gutsyGumshoe [GG] began pestering uranianUmbra [UU]
GG: Hello? GG: Are you there? UU: yes. GG: Oh my! You answered! GG: You never answer. UU: don't i? GG: Well, no. I don't mean to be accusatory. GG: I am just surprised. UU: right then. UU: what can i do for yoU? GG: Well... nothing in particular. Just thought it would be nice to catch up. GG: I was beginning to think I was the only one of my friends left alive. GG: Maybe this gloomy place full of salamander bones and dusty old relics is starting to get to me. GG: Not to mention the most unwelcome presence of entrepreneurial clowns and their enormous codpieces. UU: coUld be. GG: I'm still trying to track down my father. I've been gathering clues, and I may be getting close. GG: Do you by any chance know if I might see him soon? GG: Hmm... GG: Are you there? UU: oh. yes. UU: keep going where yoU're headed. UU: things will work oUt in time. yoU'll see him. GG: Phew! That's nice to know. Thanks. GG: You aren't usually forthcoming with future tidbits. Er, not that I was always especially eager to believe you about them anyway. GG: But I think I've been coming around on that lately, for what it's worth. GG: So, um. GG: Hey. GG: Are you ok there? GG: You seem rather preoccupied. UU: i'm sorry. UU: i am not having the best day. u_u GG: What's wrong? UU: everything! UU: where do i bloody begin. GG: Is it your brother? UU: well that goes withoUt saying doesn't it? he is ALWAYS a problem. UU: bUt it's more than that. UU: when i sleep and visit prospit, i see nothing bUt storm cloUds in skaia now. UU: my great big lovely ball of blUe has been cloUding over. soon i fear it will be completely black, and the kingdom will be shroUded in darkness. UU: i wish i Understood the meaning of this terrible omen. GG: That sounds awful! UU: and my brother has become more Uncooperative than ever. UU: he intends to play the game, bUt refUses to treat it like a collaboration. UU: i have told him many times that the only way we can win is to work together! bUt he wants it to be yet another competition between Us, like everything has been all oUr lives. UU: his threats to kill me have become harder to dismiss as his UsUal empty bravado. UU: i fear it may come down to having to kill him first. UU: althoUgh i am not sUre exactly how i woUld go aboUt this, or if i will even be Up to the task. umu; GG: I had no idea things had gotten this grim for you. I am so sorry. UU: yes. bUt i'll cope. UU: the real troUble thoUgh is i'm not sUre if i can play a sUccessfUl session withoUt him. UU: a two player session was already risky enoUgh, satisfying bare minimUm playing conditions. UU: and i had it on good aUthority that the two of Us woUld be able to sUcceed, particUlarly given oUr... well, withoUt intending to boast. varioUs advantages. UU: bUt i have no idea if a session of one is viable. UU: honestly i cannot for the life of me imagine how. UU: it may well resUlt in a void session like yoUrs, bUt withoUt the promise of any extenUating circUmstances. GG: Are you sure it's hopeless with him? You can't reach a truce, just for the sake of playing? UU: i Used to hope so, bUt i doUbt it now. UU: he barely cares aboUt the game itself, other than as a means of escaping oUr planet. UU: he has always been more motivated by the ongoing game between Us. GG: I think you have alluded to this before, but I never really understood. GG: What game? UU: well... UU: it is simple. we are playing a game together. UU: we have been forced to, for as long as we've known each other. UU: bUt the rUles are complicated, and often shifting. and they don't always make sense! UU: at least, they woUldn't to yoU. GG: Try me! UU: many yoU woUld not recognize as rUles, so mUch as sUperstitions. UU: a variety of caveats and stipUlations. things that woUld invite misfortUne if i were to break. it woUld be very bad jUjU. UU: i have not been able to tell yoU my name for this reason. UU: doing so woUld lead Us all down a very slippery slope! bUt i have wanted to tell yoU so. i hope my relUctance has not compromised oUr friendship. GG: Of course not. I wrote off your reticence as one of your many eccentricities long ago. UU: ^u^ GG: I still want to understand this game with your brother, though. GG: Could you describe some of the other rules? UU: mm, yes. we have both renoUnced hemotyping Until the resolUtion. GG: Hemotyping? UU: it is in the same vein, pardon the pUn, as a qUirk. it's the old tradition whereby one types in his or her own blood coloUr. UU: so he and i have embraced neUtral tones to speak in, for the time being. UU: most hUmans do not practice hemotyping, presUmably dUe to lacking diversity in blood class. GG: But your race has varied blood color? UU: yes. GG: Then what would yours be? UU: i am a lime blood. UuU UU: while he's got the bright cherry blood, jUst like yoU all do. UU: not that this matters since we are alone here, bUt interestingly, in ancient troll cUltUre we woUld both be considered pariahs. UU: for different reasons of coUrse. those of his blood coloUr were very rare, existing by way of genetic glitch only. they were oUtcasts, having no place in the social order. UU: on the other hand, those of my blood coloUr were once actUally qUite common! bUt later they were all hUnted to extinction. GG: Jeez. Why? UU: details of the genocide are historically mUrky. it's one of those maddening voids in my Understanding of yoUr elaborate epic. UU: bUt i have specUlated their extermination had to do with the extremely powerfUl abilities they tended to have, and the threat to aUthority they represented. even more so than other powerfUl lowbloods. GG: Are you saying you have such powers? UU: maybe. :u GG: But he does not? UU: he has other, Um. traits. GG: Maybe he is jealous of you, which is why there is such resentment? UU: oh, probably. he is an oUtright mess. if yoU can name a problem with me, he's got it. GG: The way you described it, I had always envisioned your contentious relationship as one played out mostly online. UU: yes. it is! GG: And also that you and he had never met. Yet some things you have said lately appear to contradict this? UU: sigh. UU: jane, i am sorry, bUt this is something i jUst cannot get into. for one thing we woUld be creeping way too close to breaking the rUles, and then we woUld all be bUggered. UU: even if i were at liberty to say, it woUld take so mUch time to explain everything. and i really mUst be getting to sleep again soon. i am terribly worried aboUt the people of prospit dUring sUch dark times. GG: I understand. UU: sUffice to say, all games that are played have boUndaries. a stage to which all pieces and moves are confined. UU: like a chess board! there is no reality to the game beyond the edges of the binary grid. GG: That makes sense, but I'm not sure I see how it applies. UU: i know. it was more infernal gammoning on my part as i dance aboUt these rUles. UU: it's all one can do when everything he or she ever does is jUst another move in a game. UU: i am so sorry, jane. i woUld have loved to be more forthright with yoU since the day we first spoke. UU: yoU are a dear friend to me. yoU and yoUr chUms. yoU are all the only friends i have ever had. GG: :B GG: <3 UU: uUu UU: i was planning on giving yoU a gift. GG: You were?? UU: yes, bUt i was going to wait Until completing my qUest before sending it to yoU. UU: bUt now that things are looking rather bleak here, i may have to consider accelerating the delivery. GG: What is it? Or is it a surprise? UU: it is a sUrprise! bUt i will tell yoU this mUch. UU: it is my jUjU. it is very dear to me. GG: Your juju? UU: a talisman of sorts, with many cUrioUs properties and rUles for implementation. UU: as yoU may have gathered aboUt me, i have learned the hard way that it always pays to follow the rUles. :U GG: Where did you get it? UU: it was an heirloom, yoU coUld say. passed on from ancestors. i have always had it. UU: jUjUs are said to have origins which are impossible to Understand or trace. some say they emerge spontaneoUsly from the void. UU: they cannot be trUly dUplicated. if there ever appears to be more than one of the same, it is only a mirage of caUsality! UU: nor can they ever be destroyed. not completely, at least. UU: so when i send yoU mine, it will be no small matter. it will not simply be copied throUgh alchemy. UU: yoU will be the new owner, and mine here will cease to exist. GG: Um... gosh. UU: bUt UnfortUnately it will have no valUe to yoU Unless i send my brother's jUjU as well. UU: and he will not relinqUish control of his Unless i best him at oUr game. this is another of oUr rUles. GG: It sure sounds like you two are up to your necks in this crazy game. UU: oh yes. we are Up to qUite a bit fUrther than oUr neck in it. ~_u UU: bUt it's alright. i love games. UU: my brother, on the other hand... GG: Not such a big fan of games? UU: on no, qUite the contrary. UU: his passion for games transcends any hUman Understanding of love. UU: for yoU to Understand it woUld be to fUlly comprehend the meaning of... UU: how to pUt it. GG: Um. GG: Beauty? UU: horror.
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.
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!
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.