Everything Haidra touches

The second fediverse canvas event just concluded and I’m very happy how this turned out. In case you don’t know what this is. Check out this post and then take your time to go and explore the second canvas in depth before it’s taken down, and look for all the interesting and sometimes even hidden pieces of pixel art.

This time I had a more interesting idea to participate. I decided to draw the Haidra Org logo. I didn’t expect a massive support, but was pleasantly surprised with how many people joined in to help create it after my initial post about it and my announcement on the AI Horde discord server. Some frontends like horde-ng even linked to it with an announcement.

Almost as soon as it started, we ended up conflicting in our placement with someone who was drawing a little forest on just below and to our left. I decided that they can have the foreground since we had plenty of space available which avoided any fighting over pixels. All in all, we managed to complete it within half a day or so which is pretty cool I like to think and we even got a small “garden” so to speak.

The final form of the Haidra drawing, including the little forest below and two Stus

Afterwards I thought it would be interesting to have the Haidra tendrils “touch” various points of importance or sprites that I like. I decided to extend out as if we’re made of water and a lot of other “canvaseers” joined in to help which I found really sweet.

First we extended towards the (then) center of the canvas (top left on the featured image above), passing next to the Godot logo, below OSU and finally reached the explosion of the beams. That took most of the first day but people were still pretty active, even though the infrastructure of the event had already started buckling under its own success.

Fortunately as we could “flow” like water and even “go under” other pixelart, we didn’t encounter any resistance in our journey, and a lot of people gave us a helping hand as well.

Once this was achieved on a whim, I decided to double down on the “river” similaity, and drew a little 17px pirate ship to show our roots and went to bed. When I woke up next morning, I was surprised to discover a Kraken was attacking it making a really cool little display of collaborative minimalistic art.

Haidra pirate ship fighting a Kraken

This kind of thing is why I love events like these. I love emergent stuff like these and seeing people putting the own little touches on what other started is awesome!

The next day the canvas had extended to be double in size and so a whole new area to the right was available, I had already noticed someone had created a little pirate banner towards the new canvas center, but it was alone and sad. So I decided we should try to give it a little bit of that Haidra embrace. So a long journey started with a new tendril to reach it. I had a rough idea of the path to follow as the direct route was blocked, but as soon as other started adding to it, it almost took a life of its own on its journey.

Eventually, towards the middle of the second day we reached it, passing under Belgium, through some letters and crossing the big under-construction trans flag before going over piracy, before I spawned yet another pirate ship before waterfalling down onto the mushroom house.

The path to piracy

At this point, the whole event took a dramatic turn as the performance problems had become so severe, that the admin decided to take the whole thing down to fix them, rather than let people get frustrated. This took half a dozen hours or so, and even though the event was extended by 24 hours to make up for it, the event momentum was kneecapped as well.

Once the canvas was back up for the third day, the next objective I had was a much longer journey to try and touch The Void that was extending from the top right. When I started, the path was still mostly empty, but as we moved towards it, the canvas became more more congested, forcing us to take some creative detours to avoid messing with other art.

All in all, we flowed over the Factorio cog, creating a little lake and spawning a rubber duckie in the process. Then through the second half of the trans flag, which caused a minor edit war, as the canvaseers thought we were vandalizing. Then the way up and over the massive English flag was sorta blocked, so we had to take a detour and slither between the Pokemon to its left first.

Until finally we reached the top of the English flag, where I took a little creative detour to draw a little naval battle. My plan was to have an English brigantine fighting with two pirate sloops, but as soon as I finished it, other jumped in with their own plans. First one of my pirate ships revealed itself as a Spanish privateer instead (which I suspect was a reference to the recent football events). And then over the course of the next two days, the three ships kept changing allegiances every couple of hours. Quite the little mini-story to see unfold.

Finally we were almost at our final objective, only to discover that our final objective was not there anymore. The Void had been thoroughly contained and blocked by a massive cat butler (catler?). The only thing left to touch, was a single solitary void tendril on the top. Surprisingly, as soon as we reached it, it livened and flourished into life, which was certainly not my original idea, but I went with it happily.

Having achieved all I wanted to do, and with the event (and the day) drawing to a close, I decided there’s no point setting any more goals and just left those interested start extending Haidra on a whim. You can see my final post here, which also links to all my previous posts, which also contain some historic canvas images, showing the actual state of the board at the time of the posting.

All in all, I had a lot of fun, and enjoyed this way more than Reddit /r/place which is botted to hell and back, making contributions by individual humans practically meaningless. Due to the lack of significant botting, not only was one’s own pixels more impactful, but humans tended to mostly collaborate instead of having scripts mindlessly enforcing a template. This ended with a much more creative canvas, as people worked off others ideas and themes, and where there was conflict, a lot of the time a compromise solution was discovered where both pieces of art could co-exist.

The conflict points tended to be political, as it so often happens. For example the Hexbears constantly trying to make the Nato flag into a swastika, or some effectively people rehashing the conflict around the Israel colonization of Palestine in pixel conflict form.

Some other things of interest:

  • I mentioned that the Spanish seem to have boarded and overtaken my pirate ship, and someone drew a little vertical ship coming up the stream for reinforcements. ❤️
  • Stus and AmongUs everywhere, sometimes in negative space, or only visible in the heatmap. Can you find them all?
  • The Void getting absolutely bodied when it tried to be destructive, but being allowed to extend a lot more when they actually played nice with other creations.
  • The amount of My Little Pony art is too damn high!
  • Pleasantly little national flag jingoism on display!
  • A very healthy amount of anarchist art and concepts and symbols. Well done mates! Ⓐ

See you next year!

The Birth of Haidra and the Join With Nivenly

A while ago I was having a lot of troubles trying to figure out how to make open source development work. It was a completely new endeavour by me and I kept running into payment processors issues. In desperation I wrote about it in Hachyderm, which is my primary mastodon instance and someone suggested to contact Nivenly which is an org created explicitly to provide guidance to such matters for open source software and are also based on Hachyderm.

While I discussions were ongoing with them, work was progressing on the AI Horde itself but I had eventually realized that I can’t keep everything under the AI Horde moniker. The AI Horde itself is the main middle-ware making it all possible, but nobody can use it in isolation. We don’t only need the Worker backends, but we also need the various frontends and bots which the end-users will use.

So I set up a Github org to provide an overarching group for the whole official ecosystem around the AI Horde. I called it Haidra, as is both can portmanteau the “AI” part but it also represents the endless potential between the integrations around the AI Horde. It is also one of my favourite concepts.

Long story short, Haidra is now hosting all the repositories that the public AI Horde needs to run, along with a lot of helper libraries and UIs. It has as members all the people who have provided invaluable support in development or community building. We also designed a neat logo for it using the AI Horde and a competition in our discord server which Tazlin further polished as our new logo. You can see it as the featured image in the post.

And today I’m excited to announce that Haidra has also officially joined the Nivenly Foundation!

While there’s a lot of people helping to make Haidra what it is, most of the community building still falls on me, along with the social outreach. Likewise there’s a lot of questions and problems around governance of an expanding community which are really not my strength. This is where Nivenly comes in.

The plan is that they will help us with best practices on growing and sustaining our community, and finding more volunteers, especially in community management and software development. They will also provide us with governance and legal support as needed. And generally plug any holes which a lot of developers (including with me) don’t have the skills to deal with.

I hope with The backing of the Nivenly Foundation, we can all together take Haidra and the AI Horde to the next level and ensure that Generative AI remains available for everyone forever!