Dingbat Apartments Pack 1

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Author: savetheclocktower

Last revision: 13 Sep at 16:34 UTC

File size: 28.2 MB

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Six growable "Dingbat" apartment buildings for your high-density residential areas. Aspirationally called “Pack 1” in case I am ever inspired to make more.

What’s a dingbat?

It’s a stucco box that holds lots of people[en.wikipedia.org]. Built mainly in the 1950s and 1960s, it’s a style of housing that tries to fit 4–12 apartments onto a single residential lot, and tries to fit its residents’ cars into a carport tucked under its facade.

They largely stopped being built in the mid-seventies as residential zoning regulations started prohibiting some of their key features.

Dingbats are a signature housing style in Los Angeles. Some people think they’re a charming reminder of mid-century kitsch; some people think they’re eyesores and earthquake hazards. Love ’em or hate ’em, no LA-style city is complete without them.

Why are they called dingbats?

There are two theories. Since the structures themselves are bland, dingbats try to pretty themselves up with ornamentation on their facades, often in the style of a weird shape. Hence dingbat.[en.wikipedia.org] The other theory — equally valid, in my opinion — is that they were dubbed “dingbats” because they were annoying to some people, having sprouted up so quickly and being widely regarded as less charming than the single-family houses they replaced.

What’s in this pack?

Six units, each based on a real dingbat. Some of them I found in a great photo book called Pretty Vacant: The Los Angeles Dingbat Observed[www.amazon.com]. Some of them I found on Google Street View around the Los Angeles Area.

  • Dingbat 01: A "half-dingbat" based on this one[imgur.com] (location unknown).
  • Dingbat 02: Based on several different dingbats, but can’t remember which ones.
  • Dingbat 03: Based on these[imgur.com] two[imgur.com] (locations unknown).
  • Dingbat 04: A “half-dingbat” based on 7954/7958 Oakwood Ave.[www.google.com]
  • Dingbat 05: Based on 3655 McLaughlin Ave.[www.google.com]
  • Dingbat 06: Based on 1850 Camden Ave.[www.google.com]

How to use

As usual, Loading Screen Mod is strongly recommended. All six buildings share the same textures, so use LSM and save yourself some memory that you can spend on other workshop buildings like the addict you are.

These are all classified as High Residential, Level 1 or Level 2. As a neighborhood gets richer, fancier housing will get built in its place, much like in real life. If you use Ploppable RICO Revisited or Plop the Growables, you can plop them manually and they’ll stick around. If they grow on their own and you’d like to keep them around, use Advanced Building Level Control to prevent them from being replaced with higher-level housing. Building Themes is the mod you need if you want these to grow only in certain neighborhoods.

The props and trees listed in the requirements are ultimately optional, as props and trees always are. Any props you don’t subscribe to will be missing from the buildings. For granular control of which props appear and which don’t, use BOB.


Dingbats are hard to put into Cities: Skylines. Growables can go four squares deep, which is equivalent to 32 meters. Your average Los Angeles lot is 150 feet (~45.7 m) deep. And dingbats tend to use almost the whole depth of the lot; the whole point is to maximize the livable space.

So I’m obliged to make them less deep than they ought to be, otherwise they’d be bad growables, spawning randomly and possibly clipping into other houses. If I wanted to make them ploppable, I could go deeper, but these aren’t ploppables; they’re meat-and-potatoes housing. Imagine building a New York–style city and having to plop every brownstone.

Once dingbats ran afoul of new zoning rules, their builders started to build larger apartment complexes across more than one adjacent lot. These sorts of complexes are true ploppables. One day I might be inspired to build some as RICO buildings.

Lots of dingbats display ostentatious names and numbers. A building might be so bold as to call itself “Shangri-La” as it sits amid a sea of concrete. It might display a four-digit address in an unreasonably large Helvetica. These are key markers of dingbats, but I can’t figure out how to capture them without making them monotonous. I could create a few dozen apartment name signs and randomly put one on the front when it’s plopped, but that’d be an awful lot of triangles to spend on signage. Same with numbers. I’m not trying to ruin your immersion by making a building have the same name or address number wherever it grows. So I’m punting on names and numbers for now.

Lots of dingbats have parking in the back, usually with the same sort of cut-in carports that can be seen on the front. I haven’t placed parking spaces in the back because that would imply the existence of an alley, and you may or may not be putting alleys in your cities.

Technical Info

All buildings have custom LODs. All buildings use the same 1024×2048 texture — same diffuse, normal, illumination, et cetera — and have their own 128×256 LOD textures.

Tris (main)
Tris (LOD)

Dingbat Apartment 01

Dingbat Apartment 02

Dingbat Apartment 03

Dingbat Apartment 04

Dingbat Apartment 05

Dingbat Apartment 06