Trans Derivative (of Visibility)
Building a Loot derivative to learn, to represent, and to be visible. Why I made Loot (for Trans Girls).
Loot (for Adventurers) is an iconic project. For outsiders and those to the space, it might, at first, seem silly — just a list of items in plain white text on a background — but what it accomplished on a technical level was meaningful. The lists and the accompanying SVG are generated entirely on-chain, without linking to any outside image files at all. Though the visual result might seem unimpressive, the technical feat was not. This inspired me to make Loot (for Trans Girls) for Trans Day of Visibility.
These, much like the classic, are a list on a black background. However, the text colors alternate between the ones used for the trans rights flag — which includes the original white. The items listed include things like hormone replacement therapy medications and other fun stuff stereotypically associated with the trans community like thigh-high socks and copies of Fallout: New Vegas.
Innovating on a Classic
Many people who make Loot derivatives simply copy the contract, put in different text, and publish it as-is. However, while that might be the most pure tribute to the original, it also is not nearly as exciting on the technical front. Therefore, I made two major adaptations.
The first was to use the alternate ERC721A implementation of the token standard in order to greatly optimize minting, much as I have done on previous projects like Dastardly Ducks and Yo Kitties. This ensures those minting the project pay considerably less in gas fees. Though a deviation from the technology of the original, there is no reason minters should pay a ton of extra ETH that does not even go to the creators of the project.
Additionally, the original Loot project did not put the item information in the token’s JSON data, only in the rendered SVG. Though many NFT marketplaces have since indexed them by this any for filtering purposes, ideally any meaningfully filterable information about an NFT should be included in the trait data in the JSON. All of this is still done entirely on-chain.
Of Missing Commas
Though I am overall incredibly proud of the work I did with this project, I made one surprisingly consequential mistake: I forgot a comma. This leads to a small number of Loot lists including the phrase “of Bottom Textof TERF Repulsion.” Given the randomized data is assembled from arrays of text hardcoded in the smart contract, a missing comma will cause two to become concatenated as on array item — despite being intended as two.
Many Loot derivative projects have released with minor flaws along these lines — I remind myself as I facepalm over such a simple mistake. Of course, Bottom Text surely makes good TERF Repellant. aw;ejkrhalewksjrthalerkj
Donating to Good Causes
As many familiar with my story know, only a couple of months ago, we saved the farm — our home — from foreclosure with NFTs. While we are trying to both rebuild after the rough period we went through financially and build more lasting financial security, we want to give back and donate some of the proceeds to charity.
At this time, only a small portion of the trans loot is minted, but I have donated 0.075 ETH (approximately $250) to Trans Lifeline, a vital trans charity that, thankfully, takes donations in cryptocurrency — an option increasingly being adopted by non-profits against the criticism of those eager to deny them valuable new revenue streams.
Crypto and NFTs is seen as the domain of cishet white men — and often the NFT collections reflect it. While I have met so many people in web3 who do not at all fit the “crypto bro” mold, it is true that they are the ones who often have big money with which to flip JPEGs.
By making an explicitly transgender-themed project, I hope to help carve out more of a deliberate space for others who might feel otherwise unwelcome. The project is licensed in the public domain, so anyone is free to use it — the contents and the smart contract code — however they wish.
Loot (for Trans Girls) is my first Solidity smart contract that is entirely on-chain — a task I originally thought would be daunting. Though it certainly adds a much deeper layer of technical complexity, ultimately, it comes down to assembling an SVG file through code, an XML-based format not unlike HTML with which I have plenty of experience.
Now that I have a much better conceptual understanding of how this SVG rendering process works, my mind is already alight with ideas of how to do more sophisticated, visually interesting pieces. If you are like me, the most effective way to learn is by doing — and this is a great way of doing on-chain art for beginners. My hope is others will see this project and be inspired to make other projects like it in order to dip their toes in with on-chain SVG art.
To be a truly great developer means to be continually learning, to push the boundaries of that which you are capable. So often in the past, it felt like those efforts were in vain — making some meaningless side project no more than a handful of people would touch because it was a glorified learning experience.
But in web3, glorified learning experiences are truly glorified. They’re art. Trans Loot (for Trans Girls) is an important moment in my journey as a software engineer that will forever live on-chain — truly on-chain. This collection, with it’s humor, it’s brilliance, and its missing comma, is an artistic, experimental snapshot of my dreams.
Trans Loot Links
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