While Ace Dick sets up the rather complicated board game, Death clicks his BALL POINT SCYTHE and jots down a few notes in his TOME OF WAYFARING SOULS.
He documents the tale of three detectives trapped in their offices. In the due course of time, they escaped from their offices, only do discover they were still trapped in what could loosely be considered a larger office building, held hostage by an unscrupulous mob boss named Mobster Kingpin. MK wets his bill in just about everything, liquor bootlegging, laundering, embezzling treasure concealed in stone busts, prostitution outfits orchestrated by his Madame accomplice along with sinister urban mural rackets. Additionally, MK guards the MEGATON KEY required by the sleuths to exit to the REAL CITY STREETS which are in dire need of their sleuthing services!
The detectives were able to escape their offices by accomplishing various feats both inside their offices, and on the IMAGINARY CITY STREETS, a realm accessible in ways twofold: Through A) electrically-powered WINDOW PORTALS, and B) alcohol-fueled spells of IMAGINATION from within the safety of a small FORT.
The detectives additionally advanced their situation by forming alliances with various KINGDOMS residing on the flip-side of the IMAGINARY UNIVERSE. Problem Sleuth befriended ELVES, Pickle Inspector befriended WEASELS, Ace Dick befriended HOGS, and unfortunately, Mobster Kingpin made an ally as well in CLOWNS. Each aided his ally in its struggle against its warring party and received boons for their efforts. Eventually, Problem Sleuth used his heightened DIPLOMATIC ABILITIES to resolve all disputes among the KINGDOMS, thus winning him favor with the WEASEL KING.
Through the boons of their respective efforts, the sleuths gained a mysterious form of cognizance regarding their FEMALE ALTER EGOS. PS cognized awareness of Hysterical Dame, PI cognized Nervous Broad, and of course, AD merely cognized himself for lack of IMAGINATION. These ladies were revealed to be trapped in a DOLL HOUSE in MK's office, a room which he himself was proven to be trapped in as well, only freeing himself upon receiving his boon from the CLOWNS. The females had to overcome their prison as well as their DIMINUTIVE SIZES by accomplishing various feats within their rooms, utilizing SIZE ALTERING PORTALS to and from the IMAGINARY UNIVERSE involving a MUSIC BOX, a STOREFRONT, a MIRROR, a MANHOLE, and a JACUZZI.
Meanwhile, the sleuths engaged in battle with various DEMONS in the IMAGINARY UNIVERSE, gradually increasing their skill levels and adding to their repertoires of BATTLE TECHNIQUES and COMBAT OPERANDI. At one point, Ace Dick brewed a batch of CANDY CORN LIQUOR. The resulting explosion from the volatile concoction is ultimately what freed them from their offices. (For him, by blowing a hole in his front wall. For PS, by triggering an event which caused the OBOE to be dislodged from the back doors.) Later, Pickle Inspector drank the CANDY CORN LIQUOR to max out his IMAGINATION gauge, giving him tremendous powers in the IMAGINARY UNIVERSE.
His powers lead to these consequences.
A) Splitting himself into 8 clones.
B) One of those clones turning into a monster which killed most of the clones, and was then shot by...
C) One which summoned a CANDY MECHA, and then later killed by the "female" AD in the DOLL HOUSE.
D) One rising into the sky and becoming GODHEAD PICKLE INSPECTOR.
E) One using ABSTRACTED THOUGHT, allowing the real PI to function in reality, while the imaginary ones remain.
F) The final remaining one using TEMPORAL REPLICSIMILE, splitting himself in two. One disappearing into the PAST (PPI) and the other into the FUTURE (FPI).
Also meanwhile, Ace Dick (the original one) found the CONTROL ROOM containing a complicated PUZZLE and a CODE MACHINE. First, he tried jumping out of his SIDEWAYS WINDOW, fell through the IMAGINARY UNIVERSE sideways, and died. In taking a step back, he used the CODE MACHINE to skip ahead to a point in the game where the complicated PUZZLE was solved. (It was later determined that it was Past Pickle Inspector who went back in time to solve this puzzle, and then died.) Upon solving the puzzle, a hatch opened, allowing him to travel to the IMAGINARY UNIVERSE to collect his boon from the HOGS.
A little later, Problem Sleuth found the CONTROL ROOM too. He used the CODE MACHINE to return to an earlier state in the game, to the moment before Ace Dick jumped out the SIDEWAYS WINDOW. This time, AD was able to jump into the STOREFRONT before falling to his death. He emerged from Hysterical Dame's MUSIC BOX, causing him to be VERY SMALL. He eventually came to be normal-sized by using the various SIZE ALTERING PORTALS.
This is how there came to be three Ace Dicks.
Furthermore, by this point, there were two Pickle Inspectors: the original real one (PI), and his super-powered imaginary form in the future (FPI).
After PS used the CODE MACHINE to create the third AD, he then jumped through the UPSIDE-DOWN WINDOW with the PARACHUTE to fall through the sky of the IMAGINARY UNIVERSE, past the SLEAZY BROTHEL IN THE SKY, landing in the WEASEL KING'S palace. This is how he came to be charged with diplomatically resolving tensions among the FOUR KINGDOMS. However, he was only successful upon looking up a CHEAT CODE on GAMEFAQS, and printing it out. The PRINTOUT was generated in the ALCHEMY ROOM, which PI then took and used with the CODE MACHINE to skip ahead to the SUCCESSFUL POLITICAL NEGOTIATION. As a boon, PS received a great deal of AMMUNITION, ELF TEARS, WEASEL SNOT, HOG SLOP, PIE FILLING, and the loyalty of the WEASEL KING, and was returned to reality. He then collaborated with the other ADs to fit the SKULLS of the sleuths previously slain into the slots to unlock the DOUBLE DOORS.
In the ALCHEMY ROOM, PI also printed out a recipe for 5 ALARM HOT SAUCE, which involved a CHIPOTLE PEPPER, a rare item which proved to be found beneath AD's HAT. One of the ADs prepared the concoction in the HOT SAUCE STILL and waited for it to mature.
Upon freeing themselves from the DOLL HOUSE, HD, NB and "female" AD encountered MK, who'd just returned to his office. This sparked a fierce battle, whereby the heroines dealt damage to MK by raising his BLOOD SUGAR and using powerful attacks such as their CHARM BREAK! and MURDER FLUX! techniques. Power for these attacks was supplied when damage was taken by their counterparts. In the meantime, PS and the other two ADs were climbing the levels to MK's office, fighting monsters along the way. Damage they took fueled the females' attacks, and vice versa.
NB's MURDER FLUX was maxed out when PI was fooling around with windows in the CONTROL ROOM. He dropped one window through its own corresponding window portal, in spite of warnings from the HONEYBEE PROFESSOR. The reaction triggered a massive explosion, killing PI and the PROFESSOR. PI met with DEATH for TEA. The PROFESSOR pollinated the floral/fractal-based AFTERLIFE, while GPI fondly regarded it. After her attack, MK pushed NB through his office window. She fell through the sky in a nervous manner for some time until FPI appeared from the past and caught her.
In the course of the battle with MK, AD was killed in a suicide maneuver. He met PI and DEATH in the AFTERLIFE. Together, they eventually bested DEATH in a series of sudoko-based challenges to return to life. Pickle Inspector would bring a tear to DEATH'S eye by completing the LABRYNTHINE SUDOCUBE COMPREHSENSILE.
The earlier window explosion caused by PI was so massive, it caused a city-wide blackout in the IMAGINARY UNIVERSE. The darkness triggered the release of the terrible DEMON called FLUTHLU, the final adversary PS would face at the top of the tower, which physically corresponded with the imaginary TOWER OF SYNDETIC ASCENSION connecting both sides of the universe. FLUTHLU would climb that tower and emerge through the DEATH STAR WINDOW. PS would easily kill FLUTHLU with his TRUSTY KNIVES attack.
On the way up, one of the ADs was attacked by a ZOMBIE HIRED MUSCLE (who would later prove to be a hero) and became ZOMBIE ACE DICK. ZAD snuck by FLUTHLU to discover the giant BOWEN STILLSON DOGG bust blocking MK's office door.
Meanwhile, HD killed MK with KISS OF DEATH. However, MK snuck out of the AFTERLIFE while DEATH was distracted by PI and AD. MK revived himself with INSULIN SHOT, and knocked HD out cold. He then built a FORT out of his desk, drank some liquor, and retreated into the IMAGINARY UNIVERSE.
Once the 5 ALARM HOT SAUCE was finished, the explosion destroyed the BOWEN STILLSON DOGG, allowing PS into MK's office, to find MK in his fort.
The other AD drank the 5 ALARM HOT SAUCE and became a very strong FIESTA ACE DICK.
When FAD inverted the universe by flipping a window, this allowed MK to descend into demonhood to become DEMONHEAD MOBSTER KINPIN, MK's final form. PS, FAD and ZAD went through the office and upstairs to the deck of MK's imaginary pirate ship, the CHICAGO OVERCOAT. FAD had to destroy/dislodge a series of busts along the way, including a SNOOP BUST which he tragically sent into the sky never to be seen again.
PS flipped the ship's STEERING WHEEL to invert the universe again to begin waging battle. PI and AD, having bested Death, returned to the ship. FPI conjured CANDY ARMOR for the party, which was quickly negated by DMK's powerful attacks. The sleuth party countered with a series of their own attacks, raising DMK's BLOOD SUGAR and dealing damage by summoning the WEASEL KING, conjuring a JAWBREAKER SKYLIGHT BOMB, and invoking a COMB RAVE to execute a ridiculously powerful TRIPLE TRUFFLE SHUFFLE. DMK's first face was defeated, only to reveal DMK's second face with two fully revived health meters.
To counter this, the sleuth party invoked their GAMBIT SCHEMAS to enhance their offensive and defensive attributes.
Meanwhile, HD and NB find themselves trapped in the SLEAZY BROTHEL IN THE SKY, where they pursue a mission to best MADAME MUREL, MK's female counterpart and brothel matron, and plug in a GIANT FAN for some reason.
Also, while DMK's WEAKSPOT was exposed, AD foolishly got on top of DMK's HAT. (The AD who was at one point the "female" AD but now ironically functions as the "normal" AD.) DEATH met him on top of the HAT and then challenged him to a friendly game of LIFE, which brings us to the present moment.
It's all so simple you wonder why you even bothered to ask.
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.
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.