act 1 homestuck

It’s time for another Hiveswap development team interview!

Hey there, Hiveswap and Homestuck fans! Ash here once again, and as promised, it’s time for another interview with the talented folks on Hiveswap’s development team! And don’t worry – if you missed the first interview, with our environment art director Rah, you can find it right here!

Who’s in the hot seat today? Why, it’s Adrienne, our lead animator! She can tell you far more about her work on the project than I ever could, so without further ado, I’m going to hand things off to her – after reminding you all to take good, long looks at the wonderful examples of her work peppered throughout this interview. Take it away, Adrienne!

Introduce yourself to the fans! What is your specific role on the Hiveswap team?

Hiya! My name’s Adrienne and I’m the lead animator for Hiveswap. I work together with Angela, the animation director, on roughs, cleanup, background and cutscene animation – anything that moves!

When and how did you get your start on the Hiveswap project?

I was hired full-time in January 2016, but I started doing some sprite conceptualization in late 2015 in tandem with [S]:Collide work (I animated sprites for the main big bads and did thumbnails for some of the sequences).

Tell us a little bit about your career background! How did you get your start in animation? Do you have any advice for others looking to enter this field?

Homestuck is basically my career background, ahaha.

I drew a lot of fan art for Homestuck after I finished catching up in late 2012. I got some attention from my work and I was asked to do comic pages for Paradox Space. Then I did work for the Homestuck calendar. Then I just became more involved in the comic after that by doing thumbnails, sprite animation, comic pages, snapchats… and now I’m working on the game… it’s been a wild ride from fan to full-time fan.

But as for how I got started in animation, a lot of it was influenced by anime and then DeviantArt while I was growing up. I grew up with Naruto and loved Norio Matsumoto’s work in it (he did the key animation for the best episodes!). And on DeviantArt, I liked following OCTs (Original Character Tournaments) and was particularly inspired by Unknown-Person’s work.

My general advice would be to value learning and exploration, and have less expectations of what life should hand you – it makes a lot of circumstances feel like a pleasant surprise and a good opportunity to learn something new. That’s how I felt when I stumbled into this field anyway, haha.

We’re making a video game, so of course the question must be asked: what’s your favorite game of all time, and what games are you playing currently (if any)?

Agh, what a difficult question. My most-played genre is colorful multiplayer shooters like Team Fortress 2, Overwatch, and Splatoon.

I finished Nier: Automata recently and now I’m working through Persona 5. But when I’m not working through that game, I play Breath of the Wild (most of my time is spent riding my horse around Hyrule – it’s very calming).

Are there any games that you currently use or have used as inspiration for your own animation work here on Hiveswap, or just in general?

I generally use Homestuck flash animations as an inspiration for Hiveswap sprite animations.

When I’m working on cutscenes, I look to Professor Layton stuff. I love how they integrated cutscenes with gameplay in that series.

As an animator, you must have some favorite cartoons and/or anime – tell us about them!

My recent favorite is Mob Psycho 100. The raw and rough quality of the animation for that one is my jam and the main cast is really inspiring. Avatar: The Last Airbender is still my top favorite for its epic storytelling and world-building. Naruto always has a special place in my heart since it’s one of the earliest things that inspired me to study animation.

Other big influential works for me were Princess Mononoke and How to Train Your Dragon.

What’s your workstation like? Do you like to listen to any particular kinds of music while you work? If so, tell us about it!

Here’s a picture of my workstation! If you squint at the bottom screen closely, you can see me taking the picture. But anyway… yeah. I am a little embarrassed for people to know how saturated my workstation is with inspirational quotes (there are papers of handwritten motivation on the walls behind me), but that’s just how I deal when the anxiety gets a little rough.

When I want to focus (usually for rough animation and concept art), I pull up an electronic or classical playlist on YouTube (and recently Spotify) or have no music playing at all. But for everything else (cleanup, in-betweens, etc.), I dig into different genres once in awhile but Imagine Dragons and Americana/folk stuff are my go-to. Acoustics sound really nice in these speakers.

Favorite Homestuck character?

Egh, this is impossible… I’m gonna say it’s between Rose, Jade, Roxy, Kanaya, Terezi, and Vriska… um…

Favorite Homestuck ship?

Rose/Kanaya has never once failed me! c: (I think John/Terezi is really funny too.)

Favorite Homestuck flash?

Urgh… I don’t know, there’s so many that I love. In terms of like… cool and creative setup, [S] Cascade probably? [S] GAME OVER is cool too, because everyone died and the stakes just got so much higher. Oh! I just remembered [S] Make her pay as well!

This question is impossible.

(In the above animation timeline, the first frame is held for 4/24 of a second, the second frame for 2/24 of a second, the third for 2/24, and so on.)

Do you have a personal message you’d like to relay to all the Homestuck and Hiveswap fans out there?

Thank you for all your support, and for your patience in making it through the Giga/Mega/Omegapauses intact!

Where can people find more of your work? Link us to your own little corner(s) of the Internet!

If you want to see more of my stuff, my Tumblr is the place to be!

Thank you, Adrienne! Well, folks, I hope you’ve enjoyed this second Hiveswap development team interview – and don’t worry, there are still plenty more to come!

Now that we’ve gotten things rolling, from here on out we’ll be bringing you a new interview every Wednesday, so be sure to check back every week for a new behind-the-scenes look at the development of Hiveswap and the talented people behind it!

See you next time!

This scene in the trailer is so rad:

  1. Either the pigeon (on the fridge) or the monster broke through the glass and now neither can’t get out. Maybe the monster was chasing Jude’s pigeon?
  2. There are shards all over the place, animated in the same manner as the monster, Joey and the pidgeon, indicating that we actually get to see when the glass gets broken in-game!
  3. Sound effects (like, say, the monster bumping into the walls and floor and making a fuzz) are denoted by the well-known Pesterchum bubble

Scary as they might be initially, it seems some of the monsters could be less threat and more of a nuisance, like a wild forest critter.

alright, the bullshit with the new hiveswap trailer is making me curious on what the fuck is even going on, resulting to me analyzing on all this bullshit. but lets get it settled. if you need to rewatch the trailers, ill be kind enough to provide links. 

trailer one

trailer two

the first trailer starts off with a glimpse of the home from the outside. Lights are strung around the house as monsters wander. There’s evidence strewn about of jude and joey playing around. As it moves onto the next scene, it’s a family photo wall. 

This the easy part, establishing that this is indeed set in the beta kids universe. We can see grandpa and Halley, the dog that Bec was cloned based off of, beta mom, nana, and presumably, the kids of grandpa and the unknown woman that goes by the name A. Claire, the parents of our protagonists Jude and Joey. Judging by what we know of Grandpa and his similarities to jake, alongside the sign from her that calls him her biggest fan, this woman is probably an actress that he ended up marrying and spawning off kids with. 

The scene proceeds to switch around, giving an idea of the time period, presumably the early 90s, considering the game console she has and the movie posters Joey has in her room. So at this point in time, the Beta kids have yet to land on Earth.

As it pans over to Jude, it shows him to be a conspiracy theorist type, also one with an inquisitive side, He has pigeons, which I can only assume are carrier pigeons as well as other strange objects he’s collected. And the calendar he has in the background shows the current month to be November with one of the dates circled. 

A part of me wonders what exactly this is for, but the only conclusion I can consider is November 11th, aka 2x3prong day, which happens decades later in an alternate universe, so that curiosity is tossed out the window. More than likely it could be his birthday or some shit.

An interesting part of his tree house, however, is 

all these tally marks on his tree. He is clearly marking down leading up to something, be it passing dates till an event or how many times he has seen one of his illusive creatures. Or it could be a minor background detail i’m looking way to deep into.

guess they got a new dog after halley died 

look at her fucking door. those paper figures, why does the second to last one look like roxy. like i know beta mom is in this but dude

so beta mom is the babysitter, so presumably, i would say she helped joey decorate this shit, and considering the state their house is in, it doesn’t seem like A (the mom) or Jake are doing their parental duty of being around to keep an eye on their kids meaning beta mom is around a lot.

Then it pans over to Alternia. Yet, it’s also not? This is something that truly seems so obvious but I’ve never even realized until the second trailer was released. This is the universe made by the alpha trolls (Karkat and friendos), the beta kids universe. And since it’s a universe, that means this is a whole new Alternia. It’s so obvious but it’s not.  We see Xefros Tritoh witnessing the switch between his moirail, Dammek and Joey. This part of this Alternia which I’ll refer to as Alt. C, is shown to be more urban than the settings of Alternia we were shown in Homestuck.

Then we move onto trailer two. As shown in the first few seconds, this seems to be in the attic of the home. There a numerous globes riddling the area, grandpas gun, a pair of legs under the chair (maybe a mummy), and the center of attention. The large machine hidden under a tarp, the reason Joey and Dammek switched places. 

WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT

like at fIRST i thought it was a stupid fucking FLARE BUT NO JUDE DOESNT MOVE AT ALL IT JUST KINDA WHIRLS OUT OF HIS WINDOW. Like??? its understandable if its one of his weird devices that he probably made..okay that might actually be it. Like i doubt it’s the lantern next to him. Plus the weird lght goes all the way around the house??? 

Then it shows Joey crawling through some dang vents with all these elctric snappings like joey youre cute with ur lil baby face and smile and bean fingers but CHILD PLEASE

After that, i assume she is in the basement. Gotta bunch of wierd shit like blue ladies and suits of armor. Her captchalogue currently contains the weird mysterious key i’m going to call the Cherubic Key, the dog treats, what I assume to be pins, batteries, and some spices hell if I know. In her strife folder whatever thing has two little dancing shoes and the flash light she’s presently wielding. Then there’s the walkie talkie off in it’s own section so that is an odd one. Shit’s probably like on her person and not a weapon or whatever. 

then over in jude’s perspective, who the hell are these dancing assholes and why do the claire-harleys live next to a castle

Right after those assholes are done dancing, it goes back over to Joey where the Cherubic key wraps itself around her wrist,  forcing her to use it against her will on the strange device that was under the tarp. It wiggles itself in and the link between Alternia and Earth is established, the green light, taking Joey to Alternia as the red takes Dammek to Earth. 

but really, how the FUCK do they have this device? Like it’d kinda make sense if grandpa got it on his adventures but..really? Maybe it was something that was already in the house who knows, but a link between Alternia in earth that has ‘CHERUBS’ written all over it? That shit’s weird. 

Then it goes to Alt. C, with the heiress of this universe, Trizza Tethis having herself plastered on Xefros’ TV. In the background we can see pictures of himself and Dammek, alongside Xefros’ lusus. Also Alternian discs are hexagons?? 

Then Joey and Xefros riding past many alternian hives on the back of Dammek’s lusus. This was just a really sweet scene to think that Dammek’s lusus trusts Xefros enough they would let Xefros plus an alien ride him through Alternian streets. 

Back to beta earth, joey is throwing down with some monsters in one messy ass kitchen, more evidence to show that parents aren’t around much and joey and jude don’t know how to take care of themselves. 

Then the part that pisses me off the most. 

this part. The glowing green and twitching font. This is the kind of font and effect used for First Guardians. Bec has yet to be cloned by DD, and the possibility of this game having any mentions of Sburb/Sgrub SHOULD be impossible as that isn’t what the game is about. Yet the first guardian effect is used on this text. what the fuck whatpumpkin?

TG: is it there
TG: plz say yes

Enter Chili, lord of the applejuice :)

TG: maybe you can play with TT shes been pestering me all day about it

TT… tentacleTherapist, right? I hope we get to meet her soon! I love meeting new characters!

TG: shes mackin on me so hard all the time i start to feel embarrassed for her 

Oh… TT x TG, huh? Better add this to my nonexistent shipping wall.

TG: i mean not that i can blame her or anything

Narcissism is not an attractive quality, Chili. 

EB: yes, it is understandable because you are really attractive. i am attracted to you.
TG: thank you
EB: jk haha.

You’re breaking his heart here, John! Hmm, I wonder… TG x EB? They seem to have an interesting dynamic, even if Chili is a narcissist and John is a jerk who needs to answer his freaking Pesterchum so maybe they could work out! I’m not that much of a shipper, though, so I probably won’t notice until it’s shoved right in my face, haha.

EB: no, i don’t have it yet.

:C

EB: my dad has the mail and i guess i have to go get it from him and see if it’s there.

Then just go and do it already, you dork!

EB: and i’ve been busy spending all afternoon shitting around with my stupid sylladex.

And who’s fault is that, now?

EB: it’s so frustrating.

You don’t say.

TG: whats your modus

What?

EB: what?

That’s what I said!

TG: how do you retrieve artifacts from it
EB: oh. like one at a time i guess. and if i put too much in, something falls out.
TG: stack?? hahahahahaha

Wow, Chili, don’t make fun of him! I’ve changed my mind, John is not a jerk, you are both jerks.

EB: what is yours?
TG: hash map

wut

TG: my bro taught me a few tricks he basically knows everything and is awesome

Well, I’m glad Chili doesn’t resent his brother the way Dorky resents his father! :)

EB: what the hell is that?

My sentiments exactly, John!

TG: you should probably brush up on your data structures
EB: i guess.

Here comes Dorky with the guesses again. I don’t think he actually cares because he’s kinda like “well TG can just hold his horses” and “i guess” and “alright” and “i never use any punctuation other than periods” and he seems like a real person but he also seems kind of …distant? If that’s the right word? I don’t really know, analyzing this is kind of pointless anyways. It’s just a webcomic. No need to think too hard on it! :/

TG: did you at least allocate your strife specibus

What’s a strife specibus? The word ‘strife’ means pain, doesn’t it?

EB: no.
TG: it could free up a card for you
TG: plus let you attack stuff whenever things get too hot to handle

Oh! So it’s like a battle system! I mean, this really doesn’t seem like the kind of webcomic for it, but whatever. That’s kinda cool! :D

TG: which is never

This is both BLATANT FORESHADOWING and also makes it seem like Chili knows something and is trying to hide it but failing because he is a terrible liar. Does he know something?

TG: what have you got
EB: well, i’ve got a hammer but it’s trapped under some arms.

So John’s weapon is going to be a hammer, then!

TG: wow you really suck at this dont you

O:< RUDE, CHILI! Maybe this is why John never answers his messages!

TG: just get rid of the arms and then allocate the hammer to the specibus
EB: how?
TG: i dont know just use the arms on any old thing and see if it works

Hehehe, this is gonna be hilarious.

Act 1: homestuck is about 4 friends who play a game.

Act 4: homestuck is about 4 friends who play a game and end the world

Act 5: homestuck is about 4 friends and some aliens who play a game and destroy their universes

Act 6 acts 1-5: homestuck is about 4 friends, paradox clones of their parents, and some aliens who reset reality and die a lot, and a green time demon kills the author and fucks with the story

Act 6 act 6 acts 1-6: homestuck is a story about a bunch of kids who retcon their own reality in order to escape a death game

Act 7: homestuck is a story about of bunch of characters who become self aware and leave the fuckin story

Holy freaking christ, John, you’ve created an abomination of a dessert.

You stick the FAKE ARMS in the CAKE on your bed.
This definitely makes the CAKE at least 300% more hilarious. You’re sure COLONEL SASSACRE would know the precise index of elevated hilarity.

I guess it’s… kind of funny? I mean, it does look really weird like that. Imagine if somebody just stuck a pair of arms in a cake right in front of you, hehehehehe.

Doomed timelines in Homestuck
  • Act 1: none
  • Act 2: none
  • Act 3: none
  • Intermission: maybe, but irrelevant
  • Act 4: Davespite's
  • Act 5 Act 1: none shown
  • Act 5 Act 2: the one in which Vriska lives
  • Act 6 until gigapause: none shown
  • Act 6 now: YOU'RE A DOOMED TIMELINE, HE'S A DOOMED TIMELINE, I'M A DOOMED TIMELINE, ARE THERE ANY MORE DOOMED TIMELINES I SHOULD NOW ABOUT!?
  • JADE: yes!

TG: hey so what sort of insane loot did you rake in today

 He types in red. I dub thee, Chili!

 Yes, that is his nickname. Chili.

 Deal with it.

EB: i got a little monsters poster, it’s so awesome. i’m going to watch it again today, the applejuice scene was so funny.

 I have no idea what he’s talking about.

TG: oh hell that is such a coincidence i just found an unopened container of apple juice in my closet it is like fucking christmas up in here  

What. Why. It’s just apple juice! I mean, I love apples and all (they’re my favorite food!) but that seems like a bit of an overreaction, don’t you think?

EB: ok thats fine, but i just have one question and then a word of caution. have you ever seen a movie called little monsters starring howie mandel and fred savage?

 Nope!

 TG: but

TG: the seal on the bottle is unbroken

TG: are you suggesting someone put piss in my apple juice at the factory

 Oh.

 That… that is pretty disgusting. Why.

 EB: all im saying is don’t you think monster howie mandel has the power to do something as simple as reseal a bottle?

 John, monster Howie Mandel isn’t real, whoever he is. Also, that’s disgusting. I really don’t think Chili wanted to think about that.

 EB: try using your brain numbnuts.

 Wow, rude.

 TG: why did the fat kid or whoever drank it know what piss tasted like

TG: i mean his reaction was nigh instantaneous

 Why won’t they stop talking about this?

 EB: it was the 15th day in a row howie mandel peed in his juice.

 BLEHHHH THAT’S DISGUSTING!!!!!

 TG: ok i can accept that

 Chili no

 TG: monster B-list celebrity douchebags are cunning and persistent pranksters 

 THEY’RE NOT EVEN REAL!

 TG: also fred savage has a really punchable face

 What. Chili, that’s rude. Also a really weird thing to think about.

 TG: but who cares about this lets stop talking about it

 Yes, please do.

 TG: did you get the beta yet

EB: no.

EB: did you?

TG: man i got two copies already

 Can we swich to Chili’s POV? I want to see what the game is like.

 TG: but i dont care im not going to play it or anything the game sounds boring

 Aww, Chili! That’s boring!

 TG: did you see how it got slammed in game bro????

EB: game bro is a joke and we both know it.

TG: yeah

 I feel like this is a reference but I don’t understand what it’s referencing.

 TG: why dont you go check your mail maybe its there now

EB: alright.

 Please let it be there, I’m really curious about Sburb!

I don’t know whether I should consider it funny or sad how everything still looks exactly the same after 3 years.

There’s still glass shards and rocks all over the place, the toilet is still in the middle of the room, the green cap is still on the speaker, the empty bottle still on the desk, and there are no katanas on the wall.

It’s a pretty big contrast with John’s home.

We saw all the oil had been removed, the living room had been cleaned up, the Cruxtruder isn’t blocking the entrance anymore…

I guess this suggests Davesprite didn’t really live here anymore during the 3-year trip and probably spent much more time on the ship itself, or with John or Jade. That would be the sad way of looking at it.

Or Davesprite decided to keep everything the same, so that when Alpha Dave returned, everything would still be just like he left it behind… Dammit, that is ALSO a sad way of looking at it.