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Steel pillars are a direct upgrade to concrete pillars. They can only be damaged by explosives, and they take considerably less damage from the explosives than concrete pillars do.
The Steel Pillar can be placed on even or slightly uneven ground, or on the top or bottom of foundations, ceilings, or other pillars. Once the first Pillar is placed, subsequent pillars can snap into place on the top or bottom of the first one, provided there is adequate room to do so.
A pillar or series of pillars with the bottom touching the ground and a ceiling on top will function as a foundation, providing support and allowing structures to be built on top of it.
Pillars provides sufficient support to allow a structure built on top of it to extend up to 2 ceilings in any direction on the x and y-axis, and up to 1 ceiling diagonally, not counting the center ceiling. However, the ceilings on the far end will not support walls.
A diagram showing how a single pillar or foundation (✖) can support 13 ceilings (indicated in green). The edges marked in red will not be able to support a wall without additional support beneath.