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An adventure game based on Homestuck, by Andrew Hussie.
24,346 backers pledged $2,485,506 to help bring this project to life.

A New Look

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Greetings, and Merry Christmas! We've been taking the last several months to pause production on Hiveswap and revise the overall approach to the game, as well as the visual direction, to make things a little more cost-efficient, and more rapidly producible over the full span of the series. Here's an example of what it's looking like now:

 The original 3D approach to the game began a few years ago with some high-level discussions with the original developer. Back then, before any work was done or money was spent, the main advantage we discussed about using 3D models related to efficiency. We talked about the ability to reuse character model templates and animation rigs for a big cast, and thoughts along these lines were what led to the 3D direction, even though it was kind of an aesthetic departure from the Homestuck look. Which at the time, I thought was fine! I've always liked to mix things up, try different styles and work with different kinds of media, so I welcomed that approach if it meant a more efficient production. I was sure there were some cool things we could do with that look. (And, in fact, we did!)  

When we moved the project to our own studio, and as the budget situation continued to evolve over the previous year, some weaknesses in that approach started to become evident. Some additional engineering challenges were starting to pile up that would not have been present with a 2D system. The modeling demands were also racking up, and over time the production started getting pretty heavy, in terms of both cost and time. So, rather than continue down that road and burn through the remaining budget, I thought it would be better to pause, reassess, and make some changes to make the production faster and less expensive. This seemed like an especially important call to make, given that we have an entire series to develop beyond the first episode, and I'd rather there be as little waiting time as possible between episodes.

The new approach should accomplish this. Not to mention, it's looking pretty great! I have a lot of incredible 2D artists working on this game, who have all been instrumental in making art for Homestuck itself at some point.

  Would this have been a better direction to pursue from the start? Maybe! Hard to say, since initial circumstances were so different from what they are now. It's been a pretty wild ride! Game development is very challenging, and strikes me as a big exercise in rolling with the punches. That's pretty much all I've been doing for the last few years. It is a shame it's gotten so delayed, but the most important thing to me is that the project is still alive, and is looking as promising as ever.

One silver lining to the game taking longer to develop than expected is it's now benefited from much more conceptual development than it would have if it had been released a year or two ago. Through additional writing and fine-tuning, Hiveswap has become an incredibly rich and detailed story, every bit as much as Homestuck is, but with a much more polished and accessible presentation than the webcomic had. It's gonna be very good, and I am very confident the fans will love it!

Also, while it may seem like a shame to let go of the 3D assets that were made during the previous iteration, I would point out that over the last year we have actually stockpiled a massive amount of incredible 2D art assets that are still perfectly usable, and will still make it into the game. So we aren't missing that much of a beat, aside from the last few months of reorganization. Below is a pretty decent sampling of the great art we've accumulated. It's just the tip of the iceberg, really.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:  

NYC STAFF: Most of the people who worked on the game in New York unfortunately are no longer with us, as the studio has been restructured to be more of a geographically distributed operation, to help save costs. We really appreciate everything they did for Hiveswap, and the passion that they put into the game. I would like to sincerely thank them all for the great work they did for this phase of the project. Running a studio in New York for a while was actually a lot of fun. They were all wonderful people and I wish them the best. At some point I think I would like to gather all the 3D stuff that was done and present it as an interesting behind the scenes look at the history of this project, so people can appreciate the work the NYC team did. Perhaps at the very least this could be some nice bonus material for backers when the game comes out.

TOBY FOX: Toby, who has been a long time contributor of music to Homestuck, is still working with us on Hiveswap. He's been making music for it, and is still offering creative input here and there. In case you have been direly underexposed to gaming news the last couple months, Toby has released a great game called Undertale. It has been extremely well received and I feel very proud of what Toby has accomplished with this very funny and charming and unique game! I've worked pretty closely with him for most of Homestuck's duration, and it's been rewarding to see his skills develop over that time until he was ready to make such a strong creative statement of his own. I will have to consider his game one of the better legacies of Homestuck, as well as my basement. (Actually, yes, he literally spent a period of time developing Undertale in my basement. I have always assumed this is why he titled the game as such.) If you haven't played it yet, I strongly recommend you check it out!

http://undertale.com/  

http://store.steampowered.com/app/391540/

TO RECAP: Hiveswap is still moving full steam ahead, despite pausing a few months to do some highly necessary project reorganization. It's looking very promising, and I'm probably as excited about the project as I have ever been. Thank you as always to our backers for their ongoing patience and understanding. Happy holidays!

Cameryn, enistoja, and 199 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      Lyndal on

      Several people's rewards were shipped to my old address. My address has now changed. How do I update my address?

    2. Edward B. Benedit Jr. on

      When will I receive the Game?

    3. Missing avatar

      Outori on

      My address changed, where do I tell you guys where to ship the game? Once it's done.

    4. Jesse Card on

      Another update for backers, please.

    5. Missing avatar

      Jessica Martin on

      There's been an update everyone!! Hiveswap is going to be released in January! I did see that some of the artists who were in the homestuck fandom were actually hired on to work on Hiveswap a few months ago. If some of you remember 'Homestuck Animation - A Lullaby for Gods' they were hired on to be head of animation. Then also paperseverywhere@tumblr were hired on animation too. They've just been keeping things secret except for announcing that they were hired on to help with animation.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch…

    6. Daniel Richmond on

      Still excited about this game. I wish there were more updates though.

    7. Missing avatar

      Emily Pariseau on

      I understand that making a game does not happen over night, but I am very disappointed in how long this has taken and how in the dark everyone is. If possible, I would also appreciate a refund of just the price of the game itself, if that were possible. This is ridiculous. Most of us have moved on from Homestuck anyway. Sorry that all of this has gone so wonky.

    8. Caro on

      Any news about this project? I just remembered it because I was cleaning my email inbox and I wonder how come this project was backed (and payed) and we never received anything...

    9. Hussie Zahhak on

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    10. Missing avatar

      sanoadono on

      Update soon please?

    11. James Hovell on

      To be absolutely 100% honest I had completely forgotten I had even backed this... I hope there's going to be more regular updates going forwards. I know you want to work hard on the game and get it out to the backers, but putting up little progress updates every couple of weeks now that the game is much further along in development shouldn't be too hard or time consuming right?

      All that said things are looking good and I'm looking forward to seeing more (gotta stay positive cause I just checked and I backed this sucker for over $100 >_<).

    12. Missing avatar

      Christian Quiroga on

      It's a shame that the 3d approach isn't gunna cut it, but I'm still excited to see the end result of it all.

      I've notice there are some people being impatient with the making of the game but need to realize that developing video games (especially from scratch) is HARD, and requires time and patience for a game to go gold.

    13. Alana Graves on

      As much as I still like Homestuck I feel pretty cheated yeah the team got cheated. the cat is out of the bag we all know but Seriously its been what? 2+ years past due. I kind of want a refund too. This kickstarter is the reason I don't donate to any others in the fear of being jerked around again and again. I literally don't even keep up with the comic anymore because I'm so infuriated with how all of this has been handled. the new art is nice but as this point either produce a finished product or refund me.

    14. Missing avatar

      Kristen W on

      Honestly, I didn't like the 3D art, anyway; the heads looked too bloated and it was possible the 3D would have affected gameplay for the worse. I much prefer the 2D look; it looks clean and fluid. It looks more like the Homestuck comic that I'm used to, and the characters look more cute (appealing) to me this way. I only hope that players can interact just as well with the environment, and won't be limited in movement and exploration. If this is easier for Hussie and co., maybe the game can finally get rolling and be released....

    15. Rachel White on

      Is there any way to get a refund at this point? I'll return the rewards, honestly. I'm not even buying this stuff about TOG. No game needs this much refined concept art - concept art is usually loose and unfinished, and of things like character models or designs done in iterations. It's painfully obvious no one involved in this project is a game designer.

    16. Acefox on

      "At some point I think I would like to gather all the 3D stuff that was done and present it as an interesting behind the scenes look at the history of this project, so people can appreciate the work the NYC team did. Perhaps at the very least this could be some nice bonus material for backers when the game comes out." - Awesome! I really hope they include the 3D as bonus content. I think those 3D scenes looked fantastic even if the 2D scenes offer more detail and are more vibrant.

    17. speedster -Armikrog Army Annelid- $4.96 on

      I've seen family members who got snookered into terrible legal arrangements because their opponent had way better lawyers. I'm afraid TOG managed to out-lawyer What Pumpkin by a landslide, and they ended up with an agreement to get back some small percentage of the money in exchange for total silence. In that case if backers do manage to tempt them to spill info, they could get sued... which would be extremely bad for making forward progress.

    18. Night Nord on

      Eh. Am i getting this right? At July 20 you've been writing that you're going to move What Pumpkin NYC into a new office and now (December ~20), 4 months after that, you are telling us that WP NYC is no more and you've spend "few months" reorganising? Like, all four? You've moved to a new office and just busted everyone out in a month or so?

      I mean, it's fine to wait, but it just doesn't add up at all.

    19. Adela B. on

      It looks great! And that concept art is fantastic. I'm still looking forward to this just as much as I was when I first backed the project.

    20. Missing avatar

      BossLagomorph on

      It's really a shame TOG took half the money and ran with it.
      Like... I don't even care at this point.
      I'll probably just end up giving this game to someone else.

    21. Álvaro Enrique Chávez Valenzuela on

      Honestly, nobody really gives a damn about waiting. The problem is being left in the dark of things. Like, yeah, I don't care about waiting, I don't care about dates being pushed away at all, IF I know why. When there are explanations to why things happen, only the unreasonable will get mad. But seeing as things have been handled thus far, I have to assume these setbacks are for a good reason. And I'll do, because the team behind this isn't unknown to me. Homestuck isn't unknown to me. But I wish I'd know. I'm not an american citizen, and my knowledge of their legal system is poor, but I guess there's no legal reason not to inform your patrons on any issues that might happen that will affect their investment. I'm obviously inclined to believe in the TOG issue because, if false, they'd have said immediately it wasn't true; but there's the thing. I'm sick of guessing and assuming and being treated like I couldn't understand such an issue. I demand information because I'm entitled to it. This is no small quarrel between friends; it possibly is nothing other than embezzlement, and even if laws allow them to keep the money nonetheless, let them have the social scourge of being a bunch of thieves.
      Nobody really regrets investing on this or having to wait (at least, if you do, it's your own damn fault for using money you shouldn't have used or investing on something you never really cared about); the general feeling of unease is because we don't know. There's not been a single word about anything and there hasn't been a fluent channel of information about the project.

    22. Lieron on

      I did a bit of digging myself and TOG bailed on two other projects (Including a Neil Gaiman project) besides this one to work on King's Quest, so there's something fishy going on there.

    23. Missing avatar

      starkaat on

      The new direction looks really good! Joey remains cute as ever in 2D, and those backgrounds are lovingly detailed. Fingers crossed for some parallax scrolling goodness?

      Very pleased to see an update from you folks. Honestly, you could post a little text blurb every month or so and I would be happy. (Include that last image of the heiress in every one and I would be ecstatic. For great justice.)

    24. Missing avatar

      Rachel Meyer on

      I backed 20-something dollars and I mean yeah I wish it came out sooner, but I've never really minded waiting. The concept art looks beautiful, the environments are beautiful, the characters look charming as ever, and the with Toby Fox working on the music, it's bound to be great. Excited to see the finished game! I like the 2D direction you're taking it.

    25. saturncrow on

      YEssss !! the 2D art is Amazing and beautiful full of interesting details ,style ,color, emotion(old school adventure games ftw). the previous 3D look was okay... seeming but after seeing this it made me a little verklempt even. this isn't the double adventure game so we don't get the documentary showing all the EFFORT and hard work that went in to making this the best it could be, but I think we can see a glimpse of it now. So Thank You to all the people who've worked and are still working on this game.

    26. Missing avatar

      alexa ankele on

      The change in aesthetics looks absolutely fantastic! It seems like there have been a lot of challenges to face with this project, and I applaud Hussie's perseverence on it, especially with some fans grumbling about the timeframe. Big dreams like this don't always go smoothly to realize, especially dealing with third parties and not having things work out.

      I think the new direction for the game is well thought-out and strong, and since the story is the most important part of the game and why I pitched in on the project I'm elated to hear that the story is stronger, more in-depth, and more polished because of the long baking time! And something in me suspects that the 3-D work that was done could yet be used in the game since the comic has such a blend of media. If that blend happens I think it will be spectacular and a genius way to make use of the time spent on a direction that wasn't ultimately workable. When life gives you lemons you make lemonade, and Andrew Hussie would make some bomb lemonade.

    27. Missing avatar

      Sleet
      Superbacker
      on

      Many thanks for the update, it's always nice to hear how things are proceeding, and I hope that we can look forward to more cool previews of where the game is at now that production is speeding along again.

    28. TurtleFlower on

      This looks fantastic, I am actually super excited to hear this change in the artistic style of the game. I felt like the 3d modeled game we were seeing up until now was incredibly sterile and hollow. This has a lot of warmth and charm to it, fantastic!

    29. Brian Denning on

      So, what humans does this story involve, anyway? Jane, Jake, and Roxy are obviously present, but then there are those 2 with black hair that are new. How are they related? ARE they related? Or are they just friends, or what?

    30. Missing avatar

      Kayliene Eschenbacher on

      I'm going to point out that the stuff about how The Odd Gentleman stole a large part of the money and bailed were *rumors*. The only source we had was a text post on tumblr that was quickly deleted and other people parroting said post. I know it was written by somebody close to Andrew, but nothing has been confirmed and some light shed on the situation from somebody involved directly is the only thing we can believe at face value. I realize that it was a business transaction and that there's probably an NDA involved, but I'd assume that if the rumors are true the contractual arrangement would have been violated to some degree and we should be told *something* more than "Um, we decided to make the game ourselves... because reasons. So. Yeah."

      As for the people trying to give the people saying that they regret spending money on the Kickstarter a hard time, we spent money and were promised a product in a certain time frame. Most of us know that a game is a monumental project, and is especially daunting for people with no experience making one. Delays are inevitable, and it's a small studio. We get it. What we're upset about is that we spent money (some more than others) and have heard essentially radio silence for months at a time. The updates we *have* gotten have blatantly ignored the elephant in the room, and a lot of people are just fed up with being in the dark for so long. It's especially hurtful because Homestuck was obviously an influential factor of our lives at the time, but thanks to how this project has been handled, we just feel like our investment wasn't worth it *at this point in time*. We could be proven wrong (and by GodCat, I hope we are) but for now, this is where we stand. Hurting for cash isn't the problem (at least not in my situation, I can't speak for everyone else) it's that with how things have gone over the past 3 years and some change, there's been no real payoff aside from the merchandise we received at that time--which, for some people doesn't matter anymore because they stopped giving a shit about Homestuck *because* of this project. We're frustrated. We have every right to let Andrew and What Pumpkin know that.

    31. ikitooo on

      Thank you for the update! :-)
      It looks wonderful and I'm still looking forward to the game.

    32. Jaiden Clark on

      Loving the new look! This troll bromance looks like the best thing ever omg

    33. Strange Wolf on

      Looks great. I for one am still hella pumped of this game. I don't mind waiting. I know Andrew will deliver something great. Merry Christmas, everyone!

    34. Edgar Mauricio Lemos on

      Love, love, love that new look. I appreciated the work that was done in 3D as it was an adroit translation of the the "Homestuck look" into 3D. And yet, it looked like a too big departure. Moreover, the polish of the 3D graphics left some to be desired for a modern game, which was always understandable with the same and experience of the team. But still, it was a bit disappointing. I still looked forward to the game because Andrew was still the storyteller, so for sure the story and dialogue would be top-notch... but I wished it could be better.

      This is all I could have wished for and didn't dare. I'm sure that the path to arrive to this point was full of hardships, but it has finally stared to pay off. Well done Andrew and Team. Best wishes for the next year!

    35. lunneus on

      I like the 2D feel a whole lot more. The 3D was nice, but this is even better! A perfect example of how 2D environments can sometimes out class 3D ones. Also I'm excited to see more trolls~ they've always been my soft spot.

      However, I must also agree with some of the others in that being kept in the dark for so long is a bit unsettling. I'm not saying I've lost faith in this project, or Homestuck (which i need to catch up on), but more updates would have been very nice, they don't even have to be of this length. Even something as simple as "Hey, we're changing the art design because....." would have been nice.

      But as others have said, we've been with Homestuck darn near forever now, waiting isn't something we're not used to and we've always been satisfied when the wait was over.

    36. Missing avatar

      Vivian Dixon on

      at least my display name is correct. hi everybody!! this comments section is now a fun chat roomm

    37. Missing avatar

      Vivian Dixon on

      This looks so friggin good. i dont care about the waiting at all since its clearly gonna be so worth it. i wish that you could change your email for kickstarter cause this is not my name

    38. Billabo on

      Thank God it's going to be 2D!

    39. Missing avatar

      Holly on

      I've been a long time fan, so waiting is nothing new, and every time I think about the game or some development in Homestuck I just get so excited. I know there have been so many walls and problems for the production of this game but I'm just happy that everyone involved has worked through this and persist to make it better. I'm loving the new style, even though the 3D play throughs were looking incredible I don't think the 2D rework will take away from the atmosphere at all.
      And if anyone hasn't played Undertale yet you better head over to steam now because it really is an awesome game.

    40. Lieron on

      Given how TOG effectively took half the money and ran, this is a damn fine thing to see finally surface. Honestly, 2D works more for HS anyways, given the comic's roots and whatnot. Looking forward to the future developments!

    41. Urbenjokester on

      I've gotta agree with everyone on the graphics, 2D works very well with the art style! Thank you very much for an update and pause away if need be, we can take it!

    42. Matt Lohkamp on

      waiting for homestuck is nothing new, and it's always worth the wait. mega/giga/tetra/omni/omega-pause away.

    43. Missing avatar

      OddballXP on

      Ok so it’s a shame that they’re not gonna use those incredible 3D environments, but can I just say, the art style looks SO much better in 2D. Especially the characters. I love it!

    44. Missing avatar

      CriticalQuit on

      Honestly, knowing what I know about what happened with this game and its production, I personally am feeling very forgiving of the WhatPumpkin team for working with what they have after such unfortunate setbacks. Even if it's kind of an extreme change, I feel like the new art direction will lead to an ultimately better project, especially since adventure games tend to work better with a set camera angle anyway.

      I know a lot of people are suffering some level of buyer's remorse or otherwise wanna spew bile about this, but if I were in their shoes, I'd feel backed into a corner too.

    45. Frank Enslin on

      Eh, all the people complaining about how long this project is taking are just sourpusses. How much has the delayed schedule of this game really weighed on your minds since development began, anyway? I know I haven't really thought about it except to be excited at random intervals when the reality that a fully-developed game created by Andrew F*cking Hussie is going to exist relatively soon (perhaps in the geologic sense, but still). I haven't spent eons moaning to myself about how sinfully shortsighted my contribution was, or worrying that I won't get my money's worth.

      Y'know, I've backed projects that have taken JUST as long, if not longer, to produce anything, and for much more money, too, and you know the thing about it? It's not really a big deal if there's a delay. Play the long game. The worst things that can happen are the project never finishes and you can put it behind you because it probably doesn't matter that much (if you're so hard up that you regret spending money on this, maybe you should think more carefully about your financial decisions, hm?), or you die before it finishes, and in that case it's a moot point.

      So just be happy that we've got a bit more news on this game, and then go back to your daily lives and ignore its existence until the NEXT project update, probably in 2017 or so.

      New art style looks cool, by the way. Hussie, you cad, you never could escape the allure of that classic point-and-click aesthetic, now could you?!

    46. Missing avatar

      Nick Cavalero on

      *Dusts off the ol' theory engine* Well that's interesting. It looks like we might be meeting someone who actually appears in the webcomic proper, decades in the past... *jots down some speculative notes*
      On a serious note, while it's disappointing to see the game's release date pushed back status update after status update, I do believe Mr. Hussie can and will deliver a resounding, excellent conclusion to Homestuck in the time he's allotted himself. As for the game, I still have my hopes that it'll turn out alright. Looking forward to it all in 2016.

    47. Missing avatar

      Kassandra on

      I'm going to have to agree with Connor. It's really nice to finally see something more solid, but there is so much silence and it's been so long since the game was originally estimated to be released that I just feel sick when I think about the money I spent on this. And to make it worse, the production of the comic has halted so much, so there's just complete radio silence over the entirety of Homestuck after so many people spent so much money to fund this comic.

      Unfortunately, this situation has really soured me on backing projects like this. This was the first Kickstarter I ever backed and this entire situation has been awful and we were kept in the dark for too long about too much. I can't think about Homestuck without getting frustrated over this whole ordeal and the fact I can't get a cent of my money back.

    48. Missing avatar

      Frank Oliver on

      Holy hell, the development process for this game has been such a massive shitshow. This is like the third time the game or its studio have been completely restructured. What's going on with that? A little transparecy in that regard would be nice. Plus, we're only getting like a few paragraphs of development details a year. I would R E A L L Y appreciate a jump in progress update frequency.

      I'd like to be optimistic about the game, but y'all are making it hard.

      All that being said, the new art style /does/ look great. I think moving away from 3d was a good idea; the old footage with the 3d artstyle didn't look very good to be honest. 2d art definitely has a more Homestuck-ish feel to it.

    49. Missing avatar

      Sporkaganza on

      Probably most of the negative commenters in here paid somewhere between 5 maybe 500 dollars (if I'm being very generous) on this Kickstarter... *IN 2012.* I'm sure none of you were really hurting for money after backing Hiveswap, and if anyone was you've surely earned back plenty of money by now. I really don't think it's worth getting so bitter about it – especially if certain unfortunate rumors are true. If you're really this disappointed then play one of the many other great games that's been released between September 2012 and now. Hell, Undertale is mentioned in this very post.

    50. Joanie Rich on

      As much as I love 3D artwork, there's something very special about 2D artwork, and these pieces take my breath away! As someone who works in the industry, I'm better equipped to understand the depth of a project created at this scale. The first episode is always the hardest because it lays the groundwork for everything else. I still believe in you guys with all of my heart, and I can't wait to play Hiveswap! Merry Christmas to the whole dev team! <3