center will help. Note that prototyping machines rapidly become less useful, and so some players may wish to locate these further from the Fire Pit.
Next we have the other buildings. These are the other things that you would have in your base that are not farms. Things like a few crockpots and drying racks.
Roads and Flooring
Roads are very useful in going place to place. Build them across your base and to other things, like to nearby resources, to your farms, and whatnot. You can also place items along the edges of the road, like rocks or flint, so you know were the road is at when it snows. Flooring is more of a visual thing to add to your base than anything helpful. Place checkered or carpeted flooring in your central base to make it feel more homey. This will also prevent Lureplants from spawning
Directly surrounding your base should be farms. Orderly planting your farms in rows will allow you to plant more without wasting any room, as well as lightning rods to prevent random fires.
Having rows of Advanced Farms is good to have due to the amounts of good food they provide. Have a minimum of ten, up to fifteen to twenty recommended.
Grass and Saplings provide common but essential resources. Have about 40-80 tufts of each kind. Lightning Rods are essential here, and planting in clumps in case of accident is a good way to prevent the entire thing going up in flames.
Berries are not useful for directly eating lategame, however, they are still useful for a treat for your Smallbirds, Pigs, and a few Crock Pot Recipes. When building your berry farm, be sure to place tooth traps along in it to kill any gobblers wanting your harvest. You can make a trap by placing a berry down with tooth traps around it.
For Reign of Giants, there is a real risk of your farms burning down, during the summer it is very advisable to build your farms around a fling-o-maticand keep it fueled with nitre.
On your quest for the most advanced base possible, you're going to have to build things outside of your base as well. These are things that is too large to fit in your central base, but things that will help you receive items you otherwise would have to travel for.
If you decided to build your base near a Pig King, you have a large head start on this. Pigs are useful to have because you can kill them for meat and pigskin or befriend them to help you in combat, very useful late-game when the hound attacks become troublesome. To build a pig village you have to get pigskin, wood, and rocks. The latter two are simple to get. For the pigskin, there are two ways to get some: Killing Pigmen or destroying Pig Houses with a hammer. Destroying a pig village and killing the inhaitants should provide you with much of the supplies to start your own pig village. After beginning your pig village, you can farm it for more pigskin to grow the village.
Just keep growing the village until you think you have a good number of pig houses, but always remember to sleep/hide on full moons in that the pigs will turn into werepigs.
- Note: You usually don't have to be wary of village werepigs on full moons. Pigs will, (unless you have befriended them by giving them meat, you have destroyed their house or they are in a prolonged fight) return to their home at dusk - since they start transforming at night, dusk gives them plenty of time to return before transformation.
Much like the pig village, but not as reliable. The Bunnymen are like nighttime pigmen, but have a different fighting style and attack you if you have meat on you. Creating one is good for bunnypuffs, meat, carrots (For those of you who prefer combat over farming), and beardhair. Making a bunny village is much like making a pig village, as they behave nearly the same. The major advantage of Bunnymen is their shorter respawning time (1 day).
A beefalo pen will provide you with meats, beefalo horns, beefalo fur, and fertilizer. To make a beefalo pen, you need to wall an area off, but leaving a large entrance hole. There are two ways to get beefalo. The first of which is to kill beefalo until you get a beefalo horn. When used, nearby beefalo will follow you for the rest of the day, up to five beefalo can be lead at a time. But be careful not to get too close to them while they're following because they will stop doing so if they reach the character. Lead them into your pen and wall the entrance off, leaving just enough room to let you come and go as you want. The second is to chase baby beefalo away from the herd and into your pen then seal it off. Regardless of which way you choose to get beefalo, they will grow and multiply. This is a long process as for you have to wait for breeding season, and even then it is just a chance for it to make a baby, then that baby has to grow (A very lengthy process) before it can breed.
Although spiders are seen as a threat and most of the time are removed, they do provide very helpful resources. Silk, Spider Glands, and Monster Meat can all come in handy. This, like the above, should be placed near (but not close) to your central base. First, you must find and kill a tier three spider den or kill a spider queen for spider eggs, then plant them in a cleared area. You can kill the spiders that spawn from the spider then and destroy it when it reaches tier three for a boost of silk and eggs to replace it. (If you kill a tier one or two den, it will yield no eggs) Be sure to kill the nest before it is 35 days old or it will turn into a spider queen in time. That is, unless you want to spawn a spider queen.
Planting far enough from the main base that the Spiders will not encounter you on your normal routes, or your Walls. However, planting too far from your habitually visited areas will stop it from growing, and make it a lengthy process to visit.
Even after you build a meat effigy, touch stones are an essential back up plan for when you die. Be sure to build a minibase with a firepit, food, and supplies in case you die in winter or your main base gets overrun by mobs. Connecting touch stones to your main base with roads will help you get back home in a hurry. Do not forget to anticipate Winter or Hounds being present.
If you enjoy spending a lot of time in caves, a small base at the exit in the cave (complete with walls and other essentials) will prevent mobs from getting to you as soon as you drop down from above. This can also be prevented by keeping a herd of Rock Lobsters in the area around the exit to the surface.
A major, long-term base in the caves can often be placed in a Light Flower field, or expanded from a Set Piece. Sanity management will be difficult, but Winter will be a distant memory. The Ruins will also be more accessible. Beware the Depths Worm attacks that occur periodically if you do this, and have a way to deal with them. Bunnymen can be a useful defense, and Reeds can be found in large quantities in some Cave Swamps.