Friday, February 17, 2017

Merrie Minstrels II: Merīminsutoreru

Happy weekend, all. When I made Merrie Minstrels, I thought at the time it would just be a one-off and I wouldn’t re-explore it. But as time passed, I came across plenty of cool instruments begging to be converted.


To preface the content I’m about to present, I don’t consider myself an authority on Asian cultures or languages, nor on music, not by a damn sight. If I’ve made any errors in the post below, please feel free to correct me. I’ve always been fascinated by the sublime quality of this type of music, and while not a musician myself, I have huge respect for the discipline and artistry behind it. I’m just a fan, doing my best to adapt some objects and accessories into the game for storytelling and picture taking.

This set comes in three parts: Objects, accessories, and poses (plus a collection file). The objects include small deco versions of the accessories (tengai and bamboo flutes, erhu, pipa, and shamisen), as well as large deco objects that are less portable (gongs, zithers, and taiko drums). Note: the ruan object was originally created by Sandy at ATS. The deco object can be downloaded separately (Details in the credits section). The gong objects have two colors for each subset, plus two additional colors with the gong striker edited out. The zither objects each have three versions: on a stand/table, on lap (floating), and leaning against a wall. All of the taiko objects are slaved to the giant Ō-daiko, and pull the same recolors.

With the exception of the gong striker and tengai, all of the accessories have “playing” and “carrying versions”. The gong striker and bachi are only available in one color; everything else has either three or four recolors. The “playing” accessories are intended to be used with their accompanying poses, and the “carrying” accessories are meant for traveling. All accessories are for YA-E only, for both genders. 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 or really bulky clothes, expect some clipping. The accessories are grouped into subfolders, for easy removal of any you don’t want to add.

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.

The poses are grouped by type: upper body overlays, lower body overlays, full body overlays, and poses specifically for the taiko. The upper body overlays can be used alone or combined with lower body overlays. They essentially “lock” all the joints from the waist to the shoulder in place, leaving the lower torso and head and neck free. They can also be used with regular Maxis walking animations. The lower body overlays allow the Sims to stand, lean, kneel, dance, and ride on horseback while using the instrument poses. The full body overlays are for use with the gong and zither objects. The taiko poses are for use with the taiko drum objects.


The bamboo flutes aren’t really based on one particular style of instrument. They’re shaped mostly like a shinobue, but they’re end-blown and have a notch cut more similar to a shakuhachi.

The tengai was a straw, basket-like bascinet, used by the komusō (mendicant monks) ostensibly to remove their egos, but was commonly used to disguise their faces when they acted as spies for the shogun.

The erhu is a traditional Chinese two-stringed instrument, played with a bow. The bow is gripped reverse, the opposite of a traditional violin. The resonator box is usually hexagonal, and is covered in python skin (this gives the Erhu a very unique sound). The erhu is usually played from a sitting position.

The pipa is a traditional Chinese four-stringed lute-type instrument. The resonance box is teardrop-shaped.

The ruan is another Chinese four-stringed lute-type instrument. It has a large, round resonance box.

The shamisen is a Japanese three-stringed guitar-like instrument, played with a plectrum called a bachi.

The guquin is a plucked, seven-string fretless Chinese zither with a fixed bridge.

The guzheng is a plucked, 16(or more)-stringed Chinese zither with moveable bridges.

The koto is a plucked, 13-stringed Japanese zither with moveable bridges.

While there are many, many different types of traditional Japanese drums, or taiko, perhaps the most identifiable are the nagadō-daiko (an elongated, barrel-shaped drum with a drumhead nailed on each end). There are categorized into three sizes: ō-daiko (big drum), chū-daiko (medium drum), and ko-daiko (child drum, or small drum). Larger drums are usually make from the trunk of a single tree.

HalkHogan for the texture for the tengai. The tengai itself is a basket mesh extracted from Skyrim.
The erhu mesh and flute meshes were freehanded by me.
3d CadNav for the pipa, guquin, guzheng, and koto meshes and textures.
3dChaya for the shamisen and bachi mesh
The taiko were made by cutting and pasting meshes made by 3dChaya and Archive 3D
The stand for the giant ō-daiko and big ō-daiko is by TRH at 3D Warehouse.
The stand used on the upright chǖ-daiko and ko-daiko is by nixie at MTS

Cake Store had the original idea for the erhu and flute meshes and poses. They’re okay, but I thought I did them better.
The ruan is a deco object created by Sandy at ATS

Additional credits (Clothing and stuff)
The traditional clothing was created by Sims 2 Time Travel at PBK and by Cake Store
The ChinaTown lot was created by Black Orchid at MTS
The “House of Lanterns” lot was created by xxwyckedxangelxx at MTS
The theater lot was created by Alexander Chubaty at MTS

Flutes and Tengai
Catalog: Deco/ sculpture. §123 (Long flute), §102 (Short flute), §155 (Tengai)
Polys: 1819 (Long flute), 1380 (Short flute), 428 (Tengai)
Recolorable subsets: Base
The flutes are medium-poly objects

Small Instruments
Catalog: Deco/ sculpture. §237 (Erhu), §346 (Pipa), §296 (Shamisen)
Polys: 2836 (Erhu), 16588 (Pipa), 1046 (Shamisen)
Recolorable subsets: Base
The shamisen is a medium-poly object
The pipa is a high-poly object

Catalog: Deco/ sculpture. §1795 (Heavy gong), §1815 (Ornate gong)
Polys: 14824 (Heavy gong), 39524 (Ornate gong)
Recolorable subsets: Base, disc
The gongs are high-poly objects

Catalog: Deco/ sculpture. §1326 (Guquin), §1317 (Guzheng), §1429 (Koto)
Polys: 25875 (Guquin in table), 24851 (Guquin off table), 15123 (Guzheng on table) 13683 (Guzheng off table) 34664 (Koto on stand), 30600 (Koto off stand)
Recolorable subsets: Base, table/stand
The zithers are high-poly objects

Catalog: Deco/ sculpture. §2801 (Giant ō-daiko), §2601 (Great tilted ō-daiko), §1801 (Big ō-daiko), §1201 (Chū-daiko), §601 (Ko-daiko)
Polys: 21307 (Giant ō-daiko), 15823 (Great tilted ō-daiko), 21307 (Big ō-daiko) 16679 (Tilted chū-daiko) 11985 (Tilted chū-daiko and ko-daiko) 30600 (Koto off stand)
Recolorable subsets: Base, drumhead
The taiko are high-poly objects


These are the custom accessory thumbnails, as they appear in CAS:

These are the "carrying" accessories, as they appear in game.

For this set, I created a brand new posebox.

Upper body overlays

These poses "lock" the joints from the top of the spine to the waist. They can be used in combination with lower body overlays, Maxis walking (or running, skipping, etc.) animations, and so on.

Lower body overlays

These poses "lock" the lower torso in place. They can be combined with the upper body overlays.

Full body overlays

A set of overlays custom made for the gong and zither objects.

Taiko poses

A special set of poses made especially to use with the taiko objescts.

Q: So where are the teen accessories, J?

A: I couldn’t be arsed with making them. Seriously, this project was hella time consuming as is.

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

A: It would have taken way too long. 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: Do you have any future plans for the Merrie Minstrels project?

A: I have a whole folder of extracted instrument meshes and textures, and I may expand the project eventually. I don't plan to release anything immediately.

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 massive; even Compressorized and .rar'd, it's almost 31 mb. The instruments are organized into folders, so you can keep only the ones you want or the entire set. 


  1. Wow! This is truly amazing, Bro! I was initially impressed simply in knowing what you had planned. But, this my friend exceeded all expectation! It's phenomenal. In all honesty, I am so proud to count you among my friends. It's great to see the growth and extension of your Simming skills develop, as you take your well-earned place among those who have MAD TALENT! Keep doing what you do and being totally awesome, J! I look forward to downloading and using these treasures in my game and in my creations! I also look forward to sharing the love with a few of my Simming friends. Thank you for sharing your vision and talent with the Simming masses!

    1. Hey, Steph!

      Thank you for the kind words. This was a massive undertaking. I originally envisioned it as a couple of drums and maybe a few drumming poses. As always, my creativity began to spiral out of control faster than my technical ability could keep up with it, and a couple of drums became a month-long project featuring a dozen accessories, 20-some objects, and 40-some poses. But in the end it was TOTALLY WORTH IT.

      I appreciate the shout out, sister. Stay strong and take care.

  2. This is an amazing (and overwhelming) collection - well done indeed. What kind of music do the instruments produce?(i.e. are they radio stations or based on EA instruments?)

    1. Hey, David.

      Thanks for the praise. They're actually just deco objects (2x2 statues, 2x1 statues, 1x1 statues, and vases). They stand in the corner and look majestic.

      I suppose the larger objects could be made to work as stereos. If there's some public domain taiko or guzheng music out there, it could be converted into a custom sound resource that the object could then play.

      The pipa and shamisen, as well as Sandy's ruan, are close enough in size that they could probably be converted to custom guitars. I don't think the erhu would work; the animation would be completely different from the violin. I haven't had a lot of luck with the custom instrument hack, and it seems to glitch out on me more often than not. I designed this set primarily as a storytelling resource, but I suppose that some backend functionality could be added. But that's a project for another day.

  3. This is so cool! I'm ecstatic to see you include Asian cultures as well as European Medieval! I think a lot of Asian Sims players who like to tell stories will be overjoyed at this :D. Heck, I might even use some of these in my future stories. You did an amazing job! Even if you claim not to be an expert on this, you definitely did your homework on what the instruments looked like, and how many are played by real people. Awesome work!

    1. Hey, there.

      I'm glad you like the project. I really focused on the storytelling aspect; while the deco objects look good by themselves, the poses enable the sims to interact with them in a limited way. If I have the time, I'm going to go back to the stage lot and try to set up a scene with all the taiko drums being used. Enjoy!

  4. These are simpy amazing - Thank you for sharing :)

  5. This is just so AMAZING!!!!

    Do you realize how much I worship you?

    1. Hey there!

      Thank you kindly. I'm really happy with how this set came out.

  6. Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant! I knew Younger (wawayaya) would love this. I got to visit up in the top of the Drum Tower in Beijing. The drums are massively huge. I wonder if they used wax for their ears when they were banging the things! :P

    1. Hi, Wawa!

      I really liked how nicely this set came out. I absolutely adore groups like Kodō and Ondekoza; there's a primal quality to the music that I find absolutely mesmerizing. I can't even imagine being anywhere near the Drum Tower during a performance. The sound would be deafening.

  7. Amazing, just discovered this. I need to build another Japanese lot to accommodate all this stuff! Mindblowing! Thank you for sharing. epo

    1. Hey, there. I was really, really happy with how this set came out. I appreciate the feedback. Thank you.

  8. Amazing! Can I convert to sims 4? Of course I will give you all of the credit