ANNOUNCEMENT ONE Hiveswap has been released. You should go play it!
Huge thanks to the entire What Pumpkin Games team for all their hard work on this project. Everyone involved has much to be proud of. Personally, I think the game is VERY GOOD! Really, better than I imagined it would be when scribbling notes for it years ago. Credit is owed to the fans for their patience while the necessary time was taken to build a studio capable of making a game like this. And above all, credit is owed to the great team that brought it to life. If you happen to spot any contributors out in the wild, on social media or such, I hope you will extend your appreciation for what they have accomplished.
What Pumpkin and Homestuck are partnering with Viz Media to work on a lot of cool stuff together in the future. This will include projects based on both the Homestuck and Hiveswap worlds. The possibilities are wide open, but here are a couple examples of things we know we're going to work on already...
Viz will begin releasing the Homestuck books again, starting next year. These will be nice new hardcover editions, and the plan is to just keep turning out volumes until the entire story is in print. Each volume will be full of my Secret Notes just like the previous ones were. Viz will also be involved in the release of the mysterious epilogue project I alluded to a while ago. Details on format, release date, etc, will remain undisclosed until further notice, but you can expect more information about that to surface next year too. I wanted to do something a little unusual for it, something existing outside the confines of the web story. Working with Viz struck me as good opportunity for this.
Aside from that, anything can happen. Take a look at the sorts of things Viz has already published or produced. These are all examples of things on the table for future consideration for either Homestuck or Hiveswap. I've got plenty of ideas, and so do they. Maybe you do too??
Furthermore, there looks to be a post from ya boy, and mine, (the world's boy, really), Cohen, providing some insight as to the status of the game's development.
It also seems that a famous meat sandwich shop, called Arby's, has tweeted about Homestuck today? Why don't we call that the huge news of the day. Hell, let's agree to regard it as the most significant event of the past eight years.
Also a reminder of the What Pumpkin sale, including discounts on albums.
Status of Hiveswap: the game is just about done. It could still use some more testing to be absolutely certain we are not releasing a buggy piece of shit! To that end it will be worth waiting another several weeks or so. Perhaps more intriguingly I should mention that I've been working with some people on another thing, which will need to be announced when it is ready. I think it would be best to coordinate the announcement of the thing in question with the release of the game. So I'm not sure which will be done first, the thing or the testing, but neither will be unveiled until both are good and ready. Thank you as always for your legendary patience.
P.S. here is an ongoing reminder that you can still get cool Hiveswapstuff in advance of playing it, to aid you in your tireless quest to achieve supreme brand loyalty. God speed.
If you'd like to help greenlight Hiveswap on Steam, make sure to go vote for it here.
And if by some chance voting for this game's right to be distributed in this manner isn't enough to satisfy your desire to become truly one with the Hiveswap brand, may I recommend you browse this enticing array of preemptively available merchandise. (Here too.) I'm going to be perfectly candid with you here. If you haven't achieved absolute Brand Loyalty to this game before it comes out, you will probably suck at it. You've been warned.
Here is a quick look at the way this project has been shaping up. Whew, that is a nice looking game! Not going to lie, I am on some big time tenterhooks in anticipation of this release. I've actually started doing stunts on the tenterhooks, flipping around on them wildly, like a gymnast. It's an astounding spectacle of physical endurance and might. Sorry you can't check this out, it's absolutely unreal.
What else have I been up to? I sense that this has been being wondered about. Some I suspect wonder about the epilogue I mentioned, which I have been making some notes on here and there. But otherwise have been deferring in favor of attention to ~other projects~ which strike me as more pressing. It will be gotten around to. If you are wondering which of these projects may be related to Homestuck, I did have some "post-canon content" planned for later this month. That is as specific as I can be for now. Tune in here, let's say, a couple weeks from now.
The project that has occupied the lion's share of my professional time is one that you will understand completely why I have prioritized, when you eventually see it. Arguably it will prove to be the only relevant work of art in human history. I don't wish to give anything else away, or delay your experience of this unprecedented triumph of the human spirit. So instead I will light a fire under my ass, and attempt to deliver the content I know you have all been craving.
What else to report? Hmm. I know that usually the passage of time for creative individuals is tracked by the hours they spend which ultimately contribute to creative products which may be consumed. It is far from true that all of my hours this year have been applied that way. Suffice to say I've been on some strange adventures. I doubt I can do any of them justice here, in a newspost which is rapidly running out of words I'm willing to type. At one point I was thrown out of a stable. I've probably said too much already. Well, see you next time.
The final Homestuck album Volume 10 has been released. More fantastic music by many familiar names who have contributed to the comic over the years. Thanks to all who came together to make this. It's a great way to cap off an impressive discography, now standing at 27 albums.
Since 4/13 I have been preoccupied with a wide variety of projects. Some are related to Homestuck, some are not. And yet others are not so easy to categorize. I have kept busy, and do not feel there is much to report yet. But there probably will be over the next couple of months. Stay tuned, and please enjoy listening to some very good songs.
Today marks exactly seven years from the day Homestuck began. And Act 7's single-page installment marks the end of the story. Seven acts in seven years, to finish a sprawling "creation myth about kids in houses," as I would describe it for those who asked what my next project was about before I started it. What is there to say about this ending? The short and funny answer is, Homestuck has finally completed its long journey over the rainbow, and become the anime it was always meant to be. The longer and less funny answer will need some reflection. Maybe some day I will say some things about it. For now, I will leave you to draw your own conclusions.
The animation itself had a fairly complicated production history. I actually storyboarded it about four years ago. In fact, some of the shots I visualized before I even began Homestuck. I'd like to extend very special thanks to Angela Sham, who took the reins on the animation while it was in progress, and worked with me closely on it for about a year until it was done. She's a great animator, and I'm quite excited that she's continuing to work with us on the game.
It probably goes without saying, but ending this story is a personally significant moment as well. I could say more about this too, but I'd rather not fill the news section with too many words today. For now, all that's left to do is express some appreciation. Whether you've been here from the beginning, hopped on board somewhere along the way, or only heard of it last week and made an insane dash through the archive to catch up in time for the conclusion, I mean this sincerely:
Edit: one more thing. If you're curious about whether there will be anything resembling an epilogue to this ending, yes, I've been thinking about that for some time. It'll take a while to produce though, whatever specific form it ends up taking. Working on Collide took months, and came right down to the wire. I've got more time now though obviously. But that said, I'm not in a huge hurry at this point. Keep an eye out here for developments. There should be plenty of other news in coming months too.
Couple things! First, We Love Fine has released a series of cool shirts based on art from the Collide animation.
Second, all those shirt designs plus a bunch of other illustrations from Collide are also available as prints. You can get then in the What Pumpkin Store, which has just been relaunched primarily to offer prints, but also a few other items left over from the previous WP store.
Edit: Also, in case you haven't noticed yet, if you buy the full Homestuck discography on bandcamp right now, it is very heavily discounted. Not a bad time to grab the whole set, if you've been meaning to.
Thanks to the extensive group of artists who contributed to the end of act animation. Clearly it was a significant undertaking, and it wouldn't have been possible without so many great artists enthusiastically collaborating on it for months. Also thanks to Seth, Toby, Malcolm and Joren for the awesome music. It's currently available on bandcamp.
The panels posted between now and 4/13 were made by WP artists Adrienne, Angela, Gina, and Rah. They're really good!!! We're almost there. Act 7 drops on 4/13.
Here is the plan. Starting today, there will be 6 days of updates (about 125 total pages). Then a brief pause. Then on 4/6, I'll post the END OF ACT 6 animation.
That should immediately be followed by 7 days of updates (about 40 total pages), ending with an update on 4/13, the 7th anniversary of Homestuck. That update will contain ACT 7 in its entirety.
The current 125 page stretch was drawn by a few guest artists. Gina Chacon, Mallory Dyer, and Adrienne Garcia (all artists for WP). The panels they did are very good, and I think make for a nice runway leading up to the final animations. Of course there are a lot of other great contributing artists to all that content as well. Thanks for the patience during the Omegapause. I hope you enjoy the conclusion to Homestuck.
Additional news: the second Paradox Space book is available to order. It contains all the stories not published in the first book (which you can find here). It also contains a bonus story I wrote which is only available in the book. You can see a preview for that story here: p1p2p3p4
That is all for now! I still have a lot of work to do. Ok, see you later.
I believe I mentioned I would provide a status update in a month, and it's been about a month, so here is an update. If the question is whether I'm still on track for a 4/13 finish, the answer I think is "probably". The remaining content is a scattered array of regular panels and animated content, but I think I can boil it down to the two heaviest individual "projects" which comprise most of the effort needed to finish. Those are End of Act 6, and Act 7. So to give you a better sense of where I am, I will track the progress of those two things as a percentage of completion.
EOA6 - 30%
A7 - 100%
I will update these numbers in another month. Hopefully they will both be higher, instead of lower.
SHOUT OUT ZONE BELOW
Welcome to the shout out zone, here are a couple of shout outs. The first shout out is,
NEO-KOSMOS: A comic by my friend Shelby (who did all Calliope art for HS), and her friends Amber (works on Steven Universe) and Adrienne (also does a lot for HS). They've been working really nicely with the MSPA format. It's a quick read to catch up, and it really feels like the story has been taking off lately. I'd recommend you at least read up to a very cool animation they just posted (which includes a song by Toby). If you're looking for a fun story to follow over the next few months while you wait for HS, I think this is a good pick!
The next shout out is UNDERTALE, by my friend Toby. I know I mentioned it on the KS update but it probably bears repeating here too. Also I guess it's not so much a "signal boost" since by now UT is PRETTY WELL KNOWN! Let's get real, Toby is probably the one who should be giving HS shout outs from now on. Though it's not about giving UT a boost in popularity so much as a reminder that I believe he has made a fun and special game, and if you haven't gotten around to playing it yet, I think you should! It's an experience that anyone who likes games should have.
As promised, here is your end of year news update. On Christmas no less! Must be a miracle. My apologies for having wasted your Christmas miracle on something so pedestrian as new web content.
Anyway, about that content. Got a couple STATUS UPDATES to report.
First, here's an update on Hiveswap. Long story short: there was a bit of a pause while we shifted gears on the production, but all the new stuff is looking fantastic. Take a look and see for yourself! You will not disagree.
Second, Homestuck. Remember that? Me neither. Um, ha ha, just kidding, it's all I think about ever. Anyway, I've been juggling work between this and Hiveswap pretty furiously. But I've been making progress on the ending. I would like to shoot for 4/13 of next year to have it wrapped up. Given everything I have to do, this might actually be a tight squeeze! But I'll do my best. It will conclude with Act 7, and some preceding material including EOA6 will lead up to it. It's a lot of content. I'm getting uncomfortably close to reaching a half hour of projected new animation footage. (No, not all in one animation, don't worry. Spread out across several.) Will it all be ready in time for the 7 year anniversary of Homestuck? We'll just have to wait and see.
I'll give you another update on the status before then though. Why don't we say... another month? Sounds good to me, see you then.
Hi again. Hasn't been much to see here in a while, so I figured it was time to stop by. Actually I was planning on giving a more substantive update on the progress with both Homestuck and Hiveswap around the end of the year. I'm working on both at the same time right now, so it's keeping me very busy. But progress is going well for both. I'll probably be in a better position to say when Homestuck will update by the end of the year. I'll also have a better collection of materials to show for a Hiveswap update by then too. Progress on the game has been looking great. I've just been very focused on getting work done, so I haven't really had much time to organize a meaningful update. Check back in a few weeks though, and there should be something to see. Thanks for the patience!
In the meantime, neat things keep popping up in the We Love Fine store. Take a look, there are: blankets, calendars, and probably some more stuff you might have missed if you look around!
Whoops, I said I was going to make an update about the pause soon, but then I accidentally forgot this website existed for several weeks. Sorry about that! But then again, pause announcements aren't very exciting, and I already told you there would be a pause, so it PROBABLY doesn't matter much? Anyway, here it is. The Omegapause Announcement.
If you go by page count, Homestuck is about 99% done. The remaining 1% will involve another stretch of pages, and some heavy animation work, which I probably won't even start for another month or two, as I catch up with some other work. In case it hasn't seemed obvious by now, I'm not in much of a hurry anymore. The manic rates of production this site used to enjoy will not be revisited. I won't be making 13+ minute animations in six weeks anymore. (That is very fast, if you didn't know.) All remaining content will be created at a pace more in keeping with the spirit of sanity. It will be done when it's done.
As for when that is, I don't have any concrete projections. Maybe it will all drop some time next year? Hmm, seven acts in seven years... sounds pretty good to me! Maybe it will work out that way. I guess we will have to wait and see. I think it will be good though. If it was going to be bad, you'd be watching it tomorrow.
In other news, the entries for the We Love Fine Shirt Design Contest are in, and ready for votes. There are a bunch of good ones! Thanks to all who submitted a design.
That was the last update for a good while. I'll say more about the pause soon.
The flash: song was an old and good one by Malcolm Brown, whose name I'd hope you would be familiar with by now. Art contributed by Adrienne, Ikimaru, Guzusuru, Shelby, and Rah. Great to work with all these people again. As has always been the case, the enthusiasm for the story by all contributors really shows in the work they do, and makes the final animation result feel a lot more special than it otherwise would be. A big thanks to all these artists, along with anyone else who ever left their artistic mark on this story.
9828 had a song and a drawing by James Roach and Ipgd respectively. Whoa, those are respectively very very good. The doomsday screed is by this son of a bozo, and it does appear to have motivated quite a STRONG wave of selfie posting. Maybe enough to even save the website from old man Hussie? Guess we'll find out. Hmm, sure does seem like Homestuck has a lot of good lookin' readers. I must say I am impressed. I have taken quite an extensive tour through your offerings and I have yet to find an unattractive face in front of Arquiusprite's tremendous buttocks. Kudos to every single selfie-snapper for being so preposterously photogenic. Just, wow. People have got a couple tumblrarchives already if you want to take a look. I don't know which of those is "better," or more exhaustive, but you know what, a little competition never killed anybody. I guess they can be like the Coke and Pepsi of this baloney ass stunt, for as long as people wanna keep pointing phones at their own faces.
On the update front, I said there'd be 8 more, but I collapsed a couple so it's down to 7. Meaning there are two left, one on monday and tuesday. This doesn't mean you're seeing all that will happen before the endstuff. After the pause there'll be another stetch of pages more in the vein of escalating material, which I think is better to post closer to the animation that follows it, rather than now and get everybody hype for a whole lot of waiting. Instead I picked an update to pause it on which I think is a good and nice place to leave off that doesn't feel too cliffhangery. Then there'll be a significant pause, but only because I still haven't quite figured out how to pull a very significant animation project out of thin air yet. So that'll take a good while. I guess I'll say more about the pause when it has officially begun. Until then please enjoy the weekend of the Great Hug Bump of 2015.
I have not prepared a new horse calendar. This does not mean there will be no horses. Believe me, the horses will flow. These might be fully uncalendared, free range horses though. I estimate there are eight updates left before we initiate what can only be called the Omegapause. I'll start posting them on monday, and probably post a thing every day thereafter, but we'll see how it goes. After that will be a long wait for conclusive content. Probably quite a long wait. But I will be more specific about that once we have finished getting a load of these eight beautiful and majestic horses. I would also like to briefly and somewhat insincerely apologize if you are new to the site, and don't have the faintest fucking clue what I am talking about, with respect to all this horse stuff. I offer neither an excuse, nor an explanation.
I just scrolled down on this website to take another look at the horse calendar, and sure enough, it does appear we have run out of scheduled horses. I think that means we are due for another off-week. I will let you know what the new horse situation is going to be in approximately seven days!
Starting now, We Love Fine will become the primary seller of Homestuck products. Almost everything from the What Pumpkin store will be gradually moved over to the We Love Fine store over the next few weeks. We're also working on a lot of cool new things, which will show up in the WLF store over the following months.
WLF is also running another shirt design contest this month. There were a whole lot of great entries last time, and many of them ended up getting printed. Maybe YOU have a cool idea for a shirt this time around?? I would like to see it!
In closing, I will say this. We Love Fine is a great company! I've worked with them for a couple years already. The people there are VERY enthusiastic about making great stuff for fandoms. Take a look around their site. There's a good chance you will see stuff for other properties you like as well. I'm looking forward to seeing what else they're going to make for Homestuck!
Usually I do the panoramic denizen illustrations myself, but this time I had some help. Someone who goes by the name Rah-Bop drew this lovely and extra-long Echidna shot. Whew that is some good art!!! I continue my unbroken streak of basically being the luckiest dude that so many incredible artists are attracted to the HS brand and willing to contribute. Thanks Rah!
P.S. Toby Fox made those snake noises and as usual I'm not sure how he did that. Maybe he is actually physically capable of making those sounds??
Paradox Space, Book One! This is an extremely attractive collection of comics. One of my main objectives for the Paradox Space project was to start piling up enough great comic content to put into books like these, because books full of comics are very cool. This book covers roughly half of the year's worth of comics. There'll be another one covering the other half eventually. At some point we'll unpause PXS and fire up the comic-making operation again. I've been leaning toward the idea of making the future of PXS more print-centric, and keeping a lot of content reserved for books only. That way, when you get books, it will be more fun to discover what stories are inside. In the meantime though, I hope that you enjoy this one!!!
A slight horse modification to the calendar below. I won't be around the stable in time to let him trot about the paddock, so I'm afraid I must release him into the pasture to stud. Goodbye, 5/25 horse. We enjoyed your 50x50 thumbnail, while it was not crossed out.
For this stretch, I don't think I'll be doing the midnight updates anymore. At least not midnight EST. It always seems to keep the kids up too late! The kids of the Americas, I mean, which I'm sure represents the majority of the readership. It's always midnight SOMEWHERE, though. Instead I'll probably be updating around the strike of midnight in some European nation, most days. Which nation will it be? It is a fun surprise.
As you can see, it is a pretty swift horse schedule, with a couple of horseless weeks mixed in there. You may recall my mnemonic device for remembering the previous M/W/F schedule of Monhay, Wedsneigh, and Frihorse. Now we can add two more to help you remember, Tuesnort, and Thursclop. I understand this comic can get confusing sometimes, so you are definitely going to need those to help guide you on the rest of this journey.
All pages for the above horses have already been drawn. I still have a batch of pages to draw to round out A6A6I5, but not as many as I have already done. I hope that you like it when characters in stories talk to one another, because there's an awful lot of that to come. Please stand by patiently and enthusiastically as my fake teens sit around bullshitting to the bitter end. Then a bunch of cool stuff will happen, and that will be that!
That isn't a typo or anything. 41.3% off everything in the store for a few days. Yes, that discount is probably WAY steeper than it needs to be. But I thought it would be a cool way to thank the readers who have been sticking with this nutty story all these years. So feel free to go bonkers and grab whatever cool swag you might have had your eye on. It is a great and likely rare opportunity to get stuff super cheap!
MSPA updates again on the 14th and 15th, finishing off the "masterpiece". The sale runs through the 15th too!
1) New trailer for Hiveswap! Creeping ever closer to the release of episode one. In case you weren't aware by now, What Pumpkin Studios is developing it. WP is now a gamedev studio which I happen to think is pretty cool. There have been a bunch of Kickstarter updates recently showing progress too. Here are some more links which will help you keep up with game news: Twitter | Tumblr | FB
2) Homestuck returns on April 13th! That's in just a few days. Are you ready? I doubt it, but when has that ever stopped us before. We start with Caliborn's much anticipated masterpiece, running from the 13th-15th. Then regular updates probably resuming a week after that. I haven't decided on the update schedule yet, but when I do it will almost certainly be communicated to you in the only manner which you will tolerate from me, which is more horse calendars. I am thinking of a fairly swift update schedule. A lot has piled up. Over the last month (not counting his 40 page masterpiece, which was done months ago) I have somehow drawn another 400 pages, which is possibly some sort of MSPA record. Be warned, due to that obscene page rate some of these panels are lookin pretty fast and loose! They nevertheless exist, which is usually what matters most for this website. There's still more to draw beyond that to finish off the rest of A6A6I5, which is the final "normal act". But really not too much. We're getting real close here. I will chip away at the remaining panels as I roll out this batch. Then, it's all animation work after that.
3) Paradox Space! 4/13 is the exact one year anniversary of its launch. And as HS resumes, PXS will be pausing for a good while. We actually paused production back in January, and have just been posting from a comic buffer since. This has much to do with shifting priorities heavily to gamedev needs, but I'll explain more about it and the future of PXS in a little while, on that site. But also, there'll be a PXS book coming out soon! It looks very good. Also, if you haven't checked out PXS in a while, now would be a great time, because it's going into its pause on a very strong note. It's been running an incredibly great 51 page story by Zack, Jon, and Shelby. Kudos to all of them. This has easily been one of my faves.
So what do we call this pause? I've been batting ideas around all day. We could go with the obvious choice, the MINIGIGAPAUSE. Or maybe, MEGAPAUSE 2: BACK IN THE MEGASADDLE. Or if that makes too much sense, we could always settle on the MICROTERAPAUSE. As you can see, there are so many incredibly intelligent and meaningful things we could call this pause. Deciding how to refer to the pause is an exercise that I will leave to the reader. Feel free to discuss the matter with friends. Or strangers. Anyone who will listen really. If they start to run away, I strongly recommend you chase them.
Why don't we say that A665 begins on 4/13. That's a fun number that we all can get excited about. I have a lot of catch-up work to do between now and then. Not the least of which is drawing the actual content to be posted. But also a lot of gamedev work. Game production is rolling pretty hot right now. Stuff is being churned out almost faster than I can keep track of. Did I mention? I accidentally started running a game studio a little while ago. Whoops, sorry about that. There are all these people being paid to make things happen, and I have to be like "Yeah, keep doing that stuff, everybody." It's getting pretty easy to lose track of how many people work for What Pumpkin. My last estimate was somewhere between 30 and 1000. The true figure is a very frisky moving target.
A6A6A5, a.k.a. Caliborn's Masterpiece, is actually done. It's probably better to hold off posting it until 4/13, when more content will soon follow afterwords. I am sure pausing on that note for months would mess with your head a lot more than the note we're already pausing on. I sometimes feel I have at least a modest responsibility to manage your sanity. It'll be tough sitting on this content though. Tougher than sitting on all of A664 for the better part of a year. I don't think it is out of line to describe it as the best material this website will ever exhibit. It will be all down hill from there, in every direction. Even up.
Speaking of sanity management, way back when, I was pretty on the fence about posting A664 spaced out over months like I did, vs. all at once. Doing the latter in hindsight probably would have been a fucked up thing to do to the internet though. The GAME OVER fallout alone was a bit much as it was. Including it in tandem with the rest of it? Not sure what to make of that. Let's review the CONTENT CRUSH that would have entailed. Bad Anime -> Game Over -> Sadstuck -> Lowas Quest -> 100 retconned panels of oil -> A bunch of other shit -> Punky Serket -> Fantroll Storytime -> 8 password pages -> The Kiss On Horse Mountain -> and finally -> The Punchline. You know, that's an awful lot of baloney to publish. I think the fell-swoop reaction to all that would have been quite a thing to behold, but also, perhaps an irresponsible thing to do to a hapless fanbase after a year in hibernation. I'm told that in 2015, young people are heavily susceptible to "the feels", and trifling with those forces could be injurious to their future development. Wait, did that just sound like something your grandpa would say? Mother fuck, where did I put my cane. Oh right, I snapped it in half from shaking it at the sky.
I may have been in the process of making a point there, but we're going to have to pick this up another time. The comic isn't going to pause itself!!!
Over the last couple months, I have been surreptitiously collapsing several update horses into single, bigger horses. This means A6A6I4 is going to end a little sooner than previously advertised. Same total page count, but finishing sooner. Please consult the important horse calendar below.
So what happens when A6A6I4 is done? I'm not quite sure yet. I'm still working on everything that comes after that. I've written it mostly, but haven't drawn anything yet. There will almost certainly be another pause, but I'm not sure how long it will be yet. I will let you know after 1/19.
Here is one last drop of cool stuff for you to buy before your chimneys are plundered by a mythical oaf.
A new one of these guys, who is red:
Cute stickers?? (yes):
^^^ Due to the adorable nature of these, I will call them another "Hussie Pick". That means 1 sticker sheet in every 100 is GUARANTEED to have been whisked gently by the tail of a playful horse.
PIPEORGANKIND. It is a song from a solid dude, by the name of James Roach. It capped off the old Colours and Mayhem B album a couple years ago. The song features some hella piping, a lot more than what you heard in the Flash. Animating five full minutes of pipe organ music maybe, just maybe, would have been a tall order. I guess there could always have been a few more slow panning shots across breezy landscapes. Keep an eye out for that version of the Flash in the director's cut of Homestuck, which of course will be ten times longer.
If you scroll down a bit, you'll see some new stuff in the store. But there is some even NEWER new stuff, so I'm posting it up here. Higher up means new on the internet, whereas lower down is where yesterday's garbage belongs. (Except wait it's not garbage, it's all still great. Buy everything!!! Whew, nice save. I just saved Christmas.)
^^^ This one by Zack is extra dope, let's call it a "Hussie Pick". That means every single copy sold is GUARANTEED to have been breathed on by a horse.
A friendly reminder that the designated artist for all Calliope art in Homestuck is Shelby Cragg. So please buckle up. We have entered the Shelby zone, and we may be here a little while. She and her pal Taz have also just completed a webcomic which you should also take a moment to check out. It looks good!
Around this time of year, people just seem to be in the mood to buy things. I can't seem to put my finger on it. Could it be enthusiasm over Eat A Red Apple Day? (Cool fact: every day is this day if you are a horse.) Or maybe it's the notorious early shopping rush for Bathtub Party Day. Wait, no, it must be due to the usual hustle and bustle surrounding Oatmeal Muffin Day. That's the ticket.
Actually no, those are all stupid holidays that make no sense to anybody. I will have to remain just plain stumped over this. Nevertheless, What Pumpkin is more than prepared to facilitate your inexplicable 4th quarter spending impulses. Please observe this desirable merchandise which you can computer-click on at any moment of your choosing.
I posted the Wednesday update just a bit early to catch the tail end of 11/11, or as it is otherwise known, the Day of the Cherub. Celebrate this day retroactively by spending some time with Calliope. "Oh yes, we love Calliope, and cherubs in general!" the fans erupted. *AH retires to study to continue writing 10,000 word authorfic of fan reactions to his comic, whilst basking in the glow of make-believe adulation.*
Are you used to the new schedule yet? Honestly the main reason I went with a simple MWF schedule is so that I wouldn't confuse MYSELF. If it were anything goofier I would probably forget to update, since A664 is all done and just sitting there. Even so, I have developed a helpful mnemonic device to remind me of the calendar days marked by horses, which you may find useful as well. Just remember MSPA updates on MonHAY, WedsNEIGH, and FriHORSE, and you're good to go. You seriously can't even believe you didn't think of that, but really, there's no need to thank me. I'm here to help.
There comes a time in every young Homestuck's life when they must face the fact that a notable comic author has swindled them into getting on a bus labeled "cool updates", only to swerve said bus off the highway and into a precipitous gulch of unmitigated sadstuck. But the old wives tale says that sadstuck was just a thing that happened in our fanfics, the bus children wailed. That's what they said about the tricksters too, a veteran child in the back replied. They said the tricksters would never see the light of canon, but where are the doubters now? Where are they now. Propping up six feet of dirt is where. The veteran child is weirding everybody out, so they stop looking at him, and turn to the driver. But the driver is now a spooky skeleton and the kids lose their shit. The skeleton head does a creepy 180, and speaks his scary curse. Heed me bus youths, for I am the ghost of future sadstuck. I have traveled back in time and am on a bus for some reason I guess, to punish you for your maudlin fics. For every time you murmured sadstuck while having a feeling, for every fic you pastebinned by candlelight, my curse has grown stronger, and my legend, dumber. Then the skeleton ran out of stuff to say, and looking a little embarrassed, turned around again to keep driving. Then he screamed once he remembered the bus was falling.
Thanks for listening to my short story. We like to have a good time here at MS Paint Adventures, The Website. The gigaplay is off to a rocky start of unhewn feels. If your kerchief has become too soggy with tears from emotion, skeleton terror, or just plain admiration for my skill as a short story writer (can't blame you there), and you wish to lighten the mood, I recommend moseying over to Paradox Space, which is currently running a 24 page comic I have written about Crowbar. I am alert to the desires of readers every single day, and the one thing I hear them clamor for above all else, is more stories about CROWBAR. We want more content about Crowbar, RIGHT NOW, they say, and make that content consist of 24 beautifully illustrated comic pages, MINIMUM. I just give the people what they want.
Fortunately, Homestuck's Premier Felt Fan #1 Jones was available to do a spectacular job of illustrating this comic. My rambling noir-style monologues have never before overlapped such lovely artwork.
GOD TIER TALK!
I don't answer Q's about Homestuck much anymore. It was a practice which I think used to be some people's lifeline for decoding the enigmatic runes of this story. Now, since they can no longer depend on answers which I supply between horse jokes and snappy retorts, they are lost in the woods to fend for themselves against the wolves of dubious fanalysis.
Pulling the ripcord on the Homestuck machine again, combined with recent story events, makes me think something FAQQY may be in order. The thing is, when you make a big story, and allude to rules for a complicated system dictating mortality, people tend to REALLY, REALLY want to understand how it works. Speculation naturally fills the vacuum in lieu of concrete data. Theories are crafted. Headcanons, congealed. Then, when additional data is presented (DEAD KIDS), which happen to chafe with fanon constructs, feelings run ragged, and Bullshit is called. Then Bullshit shows up, and says, you rang? And the fanonistas say, yes Bullshit. Look at this mess. LOOK at it. This in NO WAY jives with my views on what constitutes heroism and justice. Bullshit nods sagely while lighting its pipe.
Earlier in HS when god tier folk were more scarce, the story was more cagey about these verdicts. The Vriska ruling was presented as a close call, which maybe could have gone either way. Then Slick smacked the clock to Just before it could settle, leaving the true verdict ambiguous, and the 'moral debate' intact, so to speak. But now that there are a lot of god tiers running around, with the stakes raised and the body count piling up, the game (or, story) is starting to be more liberal with its rulings. As in, more likely to come down hard on Just, Heroic, or Neither verdicts without intervention or obfuscation, helping us better understand the boundaries of heroic and just action through example. Not necessarily by moral definitions, but as dictated by the rules of a game.
So that turns the story guy (sometimes known as an "author") into something like a ref at a basketball game. He blows the whistle when he sees the basketball guy (the "baller") take a half step without bouncing the ball. The home team crowd does not detect the subtle violation and goes boooooo! Those homers can boo all they want, but you know, the guy is really just some bozo with a whistle. The rules are the rules!
There's reason to think there is a nuanced scale ranging from Heroic to Just inside the clock. There may be many shades of justice and heroism, some forms just barely qualifying to seal one's fate. But there's nothing nuanced about Alive vs. Dead. The result of a coin flip is absolute, even though there may be many subtle factors contributing to which side it lands on. Such as whether the coin is pure of heart, and whether the table it lands on has ever killed a man. You get a sense for the nuance of the judgment when it comes to these "close calls", like with Vriska, or more recently, with Jade. In her case, she was subject to mind control when she racked up her misdeeds, which ordinarily would probably exempt her. But it wasn't ordinary mind control. More like flipping an "evil switch", removing her ethical filter, thereby letting he personality come through, and giving her license to act on impulses which she'd ordinarily suppress. So this gives the clock something to work with. Still, her behavior is compromised, so it's by no means a slam dunk. (BASKET BALL! that is still the metaphor.) So it's very close, and perhaps the clock even spares her... except for Aranea, whose luck lets close calls break in her favor, and nudges that needle one hair to the Just side. Very unlikely that happens if it's not close already though. Jane's situation is basically the same, and so is her verdict.
How about Jake? He's the only player who's had two rulings. The first time, he was blustering Ronald Reagan quotes at the top of his lungs when Jane forked him, which I think we may agree safely disqualifies him from heroism (though the Republican party may disagree). The second time was ruled Heroic, when he took a realmaginary ninja sword through the chest for a friend. This corresponds pretty closely with most people's definition of heroic, so I doubt anyone would consider this one controversial either.
Dave? Probably not much to debate here either. Fighting while attempting to save a dead friend, to bring her back to Jane for resurrection. There's a moral element here, tied to common ideas of heroism, so there's not much in dispute. When factors stray somewhat from moral notions of heroism, that's when there is more fuel for debate. So what about Rose?
Wasn't John killed by Jack under similar circumstances to how Rose died? So why did he survive, and Rose didn't?
The circumstances were very similar, on the surface. But I would suggest that the similarity of the two situations, both leading to different outcomes, helps clarify the rules in play, not confuse them. The reason for this? SCIENCE.
If you were a scientist in this fictional world, trying to test this fictional construct, these are the exact kinds of situations you would seek out to prove or disprove whatever hypothesis you had. Situations that are very similar, with most factors isolated, and varying only in minor and controlled ways. That's how you would start to understand where the line is between heroic and non-heroic conduct.
So what varies between the situations? What line does Rose cross which John doesn't? It becomes pretty obvious if you break the two scenes down. John was standing there, poised for battle with Jack, for all of two seconds before Jack auto-stabbed him from behind. Not even to speak of the underhanded tactic by the villain, I think what's more important is John didn't even get a chance to move. Or specifically, to prove through action that he was prepared to do battle with a foe. In fact, hindsight may tell us he wasn't. He hadn't been through much then. But years later, when he reenacted that scene with Jack through a dream bubble, he was ready that time. He had years to think about that moment, to reflect on the damage caused by Jack, and what he might have done differently if he'd been more prepared, and if the battle wasn't cut short. But during the first encounter, there was no time for heroic intent to translate into action.
Compare with Rose's situation. Her feelings are unambiguous. Her mind is made up, and committed to action in the form of forward motion. Sorry Rose, you took a few too many steps through the paint on your drive to the hoop. Gotta blow the whistle!
The two similar situations illustrate where one of the lines are for heroism (as a game rule, not moralistically), and in this case, that line is action. It would seem it's not good enough just to have heroic intentions or bold feelings. It doesn't cut it to strike a pose and look cool for two seconds. The intent should be expressed through commitment to an action. The action is what proves the intent. For all we know, John wasn't ready to back up his posture. For all we know, he was terrified! Rose wasn't though. Her action proved it.
Why does Rose lashing out in vengeance count as heroic?
If you wanted my personal opinion on heroism, I would say a vengeful act is not heroic by itself. We all have our ideas on what heroism means. But I think this is the wrong question to ask.
The concern here is less about the moral definition of a heroic act, and more about how heroism is defined in terms of a series of rules which a game system can enforce.
Based on some evidence we have, and some things Doc once said about god tier immortality, it's pretty safe to make at least one generalization about heroism as a game construct. The game/story regards your behavior as Heroic if you make some effort to defeat or kill someone who is villainous (or in other words, someone worthy of a Just death). The state of the hero's mind is just an additional consideration, such as whether they happen to be motivated by anger or vengeance.
But let's imagine for a moment that a vengeful act is automatically unworthy of heroism, even if directed against a great evil.
Wouldn't this be a MAJOR loophole for god tiers to avoid dying heroic deaths? It would mean to qualify as a hero, you couldn't feel anger toward a villain who has almost certainly done something to provoke anger. If a hero ever experienced loss at the hands of a villain, their natural emotional state would exempt them from the heroic consequence of the actions resulting from that anger. They would be completely invulnerable to a villain, so long as they maintained a grudge! The thing with villains is, they tend to have a way of inflicting loss on others. If being wronged precluded heroic behavior, villains would suddenly discover heroes to be incredibly rare commodities.
There's a lot to think about here. It's a combination of how you want to morally define heroism and justice, and how to pragmatically construct enforceable rules to that effect. The latter is something that can get very technical, and boil down to hairline actions such as whether one exhibits clear enough forward motion or such, roughly the way sports are officiated. There's no way I'll ever come up with a full list of rules, or even get much deeper into the rules than I have here. But I believe this is a rational outline for the way the subject may be examined, if you wish to do so!!!
A6A6A4 is under our belts, just like that. Cal's inspiring journey as an artist is nearly complete. His "masterpiece", A6A6A5, is really going to be... wow. Something else, let me tell you. I will also disclaim it will be uncharacteristically plot relevant for these goofy green-web-skinned bookends to the greater A6A6 arc. Oops I have said to much already. Sorry, his masterpiece is just really really exciting stuff, even by Homestuck standards. Hopefully the Felt pony up the calcoins BIG TIME.
I briefly considered making calcoins a real thing in tandem with this update. I asked somebody how bitcoins worked, and the absolute worst case scenario happened. Bitcoins were explained to me. So obviously I axed that idea. But maybe there's still hope? Maybe intrepid fans can make calcoins real. Who's in charge of making all the bitcoins out there? Is that Reddit? I think it might be Reddit. Somebody please get in touch with the head honchos of Reddit and get to work on the calcoins, stat. Bonus points if they can somehow have negative monetary value. That way, when the bubble bursts, we'll all make millions. Just be sure to funnel tons of coins into my Swiss cloud of fiduciary mainframes, invisible to the prying eyes of Uncle Fucking Sam.
Ok, how about enough of this horseshit and I get down to some brass tacks here.
A6A6I4 is approximately 450 pages. It begins 11/3. Here is the update schedule for the whole thing.
A few horse positions may be subject to change as I go, but that is the gist of it. I am spreading it out this way so I have time to write A665 (+I), which I suspect I may be drawing "live" when time comes to start posting it. That will be the last batch of what you might call "Homestuck as usual". Everything after that is low page-count (albeit laborious to produce) endgame stuff.
Homestuck continues this Saturday, with A6A6A4 posted in its entirety, resuming with the true focus of Homestuck, Caliborn's incredible journey as an artist. Then A6A6I4 starts on Monday, and will continue in a semi-regular manner thereafter, until it is done. I will find some horse calendar pages and illustrate the schedule for your convenience. You are, as always, welcome.
Song is Carne Vale by Malcolm Brown. Always been a big fan of Malcolm's work, so it's cool to kick off the comic again with one of his songs.
Thanks to contributing artists Hanni, Matt, Jon, Rennie, Zack, and Jones. All of whom have contributed to Paradox Space as well. I haven't done a (non-game) Flash with a lot of contributing artists in a while. I think Cascade was the last one? Kind of a throwback to the old Art Team days. Remember that? Actually, the expanded network of PXS artists is almost like Homestuck Art Team 2.0. A number of the (now many) artists involved with that comic have sorta parlayed that work into other HS projects, including stuff for the game (more on that soon). It's been pretty awesome having so many great artists help build on the Homestuck universe.
About the Flash. Or really, A663 as a whole. Truly we are back in the saddle, with bad anime and mass murder - the quintessential Homestuck Experience. A year ago I knew I was going to have to pause for a long time. I made sure to cut it off just before this act, not after. Leaving you hanging on that note for a year... damn. Not even I am that cruel. Now you will only have to wait a week to see what happens next. I will say this much. It sure is a bunch of stuff that happens. The regular update engine lurches back to life on 11/1.
But as of typing this, by my watch, 10/25 isn't over yet, and technically neither is the update day. Hmm.
Not that it's particularly relevant, but remember I'm not actually working on the next update in the meantime. I wrote all this stuff almost a year ago. Just spacing out the content while I get more stuff done. Feels odd to be pulling content off a dusty shelf like this instead of making it all on the fly at breakneck speed, with my keen finger GLUED to the PULSE of the fandom and "the cyber zeitgeist". So if you read a joke and go, pff, that was SO last year, that's why. But really, the joke is on you, because cracking wise about DeviantArt weeaboo culture I believe was en vogue in 2007, so in summary, eat it nerds. Actually it's amazing how DA still seems to be running about as strong as ever on that front. It will be our cultural touchstone for crude anime while we are all being lowered into our sad lonely graves.
Ok, I lost track of what I was actually talking about, so see you next week.
Meant to put this here sooner along with the updates, but still been tweaking some server stuff. Caliborn's self insert guy is a nod to some classic fan art from 4 years ago, which to my memory was the first speculative drawing of LE before he was introduced. (Actually I guess two people made it? Didn't know, but thanks to both of them for the inspiration.) Also definitely wanna point out I'm not making fun of that art, which I think is a good drawing. I do remember once upon a time thinking it was pretty funny to imagine LE as a cool anime guy though. So maybe that idea stuck with me all these years and led to the inspiration for this ridiculous arc? Who knows how inspiration really works. Anyway it's all in good fun, and I still sometimes try to do the "reader input influencing story outcomes" in little ways like this to keep that part of MSPA alive, even long after the fanbase got too big to do it directly through commands.
Or maybe, since Halloween is coming up, I should call it The Itinerscary. Especially because we may be in store for some spoooooky server crashes with these first few update dumps. Eep, I'm gettin the willies here!
One page today to test the waters (or uh, yesterday). When that's done and the coast is clear (it won't be), I'll post a bunch of pages on the 17th and 18th (oops, now the 18th and 19th). Then there will be nothing until 10/25. And then nothing until 11/1, at which point regular updates will begin again, according to an update schedule which I will share with you on that day. Then you will know which precise pattern of dates you will need to handcuff yourself to a computer and plug in your custom keyboard that only has a single giant F5 key.
It would seem against my better judgment, or really my ability to control in any way whatsoever, a fair amount of hype has been brewing for the return of Homestuck. People are jacked up. They are doing little dances in places they cannot be seen. They are writhing in kiddie pools of pins and needles for the return of all their favorite fantasy children. "John." "Karkat." And more. So it's hard to avoid finding it just a LITTLE funny that after a year-long drought, hopping back in the saddle means we will have to wade through 50 pages of completely atrocious garbage before anything happens. It's funny how life works out sometimes. Funnier than a clown tickling a horse. Sometimes you pause your famous webcomic for a year, and then your grand reopening is a lot of bad anime. On such occasions, when life hands you those kooky lemons, there is really only one thing you can say.
Let's see if I can "tldr" a few things up top, since this news item might begin to nose dive dramatically through the vertical space of this web layout. Am I finished HS yet? Um, nope. But I think enough is probably enough on the site's indefinite period of hibernation, so it's likely I will just start posting some stuff I have anyway, starting next month. Either mid or late October, let's say.
I said it would be a long pause, didn't I? Let's face it, a gigapause is just one big ass pause. It contains the smaller word "giga", which, in addition to literally meaning "one billion", you will find to be the root of the word "gigantic", which as we all know, means super huge. This intriguing fact reminds us that in our culture of words, we hold the number one billion as the indivisible quantum of general bigness, as a matter of principal. Food for thought!
We're coming up on almost a year since I paused. So that means I got like, SO much done on the story, right? Wow, no. Innumerable unspecified problems happened which badly prevented this from being true. I'd estimate out of those 12 months, I maybe squeezed in a grand total of 3 months worth of work on HS in there. Kinda dribbled across the year in the most frustrating way possible. So, I'm just gonna cry uncle on this dogshit pause and start posting stuff, but probably in a regimented way so I don't blow through everything I have too fast, thus giving me some time to work on the rest.
Back at the onset of the pause, I said I'd just post everything at once. (I was oversimplifying. I had always intended to stagger the final content to whatever extent, so as not to destroy the server.) But also that "post everything at once" idea was predicated on actually sorta... having it all done. Which as I have already culpa'd, is not the case. So I'm improvising at this point. I'll (probably) relaunch the story next month, come up with some kind of update schedule, and we'll see how it goes.
What have I been doing all year? Let's chalk it up to, in this order of relevance, a swirling multitude of Daunting Life Challenges, a flurry of accidental weird adventures causing me to thrash wildly across the nation, and the escalating complexities of running a business while tending to peripheral creative projects, not the least of which has been overseeing the development of an expensive video game. Actually, all things considered, I'm surprised at how much I actually HAVE gotten done this year. It just happens that "making a ton of HS pages" isn't one of those things.
What were the problems? What were the adventures? Sorry, nothing to see here. Me and the General Public just aren't that tight, and wild sob stories ain't my bag (unless they pertain to visits to the Olive Garden). Well, maybe I'll mention some things some day. But definitely nowhere in the proximity of a virtual stage adjacent to the sphere of rhetoric which could conceivably be construed as a series of excuses for why a mammoth load of free entertainment hasn't been finished yet. Did you follow that? Look over there. (When you look back at me, I am slowly rolling into a pile of trash.)
The good news is, I'm still all about horses. Did you know that about me? It's true as shit. Horses; wow. Pretty good weird big animals? Or pretty GREAT weird big animals??
What else should I say here. Oh.
We've also been chipping away at upgrading the server over the last year. It's been surprisingly complicated and slow-going. Actually, prior to the pause, it was one of the most difficult things about updating, having an insufficient server that was GUARANTEED to crash every time I posted something. This was even after many, many upgrades over the years. It gets a little demoralizing trying to make tons of cartoons every day for a small nation of lunatics when the server constantly struggles to keep up with the ever-burgeoning readership, no matter how much I upgraded it. This was one of the (lots of) factors which contributed to me finally just saying, fuck it, time to pause.
Hopefully it can handle it now, but guess we'll see. It all runs on fancy clouds and such now. Which has been tricky to configure for such a complicated site utterly dependent on all the garbage ass-backwards code I've written over the years. Maybe... maybe once I start updating again, nobody will notice?? Man, wouldn't that be sweet. It will just be me and like a cozy little clique of 50 randos and 10 web bots, just like the old days. We'll bring this sucker home together, then hit up the local bargain Italian restaurant to celebrate. (Then a horse nuzzles me out of my sleepy dream fantasy, and the hammock flips over and dumps my screaming body on to the lawn.)
Feels a little odd even TALKING about revving up this monstrosity again. It's been pretty serene on the web these days. I've been reluctant to even drop a pebble into the pristine glass-like state of the fandom, before being good and damn well ready to. Why wake the beast prematurely? We'll enjoy more than our share of blistering pandemonium when all is said and done. We are slowly building to a particular moment I foresee on the horizon. It's not just characterized by the end of the story, though that should be a factor. It's more than that. Things I have planned, and some other things we'll say may be fortuitously aligned. Invisible pieces of a heinous machine all snapping together, mechanically congealing with a grim sense of purpose. I'm tentatively branding to this moment as The Rapture, and it will be more than you can bear. More than anyone can. And everyone won't.
Happy 4/13, a.k.a. 5 years of Homestuck being a thing! Since I know how much you like things, to celebrate I thought I would show you another thing that's been in the works for a while.
It's a new webcomic based on Homestuck, called Paradox Space! Have a look. That is all I will say about it here. But if you would like to know what the heck this ACTUALLY IS, here is a permalink to the news post where I talk about such matters.
2014 What Pumpkin Convention Schedule ... over there! ->
The What Pumpkin crew will be quite active on the con circuit this year. 11 cons by my count (for now). Take a look at the schedule, and make your plans accordingly!
What Pumpkin will be setting up a booth in all these cons where you can buy stuff and meet some friendly WP folk. I personally will only be attending two or three of these. I'm not sure which ones yet. I don't think I can lock myself into anything definite yet, since all that traveling is incredibly time consuming and tends to derail work. That's sort of what happened last year. I traveled way too much, and it really messed me up! So work schedule permitting, I'll probably pick a couple of these later and make some "surprise appearances". That way, if you happen to see me at a convention, you can be 100% certain that our encounter will be a result of PURE DESTINY.
It's almost over, right? Um, no, sorry. I still have no time estimate, or specific date I am shooting for. 4/13 would be the COOLEST date to shoot for, right? I doubt that's realistic though. Because in spite of my most religious wishes every single day, magic keeps on being fake. THANKS, "god".
What is the status, then? The status is this. Since pausing, basically all I have been doing is writing. No drawing or animation yet. Writing, writing, writing. Writing for Homestuck, and writing for the adventure game. More time has been allocated to the latter. The game is a big, big project. Let's not kid ourselves here. It's like this whole new major story and everything, fueled by millions of dollars. That's a very different situation from Homestuck, which is usually fueled by approximately zero dollars.
Homestuck probably needs another month of writing before I can start making panels. Not even to speak of Flash work. And of course, game development looms over everything as well. This feels totally different from the usual routine of write-draw-post, write-draw-post, write-draw-post, ad infinitum. Writing everything out beforehand is peculiar. And by peculiar I mean "totally conventional", in most other creative contexts. Let's see how that approach pans out. (You go out on a limb and guess it will result in the same silly bullshit as always.)
WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?
Kickstarter - Speaking of the game, I sent out a backer update just before the newd year. The same update just went out to paypal backers too (it took a while to set up a system for that). If you backed the project but didn't notice an update, you might want to check your email. If you didn't back it, sorry these updates are <shhhh>secret</shhhh>. I mean, not really. The info gets "leaked" everywhere, if you know where to look. The point is, *I'M* technically not supposed to be the one tell you. Get it? Oh. You don't? Me neither.
One question I feel like I should answer out in the open even though I kinda thought it was obvious (there is no such thing as obvious) since I see it come up so much: yes, you will be able to purchase the game, even if you did not back the Kickstarter!
Contest - In the near future, I'm going to be putting out some neat things through We Love Fine. WLF is a cool company that makes a lot of nice stuff, that you will find particularly interesting if you are into "the fandoms". Do you like fandoms? When I was a kid we didn't even have those. All we had were shitty Atari games, and spankings.
But before they formally launch any Homestuck stuff, they're running a fun shirt design contest. There are sweet cash prizes. Hey, only participate if you think is sounds fun though. Most people won't win, because that's what a contest is, according to the way that common word is classically defined. I ain't out to waste anyone's time! I do hope plenty of people submit designs though. There's some nutty stuff rolling in. People will laugh at me if I pick the naked Gamzee shirt. DON'T MAKE ME PICK THE NAKED GAMZEE SHIRT!
Another Secret Project - Remember a while ago, I mysteriously mumbled something about a secret project? And then it came along, and it turned out to be Namco High? This is like that again. Except it's not a dating sim. Or a game, or anything like that. Also, it doesn't involve video game characters you've never heard of. It is a much more Homestuck-focused thing. That's all I'm gonna say! Ok, I lied, I will say one more thing: it's going to be really cool, and you will wonder where it has been all your life.
Vinyl Figures - These are up in the store now! For actual sale. Hehe... look at em!
I've taken the game for a spin myself. It's funny! You should consider giving it a whirl too. Especially if it means spending money to unlock characters. Every time you do that, Namco feels slightly better about their decision to hire an internet horse-weirdo to make a game for them!
Let's meet the team that brought the magic to life.
If you thought the other guys did a good job doing other guy stuff, let them know about that too!
I'm not even BS'ing about this, or just being polite here. It would please me if you offered the contributors your positive feedback. Consider it a personal favor to me. But you don't need to send me thanks. On the rare occasions I wasn't napping heavily, I mostly made a nuisance of myself, and got gross snack crumbs on people while looking over their shoulders. But if you really MUST deliver feedback to me personally, then I recommend the following ritual. Arrange a bunch of laptops in a circle, all pointing inward and running Namco High at the same time. Sit in the middle of the circle, and hold a flickering candle in each hand. Then whisper my name, picture a horse, and wet yourself gently. I believe you will find the results of this procedure to be spiritually profound, if also fake.
A brief update on Namco High: Looks like we are targeting December 17th for release. Be sure to tune in on that day for the most incredible simulated dating experience of your entire life.
Also if you click on that, and scroll down to the "Students" section, you will notice there are some Homestuck characters being revealed as secret additions to the cast. They are secret to everyone but you! And a lot of other people probably.
This is a dating sim I've been working on with Namco Bandai's ShiftyLook where you can guide the romantic fortunes of all your favorite classic video game charact... wait. What? You're confused? I can't imagine why. But ok, I'll start at the beginning.
A while ago, ShiftyLook, which is a Namco Bandai jam, asked me if I wanted to work on a project for them. It could be anything. I said that sounds cool. Except that I already had a lot to do, so maybe it wasn't realistic. But they said that's no problem. All I had to do was assemble an elite team of writers, artists, and programmers, and tell them what to do. If I pulled together a crack squad of loyal creatives, they would HAVE to do what I said, no matter how little sense it made. So I said that sounds good. I thought about it really hard, for three of the most intellectually excruciating seconds of my life. Then I said we should make a dating sim. I mean. Obviously.
They said, are you sure that's a good idea? I said, hey who do you think is in charge here? They said they were. I said, oh, right. But it didn't matter. In the confusion, my pitch had somehow been approved due to a clerical error in Japan. Then I shouted suckers and fell backwards out of the airplane.
While tumbling magnificently back to Earth, I pulled the vintage rolodex out of my horsehair fannypack, and began recruiting the best of the best. And so my team was convened. They were waiting for me below with the trampoline thing firefighters use. They watched as the Hussie stunt-mannequin gently descended, and then exploded with unexpected confetti. I then revealed that I had been waiting there with them for the last several hours, wearing a disguise, straddling my most famous horse. I introduced myself, and they graciously pretended they didn't know it was me all along. (I repeat. Best of the best.) I then clapped my hands and rubbed them together a lot and said, who's ready to make some NOISE in the dating sim genre? Who's ready to DO SOME DAMAGE? Nobody knew what to say to that, so I pressed on valiantly. I think I know what the people want, I said. What they WANT, is to be able to manipulate their favorite classic video game characters into a variety of lurid but safe-for-work romantic encounters. What they WANT, for instance, is to cajole a cute Katamari into some sort of kissing situation with the spaceship from Galaga. Are you ready to GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT? They erupted into applause and began chanting my name, and they haven't stopped since.
Namco High comes out probably some time next month.
I've been thinking this over for the last few weeks, and I've decided now is the best time to suspend all regular updates until I've finished the story, rather than pausing just before I start on the final animation. When I'm done, I'll post it all at once. There are a lot of reasons why I think this is the best strategy.
Primarily, it's about efficiency, and being able to work on the remaining (and likely the most difficult parts) of the story without distractions, or the added challenge of having to crank out the next serial update as fast as possible, which means I always have to stay totally linear with the work. This way I can produce the rest of it more comprehensively, prepare animation assets in advance, do more stuff in parallel, etc. It will go faster. And ultimately, I think it'll read better as one thing, rather than as a sequence tortuously spread out over time, as has been the norm for years. I think it's close enough to the end now to safely retire Homestuck as a serial reading experience. There's nothing to be gained from that presentation anymore, in my view. It's just time to bear down and get it done.
I guess we're breaking for a long time on a big cliffhanger, but there's no way around that. Actually, pausing at any point later would probably be even worse, as it keeps pushing into endgame territory. That's why I'm stopping now instead of later. With such a big readership, the reactions will only get crazier, and the demand for new updates will get more intense. Over time, knowing so many people are slamming refresh many times per day starts to be more of an omnipresent distraction than anything. I think there is sort of a perception that I am creatively feeding off the hysteria surrounding the comic, but on a very practical level this is not true. Creating entertainment is not really a lifestyle of madcap shenanigans. It is a very sober, often dull process that requires a huge amount of time and concentration. It will be better to disarm the hype machine while I get the hard stuff done.
So what is the itinerary? Need to finish A663 through A666, and then A7. Keep in mind that these sub acts can be literally any length, even onepage. There's a good bit of ground to cover, but most of the effort will be tied up in animation chores.
I don't really have a time estimate here, and am not sure there's any real advantage in coming up with one. It'll just be a while. I also have to allocate some time to work on the Kickstarter game. That didn't stop being a thing I have to do. It's coming along. I'll probably have a more substantive update on that before the end of the year. There hasn't been much to report yet since it's mostly been in a high level planning and writing phase. And firming up tons of legal minutiae. Stuff like that.
But I will say there is something new to watch out for next month. Kind of a secret project I'm involved with, unrelated to MSPA or the KS game. Well, it's technically not that secret. It's only secret if you don't know about it yet. Meditate on those profound words, and keep an eye out for news on this in coming weeks.
Oh yeah. Almost forgot, I'll have to take some time to port the site to a new server. Obviously it hasn't been cutting it the last couple months. So we'll work on that soon. Hopefully the new service will be able to handle the massive heart attack the next batch up updates will represent.
During the gigapause, there should still be plenty to see here in the news section. Whether it's about the aforementioned projects, or new product releases, there'll be a lot going on. Trust me, the coolest stuff at What Pumpkin this season has yet to be released.
Homestuck book 3 and Problem Sleuth book 5 are here! The Homestuck book contains Act 3. The Problem Sleuth book is the final volume of the series.
(The cover of PS5 glows in the dark by the way.)
And now that the Problem Sleuth series is wrapped up, you can get the full set. Dedicating this much paper to three cartoon detectives trying to leave an office should be illegal. But it isn't, and we are exploiting that fact to our advantage here.
We upgraded the whole What Pumpkin store. There's a bunch of new stuff to buy as well! Including these lovely shirts:
All these great designs were by Rennie Kingsley. Alpha kid designs by the same artist will be coming soon too.
There will be so many other cool things hitting WP this fall, I honestly couldn't list them all off the top of my head. Just keep refreshing the site constantly. Even in your sleep. Then you will be ok.
Time to hit the road for SDCC. See Shifty Look's site for event info.
This means another pause for some number of weeks. When I get back I have to do a ton of boring stuff that has nothing to do with Homestuck, which will delay the pause beyond the convention. All the travel this year I am sure has resulted in hundreds of pages of lost progress. Yet this is how it must be. I must go see the people. I must draw thousands of 5 second John doodles for them. It is inescapable.
I expect to get back on a roll with updates some time in August. So mark that month on your calendar somehow. Maybe you can write "August" in big letters across the July page. Yes, wow, that's a good suggestion.
I may have been jumping the gun to say the megapause was totally over. It is mostly over, but there are going to be scattered minipauses here and there. I still have a lot going on. Some more cons to go to in July. Expect a couple more blackout weeks. After that the pace will probably start to pick up again.
San Diego, July 18-21. You won't need SDCC tickets to come see me. Signings will be at a venue nearby SDCC, hosted by Shifty Look. SDCC tickets can be pretty hard to come by, so this is good news if you can make it to the area but can't get your hands on tickets. I will post more information as the date approaches.
TLDR; Act 6 Act 6 is next. This is Homestuck's final push. But before I start on it, I'll be taking a very significant hiatus to work on the game.
4/13/13 marked the 4th year of Homestuck, and a little more than the 5th year of MSPA's regular updates overall. Thanks to all those who've hung in there the whole time, as well as the very large number of you who piled on to this silly wagon at some point along the way.
The idea last year was to finish Homestuck and then begin working on the game. But as I've started to get into the early game dev process a bit, it's become obvious I have to start working on it much sooner. As in, right now. It takes many months of drawing and programming to make a game. But nobody can start on any of that until I've done a lot of writing and planning. So what it comes down to is, either I delay finishing Homestuck by a few months, or delay the release of the game by what would probably be a lot longer than that. Considering people threw 2.5 million bucks at me to make a game, I think that choice is obvious.
If I could do both at the same time, I would. But that's not realistic. Working on HS is an all consuming thing. Designing a whole game I believe will be too. It may sound obvious, but it can't be emphasized enough - entertainment takes a lot of time to create. More time than most people think. MSPA somewhat obscures that reality because I work on it as maniacally and efficiently as I can to keep the rate of output as high as possible. But the ease of production is an illusion. It is in fact a nonstop grind to generate this much material at a consistent rate. So I have to put all that on hold if I want to get anything else done.
I have noticed that some people believed HS would end on 4/13/13, though I never said that it would. Even if the story appeared to be on the precipice of resolution (which it wasn't), these rumors could be debunked for one simple reason. Animation takes A LOT of time. You've got to expect a story like this would end with some sort of big animation, right? I can't make those without suspending all updates completely for a good while. Trust me, the end to this won't sneak up on anyone. It will be really obvious when it's on the way.
To alleviate some of the suspense and wild speculation, I will give you a very loose estimate of my schedule, from now until the end of HS. Please observe these facts, as organized by this really awesome "html table" I have designed for this purpose.
The thing I am going to be doing
How long that thing is going to take me
Work on the game, and probably some other stuff, like make more HS books. Oh, also go to a few conventions. No updates.
Work on a whole bunch of regular updates for A6A6, leading up to the end of HS.
Work on the final animation, plus zero or more other animations, just before or somewhat near the end of HS.
So that's it for now. See you in a while. Unless you decide to reread Homestuck or something. In which case I guess I'll keep seeing you here. Well not me, but my website will see you. My website is always watching.
In the Topatoco store there is a new shirt, featuring this highly attractive design by Lexxy! The shirt is available in white and black. Lexxy as you may know has drawn a bunch of things that have appeared in Homestuck animations. She is also planning a great looking comic called Cloud Factory. Also, she is basically the star of a reality TV show called Strip Search. This is an up and coming artist for whom I see BIG THINGS. Yes, I know I am really going out on a limb with this prediction, but I am well known for making such bold and controversial claims.
Hey! Here is an MSPA Reader Survey, to help us get a sense of what sort of things you'd like to see us make in the future, as well as learn a few things about the people who read the site. It would be highly appreciated if you took a moment to fill it out. It's optional and completely anonymous of course. Thank you very much!
Special thanks to David Malki ! for offering his bookmaking expertise to figure out how to pull off the most idiotic ideas we had for this, and to KC Green and John Keogh for lending their special blend of insanity to the page layouts, and to ipgd for this stunning cover art from the richest traditions of French Impressionism. Did she draw that, or steal it from a museum? I do not know. And of course thanks to Topatoco for humoring the project. Proposing such an idea to literally any other publisher could get you shot.
It's not just a book, but somewhat like a fun pack of ridiculous stuff. It is also a unique collector's item. It is unlikely that anyone will voluntarily create an object like this ever again. You know what you must do.
By now, most Kickstarter rewards have either been delivered, or are in the mail on the way to your house. If you have questions regarding your pledge, I must remind you the best way to get answers is through the What Pumpkin support system.
You know those magnetic poetry sets? And how you put them on your fridge, and spell a couple things with them the first day, and then never use it again? Well here is the solution to that problem. The Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff magnetic poetry set. If this is on your fridge, you are guaranteed to use it every day for the rest of your life. This is only the first in a whole series of earth shattering SBaHJ products to be released soon. Stay tuned.
Over the last week I flew down to Florida, signed 13,000 prints, and made a four minute Flash animation using someone else's weird computer and their ancient, tiny Wacom tablet. Best vacation, or sldkfjdklfj vacation? This is a question that is as meaningless as it is unanswerable. (BTW, the time crunch had nothing to do with the brevity of this act. The old "one page sub-act trick" was part of the A6 battle plan more than a year ago.)
I will get on a plane and return tonight. More updates tomorrow probably. My hand is permanently stuck in a looping autograph motion, so they might look kinda funny.
The site was down for a few days there, but we are back. The server is located in New York City, which lost power due to a hurricane. The server people at Internap did a nice job getting everything back on line quickly with generator power, despite the major problems the city is having. If you live in the affected areas, I hope life will return to normal for you very soon. When things like this happen, I think our first impulse should be to help out. Let's consider doing that!
The MINISTRIFE (which was going to drop on 10/31 but oh well) is chock full of sprite characters made by Feastings. Most of them were done a while ago and started floating around the tumblrverse as a little fandom craze, so I asked her to make a few more and now POOF they're all magically canon. Thank you Feastings. Also UU art as always supplied kindly by Shelby. Song =
Killed by BR8K Spider!!!!!!!! by Radiation. "Who???" I hear you ask. Yes I know, that guy's music NEVER gets used Homestuck.
Act 6 Act 4 next. Are you ready for it? Are you ready to do some more AWESOME WAITING for it?? I hope so. I'll try to have something ready by 11/11, which is exactly one year from the start of Act 6 (hey calendar: wtf???) The main issue of uncertainty here is I have to fly down to Florida and sign more than 11,000 prints. I actually have no idea how long that will take. I have no basis of estimation for signing that many things, because I have never signed that many things before. But the sooner I do it, the sooner we can ship out all your sweet Kickstarter loot. It must be done. I'll try to get whatever work done I can around this crazy mission. An 11K heap of large prints is actually so much paper, we're not sure if we can keep it all in the same room, because it might actually cause the floor to collapse. True safety facts.
Remember solo album month? There was one last album that was delayed, causing solo month to swell to the size of three months, like the mighty blowsack of an enormous frog. (That is a totally random comparison.) Anyway, without further delay, here it is.
Genesis Frog contains of a series of orchestral pieces by Alexander Rosetti, who was responsible for such Homestuck tracks as the Squiddles Theme, and the most important song in Homestuck, Horsechestra.
The Paypal pledge option for the Kickstarter is now closed. We have to draw the line there, so that we may begin compiling all the order information and ship this huge number of products in a timely fashion.
All Kickstarter surveys have been sent out as well. If you pledged through the Kickstarter site, you must complete this survey so that we have all of your information! Such as shipping address, shirt sizes, all that. If you log in to Kickstarter with the account you used to pledge, you'll find the survey in your message box. Fill it out (please double-check that all your information is correct before you submit!) and send it. Orders will start being processed soon.
If you pledged through Paypal, you don't need to fill out a survey. We already have most of the info we need. For some of the higher tiers, we'll contact you to get additional order info.
The Kickstarter finished with a total just shy of $2.5 million, ranking 6th all time. I think we can all agree that is quite a haul, and is a testament to the devotion of Homestuck's amazing fans. I truly believe this funding will result in a fantastic game, and I can't wait to get started on it. Thanks again to those who pledged, as well as those who continue to pledge through the Paypal option which is now available. It offers all the same reward tiers, and should stay up for a couple weeks.
Thanks also to those who helped me organize and run this Kickstarter, which was a significant undertaking. In particular, George for supplying the Kickstarter knowhow, Rachel for fielding the many thousands of questions we received, and Cindy for getting the huge amount of rewards in shape and ready to ship. Delivering on all the rewards is going to be an enormous job. As it stands now there are about 11,000 people we need to ship stuff to before the end of the year. (And my signature required just as many times!) The good news is, over the last couple years Cindy at What Pumpkin HQ down in Florida has worked on building quite an efficient and reliable shipping operation. The response to the Kickstarter was overwhelming, but we're in excellent shape to handle all the shipments before the holiday season. We just need to wait a couple more weeks for a few products to be finished, for Paypal orders to come in (and for me to sign 11,000 prints..........) and then we'll start pushing it all out.
On the subject of the Paypal option, all the tiers are exactly the same, to stay consistent and be fair to everyone who already pledged. Though I guess one difference here is by Paypal's nature, you can put more than one of the packs in your cart, as opposed to only one with Kickstarter's tiered system. Also you may notice that some of the more coveted SNOUTPAKS are there, composed of some remaining unsold scalemates. Those supplies are still very limited, so again there's no telling how quickly they'll sell out.
And if you're wondering, even though the final count was $2.485MM, the $2.5MM stretch goal has been unlocked regardless. That means anyone who pledges for a physical copy of the game will also get a copy of Homestuck with it (as in, the story itself.) Once HS is done, we'll figure out a good way to create an offline version, in some convenient self contained format to be distributed with the physical game, and probably on its own as well.
I feel like there's a lot more to say, about the success of the Kickstarter and what it's meant, and what will follow in coming months. But there's plenty of time to address more later. Over the next few months, I'll fill you in on developments with the game here and there, as we start to make more specific plans for how to allocate the budget. There are exciting things ahead. For now though, I think this is the moment to reflect on what you've made possible. This really strikes me as a significant achievement by the readership. No great forces of marketing were involved to raise these funds, no promotion, no sponsorship, or any investments with weird strings attached. Just the energy of a passionate community of people who were excited enough about a project to make it happen. I think you have served as inspiration to any creative person who's wondering if they should bother pursuing their ideas. You've shown what is possible if they do. There are no gatekeepers anymore. There's only your support to be earned. And when it is, I don't think there's a more powerful force to have on your side.
One last note: it does look like two people took the plunge for the $10,000 tier, and as such their fan trolls will be appear in canon (however fleetingly). Let us now pray for these two intrepid souls.
As of typing this, only nine days remaining in the Kickstarter. The response to it continues to be fantastic, and my gratitude to the backers is equally continuous.
Thanks to everyone who beta tested the recent update in advance of its release. Anyone who pledged $50 or more was sent an early beta version and a feedback form to help us sort out the bugs. The same offer will apply for the next and final minigame installment. If you have pledged $50 or more by the end of the Kickstarter, you'll get an advance copy to test sent through the Kickstarter message system. If you pledge, just be sure you select a reward tier at $55 or more, so that we know to send you a copy. (Note this is unrelated to the $1.5MM stretch goal, which states that ALL BACKERS will be allowed to beta test the adventure game itself, before it is released in 2014.)
Also, once the Kickstarter is over, we're going to put up a Paypal pledging option for the project. A lot of people seem to only be able to use Paypal to pledge, which Kickstarter doesn't allow. So for a brief window after, one or two weeks, you'll be able to pledge via Paypal for the same reward tiers at the same prices. The window will be fairly short so that we can compile all the orders and ship the rewards out in a timely fashion. We're expecting a good number of people may want things to ship in time for the holiday season. If you're in the U.S. or Canada, it's very likely this will be the case.
For those who haven't pledged yet, this might be something to consider. The timing of the shipping here means that buying rewards could actually double as holiday shopping. If you see yourself doing holiday shopping for people a couple months down the road anyway, this might be a good advance opportunity. A lot of those pricier bundles start to pile up so much extra cool stuff, seems to me this makes for a good chance to divvy them up as holiday gifts for friends, maybe some of whom didn't have enough money for the bigger bundles.
Whatever the final total winds up being, you have already helped make this Kickstarter an overwhelming success. Thank you again for your support!
First, I'd originally planned to put more in the game than this, but it was running a bit long, so I decided to chop it up. I'm planning two more installments of this game, probably to be released over the next couple weeks. All the art assets and stuff is there, I just need to work with Alexis to crunch it all into a couple more new games.
Speaking of which, thanks to Alexis, MSPA's tenured CODER OF GAMES, for working on this. It's a little different. It's the first time we're not using Flash. Only the intro is Flash, but the game is coded in HTML5, which makes it a little more robust in some ways, but will have some issues with less common browsers. I've copied a note from him about it all here. Take note especially of browser info: best viewed in Chrome, Firefox is ok but not ideal, IE is very buggy and won't show the Flash intro, and Opera/Safari aren't tested at all.
Thanks to the artists (scroll to bottom) who worked on assets for this too. They've made a good deal more than you see here, which will appear in other installments. Thanks Stephen, Tanney, Peter, Amanda for making environment assets, and Chaz, Lexxy, Vivus, Xamag for the talking portraits. Special thanks to Amanda for making all the little walking sprites, as well as a whole lot of environment stuff and items. Everything looks really great.
And of course, thanks to contributing musicians (again scroll to bottom), and Toby for editing everything. Some things from the contest album Universe A, notably Fuscia Ruler by Sinister Psyche as the main song. See Toby's post for more details.
First album of the month: Symphony Impossible to Play by Clark Powell, who was also responsible for the album "Medium", "Homestuck Anthem" and quite a few other HS tracks. Next solo album coming in a couple weeks.
Do you like Problem Sleuth? Do you like PROBLEM SLEUTH BOOKS? Here is Volume 4: Black Liquid Sorrow. Holy crap, what a classy cover.
It would also appear there is a new shirt in this section. Maybe you would like to wear it?
Another piece by M. Brown. I told you we had entered the Brown Zone, but you didn't listen. It's not in an album yet, and won't be for a little while. Not until some time after Solo Album Month, which according to my calendar is happening REALLY SOON.
Only one more pause to get through before we start cruising again. Unfortunately this will be the longest one. PAUSE ONE was 8 days. PAUSE TWO, including the trip to SDCC, was 19 days. I'm thinking PAUSE THREE will be slightly longer than that. I'll guess about 3 weeks. I have a lot to catch up on that does not involve working on Homestuck. Stuff I have neglected due to a solid month of non stop animation and travel. Some book work to do. Some secret projects. And, yes, some of this pause will involve working on HS a bit as well, as I get the next Thing ready for you to see.
Thank you for your patience. Hang in there for EOP3:A6I3.
Briefly unpausing PAUSE 2 to bring you these updates, and then pausing again. There will be no more updates until the EOA6_3 animation.
As of right now, I have not spent a single second working on that animation. I just got back from SDCC, produced the above updates today, and now the REAL PAUSE TWO begins. The part of it that involves me actually working on it. It is just layers upon layers with these pauses. They are like onions, especially insofar as they result in your tears.
I wish the last week could have been dedicated to animation labors to shorten this wait, but I was in California fraternizing with radical fans of my popular web cartoon. It was pretty cool. But now it'll be loads more days before you see anything here. That's how it goes sometimes.
August will be SOLO ALBUM MONTH. There will be some good solo albums released throughout that month. Mark that on your calendar. Just write "YEAH!" across the entire August grid, that should do it.
I was counting "[S] Dirk: Synchronize." and "[S] Dirk: Unite." as one animation, that just happened to be chopped into two parts. Next one is EOA6.3, at the end of Pause 2. Song: Unite Synchronization (Sometimes I name animations after songs. Descend, Cascade...) By Malcolm Brown. We have entered the Brown Zone. You have been warned.
Beginning PAUSE TWO now. I'm off to SDCC. Maybe you are too? Are you wearing a costume?? What am I even talking about. You're probably wearing one RIGHT NOW.
SIGNING TIMES: 12:00-3:00 each day. (7/12 through 7/15)
I'll be with the Topatoco booth, but it's possible I could be relocated to a different signing area for crowd management reasons. If this happens, I'll do what I can to alert you, through the twitters or such.
There will be some major pauses in updates coming up, mostly due to Flash animation chores. There will be exactly three pauses. Two of them will be related to animation. The third will not.
PAUSE ONE: This starts RIGHT NOW! (July 1st) I will use this time to work on the first animation. I have to travel to SDCC on July 11th. It's very likely I will finish the animation before that. Once I post it, pause two will begin.
PAUSE TWO: I will use this time to work on another animation, to end A6A3. It will definitely be longer than pause 1, because it will include my trip to SDCC. That trip will kill an entire week of animation time. I'll likely have to start work on it when I get back. Cross country travel is preposterously disruptive, and it's going to slow everything down.
PAUSE THREE: This will begin immediately after pause two. It will not involve working on animation. I'm reserving this time to catch up on the huge amount of chores I've been badly neglecting, and will continue to badly neglect during pauses 1 and 2. The irony of animation pauses: you see nothing for many days, but I'm working at least twice as hard, doing nothing else. It's a break for you, but an anti-break for me. So I need to schedule an ACTUAL break to do stuff that needs doing. Book work, plus tons of other things. I don't know how long this pause will be yet. Probably longer than either of the first two. Let's look at it sort of like the end of a "season", where the season was all of act 6 so far.
The bottom line is, this is all going to add up to a whole lot of "me not updating Homestuck" for a while. It's not really what I want, but there's just no way around it.
I guess that's all there is to say for now. See you after pause one!
Edit: wait, something else I wanted to mention. Recently some music team guys helped me update the sound credits page, so that each entry links to the song in an album. That way, for any Flash page, it's easy to find out exactly where that song is on bandcamp. For those newer to the site, I suspect this may be helpful.
Back from a busy weekend in Toronto where I met JUST SO MANY cool Homestuck readers. Look at what happened while I was away:
You can either get book 2 on its own, or in a nice funpak full of numerous books. There was briefly an offer for signed + stamped books, but those ran out pretty quickly. Sorry if you missed the chance, but I have to cap the number of cutomized books so I don't get impossibly inundated. There will surely be opportunities for signed + stamped and/or sketched books in the future.
These books are turning out to be a nice way to access the story, in my view. Probably better than I expected. Even though they sacrifice some elements like animation, to me there will always be something more inviting about flipping through a book than staring for hours at a screen, no matter what sort of magic a screen is capable of. So far the tradeoffs have been worthwhile to make this collection. This one is a little more refined in its layout (as well as 100 pages thicker) than the first one. Chris has been doing a good job putting these together. I expect them to keep getting better as we go. Also, don't forget each book includes hundreds of author notes. Some of these notes are even informative.
Some brief points in the FAQ department before I go: Book 2 contains all of act 2. So yes, book 3 will contain all of act 3 plus the intermission. Book 4 will contain act 4. Then we'll see what happens. I'll try to get book 3 out with Topatoco's batch of fall releases.
I will go to some this year. You should come too. First two on the list, and only ones set in stone for now are:
Toronto Comic Arts Festival - May 5th - 6th
A note: they request that you please do not cosplay at this event! It is held in a very crowded library and is not the right venue for that. You can still wear Homestuck shirts though. Basically if it doesn't look much like a costume, you're fine.
San Diego Comic Con - July 12th - 15th
However at SDCC, cosplay is not only welcome, it is encouraged. Feel free to completely swamp this thing with Homestuck characters. Let's outnumber all the storm troopers, animes and Spider Men combined. We will show up on the news under the headline, "COMIC CON RUINED FOREVER: HOMESTUCK OFFICIALLY REPLACES STAR WARS." I give you my blessing to make this happen, and reserve the right to renounce all personal responsibility.
I'll have specific signing times for both events, but I don't know exactly when those times will be yet! I will let you know when I do.
A6A3 will also begin on 4/13, coinciding with the second installment of coloUrs and mayhem, and the end of Homestuck's third year. Please use the next ten days wisely, mostly by making an effort not to go insane. I recommend distractions.
If you submitted music for the contest, first of all, thank you, and second, please bear with us while we come to a decision on the final song list. There are many songs to sort through. We should be contacting winners within a week.
Look at this! We have zipper hoodies now. With zippers and everything.
Been meaning to mention: The 2012 calendars have been restocked. I signed a couple hundred of them, since I happened to be in their proximity for a little while. Signed versions will be randomly sent to those who order them! Keep an eye out for more restockings soon. And some new stuff too.
Also it's probably about time I mentioned the books again here, since they're pretty well restocked and the rush to grab them has mostly subsided. I'll open up the signed bookplate offer again in a while too. Maybe in a couple weeks.
You might have noticed I've scaled back the frequency of music releases somewhat. It was becoming sort of intense getting one or more albums ready for release every month. It also did start to feel like maybe just a little bit too much music coming at you all the time. I'd like to make sure the novelty of these doesn't deteriorate too quickly. Hence a single release seemed like a nice way to mix it up for now. I would expect albums to come out closer to every two months from now on.
On that note, I'll make an announcement about plans for the next album shortly. Preemptive tl;dr - it will be a contest. Details soon.
More misc. notes: Still working hard on restocking WP stuff. Calendars soon. All garments, somewhat later (2+ weeks). Working on zip-up hoodie variants on god tier stuff too. HS books back in stock 1/3.
Musicways, the plan is to release a very short album (a single release in fact!) in a couple days. Plus a lil somethin' else.
Additional warnings: I'll be traveling from 1/3 to 1/10. I'll try to get some stuff done on the road, but you never know how things are gonna pan out when you're traveling. Expect updates to range from sporadic to nonexistent within this span of time!
Homestuck has seen two of Christ's Masses* come and go, and in the vicinity of each, I posted alchemy splurges, one for John and one for Jade. Sadly, for its third celebration of our Dear, Sweet Lord, it would seem there is no such splurge in the cards. Not even I can so shamelessly manifacture such an event out of thin story air. I probably won't even update on the 25th! Plannin' on bah humbugging the shit outta this motherfucker.
A lot of the stuff I posted below sold out REAL fast, well before the date of this news entry, because it is the season of making crazy grabs at sweet loot I guess. People seemed particularly excited about those 2012 calendars. We'll be restocking everything as quickly as possible, and yes, will get more calendars in time for them to be reasonably exploitable as per their intended function. Also, the Homestuck books will be available again on 1/3/12, along with the signature + doodle offer. (Signed copies will be in extremely limited supply! Likely will vanish within first 12 hours. Just a warning.)
And a reminder that while much of the What Pumpkin stuff is sold out for the time being, you can always nab a gift certificate (scroll to bottom) if you're in need of a last minute gift.
* edit: the kids these days call it Gristmas I guess??
On the subject of Homestuck books, I took down the link since they sold out, and the Topatoco site was getting strained again. They'll go back up when new books come in, probably around the 20th. Problem Sleuth Volume 3 is still available though.
All god tier symbols are now available in hoodies and tees.
We also have really nice looking key chains and pendants. Both the Sign of the Signless, and the Spirograph medallion.
And finally, a 2012 Homestuck calendar! Featuring illustrations from a variety of great artists. Additionally cool: the calendar is all done in Homestuck fonts, and labels many dates that are relevant to the story, like the birthdays of the kids, release dates of movies like Con Air, when Barbasol was invented. Critical stuff like that. (It still has all the boring normal holidays on there too.)
There you go. Ain't no one can say I never gave you nothin' to buy!
Hero of Mind, Hero of Heart. In case it's not obvious by now, we're going to put out all twelve god tier designs, two at a time, to complete the set. Preemptively canonical! Guaranteed. Will they show up in the comic? Will they show up on your body?? I will answer the former. You, the latter. Also note some designs are "reprinting", but you may still preorder them, if you do not mind waiting a little longer for them to be produced. Also note: now in girly tee sizes!
It was quite an adventure getting that file hosted, but I believe it should be stable now. Thanks very much to Tom of Newgrounds for helping out with this!
Also thanks to all the contributing artists and musicians for doing a great job. Particular thanks to Radiation for working with me on piecing together this monster score, and Tensei who composed the original Cascade song on which I decided to base the score, and after which the page itself was named.
And speaking of the music, you may now possess it if you wish. Along with many other musics.
Soon I would like to get together some wallpapers comprised of many or the art assets contributed for this, and offer those as well.
While I'm still doggedly updating that progress bar, and will continue to, I'm now shooting for a concrete date to post the animation. I should have it up on 10/25.
It's dragged on longer than I wanted it to for a variety of reasons. I'll talk about the process a little after I'm done. There's a good chance I'll finish before 10/25, but if so, I'll hold off posting it until that date. Considering the significance of the number, and the time already spent waiting, at this point it would be kind of lame if I ended up posting it on 10/22 or something. I've planned to hit key dates before, like 4/13, and fell too far behind with the project and missed the date. But this is the first time I've run so late with a project that it actually LANDED on a key date I wasn't shooting for in the first place.
Bonus news: there will be an album released on that date as well.
Time and Space hoodies! Also: tee shirts. Let's additionally pay attention to those eight empty slots beneath the four god tier designs, and wonder about those.
(Light hoodie + tee restock coming soon. Ehh, probably most of this stuff will sell out before the dust settles on this news item. Expect prompt restocks for everything.)
PLUS -- Pins! Kid icons are back in stock. Troll pins are new!!!
Buy them all!!!
Alternate, somewhat less business savvy sales pitch: please maybe don't buy them all so fast this time? Thanks.
WOAH EDIT: Also I should mention, topatoco reprinted a bunch of shirts to have smaller designs, i.e. trolls and record. But it looks like a lot of those are running low too, because I was kind of late in mentioning it and people snuck into the store and nabbed them right under my nose. But don't worry, all that stuff enjoys a pretty brisk reshelving rate.
^^^ There is a crude progress bar indicating the animation's state of completion, which I may or may not forget to update as I continue to trudge across the Flash timeline. Check back routinely to see if I remembered! It may very well have advanced to the right by several pixels.
Only now, a month into this dreadful content drought, have I begun to achieve what vaguely resembles a stride with this thing. This achievement coincides impeccably with a variety of flu-like symptoms. The invading organisms believe they can slow me down, but they're wrong. I am smarter than all of them combined, and literally a trillion times bigger. There is no contest, really.
We have new products to sell in the WP store. Oh god, you are going to want them. You will want them, and they will disappear from the store faster than anyone can believe. But I will not sell them just yet.
We're fixing some things first. We are getting a few more people on board to ship things, such that they may arrive faster. And getting a better customer support system. We used to have a very shitty support system in place, so naturally we decided to upgrade to an even shittier system. To my understanding, it is currently the software equivalent of writing your query down on a slip of paper, and tucking it under your pillow. So please stay tuned for a new system that hopefully will not hinge on the reliability of nocturnal fairies.
I said I'd give a forecast on when to expect the next animation to be finished. So here you go.
I can't imagine there'll be anything to see here until at least three weeks from now. I'd like to give a more optimistic outlook. In the past, such optimism has been misleading.
One problem is, I don't have the running start I usually do. The song isn't finished, for one thing. Not quite sure when it will be, but it's a process I'm staying more closely involved with than usual. I also have almost no art assets to work with yet. Can't do much until more pieces fall into place. This is a very different type of project than in the past. By which I mainly mean, there's a lot more preplanning than my typical shotgun approach involves.
Some of this planning took place over the last couple weeks. In that time, I also worked on some books which I hope will be real objects soon. And if all this wasn't enough, I somehow squeezed another moving job into the schedule. Nice!
But please to continue to stop by. More things will definitely appear in the news. Perhaps you'd like to refamiliarize yourself with all 6000 pages of MSPA? As a special bonus, for the next 3+ weeks, the 6000th page will loop right back to the very first page! Like a fearsome ouroboros, greedy for its own tail.
I didn't say this was a GREAT bonus. Only that it was SPECIAL.
There are now troll shirts plus a few other designs moved over from the What Pumpkin store to the Topatoco store. One of the major new perks here is now these all come in girl sizes too!
These designs came out bigger on the shirt than a lot of people were expecting. It seems some people see this as an improvement, while others prefer the old icon dimensions, which were a little closer to how it looked in the comic. I really don't know what the concensus is on this, so I thought I'd run a poll. Your input is appreciated!
Edit: Thank you for supplying your important consumer data. Seems like quite a lot of people still want the smaller designs. We're going to reprint them closer to how they used to be. The new batch should be ready in a couple weeks. Til then, hang in there!
If you missed the announcement, any shirt that is currently sold out in the What Pumpkin store is going to be available again soon in the Topatoco store.
And again, there will be a better estimate on when the animation will be finished in a couple weeks. Look out for this estimate on September 5th. In the interim, look out for other announcements regarding the store.
I am very busy right now. Busier than usual, in spite of the fact that I am neither working on updates, nor on the animation yet. This is not a break.
Those are the last updates you'll see until the end of act 5 animation.
This means there will be a major content freeze. I will probably not even begin serious work on the animation for a couple weeks. There's still a lot of prep work and organization to do. That, and I have to catch up on some other stuff, like work on books, sketches and such. All the stuff I've been neglecting for many months while working on the comic.
Once I start on the animation, I can't say for sure how long it'll take, and I hesitate to give an estimate now. It's probably best to be prepared for another wait on the order of weeks. If you check back in a couple weeks, I may have a better forecast.
In the meantime, it'll pay to stop by now and then. There should be more new stuff appearing in the Topatoco and What Pumpkin stores pretty soon. I might also toy with ideas for some content to put up here and there to cut the boredom of the wait, if I can think of something that won't take much of my time. We'll see.
The most recent animation was papped tenderly by the skilled hands of Vivus and Laz, and now their lovely artwork has shooshed into all of our hearts forever. Also the music is The Carnival by Jit and it is found in Volume 7.
Most sincere apologies I will not be launching into the three month SBaHJ-skinned interlude I may have tempted you with like so much forbidden fruit.
New look for the site! A few style changes and some stuff jumped way over <- there to the left, instead of to the right. It is frightening and different. Site facelift nicely handled by Tauhid. The What Pumpkin site also has a new look, thanks to Cindy's tireless HTMachinations.
On that note, some store announcements! First of all, there is a bit of a clearance sale going on. $3 off most of the shirts, to make space for more stuff. Soon, those designs will be available through Topatoco, so don't worry, you'll still be able to get your hands on those shirts later if they run out.
I mentioned before I'd be offering more cool prints from a variety of great HS fan artists. Some from the stable of Flash contributors with whom we're familiar, and some from people who are just out there, whipping up awesome things by dint of self-propelled moxie alone. Buying these is an even more tangible, fiscally measurable way to show them support beyond reblogging their tumblrs.
Also, check out these really cool pins! They're shiny and enamel and when gathered together they become indistinguishable from the sort of shimmering riches over which blood has been spilt. We should have a wider variety of these in stock later too.
And one more thing. New album dropping in a few days. It is by Mr. Solatrus.
I'm heading out for the weekend. I had planned on putting something up before I left, but guess I'm running late with it. Wasn't planning on a break of such length, but looks like there'll be nothing to see until next week, due to *mishaps*.
I'll be out of town for a week, from 6/21 to 6/27. I will try to get some work done while I'm on the road, but updates will most likely be sparse til then. I am just doing you the service of liberating you from this extremely engaging web comic for a short period of time, so that you are free to go do other things, like play volleyball on the beach, and give high fives to your coolest friends.
I also feel that it is important to make an annual tradition of announcing a week long hiatus after sequences culminating in sloppy makeouts. What makeouts will be happening next year? How sloppy will they be? This is how I keep people hooked.
Volume 7 is pretty self explanatory. Contains many songs from the story, plus a bunch of other great new ones. I say this every time, but this is now the best HS volume. AND IT KEEPS BEING TRUE EVERY TIME I SAY IT.
On the solo album: M.G. Bowman has done a lot to shape the sound of Homestuck. Among his contributions were Explore and Sburban Jungle (end of acts 2 and 3 music). He is also a mastermind behind the ambitious Hare Force One project (people ship Con Air bunnies to each other all over the globe). For his album, he has created two characters whose names are featured in the title. They exist somewhere in the Homestuck universe, playing their own session, and each song captures something about their adventure. See his website for what he has to say about it personally. I think it's a really fun and creative album with a fantastic sound.
If you ordered something from the WP store earlier in the month, those items have either been shipped already or will be very soon.
Also, all of the charity squiddles have shipped too. If you ordered one, and it doesn't arrive in the next week or two, let me know and I will look into it. As for the charity sketches, those I will be completing and mailing shortly as well.
Music: Albums incoming. Hang in there. I estimate they will drop within a week. They will contain songs you have heard, and many you haven't. They are great.
Nine days without a new page is a pretty long time! What was even UP with me? 5 days in Toronto + 4 days animating I guess is what was up. Ok that sounds reasonable. Everyone agrees with that and holds the creator exempt from charges of gross dereliction. We all smile pretty hard and our faces begin to hurt a little.
Speaking of which, there will be more music on Bandcamp some time this month, won't there? Yes. Let me go talk it over with the music guys and see what we can put together for you over the next week or two. Hold on, let me go do that now, don't go anywhere.
Only John's and Vriska's are available for now. There are more planned for the near future. (i.e. Aradia's) Note that there are t-shirt versions of the hoodies too, at different shades for a little variety (the tee colors actually correspond to the darker color of the hoods in the comic). Also take a look at the new long sleeve Jade shirt, with her vintage atom symbol. I think it's a nice complement to Dave's broken record shirt, which has the same raglan sleeve style.
Also: PRINTS! There are many great HS fan artists out there, in the art team and otherwise. For a while I have have the idea to offer prints of selected works here and there. For now there are some by art team members Lexxy and SA. I hope to add more to this page gradually.
And one last point on the store. Please take notice of the new support system. If you have a question or a problem with an order, please go through that! The old What Pumpkin email address has gotten swamped with so many different types of correspondence, it's become very difficult to field support cases through it. If you use the new system, rapid satisfaction is considerably more likely!
FACT: You will navigate the latest pages in different ways depending on your browser conditions.
At the end of Insert disc 2, on many browsers (e.g. mine), you will automatically be redirected to the next page when it finishes "loading", or you may get there by clicking the link to "[S] Seer: Ascend" inside the Flash panel. These features will not work for some browsers, and instead you will see this message. Accessing that url will redirect you to the next page, [S] Seer: Ascend.
Note that there is no hyperlink to the next page below the disc 2 panel, and never will be. You must venture into disc 2 through one of the ways described above! I probably wouldn't have even bothered mentioning this if not for the browser compatibility hiccup.
The SbaHJ shirts.....: it is turning into a proud tradition that several weeks after releasing any SBaHJ product I must inform you that they all do in fact glow in the dark, in case you didn't realize. Please suspend this alarming reality in your thoughts as you urgently scramble to use your dollars to make them become your property.
Speaking of scrambling, dollars, and your ludicrous zeal for all the insanely rad things I advise you to drape over your body, there will be lots of cool new things in the WP store, very, very soon.
But before we talk about that, let's carefully examine this fine new album by Clark Powell, who is responsible for such HS scores as Three in the Morning, and the Gate 1 Doctor remix, as well as a plethora of other album songs.
This one's very cool. Clark has a great ambient sound, and his idea for the album was to musically express the Medium's planets, through both their elements and themes. I think he nailed it. Cover art was tag-teamed by me and Cindy (the lady who touches all your WP shirts).
Also: New Topatoco items!
First of all, you will notice there are two new Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff shirts. People are always coming up to me and saying "we NEED more insanely shitty looking shirts to wear to places like church and stuff." What choice to I have but to serve these rowdy individuals with dollars in their hands and outstanding taste in their opinions???
In truth, Jeffrey and I cannot help ourselves from attempting to capitalize on this nonsense, because we both need aggressive psychiatric examination. But if you don't buy these shirts, we will both feel ashamed and foolish. Please buy these shirts. I'm begging you. If you don't, we will probably weep in each others arms, swaddled in an orange heap of 3000 dunking Big Men. As an incentive, I will make this solemn pledge. If I sell out of all of these SBaHJ shirts within a week, you are guaranteed to discover that I have permanently emblazoned SBaHJ iconography on my body somewhere, with real, honest to gog foreverink. You'll wonder how high I even will have had to have been. Fact. 8^y
Also note the classy Sepulchritude hoodie, perfect complement to your Sepulchritude tee. I will be coming out with HS god tier hoodies soon through What Pumpkin, and I thought that as long as such garments were being offered, it would be nice to have a Problem Sleuth one in the mix too. Plus, the godhoods won't have zipper fronts, and this one does. So if you like to zip up, like if that's your thing, then this is for you.
The two year anniversary of HS has come and gone. Not as much fanfare in-story about it as I'd hoped, but at least it got a nod. Remember when games came on multiple disks? You always were asked to swap during a kind of peculiar and underwhelming moment, like walking through a thing, or talking to a guy. Sometimes it was shortly after you got an airship, or something.
I had plans to do something a little more mesmerizing, like last year, but started running out of time. So I revised the plans, then ran out of time for THOSE too. And so on, til I said screw it. Disc 1 probably wouldn't have been able to fit another hefty animation in it anyway. Those discs are only like what, 700 MB??
It takes a lot to meet a deadline coming up fast, when the thing you are planning is meant to be a BIG DEAL, by definition. First you must come up with an animation idea, and that itself will take a long time to make. Then you must move the story along to the exact precipice of that moment, which also takes time, and must do so with enough time left to animate! Plenty of ways to blow it. Making this story on the fly requires not just a lot of drawing and writing, but the sensibilities of a producer. Knowing when to appropriate large amounts of effort for what purposes given various time constraints. I make adjustments to plans all the time, just like I did with the last 4/13 milestone (was originally scheduling end of act 4 for that). Hence this milestone was less jaw dropping, but then if you recall, the original 4/13 celebration was pretty underwhelming too. What will next 4/13 bring? Guess we'll see.
If I'm taking the time to reflect on two years of Homestuck as an achievement I'll do so here only as a gesture of gratitude to the steadfast readers, new and old. I am humbled by your devotion. This is not any sort of platitude to be dismissed as quasi-sincere acceptance speech fodder, or a dispatch from my PR department because sometimes you guys give me money for stuff. This is sincerely true. I look around and still cannot quite believe the magnitude of the enthusiasm that surrounds this story. I stopped being able to keep track of all the fan art for it more than a year ago, and even then there were thousands of fan-made images I would diligently attempt to pore through. I have honestly never seen so much fan art created for anything, anywhere, ever. Even things which have millions of dollars backing their production budgets. Maybe Harry Potter has more? (Alright let's get real. HS fan art is probably just now beginning to approach the subset of drawings that involve Harry being naked with somebody.) Greater and greater hordes of troll cosplayers can be spotted taking over the floors of conventions. You could have pressed me on the subject, but I never would have guessed anyone could be quite so tickled to be slathered in messy gray makeup and crowned by a homemade pair of horns. There is this seething passion for HS that is a self-organizing, autonomous entity unto itself, which is practically inaccessible to my understanding or involvement, even though I'm responsible for the content driving it. I've kept Homestuck's fire hot; its gaping furnace was hungry for coal so I got goddamn shoveling. But you have been responsible for breathing life into this monstrous organism which surrounds me, and now in its breadth transcends my work entirely. To thank you as a whole for this phenomenon almost doesn't sound rational. It's like thanking a furious thunderstorm for the deluge of rain it gave to your thirsty little box of poseys. My paltry utterance dissipates in the far deep rumbling. The clouds don't even notice I'm there because they're too busy swapping fan fiction. Maybe instead I'll offer something more significant than gratitude. Something more personal and experiential. I'll submit my amazement. You can't see me now, but it is a look of wonder and discovery. A boyish look of astonishment at something remarkable beyond words, like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, but on a more cosmic scale and more viscerally shocking. Like a squealing horrorterror's gruesome Cesarean birth. That is the look I have every time I disrupt the tunnel vision that keeps the work's bright sun searing my eyes. When they adjust to the dark, I see the silhouette in soft black focus of the young planet sized monster, chirping its affections. I offer it this look because it is all I have to give, with the exception of the tears streaming down my face. Its hunger is piqued at the fluid and my only regret is I can never possibly provide enough to nourish the orphan, now that it can never know the taste of its dead mother's heinous teatbrine.
Rate of output has been pretty sluggish lately, not only due to Flash exertions, but because I've been running around preparing to move to a new place. You will see nothing here for a couple more days because that is when I will ACTUALLY move. Moving for me is a multi-annual tradition, much like killing John has become.
Let's pause to enjoy the 2x Malcolm Brown combo featured in the two recent animations. Both songs were provided by him, in addition to such HS classics as Showtime and Harleboss. I bet you are wondering if the complete versions of the songs will be available in a future album. Please consult your magic cue balls for a reliable forecast. I am winking right now.
Let's also pause to notice a few of Lexxy's drawings which snuck into the [S]==> page. Can you find them? You probably already did without me even saying anything.
Believe it or not, MG Bowman had the Zillyhoo song lying around for quite a long time. I'd forgotten about it, and was reminded of it last night, so the obvious thing to do was to make something ridiculous.
edit: re: those squiddle plushes: a lot of people have expressed fondness for them and wondered about whether similar products may be available to purchase in the future. I am definitely looking into it. Some things are very easy to make, like shirts. Others are a lot trickier, like toys, especially in significant volume. I promise this is being explored. It may take months before we see anything though. Patience!
DONATION DRIVE HAS ENDED! I'm no longer accepting sketch requests! Thanks for all the donations, which total $5,000. Even though sketch donations are closed, please still consider donating directly to relief efforts, such as this one.
The squiddles ran out fast (see post below). More than $2000 in about an hour isn't too bad! Thanks to those who donated.
I think I will leave the option to donate open, but I'll revise the offer. If you donate $100 or more, I'll mail you a sketch. Just tell me what you'd like in the message box. I'll leave this open for a day or so and see what rolls in.
But if you request a sketch, please be a bit patient! It may take me a little while to get to them all. I will be pretty busy soon.
On the subject of me being busy, I probably won't be able to update for a couple days! Busy being busy.
For a while I have been meaning to think of ways to channel the enthusiasm of the MSPA readership towards charitable purposes. I believe the ongoing calamity in Japan presents such an opportunity for us all to help. So here is my idea for how we can raise money to donate to relief efforts. SQUIDDLES FOR JAPAN!
For a minimum donation of $100, you can buy one pair of plush squiddles, and we will ship them to you. $100 is the minimum, but you may donate more, and are certainly encouraged to since every dollar donated will go to charity. There are only 20 pairs available. They come in a variety of colors, more than those shown in the photo. We will choose the colors you get. It will be a surprise!
Eyes5 made this batch for me a while ago, and they're quite nice. I considered selling them, but held off, since I figured people might find the very limited supply a bit frustrating. I think this is a better way to apply this friendly tangled mass. The high price reflecting limited supply is much more justifiable to me when it is for charity.
If these sell out quickly, I may think of another way to reward those who wish to donate for something. We'll see how this goes. But if that's a bit much for you to afford, or they sell out or whatever, I'd urge you to think about contributing what you can regardless. The consequences of the disaster aren't going away! Even though it was more than a week ago, it keeps being terrible.
Guys, today Japan got clobbered by most of the ocean. This is terrible. Japan has given us so much. It is time we gave something back. Here's one such way.
Sorry for the sparse updates lately. Been kinda busy. Hopefully I'll get into a rhythm again soon. You'll have trouble keeping up with it in no time at all. Then you'll be frustrated for that reason instead of this one.
Also a while ago I mentioned I would be trying to release an album every month. I did not forget! Keep your ears perked. So much music will fill them soon, I'm telling you.
First, big thanks to Brian for helping out with the rehosting process. Everything is moved over and the new server is crazy fast. Now looking foward to posting something which would make the old server shit itself and tumble down a long flight of stairs while screaming.
And a notice of warning: the WP store will restock very soon. Let's say within 24 hours. I'll let you know when it's official. But the twitter account will let you know at the PRECISE moment.
We'll be rehosting the site over the weekend to upgrade the server and hopefully improve site performance. Not totally sure how long this will take, but we might see a few days without updates. You have already worn your F5 key down to a useless nub, so please take advantage of this time to go easy on it. Maybe try some other F keys for a while? They're nice too.
This is a solo album by Tensei (Joren de Bruin). I was really impressed with his stuff, so a while ago asked him to put together an album. We talked about it and thought it would be cool to make a bunch of battle music for hypothetical STRIFE pages. I think two words that adequately describe how it came out are holy shit. His rock sound is sick, incredibly polished and well produced. You'll hear more from him for sure. (And in fact, you just did! He made the Mexican Standoff tune in the new Flash page.)
Speaking of sick, check the cover art by Tauhid. The dude can draw. If I ever stopped doing Homestuck, the whole enterprise could be kept aloft by the prepsterous amount of talent which appears to orbit me.
On that note, latest Flash page's art assets provided almost exclusively by people who are not me. Particular props there to Vivus, Lexxy, SkepticArcher, Tynic and Eyes, though other people made stuff I couldn't fit in cause I was dumb and also kinda firehosed the thing out in a few hours with them all on the fly.
On albums: I'd like to put out more solo albums. The sound guys have a lot of good stuff to share. I'm thinking of doing an "Artist of the Month" thing, in addition to continue to release the more general story albums. I guess what I'm saying is - MORE MUSIC FOR YOU. I'm trying to keep these pretty cheap. $4.13's a good number. Get used to seeing it! (as if you aren't already)
On PURCHASABLE PRODUCTS: Aaargh, I should have said earlier that last time I announced the restock, we sold out of shit again pretty much on that same day. Oops. There will be more VERY soon, plus we're trying to put in motion getting some COOL GOD TIER HOODIES off the ground, cause I know a bunch of people have been asking about that. One thing you can do is follow What Pumpkin on twitter and get more up to the minute news about product stuff.
I mentioned that the second run of them GLOWN IN THE DARK. And that is true! However, the thing is, some of those new shirts got mixed in the the old ones. So I guess if you order one there is still a CHANCE you will get one that doesn't glow in the dark? So really the offer stands as the wild card originally advertised.
I guess if you make a big point of asking topatoco for a glowing one they MAY be able to give you one? It all depends on how much you feel like making guys like KC Green and John Keogh take a shirt into a dark room to verify this. I don't know what else to tell you really.
This is just the kind of thing we all have to deal with when a guy is allowed to produce merchandise for the shittiest comic ever made.
As promised, PS book personalizations are open again for a brief period. This time, you can select a character from a dropdown, and supply a phrase for me to write. A little less open ended than last time, but this way, it will not take me weeks to do them.
Well here is the thing with that. Originally, it did not, on account of manufacturing limitations at the time. But now, in its second run, IT DOES IN FACT GLOWN IN THE DARK. So if the lights go out at the party, people will see nothing but Hella Jeff's eyes looming in midair. If you wish to make this scenario a terrifying reality, and only bought one the first time, then I can think of no better reason to buy the alternate color and beef up that wardrobe.
And once again, my marketing genius strikes like a coiled serpent, entirely on accident, as usual.
This is pretty easily my favorite album so far. It's such a great mix of silly songs and kickass songs and all the wonderful moments where those two types of songs intersect. Sometimes those moments even span entire songs. Please enjoy this.
Awesome job by the guys as usual. Nice mastering work by Jeremy, author of the first and last songs.
I drew the cover in case you couldn't tell. I have a feeling SOMEBODY out there might ask for a desktop version so before you get all flustered about that, here it is to be adapted to your viewing device however you choose.
1) You are reserving a shirt, so there is no need to try to pounce on a particular item and worry about it selling out right away. 2) You can pick from a much wider variety of sizes than are usually offered. Since we're printing up a whole bunch, slipping in some orders for odd sizes becomes no big deal!
All shirt designs are preorderable, including the troll shirts as well as the three designs below. (Note this doesn't apply to Topatoco stuff. That's a whole different thing!) After the week of preorders, stuff will start shipping about two weeks after that. Thanks for the patience!
I am pretty sure I am the only guy who gives his comic characters huge windfalls of actual presents every Christmas, who is not also stupid and clinically insane. The good news is that this doubles as a present for YOU, the reader, as a small gesture to compensate for the fact that Jade's presents are all so, so much better than what you got.
I might be out of action for a few days! We'll see. Everybody have a great day today, as well as all days that follow it. Oh yes, you heard me right, my well wishes for you span THE LIMITLESS FRONTIER CALLED THE FUTURE. My yuletide benevolence is utterly inexhaustible.
In case you didn't realize, the last couple Flash pages aren't using new music. They were both plucked from the towering Volume 5 playlist. The one from Enter Village was "Planet Healer", and the one from Jade's imp strife was "Sunslammer", both by Beatfox. The one from Rise up was "Savior of the Waking World" by Radiation. Thanks to those guys for making those tunes many months ago. There is plenty of new music in Volume 6 looming on the horizon. Don't worry, I didn't forget about it.
Also thanks to Lexxy, the lone art contribution ninja here for supplying the Jade/Dave/Rose shots.
Hey look at these! Some cool new shirt designs, to match more recent Homestuck fashions. How cool is that? A: Insanely.
These came out so great. I'm especially stoked about that long sleeve one, cause I've never sold anything without lopped off sleeves. They're all super comfy. Are you excited about them as I am? (Please say yes please say yes please say yes.)
Also, make sure you pay attention to those holiday shipping deadlines. Time is REALLY running out to ensure the mailman gets to you in time.
------------ TOPATOCO RELATED NEWS ------------
There's going to be another shirt coming out through Topatoco some time too. (It is Jade's shirt in fact!) Also I had promised to reopen the custom book sketches before the holidays too, but it's likely I'll have to delay that til probably after the holidays, and I am sorry to disappoint. Volume at Topatoco is so high, they can't really handle the extra load that would create.
Looks like we got more troll shirts in the store. Plus more neat stuff coming out very soon!
I'm sure I will also be dispensing info on holiday shipping deadlines soon as well. For now, let's just say the sooner you get what you want, the better. Yes, I can hear you saying OH REALLY?? That's quite an attitude you're sporting there!
The band of fine artists who've been contributing to Flash animations have produced a very cool HS calendar! They organized the project themselves and put together a bunch of great illustrations for it. Buying it is a nice way to offer them some support.
In the same vein as the Midnight Crew fake band album, but where MC was a dark jazz band, the Felt is an orchestral group. The idea I proposed earlier in the year was an orchestral sound with "temporal effects." Notes, melodies, rhythms played backwards, forwards, rewinding and such, as if the music itself was subject to their powers of time distortion. The sound also took on some electronic, sort of ambient qualities as it developed. You could refer to the genre as "temporelechestral." If you wanted to say a mouthful.
Nice job to Clark Powell for mastering this whole thing, as well as including a few of his own great songs in the list too. The whole thing strikes me as a very tight bit of production.
Sick cover art by hypertalented and prolific HS fan artist, SkepticArcher.
You won't see anything here for a while, because I will be busy with animation chores, ETCETERA. Here is a look at my personal 7 day forecast, and what my primary activity will be each day.
TUE: ANIMATION WED: SOME ANIMATION, I GUESS THU: NO ANIMATION AT ALL FRI: ANIMATION SAT: ANIMATION SUN: WEEPING IN THE HORN PILE MON: .................. TUE: ???????????? WED: WAIT, THIS IS 9 DAYS. WHAT THE HELL?
I don't think an itinerary can get any easier to decipher than that. Hope everyone has a cool holiday! People who aren't American don't even know what I'm talking about.
edit: I do not actually mean this will take nine days, try not to be so literal.
Still working through the batch I've got. At this point, I will likely reopen them when the new HS shirts are in the store, in a week or two. You may be inclined to get a personalized book along with one of those. But please bear in mind that like last time, personalizations will only be open for a day or two! Also bear in mind, waiting to buy it may have ramifications for whatever your holiday shopping plans may be. The longer you wait, the closer the holiday shipping deadlines loom, whatever they are.
Lexxy who has contributed a lot of great art to recent Homestuck animations has made some very nice HS prints and such which are available in her store. There are some other really cool things there too, which you should totally check out!
The new PS book got so many requests for fairly elaborate sketches all at once, I decided to take down that option for a little while so I can catch up. I'm happy to do sketches of any sort, but I have to limit the influx so as not to get swamped. In a couple days when I'm a little more caught up, I'll put the option back up with a simpler set of sketch options, so it'll be a bit more manageable to keep up with. Sorry if you didn't catch it in time! I'll let you know when it's available again. Be ready, since that won't last long either.
Please note that if you act quickly enough, I will sign and customize the book(s) for you before they hop into the mail.
And if you were looking for something to keep yourself warm, and/or incredible looking, and would like such an object to accompany the transit of this book, well, look no further than these thumbnails. (Ok, do look further than them. Click them.)
The New England Web Comics Week End (NEWCWE, as per the official acronym) is this weekend. Will you be there?? It is the only convention I know of whose primary purpose is to facilitate large groups of people wandering from bar to bar in the evenings. How can you beat that?
Me (right) and KC Green (left) dressed as these guys for Halloween. Tallahassee Econolodge (middle) was Cher, an obvious complement to this posse. We went to a party, and no one knew who we were. This was probably for the best.
I think we are nearly ready to sell some more troll shirts. Whew did we get kind of overwhelmed in the first round. Let's do it again. Hey wouldn't it have been AWESOME if we had them available for your Halloween costumes?? Oh well, instead they will be ready to buy for your annual traditional Christmas Cosplay.
First, Alexis who programmed this and everything else you can "play" on MSPA. I'm fairly sure he is one of the fastest Flash programmers in the world. To put this in perspective, he programmed this whole thing over the weekend, while still allowing time for Con Air breaks.
The folks pitching in artwork were pivotal in forming the look that was achieved. I was responsible for very little artwork here. I built levels out of tiles and other assets, wrote it and guided its production, but the visuals were primarily supplied and conceived by them. Specifically I should make mention of M Thomas Harding, who helped drive the production of assets pretty hard and played a big part in developing a style for the sprites meant to be reminiscent of Earthbound, a game which has always been a major influence behind Homestuck. And Peter Turner, who designed a ton of tile sets for level building, as well as a lot of the more detailed graphics, like the monsters and lab equipment.
Musically, Toby Fox has got it mostly covered. I originally asked him to just dust off a few tracks from his Alternia album, make them loopable for gameplay, to get those into the mix of the story. But predictably he did one better than that and refined them into new compositions, and added some more swell silly stuff on top of it (e.g. the Cage Theatrics). There's also some really great stuff by a few other guys to be found in the secret room.
What? There's a secret room?? Well, there are a few, but there's one secret secret room. I won't tell you how to find it, because then it would be a dumb secret. Just ask around. See what the word is on "the street". You'll figure it out.
Yeah there's a temporary page there cause the real page is running later than I thought, so I'm just kinda steamrolling ahead anyway. Who says you can't do that?? Pansies is who. If you want to know EXACTLY when the real page is up, you could always follow me. Should be real soon.
Oh also between now and Halloween Topatoco is marking down all their "Last Chance" shirts. Any shirt you see there labeled as such, it is your last chance EVER to buy that design!!! What a spooky thought. It is the perfect Halloween promotion.
Ryan North is a world famous paleontologist; friend. He has found it in his heart to take issue with Jeffrey's courageous plot to rescue me from the Boston area and into the 413 area code of Easthampton, Massachusetts. Or more specifically, his issue appears to be with my brutal dishonesty on the matter. I have clearly behaved like a true scoundrel, the type of subhuman rubbish fit to be hanged and then pelted with mushy produce.
I can never truly mend this atrocious breach in trust, but I will submit this humble gesture to at least begin to reveal the harrowing, limitless expanse of my soul crushing remorse.
Remember when I said "I might be slowing down a bit soon, because I have a lot of stuff to do."?
80 pages posted in 7 days since that coy remark. I am not a trustworthy character.
But seriously, I really am very busy!!! Believe me about that! I have to move over this weekend, and then I have to go to NYCC the next. And I've been workin' on new stuff to sell to you for the holidays. Really really busy guys!!!!! I'm not even sure why I'm updating so much. It doesn't actually make sense, and I should stop. What is even the point of this news update here? I don't even know. At this point I'm just trying to talk some sense into myself I guess.
Cindy is also very busy, furiously mailing out shirts as we speak. Let's all email her and thank her for the concerted effort. Oops but your email of gratitude will get drowned out by all of mine, because I just sent her like a thousand emails just now.
Also hey if you ordered any troll shirts they should be in transit quite soon!
Updatewise I might be slowing down a bit soon, because I have a lot of stuff to do. Working on putting out PS book volume 2, among other things. I give you permission to hit F5 with only one finger for a while, instead of drum rolling it with both.
HELLO. I will be attending the New York Comic Con, and you are invited. I will be situated at a table with Doctor Chris McNinja and Professor Anthony Nedroid. One of these fellows draws Dr. McNinja, and the other one colors it. I will be the third wheel at the table, having nothing to do with McNinja at all. Oh wait, that is not true. I am an avid enjoyer of the series, making me the most important contributor of all.
Have you acquired Anthony's new Beartato book? I did, and you should too. It manages to be so many different kinds of funny when you read it.
I did another soul portrait the other day. It depicts the soul of Jess Fink, a very skilled comic lady. Soon I will corner the soul portrait industry. (i.e. I have already.)
Hey Erail, what does it feel like to get FUCKING BURIED? (Just kidding, you are probably a pretty nice guy. I guess??)
I have not actually been to the Olive Garden yet. Mostly because I have come to sincerely dread the occasion for reasons I don't completely understand. Maybe I will go to a different shit ass restaurant instead. Or maybe I will allocate the monies in an entirely unexpected but equally asinine way!
Also FYI the preorder thing for the troll shirts is over, which means... well, it means you can still order 'em! But only the sizes you see there now. Seems like people liked this idea. We'll try to keep them stocked best we can.
I will direct your attention to the talented individuals who are responsible for much of the lovely artwork drifting and panning and flickering throughout the latest page. A few new faces there! Also the song, "Crystamanthequins", you may have heard already. It appears in Volume 5, and was written by Erik Scheele, a remix of two other great songs by Alexander Rosetti and Perry Sullivan.
I will leave for SPX on Friday, and I will not be making my way back until midweek! There will be a scarcity of activity on this website in the meantime, a predicament all too familiar lately. This will give you plenty of time to digest the gaudy pyrotechnics on display in the recent update, and by the time I get back, you may have settled down. It is then and only then will we attempt to have a reasonable dialogue.
At that point I will begin lowering us responsibly from the present lofty altitude of this story arc, and we may proceed with business as (and please note the disdainful use of quotes and capitalization) "USUAL".
That will be the last update while I do a bit of animation. It ought to take... maybe a week? Let's call it a week.
I'm sure I could do it faster. In fact, I can't really promise I won't! (<- horrible thing for me to say, ensuring rampant F5ing several days from now until time of next update.)
But I will err on granting the task a wider berth. I keep making this pact with myself, sort of like a recurring New Year's resolution that has no particular affiliation with any calendar event, that I will try and take it easier on this thing now and then. I repeatedly fail to honor this resolution, and like that pledge to lose those stubborn holiday pounds which so easily falls by the wayside, I cannot seem to shed the drawing hours. And so I keep drawing and wallowing and eating ice cream.
A lot of the same people who have contributed to MSPA animations lately worked on that animation. In fact, they did 100% of it! Conceptualized it and storyboarded it and drew all the assets, all under the supervision of a very skilled Flash animator named Peter Turner.
This album began percolating many months ago, and as with much of what this music fellowship works on, it snowballed in quantity and silliness and awesomeness over an extended period of time. It began with Alexander Rosetti's great single track (1st in playlist), a snippet of which found its way into the big [S] Descend mashup.
The idea we formed around that song was to make an album that would serve as the soundtrack for a fictional cartoon show for kids, full of ridiculous happy tunes with strong themes of friendship and chock full of squeaky noises and aquatic gurglings. Seems to me like they pulled it off. It's very easy to picture this as a real show now!
Most of what you hear and see is musician/artist-conceptualized. I didn't have much of a hand in it other than the original idea. The guiding principle for working on Squiddles stuff is, any idea someone has for it automatically becomes Squiddles canon. So really anything going on here, candy corn shrimp, skipper Plumbthroat's connivings, underwater unicorns, all that came together through the collaboration of these artists while I sat quietly and boggled vacantly at their shenanigans. These guys are a bunch of nuts. But they are your nuts, and now their work is yours as well.
Go buy this (cheap!) album and have yourself a friendship aneurysm.
Hey! Check it out. You can buy troll shirts and dress like your favorite troll, and/or don your colorful zodiac sign of choice. Pretty neat!
There'll be a pre-order phase of two weeks. Considering this is a TON of unique shirt designs and presents a stocking challenge, I'd like to get a sense of how many of each type people want before making them. Important: pre-ordering is the only way to get certain sizes! Like the smaller or bigger sizes. After pre-order's closed, all you can get will be more standard sizes. So if one of those sizes is your cup of tea, better hop on this soon!
Now that this whole ensemble of silly characters and their escapades are out in the open, I felt like a decent number of people would enjoy the opportunity to grab an OFFICIAL shirt bearing one of these simple, striking designs which are also recognizable to those with the lowdown on astrology. Who knew that tying the zodiac to a bunch of angry alien kids was the only way to make it cool? I sure didn't. Also, if you are planning to do some cosplaying, I don't know how the HELL you think you are going to pull it off without one of these shirts. I really don't.
This is something I'm handling outside of the elegant Topatoco framework, for a number of tactical reasons. One, flooding my storefront suddenly with 12 unique designs sounds kinda clumsy. Two, I'm really not sure how many each of these would sell since there are so many different designs to pick from. They stay so busy making shirts for tons of artists that I like to try to be sure designs I send them will have a ghost of a chance of being worth their hassle sales-wise. So I'm riding herd on this myself along with my Chief Corporate Officer of Strategic Corporate Actualization Strategies and Paradigm Corporatizations, and together we will do it guerrilla style with paypallery and homespun mailing shenanigans.
I guess I should warn you that the closer we get to wrapping this segment up, the closer I will get to making another animation. This will likely mean a good plenty of days with no updates at all once I start. I have not started yet but I probably will soon. I will let you know.
There is a guy whose work I have followed for a long time and his name is Tauhid. He has a new project called Epicsplosion which looks rather exciting, and if you enjoy the content on this site you will likely agree. It uses a similar format to MSPA, though with considerably more polish applied to the panels and overall presentation. And most interestingly (IMO!) he's going for a true "choose your own adventure" format, with branching story paths. This is something I tried with MSPA in the early going with Bard Quest, and in fact it was originally going to be one of the defining features of this site. But it proved to be pretty challenging to keep up with multiple story paths in any non-trivial way, so I just proceeded linearly with PS and HS thereafter.
While he was preparing to work on this, he and I talked a bit about the various challenges and pitfalls of the medium. I think he's chiseled the approach down to something pretty effective and manageable, and certainly the result is attractive. Personally I hope he keeps up with this, because it could turn into something pretty fantastic. The best way to keep him motivated I suspect is for us all to show support with our keen and frequent attention!
Hey, speaking of bros who I've been bros with forever, I also noticed Michael is selling custom comics at a bargain price. Seize on this opportunity or know the meaning of lifelong regret. In case it wasn't clear, Moe is the best webcomic on the internet. Period.
ALSO speaking of bros, thanks a ton to Matthew for helping me out with the update script I was having problems with. Now posting an update DOESN'T require me shutting down the whole site for 15 minutes. This is a major advancement!
All those fancy dresses were designed and drawn by a swell dame I know. I asked her to draw them and she did. Girls are so much better at thinking up fancy clothes than boys. Ask anybody! It is a fact.
In case you didn't know, recently the forums were ported to a different machine to reduce the gluttonous demands on this server. It was also nicely refurbished in the process. This was quite an undertaking, and a bunch of cool people pitched in and made it happen. Especially major thanks to Brian for doing if not 90% of the work, then well over 100% of it. He wrestled it to the ground like a frisky steer that had no concept of its own strength and now we are all sitting around enjoying hamburgers. Yes, that taste in your mouth WAS fresh beef.
Even so, this server still has some problems. If you're really glued to this site, you probably notice the Fedora test page appear just before an update comes up. That is because I have to shut the WHOLE SITE DOWN just to get my update php script to run. But really this is mostly because the script I wrote years ago is SO SHITTY, so it's my own fault. It wasn't built to run smoothly on a well trafficked machine, nor to publish such a long story. I'd rewrite it, but I really can't stand coding anymore. She is a bitter divorcee and has nothing but scorn for me. Every time I look at my code I sink into a deep depression and then draw like 50 pages to drown my sorrows while I try not to think of dollar signs and semicolons and SQL statements.
What else is there to talk about. Oh yeah. New album soon? Seems like only yesterday we put out Alternia. But you bet there's one in the pipeline. This one involves more fun times than are sensible to contemplate sober. Also there will be bonus animation to go along with it. You'll see.
Speaking of Alternia, the troll arc is predictably lasting longer than predicted. But that's ok. It's kind of like Inception, and we started having a dream of trolls inside a dream of kids, but then forgot we were dreaming, and now it's just all about trolls. But don't worry, we'll get back there. I like to think the kids are on summer break, and these alien kids are who we get to hang out with in the mean time. That's a fun way to look at it.
Have you ever thought about Barack Obana and thought it would be totally cool to follow him on twitter? I wouldn't even believe you if you didn't say you did. So just please just shut up and try to don't say it ok.
Oh yeah take a look at the mischief some people get up to. Who is supervising these rogues?? They are out of control. I think everybody should dress up as Homestuck characters, ALL THE TIME. This is the world I pine to inhabit, and these hooligans and their patio masquerade are the vanguard of my dreamscape.
Since I've momentarily stepped off the endless update carousel I figured I would refresh the layout a bit. My only objective here is to reduce the clutter somewhat. Some of the content I wiped out, particularly to the side, I'm sure I'll reintroduce in some more rational way a little later. I'll chip away at it. Site design is something I never get around to on account of its tedium and the fact that I'd rather use my energy drawing. And since I can't at the moment, well... I still almost didn't bother. But then I did bother.
This week long drought wasn't so much about taking a break from drawing as it was an extension of two simple facts - I was away from my computer, and being away from my computer makes updating impossible. That SPECIFIC machine, and not this one on which I type or any other, is essentially the physical embodiment of this website. Really if I could be updating while away I would be. This trip isn't about rest. That's for losers. The hiatus was and is a referendum on corporeality, and its usurious demands on the virtual. It appears, as I am learning, that I, the author of this website, am a corporeal thing, and it turns out my computer is corporeal as well. We can be separated into compartments completely isolated from one another, compartments often referred to by the natives as "locations". This blew my mind. The hiatus is also a referendum on culture shock.
Hey! How about some more updates soon? Ok. How about tomorrow evening? That will be after I get into this huge metal thing. After the metal thing makes LOTS AND LOTS of noise, I will step out, and when I do, my computer will be not as... hang on while I flip through my Glossary of the Corporeal. Man this thing is handy. Ah yes... "Far away."
An album titled Alternia by the prolific and electric (prolifilectric) Toby "Radiation" Fox.
Yes, this is a solo album, meant to put music to the troll universe which has been taking shape recently. I believe you will find this album shall only further crystallize the atmosphere of this arc. It will do this because we say it will.
But there is some trivia here! Before I started act 5, Toby talked to me about working on an album like this, couched in the assumption that the troll story would never be examined in the detail it is presently, and that this album would only serve as a tonal exploration of a purely hypothetical adventure supplied by the imagination. Turns out he assumed incorrectly! Which only made the project that much more timely and apropos. In fact, the planet Alternia was named after the album, and not the other way around!
This is really good stuff. It should go without saying that Radiation's work is always among my personal TOP PIX. This is obvious, since I have leaned heavily on him for HS scoring. Leaned hard. Like he is a diner jukebox, and I am the coolest fucking dude you ever saw. I am seriously making the Fonz look like the Star Wars kid from that old meme. Thrashing around like a spaz with a mop handle in the garage of whatever the fuck family he lived with.
I don't know a goddamn thing about Happy Days, honestly.
I'll be skipping town from 7/20 to 7/27 just so you know. No updates for that week! Maybe you can spend that week catching up on the chores you've been neglecting on account of hammering the refresh button all the time.
I was originally thinking I'd try to have the troll thing finished up before this hiatus, but who am I kidding. Oh well. Steady as she goes.
And before I get carried away talking about it, we're releasing this under a new VERY SERIOUS AND LEGIT RECORD LABEL, which is called What Pumpkin. I thought this would be a much tidier container for all these crazy music projects we're cranking out. Oh and there will be more.
The idea I had for volume five was to gather up a lot of music that had been accumulating, and stuff it all into this monster album. Like, WAY more songs than would ever be sensible to put in an album and still call it an album. The result is something so audacious, it just might be COMPLETELY MINDBLOWINGLY INCREDIBLE. You be the judge. I already know your verdict though.
Additionally the concept was to make a huge soundtrack that touches on the magnitude of the story that has been swelling steadily for more than a year. The soundtrack is meant to evoke all the things taking place that we perhaps aren't seeing in this universe, or that could happen, but that the linear focus of the narrative simply can't contain. You're invited to imagine the bigger story the album is telling.
Bear in mind this album is not merely a giant song dump. I feel like I arranged this mix pretty carefully. And on top of that, it is a seamless album. There are transitions between songs built into the songs, so it all runs together as a cohesive whole. It's all equalized and mastered very well. There is nearly three solid hours of music to listen to. And it is less than fifteen dollars.
Now it seems like I can never release one of these things without thanking my knuckles to a bloody pulp as I rain blows of merciless gratitude on everyone around me, and for good reason. Lots of people worked their asses off on this thing. It always seems like such a simple idea. Hey lets make an album! All this music is right here it'll take like two seconds to ram it out. Wrong stupid! So here I am assuming the flying crane position of indebtedness while I meditate on the fact that I'm about to snap the spines of fifty helpless thank ninjas in cold blooded succession.
Thanks to Cindy who worked forever on the new website and uploaded a million giant high quality songs which take forever to upload as it turns out and also hounding everyone for their files and stuff. Thanks to Clark Powell for doing great mastering/equalizing work on all the songs, and thanks to Toby Fox for doing additionally great work of a similar nature. Thanks to all the musicians for lighting a fire under their bone bulges to get high quality files to us and of course not being able to help themselves from making all these killer upgrades to the music itself in the process. And thanks to Lexxy for the ultraslick cover art!
I am never going to stop listening to this thing. Never. They'll have to send the cadaver dogs into my fucking unibomber shack cause I ain't coming out, and the fire ants will be wondering how they're gonna eat the rotting pulp in my skull with these headphones blocking my earholes like that.
Consider it in the spirit of the previous intermission, without it being an official one. I'd rather the arc not take too long, but I'm under no illusion it'll be that quick either. The Felt intermission lasted three weeks, and I thought I was still relatively economical with the pacing there. This one will probably be more involved, and require PLENTY of new drawing. Oh well, guess I'll take my time and make it fun.
(edit: whoops, yeah yeah it was a sickle not a scythe. I was kind of distracted when I made all these pages.)
I tried doing the suggestion box thing again for this, but at this point there are so many people trying to hit the forums all at once, it may just be impractical. It slowed the site down to the point where I couldn't even upload new pages! I'll probably make little surgical strikes, unlocking the box for ten minutes at a time at sneaky off peak hours, just to get suggestions for names and stuff like that. (In case you didn't know, the names of the planet and CG were reader suggestions, just as all the character names have been.)s
For a variety of reasons that aren't especially interesting, I won't be able to use work from one of the music team members. As such, I have disentangled some songs from a few existing animations, and have rescored those pages. I wish this artist the best of luck in whatever he chooses to take on next.
The silver lining is that in picking new music for the pages, I had the opportunity to match them up with pieces I've come to view as a better thematic fit for them. It's also pretty cool to see how new music affects the feel of the animations.
Earlier I mentioned I used artwork from contributors in the latest animation. These guys right here. A real fine bunch of artists. I recommend you check out the stuff they've got on their respective web catalogues.
Working with a bigger pool of people for a change was a lot of fun, and I am quite sure improved the final product. I'm still not sure exactly how much time the collaboration saved. Between orchestrating it all, prepping a million graphics and finagling with Flash for days straight, it's still a ton of work. I think the primary benefit here is it adds a lot of visual richness. Where before I would cut a lot of corners and recycle a lot more graphics, or just never even bother implementing certain scenes, this time I had quite a diversity of nice art assets to grab, and build the action around, and I think it paid off nicely. So thanks guys! Looking forward to next time.
Also, more about the song. Toby made this months ago in anticipation of some epic pandemonium going down on 4/13. Obviously that whole thing got delayed, and plans changed. But I always held on to it for EOA purposes and now here it is. What may be interesting for people to realize is how especially formative the song was to the action and story events in this page. It wasn't like I said "Hey Toby make this ridiculously awesome long ass song that switches up themes every 30 seconds or so, and also put a silly Squiddles interlude in there ok?" Nope, he just made it out of the blue, and I had months to think about how I'd adapt something to it. He didn't have the slightest idea what I'd do with it of course. But the result is this kind of odd musical storyboarding process. By composing the song he was sort of storyboarding the thing for me, or at least forcing my hand to address the musical themes at each step of the piece. The challenge was to pull everything together into a narrative that made sense, match the music switches, and cap off the act logically and compellingly within that prearranged structure. Constraints are a good thing. They invite creativity. I wouldn't want to be an absolute dictator on every facet of this project. I've never said, "Listen up guys I need a song and I need it to go EXACTLY like this." I tried to keep it pretty loose with the artists too. I just gave them some broad concepts to work with, and let them get creative with it. Some environments, some characters, etc. Practically no descriptions of specific events. They were as surprised as anyone else to see the outcome of the animation. They were probably surprised to see exactly to what extent I scribbled all over their nice drawings, setting them on fire and blasting holes in things.
Ok speaking of music, there's going to be a new album out soon. "But haven't there only been like three songs since the last one?" you say? Let me worry about that. There'll be plenty to listen to.
When? I'll probably spring it right around the launch of the next act.
When's the next act start? I was thinking of starting Act 5 on 6/12 to make some time to prepare some stuff, and take care of a few other things I guess. I'll probably slip some twixt-act updates in too. Not any sort of intermission though.
[S] Descend. Thanks to the great artists who contributed work to it. Made it go way smoother and look way better. Proper and thorough attribution to follow shortly. Thanks to Toby Radiation for Toby Radiation's enormously cool neverending song. Why won't it end?? Oh god.
Gonna type up a more proper news thing after I go to sleep.
As I slumber, I have no idea how hard this site is going to get hit. So HERE'S A MIRROR in case you need it.
Looks like a few days later than my projected date. Which is to say, as late as the beta was in getting to John's house! It is also as late as the beginning of the story itself, which if you recall, started with a misfire 3 days prior to 4/13/09. I try to make it so there is a reason for everything, even stupid things. In this case, even the simple tardiness of an animation project has become tangled up in Homestuck's lore! Let's all take a moment to ponder what this "means".
The good news is I'm no longer getting handcuffed by technical issues. I am now delayed merely because this thing is just really, really goddamn big.
I don't know if the RSS feed is going to pick up the update since I'm just swapping it out with that one. If you are an avid twitterist, you can follow me to know EXACTLY when the thing is up, at the EXACT moment I leisurely get around to tweeting about it.
It's going to be "late", but I felt like it was important to freeze this date in the archives, and then swap it out later. Some know the significance of that date. Probably most don't. I'll explain later.
Its tardiness is not even on account of the size of the thing (and it is pretty big!), but due to yet more computer problems. Actually it has been a bothersome slurry of computer problems, AND completely unrelated internet problems, which has been dragging at my progress and sapping my resolve. All I ask from my work environment is technically immaculate conditions. Without that I'm pretty much just another dude who never gets a damn thing done.
One day, the quality of my life will not predicate itself upon the optimal performance of an array of finicky machines. On this day I will have achieved PERFECTION.
I just wanted to provide you with a completely pointless update on the capabilities of Comcast's crack support staff. A Comcast support rep is empowered to do precisely these three things, and only these things:
1) Tell you to unplug your modem. 2) Tell you to plug your modem back in. 3) Dispatch a technician to your house, scheduled to arrive in one week.
I thought I'd offer just a tiny, succulent bite of the type of extremely productive behaviors which have supplanted my artistic endeavors as of late.
Let's all throw roses at Bowman's feet for his stirring cover of Trisha Yearwood's "How Do I live", and for his poignant vocals as well. Let us also cast floral arrangements at the good Mr. Smalley for shredding up his guitar something deliriously rudebrazen. NICE GUYS.
I got a new computer and was haggling with it over the last couple of days, getting annoyed by little things I'm not used to. But this animation was a good warmup for this machine before I take on the real EOA.
Going to shoot to have that done by 5/31. Which is cutting it pretty tight! We'll see if I can pull it off. But instead of going completely dark per usual I might sprinkle in an update here and there.That should keep you refreshing pretty hard. And here you were thinking you could relax. pfffff
In case it's not completely clear, please examine the date. Also, exhibit A, and exhibit B. (I never can be sure what people will or won't pick up on! Pardon me as I bludgeon you.)
Twain's a pretty fascinating guy. The fact that he was born and died on the years of Halley's comet is startling! Kind of like how Jefferson died on the 4th of July (But he was born on 4/13!!!) But where Jefferson merely belongs to America, Twain apparently belongs to... the universe???
Posted, uh... I think 26 pages today, starting here. Was the kind of thing I felt like I had to post all at once, so it kept me busy drawing. Rather than the usual thing I do; draw a little, post a little, draw a little more, post a little more, all day. Just toying with you guys all day long like that, like a bastard. This website is my laser pointer and you are my brainless felines.
I wound up doing as much drawing for that static deluge as I tend to for an animation, but without all the animation stuff (EASIER!) Also I think I ruined a solid year's worth of perfectly good shipping with recent revelations. WHOOPSEE DAISEE
Anyway that's enough non-updating suspense. Next time I duck out it'll be on account of the real deal. Might go animation-dark early next week. Keep ya posted.
I'm back from chillin in Toronto with my buddy and my other buddies and my sweet Cuddle Fluthlu that someone gave me. Everyone who came to say hi to me was really cool, especially the ones armed with presents.
I mean... obviously I am back and have been for a while if you've been paying attention to that huge pile of updates accruing over there to the right. Man sometimes I am so slow on the news draw.
Not sure what else to update you on here. I guess maybe you're wondering about the next big animation I kept dropping hints about for a while? I'll start working on that soon. I'm stretching out and taking my time on stuff. All the while posting like a million pages which sort of makes no sense. But it makes sense to me and that's all that counts.
Another thing: there'll likely be some more cool music for you to obtain when the next animation comes out.
Tip of the cap to Team Huo-Fox for the sonic wellspring that is "Skaian Skirmish". I must continue to pester the brim of my hat in the direction of pals Michael and Nic, who contributed some additional artwork to the animation (such as this & this, and this & this).
Piecing together animations with art contributions is something I'd like to look into doing more of. Not only does it help move these things along faster, but it adds some nice visual depth to the productions.
If you're wondering whether this animation (WV?: Rise up.) was going to be the original 4/13 one, the answer's still no. That'll be the next one. I was originally going to squeeze this series of animations into like a week and a half period before 4/13, with more compressed action than has occurred since that date.
Of course once I bailed on that plan, I just decided to stretch things way out, because it was just easier that way. I think this is one of the secrets to the vast size of these stories. Making big plot advancing strides in shorter periods of time, through animation etc, is actually more difficult than spreading it out. So as long as it's spread out, I fill that space with massive amounts of simpler pages, and it all just piles up.
Book one covers chapters 1 through 5. Dividing it up this way was essential, since obviously PS is so massive. Hopefully more volumes to come not too far off, to finish off the set!
This looks like it turned out amazingly. Full color, 192 pages. Plenty of new illustrations sprinkled around. And notes under each page, written specifically for the book. Basically if PS pages had "alt text" on the site, this is what it would be like.
As is practically always the case kudos must go to Cindy for helping me put it together, and additional kudos to book making savant Malki ! for additional helpin's, and of course to Jeffrey for saying hey how about we spend a ton of dough and make this fucker exist! What an awesome cadre it was I just mentioned.
edit: I will be milling around roflcon tomorrow with copies tucked under my arm. Also at TCAF next week!
Ok, that's it for the updates for a while! I'm going to strap myself down for an animation binge. Whatever I can squeeze into the weekend schedule around ROFLCon. Next update probably early next week.
Speaking of, perhaps you would like to come and roll and laugh on the floor with me? The floor is a pretty filthy place to engage in such behavior, but I hear there are "lulz" to be had down there. We will discover them together.
EDIT. I keep saying all this stuff, which is pushing the album announcement way down. Just to remind/inform you, the Homestuck album 4 is out.
I also meant to serve up props to Alexis for coding the Google LOWAS page I put up a few days ago. We hustled that together pretty fast and it slipped my wicket to mention it. I gave him this giant 5 megabyte map and some other doodads and I said make it do this, and he did in like an hour or so. Pretty cool huh? Yeah.
Also hope you dug the huge Bolin music dump on this page. He made all those songs at least 6 months ago, and now here they are. I basically dragged my personal Bolin folder into the Flash file. And then Dave and Rose started dancing of their own accord. TRUTHFACTS.
A bunch of community members banded together and annotated the recap page with many, many hyperlinks to relevant pages throughout the story. This page now serves as a pretty nice index of the whole story, and functions as a convenient gateway to just about anything you might be looking for. Thanks guys! (I originally tried doing this myself and got a few paragraphs in before I started reaching for the gun I keep under my desk-side tree stump.)
Speaking of gateways and communities, I should link to the MSPA community portal again, another community-driven initiative. I'm planning on putting a permanent link to it somewhere. Making site changes is always something I procrastinate. Even little things.
Something else I've been meaning to mention is this outstanding Lil' Cal plush given to me by the outstanding Eyes5. Not only is he rigorously crafted to the exacting standards of an elite puppet fetishist, but when you hug him he actually says my name. That isn't a joke, it's a serious thing it really does. I was going to take a video of this, but I was afraid it might freak you out a little. (It would have.)
Sorry to report to anyone aiming to see me at C2E2 that I won't actually be going. I feel like sort of a douche backing out of it, but it turns out I just can't pull off so much traveling! I'm sure I'll make it to that neck of the woods not too long from now though.
Also here's a really cool Dave game a guy made which you might enjoy if you have a PC. If you have a Mac you will not. You will go sulk in the corner is what you'll do.
There are a few very nice remixes in this album, done on pretty short notice. Everybody pulled this one together really fast! Nice job guys. And nice job as always to Miss McMittens for rallying the troops and piecing it all together.
Additional trivia: if you're wondering where the old-timey clip at the beginning of "Black" comes from, check it out. (1:29) It's from a song recorded exactly 100 years prior to Homestuck. Toby slapped it on the beginning of his remix and I thought "cool" and rolled with it, but it wasn't until now I found out where it was from. Maybe he mentioned it to me once and I was like pfffff, not remembering THAT fact, nice try. This is a good example of how the music strongly influences how I put together the animations.
This is something some members of the community have been working on for a little while, and it's really cool! It's a very convenient gateway to access anything to do with MSPA, chat with people about it, and to GET GENERALLY INVOLVED.
I haven't written anything for this. It's a totally fan sponsored and maintained initiative, so that odor presently filling your nostrils is PASSION. I know you will enjoy mingling with these people. We all must strive to associate with those who are eager to facilitate and celebrate our obsessions.
There's probably more to say about stuff. I'm sure there is. But I think I'll can it for now and start pondering how to kick off year two. If anything important to say pops into my head, I'll be down here below all the cool images waving and kicking up a fuss.
A short news item preceding something more elaborate later on.
Thanks to all the well wishers and congratulators out there who've had something to say about Homestuck's first year run. Your patronage has harvested my vehement gratitude. It is a thankfulness so intensely focused, it could be employed as a hot cutting device to free people from wreckage.
A new album will be added to the collectionlater today. Volume 4 will contain 13 songs. It will be dirt cheap, costing you four dollars and thirteen pennies. That's like two cups of coffee, but coffee doesn't really sound as awesome.
And thanks again to the whole music team for riding out a year with me on this thing. But especially pointed thanks right now to Toby Fox for making this cool remix ("Black") of his own song from the MC album ("Liquid Negrocity"), and also the song used in the previous animation ("Atomyk Ebonpyre"). There will be more to hear from this guy soon. His work is colorful, energetic, and generated with absurd prolificity. I have come to regard the LIVELY SPECTACLE that is MSPA to be quite well matched by his compositions, and you will too.
Change of plans again. I was going to do a couple animations before 4/13, and then a BIG ONE on the day of 4/13, the one year anniversary of Homestuck's starting date. My schedule is not going to permit this though. I'm going away this weekend, and as anyone who travels knows, that will consume a block of time greater than the span of the travel dates themselves. It will screw me up way too much to be in super-crazy production mode. I can pull off regular-crazy production mode, but note super-crazy. In summary, this week is toast. And in any case, there's really no reason to rush this thing just to squeeze something critical into a meaningless date.
So instead I will do ONE animation, take my time with it, and post it on 4/13. That will be the next update you will see.
Then after that I will move it along to the end of the act. I will still post the animation I was originally planning to post on 4/13, but at a somewhat later date. There won't be much ambiguity here. When I do post it, you will know exactly which date this animation was originally slated for.
But the good news is I think we can get the Volume 4 album out on 4/13. Keep an ear out for it.
So as long as we're here with almost a year's worth of HS under our belts, why don't we hit pause and check our game status.
4 kids 365 days (and counting) 1667 pages (+1 on day 365) 2024 images 85,000 words 62 Flash animations (+1 on day 365) 5.5 images per day, every day 1 Flash animation every 6 days
Some Flash data: 1 hour total of animated footage 3000 imported graphic files 53 songs 3 albums (+1 on day 365)
I remember writing after finishing PS that I didn't really notice the effort involved over the course of the year. That is very far from the truth this time. Believe me, this felt like a serious undertaking. Clearly I not only surpassed my previous page counts in less time, but added major animation chores on top of all that, which proved to be the most labor intensive part of it! Even disregarding the animation, the extra detail in the the static pages, the larger environments, the heavier use of color, the more rigorous character design and game mechanics, the doubled word count, it all added up to something much bigger than PS. Then pile huge Flash projects on top of all that and you have something that's certifiably insane. The good news is that I got faster the more I challenged myself.
I've easily worked twice as much on HS as I did on PS. Probably more. There have been more all-day-all-night affairs than I could count. Weekend breaks mostly nonexistent. I just don't recall that sort of relentless exertion during Problem Sleuth, except maybe during the final moments of the battle. Even the whole Sepulchritude thing strikes me as a pretty quaint endeavor now. That would really just be a run of the mill battle animation these days.
Why am I jumping the gun and reviewing this all now rather than on 4/13? Probably because I know I won't feel like it by then, just after I post an animation, and with more to do right away. This isn't QUITE as monumental as the PS year-end spectacular, since obviously the story's just going to keep going. To be honest, I feel like recently Homestuck has been just starting to warm up. Let's see how she handles in year two.
Except stuff hosted on this website. I'm not all that partial to the compulsory global prank-off.
OR AM I?
The answer to this question is no.
But sometimes I play April Fool's pranks on accident. Remember last April when I started Homestuck in Flash, then decided not to and just called all those pages the HS beta? That was sort of like a retroactive 4/1 prank. The joke is there was no joke, which in a world made of jokes, can be the best joke of all.
So is there anything pseudoprankish about this year's 4/1 offering? I can see why the jape-jaundiced eye may regard it with caution, if not actual disdain. (You see why this holiday is nothing but trouble?? It befouls the lighthearted with the curmudgeonly taint of skepticism!) All I can say is, give it a day or two. 4/2 should be anointed a special day in its own right. A day for those drunk on gullibility to nurse their hangovers. Like the day after St. Patrick's, but instead of green beer you drank lots of lame bogus press releases.
I've been really busy lately. That I've been able to squeeze out a few simple pages here and there has been a little beaded string of glittering miracles. I finally had some time to grind out a really cool animation though with a guy doing flips and stuff, so I thought that was pretty sweet.
Jan found some time to do some editing too, which is always promising. We'll kick out some more of these soon I hope. He will edit. I will shout funny ideas at him, and wave around this stick I found. I will not edit though. No, because:
I will be doing a lot of animating soon.
Let's address another date in April. Not the one marking a shitty holiday no one cares about, forcing big corporations to feel obliged to foist weaksauce stunts on everybody, revealing their PR departments to be stocked with wannabe writers for The Onion. No this shit is SERIOUS. We are talking about April 13th, exactly one year since Homestuck began. The original plan was to end the story on this date. (A plan which predated the first page of this monsterpiece. A plan thus rooted in peril and ignorance!) My plan has managed to deescalate in its sweeping architecture and now reads as "do a really kickass animation, if you have time." The plan also includes shoehorning a couple other kickass animations into the archives between now and then.
Will I have time? Only I can answer that question. The likelihood for an affirmative is gravely influenced by the measure of abuse I will cause myself to endure. This measure is forecast to be: CONSIDERABLE
At the very least this announcement will chronicle with some precision the standard I have set myself up to fail to live up to, so hey, we're accomplishing stuff here.
Humor is dying a slow death cause everyone's trying to be so funny so hard at me all the time. Everybody pipe down and sell me shit.
It turns out that sometimes problems beget more plans.
My apartment smells like an old aquarium and I'll probably have to move now. On top of this I have fallen ill. These items will appear on a memo you will receive on your desk, and this memo will read at the top REASONS WHY ANDREW AIN'T GETTIN' MUCH SHIT DONE LATELY.
For the last week or so I have been enjoying a series of adventures which are not especially remarkable but of the sort one's friends and/or webcomic audience will happily entertain if sufficiently inebriated. I was sleeping in a strange room the other day and I woke up in the middle of the night and didn't recognize where I was. I saw this huge poster of Bob Marley gazing at me and I screamed aloud.
That reminds me of another story but it happened less recently. I was once singing the Harry Potter music in my sleep and woke myself up with my own performance.
These are just a couple of many such wake-up stories. With material like this clearly I should discard this preposterous MSPA endeavor and take up a journal comic.
Apparently it poured in Massachusetts while I was away, holed up in our cardboard castle completely oblivious to cross-continental weather conditions. I came back to a flooded apartment. The irony is it didn't rain a drop in Seattle. The weather was exquisite.
Lots of stuff got soaked, but the good news is my computer stayed dry. If I lost my computer, well... GOODBYE MSPA.
Anyway I rescued it and scurried off to somewhere dry. I'll try to wring some updates out of this soggy dungeon nightmare soon.
So hey thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hi to me over the weekend! Let's say hi again some time ok?
My computer seems to have its heart set on pitching a fit. I tried to talk some reason into it but it has made its intentions clear to me through a spectacular display of histrionics.
I think it's another hard drive failing. I've probably had like ten of these things fail on me over the years. Apparently that's just what they do, without provocation. But I mean it's fine that they do that. Really. It's not like the whole world runs on these things or anything. Let's all be cool with them sharing a rung on the technological ladder with disposable cameras.
So I might not post anything for a few days while I get this sorted out.
OH. And because I am going to ECCC this weekend, that will be another pretty solid 3 or 4 days I won't post anything. [HEY HOW ABOUT THIS DOUBLES AS A REMINDER THAT I AM GOING TO ECCC, JUST IN CASE YOU WANT TO GO TOO.]
Wow so it turns out if I was like most folks I would never update this site. You will note that I am characterizing most folks as simply those who tend to have plans and problems.
Do interrogative thoughts haunt your mind like spooky poltergeists? Does the essence of inquiry press up against your soft membranes and secrete from your porous carriage as a curios black fluid? Do you harvest this fluid in the inkwell reserved solely for the quill you reach for when finishing a sentence with a question mark?
If so, you sound like sort of a lunatic. There's nothing I can do to help you.
We trimmed the file down a bit (where we = Alexis), and now the Gate 1 page is much speedier. John walks a little faster too so you can cover the absurd amount of terrain without devoting a whole afternoon to the task.
And so ends the brisk 200 page, 3 week intermission.
Act 4 animation mirrored again temporarily. While the server is very much improved, it's still not quite good enough to handle a file like that. I'm fully resigned to playing constant catchup with the machine that serves this site, between the steady drumbeat of new readers, and my increasingly bloated files. As always, the thought of actually promoting the site remains laughable. Sometimes at night I whisper into my pillow with beads of sorrow in my eyes: dear wish fairy, please no more readers. Please.
Just kidding. Tell all your friends about MSPA I guess. I'll figure it all out some day.
Alexis is a Flash programmer and he's many insane kinds of "mad good". I wouldn't even think to try to pull off something like the Act 4 page without his computer codes. Basically I say to him something I want the thing to do, and then the next day that is what the thing does. I'm not really sure how he does it. Sometimes though I hear that phrase directed at me and my work, and I just laugh it off as an expression grounded in the utterly ridiculous. So I'll laugh it off for him on his behalf. He he he he he.
Also this update marks the first time a page in MSPA has featured art not drawn by me, or not plundered hamfistedly through google's vast image agglomeratrix. Cindy drew some nice assets for this, and for this I thank her. (Yeah she never updates her site. Believe me, I share your frown.) Maybe I will consider more distributed art projects in the future. I may have to, if I want to finish this goddamn thing some time this epoch.
Another note: if the "game" performance is slow (not to load, but to play) then it is not the internet's fault, but your computer's fault. Which is to say it's actually my fault for putting too much crap in the gigantic room. I will possibly look into optimizing this further, and will certainly not repeat the mistake in future pages. I remind you that there isn't really a "dev team" or a "testing group" or "quality control" as would be present for most commercial software enterprises. As always, it's just a dude, and some other hacker dude, and an experimental webcomic that shelters some goofy stuff now and then.
Should be bringing this intermission to a close finally. I delayed it longer than originally planned for a number of reasons. First, that's just what these things do. They sprawl. Second I was sort of timing the opening of the next act with some server work being done, and it looks like it shaped up nicely. Third, I was working on stuff for act 4 at the same time I was working on the intermission, somewhat paradoxically delaying both things. It is sort of like I was working on two MSPAs at once. I think I have concluded that one is more than enough.
Big thanks to Ryan for his help with the server. It is purring like a kitten that has several hundred thousand people patting it per day, demanding large media files from it. Now it may be able to playfully deliver these files to you. And then fall asleep in its food dish or something adorable like that.
Act 4 will probably start on wednesday at the latest. See you then. (And every waking moment before then, and thereafter, forever.)
Only two songs in this album have appeared in Homestuck pages: Three in the Morning, and Nightlife (both are extended versions in the album). The rest are new, never before heard, and all of them (including the first two I mentioned) were made specifically for this album.
I had this idea to start making "fake bands" based on various characters from MSPA some time ago, back when the music project was starting up and I soon realized I'd have way more music on my hands than I could possibly use in the story. MC was the first such band, which guys in the music community started working on stuff for last summer. The whole thing got sidetracked for a while, but we decided to finish it over the course of the intermission for obvious reasons. It turned into a 19 song monster album, and I think all the songs came out fantastic, and really match the group's motif quite well.
The idea behind the fake bands was to put a spin on a certain genre, in a way that seemed in keeping with the characters and what sort of music they'd make. In MC's case the genre is something we've been referring to as "dark jazz".
I'd like to keep putting out more albums by more bands, with more interesting spins on musical styles to help develop characters and their universe. There certainly seems to be enough talent to keep it coming. I really wouldn't mind flooding you guys with awesome original music, even if I can't manage to work most of it into animated pages. Which obviously I can't. But projects like these albums are the next best thing.
In addition to some familiar names like Hadley and Bowman, there are a lot of great new artists represented in this album, who haven't yet authored something appearing in HS. But the newer folks made some of my favorite stuff there. I recommend you give the whole thing a thorough listen. Thanks to everyone for working on this, and as always, thanks to Cindy for configuring all the tedious Bandcamp stuff.
And just to remind you, the artists make most of the money you pay for it. At $5.25 for 19 songs, we're talking a pretty serious bargain.
I just did a guest strip for the great comic Sam and Fuzzy. Ok well it wasn't really a comic I did, but it was definitely a guest THING. You know the drill with these things I do. They are aliased. They are jostling. They are moderately puzzling to look at. Speaking of looking at things, you should give S&F a read if you haven't already. It's loads of fun.
And continuing on this subject of looking at things, I have detected an abundance of truly smashing plushiwork by a cool lady named Eyes5. She must be congratulated for this work. VIGOROUSLY.
Some guys made some diagrams plotting the events of the MC story. Here are twopages showing the complete timeline so far, by Agrajag. If those are not relatively clean and straightforward enough for you, you could take a look at Grnr's visual relationship timeline.
These seem pretty much accurate... probably. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on the whole timeline, but after looking at these I'm not so sure anymore.
So, thank you, guys whose names are peculiar strings of letters.
Yes, a mere 800 KB Flash page managed to grind the server to a halt the moment I posted it. I'm definitely not opening Act 4 until I get this server tightened up. This may delay the new act. Or it may not! If it does, I'm sure I'll just find a way to stretch the intermission out a little longer. Yes I can hear all of you already, bemoaning the fate of having to endure more unbelievably rad MC adventures.
I say speaking of my server because that comic is actually hosted on the same server as MSPA. So technically viewing those comics taxes this site too, and vice versa. But please do not believe that refraining from viewing those comics either ennobles yourself through martyrdom or curries my favor anonymously. All that really happens is you lose out on reading some funny stuff. The bandwidth scene, though at times spartan, is on me.
ALSO SPEAKING OF MY SERVER. Here is another way to put it to use. I very much recommend you stay abreast of RoomLand. It is easily the funnest thing going on in ForumWorld. If you're not much of a forum-goer, maybe you should bookmark it.
Or maybe more. Or less. Not on a hard timetable here.
This reason for this whole intermission thing isn't necessarily just "cause I Felt like it". I'm also taking the time to prepare some material for the new act in advance, rather uncharacteristically, before diving right in. Also there may be a few server chores to deal with too.
All this is happening in a timeline parallel to the one where I'm working on the intermission. Hope you're enjoying it. Let's think of it as a throwback to Problem Sleuth, but with like 99% more green in each panel.
Donated to the Haiti relief effort yet? Everybody wants you to. Celebrities. Media outlets. Me. If you haven't already, please look into it. I think it is the right thing to do, even if you only give a few bucks.
And on the subject of act 3, Mr. Lecravian has prepared some striking video tributes for us all to enjoy. (Click video responses to see episodes in order.) In addition to serving as a quick and fun way to refresh your memory on the story, I think it's interesting to hear the various musical reinterpretations on top of the action.
Looks like we got another week to go with the intermission. Keep massaging that temporal lobe. (Which according to wikipedia, has nothing to do with the processing of time travel complexities. Why are brain scientists so dumb.)
We're going in this direction before I start the next act. I felt like doing something a little different for a while, and perhaps this is my way of unwinding after the recent animation binge. Besides, I've got some stuff to organize before I dive back into the HS storyline, so we all might as well tune into this adventure rather than waiting around staring at a lot of nothing.
I'm thinking the MC intermission will go on for two weeks, max. It'll be a fun change of pace. Plus try not to be altogether floored if it turns out what's going on here isn't completely unrelated to the events in the HS universe. Though maybe you were suspecting that already.
I'm not even going to pretend the server can handle this file. I'll keep it hosted on spam the web for a couple days, then upload it to the archives once things simmer down.
I was all set to work on this thing longer, but I just decided to draw the line somewhere and put it up. Sometimes I've got to remind myself the goal here isn't to make the best thing I possibly can. It's to make the BEST FASTEST thing I can. Optimizing the vector* combining these quantities, the quantities of bestness and fastestness, should be my primary concern. Of course it didn't help that in the latter stages of the document's completion it would take Flash five minutes to save it.
* using this phrase tells me I've been working with Flash too much.
Anyway, here we are again. I should feel like taking a break after that, but somehow I don't. Which isn't surprising since I never do. I don't even know why I bothered mentioning it. So more to come soon I guess.
But let's agree to do without Flash for a little while. Oh wait we don't have to agree cause I'm in charge here!
Double P.S. - Also let's hear it for Bowman and his completely sick tune. Would you believe he produced this embellishment on Sburban Jungle in July? I've been sitting on it ever since, waiting for the right moment before unleashing it. Waiting. Brooding. Conniving.
Our day has come, Michael Guy Bowman. It has come.
Time for me to vanish into the animation abyss for a while. Let's give it a week, tops.
If you're one of those people who has trouble keeping up with all the updates I bury you with, maybe now's a good time to catch up. And if you're one of those people who's finding everything going on in the story to be somewhat confusing and overwhelming, then maybe now is a good time to go back and reread it all.
I'm pretty sure about 95% of all MSPA readers huddle somewhere beneath this umbrella.
Server hissing and whistling like a shitty steampunk exoskeleton
Looks like the hits on the latest Flash page have simmered down, but I guess I'll leave a link to the mirrored file lying around just in case.
This was a pretty long one, clocking in at more than three minutes. That is actually a bit longer than the end of act 2 (though a smaller file), but I don't remember the strain on the site being nearly as bad when I put that page up. I guess there are that many more people dialed into this thing than there were in October.
In spite of the length of the latest animation, it wasn't quite end of act material. Trust me, when I'm working on the real EOA, I will disappear HARD into the ominous cloak of radio silence, and it might make you a little nervous. This will probably be soon. I'm not leaving a lot of mystery surrounding this fact. At this point, any misdirection on what I was really up to would be a transparent ruse indeed.
When it is finished, the file will likely be so big, and get tapped by so many people at once, no one will be able to see it for weeks. I can see this all unfolding like a chessmaster recognizing the demise of his opponent (my server) 20 moves ahead. This is what we website administrators call THE PERFECT PLAN.
If the latest page is taking a while to load, just hang in there. It'll come through eventually. Don't click refresh since that could just restart your progress. Lot's of people are clicking on it at once and it's a pretty big file!
I probably won't be posting any new updates for a couple days on account of the glorious birthing of some guy near barn animals. So now you know Whom to send the angry letters. But before you do take into account that He fixed it up so you aren't all totally screwed when you die.
A good comic that strikes me as not receiving much attention around the cyberglobal megamatrix is toothpaste for dinner. Why I do not see more people talkin' it up I do not know! The casual cartooning style and sense of humor are things that very much agree with me. In fact on further contemplation all of these "Sharing Machine" comics (tpfd, nataliedee, marriedtothesea, superpoop) are quite wonderful things! Please take some time to bone up on these sources of entertainment.
Here is another comic that is a fledgling enterprise pecking and poking its tiny bill through the interior of its eggshell. It is called Dramatic Shapes and it is by Zeitlos Lecravian Eisen, which is an utterly ridiculous name for a human being to have. This comic is good. But seriously these shapes just need to cool their shit and calm right the hell down.
And no good comic mention-off would really be complete if I didn't throw nedroid out there, so that's what I'm going do. Nedroid is probably the only comic for which I am liable to fall prey to embarrassing episodes of fanboyism, so I will stop talking now before I say something which causes me to appear foolish.
Huge, ridiculous megaprops to Cindy for coordinating all this album stuff for me. It just wasn't happening otherwise. You might think we were dogging this release for a long time, but it really did take this long to get it all together, rounding up final mixes from the crew, reformatting chores and stuff.
And a reminder: when you buy these songs the artists get the monies, so you're saying THANKS DUDES with your dollars.
Check out how sweet this is. I think this all makes a whole lot more sense. It might take some time for you to get used to it. In the interim you may feel a bit grumpy and mutter things about how it used to be so much better and how this basically sucks and is tantamount to me taking an exceptionally spirited and jovial dump into your grandmother's open casket. That is ok though, I respect that point of view. We will respectfully agree to agree that I am right and you are wrong.
So hey this thing's still on its wobbly baby deer legs so if you notice any bugs let me know!
Also guess what----new music albums up for sale real soon. Yes, albums plural. Volume 2 AND 3 at the same time. Guys this is a shitload of music we are talking about here, and these are NOT just carbon copies of all the Flash page songs you've already heard. This may even hit the bandcamp store later tonight. It is exciting. Stay tuned.
Also the downloads will be cheaper.
Which is a nice transition to this topic. SPEAKING OF CHEAP. I noticed recently that a graphic novel I did a few years ago is being offered at the SLG website for free. It is called Whistles, and it can be yours for only what the mailman asks to bring it to you. This is kind of a good deal. I used to have a whole preview thing for this but I took it down since a web preview for a free book is sort of stupid. OWNING IT IS THE PREVIEW. But here's one of the pages if you're all curious-like.
And while we hover near the subject of bargains, I still have a number of blueSleuth Diplomacy shirts, from way back before I sold through Topatoco. If you want 'em, you can have 'em at a discount. Just email Cindy and ask about sizes and shipping and stuff. If you act fast enough, she JUST MIGHT be able to get it to you before x-mas if that's your aim. I think the Topatoco holiday deadline has come and gone, so we will call this deal the PROCRASTINATOR'S SPECIAL.
I did a guest comic for my bro Byrobot, filling in for him because he has the swine flu. Ok I actually did the comic before he got the swine flu but let's pretend that is the reason I did it. TRIVIA: did you know a number of things in MSPA are blatant ripoffs of Byrobot's earlier works? The weasels in Problem Sleuth for example were heavily influenced by Fufu (or is it Chuchu?), seen in today's guest strip. There have been a few other imports as well.
As promised, another guest comic. This one is for Doctor McNinja. Do you read Doctor McNinja? If not, I think you and the internet need to have a little talk. It is pretty much probably the best thing that exists.
Hello everybody. Hope you have some good holiday times in store for you. To all you non-Americans, please refrain from feeling thankful for anything, or experiencing the emotion of gratefulness in any form. This weekend we've got that shit on lockdown.
I will now supply a number of things for you to click on and become absorbed in, ideally for hours.
Also in this vein, a little while ago I posted some HS concept sketches. I will perhaps post more in the future.
And yet another topic I have been meaning to mention is the MSPA Fan Adventure Forum, and some awards that community handed out recently to the most notable adventures. All the winners and categories can be found here(Image loading logjam in there, sorta. Be warned.)
And the votes for Best Completed Adventure went to a fine tale Alanna. This was apparently something of a landslide, and it took some other awards as well.
And the third among the top winners, Best Inactive Adventure went to Take my life in a completely different direction. This is by none other than Michael Bowman, the virtuoso behind a number of Homestuck scores. Apparently this tale has since become Non-Inactive. Looks like you can mess with Bowman pretty good in there, and I cannot imagine why one would pass up such an opportunity.
And a final award getter worth noting, in that it won three separate awards including Best Writing, is 1984 Quest, a fever-pitched thriller packed with booze-fueled Orwellian crypto-mindrape.
And a personal honorable mention must go to Roomland. There's some really sweet stuff going on in there. I'd like to find some more time to groom this forum for more of these personal 'HOTPIXX!!!' but dang that place is so busy it's hard to keep up with it all. I will conclude this is a good thing.
So bottom line is, if you're having trouble figuring out what to do with yourself over the holidays, you can make no claim whatsoever not to have enough reading material. Get crackin'.
II been meaning to mention I will be attending this exciting event at the Topatocompany where you can come by and awkwardly stare at me all day, and I won't even mind.
It seems like I only go to places which are a stone's throw from where I live doesn't it. It seems this way because it is this way. I think next year I will try to get out to more proper conventions around the country (OR WORLD??), so if you were ever hell-bent on ogling me, but not like GETTING ON A PLANE hell-bent, you may find your chance in '10. We'll see.
KC: The father/son duo is looking mighty familiar. How did you know this was how they spend their days? You have also correctly divined that the last boss in Homestuck will be a seal with a grenade.
Happy Halloween! It has never been more important for you to keep an eye on your pumpkin than it is today. I recommend buying one of those infant chest-slings so you can carry it around with you wherever you go. Not an especially spooky update today as convention might dictate, but hopefully you will enjoy the 9-song dump nonetheless. Would you believe me if I told you that even with this this deluge it's still only the tip of the musical iceberg? On the topic: definitely another album emerging soon.
Anyway, maybe you notice things slow down to a pretty moderate pace when all I'm doing is Flash stuff. Something like a clip of one page per day. (!GASP!) This is probably what life would be like if I had stuck with the original plan for the Homestuck "Beta".
I made a bunch of new wallpapers, tapping into the healthy stockpile of resources that have accumulated recently, with all the animatin' and whatnot. I still rarely work in a resolution higher than what you see on the screen, so I look for other ways to fill the space.
The Pesterchum shirt is especially great because while you wear it, you can point to your chest and indicate your current mood to your various chums. Let's hope the occasions on which you find your finger drifting to the lower left of your chest remain relatively sparse.
The Sepulchritude print was originally a page from PS which I spruced up (and deanimated) for a tattoo for a guy named Byron a while ago, and I thought it turned out cool enough to turn it into a print, and he thought that sounded cool too. So basically what's going to happen is people's respective skin and walls are going to get a lot cooler soon.
And no not that Byron, although I have it on good authority that he would be TOTALLY DOWN with getting HOOKED UP with some SICK INK.
There should be one more shirt on the horizon too! Keep those monocles defogged.
For a long time I have considered the possibility of mixing some polls into the reader-driven arsenal of the site. Let's consider this a warm up, with perhaps more relevant story decisions placed in your hands in the future. You do need a forum account to vote. Maybe this is a bit of a hassle? Whether you do or do not, don't worry. Democracy will prevail.
A number of years ago my brother and I used to draw comics and put them on a website. But then later Byron went and started his own comic website called byrobot.net. (Pronounced byro-bot. Please resist temptation to refer to it as by-robot.) But then after a few years that website just up and DISAPPEARED.
Byron's comics are pretty funny, and I'll just go ahead and say that if you don't like his stuff then you probably have no business liking my stuff either, and you should probably just leave. Looks like he's doing a thing where he's taking suggestions for comic titles, and you can even buy the comic you request if so inclined. Sorta like I used to do* once upon a time.
* I swore I wouldn't link to any of my old comics again so that's exactly what I ain't gonna do.
Remember all those rad Problem Sleuth tribute videos that were made by some rad dude called Lecravian? (click the "video responses" underneath to follow the full chain of them)
Well he just finished some similar tribute videos for the first two acts of Homestuck, and they are similarly radical. HS now seems to have enough content under its belt for these sorts of videos to capture that feeling of gradual escalation in a more compact format very nicely. Here's the link to the first one, and again follow the video responses underneath to see them all in succession.
In casual conversation I suggested to Ryan that our websites enjoy an even more intimate proximity in the continuum of Sitcomspace than the classic "Strangers/Matters Duality" so often cited by physicists as a benchmark in field of extra-dimensional comic universes. I posited that it is his site's dinosaur universe that may be comparable to a Steve Urkel while my site may find something in a Laura Winslow more form-fitting. Alternatively I proposed that I may be rocking something in a Carl Winslow instead and went on to speculate about Veljohnson'sproclivities, which I suspect was an avenue of thought the Qwantz author was not about to cotton to for a New York minute.
[note to self - never link to any of my old comics here ever again]
Just as I predicted, another few days have slipped by. I was true to my word that those days would pass.
But in addition to merely passing, those days have yielded not only the update I promised, but the end of act 2 as well. Thanks to Buzinkai for spinning out a gem of a tune ("Explore", as it was aptly named far before I purposed it in this way), and to Bowman for amping it up with all sorts of percussive pyrotechnics. (Bowman is made of magic.)
I will probably take another day or two to regroup here before updating. But really only to organize some thoughts. Even though I spent the better part of the week toiling over Flash, I'm feelin' pretty psyched to keep drawing.
I'll also have some more to say about HS/MSPA in a bigger-picture sort of way, once I find some time to compose something, and the wherewithal to commission rhetoric bold enough to lariat the brainless, nimble-hoofed calf that has come to represent my thoughts on the subject.
OH!!!!!! Also, there are a couple new shirt designs around the corner. These ones are pretty cool I think!
edit: good grief, it just occured to me that I made two metaphorical remarks about subduing farm animals in as many news updates. Different animals, different methods. Total coincidence, I swear.
It's a few days later and I did in fact update. However! It is going to be yet ANOTHER few days before I update again, so you are going to need to keep holding those horses, perhaps pinning them to the ground playfully.
This is sort of what it would feel like if this was a tri-weekly comic I guess. I.e. weird and not as great.
A while ago I posted a link to a working version of COMPLETE BULLSHIT someone made, but the server hosting it promptly crashed (no doubt from an overload of bullshit). Well here it is again. Let's see if the server can handle THAT MUCH BULLSHIT this time.
And once you've had your fill of that (which is impossible), you can calculate your own hashmap values! Next time you are at a party, you can pull out your portable computer widget and entertain the crowd with these sites, instead of doing something lame like gathering around a video of a cat playing a keyboard. Shitty parties everywhere: SALVAGED.
(I just noticed now that the fellow who made the hash calculator also happens to be the same guy who claimed the domain sweetbroandhellajeff.com, and fitted it with a serviceable redirect. This is a fellow I will describe as a philanthropist, and you will agree with me.)
Also, it looks like Jeffrey continues his strong tradition of exquisite taste in fine apparel. Suddenly I find it hard to remember Weedmaster P ever wearing anything other than a green slime ghost shirt. It just WORKS.
Ok, so this is all a little different from the usual stuff for sale. Instead of just slapping humorous or story-relevant stuff on a shirt (which is all well and fine, don't get me wrong!) I sort of wanted to take the opportunity to let this stuff tell a little story, and add some depth and detail to the Homestuck universe.
There are two character shirts available (for preorder!), John's and Rose's. But the shirts have their own little backstories, which are conveyed in corresponding prints, also for sale.
I think the stories sort of speak for themselves through those graphics, but I'll go ahead and overexplain anyway. John's shirt, which of course appears to be Slimer from Ghostbusters, is actually a depiction of an Asian knock-off of Slimer called the GREEN SLIME GHOST. Rose's shirt was once a depiction of a character from a fake cute cartoon show which I totally made up called "Squiddles!". She then went about defacing this shirt to make it look mean! The shirt itself actually appears to be defaced, with ink missing around the eyes and mouth area (but it's a pretty subtle effect, because the ink color is very close to the shirt color).
The cool thing about Rose's print is you can get either the faux-Lovecraftian defaced version, or the undefaced version (so you can deface it yourself!) Just make sure you select the option you want underneath: "LOVECRAFT MY SQUIDDLE!" if you want the defaced version, or "DON'T LOVECRAFT MY SQUIDDLE!" if you want it unmolested!
So there you have it. The story of the shirts, and some sweet merch all rolled into one.
You can buy the songs through Bandcamp. I batted around a lot of ideas for downloading music, and ultimately decided selling them was the best way to go. This way we get to support the artists who did this excellent work, and generously volunteered their time to help me out with the story. As much as I like dispatching free entertainment for everybody, when it comes to stuff that I didn't make, I'd rather give artists the chance to profit from their work than casting it into the wind it for free!
But the songs are priced pretty reasonably, especially if you get the whole album. More songs will be added to it as the story goes. But really, the Homestuck music is the tip of the iceberg with respect to this larger, somewhat mysterious MSPA music project. There will be some more cool developments in the coming weeks and months, so keep an eye out!
edit: also thanks a bunch to Cindy for helping me set all this up!
A familiar refrain with pages like this I have found is something like: "Is that all? Can I do anything else? Can I kill the imp? Is there an objective I'm missing?" The answer is, what you see is what you get! These are not really fully functional mini-games with the sort of objectives you would expect to see from such things. They are partially interactive pages in a story, leaning on certian traditional elements of gameplay to convey the story-purpose of the page. I can see why the format may invite these questions though. The soft membrane dividing game from comic in MSPA has certainly never been more permeable than it is right now!
I added some sound effects to John and Rose's STRIFE pages. It's one of the cool things about making some of the pages in Flash. I can always go back and add features to them if I feel like it. (Which is totally cheating. I shouldn't be allowed to do that!)
That latter one is hosted on my channel instead of the usual Gazorra platform because we can't update that channel for a little while. So this one will have to mingle with my other weird videos and stick out like a sore thumb. People will say: Geordi, what are you doing with all those ALF videos??? You do not belong with ALF. This isn't right.
But that's fine because ALF makes a cameo in the first video, which helps to cement this incestuous cross-ALFening of otherwise respectable pieces of entertainment.
On a side note, does anyone realize what a terrible show ALF was? If you are remembering it fondly from your childhood, you are remembering incorrectly. Muting that furry piece of shit has been my most noble endeavor to date.
Making these rooms lousy with all these wizards has reminded me that I did this illustration for Penny Arcade that will appear in their latest book. Penny Arcade is a pretty great comic, I think we can all agree.
I feel like I should be posting more news updates than I do. I guess I have more stringent standards regarding what qualifies as news than most webfolk. Yes, that must be it.
Maybe this new silly video can qualify. Also it was featured on G4's Attack of the Show (second segment in that clip). These videos have been featured on that show before, maybe 5 or 6 other times. It is always pretty cool when it happens.
On the "me saying stuff" front, maybe I will dust off the old blog soon. The last time I updated it was to complain about Flash when I was just starting Homestuck. LAME.
edit: wait, did I post this ALF? No, I don't think I did. Anyway, there you go.
I don't often make wallpaper because I rarely work in a resolution bigger than what you see in these pages. But a frame from the latest page is one of those exceptions, so here you go! 1280x1024, 1440x900, 1920x1080
Look at this, I did a Dinocomic! Here's some fun trivia about this. When I originally sent it to Ryan, he viewed it with some sort of weird browser incapable of animating GIFs, so I'm pretty sure he spent three solid hours puzzling over it, trying to decipher why it was supposed to be funny. PRANKSTER'S GAMBIT = MINE.
On a totally unrelated note, I think it's about time for me to go turn my lawn sprinklers on. It would be a real shame if anyone happened to be lurking out there, inside a tent perhaps. Such an intrepid soul would surely get wet.
Here and here are a couple of donation commands that I am way, waaaay late with, and just got around to doing them. But their tardiness has paid rich dividends because they provide a shot of now-rare PS action from totally out of the blue! Thanks for the patience, fellas.
another edit: Thanks to Mr. Hadley for putting together another fantastic tune very quickly. He seems to be completely incapable of making music which is not totally awesome.
Hey, so looks like we're through "ACT 1". And I didn't even know there would be "acts" until a few days ago! How about that!
Though aside from that, this is the point I've been pushing to get to in the story since I started. It took longer than I thought it would. I thought it might take about one month, but it turned out to be more like two. And by "this point in the story", I guess I mean "the beginning". Really everything that's happened so far probably serves as more of a prologue than a first chapter.
So we are just getting started! There is surely some fun stuff to come.
Glancing backwards, I can't help but monitor my progress. 55 days, 247 pages (with 295 images). That's a little more than 5 images per day, which is almost the exact pace I set with Problem Sleuth over the course of a year. I was very surprised to learn this! Mostly because many of these Homestuck pages are a lot more detailed and labor intensive, especially with the Flash animations mixed in there. I will decide this statistical analysis yields good news!
It also helps that I'm starting to get the hang of Flash. The most recent animation was much easier than any of its predecessors, and hardly felt like it took any time at all. I am THIS CLOSE to actually looking forward to doing the next one.
Edit: Oh yeah, also it will probably be a few days before I start updating again, just to give me a little time to gather some thoughts and prepare some things. Let's say next update: TUESDAY OR WEDNESDAY.
Really great violin work by Andrew Huo on this page. Plus some expert mastering by Gabe Nezovic to make it sound like a professional studio recording. If you peruse the sound credit page you will start to get a sense for scale of this musical collaboration and the diversity of talent I'm working with. Thanks again to everyone involved!
Some rather enthusiastic MSPA fans have started a Pesterchum-themed IRC channel, for chatting about all the latest and hottest MSPA goings-ons. Pressing issues like how to sedate an exceptionally lively weasel, and locating huge orange vegetables which may or may not have been misplaced. Someone was also kind enough to prepare a tutorial on this subject.
(Uh, yeah, someone did in fact register fancysanta.com)
I just noticed a comic called Good Ship Chronicles has started updating again. The author, Tauhid, has returned from a lengthy hiatus, rising like a mighty phoenix from a busy work schedule. You will almost certainly like this comic if you enjoy outer space and adventure and hilarious things. Also, if you enjoy insane art skillz.
The videos in Jan's channel were collaborations between us, but were edited directly by him. The idea here is videos in my channel will be mostly edited by me, to share the load somewhat and crank out more funny stuff. (Obviously I am not as technically skilled an editor as he but oh well. E.g. I will never be rotoscoping Geordi's visor on anyone.)
There are a few new videos up. A great new Knight Rider video in Jan's channel, and a couple of ALF videos in mine. I'm pretty excited about doing more ALF episodes. It's really quite a bizarre show.
Lucid TV is a very well drawn comic with a really off-beat sense of humor. It doesn't update all that much, but when it does (as it just did) it is very funny! I met the author John a couple times and he is classy folk. I have only one closing remark about the comic, but it can't quite be put into words. You will have to imagine something else in my speech bubble.
Also I have been meaning to mention Nedroid for some time now, because it is basically my favorite comic presently. You must allow Anthony a moment to regale you with tales of the DARE MASTER. I DARE you not to enjoy it. (Prohint: you should not accept this dare.) And then if you are not too busy, pull up a chair to the great roundtablelegacy of PARTY CAT.
Seriously, bookmark that website and read it every day.
Oh, oh. How about a mention of Jeff's OC and Wigu? Jeff is a really funny guy, and I can't tell which of his comics I like better. They are both very funny in totally different ways... and yet somehow, exactly the same way. Jeff has a knack for flashing his extraordinary taste in apparel.
Updated the sound credits page. Many thanks to Malcolm Brown for making such an awesome boss battle tune to go with this page. That song, titled "Showtime", you might have noticed was the same song John played on his piano a few pages back. The piano reinterpretation of the theme was played by Kevin Regamey.
Also thanks to Mark Hadley for the song you can hear briefly on this page. We will get to hear that song in its entirety at a later date.
you might be curious about downloading these songs and others that may come along in future pages. I will likely be setting up a myspace page (or something like that) for songs used in MSPA some time soon, probably once a little more content has accumulated. Also, when I actually get a little time to do it!
Edit: I should also note the latest page is interactive. You can click those two buttons. Just reminding you since I know a few people missed that. Which is understandable since nothing else was interactive up to this point.
I'm sure you've noticed I'm starting to work with music in this story. Naturally I have received a lot of queries about that piano piece. I put up a sound credits page to answer all such questions, in the present and future!
Edit: I'll be preceding commands with [S] if it leads to a page with sound, so I'm not boobytrapping anyone with sudden noise at inopportune moments.
Ever since I set up forums to receive suggestions, many users have flooded in, and by dint of their gumption alone they began making MSPA-style adventures in a sub-forum. That was almost two weeks ago, and there are now over 100 of them!
Here are a few notable storylines:
Mutewood: A rather dark, small sprite-based story that appears to be the longest one in the forum. It is mysterious, BIZARRE, and very cool!
Flatland: One of the first stories to appear. A tale involving clever use of negative space.
And a lot more! Honestly I couldn't even dream of keeping up with them all, there are so many, and I've been rather busy. But if you're inspired, do feel free to throw your hat into the ring. Looks like everyone's having a great time!
(Ok, it technically wasn't actually a prank. Sure looked like one though, didn't it! I really intended to do it exclusively in Flash, but long story short, it was turning out to be too labor intensive. Basically I wound up pranking myself! There will be occasional pockets of Flash though, mostly just so I can include music sometimes. I will discuss this in greater detail some time, perhaps in my blog, when I have a moment and am not tired.)
It was particularly unfortunate for that one to get lost in the shuffle for so long. I am so dumb sometimes. WHOOOOOPS! ... edit: and I just fixed the typo. He is no longer "filping out". WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOPS!
I just added small sound control and replay icons to the pages I posted. These are the sort of little chores I have to keep up with now that I'm using Flash. For this reason updates will probably be a little slow for a while, but I'm sure I will start speeding up soon.
Edit: Also I'm going to implement a way to keep the sound settings persistent from page to page, so you don't have to readjust it on every page.
I am dipping my toe into the perilous waters of Flash for the next adventure, so I started by making this title screen for Problem Sleuth.
The song was created as a theme for Problem Sleuth by Mark Hadley, who is clearly a very talented musician! He made it a while ago and I was waiting until I finished PS to make something like this with it. Here is the song if you'd like to download it. He also made a more polished composition, a variation on same theme quite suitable for an epic final boss battle. This is really cool stuff!
Speaking of Flash and awesome music, you may be able to gather that I'm thinking about incorporating sound into the next adventure. I will hopefully have an interesting announcement about this quite soon!
I made a desktop wallpaper for that last illustration, plus one for another Problem Sleuth illustration as well! Now the question is, which one will you apply to your desktop? I bet you didn't expect you'd be faced with such a difficult decision when you woke up this morning.
Also, both of those illustrations will be available for sale as prints! This will happen shortly, as soon as I get it set up with Topatoco.
I decided to move the suggestion box to a forum thread for the next adventure. This seems like the best approach, since I've noticed the current suggestion box tends to fill up with not only commands, but series of interactions between people which you could describe as ACTUAL DISCUSSIONS. This way if people want to chat about things, those discussions may spill out into Forum Proper.
So if you think you would like to submit suggestions for the next adventure, maybe you should consider registering an account there now! I suppose you could then also CHAT with like-minded people if you are so inclined. I wouldn't object to this at all!
As promised, there are a couple new shirt designs available! There will be a very cool C.C. Vampire design coming out in the next week or so as well. Also, I'm working on getting some prints in the store soon too!
I thought about doing something funny on my site for April Fools, but then I didn't because I don't really have time for that nonsense! Instead I decided to post something about funny commercials for some reason.
Updates are coming a little slow at the moment, because I'm spending time fussing with some site code, and other such dull behind the scenes tasks. These are just some of the very many chores to be completed before I take on the next story! Don't worry, we'll be back to our typically absurd rate of content delivery in no time.
Edit: HOLD THE PHONE
Someone else has made some remarkable Youtube videos which I simply must share with you. Mr. Lecravian has taken the time to put together a series of quick-paced video compilations for the entire Problem Sleuth series. Here they are: Chapters
It's quite an experience going through the story in this way, at such a fast pace. It's sort of like learning kung fu in the Matrix. Or being strapped to a chair and learning kung fu in A Clockwork Orange. Whichever experience is more intense. Anyway, kudos to Lecravian. This is really cool!
I've been talking about webcomics lately, so I will mention another site or two before I pipe down. Michael Firman does a very funny comic called Moe. In fact, Moe even made a brief cameo in MSPA! I recommend you read the recent story arc starting here, wherein Moe goes on a date and then some strange things happen.
But you don't need to take my word for it that it is funny. It is objectively measured as the 3rd funniest comic on the ENTIRE INTERNET. Holy shit! :O
Also recently Cindy revamped her site and it looks really cool. She's quite a fine artist, and she has at times drawn comics which I have written. If you for some reason think I write funny things (I.E. if you are some sort of weirdo) then you might want to check out the comic series What a Scoop!
I wanted to sling a few more shout outs before we all forget about this webcomic weekend thing and get on with our dreary lives.
Also, this is important:
There is a decent number of Problem Sleuth-themed youtube compilations set to music, and they are pretty much all very cool. If you search around youtube for them, you will see them crop up. But this one I saw today is easily the best I have seen! All the original artwork and consideration to narrative easily puts it over the top. Simon Dickie has done a marvelous thing and he should be applauded. I do not want to see on the floor near his feet a single square inch unconcealed by red petal or thorny stem.
No, we are still not quite done! You will know we are finished when you read the words "THE END."
Someone in the comments section of the blog said something which struck me as particularly true!
"I'd just like to say that this is the most literate and well-spoken group of fans of a webcomic I have ever witnessed on the internet."
It did amaze me how well put together and thoughtful everyone's remarks were. Especially when you line that column up along side the sort of verbal detritus that appears under, say, a youtube video. MSPA Fans: Pat yourselves on the back for having the wherewithal to crack a book now and then!
I wrote a rather extensive science FAQs page, now that so much of this crazy science stuff is behind us. I thought it might be particularly useful with the most recent events spurring a lot of confusion/agitation/excitement! Hopefully this helps clear some things up.
Max made this pretty cool Sepulchritude wallpaper. Desktop wallpapers are one of those things I've been meaning to do for many months, but just never seem to get around to. In the meantime, perhaps you may enjoy using this one!
Edit: speaking of totally sweet Sepulchritude fan art, check out this painting Devin did.
I've decided to discontinue the commands-for-donations thing for a while. The commands have really piled up, and I have a lot of stuff to do, not the least of which is finish PS! I'll finish all the ones I have left to do, then probably reinstate it later, maybe after PS is done and the next story has settled in.
I changed the url to my/Jan's video edits page to something more autonomously distinct, as well as actually enunciable. This isn't all that big of a deal since the old address points there just fine too. It just means you'll have to reset your RSS link if you saved one, and reset your bookmark to the site if you REALLY want your ducks to swim in a tidy row.
There should be some more of those videos up pretty soon! (Hint: some of them might even be non Star Trek related)
Ryan I am going to admit I don't know what the next logical step is for this thing to take. I'm sort of groping here, and I am not using this word to literally refer to those top notch hugs you were dishing out the other night like a man possessed. So the only thing I can think to do is to take it in a direction that defies logic in every obscure dimension of meaning and thin stratum of semantics in which the word is known to dwell.
My sources say there are peeping toms out there who will derive fascination from a man sitting in his home spoiling good trousers while reciting rap lyrics about women with enormous asses. Any party falling into this camp could hardly be faulted for the preoccupation, just as he couldn't be faulted for not being completely aware of his surrounding environment. An environment in which the pageant he witnesses quite possibly functions as a distraction while a servant is deployed from the side cellar door, creeps through the bushes, and forces an entire canister of cookie dough through the tailpipe of any would-be automotive voyeurs.
Ryan, I can see you sitting in your car outside my house. You are not fooling anyone, sort of ducking behind the dashboard like that. My dinner isn't even that interesting, it's just like a leftover turkey sandwich from earlier in the day or something!
It looks like some swell folks have been pretty vigilant about stocking the wiki. I wouldn't say it's near exhaustive yet (amazingly, even at 535 pages), but it does now serve the basic function of any wiki, which is to allow you to lose a couple hours to its meandering catacombs. Nice work guys!
A little while ago I saw this and thought it was interesting. A partial account of Problem Sleuth, sort of wiki-like in its detail, and in the fact that it was not made by me.
Then this got me thinking about wikis, and how PS could probably really use wiki-documentation since it's rather complicated, and even I forget elements of the story sometimes. Then I encountered one that had already been started, although it still appears to be in its nascent state. I encourage anyone who feels like it to go ahead and fill it up with whatever occurs to you. At some point I'll probably have to go proofread it and ferret out more obtuse interpretations of the story, like "and then the guy turns into a girl for some reason..." Ok well, now if you actually write that, I'll probably just leave it in for fun.
And regarding the big wiki-enchilada itself, doesn't look like there's anything on MSPA there yet either. Although I'm not officially encouraging anyone to mark it up with things about me or MSPA, since I'm kind of wondering how long I can go without having my identity molested by the spongy folds of its dubious parchment.
EDIT EDIT EDIT: Long story short, there is an MSPA Wiki out there that perhaps you would like to contribute to. (?) (!!)
Because people seemed to like the last batch of shirts so much, I made a couple new designs for you. I also had the previous one (Sleuth Diplomacy) reprinted on a cool new color, in case you liked that one but missed your chance.
I've joined up with Topatoco this time. Jeffrey and his crew do some great work there and sell merch for a lot of other cool webcomics.
I'm still a few days out from updating the site. Still waiting for my computer to show up. I don't really like letting the site gather dust like this, but hey what can you do. Maybe you will receive word of this STUNNING NEW MERCHANDISE as a token of consolation. Keep your eyes peeled for more PS later in the week.
That will be the last update for a while. I'm moving, so the game's effectively on pause until my computer's back up and running. I'm guessing this will take about a week. Then it'll be time to finish this thing up. Problem Sleuth doesn't have long to go.
A while ago I switched to a blog comments system for the suggestion box, and it seems to be working pretty well I think. It's always entertaining to peruse the suggestions, and I heartily recommend the activity.
The side-effect of this was of course an actual blog, which I wasn't sure if I was going to use or not. But I recently reprised a couple articles from my old, defunct blog there. One article on Fancy Santas, and another about how I bought a painting of a horse last year. I'm still not sure if I'm going to use it to do any "actual" blogging, but I suppose you can keep an eye on it if you like.
In a few days I'll be moving, so there'll be a brief interruption in the story. Perhaps for a week or so. Just giving you a heads-up so you don't completely flip the fuck out at the scarcity of Problem Sleuth updates. Ideally, you will only partially flip the fuck out.
Just messing around with the layout again. I'm still feeling out how I want to handle the ad space and I thought I'd give this arrangement a shot. I would like to think I will keep it this way for a little while.
I finally fixed the map feature. And by fixed I mean I made it do something completely different from what it used to do. It now serves as a sort of illustrated table of contents, with the story divided into chapters.
What did it used to do, you ask? Oh, never mind that. Suffice to say, something not as cool.
First. I ditched the old shoutbox in lieu of a simple comment feature following a blog post. Shoutboxes are always breaking. This seems like a much more stable solution. Plus I suppose I can use that blog for various things if I need to. Such as blogging, for example, should my temperament reach such a critical spike in desperation.
SECOND. You may have noticed I have decided to align myself with Project Wonderful. It seems to me like an elegant way to handle the ad thing, which has appeared increasingly necessary cause hostin' sure is goddarn 'spensive. I was considering doing something a little more hands-on/creative with advertising and perhaps I still will, but I thought I'd give this a go for a while and see how she handles.
If the thought of advertising strikes your fancy you should take a look. It works on a very fair and rational bidding system. Plus I think this site makes a good candidate for advertising since it gets a totally preposterous number of daily page views (like half a million or so), relative to number of visitors. That is an awful lot of fresh and discerning peepers ogling these pages. Perhaps they may ogle your enticing brands as well!
I wonder if there is a shoutbox somewhere that doesn't break after a high volume of "shouts". As in, actually maintains archives more than a couple pages deep. I guess I could try out some others but satisfying that curiosity has always been sort of low on my totem of prioirites.
The shirts have almost sold out. They have gone a little faster than I expected. There are still a few sizes left There are only a couple smalls left. Will be working on some new designs/reprints soon.
FAQ: "Hey what's going on with all these Pickle Inspectors?? How many are there?"
Maybe not as many as you think. There was FPI (the red one) who split in two to avoid a vexatious glower, and sent one to the past (the blue one) and one to the future (the yellow one). The blue one (PFPI) first appeared here, having just traveled back in time, and arrives to save the day! (By extinguishing the fire from the first glower.) But that left FPI (red) standing around with PFPI (blue). PFPI had to go kill some time until FPI disappeared, so he went and played Trouble with Death. FFPI (yellow) of course has yet to appear, since that future moment has not arrived yet! It's really not even that complicated when you think about it!
This was a suggestion I saw in the box like 3 weeks ago. I liked it, but only got around to drawing it now. The lesson is that even though I get a lot of suggestions, you never know if/when I might pick yours. I just might yet!
So this stuff (uh... this) is what I'd intended to post on Halloween but ran sort of late with it. Consider it a welcome extension of the holiday.
I've had some people ask about making donations to the site. So I'm thinking, hey, if people really want to be that awesome, who am I to refuse! I'll have to think of some sort of cool thing to give away with a donation though.
On a related note, people have also been asking about shirts. I do have something in the works, and it's pretty sweet. Keep an eye out for developments in the next two or three weeks.
Man, I'm getting a lot of suggestions lately. I don't want to say post less, because I certainly enjoy reading through them. (And I do read them all.) I just wish I had the time to execute even 1% of them.
Anyway, thanks to anyone to takes the time to type one in. The policy I'll use to govern their selection may approximate a "popular demand" model.
Also I noticed this in there and thought it was kind of cool.
There was a pretty big strain on the site from extra traffic, mostly from VGCats. But I think I fixed it and it should be running ok now. Hi to everyone new. Looking forward to your user commands in the suggestion box over there, but remember, you have to get all the way to the end of the Problem Sleuth story first to make a command! It (possibly) will dictate what I draw next.
Hey, guess what? We're finally on the home stretch for the Problem Sleuth campaign. This means I will probably be more liberal with my own commands just to keep this thing moving along at the right pace. But even so, please keep supplying the great suggestions! They're essential, and I'm still bound to use plenty of them.
I'm putting MS Paint Adventures on indefinite hold. I have a lot of stuff to work on,
and it's silly to pretend I can keep up with this regularly at the moment.
I will come back to it though. I'd like to iron out some of the features in the
(still quite experimental) system. When I do, it will be when I'm able to commit to
a regular schedule, maybe even daily.
In the meantime, you may read the adventures in their current state here.
So it looks like keeping up with this about once a week is about all I can handle now. I have a lot of other stuff going on right now, not the least of which is drawing the 2nd Whistles book. (book 1 is out real soon)
Keep an eye on the RSS feed (assuming it actually works properly...) is my recommendation. You never know when I might strike. I am like a crouching cougar with an angry rattlesnake up its ass.