Happy Birthday, Mint

Mint’s Smash Bros Moveset

Art by @bunnifuku on Twitter, check them out, they’re amazing!!

Well it’s a slow day at work and I’ve had this idea in my head for a while now, so I’m going to tell you about what Mint’s moveset would be if she were miraculously added to the Smash Bros Roster. There is no point to this post other than that it was fun to think about. Without further ado:

Overview

My idea for Mint’s moveset is based around two things she likes to do: skateboarding and music. She also streams, but I had no idea how to incorporate that into a set of abilities – maybe she’d shoot her harassment comments from Twitch at enemies, I dunno. The general gist is that Mint has two modes: Music Mode and Board Mode, that she switches between with her Down-Special.

Music Mode

Mint’s Music Mode is more long-ranged and slower than Board Mode. In this mode, Mint carries a microphone on a stand and uses it in her attacks like a bat or staff. Her smash attacks have long range because they shoot out musical staffs, but they don’t have as much launching power. Good for controlling the stage on the ground and hitting enemies from afar.

Special: Mint blasts a soundwave from her mic. The longer the button is held, the more damage and range the attack gives off.

Up-Special: Mint transforms into a set of musical notes that fly about. It’d have the same sort of control and speed as the bolt from Ness/Lucas’ PK Thunder, and would be invulnerable until the last few frames where she de-transforms. It doesn’t do damage.

Side-Special: Mint’s mic turns into a guitar, and she slides forward while strumming it, doing damage to anyone she passes. If the button is held, Mint stays in place while shredding the guitar, causing musical notes to shoot out in front of her.

Down-Special: Transformation. Takes about 55 frames to switch to Board Mode.

Board Mode

In Board Mode, Mint swaps out a mic for a skateboard. This mode is much more physical, and has great aerial movement, with Mint performing tricks in the air to do damage. Very good for racking up damage, before switching to Music Mode and finishing people off.

Special: Mint does donuts on her skateboard in one spot. The faster you tap the Special button, the faster she goes, before ending with a finisher that does extra damage. Has slow start-up.

Up-Special: Mint shoots upward on her skateboard. She can’t use the attack button, but if you rotate the movement stick, she’ll change the angle on her skateboard, doing damage to anyone that gets close.

Side-Special: A grind rail appears in front of Mint, which she hops onto with her skateboard. If you tap the attack button while grinding, she’ll spin, doing extra damage to anyone trying to approach her.

Down-Special: Transformation. Takes about 55 frames to switch to Music Mode.

Final Smash

Mint’s Final Smash changes depending on what mode she’s in. In Board Mode, she’ll smack you around with her skateboard at high-speed, Great Aether style. In Music Mode, she hops onto a stage and starts an impromptu concert, with the crowd that swarms in to watch damaging the enemies on screen.

Colors

Each palette would be based on other Vocaloids:

  1. Mint, Green
  2. Queen, Grey
  3. Hatsune Miku, Light Blue
  4. Megurine Luka, Pink
  5. Ren/Lin, Yellow
  6. Kaito, Dark Blue
  7. Meiko Sakine, Red
  8. Gumi, Green/Orange

And just speculating, she’d probably be Mid-Low Tier based on the movelist I’ve given her. One person would take her to Top 10 at EVO causing a surge in popularity before everyone drops her again. Board Mode would be used 80% of the time unless the Smash Ball is included, especially because Board Mode would have a very fast Down-Tilt spike with the board.

This will never happen obviously, but we should still get Miku in Smash Bros…preferably with the leek.

Alright, see y’all.


An Informal Guide to Mastodon

Mintsadon. Heh.

Let’s see if we can do this without my trade-mark rambling, hmm?? (we won’t)

Welcome! To the informal guide to Mastodon. Informal how? Well for one, it’s not going to be too technical. A lot of it will be assorted tips and tricks that you might pick up after some time on Mastodon — things that are considered norms, things that should have been explained when you signed on, etc. You’ll get it when you start reading. Oh God, oh no, I’m so bad at intros. 

Why should I read YOUR Mastodon Guide? 

Well I’ve been on Mastodon for a few months now. I am not the Old Guard by any means. But! I make up for that with heaps of enthusiasm. In the short time I’ve been on Mastodon, I’ve had a big attitude shift, turned into a mint, and made some good friends. I’ve a vested interest in the network, so…hopefully that counts! 

Also unlike literally every other Masto guide, I didn’t write this on Medium. Fuck Medium.

What the heck is a Mastodon anyways?

Oh good, the guide’s starting! In the simplest terms possible, Mastodon is what you’d consider a Twitter alternative. It’s a micro-blogging site that exists on a timeline, where everyone tweets — or in this case, toots…yes, I know, and I’m sorry — to whoever is following them. You can reply to each other’s @s, post vids and gifs, and so on. There are some differences from Twitter which you’ll soon see.

Why should I join?

I mean, other than the fact that yours truly made their online home there? You really need more? Oh hecc, fine.

I personally think you should join Mastodon because it’s Federated. What this means is that Mastodon exists as a series of servers. Each server is its own “Instance.” All of these servers than interact with each other. The nice thing about this is that you can choose where you want to hang out. For instance (HAH), I’m on elekk.xyz, whereas I may have a mutual follower on Mastodon.art.
This is understandably confusing, so I’ll have you look at it another way. Think of Mastodon Instances as a bunch of guilds, and the Federation as the MMO you’re hanging out on. Elekk is my guild, and is generally videogame oriented. Mastodon.Art is another guild, that is all about posting art. That said, even if we’re in separate guilds, users from both can still follow each other, or “play together,” if you want to stretch this already strained metaphor any further. Users can also block instances, which is another Mastodon benefit: you aren’t forced to hang out around nazis like you would on Twitter. 

Mastodon is also ad-less. Instances are run by different Admins, who pay to keep the servers running, and may solicit help via donations to keep the server running. 

Why else? Well, unlike Twitter, you won’t see likes and whatnot on your timeline. There aren’t any algorithms trying to drive your engagement to brands that Mastodon thinks you’ll like. It’s just you and the posts. 
I’d also consider the Local Timeline one of the best reasons to join Mastodon, but we’ll get to that!

How do I join?

Well ya gotta pick an instance! You can find a list of some (not all) instances on https://joinmastodon.org/. The nice thing is that if you don’t like whatever server you start on, you can always pack up and move to a new one, keeping all of the people you’re following — though this does not include people following you, or the posts you’ve already made, so it’s best to move early, lest you get attached to your account. Or don’t! Move around whenever or however you want. What the fuck do I know? I’m not your mom.

I’m on. Now what? 

This is a close approximation of what you’ll see when you first join Mastodon:

It can be a lot, especially if you’re not used to multi-column views. Have no fear! I too was thrown off at first, but it’s not as scary as it looks. There are four columns here:

  1. The Compose Column. This is where you make posts.
  2. The Home Column. This is where the posts of people you are following will show up.
  3. Notifications. Self-explanatory.
  4. Local Timeline. Ooh, something new! The Local Timeline is where the posts of everyone on your instance shows up. Think of it as the tavern that your guild hangs out on. 
  5. Federated Timeline. Another new thing! The Federated Timeline is where every post from every person on every Instance that your Instance has federated with shows up. It is fast. It is scary. I don’t go in here often. 

Let’s look at each column one at a time. 

Doot the Toot

The first column is where the magic happens. You type, you toot. It’s simple on the surface, but what’s cool about Mastodon is that you can do a whole bunch of fancy things with a post! See those three buttons on the bottom? The first is for pics, vids, and gifs. The second, however, is your privacy options. 

When you make a post on Mastodon, you can choose how far it reaches out into the Fediverse! 

  1. Public: This post will show up on the the Home Timeline, the Local Timeline, and the Federated Timeline. Shout your love for Initial-D into the world.
  2. Unlisted: This shows up on the Home Timeline, but not the Local Timeline or Federated Timeline. It’s like a soft shout. I use this a lot for threaded posts. The first one is public, with everything after being Unlisted, which helps keep the Local Timeline clean.
  3. Followers Only: My favorite. These posts only show up on the Home Timeline of people that follow you. This also means that if someone looks at your profile without a Mastodon account, they won’t be able to see these posts either. It’s very useful.
  4. Direct: Mastodon’s DM feature. Anyone you @ in this post will be part of a private message. Yes, everyone you @. Even the person you wanted to talk shit about in said DM. Be…be careful in that regard.

Content Warnings

The CW is another cool Mastodon feature! When you click it, you’re able to type in a warning for your post. The final product will look like this:

When you click the “Show More” button, your post will appear below it. Any image you attached to a CW post will be marked sensitive. This means that a user will have to click the image to reveal it.

So what are CWs good for? Here’s a list of things that are commonly thrown under a CW:

  • Politics 
  • Food
  • NSFW posts
  • Spoilers for Media
  • Extra Long posts
  • Religion
  • Personal Posts

There is no hard and fast rule to CWs, but the above are generally accepted as things that should be CWed for one reason or another. There may be posts that are required to be CWed on your Instance too — check with your admins or your instance’s code of conduct to be sure. In general though, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re not sure, just CW it! (A little secret: people are going to click it anyways. Don’t tell anybody.)

Visual Descriptors

Another cool feature when it comes to Mastodon is the ability to add visual descriptors to images, but it can be easy to miss if you’re not paying attention. When you upload an image or video to Mastodon, hover over it and you’ll see this:

Click the text that says “describe for the visually impaired,” and you’ll be able to add a descriptor to the image that screen-readers are able to read! It doesn’t have to be too detailed or anything, but try and add enough that someone would be able to get a good idea of what the image is without looking at it. For instance (HAH AGAIN) with the image above, I’d probably write something like “a girl with long green hair in a light-green armored outfit from monster hunter looks at the camera with a serious expression.”

Please alt-text your posts! It’s extremely useful for people who are visually impaired, and is just a good practice to follow. I highly highly highly recommend it!

Hashtags

I don’t know where else to put this, so I’m putting it here. Hashtags work like they do on Twitter, but they’re a bit easier to check out, so they’re worth using! Any unlisted or follower-only toots with hashtags won’t show up in the index list, though. 

Custom Emoji

Click the Smiley Face and you’ll find custom Emojis! These are added by your instance admins. If you ask nicely, they might even add ones for you (but like don’t be a pest about it lol). 

You can also quick select emojis on posts by typing them in between colons. Like this: :akkoshrug:

It’ll auto-complete for you! Cool beans! Alright we have well and truly spent enough time here, so on to the next column!

Home is where the Toot is

The Home timeline is pretty easy to follow, so I won’t delve into it for too long. I will say that if you click the top-right options thing-y, you can see that you can hide boosts (retweets if you Twitter) and replies. Uh, other than that…

Oh! This is as good a time to mention pinning and unpinning columns. See that little “unpin” button? If you click it, you can remove the Home column, or any other columns you might not need (like, say, the Federated Timeline).  You can bring them back by clicking the appropriate button above the search-bar here:

And then repinning it in the same place you can unpin it. You can also move columns around by clicking the left and right arrows. Cool. Moving on. 

“What’s the news, cronchy? I haven’t left my house in 3 days.” Or in other words: Notifications

Notifications might be pretty simple, but their customization options are extensive as hecco. You can choose to get desktop and sound notifications for new followers, likes, mentions, and boosts. You can even choose to not have them show up in the column at all! As you can see above, I choose to have desktop notifications for mentions, and hide pretty much everything else. You can have it set up however you like! Pick whatever makes you feel most comfortable.

The Local Timeline!! I don’t have a funny header name.

The Local timeline is legit. It is my favorite part of Mastodon. As I mentioned before, it’s where all the posts from people on your instance show up. Why do I love the Local timeline so much? 
Because it’s the most social part of this social network. On Twitter, when you’re new, it can feel like screaming into a void. There’s no sense of community until you carve it out brick by brick, and even then, your posts can be lost in a stream of hot takes and nice art. But with a local timeline, your rapport is built in. You are among people who have at least one thing in common with you, which is joining the same instance you did. Someone will see you when you make your first post on Mastodon, and I think that’s great! Most of the friends I’ve made on the Fediverse were through the Local Timeline. Don’t neglect it!

The Federated Timeline

What the hell are you doing here? Oh. Do I still have to explain it? Alright, fine, fine.
The federated timeline is the Mastodon badlands. Uh. That’s it, really. Look I can’t say much about this thing because I’m never here. If you like 300 posts a second then dive in I suppose. The only people I judge are SoKai shippers. 

Lists

Legend has it there’s a secret fifth column on Mastodon. It’s called “The List,” and today I reveal its secrets unto you. Lists are essentially private columns that let you see toots of specific people you follow. I don’t use the feature often, but it’s probably useful if you follow lots and lots of accounts.
To make a list, open the hamburger menu on the top left of the page and click lists. From there, enter the new title of your list, and add people to it. Done!

Profile Settings and Preferences

There’s a lot of fun stuff you can tweak in your profile. Click the three dots next to your account to access them.

Profile 

Here’s where you get to make yourself cute. It’s all pretty self-explanatory, but there’s one section that might be confusing, and that’s profile meta-data. 

Profile Meta-Data lets you make a table like the above that shows up on your Profile. Here’s what the above looks like on my own!

You can put anything you want in the tables. People commonly put in their preferred pronouns, other places they can be reached, location, and their own websites. In regards to that last point, make sure to put the full address when you’re putting a website in — if you don’t include it, it won’t be clickable!

Pinned Toots

You can pin toots to the top of your account! Click the 3 dots of any of your toots and click pin to profile to do so.

The final result will look like this! 

Pinned toots are good for intros that might be longer than your bio, links to your creative endeavors, or anything else that remains constantly pertinent to you! 

Moving Instances

If you’re moving instances, scroll all the way down and click “Move to a different account.” You can put in the account you’ve moved to! 

Once you do that and click save, your old account will look like this:

Holy shit a ghost

Everything Else

…Look. There’s a lot you can do in settings besides edit your profile, and I’ve decided they’re beyond the scope of this guide. This is because I’m tired, and most of it is pretty easy to follow anyways. Just click around! Clicking around never hurt anyone. 

Oh Wait

One thing I will point out out is Import and Data Export, though. Data Export lets you import your follow list, as well as accounts you’ve muted and blocked, so you can take them with you if you ever decide to switch instances. Import is where you plug in the lists you exported. 

Apps

Who uses their computer to do things? Not me! I wrote all 2356 words of this guide (so far) on my phone. And that’s probably where you’re gonna spend a lot of time on Mastodon. You can run Mastodon on any phone browser, but it’s pretty finicky…so  let’s find some apps, like god intended!

Apple

I do not have a Steve Machine so this section is gonna be a little sparse, sorry! The iPhone apps l’ve found all look pretty cute and good, though. I’m pretty jealous (as you’ll see in the following section…)

Android

Here’s my domain! I’ve tried every Mastodon App under the sun. Most of them aren’t great, sorry. A lot of them are missing key features, like adding text descriptors to images, and others either have notifications that don’t work very well or at all, or end up being not very pretty. Nonetheless, I’ve compiled the list of the stuff that’ll do you right the most. 

Fedilab

It’s not exactly easy on the eyes, but Fedilab makes up for that with an extensive feature list and super fast updates. Seriously I don’t know if the dev gets any sleep. Fedilab is always being worked on, and I could see it being the premier Android Mastodon app — ah, if it gets a redesign, that is.
Find it here.

Tusky

Tusky is the best looking Mastodon app on Android, I’d say. I’d recommend it 100% for those looking for a very smooth experience. That said, I’ve had issues getting notifications to work on it, so your mileage may vary. Doesn’t update as often as Fedilab, but there’s a nightly version you can check out if you’re adventurous. 
Find it here.

Pinafore

Would you believe me if I told you that the best Android mobile app is a web-wrapper for Mastodon? It’s true!!! Pinafore is my preferred app of choice. To get it to work as an Android app, add it to your home screen from the web browser on your phone. Don’t forget to enable notifications! It’s a bit more of a hassle to get set-up, but Pinafore works perfectly for me. If you don’t want to wrestle with it though, the two choices above should be fine.
http://pinafore.social/

Conclusion

I think…are we done? Holy shit I think we’re done! Thank you for reading this informal guide to Mastodon. I hope it was help. Please tell me if it was helpful, this was a lot of work, lmao. If you have any suggestions or additions you’d like to be added to this guide, or just to say hi because you think I’m cute or something I dunno, hit me up @eightbitsamurai

Commissioning Dos and Donts

I have commissioned a lot of art. Like, a lot of art. Like, a LOT of art.

Like, a LOT a lot of art

And I’ve been commissioned a couple of times myself. I’ve been on both sides of the equation, as both commissioner and commissioned, and while my experiences have mostly been great, there have been times – on both sides of the coin – where things went…less than smoothly. So I figured I’d make some points that will make commissioning easier for everyone. Here’s my not-so-definitive guide on commissioning.

Commissioner

So you’ve decided to ask someone for some art! Great! This is gonna be fun. Or at least, it will be, as long as you follow these steps:

  1. Be clear in what you want. Artists will have a commission sheet of what they have available for their art at the time. Read this carefully. If they don’t do mecha, don’t ask for Gundam art.
  2. Going off of 1, have references ready! If it’s not something you already have art of, pull samples of clothing or facial types, and use those as examples instead. If you don’t have that, at the very least give a thorough written description of what you’re looking for – though some artists might not take written references, so keep that in mind!
  3. After a commission has been accepted, don’t message them every single day asking where your art is. I’ve had this happen to me. It sucks. Wait at least a week before you start questioning where your art is. Life happens, and there might be a bit of a delay.
  4. Related to 3, if there’s a deadline for the piece, make that clear! The sooner you make that clear, the better. If you wait too long, you might get charged extra – I know I would.
  5. If you feel like the art you’re paying for is too cheap for the quality you’re getting, then add a tip! Paypal makes this extremely easy to do. Art is difficult to make a living off of, and artists are forced to price themselves low because capitalism sucks. Do your part to make things easier on them!
  6. Don’t complain if an artist has a high price attached to their art. If the quote you get is too high, politely tell them it’s outside of your budget range and move on. Do not try and haggle. Seriously, just don’t do this.
  7. If there’s something in the rough sketch of your art that you don’t like, let it be known! You’re getting the draft so that changes can be caught and fixed early. I once had someone with resentment for a logo I made for them 2 years earlier email me their dissatisfaction on a random Tuesday. All it did was tick me off.
  8. If you post your commission somewhere, please still source the artist. Yes, it’s your art you bought, but it’s courteous to tell people where you got that cute icon from!
  9. Don’t steal art. Can’t believe I have to say that, but yeah, don’t steal art.

Commissioned

Holy crap! Someone likes your art enough to want to pay for it. Go you! Let’s try and make this as painless as possible.

  1. Make a clear list of what you will and won’t do for commissions. This will be extremely helpful unless you like explaining yourself over and over again.
  2. Make a solid payment system. If you ask for payment upfront, make sure to be on the ball with communication and work. If you don’t ask for payment until after you give a rough sketch, you have a bit more leeway, but don’t send anything too high quality either – you don’t want your art to get stolen!
  3. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. I only ever take two commisions at a time, because more than that leaves me overwhelmed. A long list and no progress can feel insurmountable, so make sure to stay balanced!
  4. I want to reiterate. Communicate!!! You have an obligation to give a product to your customer. If you’re overwhelmed, say so. If you’re going to be delayed, say so! Cry-typing about being stressed on Twitter just makes you look bad, and I promise that if you’re upfront, your customer won’t scold you – and if they did, they weren’t worth making art for anyways, to be honest. But! You still owe them a product, and if you can’t supply it, it’s up to you to come up with some kind of compromise.
  5. Stay organized. I use Trello to keep track of projects. There are a whole bunch of ways to organize your boards, but I personally have “Paid -> WIP -> WIP Confirmed -> Finished” as my workflow.

That’s every tip I can think of at the moment, but let me know if you have more. In the end, it really does just come down to communication, on both the artist and the customer’s part. But when it all works out, it leads to a thing of beauty, in my opinion: an original piece of art made specifically for a customer that they’ll always love – and money for me. I love money.

Haruko Mint

Haruko Mint was a one-off character that I made almost a year ago. I made her in Charat, a website that lets you build cute little characters. Here’s her original design:

Back then she didn’t have a name. That came much later. I sort of went along randomly at first, picking traits here and there at random, but I eventually slowed down and spent a whopping two (!!!) hours on her. I love green so that was the motif I went with, and it progressed from there. Eventually, an artist fleshed out more of her details for me, as seen here:

I always envisioned Haruko as a Vocaloid. She even has a partnership with Queen, a pal’s Vocaloid.

Mo Qingxia, released in 2018.

She skateboards, loves the rain and the beach, dismantling capitalism, and smacking TERFs (usually with her skateboard). She’s mortal enemies with Kizunai – she knows what she did – and is best friends with Mo Qingxian too, a Chinese Vocaloid that recently made her debut as well.

She’s a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 fan, and sings fast-paced pop…even though I haven’t figured out a sound for her yet.

Truth be told I’ve built Haruko’s lore as I’ve went along, but it’s all been sort of haphazard. I don’t know if I have any further plans for her, but even though she has her own backstory, she’s come to represent me in some way.

The nice thing about the internet is that you can represent yourself however you want. This isn’t exactly a mind-blowing revelation by any means, but it’s something I’ve come to terms with myself only recently. I get to represent myself however I want, which is nice, because it’s something I struggle with a lot.

I’m straight, but Grey-A. I’m male, but enjoy cute things and aesthetics that would be considered “non-traditional” by society as a whole. I question myself because of these constant “contradictions” – who I get to be versus who I’m meant to be.

But online I get to be…whoever. In that sense, Haruko is my ideal self, an avatar that I get to present that encompasses all of my favorite things. 

I suppose I’m rambling at this point but so it goes. I wanted a place to  put my thoughts down about my girl Minty. If you see her around, that’s me. So you should say hi!

To end, here’s some more art of her.

Introduction

What this blog ostensibly is:

A journal for stray thoughts on games I’m playing, music I’m listening to, books I’m reading, and the progress on the novel I’m writing that’s totally happening, everyone. A grab-bag of sorts. A place where I can write all these things down in a way that wouldn’t work in micro-blog format or that would get lost in the social media sea. A no SEO zone.

What this blog will be:

Rarely updated, probably.