In Hiveswap, an Abilitech is a special kind of action ability that can be performed by a character either in or out of Strife. Abilitechs resemble the Strife Techniques found in Homestuck in many ways, except in that an Abilitech, while often being applicable during a strife, can also be utilized freely at any time for purposes that are not necessarily combative, and an Abilitech does not necessarily have to have a combative functionality. A character's Abilitechs are stored in their Techniche. Abilitechs can represent either an action performed with an item in the Sylladex, such as Joey's Tap Dance Abilitech, performed with her tap shoes, or a separate ability possessed by the character irrespective of any items that they are carrying, such as Xefros' telekinesis. While an item-based Abilitech is added to the Techniche, the item is not regularly accessible via the Sylladex and its captcha card is not displayed.
The word Abilitech only actually appears in Hiveswap at one point, when Joey's first Abilitech, Tap Dance, is obtained. In this segment of descriptive text, it seems to contextually indicate that the action interface next to the Sylladex in the UI is the Techniche. From this, it can be inferred that the abilities that are accessed from this part of the menu are all Abilitechs. It might be possible for some of these abilities to be separate abilities being accessed from the same interface, but until further information is obtained, this page will regard all such abilities as being Abilitechs sharing space in the Techniche, as seems contextually likely.
Usage and scope Edit
In Hiveswap: Act 1, and in a departure from Homestuck itself, most strife actions are performed via Abilitechs. Assuming that the abilities accessed from the Techniche are all indeed Abilitechs, Joey accesses her effects derived from her main strife weapon, her flashlight, via an Abilitech, despite the fact that it is presumably also added to her Strife Deck. If this is the case, then it would mean that an item can have a derived Abilitech added to the Techniche while also having its captcha card added to the Strife Deck, despite both actions removing the item from the conventional Sylladex interface. Alternatively, it may be that adding a weapon to the Strife Deck also adds (in some or all cases) an associated Abilitech to their Techniche, as all playable characters in Hiveswap obtain an Abilitech to access their Strife weapon.
While the characters in Hiveswap only interact during Strife via Abilitechs and generic actions with the environment, this does not necessarily mean that they are incapable of aggressing foes normally. If this were the case, it would explain why the Strife weapons in Hiveswap are only accessible via Abilitechs and why the ordinary Strife Technique system established in Homestuck is not seen. Perhaps more likely, however, the reason why no standard battle commands or Strife Techniques are seen in Hiveswap, besides meta-reasoning with respect to gameplay, could be because at no point do the characters ever attempt a direct attack or other engagement on an enemy. Rather, they opt to outmaneuver and outsmart foes in an indirect manner using their Abilitechs or other items. As there are relatively few Strife sequences in Hiveswap: Act 1, more traditional Strife Techniques may appear in later acts.
In Homestuck, the concepts of the Abilitech and Techniche are never referenced by name. It is likely that they were not directly conceptualized while the early segments comic were being written. It may be that these abstrata are limited to the protagonists of Hiveswap, similar to how only Guardians can utilize a Guardian Rubric. However, it may also be that characters in Homestuck also have access to a Techniche and/or Abilitechs, but that these are simply never utilized, or are utilized but not referenced by name. Notably, Xefros access his Burgundy-blood telekinesis via an Abilitech. In Homestuck, no specific game abstratus for how telekinetic trolls such as Sollux and Aradia activate and use their psychic powers is ever introduced, however they could be doing so via an unnamed or unseen Abilitech, in a manner consistent with Xefros. Sollux that a high level psionic such as he has no need for a specific Strife Specibus allocation. This would be in line with what is seen of Abilitechs in Hiveswap, which can seemingly be used both in and out of combat irrespective of whether or not the user possesses a Strife weapon equipped in their Strife Deck or even has a Strife Specibus allocated.
List of known Abilitechs Edit
Joey's Abilitechs Edit
Tap Dance Edit
Joey obtains the Tap Dance Abilitech after obtaining her tap shoes in her room. This Abilitech gives Joey the ability to perform a tap dance, which can have a variety of contextual effects. Using this Abilitech, she is able to destabilize a box in the hall closet, causing it to fall down and allowing her to obtain her flashlight and ballet shoes. She later uses it in a similar manner in order to topple a stack of Betty Crocker boxes in her basement, which allows her to flip the breaker switch and turn the power back on. The Abilitech can also be used in Strife as a distraction technique; Joey uses it to draw the attention of a monster away from Byers as she engages it to save him while he is stuck on top of the fridge.
In Hiveswap Act 1, the Tap Dance Abilitech is the only Abilitech officially named.
Joey obtains the Ballet Abilitech when she retrieves her ballet shoes from the box in the closet in the upper hallway of Half-Harley Manor. This Abilitech allows Joey to perform ballet, which as with tap dancing has a variety of uses, primarily allowing her to be light footed when required. When fighting the serpent monster in the basement, the Ballet Abilitech allows her to perform a "Graceful Abscond", escaping the Strife and avoiding further combat.
Joey obtains the Flashlight Abilitech when she equips her flashlight, which is her principal Strife weapon. The Abilitech allows her to access the ability of her flashlight to create light, or flashes of light, as required. Despite this Abilitech being derived from a Strife weapon, its effects are not usually directly combative, although they are frequently (but not always) used in combat.
Joey principally uses the flashlight in order to distract or confuse enemies. While saving Byers from a monster in the kitchen, she uses the Flashlight Abilitech to flash her flashlight at the monster and draw its attention away from Byers. She uses this same strategy while facing off against four monsters in the living room; after Jude distracts the three smaller monsters with his flare gun, causing them to turn around, Joey flashes her flashlight, turning them back around and resulting in the two smallest monsters being accidentally knocked out by the flailing arms of their companion in turn. This strategy, employed twice, allows Joey to escape from the monsters. However, in the first Strife scene, Joey can also use her flashlight as a blunt weapon, in a maneuver known as "Pirouette and Bop"; this does not yield any results in the Strife scene itself.
Joey also uses her flashlight at times to light up dark rooms, such as the basement while the power is out in the manor, and to guide Dammek's lusus to where Xefros is located. However, as the player does not need to specifically select the Flashlight Abilitech in order to do this, it is unknown if these specifically are an application of the Abilitech, or whether it is another class of flashlight property in the context of the mechanics of the Homestuck/Hiveswap universe.
Jude's Abilitechs Edit
Flare Gun Edit
Jude obtains the Flare Gun Abilitech after first loading his flare gun, which is his main Strife weapon in Hiveswap: Act 1. The Abilitech allows him simply to fire his flare gun, which can either be a combative move, a distraction, or simply a way of calling attention to oneself in an emergency. Assuming that the characters in Hiveswap can also utilize Homestuck-style Strife Techniques, it is unclear whether this could also be done simply by using his Strife weapon normally, or if all firing of the flare gun, perhaps at least while not in a Strife, requires him to use this Abilitech. Jude uses the Flare Gun Abilitech during Joey's Strife with monsters in the living room in order to cause a distraction and make the monsters turn around. On the third time he attempts this, he accidentally drops the flare gun, resulting in him setting fire to a pile of leaves instead. Luckily, this proves to be just as distracting as firing a flare. As Jude drops the gun at this point, this presumably removes this Abilitech from his Techniche.
Xefros' Abilitechs Edit
Xefros, as a telekinetically active Burgundy-blood, possesses psychic powers similar to those displayed by characters such as Aradia and Damara, and which are common among members of their caste. However, unlike these two, Xefros' powers in Hiveswap: Act 1 are comparatively undeveloped and weak. Despite this, his Telekinesis Abilitech allows him to access these powers, and he possess this ability from when we first play from his perspective, making the Telekinesis Abilitech the only Abilitech in Hiveswap: Act 1 that does not have to be obtained by the player at some point. It is unknown if, when other telekinetic trolls use their psychic abilities if they are also using the Telekinesis Abilitech; however, this may be the case, as it would be consistent with how Xefros accesses his powers.
The application of this Abilitech is highly varied and widely applicable, as it allows for the manipulation of any object by applying arbitrary physical force to it, limited only by the psychic strength of the user. Xefros, the one confirmed user of this Abilitech, has relatively weak powers; however, he uses them in a number of ways. He practices with his powers by bending spoons in his respiteblock, and uses this spoon-bending capability to produce an implement to pry his cuebat from its holder in his rumpus room. He also uses it to manipulate the psychic lock on his sports vault in the same room, allowing him to retrieve food for his Lusus.
Xefros obtains the Cuebat Abilitech when he equips his cuebat, which is his principal strife weapon, as well as his trusty implement on the Arena Stickball field. Presumably, this Abilitech allows Xefros to use his cuebat to strike objects in games of Arena Stickball and in other situations such as Grief. The precise applicability of this Abilitech is not known, because Xefros does not actually have an opportunity to use it in Hiveswap: Act 1. Yet it is still necessary to obtain this Abilitech, as Xefros will not venture downstairs into the living room of his hive without his cuebat equipped due to the dangerous nature of his situation.