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Headscratchers / Hiveswap

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    Arena Stickball's Inspiration 

From Homestuck, we know that Table Stickball was invented by the Felt based on their hats, and there is a clear relation between Arena Stickball and Table Stickball (not just by name, but also by the fact that there are various balls themed after the Felt). That brings the question... how is this possible? We know that Caliborn collected the Felt during his Sburb session and brought them to Alternia, but we have only ever seen them (besides Doc Scratch) after the Vast Glub, meaning that the Felt could have in no way brought Table Stickball to pre-Vast Glub Alternia to be reworked as Arena Stickball. And even if you assume that the Felt did exist in pre-Vast Glub Alternia, a bunch of mobsters that aren't even trolls (given the Condesce's stance on aliens, they would have been killed off fairly soon after their arrival) creating a game that then spawns a spinoff that leads to its own major league and video games is, to say the least, odd.

  • It's the type of paradox Homestuck is famous for. Basically, the answer seems to be how can Bec and Doc Scratch be powered by the Green sun when their universes blowing up is what creates it.
    • There is nothing in it constituting a paradox; the only inspiration that the Felt had for Table Stickball was their hats and not Arena Stickball, which would create a Stable Time Loop. Similarly, your example doesn't really include a Stable Time Loop either; just something from the "effect" that influences the "cause".
  • Regardless, this is still the exact kind of Weird Plot Shit that shows up all the time in Homestuck; weird synchronous stuff that seems to make no sense at first and eventually comes around... or doesn't, but the point is that there's tons of precedence for this precise sort of ambiguous connection.

    The Homestuck Music Team 

Homestuck makes a pretty big deal out of the fact that while, in both the B1 and B2 universes, MS Paint Adventures exists, Homestuck itself doesn't exist; in B1, Hussie's fourth adventure is Midnight Crew, while in B2, it's Problem Sleuth 2. Yet, when visiting Dammek's hive, one can find a poster labeled, in Alternian, "Homestuck Music Team", with Toby Fox, James Roach and Malcolm Brown labeled by names. How? Is Homestuck a story that Troll Andrew Hussie crafted? (There is not much point in arguing that the musicians' names don't fit the 6/6 troll name pattern, as Homestuck introduces us to trolls such as Troll Will Smith.)

  • "Is Homestuck a story that Troll Andrew Hussie crafted?" The simple answer is yes.
  • Since Andrew Hussie is a (singular) character in the story, one could imagine that he writes different adventures for different universes.
    • So, essentially, it's a case of No Export for Your Universe. I mean, it is Andrew Hussie we're talking about...


    The Alternian script 

In Homestuck, the script that some troll objects (movie posters, magazine covers, the Ouija Fetch Modus) use is an Alternian script, while for others (anything to do with Trollian and the IM service that Xefros and Dammek use, the ~ATH book and code) it's what we know as the Latin alphabet. Now, the exact reasons as to why there is such a divide clearly belong in Headscratchers.Homestuck, but Hiveswap adds one more layer of complexity: in Homestuck, the Alternian script is simply the Daedric script rotated 180 degrees, while in Hiveswap, the Alternian script has been created from scratch (pun not intended). Out of universe, the reasons for this seem pretty obvious, as What Pumpkin does not want to get involved in a case of copyright infringement, but in-universe... what gives? Do the two Alternian scripts actually coexist? Is the new Alternian script a retcon of the Daedric script, and if so, why hasn't the retcon been integrated into Homestuck, given that the Homestuck and Hiveswap universes are one and the same?

  • Hiveswap actually has the indication that the script on Dammek's tablet is Alternian, but Joey can read it (as well as anything else which we can clearly see is written in Alternian) because reasons.
    • That... raises a question of its own. If the chatlogs between Xefros and Joey are in Alternian, as it (neither the Daedric nor the new Alternian script) does not have a lowercase form, there would be no point in trying to add cases while translating it to Latin. Not to mention there is one point in which Joey can choose between writing "no!", "No!" and "NO!", which only differ in case and would be rendered the exact same in Alternian.
      • So? The walkie-talkie conversations between Joey and Jude happen in speech, not writing, and therefore don't have cases either (or punctuation, for that matter), but are very clearly written out with them.
      • Continuing off of the above, it's important to remember that Homestuck was a story that used gaming abstractions as plot devices. It's not the kind of story that can be read solely literally. I saw Hiveswap's "you can just read it" as an admission of how the language barrier never mattered before, so there's no reason to worry about it now. Also, I don't think anybody needs us to answer the question of why Andrew didn't pointlessly edit a finished comic for the sake of a different game's copyright workaround.
    • There may be an answer to how Joey can read the Alternian script, but it gets into WMG territory. We see that in Half-Harley Manor, there is a globe of Alternia and a plush of the Sufferer. This might mean that one or both of Joey and Jude's parents may know a lot about Alternia than we initially thought. Perhaps they taught Joey how to read the Alternian script, or Joey just learned it herself from reading books on translating from Alternian to English. Either scenario has its issues since A. Claire died while Joey and Jude were very young, and Pa/Grandpa Harley is hardly ever around.

    Dammek and security 

In most part, Hiveswap gives the impression that Dammek cares a great deal about security; during his conversations with Xefros, he insists on a code, presuming that anyone could read their messages at any time, and the doors in his hive are (for the most part) locked with either a green cube or a Serpent game. Yet, the tablet, the one thing that would allow anyone to impersonate Dammek and which would pose the greatest threat to his security, isn't locked in any way. Why?

  • He didn't have time to lock it before he got teleported away to another planet?
    • If we assume Alternian technology is just like our modern technology (a bit of a stretch, but a reasonable one, as Trizza does own what looks just like a smartphone to us), all Dammek needs to do is hit the power button, and once someone else hits it again, it will open up to a pattern puzzle/PIN/password entry screen/"scan your fingerprint to continue" screen.
      • You've never put your cell phone down without remembering to tap the lock button? It doesn't exactly fit Dammek's paranoia, but no one's perfect, and he was deep in his secure hive and probably surprised by the portal's activation and near-simultaneous Drone attack. He could have made a slip.
      • Even if Dammek doesn't do that, the tablet will lock itself up after a certain amount of time, resulting in the same thing. And even if not much time has passed between Dammek last touching the tablet and Joey picking it up, the implication is that a) she never deliberately/accidentally locked the tablet, and b) there weren't significant periods of silence in the conversation between her and Xefros, meaning that the time spent in pretty much the near-entirety of the segment in Xefros' hive is shorter than whatever the time-out on Dammek's tablet is. The point is, if there is a security system like this, Dammek hasn't instated it, and it is for a very deliberate reason and not just because "he didn't have time".
  • A counterargument that I came up with before anyone could post it: "no one could impersonate Dammek without knowing what his quirk was" Well, Joey didn't know that trolls used typing quirks in general, and that didn't stop Xefros from being convinced that she was Dammek when she first picked up the tablet.
    • Another one: "Dammek is using the code you just pointed out as the security measure and guarantee of his identity" If he is, it isn't really working, since, as mentioned above, Xefros assumes Joey is Dammek at first and brushes off everything she says as the correct code (except for his own codename, "Xerox", which he assumes to be too close to his real name), given that he doesn't really remember details such as Dammek's codename. And given that Dammek has been through this before (otherwise Xefros wouldn't be talking about the code and especially wouldn't say, and this is a direct quote, "i forgot the code again!!!!!!"), he would absolutely want to include another security measure.

    The Beams 

Quite possibly the most prominent image of Hiveswap (and, quite fittingly, even one that heralds the page VideoGame.Hiveswap as of the writing of this text) is that of Joey on a green beam and Dammek on a red beam looking at each other as they pass each other. Unfortunately, there are quite a few problems with this image and the concept of the beams in general.

  • First off, we know that the beams are a thing that physically exists and are created by the two portals, given that both Jude and Xefros are able to observe both them and Joey going along the green beam. Yet... since we know Hiveswap takes place in the Homestuck universe(s), the beams must be connecting B1 and A2. How? They're two different universes, in two different frogs in the Furthest Ring. Or, if you want to go that route, a frog in the Furthest Ring and a former Black Queen in A2... don't think too much about it. Do the beams go through the Furthest Ring, and if so, why don't they "disappear" at some point in space?
  • If we suspend our disbelief and assume that the beams can really exist... the speed at which Joey and Dammek are travelling through them is a problem. Since the scale of the frogs is likely similar to that of the universes they encompass, the beams must be trillions of light-years long, which means that even at light speed, Joey and Dammek would take trillions of years to cross over and likely would be a bunch of atoms by the time they arrive. Not to mention that when Jude and Xefros observe the beams, Joey is travelling at a much lower speed, that can't be much more than a few meters a second. (Of course, you have to remember that this is Hussie, who doesn't really know how light speed works in the first place; as an example in Homestuck, when Jade and John are traversing between the B1 and B2 sessions, they have to cross two fenestrated walls in Hussie's realm. The walls are one yard apart, and therefore, travelling at the speed of light, from Hussie's perspective, Jade and John take three nanoseconds to cross, while from their perspective, they take three years to cross, which doesn't really agree with reality; in reality, Jade and John would perceive their journey as being near-instantaneous, while an outside observer would perceive their journey as lasting (the distance they cross / the speed of light).)
  • Even weirder than that, at one point Joey and Dammek completely stop (at least relative to each other) in their tracks, long enough to notice and look at each other. Why? Is this an actual feature of the portals?
  • However long it took Joey and Dammek to cross, breathable air is still a problem. Is it generated by the beams? Do we just assume the Furthest Ring has breathable air because whatever?
  • From the perspectives of Jude and Xefros, the beams appear straight, but in deep space, they appear to be curved. For the most part, this can be shrugged off as just weird camera angles and perspective, but in this image, the beams outright spiral. Why? (Let's just disregard the fact that despite what appears in the very same image, Earth and Alternia aren't that close and most definitely don't have other planets close enough to them to be seen as balls and not dots.)
  • Lastly and quite possibly least seriously, the giant letters "Hiveswap" and "Hauntswitch" that Joey and Dammek stop at don't really exist... do they? (This might be in jest, but similar objects have been shown to exist in Homestuck, such as the "Prospit" and "Derse" labeling the B2 session's, well, Prospit and Derse, and the "Thanks for Playing" next to Earth C's sun.)
    • I am reasonably certain that the answer to all of these questions is "the game is designed to be accessible to people who have not read Homestuck". Yes, the beams must cross universes somewhere, but new players don't really need to know any of that Sburb universe bullshit at the moment, so it's abstracted for convenience. Most of these Hiveswap headscratchers are jarringly literal, even though Homestuck constantly used gaming abstractions and the reader's viewpoint to convey ideas.
    • Artistic License - basically everything space and space-travel-related. It's a stylistic depiction of interdimensional travel made by a guy who got relativity exactly opposite of how it works while writing Homestuck. Other than Joey's departure and arrival (observed by Jude and Xefros, respectively), it can be assumed that that sequence was designed to look cool rather than be taken literally. Joey doesn't, or barely, remembers the travel process, so it can be assumed to be near-simultaneous regardless of how it's demonstrated. See also the original motion picture in the Stargate franchise, which uses similar technology for interstellar travel and a similar drawn-out special effects sequence despite the fact that the transit takes a few nanoseconds in-universe.

    Switching goalposts? (Hiveswap Act 1 spoilers) 

When Xefros first realizes that Joey is not Dammek, he asks her to look for him, and when she doesn't exactly agree, he promises to come over to his hive to help her and presumably search for him himself. Yet, when Joey and Xefros first meet in person, rather than go back to Dammek's hive to search for him, instead they head straight to the other members of the rebellion. Why? Did Joey convince Xefros that Dammek simply isn't worth looking out for? Did Xefros realize (offscreen) that since Joey is around, Dammek must be on an alien planet? (The latter is especially unlikely, given that Xefros knows of the cherub portal as "secret weapon", and probably doesn't even realize that it's a portal at first.)

  • Xefros more or less takes Joey's word for it when she says she can't find Dammek (despite the fact that if he thought about it he'd realize she'd only barely checked one room, if at all). After that, he becomes immediately more concerned with the fact that she's an alien, in trouble (he's a very kind person, as Joey notes), and the fact that he can recruit her into the resistance, and then subsequently with the pile of ex-gander-precipice crushing his body. Presumably, by the time she rescues him, he realizes that for whatever reason, Dammek isn't there, and he needs to get out of Dodge.

    No bathrooms? 

In Homestuck, there are plenty of jokes regarding people's bathrooms. While playing Sburb, Rose accidentally rips off John's toilet seat and bath (resulting in the iconic "tell me what is wrong with this picture" quote), and ditto for Jade and Dave's toilet seat, forcing him to pee in the shower. Furthermore, these kinds of jokes absolutely can and do extend to the trolls, as Terezi does the same to Karkat's toilet seat. All in all, the implication is that the humans and trolls do poop, even if they don't do it on-screen, ever.

Unfortunately, in Hiveswap, in the houses you can explore (Half-Harley Manor, Xefros' hive and Dammek's hive), you can't find a bathroom, nor a bathroom door or so much as a mention of a bathroom. Why?

Oh, and before anyone responds to this, I would like to say that I do not appreciate Doylist explanations at all. In fact, as some of my previous entries (that is, every entry above this one) have already been met with Doylist explanations, I am fully aware that there is a Doylist explanation for this as well, and to save you time, I am going to state it right now: Hiveswap is rated for ages 10 and up, and apparently at that age, you can't have the implication that a bathroom exists, or that a bed is used for anything other than sleeping. That being said, feel free to speculate and/or prove me wrong.

  • It has come to my attention that Hiveswap doesn't completely shy away from such kind of humor, as there are apparently jars of urine in Jude's treehouse. Unfortunately, unless your implication is that everyone in Hiveswap (including Joey and the babysitter) pees in jars, there has to be another explanation.
    • Well, the game never lets us see every inch of the characters' house/hives, so it's possible that whatever perspective we're viewing a certain room or hallway, that may be on the side we can't see is the entrance to the bathroom.
    • Sorry this is a Doylist answer, but most authors and designers tend to forget things that aren't immediately relevant to the thing they're working on. Since Hussie and Edenfield didn't add in any jokes or puzzles relating to bathrooms, they didn't specify them as locations or ask the art team to add them, and then the art team drew settings that didn't include bathrooms or mysterious unlabeled doors that could be bathrooms because none were requested. If it makes you feel better, there's a chunk of Joey's house we haven't seen because it was blocked by a mummy, and Xefros's hive physically contains enough space for a hidden ablution block, so in both cases maybe we just can't see the door. Dammek's hive is a little trickier, but the door could always be in the foreground.
    • They used the designer from Resident Evil. You have to solve a puzzle to unlock the bathroom.



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