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!
bex taylor-klaus:“I think that the Keith-Pidge relationship is the most underrated friendship on the show […] they work well together, they secretly absolutely adore each other. It’d be cool to have their relationship develop into something a bit more emotional, an emotional friendship.”
jeremy shada: “i mean they’re pretty open on our show…because of the network […]. but i think they’re playing pretty slow burn with most of the relationship stuff, and so, as far as where we’re at, there’s not even been–i mean, they always put like little things that will probably pay off later, odds are, but nothing like, for sure at the moment.”
“Do you want to grab dinner?” Dean asks hopefully.
His date with Castiel is going swimmingly and Dean doesn’t want the night to end just yet.
And neither does Cas if the way his eyes light up is any indication.
“Yeah, of course,” Cas says, shoving his hands into his coat’s pockets. “There’s this really great pizza place a few blocks down if you don’t mind making the trek.”
It wasfreezing, sure, but Dean didn’t want to say goodnight yet so he was going to brave the cold. Turning up his collar he says, “Come on, lead the way.”
“I swear it’s worth it,” Cas reassures him as they make their way down the street shivering. “You don’t have to order full pizzas. You can get individual slices so that way you can have more than one flavor.”
“How’d you find it?” Dean asks curiously. “I’ve clearly never been.”
“It was an accident, really.” Castiel runs a hand through his hair and Dean’s heart skips a beat. “I was going to my brother’s bakery and I could smell the pizza from out on the street.”
“You’re a big fan of pizza, aren’t you?” Dean teases, nudging Cas with his elbow.
“It’s good pizza!” Cas exclaims, smile big and gummy, and seriously, Dean’s heart is about to fucking give. “And, because of all the pizza ovens, the place is warm,” he says enticingly.
They turn a corner and, yeah, that’s definitely pizza that Dean can smell. He doesn’t realize that he’s literally sniffing until Cas smirks and says, “I told you so.”
Cas was right. The place smells like Heaven and is warm as Hell. As soon as they enter a girl with bright red hair shows up.
“Hey, Cas,” she greets him, nods a hello at Dean and turns back to Cas. “Your usual?”
“Yes, thank you, Anna,” Cas says to her before taking Dean’s hand and making his way to the serving counter. “There are millions of options.”
“And yet you have a usual,” Dean says absently, more focused on the, seemingly, millions of options. “Man, this is going to be like choosing between Star Wars and Star Trek.”
“You can come back for different flavors,” Cas repeats. “I’ll go catch us a table, yeah?”
Dean hums in acknowledgment even though he’d rather be holding Cas’ hand. After scanning his options one last time, Dean picks a slice of plain old pepperoni and makes his way to where Cas is.
He sits down just as Anna plops Cas’ pizza in front of him and-
“Dude, no!” Dean exclaims.
“What.” Cas pauses, pizza halfway to his mouth.
“There is pineapple on your pizza.”
Cas rolls his eyes. “I am prepared to argue about this till the end of time itself.”
“So am I,” Dean says, just as determinedly. “What kinda life choices man…”
“Pineapples have tons of health benefits,” Cas tells him.
“You’re eating pizza!” Dean counters. “I’m pretty sure anybody eating pizza isn’t really thinking about their health.”
“Well, I don’t see the problem,” Castiel asserted. “It’s sweet and savory at the same time.”
“Why would you pay extra for people to put that monstrosity on such deliciousness?” Dean asks, sounding genuinely worried about Cas’ logic.
“Ugh, Dean, what-” Castiel starts indignantly before a glass of soda is placed in front of him.
“Don’t you two fight like an old married couple?” Anna says.
“This is our first date, actually,” Dean tells her feeling a smile making his way onto his face. He really likes Cas.
“Couldn’t have guessed myself,” Anna smirks, walking away.
Turning to Cas, Dean holds out his hand, sighing. “Truce?”
Cas stares at him for a moment before leaning over the table and kissing him. Dean’s a hundred and ten percent sure his heart is going to combust because, oh my god, he’s kissing Cas. He doesn’t even mind the awkward angle or the fact that he can taste the pineapple Cas has been eating.
Cas pulls away and smiles down at his lap before looking up at Dean. “Truce.”
“Just remember that every time you put pineapple on a pizza an Italian dies.”