ARANEA: You really don't have to 8e so em8arrassed. It's perfectly ok. JAKE: Aaaaargh oh god oh god you sensed my stupid sexy thoughts i KNEW it. JAKE: God DAMN you bogus brain strider! JAKE: Someone needs to just kill me. Or at least make me wake up! This is so humiliating i dont even... JAKE: Can you please just slap me really hard? If not in retribution for my ungentlemanly train of thought then at least to just get me to wake up and save me from my own ceaseless buffoonery. ARANEA: Actually I do 8elieve it would 8e within the scope of my a8ilities to get you to wake up. ARANEA: 8ut do you really want me to do that? JAKE: Um... maybe? ARANEA: If it is true that you think I am attractive then why wouldn't you want to spend a little more time here with me? What's the harm? ARANEA: Are you really in such a hurry to leave and feel sorry for yourself, for no explica8le reason? JAKE: Well... JAKE: No. ARANEA: I already told you, Jake. ARANEA: I am used to sensing many different types of feelings. ARANEA: It's given me a different perspective on emotions than most have. ARANEA: For most, the feelings of others are often a mystery. So they are prone to speculation and paranoia a8out the motivations of people they meet. ARANEA: The emotions of others can seem like such well guarded mysteries, people 8egin to 8elieve that's how their own emotions should 8e treated as well. So when someone can read their thoughts easily it feels like a violation. ARANEA: 8ut to one accustomed to reading those thoughts, there isn't the same perception of violation or secrecy. It's more like examining other self evident facts a8out a person, like taking note of their appearance. ARANEA: It's still hard for non-psychics to understand this though, even if you explain it to them. It can lead to some awkward relationships, unfortunately. JAKE: I imagine it would. JAKE: So... JAKE: Youve sensed it when other fellas have had the hots for you eh? ARANEA: Fellows, yes. And ladies. It's happened. JAKE: Yowza! JAKE: You mustve been popular i guess. ARANEA: Haha! Oh no. No, not really. ARANEA: The fact that I've 8een the fleeting o8ject of attraction to a handful really paints the wrong social picture I'm afraid. JAKE: That is hard to believe. ARANEA: It's my experience that people very often underestimate their own lika8ility. I sense that feeling all the time. ARANEA: Pro8a8ly 8ecause they're in the dark a8out others' thoughts. They are usually in dou8t, so they frequently err on the side of pessimism. ARANEA: In many cases they would 8e surprised if they knew how many around them were open to friendship, or possi8ly something more. ARANEA: I would venture that if you had such a sense you even might 8e surprised yourself! JAKE: Ha! Thats a laugh. JAKE: I am quite sure my only suitor is my best bro and even then he is such a jumbled stupid puzzle of unfathomable ironies im not even sure about THAT half the time. JAKE: I wish i had your powers that would be top notch. Id be parked on the corner of relationship lane and EASY STREET. JAKE: I could kick back in my eligible bachelors limousine and never fuck up or ever say anything awkward like i have been doing non stop so far in this dream. ARANEA: Let's not get carried away. That certainly does not descri8e my experience. ARANEA: You would think 8eing a8le to sense the occasional attraction from others would 8e advantageous, and inspire confidence in yourself. ARANEA: And it is nice when that happens, sure. ARANEA: 8ut then, you feel the negative emotions directed at you as well. ARANEA: And even if they are less common than the positive ones, you have a way of dwelling on them, and magnifying them far 8eyond their real significance. ARANEA: It's funny how an a8ility that should give you all the advantages in the world over others can lead you to feel worse a8out yourself than if you never had them. ARANEA: You put all your energy into thinking a8out people with the 8ad feelings a8out you instead of the good, and you try your 8est to fix things. ARANEA: 8ut usually it just gets worse. People think you are over8earing and needy, and they don't understand what it is you want from them. ARANEA: I can see why it can drive some with my a8ilities to a8use the powers. ARANEA: Fortunately I was a8le to resist the temptation. JAKE: So there are people on your planet who do that? ARANEA: On the world I was from, it was rare. Only a few criminals and outcasts would. ARANEA: 8ut in the second iteration I mentioned, it was commonplace. Like I said, things were very different. ARANEA: In my world though, the higher castes have a lot of responsi8ilities. It wouldn't 8e right to a8use my powers. JAKE: So you were in a higher caste because of the hemospectrum thing you mentioned? ARANEA: Ah, so you were listening to my lengthy pream8le! JAKE: I heard all of it! JAKE: I was just um... well go on. ARANEA: Yes. 8lue 8loods like myself were higher than most. ARANEA: The jo8 of each 8lood caste was to serve the needs of all those 8elow it. ARANEA: We were to use our progressively greater longevity and wisdom to help the lower castes learn and grow. To listen to them and try to provide whatever they were missing. Like a hierarchy of caretakers with increasing social responsi8ility. When the order functioned in harmony our civilization would flourish. JAKE: That is sure a neat sounding science fiction utopia. JAKE: Wait duh i mean science reality. JAKE: But then it all went to shit because of that meddlesome demon? ARANEA: Yes. JAKE: The demon you say im supposed to defeat? ARANEA: Yes. JAKE: Hang on. JAKE: Would that be the same demon im named after? ARANEA: Who told you that? JAKE: Uh... JAKE: I guess technically my own brain did? ARANEA: That's interesting. ARANEA: I wasn't planning on mentioning that. Or at least not just yet. JAKE: Why? ARANEA: There's no reason to prematurely overcomplicate an already complicated tale. ARANEA: All facts will fall into place in due time. JAKE: Yeah. JAKE: But its true right? ARANEA: More or less.
Here's another huge deal announcement. A "bomb shell", you could say. The zodiac has officially been extended to include 288 signs, instead of the meager assortment of 12 you are familiar with. The resulting system is known as the Extended Zodiac. You may determine your True Sign by taking a test, if you wish.
I envisioned an expansion like this a couple years ago, when it became clear that due to the large volume of NPCs in Hiveswap, many new troll symbols would have to be created. So we made a large library of symbols to draw from when designing characters (A lot more symbols than characters. Don't worry, the game roster isn't THAT out of control.) But why stop at just a static library of new signs when you could take the opportunity to reinvent astrology itself?
The test uses a couple other personal classifiers from Homestuck lore to triangulate your True Sign designation from this dizzying barrage of iconography. What do you do with this information? I don't know. Make some cool new OCs? Discuss your new sign with friends? Cause great agitation and bewilderment among astrological purists? The sky's the limit. Also, those invested in what qualifies as "canon" when it comes to Homestuck lore may take interest in this test, which formally evaluates whether you are a Prospit or Derse Dreamer (involving a new term of art for the sake of this system, called Lunar Sway), as well as your Aspect. I am sure some will wonder whether this means a God Tier Class test will be available as well. Some day, yes, probably. For now, only Aspect is applicable to this system. But the precedent now exists for the expectation to be CANONICALLY classified by literally any absurd profiling system I have ever concocted, and you have just obtained a full license to not let anyone forget this.
Here's a very special new book made by me, dril, and KC Green, which you can preorder here. This seemed like a good way to do it since we had no idea how many of these books to print. A hundred? A million? ZERO??? You guys will decide. Plus there's a lot of other cool stuff there. If you have any interest in this book at all, it's probably a good idea for you to jump on it now. There's no telling how easy it will be to get your hands on after the first run has shipped to backers.
About the friends who helped out: my guess is you are probably familiar with dril's twitter brand? A couple years ago we talked about working on this, one thing led to another, and now here we are asking you to buy a book with a spoon concealed inside of it. The way I see it is, you don't just get any clown off the street to write for characters with the complexity and emotional depth that these ones have. You bring out the big guns. This is a man who knows his way around a huge ass. A man who knows all too well the plight of the gamer. A man who won't hesitate to engage with some of your favorite brands, and will not flinch at a longform narrative about a pissed off guy searching the world for his spoon.
KC Green has already done some good work with the SBaHJ franchise, you may remember. For the sake of authenticity I did a lot of coloring work over his pencils and put some serious attention on generally screwing everything up. Don't worry, we had some very important standards of quality that I took great care to ensure we catastrophically failed to meet. KC does a lot of other great stuff too. Did you know he did the dog who says this is fine even though the room is on fire? It's crazy how much people love that damn dog. Not everyone knows he did it though, and people should applaud him more for his stuff. Same with dril. Let's hear it for these boys and their priceless contributions to our society. I hope you like this book!
Hey check it out. Every week we'll be revealing some new troll characters from Hiveswap until Act 2 is out. Follow the Troll Call here, and meet the first two here. Expect a few more surprises like this to drop in coming weeks.
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??