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So I'm really new to this game, so please bear with me. I got this message: Digging designation canceled so I went on the wiki and discovered this information: The safest thing to do is back off several tiles, mine up a z-level then approach the location again.

And that's what I wanted to do but how can I mine-up a z-level without doing it from outside? Because I tried to build and upward stair with no luck so far. What am I doing wrong? On the wiki it's said: Up stairs need to be built below down stairs. Up/down stairs function as both up and down stairs at once.

So I know they have to be build below down stairs but can I build the up stairs first and then the down stairs.

If not how can I travel between Z-Level and the level above without going outside and mine a new entrance?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

to be functional, a stairway needs stairs in both levels (above and below), here's an example:

level 0:     level -1:          legend:
.....        .....              . floor
..>..        ..<..              > down stairway
.....        .....              < up stairway

You can create stairways with two methods: either through mining (d) or through the construction menu (b C). Use the mining menu when there is rock or soil at the location of the future stairway. Use the construction menu when there is nothing at the target location.

If you have already mined out a level and you need to access the floor above, you'll need to create an up stairway (b C u). If there is a natural floor above you will need to mine it out (d j) to have both parts of the stairway.

If there is no floor above (the tile has been channeled or maybe you're building a tower), construct a down stairway (b C d) on the level above your up stairway.

See the example of the construction of a tower on magmawiki for further reading.

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I'm sorry. Maybe my question was not really clear. Generally speaking I know how to build a stairway, the problem is that when I try to build an up stairway to the z-1 level, the designation is just not possible. As soon as I have time I'll put a picture. –  dierre Sep 1 '10 at 12:51
    
@dierre: I think you're receiving the message designation cancelled because you are using the mining menu [d]. If there is no wall on the z-1 level, you can't carve an up stair out of air: you have to use the building menu. Are you able to place the up stairway on the z-1 level via [b] [C] [u]? –  BackStaB Sep 1 '10 at 13:08
    
I was just going to edit my comment. That's exactly the problem. I was trying to build a "mining" stairway where was alredy mined. [b] [C] [u] did the trick! Thanks. –  dierre Sep 1 '10 at 13:16
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