As described on the MSPA website, Homestuck is "a tale about a boy and his friends and a game they play together." Homestuck is the fourth MS Paint Adventure, and by far the largest one yet, with over 5,100 pages (out of 7,000 MSPA pages) as of June 19, 2012. It started on the 13th of April 2009 (413 becoming a recurring number in-universe).
Homestuck's basic premise was inspired by games like The Sims, Spore, and EarthBound. Unlike previous Adventures, Homestuck is no longer primarily driven by reader submitted commands, Andrew having taken full control of the story during Act 4 . However, he admits to still drawing inspiration from the speculation and fanart of his fanbase.
The Homestuck Beta, that was started on April 10, three days prior to the now official release, was Andrew's original attempt to start the comic, which he planned to make entirely in Flash, and drop the MS Paint-style art. However, when the Homestuck Stable Release came, it was revealed that it would continue its art style and use of animated GIFs instead. It was revealed a few days later in Andrew's blog that this was not planned, but rather, it was because doing a whole series on flash was too difficult and time consuming for him. Although most of the adventure is still created with animated gifs, there are still occasional flash updates which take the form of movies or even interactive minigames, and include music.
The game of Homestuck is shown to have Terezi when she attempts to play it on a record player, causing the game to at an inopportune time. It had to be taken to a scratch doctor in order to be repaired.. The first disc lasts until the . The second disc, resembling , is supposed to last until the end of the adventure. The disc by
ACT 2 - RAISE OF THE CONDUCTOR'S BATON (Started 6/10/09, ended 10/11/09)
ACT 3 - INSANE CORKSCREW HAYMAKERS (Started 10/14/09, ended 1/14/10)
INTERMISSION - DON'T BLEED ON THE SUITS. (Started 1/14/10, ended 2/09/10)
INTERMISSION 2 - THE MAN IN THE CAIRO OVERCOAT. (Started 10/31/11, ended 11/02/11)
ACT 6 - INTERMISSION 1 (Started 12/08/11, ended 12/29/11)
ACT 6 - ACT 2 (Started 12/30/11, ended 3/08/12)
ACT 6 - INTERMISSION 2 (Started 3/09/12, ended 4/02/12)
On his 13th birthday, John Egbert receives the latest computer game, an immersive simulation game called Sburb Beta. Working with his friend Rose Lalonde, they discover that the game allows the players to manipulate their reality.
A startling revelation comes, though - an apocalyptic meteor shower is beginning to destroy the world before their very eyes. However, the game gives them tools to escape their fate. John, Rose, and their friends Dave Strider and Jade Harley work together to flee the apocalypse and enter a new dimension called the Incipisphere. The Incipisphere is a world of "warring royalty in a timeless expanse," where the forces of Prospit and Derse struggle for dominion over the realm of Skaia in the chess-patterned Battlefield at its center. The kids are given primary guides - spirits known as Kernelsprites - to help them understand this new setting and the rules of the game. The four of them must fight against the monsters of the dark kingdom, controlled by the Denizens, and free the Consorts of the four planets circling Skaia. They must master the inventory system called the Sylladex, and understand the alchemy system the game provides.
John, Rose, Dave, and Jade slowly learn of their roles as the Heir of Breath, the Seer of Light, the Knight of Time, and the Witch of Space respectively. They must all undertake personal journeys and come to terms with their relationships with their Guardians. They learn they must pass the Seven Gates, reach Skaia, and stop the Black King and Black Queen from destroying Skaia in an event called the Reckoning. However, it’s said that Skaia would buy the kids time by creating defense portals that would redirect the meteors to another place in paradox space – Earth. Some of these meteors are to "seed" laboratories like the Skyship Base on Earth, and carry Exiles – former members of the two kingdoms – to the year 2422, long after the apocalypse, for them to repopulate the Earth. Others spawn anomalies like the Frog Temple, and others become the meteors that hit the kids’ houses in the first place. However, another revelation happens as John eventually reaches a laboratory in the Incipisphere’s outer meteor belt called the Veil, where he uncovers a mysterious ectobiology machine. John accidentally facilitates the kids’ and their guardians’ own existences. They are sent back to the past on meteors during the Reckoning as well, to set in motion the entire chain of events.
However, things begin to go wrong, as a weapon Jade tries to give to John accidentally ends up in the hands of Jack Noir, the nefarious archagent of Derse. He commits double regicide against the monarchs of Derse and becomes the Sovereign Slayer, wreaking destruction wherever he goes – something never intended to happen in the game.
Meanwhile, time wears on and the kids learn to wake their dream selves. However, on their quest to grow up and fill into their hero roles, they also stumble upon signs that their mission will end in disastrous failure if they continue on their path. They also learn that they are not the only group of people playing the game. Countless other sessions of players, on other planets in other dimensions, also exist. They begin to be contacted by the twelve Trolls – players from another planet and another dimension, who played a session of Sburb (or, as they called it, Sgrub) long ago in the past. Many aspects of their session were similar, with their own twelve-planet Incipisphere, their own Exiles and more. These twelve managed to win their game, and discovered the ultimate purpose of Sburb – to create new universes. In fact, the kids’ home universe was created by none other than the trolls.
However, something went wrong, and an indestructible, omnipotent demon was unleashed into their game, which is said to have dire consequences for both the kids and the trolls. Before the trolls could gain access to the new universe, they were stopped by his appearance in the space-time continuum. It is revealed that this demon was actually a Becquerel-prototyped Jack Noir, who under complex circumstances got into the session of the trolls and prevented them from winning the game. The trolls soon get in touch with the kids, and begrudgingly attempt to help the kids in learning of things like the First Guardians of Earth and Alternia, and the Green Sun. They work on a plan - to depower Jack by recovering a massive bomb called The Tumor and taking it into the sun, meanwhile causing a scratch to reset their session and escaping it via the fourth wall. The plan is for everyone to meet up in the new session. However, while the kids work to execute the plan, not all is well on the Trolls' meteor. Several of the trolls begin killing each other, and the murderous Gamzee Makara speaks of his mirthful messiahs and a Vast Honk yet to come.
The plan goes off somewhat successfully, but it is revealed that the Tumor is a bomb that detonates when the Kids' and Trolls' universes have been destroyed. This occurs when Jack Noir attacks Bilious Slick and Spades Slick shoots Snowman. The resulting explosion gives birth to the Green Sun, which was never meant to be destroyed. The First Guardian of Alternia, Doc Scratch, had deceived them by forgetting to mention just what the bomb actually did.
All four of the kids become God Tier, and together with the surviving trolls, they embark on two separate three-year journeys to the Alpha session. The newly-omnipotent Peregrine Mendicant sends a badly wounded Wayward Vagabond to the kids and trolls at the Green Sun and proceeds to pursue Jack Noir, while John, Jade and the remaining population of their Incipisphere cross the Yellow Yard. And while the story continues to build towards its destination, the living continue to interact with those who have passed on. In the Dream Bubbles produced by the Horrorterrors of the Furthest Ring, dead players continue to provide assistance and guidance to those who survive. Meanwhile, upon the death of Doc Scratch, the enigmatic and evil Lrd English makes his arrival and begins his own plots.
In the Alpha session, four kids wake up. Jane Crocker, Jake English, Dirk Strider and Roxy Lalonde are the post-Scratch kids in a universe where the Beta kids and their ectobiological predecessors are sent to Earth at different times. While they prepare to play the game, all signs point to an ominous conspiracy. Earth is a corporate planet owned by Betty Crocker, who appears to be the Condesce, the former Empress of Alternia now in the service of Lord English and the usurper of the Black Queen in the new Incipisphere. Roxy and Dirk live years in the future in a flooded planet, constantly under threat of the Imperial Drones, and the God Cat makes all kinds of mischief for these new heroes. Visions of Pre-Scratch Dead Trolls and contact from two members of yet another alien species, the Cherubs, continue to complicate the matter. On top of that, the new session is a void session where Skaia can never advance to its final state; the Beta kids must bring their Battlefield and their Genesis Frog so it can release the Vast Croak there.
Many recurring elements are featured in the comic, like chess, amphibians, meteors, the number 413, a certain bunny and more. With the game of Sburb seemingly having such a profound level of control over reality, all of these factors will undoubtedly add up to a grand adventure the likes of which no one has ever seen. Will our heroes find a way to break this cycle of apocalypses and return balanced order to reality? What the future will hold, we can only guess.
The comic has a sub-comic, the totally rad Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff, written by the character Dave Strider.
Differences between the Beta and the Stable Release
Besides the art, flash, etc., Homestuck had many changes made to it when the Stable Release came out. Here's a list of everything Beta had that the Stable Release didn't:
- The story started on the tenth of April instead of the thirteenth (both in-game and in real life), and starts on a Friday.
- Likewise, the Sburb Beta was released on the seventh of April instead of the tenth.
- John is ten years old instead of thirteen.
- The hammer and nails are on the desk rather than on the floor.
- Beta only includes the colors green and red, while the stable release has many others.
- You cannot see the other items inside the Magic Chest.
- You "place" the items in your Sylladex instead of "captchalogue" them in your Sylladex.
- It includes a command that the Stable Release didn't: "John: Move green icon to MAGIC CHEST and click." It is excluded because only Beta uses the click-and-drag option.
- John attempts to retrieve his arms from a drawer in his bed instead of his dresser drawer.
For unknown reasons, three page numbers are skipped in the MSPA numbering, namely(in troll romance), (between Rose and Dave discussing the Horrorterrors) and (after [S] JOHN: RISE UP.). Consequently, the actual number of Homestuck pages is three fewer than subtracting the overall numbering would imply.