NightScript’s Summer of 2020

Published on August 31st, 2020 - Updated on October 28th, 2020

Summer is mostly a time students look forward to, due to the break from school for two months. It is a time where kids can play more video games, sleep later and have more time to hang out with friends. Unfortunately, I do not have the same viewpoint as them. I got tired of playing video games earlier this year, I sleep at the same time I normally sleep and I have even less time to hang out with friends. Most of my friends live far from where I am, so combined with my social awkwardness makes me extremely unlikely to hang out with them. That combined with the current world events which I will refrain from mentioning due to everyone being sick of it should have made my summer quite boring, but I found it to be the exact opposite. While I didn’t end up working for anything this year, I still had a heck of an enjoyable time and I feel like I managed to make the best out of the situation I was facing.

This will be the story of how I made the best out of my 6 month long summer, with all the positives and the negatives that happened during this time frame. Unlike my old blog issue, I will try to find the best in every situation and list the things I’m grateful for.

Part 1 — NightScript vs Portfolio

Before quarantine started, I have been following a developer called Danny Thompson. While smaller at the time, he always gave tips on how to become a better developer and how to get your name out there. He really enforced the idea that people needed to have a written down log of whatever they’ve done. It was also around the time where I started considering how colleges were going to view me, since I would be sending in applications to them in about 9 months. I wanted to have a healthy backlog, with a modern website to present it on. My original portfolio was not presentable, the codebase was messy and it was a direct clone of Discord’s User Interface. Too bad I didn’t have the time to fix it….until the entire world decided that yet another pandemic was what it needed to make the year interesting.

After my portfolio was rebuilt, it used a modern interface with a toggleable sidebar and colors that catch your attention. The codebase was much cleaner as well, using Bootstrap 5 as my website design base instead of the outdated table standard from the acmlmboard days. This was going to be the website I used to showcase how I am, who I am and what I do. After porting over the dsi.cfw.guide page from the old portfolio, though, I decided I wanted to ramble on about a few things. That’s when I started to be a blogger.

One of my concerns was that my voice wouldn’t be heard, or that it would be heard by the wrong people. I did not want my blog to become too alienating to non-programmers, but I also wanted to appeal to people like myself. I am typically shunned from the general crowd due to my weird opinions (TikTok is a dumb platform filled with cringy and flat out bad memes, Nintendo is not a childs company and can be enjoyed by all ages, programming isn’t exclusive to people that graduated out of Harvard) but I have found my people over on Discord that like my content. I have run into the occasional idiot or problems on the platform, but my friends have stuck with me from beginning to end, so they were the people I was trying to aim at. Still, this would be my first experience being a blog writter so I decided to do something philisophical, that can appeal to everyone; What is considered ownership.

The responses were better than I expected. What was written as a way to practice for my SAT quickly turned into something people can relate to and enjoyed. Despite all the grammar mistakes I made, people were indeed looking forward to more of my writing. I started looking at things I wrote over at Mario Making Mods and rewrite them for this market, but only one ended up becoming published; an original classic sonic game. Since it was published around E3 time, people enjoyed a hypothetical Sonic game idea while SEGA was giving nothing to the series, so it did gain somewhat of an audience. My third article published was my hatred for the Edgenuity platforms, and how online schooling should not be handled. This appealed to an even lesser market, that being students still in school. Finally, there’s this article, which appeals to a small portion of people; those who like me enough to know what I’ve done this summer yet weren’t involved with me at all.

As you can see, I slowly started to become more alienating as I went on, but I had already captured my audience so I didn’t need to build up on it. Of course, I do want to expand and I would love to get more readers, but I’m ok with having just a few people. Even if it got 20 reads, I’d be happy that people took the time to at least hit the URL. Sure, I don’t get any benefit beyond personal joy that my voice could be heard but that’s ok; I don’t need money from ads, or people to grade my grammar. It would be nice if I got those, but it wouldn’t make me any happier than knowing people are reading this 16-year olds blog.

This website would not have been possible without the individual developers that helped make this website, since bootstrap didn’t contain everything I wanted in a website design.
At the end of the day, however, I still had school and that took priority. Despite how much I appreciated how things were going on Discord, I needed to get back into reality.

Part 2 — NightScript vs College Board

Getting back into school after a full week of coding and writing was an interesting process. After shutting down on March 13th, our school handled online school as a barren wasteland. Instead of actively giving us lessons, I went an entire month without doing anything in terms of schooling and the month after that was filled with somewhat-productive schooling from 2 teachers (out of the 6 I had). The rest either did not give assignments or mismanaged them. I didn’t care about them though, as I had my AP exams to handle.

Since we couldn’t do these exams in person, College Board decided to have this exam handled online by having the WORST management College Board has ever done.

  • College Board made the entire world take these AP exams on a US-based timezone, which meant that people in countries other than the US would take these exams at times where they should be sleeping or studying. It’s kind of ironic when all these “AP Exams tips” give you basic human tips and not tips on the exam itself, yet you can’t even follow those tips
  • College Board did not properly test their software, meaning at least 10K students couldn’t submit their work. It got so bad that they ended up making email submissions an official way to submit answers.
  • The score you got on your AP exam relied on either one or two free-response questions, with a 45 minute time limit. Whatever you learned during your entire year didn’t matter anymore; if you don’t know the answer to this one question, you’re screwed

The best I made out of this situation was that I managed to score a 3 on my AP US History exam. I am proud of myself for being able to do that. I didn’t score so lucky on the other tests.

Still, there was true school I had to do as well, and this is how that was handled:

Part 3 — NightScript vs mis-quarantine school

Out of my 6 teachers, 2 of them decided to have mandatory zoom classes as opposed to giving us assignments and us completing them on our own (with optional Zoom office hours). These Zoom Classes were held on Monday Afternoon, Wednesday Morning, Wednesday Afternoon and Friday Morning.

  • The class I took on Monday and Wednesday afternoons was my Intro to Data Science class, in which our dumb teacher just told us to go to a website and do math problems there. We also did our regular R programming language learning, but I didn’t do them because I was so invested into Project Plus (smash bros brawl mod) and I know the language better than the teacher himself. My lack of responsibility landed me a C in the class, but then again, this is also a teacher I wrote a 2 page rant about becuase of how negative and annoying he was.
    Also, I was still kind of pissed that the teacher did not responsibly manage the class, letting the zoom session on April 1st to become so chaotic that the entire class started to troll on me. Then again, the racist kids on that zoom chat were calling jews “penny pinchers”, so you could figure out for yourself their IQ level. Either way, I’m sure the #BlackLivesMatter gang would knock some sense into them to teach them that they should not be promoting any racist activity.
  • The class I took on Wednesday and Friday mornings were my AP Biology class, in which my teacher did not know what to do. None of the material she gave would end up on the AP exam, none of her students showed up to her zoom meetings and typically, I’d be focusing on my blue stress ball. I got a ton of credit for showing up to the class though, so I went from a B to an A in the class. I’m glad that my grade ended up being that high, because my AP exam score was the exact oposite

The other teachers of mine had a more adaptive mindset and let us complete assignments on our own time. While it means I do not need to wake up at 10:00 AM or waste my wednesday, it was interesting in other regards.

  • My Graphic Design teacher started off the distanced learning using the same technology I had used a year before for Yamamura's Image Commands; JavaScript canvases. I am grateful that I was able to convince Samplasion to use the canvas-js library for Yamamura as opposed to Jimp, which made doing these assignments a breeze. The second half of distance learning was using Vector Graphics, something I had indeed tested using before (because we couldn't keep a consistent icon for Mario Making Mods) but never fully understood. In this context, they were just as confusing so I ended up not doing the assignments. Not doing those assignments didn't have any reprocautions though, as our school district did not allow teachers to mark students for not doing work or give grades lower than a D.
    I had already started off quarantine with a high grade in this class, but now that all these assignments were counted as extra credit, I had gotten the highest grade that teacher gave out that year: 112%.
  • My AP US History teacher has always been extremely understanding, but this quarantine made me appreciate him a lot more. While my Graphic Design teacher let me submit late work for sketchbooks, any type of assignment was allowed to be submitted late for full credit. This encouraged me to do the actual assignments, which helped me understand the material. Out of all the classes, this was the only class I ended up feeling successful after getting a C, since I also got a 3 out of 5 on my AP exam. This is in comparison to my other 1 out of 5 gr
    I have no idea why History/Government teachers are always so cool, but I am glad that they are. They're very intelectual too, so I learn much more from them than any other teacher.
  • The contents of my Ethnic Studies class consisted of a singular assignment in the time span of an entire month, which I couldn't do due to the work required for AP exams. Thankfully, my teacher was understanding and gave me a pass, making my grade a B. Still, I knew I could do better and I had a small assignment to make a presentation on a famous guy. After pulling up what I knew of Ben Shapiro, the Google Slides presentation was quickly made and submitted, something the teacher did not expect. Since I was already given a pass, she decided to give me full credit, even though I didn't deserve it. The final grade in the class was an A, yet I feel guilty for getting this grade.
  • I never thought my English class experience could get any worse at this point, but my AP English Language teacher set a new low. For the rest of the entire school year, the only assignment we did was to make three revisions of an essay we were to make based on a medical ethic, the last revision being considered our final. She hadn't reached out to inform us of this assignments existance, nor did she explain how to do it. The only type of messages she sent out was "COME TO CAMPUS TO BUY MY T-SHIRT WHICH YOU SHOULD WEAR ON YOUR AP EXAM" (despite being pointless because no one will know what we wear). Being extremely busy with other work (AP Exams, Portfolio Website, Zoom classes), I was only aware the day before the final was due. With no sense of direction, I jumped head onto the third revision submission, picking Animal Cloning as my topic. This lead me to get a zero for the entire assignment, something our school district told teachers specifically not to do. The way she intended us to write this was to have a question on it, instead of mindlessly writting. She also wanted 10 pages (with the first page being a cover page and the last page being a credits page) all written in MLA format. No matter how hard I + an IB student from Ontario tried, Animal Cloning cannot be stretched to the point of filling 8 pages worth of content. The final grade I received on this project was a C-, which kept my final grade at a D. At that point, however, I didn't care how colleges looked at that, especially considering that it's not my fault.
    PS: The requirements were only posted on the final week of school, a week after the final was due and the grade was already given out. It's like she wanted us to fail.

Out of the 6 bad classes, 3 of them ended up working out and clearly made the most out of the situation. I am very grateful that those classes took the time to properly do online-schooling right.

Part 4 — NightScript vs Camp

School has just finished, I had not yet enrolled in the summer school I applied for and I’m currently feeling bored. Thankfully, the camp for kids with special needs was still happening this year and as with other years when I was in high school, I decided to help out. My help didn’t really do much though, as it was done all through Zoom. Keep in mind this happened all early on in the quarantine phase, so we were all super law-abidant. Still, there was not much fun to be had when a camp is run through zoom, so much so that I didn’t do the last day of camp. Since this is so short (and I actually did things unlike when I was in New York), I can describe what I did.

  • Every year, we would have councelors be one-on-one with students. Also known as for every camper, we had two councelors. However, this year, we just had councelors…exist. They weren’t assigned to any camper, and we typically didn’t talk with them.
  • The time was cut short. Instead of having camp last 2 weeks, we had camp for only one week.
  • The events were missing. What would have been the typical Disney Land, Universal and other trips have been replaced with puzzle activities.
    Fun fact: Campers had to come to our house to get the puzzles, and one of them came at 8:00 AM the day after they were supposed to come.

Once everyone collected their puzzle and such, we started off the camp and it flew by as fast as it came. That’s because the time was cut short, from 2 weeks to one week.

  • Day 1: Whoever completed the camp puzzle the fastest got 20$. I never tried the puzzle, but I bet I wouldn’t get the money if I completed it.
  • Day 2: The camp director himself told me to teach the students how to assemble a “science kit” he bought and delivered, which was nothing more than just placing a piece of wood inside another wood slot. I think that clickbait could get the company in big trouble, but I threw out the childish kit.
  • Day 3: There was a “magician” that came and performed “magic tricks”. Seemed to have cropped his display. I wonder why
  • Day 4: Got in a car and yeeted “Camper of the year” trophies at all the campers doorsteps. It looses its value when it’s in the singular form yet delivered to everyone.
  • Day 5: Apparently, this was some sort of talent show, but I didn’t attend that day. I forgot why, but I suppose it was because I didn’t find any interest anymore and I was quite busy with the summer school that started the week before.

This years camp obviously wasn’t that exciting to the counselors and I did feel a bit disappointed, but it wasn’t meant for me; it was purely on the campers and if they’re happy, I’m happy. Even though I couldn’t be with them in person, we still tried to connect.

Part 5 — NightScript vs Summer School

Remember when I said that the AP English Language class was the worst English class I’ve ever had? If this teacher wasn’t so generous, it would have been topped.

English 10A was another bad English class I’ve been through, and I needed to make that up because I got a D in that class (I got a D in AP English Language too, but this pandemic is to blame). Unfortunately, money got in the way and as part of a business deal, a service called Edgenuity was used. Though, I’m kind of sick and tired of beating around the dead horse, so have a link instead What I didn’t describe in that rant though, was the results of writing that. I proceeded with my initial goal of sending it to the school principal and to my teacher, only to be rejected at first. Luckily for me though, the WiFi at my house became so bad the website did not want to load. Despite GMail and my personal blog loading, Edgenuity did not want to load. It gotten so bad that I had to switch out my entire chromebook but by the time that happened, summer school was almost over. Rather than blame things on me though, my teacher went ahead and gave me an A in the class, effectively meaning that my 6 hours of writing that rant was not wasted on nothing.

I am very grateful that my teacher is able to understand my frustrations with systems like those and is willing to provide alternatives.

Part 6 — NightScript vs Reddit

Unlike this planet, internet communities aren’t limited by size. Creating a new community does not mean that you have to get rid of another one (even though getting rid of the other community was originally my goal). Monopolies don’t have to exist, and as such, we could easily create new communities when we see other communities fail to do what they’re designed to. This is why I created r/NDSBrew, but it ended up having other advantages as well.

See, at the time I created my subreddit, r/NDSHacks was the only subreddit for Nintendo DS Modding that had an active following. However, I have had many issues with the administration (which I won’t go into here, as I do not want to talk bad about others that has an identity attached to them), which left a rather rebelious attitude in me. Dethroning them from their monopoly of the reddit community was the first step to take them down, so r/NDSBrew was made, not only to overthrow the administration but also to fix the issues I’ve had about the subreddit in general.

My personal viewpoint is that support and updates should be separate. There is no reason why someone looking to find all the latest updates would also like to see other users get errors and requiring assistance. r/NDSHacks has both of them combined, so one of my goals was to have just a single thread about assistance but the other threads was just PSA and updates. We also decided to have a much more active presense in terms of Updates posting, getting RocketRobz and Evie on board to post updates for their respective application that they develop. When RocketRobz decided to post the updates only at r/NDSBrew and simply crosspost to r/3DSHacks, activity skyrocketed and we have around 350 members.

I am grateful for everyone who gave me a chance and helped me bring this subreddit to such a high number. It wasn’t the first time I’ve done things on reddit (I have been made the official Universal Team representative on Reddit) but it was the biggest thing I’ve done yet. I never reached my goal of overthrowing r/NDSHacks, but that’s ok; the community is now my focus, and I feel like my goal of having an updates subreddit was fulfilled. Besides, I don’t care about them anymore.

Part 7 — NightScript vs New York

I planned to have this as its own blog but to be honest, my New York experience was not that interesting to have a dedicated page.

First off, I hope I never go to the airport that I flew with ever again due to their constant rudeness. “Your luggage is three pounds overweight, give me one hundred dollars”. Who the heck do you think you are?

  • The software on the airplane tablet was quite interesting on the way there, being effectively Android but with a custom launcher and preinstalled games (such as Sudoku). My mistake was thinking it’d be the same software on the way back, when I already put Sudoku on my Luggage as opposed to my carry on.
  • We came to the airport way too early though, and were waiting there for an hour and thirty minutes on top of the six hour flight. Next time I do anything of this sort, I’m planning time better.
  • The spotlight of this trip was to go see my sister for her wedding. Sure, it could have been much nicer if the current world events weren’t a thing but it was still enjoyable enough to the point where I don’t care what it could have been. The only things I specifically remember disliking from it was the constant requests to remove my mask, the way the food was offered, the rap music being played and my phone battery almost running out.

I am grateful that I was able to experience such a thing in my family.

Part 8 — NightScript vs TWiLight Menu++

My individual projects have been doing fantastic and people in the community really benefited from it, but I never directly contributed to something I didn’t (partially) own. This was to change, when I decided to test out my C++ experience on TWiLight Menu++.

TWiLight Menu++ is currently the most popular homebrew in the Nintendo DS Homebrew Scene, being an all-in-one menu working accross all NTR/TWL environments. The aspect of separating a frontend from the actual loader means that it is extremely portable, with the ability to split focus on game compatibility and the design of the menu. This is helpful because the other menu’s aren’t as customizable and nds-bootstrap (the backend this is designed around) doesn’t even have a menu frontend. However, I felt like some aspects of TWiLight Menu++ felt lacking and someone had to take action, so here are some aspects that I didn’t like, and how I fixed them:

  • Since the manual pages were rendered in images, they were originally made in GIMP. This is helpful for visualisation, yet there's no structure to follow and I don't want to use a specific image editor just to make edits. I especially don't like GIMP, because the UI is extremely confusing for me. We should use a text format to edit text, so HTML + CSS is perfect for our use cases.

    New Home Page theme navigator

    Visualization is key for navigation, and one of the areas I wanted to look at would be to make the homepage as a navigation hub, linking to every page. As opposed to making row links, iconography is much more eye appealing. The problem? My graphic design experience isn't the best when it comes to small icons. I managed to solve my problem though:

    • The Nintendo DSi and Nintendo 3DS themes were straight ports from the original manual without any debate attached to them. In fact, I used their sizes (43x41) for the rest of the icons.
    • A proposed new icon for the Original R4 theme was an actual R4 cartridge design. Unfortunately, I could not get a good image of the cart so I took the original from the manual
    • The Acekard theme got a rename to Wood UI theme earlier that year, due to it also reflecting WoodR4. As such, I suggested a new icon reflecting the new name. However, Evie and chyyran didn't like it because it's helpful to inform people of our new title. As such, we kept the old icon.
      Too bad it didn't matter in the end considering the Wood UI theme is now disabled due to SD card corruptions.
    • The Homebrew Launcher theme's icon was stolen straight from Nintendo Homebrew's old icon. I probably should have tried the icon from the Wii Homebrew Channel.
    • The SEGA Saturn icon is actually completely custom. See, the iron bars on the sides were too wide but cutting the image was not an option. GRAnimated decided to remodel the image, which also fixed the awful shading. I guess fans really can do better.

    I think I worked a bit too hard though, because the rendered images were too big for the Nintendo DS Lite to handle in PNG form. RocketRobz reverted back to bmp so that the RAM usage wouldn't be so heavy, allowing us to render the image directly rather than go through lodePNG. This became an issue when translations were included in the mix, since that image format is imfamous for its large sizes. The proper way to fix this would have been to make a HTML renderer on the DS, but then we run into the issue of the HTML engine needing too much resources. Thankfully, Evie worked her GIF magic and made TWiLight Menu++'s manual use GIFs instead, fitting neatly into the Nintendo DS's RAM. We also had even less of a file size than we did using PNG, allowing for the manual in total to be 10 MB big, even with all the translation pages.

    Another area that Evie worked on was to make a GitHub Actions script that would create the images automatically. Previously, I used Firefox on Windows to render the images, which worsened the text alpha transparency and was tedious to do for all pages. There was no way I would have been able to manually do it when translations rolled in so I started looking into doing it automatically. My plan was to have a GitHub Actions workflow separate from the main one that would download all the HTML files, convert them, upload them to the repo and then have the main workflow do the nightly. However, Evie found a way to combine it with the main workflow and got it to actually work, since I never finished my job. I still would prefer the workflows be separate since it means that we could a) see the final GIFs when rendered on the repo themselves and b) nightly builds won't take so long to compile, but hey, using Evie's method puts less files on the actual git repo itself.

    Oh, and translations were now a thing. Earlier this year, Evie wants to expand the Translation section of TWiLight Menu++ by switching to Crowdin instead of GitHub PRs and allowing Translation in the DSi-based themes. Since they are no longer images and instead, produced in raw text, translations were added here as well. This had some complications with how text was rendered in the CSS (including making it much harder to bold text) but overall, the font was portable for those languages. This is actually the reason we switched to GIF; If we continued to use BMP, we would have been stuck with 80 MB worth of pages, bigger than everything currently in TWiLight Menu++'s 7z file combined.

    In the end, almost every page was ported and were made in a fasion better than the original. The only pages that didn't make the cut was the Cheats page (merged with nds-bootstrap) and the Nightly page (wouldn't make much sense to have a page like that on your DS, and it was hard to convert). Kudos to the folks who extracted the assets of the original, since I don't own GIMP and refuse to install it. But hey, that's the entire point of this project; Bye-Bye GIMP, into text formats that we can all edit.

  • The code to launch emulators in the DSi-based and R4-based themes was messy, defining variables for every type of ROM. The original goal of that code was to separate what was nds-bootstrap RAM-disk based and what wasn't, yet flashcarts didn't use RAM disks so the RAM-disk based extensions also contained the non RAM-disk launching code for flashcarts. Now, every title is looked at on its own, and then loaded altogether at the end. Kudos to RocketRobz for making the original DS Classic Menu code (which is where I pulled my inspiration from) as well as fixing emulator args (I was in NY so I couldn't)
  • Bug reporting in TWiLight Menu++ sucked and Guru Meditation errors were hard to understand. I wanted to help making the process of reporting bugs easier, so I started to look into how to make sense out of Guru Meditation errors. As it turns out, we could preserve the original elf file, run addr2line on the values shown on the Guru Meditation screen and then get the line of code that's messing up. I made it so that the elf is kept as well in the main binary, which is extremely helpful for developers. Evie11 then changed this to upload to TWLBot as opposed to with everything else (which makes sense), but at least the idea of better error reports are still there.
  • One feature I've seen gain popularity for wanting to support was autobooting. Few cards supported autobooting originally, and the `.nds` files they were based off of was old. Now they are automatically made up to date and new autobooters are supported, thanks to the research made by devKitPro and RetroGamersFan.

    It had a humble beginning, being that there was only one card being supported (the original R4) and we linked the dldi file manually. Over time, I noticed that other cards have other easy to implement autoboot functionality, but I didn't want to host a bunch of DLDI files on the repo itself. Thankfully, RocketRobz started a project to archive all the DLDI files on a different repo so I split the GitHub Actions to have separate actions for releases and nightlies. Since I forgot that submodules existed, I didn't want to manually clone over the DLDI repo every time so I made autobooters affect release only. Also, since I didn't use the Makefile, I had to link to r4enc and dlditool separately (thank you to urmum_69 and Evie for helping me with that), which didn't feel that great. Thankfully, I then started looking into cleaning up the method to create this, which is when I discovered that half of the contents in TWiLight Menu++'s MakeFile isn't needed and I could use submodules. The switch has been a success, so now you get autobooters for nightlies as well.

    The efforts into making a better flashcart experience is still strong with Evie and RocketRobz. Robz found a way to use DSi features on any flashcart and created a "return from YSMenu" application, while Evie11 figured out how to make YSMenu launching work.

    At that point in time, I didn't have a flashcart to test my autobooting with. Heck, right now, I only have one flashcart; The DSTTi (which I hadn't even tested yet to see if it works because of sd card issues). All my testing had to come externally, thanks to people like DeadSkullzJr, Evie, SNBeast & my boi uwabami who owned a SuperCard DSONE.

I am very grateful for RocketRobz for accepting my contributions to his application, and the people that helped test my constant failures. Working on a project as big as this has been a dream of mine for a while, and even though there were a ton of hiccups on the way (Blargboard forks, GridLauncher forks, etc), it’s now finally happened.

Part 9 — NightScript vs JoJo Bizarre Adventure

Ironic how I’m writing about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in my 9th part of this summer experience, yet JoJo never received Part 9 because Araki is stuck on JoJolion.

My goal this break was to be productive, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t have fun sprinkled in here and there. I had done a lot of productive things and I just wanted a break, to read either a good book, TV show, movie or other type of media that wasn’t hacking, coding, COVID-19 or any of the sort. I already ran out of Harry Potter books to read (and I don’t support JK Rowling anymore after her attrocious writting in Harry Potter: The Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald), I had no other book series that captivated me, movie theaters were closed and none of the other ones attracted me. Thankfully, memories hit and I got brought back to the Summer of 2017.

Back then, I didn’t mind watching animations or television in general, so I was open to the idea of starting to watch a new television show. One of those days, I was so bored I just wanted to pass time, so I started asking on the SM64 modding discord server for any suggestions. Someone suggested I watch an anime called JoJo Bizarre’s Adventure on CrunchyRoll, and I figured I’d give it a shot. I completed season 1, completed season 2 but got bored at season 3. I dunno, I just wasn’t interested in every fight just being “ORA ORA ORA” so I got demotivated. Funnily enough, when I introduced my buddy by the name of Ian to JoJo sometime this year, this is exactly what he thought as well.

This year, I was stuck in the same situation so I thought to continue the series, give it a fair chance. Indeed, Part 3 ended up being weak but I was so captivated by Part 4 and Part 5. It was no longer about ghosts with muscles as hard as bricks just punching everything that comes their way, but rather moreso a unique way to identify the enemy’s skill and defeat them. Plus, we got to explore the personalities of the characters as opposed to every episode being rinse-repeat. I can’t even say which characters are my favorite from Part 4 & 5, because each of them have something unique about them that makes them lovable characters.

I guess one issue though, is how this has been affecting my mental health. While I’m not on the same level as the apparent jojo syndrome, I still make dumb jojo references here and there. I guess watching it has been kind of unhealthy, especially considering that the only other dude I knew in real life who watched it left my school, so I feel alone. Kaisaan also thinks that I should watch something else, but I hadn’t had the slightest idea what I could watch that I would find interesting. Call me a boomer, but I don’t typically watch television because of stuff like Disney Channel making it cringy.

I suppose it’s something I will need to get over, but thankfully I think I’m starting to maintain control of myself. Plus, breathing calms me down (but I suppose also that is a JoJo reference, so I’m stuck of wanting to not make jojo references but ending up making them).

Part 10 — NightScript vs Guide Management

I mainly work alone on projects and when it’s with someone else, I’m typically the leader. If I’m not the leader, then I started off like that and typically stay like that throughout the entire project. However, the summer was quickly closing and I couldn’t continue this. It doesn’t help that I was sleeping on these guides for a majority of the summer because the official Discord server for development on these guides was filled with Nitro simps and the problems I was going to adress weren’t even the site’s biggest problems (but I couldn’t even fix the big problems because I didn’t own these guides). However, this all changed when emiyl gave me permission to move the channel to DS(i) Mode Hacking, getting more exposure for these guides. More importantly, the changes to the DSi Modding Guide caught the attention of Evie and urmum_69, who started to review my changes and the site as a whole. I gave them permission to start editing the fork and eventually, we reached a point where the guide is incomparable to how it was a year ago. You could read a list of all these changes on the DSi Modding Guide page, hosted here on this website.

I could not have asked for better partners to work with for this guide. Both of them contributed to Nintendo Modding guides beforehand, but I’m glad that we could all unite for DSi Modding. Even though I’ve taken a backseat, I’ve atleast built the foundation for what Evie and urmum are doing.

Finale - Part 11 — NightScript vs Senior year

So, I started this off with no plans of switching school. The public school I went to the year before and for summer schooling was the school I planned to start. In fact, all the paper work was already brought over, I already had my chromebook and I had just received my textbook. I really felt down that I wouldn’t be able to experience my daily “walk-back-from-school” session any longer and most of my friends left, but that’s ok as long as I wasn’t in the private school I went to the year before, because I had a bad experience there and thought nothing would ever change. As it happened though, it had changed; I was just ill-informed.

One of my classmates from the old school lives just down the block from me, but I hadn’t spoken or seen him ever since quarantine started. It felt weird not to be able to go see your friend that lived extremely closeby, so I planned to give a surprise knock on the door. Of course, after the general chatter (“hi”, “how are you”), the topic of course came up about schooling (what else do teenagers do? We’re no-life’s :P). I expressed my plans about going to the public school again. He gave me the usual “well, we miss you but good luck on your adventures” and with that, I departed from his house. However, as I was walking home, I was reflecting the topic that we just discussed (as I typically do after conversations) and noticed that I should have had more of an open mind in regards to the new school. I went back and asked him how things were going to be handled this year, in which he responded that most of the restrictions were lifted for seniors, most of the problematic students dropped out, the teachers I had issues with either were fired or didn’t cover 12th grade classes and there was the possibly of having half day in-person schooling.

See, the private school wanted to build us up for the future as opposed to the typical “learn 6 subjects every year during your entire high school career that will lead to nothing”. For example, I am now understanding how personal finance works, something I would never be able to do at the public school. However, these additional classes aren’t credited, so we could do them in person. Of course, that means that we have to call ourselves a camp as opposed to a school. The basic gist of it is that the first half of the day are those extra uncredited classes that are just on personal development while the second half are the required classes by colleges and what we need in order to graduate. The first half of the day is considered a camp so we could meet in person while the second half would be considered an actual school so we’d have to do distanced learning.

The school is also taking extra precautions to make sure that a COVID-19 carrier doesn’t enter the school and start infecting everything. When we wake up in the morning, we have to answer a health survey, that asks us basic questions on how we’re feeling. Once we enter the campus, we get our temperature taken before we are able to enter the building. Masks are to be worn at all times, seats are social-distanced abiding and the in-person time only lasts for 4 hours, making sure that we don’t spend too much time. Breaks are to be done outdoors and sometimes, an entire class might be held outdoors. Of course, if a student still doesn’t feel like this is safe enough or if he can’t make it, he could still attend classes on Zoom instead.

This was a huge deal for me, considering I was sick of being home. The replacement of traditional classes with Edgenuity in the public school enforced the mindset that people should not be socializing at all, which not even the “Advisory” class could fix. I’ve always considered video calling to be an alternative, because you can’t really connect to who you’re talking with. Before quarantine, my mental health was much healthier and I didn’t feel awkward anytime I made contact with another human. If things were to continue like this, I’d be worse than how I was when I moved to the US from Canada. I obviously needed to have social interactions and if guidelines were followed, then there should be no reason why I can’t go.

Most of you guys felt the same way. When posting the news on my discord server, everyone (except one person) was supportive and told me that as long as I was careful, I should be fine. I’m very grateful for all those that gave me words of encouragement during these times. I’ll be sure to follow the guidelines clearly, to not let any of you down.

Bonus — Failed Projects

You know how I always meme StackZ for working on a billion projects at the same time? I think I fell into that trap too, but I thankfully narrowed my workflow throughout the end of the year. Here are a list of projects I’ve started but never finished:

  • Puffle Paddle Deluxe - A clone of Puffle Paddle for the Nintendo 3DS. While not explicitly canceled, it has fallen into a state of hiatus
  • An direct archive for the Mario Making Mods website - Before deciding to recreate the website, I tried to convert the pages directly to HTML. However, I needed a tool which I couldn’t find anymore, yet remember using back on RVLution 6 years ago.
  • nesDS - An NES emulator for the Nintendo DS(i). My fork had plans attached to it that would clean up the codebase, which never happened because it was too late in the summer. Thankfully, others have taken up where I’ve fallen (Nadia and ds-sloth).
  • WWW 2.0 - The classic VVVVVV game, rewritten in JS for the web. My plan with this was to update the toolchains and add in the rest of the game. However, the toolchain maintainer didn’t care about backwards compatibility until it was too late. Updating it took too much work, and colision was broken. If I want to fix this, I’ll have to restart from scratch, something I’ve never done before in terms of game development.
  • DSi Mode Hacking website - A website for our community. It would have been hosted under ds-homebrew.github.io and contained guides, flashcart kernels and other goodies. I didn’t do it because of the overflow but maybe I could have another go at it again, especially considering Nintendo Homebrew might use it.

Conclusion

Although this summer had every reason to fail, it was a success in my eyes. From the coding projects I made, the leadership roles I took on, the writting I’ve done and all the fun I’ve had, this was a summer that I will never forget. I guess this harcons an important message; just because something has every reason to fail doesn’t mean it has to. Don’t let fate determine what you do, and be that golden wind that shines through. Otherwise, you’ll Bite The Dust. Break that Unbreakable Diamond and live free; as long as you are responsible and law abiding, you should be good.