Friday, July 22, 2016

The Armory- NixNivis TSM Longswords Completer Set

Happy weekend, all! I'm not good with long, drawn-out Kevin Costner speeches, so here it is:

For my dear friend and mentor, NixNivis.

About 2 1/2 years ago, Nix made Swords for Morgaine, a brilliant set of TSM swords converted into Body Shop accessories. I cannot praise or recommend this set enough as a storyteller's resource. The one drawback of carrying a drawn sword around in your hand all day is that eventually the city guard will start asking questions. So it's best to have a place to put the sword, so as not to injure yourself or others. So I thought it would probably be a good idea for those swords to have scabbards.

I present a completer set for Nix's original project: nine swords in eight distinct scabbards, for both genders and for teen-elder, and for both right-handers and southpaws. This is part of a much larger project I'm undertaking that will eventually include a few daggers, about 15 shields, about 10 greatswords, and a LOT of poses.

I tried to rely on the original accessories as much as possible. The accessories appear in the same order (That is, the scabbard on the right hip, sheathed, comes first because in the original set the sword for the left hand comes first), the clothing categories remain the same, and the accessories are binned so that they can be used with the original swords. Each sword has a unique scabbard, with the exception on the evil and skull longswords, which share a scabbard. Each sword comes with an "unsheathed" recolor so that it can be used with the drawn sword. I made custom CAS thumbnails and descriptive tooltips so that you can easily find the sword you're looking for. The swords are made for an "everysim"; that is to say that they're designed to fit most body types wearing tight-fitting clothes. They don't work particularly well with loose blouses, pirate shirts, belt accessories, or Rio-sized butts.

Here are some pics of the original swords being used with the "unsheathed" scabbards.

These are the thumbnails in CAS:

Nixnivis for converting the swords.
Walx at the Oblivion Nexus for the RealSwords Nord, RealSwords Breton, RealSwords Redguard, and RealSwords Argonian sets that I extracted the scabbards from.


Download The Armory: NixNivis TSM Longswords Completer Set

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Merrie Minstrels- a posebox with unique Body Shop accessories

Important update 4/27/2018: I fixed a couple of the thumbnail images to fix broken stuff and remove conflicts with other projects. Please redownload if you also use Combate Moderno of Midnight at the Quartermaster.  

A happy Saturday to all. I finally finished this bad boy!

So first, a bit of backstory. Over at the adult blog, I was working on a few new sets of medieval-ish poses (the Bodice-Ripper and the Bodice-Ripper 2), and one of the scenes involving a couple of merry troubadours singing for a crowd wasn't to my liking. I really, really like Atavera's custom instrument hack, and I'm grateful to the plethora of artists who contributed their own custom instruments to supplement it, but the hack itself is buggy as f*ck and for storytelling purposes it leaves something to be desired. I remembered an old project I had in my Shelved folder (which keeps getting fuller, btw) that I never got around to completing. I blew the dust off of it and began working.

The accessories in this set began their lives as static deco objects and custom instruments made by other creators. More details about that in the credits. They are all carried in the hand, and there is a supplementary accessory for each that can be carried either on the back or left hip. The hand accessories don't look like much unless you use them with the poses provided in the posebox. For real, natural-ish colors, I recolored most of the objects using one specific "family" of Pooklet actions. Please note that the back/hip accessories were made with the "everysim" in mind; they're made to work with a Maxis-sized AM with poufy minstrel-type clothes. They work well for SBB or BB types in tight-fitting clothes. Using tight-fitting Maxis-sized AM or AF clothes, you may see a sliver of daylight between the instrument and the sim's back. Conversely, if you use Bear BB or Netra's Biggirl, expect some clipping.

The posebox itself is a set of 30-some upper body overlays and about 20 lower body overlays that can be used in any combination you like, with a few caveats. As these are overlays and not full skeletons, your sim may freak out a little when playing idle animations and will be uncooperative, looking away instead of keeping his/her pixelated head in place when playing the pipes. I tried to "lock" the upper body overlays from Spine 0 to the neck and the lower body overlays from the root trans all the way to the pelvis to prevent this as much as possible, but the sims insist on being giant pains in the ass. The bigger stringed instruments don't work very well with the sitting poses; the instrument tends to clip into the sim's leg. The upper body overlays work very well with most of the Maxis walking animations, but don't expect the same result when loping like a werewolf or shambling like Bigfoot. I created the lower body overlays because just sitting on regular Maxis objects adds animation data that changes the upper body pose slightly.


The small and medium lutes were created by Raynuss, originally extracted from TSM. I hunted high and low for the proper link for these. I think they were originally on Black Pearl Sims. Anyway, full credit to Ray.For some reason, the original string texture didn't work as an accessory, so I meshed the strings freehand.

The large lute was originally created by Mango Sims (from the "Maxima" living room set). It was originally intended as a deco object and there's a tiny gap between the front (sound hole) and bowl (body). It's barely noticeable and can be avoided with creative photography.

The lute-violin was created by TheNinthWave as a playable instrument. I extracted the Maxis bow for the right hand; I think this is the accessory that the original object used as well.

The guitar was extracted from Ataavera's creation repository. The strings on this accessory were also meshed by me.

The original object for the banjo was also created by Raynuss. Again, I had a hard time finding the link to the original object. I added my own strings.

The original recorder object was created by Sandy at Around the Sims 2. The small recorder is the same size as the original object, and the large recorder is about 1.5 times bigger.

The Nord flute and Nord drum were converted from Skyrim by wiccandove at PlumbBobKeep.

The panpipe is from another set of instruments by Sandy at Around the Sims 2.

The medieval trumpet has two components: an alpha-enabled banner and the horn itself. The horn was meshed by me using this model. The banner is Banner of the Bold from the Sims 2 Store's castle set, refoobulated to work as an accessory, and added some little round bawbies to attach the banner to the trumpet. The accessory is mapped exactly the same as the original banner, so any banner recolors you have also work to recolor the accessory. The banner recolors I used were made by StephSim and wiccandove.

The horns were taken from a beautiful saxophone mesh made by Tenshii~Akari for SimOasis. Unfortunately, neither the site nor a link to the original object exist. The original object was ultra-detailed, something like 14,000 polys, which is great for an object but not so great for an accessory. I removed the keys and valves and basically made it more medieval-ly, and reduced it to around 3,000 polys. The horn recolors were made using Tenshii-Akari's original textures.

And finally, the bodhran is from yet another set of instruments from Sandy at Around the Sims 2.

Color actions:

All of the natural-ish recolors were made using Pooklet's Project Mayhem Collector's Edition.

There are a lot of different clothes used here. Tahnk you andavri, Sunni, AlmightyHat, Aligeth, Lothere, yuxi, and anyone I forgot to mention.

The marketplace lot is Market Square by riekus13.
The tavern lot is the Nine Archers Meadhall by Lady Lama.
The inn lot is Northumbria- Walter's Marketplace by child-of-air

I'd be hard-pressed to mention them all. The forest lot uses trees by Raynuss, Ohbehave, and changeling, and Feenwald's horse riding set. The tavern uses Lama's Nine Archers Meadhall furniture. The marketplace uses mostly Sunni's Farmers Market objects. The inn uses Sunni's A Room at the Inn set.

Body Shop:
Each of these accessories was painstakingly hand-edited. Hand, hip, and back accessories are binned separately. The accessories can be used with all outfits except nude and swimwear. Each accessory has a custom thumbnail for easy identification and a clear description in the tooltip.

Upper Body Overlays:
I'm not really a music guy. The poses are named based on the hand positions of the sims, and were created primarily with storytelling in mind. The trumpets shown below display a (really bad) recolor not included in the upload.

Lower Body Overlays:
These overlays can be combined with the upper body overlays. For posing the sims on horseback, please note that these poses relay on placing the sim in the slot on Feenwald's saddle. You'll need Dragon Slave's horses and Feenwald's riding set.

With Maxis walking animations:
For the most part, the poses work well with Maxis walking animations.

Body accessories:
These are the body ("carrying") accessories; as noted above, the hip and back accessories are binned separately and can be combined.

Pictured: small lute, medium lute, and large lute for back, small recorder, large recorder, and lute-violin for hip.

Pictured: Guitar, banjo, and panpipe for back, nord flute, small horn, and large horn for hip.

Pictured: Nord drum and bodhran for back.

Q: So where are the teen accessories, J?

A: Dude, I just made 30 meshes and 120-some recolors for young adult-elder. As 95% of my sims are adults, I made the project with adults in mind. I didn't have the wherewithal to scale every smegging instrument to .94 and refoobulate it into a teen mesh. Maybe someday I'll convert these to teen, child, or even toddler, but for now your teens should remain at the Bard's College, studying.

Q: Why didn't you make separate carrying accessories for (insert your favorite body size here)?

A: See above. 30 meshes, 120-some recolors. It would have been way too time-consuming. I tried to make a set that was practical for most sims.

Q: Why did you make them as Body Shop accessories? Why didn't you make them as Decorgal-style props that can be spawned in the sim's hand?

A: As a good friend once said, I'm no Decorgal. I *could* have done it that way, but the project would have taken me four months instead of four weeks.

Q: Why didn't you use all of Pooklet's color actions on all of the instruments? 

A. Because then I would have had about 400 recolors and 400 custom thumbnails to edit.

Q: Do you plan on adding (name of artist/musical instrument) to this collection?

A: The short answer is no. I don't take requests per se, but if you have a favorite deco instrument out there, I'll have a look at it and consider it for future projects.

The file is a bit heavy; even Compressorized and .rar'd, it's over 10 mb. The instruments are organized into folders, so you can keep only the ones you want or the entire set. I've also included a recoloring template for the banner so that you can make your own recolors.