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The First Anniversaryby The Sequential Phenomena team ∙ · Permalink
One year ago, on September 5th, we officially launched the SP project.
It was definitely not ready for release at that time, as we didn’t have a very good idea of what we were doing. While we retired the original concept, we’ve kept our enthusiasm and made a lot of progress since then! The purpose of this post is to give a little more information on the project’s future, inform about where the team is at right now, our new vision for the project, and we might also perhaps… have some treats for you at the end?
First: It’s a pretty awful time to be devoting time to a large, completely unpaid creative project.
At the moment, there is a deadly pandemic going on, and a lot of us have been hit hard by it in one way or another. Several of us have lost jobs or been forced to move, or have been affected by natural disaster, and have generally had to deal with a lot more stress, pain, and fear than usual. These are not good working conditions, which is compounded by the fact that the majority of us are disabled and/or mentally ill, which contrary to neurotypical belief, does NOT magically turn you into a brave, tragic creative virtuoso. It just makes you really miserable, and you don’t work well when you’re miserable.
Due to these exceptionally difficult circumstances, progress has been slower than we’d like. However, that is not to say we have nothing to show for our efforts, because what we have is work that we are genuinely proud of and care about. After having entirely reconsidered and revamped the core of the story, we know that our work now has a much more clear identity and an united creative vision. In terms of improving the creative process, we’ve been making efforts to restructure our team, improve communication, and to bring more order to what used to be a fairly laissez-faire approach to management. Along with forming more concrete guidelines for our work, we’ve been having regular meetings meaning that despite the circumstances, we’ve been writing a lot.
For example, we now have over one hundred thousand words of story, notes and guides written. While the “main story” still isn’t ready to be released (and won’t be this year), we’re planning to release several pieces of side story and worldbuilding before the comic itself launches. When we’re ready to do that, we’ll let you know.
But now, you may reasonably ask: If you’ve been restructuring and redesigning so much, what IS the new Sequential Phenomena actually going to be?
As we’ve reconsidered exactly what we want this story to be about, we’ve decided to take Sequential Phenomena away from being a traditional MSPA-style work, which includes changes in content-rating. In terms of style and themes, some things we’ve called it is “post-Homestuck” or “Homestuck-adjacent,” rather than a “fanventure.”
We’ve dropped a lot of the storytelling and design we used in the Alpha, which was basically pulled straight from Homestuck without insight into how it actually worked. We’ve realized that the single biggest pain-point for making a comic is drawing all the pages, so the natural solution to that is to simply not draw on every page. The new Sequential Phenomena will be a lot more text-heavy, with longer pages and less weight on visuals. We’re also taking a keen interest in the use of website formatting when it comes to design. Homestuck’s existence as a comic with thousands of fully rendered pages is very much an outlier, and not something that can be achieved easily at all. It certainly could not be achieved by us, so we’re moving to something that is more minimal, and therefore more sustainable. In addition, this has also helped a lot with forming an own creative identity.
Another important addition is that we have also rethought exactly what themes and content we want to use in this story. In the work of refining the creative vision and moving away from Homestuck, we’ve concluded that it is prudent to expand SP’s content rating, meaning that SP is definitely intended for mature audiences that are over 18. As the narratives and themes of the story have unraveled further, it’s become clear that we don’t want to try and take on themes like gender, sexuality, trauma & abuse with clean, sanitized, comfortable imagery. While we very much intend on still including content warnings, we also want to put more weight on the fact that this story is one that absolutely will get uncomfortable and difficult.
When it comes to gender and sexuality specifically, it’s hard to talk about that while also completely avoiding the fact that this does have a lot to do with the bodies we inhabit. One can expect occasional use of nudity in this regard, though we certainly do not have plans to make Sequential Phenomena anything stupidly horny.
One more reason that we’ve been doubling down on trying to pull Sequential Phenomena away into its own style, is that we’ve collectively grown pretty disillusioned with Homestuck, in no small part due to the absolutely insufferable “fanbase” it has online. Past inane, incredibly immature discourse like “is it lesbophobic to depict two women having a relationship conflict?” constantly recirculated by people that simply don’t know how to read media, the largest factor is that there has been, and continues to be, a pervasive and violent culture of transmisogyny. It is to be no secret that the core SP Team is all-transfem, and we’re very, very tired of having our accounts stalked, being harassed by strangers when we’re just minding our own business, being intimidated into silence, and generally facing massive, undeserved reproach for the smallest perceived slights.
In short, our official statement on the state of the “Homestuck Fandom” is this: We are not making art for transmisogynists. Sequential Phenomena is not for pigshits. As transfems, we wholly stand against the violent transmisogynist online culture of the Homestuck community. This is a story we’re making for ourselves, and our world & characters very much will represent that. Sorry, cis people, you don’t exist.
Today, we’re gonna show you a bunch of new pronoun-havers from our story. While none of these characters are what you could call “the main 13,” they may just prove to be quite important regardless…
There are further plans to tease & release more stuff in the future, but we’re currently all quite busy, so a number of things couldn’t be prepared in time for this anniversary.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at these lovely trolls from planet Synposia, the troll homeworld where one can never truly escape being online. Perhaps you may soon see what it looks like as well!
Thank you for reading!
A very important updateby The Sequential Phenomena team ∙ · Permalink
The Sequential Phenomena team would like to extend our truly heartfelt gratitude to the fans that have enjoyed and supported our series so far. Today, we are here to make a very important, difficult, but hopeful announcement.
Starting after today’s update, Sequential Phenomena will enter an indefinite hiatus.
The reason for this decision is that we no longer believe the comic should be continued in its current state. However, we intend to completely scratch this “alpha” and go back to the drawing board, in order to give this story the proper development it deserves.
This has not been an easy decision. Discarding almost 100 finished pages of a story we care about hurts. However, we think starting over is the right thing to do.
The crux of the matter is that over the last eight months, we’ve made a lot of critical mistakes that we intend on not repeating again. Too many of these mistakes have piled up, though, to the point where fixing all of it would basically mean starting over.
So, to help you understand what’s been happening, we’d like to share insight on everything that’s happened, and hopefully show you what to NOT do when you’re doing a major creative project.
Sequential Phenomena started in a Homestuck roleplay chatroom between friends, established in August 2019. After having made our own excellent (but very unrefined) fantrolls, an intriguing story and world began to take shape. With great enthusiasm, but far too little experience, we immediately tackled the daunting prospect of creating a fully-fledged fanventure. One month later, on September 5th, 2019 we were thrilled to have published the first few pages on MSPFA!
What we didn’t know, though, was how to actually make a webcomic, or how to run a large, complex creative project. This caused an entire cascade of problems that has led to us pulling the emergency brakes today.
Making a webcomic is very difficult! It’s not like writing a book, or making a game, or even any other interactive fiction. It’s a very specific short-form visual medium, and while we are good artists and good writers, rushing into an entirely new field did absolutely not go well.
Our first, and most fundamental mistake, was that we didn’t take our time. Not taking your time is a REALLY good way to fuck up any project, and this sucks, because we LOVEinstant gratification too.
Unfortunately, we believed we could have the instant gratification of immediately seeing our funny little trolls on the screen AND making a good story at the same time. You can’t. The very first part of the comic was essentially made up on the spot by one or two people, then already-public pages were getting revised, and some later story concepts contradicted others. All this could have been avoided if we just properly thought things through.
A delayed game is good eventually, while a rushed game is forever bad. This is something Shigeru Miyamoto never said at all, but the fake quote rings true.
Our second mistake was doing a poor job at organizing the team through a functioning hierarchy and workflow. This stemmed from lack of experience with leading projects, and it’s VERY important!
While we had a good number of artists and writers, we overestimated how much work everyone could do, and we underestimated the importance of making sure everyone is on the same page. Corralling people together in a flat hierarchy was very difficult, which means that the amount of development some characters or story aspects got was unacceptably variable.
We had also failed to find a versatile, reasonably efficient, and approachable pipeline for artwork. We believed we could simply try to use the MSPA artstyle, but this did not work out.
Working from our own varying artstyles and skill levels, we couldn’t make our art consistent in appearance nor fast to make. Regardless of how perfect our artstyle could be, the realities of poverty, capitalism and mental illness means that a comic, which is VERY dependent on art, couldn’t be produced very quickly.
While we’re not in any rush to draw any new panels due to these issues listed above, we would very much appreciate outside input, advice, and assistance on the problem of having a good, functional art workflow.
While we’re not going to immediately bring anyone in, we want to note down interest. If you think you’d be suited for working with a Homestuck comic’s art and feel intrigued by Sequential Phenomena’s alpha, then please do contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, If you feel sad and discouraged about hearing all of this, we understand. People care about our story already, and we really, really do too.
But, with this post, we want you to take one thing from this;
This story isn’t ending, it’s being reborn.
One important lesson in life is finding out that sometimes, cutting your losses and accepting you can’t continue is the only way forward.
Having to take down 8 months of passionate work sucks ass! It’s awful to admit that you’ve failed. The truth, however, is that we wouldn’t go anywhere without experience, and we’ve gained a lot from this.
As we step back to take our time to perfect this story, things will get a lot more quiet.
We can’t make any specific promises or projections as to how this story will change, or when we’ll be ready to release again.
However, here are the most immediate changes you should be aware of:
The original “alpha” version of the comic will stay up on our site for now, though the MSPFA mirror will eventually be taken down.
All songs on the Bandcamp will be removed from public view until further notice.
Most importantly, the Twitter account will stay up.
When there’s something we want to communicate, it’s going to be done there.
The last thing we’d like to say is that we’re so, so grateful to our readers for the love and support we’ve seen over the last eight months.
We’ve loved the fanart, the very first blossoms of shipping, and the simple fact that people CARE and are ENTHUSIASTIC about what we’ve done so far. Hearing loud enthusiasm means very, very much to any creator. The positive response has brought us tremendous happiness in difficult times, and we hope to have given that to you as well.
When we return, Sequential Phenomena will be more brilliant than ever.
After all, we ARE in for the long haul.
Thank you for playing the SEQUENTIAL PHENOMENA alpha! See you again at release!
– The Sequential Phenomena Team
Sneak peekby Ada ∙ · Permalink
In case you’re not following our twitter account, we posted a sneak peek for our characters:
And cards for the two shown so far, spoilered for your convenience. (Note that they’re not spoilered on Twitter)
These were drawn by our new artist, Naomi!
PS: we have a bandcamp! check that out!
Returning Soonby Aiki ∙ · Permalink
The SP Team has been at work as always, but we’ve taken some time off to relax during December.
That certainly doesn’t mean we’ve been idle, though!
While we do not plan to release anything this month, there is instead going to be a larger update in January, featuring a guest artist. Look out for it in 2020!
We wish you happy holidays, and a pleasant new year! For now, here is something just for you.
Teal Timeby Aiki ∙ · Permalink
We hope you’ve been enjoying the recent updates, using the new, trickling release style. It’s all been very fun to work on and publish!
While this batch of pages is drawing to an end, don’t worry; the next one is already in development.
Some of Rakiah’s first pages were also just redrawn to a much better standard as well, so check them out!
If you like the comic, please do let us know! All kinds of comments, musings, questions, and of course, shares, are so very much appreciated.
As one of the writers, I know I’m very excited to unveil the world we’re making, and to hear people’s thoughts and musings around it.
There are a LOT of things I’m not allowed to tell you about Sequential Phenomena yet. But come with us, and we’ll show you what that is!
Our plans are grand, and we’re in it for the long haul.
Progress & Teaserby Ada ∙ · Permalink
Things continue to get done in the background!
Here’s a list of some things done so far:
- New chat format! (Look at any page with chatlogs)
- A load of text/image inconsistencies were fixed
- Content warnings
- A lot of site bug fixes & enhancements you can’t really see (yet)
We’ve also just posted a short 5 page update. Happy halloween bitches
Stuff is happeningby Ada ∙ · Permalink
We’ve just added a cooler cover page. There’s a lot of stuff happening behind the scenes.
Update: We’ve also just moved domains to sequentialphenomena.com.
Twitter accountby Ada ∙ · Permalink
We have a twitter account now: @seq_phenomena