Ha ha, that is a funny subject line that kind of doesn’t even mean anything?
Anyway, questions were submitted through the reddit page and all the troll penis questions were aggressively down-voted to the bottom by a bunch of stuffy prudes.
Answered all questions that got more than 60 REDDIT POINTS. WOW, nobody is sure what that means. Here we go…
- What exactly determines whether a person is a Derse or Prospit dreamer? Or is it just random?
I wouldn’t say random, but it’s certainly vague. I guess it’s a little like sorting hat logic in Harry Potter (which I have a really halfassed understanding of because I haven’t read it), but even more vague, and more binary.
You get some sense there is rhyme and reason to it when you look at the personality types of the two groups. John, Jade, Jake, Jane vs Rose, Dave, Dirk, Roxy. And the troll groups were divided by their teams, red vs blue. Blue team (Derse) was generally stocked with more scheming members. Red team (Prospit) had some more straightforward heroic types, at least as far as trolls go. But then there can be oddball designations that don’t seem to make sense by such simplistic parameters, like Vriska being on Prospit. If she and Nepeta were swapped the criteria might seem more clear cut. See again, sorting hat logic. Like I think Harry was supposed to be in Slytherin because he could talk snakes and was kind of moody and shit but he was just SO BRAVE and loved friendship SO MUCH he got put in the other one. But for real, my fanfic where he was a Slytherin all along is so much better. (he is naked in most of it)
You could also look to the passive/active nature of the classes in making some retroactive sense of the Derse/Prospit dreamer duality. Passive/active classes are also a pretty vague thing, and don’t resolve so easily into simple dualities like defensive/offensive and such. Those are the guidelines for understanding them, but there is clearly a lot of flexibility within that system. They seem to suggest tendencies rather than absolute capabilities. Like there isn’t a rule that says a passive class could never use an offensive technique. The system is meant to be very flexible, and in the story, classes suggest a little more about a hero’s path and role in the greater quest than what their battle capabilities are.
But if we’re saying active/passive literally translates to offensive/defensive for the sake of this topic, then Derse would be very active and Prospit would be very passive. Derse’s job is to attack. Prospit’s is to defend. This seems to carry over to the roles of the dreamers too. Dave and Rose turned out to be very active players. Dave time traveling all over the place, making a fortune on stocks and such. Rose went on her crazy solo mission to break the game and fight Jack. Jade and John had more passive roles through most of that, players who were “acted upon” by other players and circumstances. John was always being led around by trolls this way and that, drifting around wherever the wind took him. Jade was especially passive for a lot of the story, spending a lot of time falling asleep (or being put to sleep) at key moments. It wasn’t until she reached god tier as a Witch (said to be a highly active class) that she became extremely active, making lots of stuff happen, rounding up planets and all that. Rose may have been a similar case, being excessively active as a Derse dreamer, but then flipping over to a passive role upon reaching god tier as a passive class.
Being from Derse means you are from a culture of offense and aggression. Being from Prospit means the opposite. You could argue that these are qualities that either rub off on the dreamers, or they are designated as those dreamers in the first place because of those qualities. You could take the view that these are innate tendencies to overcome, as seemed to be the case for Jade and Rose. Or maybe sometimes they are tendencies that are resisted, and need to be understood and embraced. As a Prospit dreamer, did Karkat struggle because he was actually passive in nature, but had a very active self image as a leader and conqueror? Was Vriska an even more extreme case of misplaced active behavior from a Prospit dreamer? These are yet more things to consider when looking at everything contributing to the hero story of an individual in this game.
- I hope this isn’t too plot-critical to answer. Will we be seeing more / learning about the Denizens? One of the biggest things that pulled me into Homestuck was the concept of the Denizens. These gigantic bosses that played into the game motif and the mythology of Homestuck. But then, just as they came, they went. Very little is mentioned about the Denizens, with only hints on to what their true nature is. We haven’t even gotten to see Jade interacting with Echidna, getting her Quills and agreeing on a plan to survive the scratch. This is easily one of the most important things that happens during Act 5 Act 2. So, in short, will we get to see and learn about the Denizens? Thanks Andrew!
Yes, this will be revisited later.
- Characters like Dirk and Dave have some sick rhymes. (Not to mention other examples like “And it Don’t Stop”) What is your process for writing these lyrical masterworks? Can you actually rap in real life?
I don’t think I have a process other than writing down stuff I think is funny, and also rhymes. Writing raps that appear as text in a story I think is pretty different from writing raps that work well in actual rap music. There are a lot of raps in the story that I think aren’t necessarily that well suited to being adapted to music. They might need some work. The purposes are different. A rap in a story is basically just more verbal entertainment. It rhymes, it has some sort of meter that’s either obvious or you have to think about a little to parse and come up with the right flow, and that’s it. Lyrics in an actual rap song have to mesh well with a beat and a whole lot of other song elements to work. Sometimes that even means sacrificing some coherence by story writing standards. There are plenty of killer raps out there that work well as songs, but if you took away the beat and music, and just printed the words in a story, they might seem flat or kind of odd or nonsensical just standing alone. Moral: song writing and story writing are really different animals.
I have never rapped in real life. I’m really not a performer of any sort, and don’t want to be. I’m more about coming up with ideas, quietly working at my computer making stuff. Anything that involves much outward projection from my physical manifestation, forget it. When a dude comes up with some sick rhymes and thinks he might be pretty awesome at rapping, I think that’s one of those classic delusional vanity-blunders to avoid. Me rapping = lame, trust me.
- Do your parents read your comics? If so, what do they think about them?
They both know about it and have read fairly significant chunks, but “Actively Reading It” as many people know is a whole can of worms. You have to be completely caught up, which is already pretty daunting, and need to remember and keep track of a lot of things for it to make sense on a day to day basis. The serial reading experience is a really tough thing to hang in there with over a long period of time for certain types of people, and I might put “parents” at the top of the list of those types of people. They’re also kind of old. Homestuck ain’t for old people. It’s dangerously close to not being for people my age either. It’s really easy to imagine a 30-something year old looking at it and saying “what the fuck is this? 5000 pages of kids arguing with each other? PASS.” Hell that might even be something I would say if I weren’t the guy making it. But young people read it and say “oh my god, i am these children. they are all me. especially nepeta.” My parents don’t look at MSPA and go “i am nepeta” just FYI.
I think my dad actually caught up with it fully about two years ago, when the archive was more manageable. He’s the sort who gets really hyperbolic about how great the things I do are, so I got a pretty good review from him. But then I had to wonder how much he actually understood. He started going on about how he really liked Rose, and kind of tried to name the things he liked about her, and it became clear he was actually referring to Jade the whole time.
- I recently purchased and received Homestuck Volume 2 in the mail, and you make the point on several occasions that what is missed most in the transition to static page are not the big sweeping flash animations with their long tweens, but the gif panels, and their often quicker rhythm and way of showing content. Looking back quickly through recent updates, it seems like there’s a lot less of the kind of early gifs, with multiple captchalogue transfers, flashstepping, slowly floating towels, coiled springs, etc, and most of the animated gif panels recently have either just had chat icons bouncing a bit or other things like that which add a bit of visual interest, but are no real loss when made static, or cut be easily cut into two or three static panels without too much loss of flow or content.
- Basically, my long-winded question is this - is this an intentional shift in how you’ve been making gifs, in preparing for a book far down the line, or coincidence, or am i smoking the bargain crack?
Making less of those types of panels has a lot more to do with current granularity and scale of events being depicted. Early on, the focus was zoomed way in on those little actions, so there was more attention on showing each little animated sequence of picking objects up, using them, scurrying around and stuff like that. The more the story broadened, the less it made sense to put focus on those kinds of actions through short animated gifs. With broadened action and tightened pacing, the nature of the visuals tends to embrace more tradition sequential art values like in graphic novels, because that’s how those stories are usually paced. You don’t get the tight focus on such atomic actions like you deal with in a game. But I think that early animated gif style was revisited somewhat in the beginning of act 6, when for a little while that type of action returned. Then just like before the pacing started tightening up as things went along and we went back to more typical sequential art frames.
- When a player reach God-tier, he is theoretically immortal. Does that means its body cease aging at some point. At what biological age a God-Tier human player cease aging?
I’m not sure if I should answer this. Not that the answer is that important or plot critical at all. I think I’ll just let you determine the answer by picking up clues as the story goes, assuming those clues even come into existence.
- What’s the weirdest thing the fandom has done so far, in your opinion?
I don’t know. Stuff doesn’t even seem that weird anymore. What is even a plausible answer to this? I guess they like to dress up and gather in these huge fan gaggles. Is that weird? Not really. They draw “weird art” but after you’ve seen a whole bunch it stops registering as all that weird. Like “Oh. There’s another drawing. It’s a fictional character’s nude butt. Ok.” (close tab) “What is this. Some people have widely fanonized some sort of tentacle thing as a troll penis. Hmm.” (blank expression: ctrl+W tumblr)
Some mentioned in the comments below this question there were some people who wanted to make a live HS porno. Actually going through with that MIGHT have been pretty weird but I think that was just a lot of hot air. People talk about a lot of ridiculous nonsense. Nobody ever follows through with anything. Really people by and large are so full of shit it’s unbelievable. If someone told me they were going to make a HS porno my reaction wouldn’t be “what ew no stop” it would be more like “FRANKLY, I DON’T THINK YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES”
and then they’d just go and prove me right in some really mild and unremarkable manner
- If Sollux got god tier using one of his dream selves, what would happen to the other? Could he potentially get god tier twice?
If he died in his quest coccoon, both of his dream selves would go god tier simultaneously, and they would have to fight to the death. The death is never heroic or just though, so they just keep doing that forever.
- How do you feel about the Homestuck readers that consider troll-romance quadrants as an actual phenomenon? I mean the ones who talk about having a moirail in real life, etc. Is it strange to see this, or was your intent to have the concepts taken that seriously?
They’re all kind of similar to human relationships anyway, so that’s what’s going on there when people use those words.
They are mainly “alien concepts” when it comes to their applicability to reproduction, and the alleged biological compulsion to fill all quadrants. No human ever says, man, I have GOT to find two other people to get into clubs with, unless they are being really silly, or they are literally talking about going to night clubs.
- Have you ever been disappointed with a panel but posted it anyway?
One of the great things about the format is that any given panel is perfectly allowed to totally suck.
Did you read Jailbreak?
- The path of a character through the game SBURB (or SGRUB) is a collection of certain events. The prototyping of the dead family member, teleporting to another world, usually one or more deaths, seeking out a family member (or the whole discovering the truth about the player’s “family”), rising up as a god tier… While there are some exceptions, It seems like most of the players follow a similar path.
- In reading the comic it has become apparent to me that these events can be interpreted as following the path of a hero through Joseph Campbell’s monomythic cycle (in fact I wrote a 16 page academic paper on this connection).
- My question is: Is this connection to the oldest story a deliberate one, or one that arose spontaneously? Were you aware that your story was following the proper steps to declare players of the game Heroes in the Mythological sense?
There are some deliberate things going on.
In other cases some things probably arose naturally because these are some really basic and primordial concepts lurking in all our psyches about the journey of a hero that you can’t get away from.
- Does FedoraFreak have a post-scratch counterpart?
His post scratch counterpart is FedoraFriend.
He is really only lukewarm on hats. He thinks they’re ok, mostly.
Welcome to your worst nightmare.
- This is not a question directly about homestuck…but for someone of your talent, literally insane work ethic and following do you see yourself jumping more substantially to another medium and mercilessly conquering it? I mean as it is mspaintadventures straddles animation, video games, music as well as old fashioned webcomics. I remember you’ve vaguely eluded to selling out previously, but have you thought about really going for a cartoon show or video game or perhaps broadway musical/rock opera based on homestuck or problem sleuth?
- I mean nickelodeon has given shows to the guy who did johnny the homicidal maniac, and a 5 minute animation about a boy, his magic dog and visiting abe lincoln on the moon, and apparently internet famous people can summon vast quantities of money by promising to make a video game on kickstarter. So from the perspective of ignorant outside observer it seems like those would be easily doable for a gent of your substantial gifts.
- tl/dr How long before you sell out and I can watch sweet bro and hella jeff on saturday morning cartoons?
I almost certainly will jump to a different medium after Homestuck. It may even be one of the things you mentioned. Who knows???
I don’t know about mercilessly conquering it but I’ll shoot for doing something pretty cool.
Specifics are unclear but I’ll be sorting them out as I approach the home stretch on this thing.
- So what kind of merchandise would you love to sell, but it would be completely infeasible to produce in the current state of things?
There is actually very little that isn’t feasible at this point.
The things that are infeasible now would still probably be infeasible or just silly for even a much larger company to make.
Like Homestuck… CARS! It’s gray and it has little horns on the hood and it goes beep beep and it’s a terrible idea. VROOM!
There really are a lot of things in development right now that would have been on the infeasible list not too long ago. You’ll probably hear about them all some time this year. The main thing is not feasibility, it’s time. All this stuff takes so much time to plan and make. I have people working on it all and they’re good people.
- How hard does a teenaged, god-tiered, creeped out troll girl punch and are you okay? Has it shaken your determination in the slightest?
In retrospect I think the main problem was I didn’t surround her with enough spooky white beautiful horses.
Girls love spooky white beautiful horses. They sweep them off their feet and make them feel more romantic about stuff. If I had more horses on standby, she would have said yes.
Guys, if you are planning to propose to a lady, make sure you have enough beautiful horses in reserve.
I… think that answers your question?
- Did you ever outline any details about Alternia you didn’t get to use? Care to share them? I’d love to know more about the Trolls, specifically the post-Scratch ones to avoid any plot spoilage.
Well, the pre scratch ones are canonically a bunch of silhouettes, so no spoilers there. Only lucid, crystal clarity, and soothing waves of fan gratitude and adulation washing over me.
I don’t think I ever outlined any details about Alternia. I generally don’t make outlines. I just think of a bunch of shit up and later I put it in the story as I go along. This is getting very technical. I’m sorry if my process is too esoteric to be grasped by the “lay man”.
Wait, that’s not true. I actually typed up a 50 page biography of the Thresh Prince.
But then I deleted it.
- Every session’s mythology has a vast number of defining variables - titles, aspects, lands, consorts, denizens, quest beds, and all the other details that determine the general format of the game. However, said mythology has also been described repeatedly as ‘flexible’.
- In-universe, what determines these variables? Are they tailored to the players, or are they randomly generated and the players molded into their roles? Are they related to the affinities of the players, seemingly inconsequential choices they’ve made, things that challenge them, or just luck? And is there a limited number of variables, or potentially an infinite number of - for example - land names?
- Out-of-universe, what process did you use to select them? How early did you realise the specifics of the role they determined? For example, when and why did you decide that Light actually meant Luck? And have these variables affected how you want characters’ stories (or Quests) to go, or have you simply altered the meanings of the variables to fit the stories you want?
Seems like a lot of different questions loaded into this one.
Quests are tailored to the players. Unless they’re not. Sometimes the game seems to treat the players like they don’t matter. Sometimes the game is running off model and serving some other weird purpose. The purpose of John’s game seemed to be “create a universe” but it turned out all along the hidden objective was “reset the game, get out of there, and take everything with you. and oh yeah make sure this huge bomb explodes in the middle of nowhere, that too”. It’s a strange game. There are as many ways to set up the variables, as many reasons for doing so, as many different kinds of heroes, quests, and objectives as there are stories to tell.
The last batch of questions is too complicated. It falls under “what was planned and when?” What is planning? What is a plan? Where does planning end and spontaneity begin? It’s all tangled up. The answer is long.
- Where do dream selves come from? Which is to say, are they created somehow simultaneously with ectobiology? Or are they just sort of eternally there? We know they age; we’ve seen young dream Jade. But virtually everything in the incipisphere is “already there” as part of the stable loop clusterfuck. So when are dream selves “born” and placed in the towers?
They are there since the kid is “born”. Meaning if a kid is 13 years old, then that dream kid has also been on Prospit for 13 years, either asleep the whole time or growing up there in parallel with the real self.
How they get there in the first place is just as indeterminate as how Prospit and Derse get there in the first place. Like software constructs, which once instantiated, exist and behave as if always there.
- Will you ever plan on releasing a Sburb Game Manual explaining more about the game itself, like a catalog of all the machines, monsters, and grist types?
I am not planning on it, but like many ideas, it could be a neat thing.
- At one point in the distant past when discussing Homestuck (I think it was year 1), you mentioned that you had a distinct ending in mind and you were just unsure of what would happen to get there. Given that Homestuck is now three years in and running, are you still gunning for fundamentally the same ending that you were years ago, or has that evolved and changed as you fleshed out the middle part?
The general nature of the ending I had in mind has barely changed at all.
- Recently, I was thinking about the passive/active pairings for classes. No, I’m not going to ask any direct question about them, since that would spoil too much. What I am actually going to ask is: Did you thoroughly plan out the mechanics of Sburb during the earlier parts of Homestuck, specifically around Act 1 or 2? Seeing how much of Homestuck is thought up beforehand and also how much of it is spontaneous, it’s hard to tell whether you planned out some sort of pattern, specifically for the passive/active players within each Sburb session.
A lot of Sburb was planned before starting HS.
Some things developed along the way. God tier stuff was not conceived early on, and so neither was the active/passive stuff.
But additions are patched into the story in such a way that is reasonably consistent with existing systems and themes. See the first question, about active/passive duality and their correlation with Derse and Prospit dreamers, which was an invention that came long before god tier stuff.
- You said that a trolls blood color relates to their lifespan, so what is the usual lifespan for each color in the main cast?
We know Mindfang’s caste lives for what seems to be centuries from her journals. The Condesce seems to have a lifespan that could naturally be hundreds of thousands of years, or perhaps millions, even without LE’s powers.
Practically speaking the lowbloods would probably have to have lifespans similar to humans (re: population control issues). Red through yellow probably having such a range, and then climbing through the greens is where it begins escalating beyond the century mark. There was evidence Kanaya’s ancestor lived quite a long time.
The lowest caste or two may have a lifespan shorter than a human’s. Aradia was the equivalent of 13, so obviously it couldn’t have been less than that. Probably at least double that would be the bare minimum for there to be any kind of adulthood. 30 would be a reasonable lower bound, which would be a tragically short lifespan for a whole class of people. What is it exactly? I don’t think I’m going to say.
These aren’t solid answers. I’m just going by what’s in the story, using a little logic, and thinking it out, which anyone can do.
- Do you consider characters with traditional nicknames having those names as their full names? That is, is Dave’s name just “Dave”, or do you consider the characters actually being named David or Roxanne or Solluxander and so forth?
No, their names are their names.
Except Sollux, he really is Solluxander.
- Is “Dirk raised himself” canon? I can’t see how that would be possible, should we assume he’s lying or is he really that badass?
It is probably not possible in the real world. But as an adult, he stood on a meteor as it descended to Earth, and chopped it in half. As a baby, raising himself is a really minor feat in comparison. In that it is something that while far fetched, is actually in the realm of physical possibility.
This kind of exposes a funny thing about the suspension of disbelief. There are things we are very ready to suspend it for, even if they are laughably implausible. Like, sure it is absurd that he chopped a meteor in half. But it KICKED ASS! It gets a pass. But a baby raising himself on stockpiles of orange soda, the occasional fishing expedition, and teaching himself everything from the internet? That is just ludicrous. To be honest, I’m not even totally sure if there aren’t weirder stories out there that are actually true.
the end (◡‿◡✿)
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