Not even Infinity Gate has a high enough item limit to open up all these rooms.
Not even Infinity Gate has a high enough item limit to open up all these rooms.

Hello again, Dimensionerds!  Yep, you guessed it, this is a post about windows.  Cozy Cottages 2 got me looking at some houses–mine, and those of others, usually to revisit some old favorites–and some further digging here revealed it’s been nearly two years since windows were last discussed.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned a lot in the last two years, about window-making, and building in general.

In the example shown above, many of the windows–including the entire second story–are all dummy windows, there’s nothing behind them.  You might say that’s an awful lot of items to use for, well, window-dressing, and I would agree.  However, to make this castle full sized and open, every room might have been empty.  And, in my opinion, the custom windows look much better than generic premades in every slot, so it’s a sacrifice of items I’m willing to make. Besides–the premades are there, giving the illusion of occupied space.

Customized windows don’t have to use 60-ish items apiece, when item limits really matter, I don’t have a problem with ripping out the custom windows and putting in premade–and then dressing them up with bolts of cloth.  If you like curtains in more colors than blue, bolts of cloth, rugs and pillows are your friend–with the bolts, it just takes a bit of finagling to get the bolt end hidden.

But how do you make the space for those custom windows?  Morphing windows is well and good, but doesn’t do any good if you don’t how to create the space for them in the first place.

Welcome to building by the plank.

I’ve spoken with some people that build using real life blueprints, and that’s great if that’s what works for them.  As you can see from the pictures above, I make a general layout.  The roof and wall materials will all change as the log cabin gets fleshed out, the early WIP shown is the early layout.  But the front and rear walls of the central great room will be floor to ceiling windows, and will finish up–hopefully–like the example on the far right.  The primary difference is that finished dimension is located in Kestrel’s Cry Ravine (tier 5 limit, 1200), and the WIP pics are in Everywhere (tier 5 limit, 2520), so I can afford to do an exterior and a great deal more.

Speaking of interior builds, windows are a great way to make that enclosed space feel larger, and help with item management, because you can directly control what visitors see, so a transformation doesn’t have to be as thorough as if it were open air.

Back to building by the plank:  If, during the course of your build, you realize you have too many window spaces for the item limit, it’s a simple matter to replace those planks with rectangles to save on items, or fill in the hole with more planks.  If the item limit allows it later, you can always unplug those holes and make a window instead.

Every person is different in the ways they custom make their windows, with some people always using atypical materials like fence railings or bookcases.  I’m much more simplistic, most of my windows are made with standard building blocks, generally with Iron Fence Posts to make the panes.  My absolute favorite material to make a window from is the humble wood plank, because they’re so cheap.  Other favorites include stone and wood corner posts, because they generally have a more item-limit-friendly shape (square and long, versus a single sided plank or a small cube).  I actually prefer the stone posts over the wood, because the wood have a fairly significant curve in the middle.

Keep in mind that most of the dimensions shown here have item limits of 2,000 or above.  But what about the smaller dimensions?  Not everyone wants to work in Vengeful Sky, or Black Garden, or Infinity Gate.  Or, how much size did the house sacrifice to make custom windows? Well, I can’t deny that making your own windows will definitely cut into your item limit, but it doesn’t have to be by an astronomical number:

Bring on what I like to call Invisible Plate Glass!

Invisible plate glass can only take four items, to make the actual frame.  If there are enough items left over, you can fill in the window spaces with Invisible Tiles, so visitors don’t feel compelled to try to jump in and out of the windows (if I see a space, I usually jump through it, for example).

Windows, like everything else, are a personal preference.  My way, as always, isn’t the only way to do things.  Windows can be as plain or elaborate as your wishes and theme dictate.  I don’t often get as elaborate with windows as I did in the dimension at the very top, but here’s how those were made:

An elaborate arched window, using two frames. Infinity Gate.
An elaborate arched window, using two frames. Infinity Gate.
  1.  Make a cut out, whether you use four planks, or two planks and two tiles, whatever.  A square hole.  In this particular example, the cubes that make the actual window are thinner than the plank walls, so I had to make two frames.  The Cubes are at .35 scale, the planks that make up the sides of the window body are at default size, and the lower frame planks are at a scale of .8849.  All the planks are squared to be visible inside, outside, and from the sides, like an actual window would be, so this is a very item intensive window.

2.  Line the first frame (the plank cutout) with the material of your choice.  In this instance, it’s        Stone Corner Posts.

3.   The interior frame (granite triangles and planks is centered inside the corner post gap.              The granite planks here are at 3.5 scale, the triangles (essential when dealing with arches          and circular contours) are at default scale.  The window is then centered in the midst of              the two frames.

4.  Add the Iron Fence Posts (at minimum scale), as panes and accent, make adjustments as           needed for aesthetics and to eliminate flicker.

5.  Save the entire thing as a set, because you only want to make this one time!  After that, you      can load at original location then move into another cleared opening.  Any time you change      direction (i.e, at an angle, say for a side wall) or move upstairs, I would suggest saving a              second set.

One thing you’ll notice when building by the plank to allow for cutouts of doors and windows is that you’ll have a lot of blocks sized differently, so there will be quite a few mismatches.  The best, and really the only, way to fix this is to stack blocks so that everything is equal, and it may require a lot of manual adjusting to try to minimize mismatches and flickering (something I’m obviously not very good at, from these close-up screenshots).

For example, a rectangle or tile at maximum scale is thicker than a plank for a cutout, so two planks must go one in front of the other and adjusted to be equal thickness of the rectangle or tile.  Sometimes, the mismatches are intended, and that’s good, but usually, walls are built flush.

Every dimension is a learning experience, and sometimes, experiments end up being better than your original plan:

As you can see, it’s not just houses that take windows–many other structural types do as well. When you find a style and shape that work best for you, I highly advocate saving your template as a set, either with DT or Toolbox, so you can re-use it later, or modify it as needed.

One thing I do like to try to add to my own builds is an element of realism.  Granted, I can do high fantasy (I love high fantasy), but–particularly when it comes to houses–that bit of realism counts, and it doesn’t take any more items than any other kind of window.

This window is 31 items, counting the other frame and iron fence post decoration.
This window is 31 items, counting the outer frame (shown above) and iron fence post decoration.  Moonshade Pools.

To make the above window (or one like it), it’s actually not too item unfriendly.  Here’s how:

  1. Make the plank cutout.  Since this is on the second floor (see the screenshot above), I had to fill in a gap of wall space with two rectangles to flush out the walls inside while leaving the space open on the first floor for the doubled set.
  2. All planks on the outer frame are the same scale of .9872, with the bottom plank being used to size all the rest.  The side pieces are two planks, so there is a uniform thickness all the way around.  I left a small lip on all sides (as many real windows in older houses have).
  3. I lined the inner portion of the window with more planks.  The top and bottom are scaled at .9872, the sides are 1.5329, for these large windows. (I sized everything manually, thus the odd numbers).  The windows themselves overlap the walls, so there are no gaps, and triangles are not needed, since the window’s squared.
  4. Add Iron Fence Posts (or whatever you choose for panes and/or decoration, then save it all as a set.
  5. The clearance between the frame planks on the front and back and the wall is small enough that nothing is needed on the outer portion of the frame, saving those items.  I later went outside and used four stone corner posts to help the window stand out against the outer wall.
Rooms with a view, indeed. Black Garden.
Rooms with a view, indeed. Black Garden.

Bay windows, round windows (fully circular), and windows made from atypical materials are special beasts, but the theory is always the same, regardless of size, type and material.   At any rate, I hope there was something valuable here, particularly for the newer builder, and just remember that experimentation is always key.

Happy Building!

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