Sburb is the human name for a sandbox-style game that takes place superimposed over the real world, rather than in a virtual space. The server player is able to manipulate the client's environment in real time in a manner reminiscent of The Sims. The client of the game has no need to interact with the computer and can freely roam around completing objectives (except if the client wants to operate GristTorrent).
Actions available to the server player include being able to build rooms, add on to existing rooms, deploy game objects such as the Totem Lathe, and manipulate objects in the client's environment. It is said that the server cannot operate outside of a certain radius of the client, however Rose at one point that she has been working on the house while John was away, and Lil Hal later states that In addition, it seems that Dave's time shenanigans interfered with Jade's server application zeroing in on a single Dave automatically. Furthermore, the server's actions are limited by the client's supply of Build Grist. Further applications will likely be revealed over time.
Each new client-server connection generates a unique session of the game that is apparently independent of all other sessions, unless a daisy-chain of connections is formed with existing players. The exact number of connections varies depending on the length of the chain in question, though the minimum number of players for a normal session, even if additionally null or void, is two.
Each session has been hardwired to support its final player count from the start, because Sburb cares nothing for the concept of chronology. GristTorrent supports this, displaying three players online and one offline, though it may have inferred that she will install the client from the fact that she is already running the server. An even more extreme example of this achronology is the fact that anyone who is going to play Sburb in a particular session, at any point in their life, will be a dreamer in one of the moons of that session even before the game begins; some, like Jade and Kanaya, awaken the game starts.
- Skaia, a "dormant crucible of unlimited creative potential". Under its thick atmosphere lies The Battlefield, a planet that changes every time a player enters the medium with a prototyped sprite. It's here that a war between Prospit and Derse takes place, which Prospit must always lose. This war is always headed by the White King and Black King respectively.
- Prospit, a planet that orbits Skaia like a moon. Home to the forces of light, and ruled by the White Queen. Prospit's moon passes through the atmosphere of Skaia, allowing Prospitian dream selves to see the future in the clouds. In the kids' session the dream selves of John and Jade reside here, post-Scratch the dream selves of Jane and Jake reside here. In the trolls' session, the dream selves of Karkat, Terezi, Gamzee, Tavros, Vriska, Kanaya, and Sollux (who has two) are also on Prospit. In the cherubs' two-player session, Calliope resides on Prospit.
- Derse, a planet that orbits beyond The Veil. Home to the forces of darkness, and ruled by the Black Queen. The Noble Circle of Horrorterrors, who reside in the Furthest Ring, whisper advice to Dersite dream selves. The dream selves of Rose and Dave reside here, post-Scratch the dream selves of Dirk and Roxy reside here. In the trolls' session, the dream selves of Equius, Aradia, Nepeta, Eridan, Feferi, and Sollux (who has two) are also on Derse. In the cherubs' session Caliborn dwells on the moon of Derse.
- Planets. Every player has their own unique planet orbiting Skaia in the Incipisphere. These are all home to other session constants, such as Consorts, Denizens and Quest Beds.
- The Forge. Its purpose is not entirely known, but it has appeared in every known session so far. Additionally, when the player who lives by it (usually a Hero of Space) enters the medium, one of their first jobs is to light it, which seems to bring about some kind of Planetary change that is presumably necessary for advancing.
- Frog Temple. The frog temples on a planet provide the initial coding for Sburb, and are typically the place where the whole thing seems to start. They seem to always contain a Lotus Time Capsule that, as the name suggests, allow objects (and characters) to be put in and retrieved after a certain amount of time. They are responsible for a great deal of time shenanigans. Always seem to be located in the same place as The Forge, in close proximity to a Hero of Space.
- The Scratch construct. Appears in every session on the planet of the Hero of Time, as a tool for initiating Sburb's Emergency Reset Method .
- The Veil. The ring of meteors dividing the medium from the Furthest Ring where Derse orbits. These meteors are the same as those which hail in The Reckoning, and also seem to contain a number of laboratories for the practice of Ectobiology and creating the carapacian armies .
Sburb's distinctive logo on Earth (first iteration) is a neon-green silhouette of a simple house, broken into seven pieces. Animated representations of the logo have the house disassemble and reassemble, with the smallest part spinning back and forth in between. The Sburb logo made a couple of appearances in the beta version of Homestuck's interface. An animated version of the logo appears on the preloader for animated pages (and continues to do so for many pages in the game proper). Another version of the logo, also animated but lacking its roof, signified clickable hotspots.
The Spirograph is another logo associated with Sburb, and also appears on page preloaders and in various locations associated with the game or with the Medium. The House logo appears on the client disc, while the Spirograph appears on the server disc.
In the post-Scratch universe, the Sburb logo is red instead of green, and is horizontally reversed compared to the original logo.
The Sburb discs have been of great importance to the story ever since John started playing Sburb. In the B1 session, there were eight discs in total, four server discs and four client discs, one of each for each of the four kids, except Jade who uses Dave's discs, while Dave uses the discs belonging to his Bro. Dave eventually alchemized himself another copy of his server disc, using the Intellibeam Laserstation to extract the code, in order to become another server to Jade while John was busy.
Almost all of the Sburb discs have gone through some kind of journey. It took John five acts to get his copy of the server disc.
John's client and server copies arrive on the day of release, three days after the Beta was launched. John's Dad gets the client copy from the mail, and leaves the server copy in his car. John has to Strife with his Dad in order to install the client version. The server version, however, has gone on a lengthy journey, with the car being dropped down into the Land of Wind and Shade, being picked up by the Authority Regulator, getting tracked down by the Parcel Mistress, and getting put into a Parcel Pyxis. After being dropped off in LOWAS, however, the disk was ejected from the Pyxis, and John finally has the server disc.
Rose is an exception, as both the client and the server discs were never lost, and she simply had access to them from the beginning of the story.
Dave also had issues with retrieving his discs. After spilling apple juice upon them, Dave hung them up to dry, only to send them flying out of the window when he threw a sword at an encroaching crow, sending these flying out onto a building below. Instead Dave sourced his copy of the discs from his Bro by battling him in a display of their mad skills. After Dave installs his Bro's copies, Jade retrieved his original copies from his roof and gave them back. They were later stolen by the Draconian Dignitary.
It is Dave's discs that turn up within the Frog Temple. When Jade enters the Frog Temple and the Lotus Time Capsule blooms, it reveals Dave's original discs. It is revealed that the Draconian Dignitary discarded Dave's juice-stained discs, at which point they landed in the Lotus Flower.
So, this means that John is using his client Disc, and has finally retrieved the server but since then Dave made a second copy of the server disc and connected to Jade, and hence John only once got the chance to be the server. Rose's discs are her own possession. Dave's discs are with Jade after the Draconian Dignitary tossed them into the Lotus Flower, and Jade located them. Dave's Bro's discs are in Dave's possession now.
For the B2 session, Jane was the only one to be sent discs, but they detonated in her assassination attempt. Others never received any discs, and are using Roxy's pirated copy instead (though, Jane was sent an ~ATH file disguising itself as the client instead of the real copy and had her computer blown up, forcing Lil' Seb to install the game on Dad's computer instead).
Sburb appears to have no description or instructions regarding its true objective. However, as John and Rose continue to meddle with the game, John discovers a Meteor barreling toward his house after creating the Kernelsprite. The sobering reality hits Rose as she discovers that Sburb is a game that destroys the world. It's able to do this because the players enter The Medium to escape from the meteors it calls down, which it's able to call down because the players entered the Medium.Jade Harley was the first character to witness this phenomenon, as she heard a loud crash outside her house, but did not or was unable to notify John of what happened.
The game Sburb is being played by many people, each one of them unknowingly the target of their own meteor, each one of them being oblivious to previous players' experience, each one of them being annihilated individually yet collectively, every one of them victim of destruction on a massive yet undetermined scale, leveling entire cities and towns.
If the player is successful in retrieving and damaging in some way his or her unique Cruxite artifact (such as John's Cruxite Apple) before the meteor hits, the impacted area is excised from the physical plane - leaving only a desert wasteland in its place. This is the process that sends the player to their planet within the Incipisphere - where the real game begins.
Electrical power still seems to be available in John's house when it is excised and sent to the Medium, though the source of this power is unclear. Apparently fumbling about in a dark house while trying to complete game objectives would not be within the intended spirit of the game.
Through exposition from their Kernelsprites, the players learn the objective of the game. The player must build using Build Grist to pass through the gates to get to Skaia, where, ultimately, a battle of good and evil is being waged, and the players have opened up what was a supposed eternal stalemate now into an all out war that evil always wins. When the villains win, the Black King calls down meteors to destroy Skaia, which protects itself by teleporting them to the host planet, destroying it in the process. The players must stop the meteors before the defense portals fail and Skaia is destroyed.
The game comes in multiple phases: climbing through The Seven Gates, defeating the Denizens, the Ultimate Alchemy, and the Reckoning (up to and including the final confrontation with the Black King and Queen), to name a few. The trolls' session offers a brief glimpse of the end of a Sburb session (or, in their case, a Sgrub session): A massive upright Sgrub/Sburb logo with a mysterious door, which leads to the reward for their efforts. However, they are interrupted by The Rift before claiming it. This reward was stated to be entry to a new universe which they had created - the Kids' universe.
Thus it is revealed that the ultimate purpose of Sburb is as a method of procreation for entire universes - a single planet is sacrificed in order to create an entirely new universe (or several are sacrificed for several universes), which may themselves propagate one or more universes, and so on. Therefore, the objective of Sburb is the successful creation of a new universe, which is implied to be the nature of the Ultimate Alchemy.
The trolls have an equivalent version of Sburb created by Sollux Captor based on technology found in some ruins by Aradia Megido. Sollux , including the fact that their planet, Alternia, will be destroyed if the trolls don't play it. However, Aradia was just leading him on in order to convince him to create the game. By the time Sollux realized this and deleted his copy, Karkat Vantas and Terezi Pyrope had already begun the trolls' session.
Eventually, the trolls ultimate reward and enter the Universe they created, because the prototyped Jack Noir from the human session stopped them from doing so. After the trolls escaped in the Veil, Jack Noir proceeded to destroy the twelve planets as well as Prospit and Derse before being locked in time by Aradia Megido, thus pretty much wrecking the Sgrub session.. Nevertheless, they couldn't claim their
The Sgrub logo is similar to Sburb's but instead of having 4 squares, it has 12 arranged in a cross, mirroring the arrangement of windows on Alternia and the layout of the display screens used during the Midnight Crew Intermission, as well as referencing the number of the Troll kids involved in place of the four kids in the human session.
There are no discs for Sgrub since Sollux simply sent the Sgrub copy he made from the Frog Temple to Karkat and Aradia, and they sent it on to the remaining Trolls. It is unknown whether Sollux shared the file he made online in some manner, or if he and his eleven coplayers caused the entire apocalypse of Alternia themselves.
- Sburb is this game that a lot of cats seem hella pumped about. According to John's official Sburb calendar, it was supposed to have gone into beta on April 10, 2009 (for reference, Homestuck begins on the same date on which the story was started, April 13th). In the post-Scratch universe, the alpha was released on November 11, 2011.
- A list of the phrases that appear on the loading screen for the Sburb installer can be found here.
- The Sburb loading image is a hypocycloid with continually changing values for a/b.
- As revealed on Andrew Hussie's Blog, the author had two possible names for Homestuck in mind, "Homestuck" and "Sburb". The latter however was "a sort of deliberately ugly word reminiscent of the name of a Sim game" and also "kind of crude and really awkward to say" while Homestuck "better followed the templates of the previous adventure titles, like Jailbreak". The name Sburb only was left as the name of the game within the game. The word "Sburb" is an abbreviation of the word "suburb."
- It's possible that a bigger and more complex game created the trolls' Universe and potentially every other universe. It also should be noted that the number of players might change every time.
- The ==> commands are in fact representations of the four kids, while the ======> command represents the twelve trolls. Each "dash" represents one character, while each equal sign represents two.
- Alternia appears to have Andrew Hussie has threatened to introduce, and shortly thereafter kill, 48 squiddles. , implying that the session that created their universe consisted of 48 players. In that may or may not be related,
- Calliope and Caliborn are starting a two-player session. This is the minimum amount of players for a normal game, though not the mininum players allowed.
- It is possible to play a one-player Sburb session; however, doing so causes it to become a dead session.
- The color of the Sburb/Sgrub logo seems to correspond with the most important player in the session. In the pre-scratch kids' session, this was Jade, while in the post-scratch Trolls' session it was Gamzee. Similarly, Mituna was implied to be the most important player, hinting that the pre-scratch trolls' logo may have been yellow. This would make the two Sgrub logos complementary colors, the same way that green and red are, in addition to representing Derse and Prospit respectively. The post-scratch kids' logo is red, implying that Dave or Karkat will be the most important player. However, it is worth noting that the Auto-Responder and Dirk's rapbots are also associated with the color red, and it is also possible that the most important character in the session may be considered to be Caliborn, even though he is not a player in it. After the events of the End of Act 6 Act 5, Jane is also associated with the colour red, considering her outfit and eyes have changed to this colour.
- There's also the possibilty of the Pre-Scratch Sgrub logo being blue, as it would complete the blue-purple-red-green pattern often seen in Homestuck.
- The color could also be associated with important events happening in that session. In the pre-scratch kids' session, the creation of the Green Sun was a major event. The post-scratch logo would be red to show the rule of Betty Crocker, while in the post-scratch trolls' logo might be purple because Gamzee (a Purpleblood) dealt most of the damage to the Black King. An alternative explanation could be that it's representative of the rampage of Jack Noir, a Dersite archagent.