Thursday, February 24, 2011

Waddesdon Manor - Roof Stacking

When building in the Sims game, have you ever deleted a section of roofing and found more roofing sitting right underneath it that you didn't know was there before almost like one of those Russian nesting dolls? If you think about it, you might realize that the game allows you to place an infinite number of roofs over top of each other because they can overlap. Not that that would be practical or possible for that matter, but the ability to overlap roofing can be useful in various ways. Also have you ever noticed with certain roof shapes that the bottom edge of the roof changes elevation when you raise or lower the pitch of the roof? It's easy to miss because the movement is subtle.

By themselves these two observations don't really mean much, but taken together they create a lot of potential for interesting roof design using what I have called roof stacking. There are two general ways to go about this technique. The first is to just overlap sections of roofing that differ only in pitch. Looking at the first image below you can see what I mean. Here I took two roof sections, one with a shallow pitch (first small house) and one with a steep pitch (second small house), and overlapped them on the third small house found on the far right. This creates what is called a bell-cast shape to the roof by adding a small flare on the bottom edge. The exact steps I took were to place one roof piece, lower the pitch with the roof section pitch control, and then place the second, which was at default pitch.

With the next image, you can see how I've used this idea on a custom bay window (I forgot the windows so you'll just have to use your imagination). I've seen this type of roof design on bay windows found on many traditional styled homes. It's a nice way to make a bay window more interesting and more closely resemble those found in real life. You might have noticed that this technique does create a thicker horizontal band on the bottom edge of the roof, which is called the fascia. You can see it's doubled in size in the below image so if ever a build calls for thick fascia then there you go. Haven't you ever just thought that a sim house would look better with a thicker fascia?...what, you're not that strange...well I have.

Here's how I used this technique on my Waddesdon Manor with the chateau roofing. The difference in pitch is a bit more pronounced than in my above examples because I have the shallower pitched section one tile further out than the steeper, but it's the same idea. The example below the manor image also has the steeper roof section moved one tile inward compared to the shallower, this time done with the octagonal roof shape. I once saw a creative builder use this idea to make a witch hat house for a Halloween themed build so there are a multitude of cool things you can do with this technique.

My next example illustrates the second general way to go about roof stacking, which is to overlap roof sections with different shapes. Here I combined the straight octagonal with the pagoda octagonal roof to create a unique design. It has the flare at the bottom as well as slightly steeper point at the top. I think it looks more interesting this way than the straightforward octagonal roof.

This last example doesn't exactly follow the technique I described, but I didn't feel like devoting an entire blog post to it so I included it here. It is, however, an example of overlapping roof sections so it's appearance here is not due entirely to laziness. As you can see below, I've created an elongated domed roof by simply placing a long line of domes bunched tightly together. Right below that image, you can see how I incorporated this design into my Waddesdon Manor. The real design uses a convex mansard design, but that is, as far as I can tell, impossible to do, so this is close enough.

These are just a few examples, and there are countless variations that can be done using combos of different shapes and pitches. So get in game and experiment! 


  1. excellent tutorial indeed. i hope you don't mind if i borrow from some of your ideas. imitation is the finest form of flattery after all!

  2. Thanks Mikaela and Gordon. And there's no prob using this idea. That's what this blog is for.