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 the thing about Evangeline is that it’s pretty much as old as Jeremy and Michael’s entire friendship. Probably older, actually. Evangeline, of course, being the minifridge in their dorm that houses the Jeremy’s fantastic stock of Mountain Dew Red.
“let’s keep this between the two of us.” Azriel and Feyre?
“Let’s keep this between the two of us, okay?” Feyre mutters to Az as he slips, unobtrusively into her bedchamber and she jumps to her feet, hurrying to meet him.
The shadowsinger just nods, ever dutiful to his High Lady’s every wish.
“No-one saw you come up here, did they?” she can’t help herself asking anxiously, glancing over his shoulder as though expecting Rhys to burst through the door at any moment and catch them together.
Azriel just gives her a flat look that implies he’s insulted she would even ask such a thing of him. Perks of being a super spy, she supposes.
“Alright, I’m ready,” she says, holding out a hand in invitation. Azriel grips it tightly and they winnow into shadow and darkness. They emerge moments later onto the pleasantly warm Velaris streets, pleasantly bustling but not overly crowded, something neither of them would have appreciated.
They set off together, Azriel quietly leading the way while Feyre follows, smiling and nodding at some of the people they pass who wave greetings to her. “Thanks so much for this, Az,” she puffs out, checking her bag to ensure she brought her purse with her. She doesn’t usually, typically relying on the convenient credit she has in most stores, but she doesn’t want Rhys to have any inclination of her purchase today. “You’re a lifesaver.”
“It’s no trouble,” he says, leading them down into a quiet, shaded street and walking to the very end, a small store tucked into the corner. “I live to serve at the High Lady’s pleasure.” She squints up at him, one eyebrow raised, and he smirks. “And entertaining as his last birthday was, I understand it’s not an experience you want to repeat.”
“No,” Feyre groans, burying her face in a hand at the shame of it. She has many talents and she loves her mate dearly, as Azriel knows, but gift buying has never been her strong-suit. And the bastard has a habit of finding exactly what she wants every single year without fail. Just once she wants to get him something absolutely perfect. Fortunately, she has a secret weapon in the form of Azriel.
“Really though,” she grumbles, pushing into the shop after him, “Who’s allergic to strawberries?”
“Rhys,” Azriel hums simply in that way that implies he knows everything in the world and that nothing could ever surprise him.
Well, he had been surprised last year when Rhys had taken a large bite from one of the chocolates she had delightedly given him and then promptly started choking. The shadowsinger hadn’t been expecting that. Unfortunately neither had she.
“And Keir,” he adds as an apparently innocent afterthought.
Feyre blinks, startled, looking round at him. She supposes it’s not too odd, Keir and Rhys are related, even distantly. Still, “I suspect that comes from the list you have tucked away somewhere that details every known method of killing that bastard; not a concern for the steward’s meal choices?” She muses lightly. That tugs a small, dark smirk out of Az.
Azriel leads her to the back of the shop then stops in front of one of the small, dusty glass-fronted cabinets to let her see what he’s picked out for her. She opens her mouth to point out that the display is stuffed full of items, she isn’t sure which one he means, but she stops when she sees it, her face lighting up in a smile. Hugging a rather startled Az she whispers, “It’s perfect.” And is relieved when he accepts the hug, smiling, patting her rather awkwardly on the shoulder to convey his acceptance of her gratitude.
Once Feyre has made her purchase and had it carefully wrapped up by the owner, who seems friendly with Azriel, well, as friendly as anyone can be with him, the two wander back out onto the streets of Velaris. Feyre insists on dragging him into a nearby shop and pressing a large amount of fine differently coloured balls of wool into Az’s protesting hands and then further insists on taking him for a quiet cup of tea.
She rarely spends time alone with the shadowsinger, he always seems to be out somewhere on some secret mission sometimes she doubts even Rhys knows about. That or closeted up in his room with Mor, enjoying the time he has with her. Usually she only has conversations with him like this when they all go to Rita’s and neither of them feel much like dancing for an hour or so.
It’s nice, though. Azriel has a quiet, oddly calming presence, even with the shadows darting around him, whispering, always whispering. There’s a comfort to being around him, a sense of safety, and an odd feeling that she could tell him anything and he would simply nod and understand. As a result, Az is the one she’s gone to more times than she can count when she’s had a difficult decision about the court to make that she doesn’t want to put on her mate. He inevitably listens to all she has to say and offers a few quiet insights that help her make up her mind. She values his opinion, and his friendship, more highly than she thinks he’ll ever know.
Not longer after they’ve sat down in a comfortable booth by the window, they’re both brought two teas and slices of cake that she hadn’t ordered, but that she suspects Azriel did, given that they’re both topped with liberal amounts of strawberries and that their arrival prompts a rare, mischievous smile to blossom across his lips.
Feyre nibbles at her cake then decides now is as good a time as any to bring up what she wants to, as well as have her revenge for this little dig about the strawberries. Looking slyly at Az over the rim of her cup she says innocently, “I’m sorry to take you away from Mor, I know you just got back, you must have been wanting to spend some time with her.”
Azriel just blinks at her, saying nothing, as he drops a lump of sugar into his tea. Then another. Then another. She’s discovered, from these little retreats they make to this place from time to time when they both need a little peace and quiet, that he takes an inordinate amount of sugar in his tea. He had confessed to her once, with a small smile, that it was his one and only weakness.
Finally, carefully, too carefully, Azriel says, “I’ll have plenty of time to brief Mor, later.” Yes, brief her, amongst other things.
“Mm,” Feyre muses, taking a small sip of tea, “Wouldn’t you rather have spent the morning with her than me?”
Azriel blinks, apparently genuinely bemused by this comment, “You’re my friend, Feyre,” he says quietly, sincerely, “I like spending time with both of you.” Damn. She really should leave the subtlety and intrigue up to Az as well as the gift choosing. And he’s too earnest and good-natured, there’s no fun in teasing him at all.
“Azriel,” she says quietly, a soft smile tugging at her lips, “I know.” He blinks owlishly up at her again, clearly implying you know what? And she just scowls at him because if she doesn’t get to tease him then she’s not playing games with him either.
A deep flush of colour burns into Az’s cheeks as he stares at her, “How?” he rasps eventually and she smirks smugly at him.
“You’re not the only one who can know other people’s secrets, Az,” she says with a grin, taking another pointed bite of the strawberry cake, which really isn’t half bad. She might have to bring Rhys here at some point, then she might have half a chance of finishing a dessert on her own without the High Lord’s spoon magically making its way over to her plate while he twitters about ‘mating bond equality’ and ‘what’s yours is mine, Feyre darling’.
Azriel’s face darkens at that and a low, protective growl rumbles in his chest, “Who told you?” he demands, hands curling into fists.
She starts in surprise at the sudden black venom in his voice and opens her mouth to say something when Azriel freezes, apparently realising how he’d reacted. The blush on his cheeks darkens and his wings twitch, clearly uncomfortable. “I’m sorry,” he murmurs quietly, and she has her suspicions that he and Mor haven’t been together for long confirmed, based on his response.
“It’s alright, I understand,” she says quietly, and she does. That need to protect, to keep her safe must be heightened for the two of them after the amount of time they spent apart. She smiles, “And no-one told me, Az,” she huffs, a faint hint of playful scolding in her tone, “I can find some things out without the help of you and your spies, you know, I’m not blind.”
“Says the woman who didn’t notice for nearly fifty years that her mate is allergic to strawberries,” Az mumbles into his tea, but she notes the playful spark in his eyes and resists the urge to kick him under the table with difficulty.
Instead she reaches over and takes his hand, “I’m happy for you, Azriel. For both of you. You deserve this,” she gives his hand a soft squeeze and finally manages to coax a faint smile from him. “But why-”
“Didn’t we tell anyone?” Azriel supplies for her. She supposes he has to find some way to claw back his composure, the best way he knows how, making sure he knows everything she does. Mostly. She nods. He shifts uncomfortably, wings rustling in agitation at his back as he shrugs. “We would have, when we were ready,” he says quietly. “We’re just…Not.” She’s never seen him so discomposed before, he’s usually the picture of articulate eloquence. But Mor…She does this to him. “Not yet, Feyre, please-”
She gives his hand another quick squeeze, smiling, “I won’t breathe a word of it to anyone, Az, I promise.” He smiles, nodding his head, and thanks her.
They finish their tea and cake and then Feyre winnows him to Mor’s townhouse before returning herself to the House of Wind to finish up her preparations for Rhys’ birthday.
The next day, her mate is delighted by the delicate ornament of crystal Illyrian wings she gives him, after having spent all of the day before painting them, accenting the details until they’re a near perfect replica of her mate’s own.
Feyre notes the way Azriel’s scarred, gentle hand slides around Mor’s waist, squeezing, drawing her in close, just for a moment while no-one else is watching….But misses the way Rhys raises his glass of wine in Azriel’s direction while she’s chatting to Mor, thanking his brother for picking out the gift. Az nods and smiles. The two of them are content to keep this particular secret between themselves for the rest of their long eternities.
Summary:They were both emotionally scarred, and he knew not to take it personally. Based off of Strangers by Halsey featuring Lauren Jauregui.
Warnings: angst, fluff, swearing probably.
Word Count: 2.3k
I knew from the moment that I kissed her that everything changed between us. I liked her–alot. She just drew me in. The mysteriousness surrounding her captivated me. In a way, she reminded me of myself. She was quiet and cold, brushing off any sign of affection from anyone. I knew not to take it personally, I was the same way when I first arrived. HYDRA had us conditioned that we were incapable of love and affection. We were tortured until we became the monster that they wanted us to be. We were deprived of kindness and compassion, something that naturally comes easy to the Avengers. Now, months into her arrival, I had made the irreversible mistake of kissing her when she got shot during one of our missions.
Hooray! Fall is finally here, you guys! And with this wonderful season, and the month
of September, comes new fun adventures and challenges!
For many of you, it’s
back to school time. By now, you’re
settled back into the routine of the school year and you might be getting
overwhelmed. Whether you’re dealing with
the stress of good grades, extracurricular activities, loneliness, or even bullying, I know
you can use this hug. Even if you’re not
in school, stress piles on starting right about now for the holiday season and
the impending end of the year, as well as for things that I couldn’t even begin to
pretend I know about, so I know you deserve a hug. I wish I could actually come right to you
guys and pull you in for a great big bear-hug, but I don’t believe that’s
So, for now, please
accept these few words of encouragement.
I know you’re trying your best, and I know that you’re doing your best,
but no matter what kind of stressful situation you’re in right now, it does get
better. Please keep your mental health
in check, and please take time every day for yourself. You deserve at least a 15 minute break to
breathe every day, and you deserve to feel happy. While you can’t hibernate away the rest of
this year like a bear, you can take a few minutes for yourself.
Nienna, one of the Valar, holding the last cuttings of the Two Trees in her hands.
The Valar’s designs are based off a variety of our oldest civilisations and cultures. Nienna’s starting point comes from illustrations of new kingdom Egypt and Berber headdresses, among other influences. I still wanted to introduce some colour to her, so I went with sort of mostly chromatic greys, rather than outright stark greys.
Sorry if you've answered this before in the comic but are either one of them a morning person or a night person?
Noah is a total morning person… wakes up with the first sunrays, usually full of energy even if he didn’t get much sleep, scrolls through twitter for an hour while eating cereals, and is absolutely ready to annoy the hell out of Robin once he wakes up (how is he my son, idk)
Robin prefers calm nights to study and he likes to sleep in. and he can’t function without getting coffee first, is a lil bit grumpy, and kinda wants to murder everyone who speaks to him before 9am (except Noah. he just wants him to be less loud. i call this true love)