Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I'll explain my thinking on first using Flash, then switching back so fast we all achieved powerful and enchanted new WHIPLASHQUIP: FULL PLATE OF THE NECKBRACE TEMPLARS.

Here is a summary of what actually happened first.

On April 10th, I launched the new story, "Homestuck", made entirely in Flash. My plan was to complete the whole story in Flash, adding interactivity, music, and stuff like that. I completed 8 pages.

This turned out to be way too much work. To put this in perspective, doing these 8 relatively simple pages was MORE DIFFICULT AND TIME CONSUMING THAN ALL THE SEPULCHRITUDE ANIMATIONS COMBINED. I am not joking about that!

I don't know if this says more about my inexperience with Flash, or my proficiency with Photoshop (in which all PS work was done). Probably both. I don't mind dealing with Actionscript, really. It was the whole environment I had trouble with. It felt very unnatural to draw in, and difficult to manage everything spread across multiple time lines and movie clips. Even doing simple things was like pulling teeth.

So in order to prevent the story from grinding to a halt down the road, I just switched back to Photoshop and started over. I kept the Flash version online, and recast it as the "Homestuck BETA", which now appears to have been "released" three days prior to the current version. You could even call this a happy coincidence that appears to have been planned, since it echoes an aspect of the story, in which the beta for a game was released three days prior to his birthday.

But I guess MSPA tends to be full of these sorts of coincidences which make you wonder what was planned and what wasn't. But here I am telling you it wasn't planned! I should really work on being more mysterious.

(You will also note, the age of the character jumped from 10 to 13 in this three day span. This is, for mysterious reasons, because the "magic number" for this story is now 4/13 rather than 4/10.)

Perhaps ironically, the Homestuck beta, which was never supposed to be a beta, genuinely did serve as a beta! I had a chance to test out some things there, and when I realized it wasn't working, I pulled the plug. But I got to establish the Flash page infrastructure on the site, so now I can use Flash pages whenever I want.

And I intend to! Sparingly. Mostly for when I want to include musical elements, which was really my biggest reason for switching to Flash in the first place.

The bottom line is, the adjustment I made now feels right. Overall, I like the look better. And the production is virtually effortless, a process streamlined over hundreds of pages of Problem Sleuth. This will allow me to update with crazy amounts of pages as usual, which I think you will agree is a very important thing. Maybe the most important thing!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Getting ready for the next adventure!

So I guess it's time to get serious about this.

The first matter of business is related to music and sound. As I've hinted at before, I'm going to take a stab at a Flash production this time. This means I'll be incorporating music and sound effects on some of the pages.

Here's the catch: I am not actually a musician and have no particular talent for the craft! My plan is to have the music be reader-created, through a collaborative process. If you are proficient in the field of music or sound, and would like to participate in this process, please email me!*** I will send you the information you need to do this!

*** The response to this was great! Thanks to everyone who contacted me. I'm sure that's enough participants for now, but if this changes, I'll let you all know.

(A note on sound for the next adventure: music/sound will never at any point be critical to following the story! So it's still fine if you check it out at work without the volume or such.)

That's the main thing I wanted to mention. If all goes according to plan, there will be a new story on the front page tomorrow.


A side note:

Many have wondered if PS will be printed in a book at some point.

I can't say when for sure, but there WILL be a Problem Sleuth book. Probably released in multiple volumes on account of acute hugeness.