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 game is known as Sgrub to the trolls. In the game, 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. Computers are only necessary for interacting with other players and performing actions like downloading Grist with 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, though the server player cannot manipulate objects directly affecting the client player. 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. It's possible that the proximity rule only holds before the player enters the Medium. Furthermore, the server's actions are limited by the client's supply of Build Grist.
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 chronality. GristTorrent supports this, displaying three players online and one offline even before Jade installs her client copy, though it may have inferred that Jade will install the client from the fact that she is already running the server. An even more extreme example of this achronality 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 and are free to explore their dream planets the game starts.
The game appears in each universe through mysterious means. In both the troll and human sessions, one or more meteors had (in another example of disregard for chronology) fallen to Earth hundreds of years before the game began, containing frog temples. On the walls of these temples are hieroglyphs, which can be deciphered to reveal the code for the game. In the kids' session, this was done by Jake Harley, who then released Sburb through his company. In the post-scratch troll session, Sollux decoded the glyphs in Aradia's temple, and sent copies of the game to his friends.
- 1 Standard session features
- 2 Features
- 3 Gameplay
- 4 Personal Quest
- 5 Purpose
- 6 Sgrub
- 7 Trivia
Standard session features
- 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.
- In a void session, The Battlefield never evolves past the 3x3 grid stage, and the Kings are locked in an eternal stalemate.
- In a dead session, Skaia grows dark and cloudy before the player enters The Medium. Afterwards, Skaia can transform depending on which path the player selects during The Choice.
- 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. At the core of Prospit's moon lie the Sacrificial Slabs of the players whose dream selves reside there.
- 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. At the core of Derse's moon lie the Sacrificial Slabs of the players whose dream selves reside there.
- 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. A volcano integral to successfully clearing a session, having appeared in every session so far that has not been null or void, brought into the Medium along with a player's house. 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. Casting the White and Black Queens' rings into the lit Forge is instrumental to achieving the ultimate reward.
- 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, allows objects (and living things) to be put in and retrieved after a certain amount of time. They are responsible for a great deal of time shenanigans. In a typical session there is a single Frog Temple located near The Forge, which is, in turn, near the home of the Hero of Space. The beta trolls' bifurcated session has a second Frog Temple near the hive of Aradia, the session's Hero of Time. The alpha kids' void session doesn't have a Hero of Space, and their volcano is not a Forge, however the Frog Temple is located in the same place as its pre-scratch counterpart, near the homes of both the pre-scratch Hero of Space and her post-scratch counterpart.
- The scratch construct. Appears in some sessions on the planet of the Hero of Time, as a tool for initiating Sburb's Emergency Reset Method. It must be damaged in a specific way, usually with tools that must be specifically obtained for that purpose, after which it flies up to Skaia. Skaia will then retroactively redirect the destinations of various defense portals, changing the roles of the people ectobiologically created within the game.
- 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.
- Underlings are monsters who act as the primary enemies of Sburb. They are created by the Denizens under commission from Agents of Derse, and appear to be made of materials associated with various types of Grist. In a typical session, Underlings inherit features from pre-entry Prototypings, however the precise features vary from individual to individual. In a void session, the Underlings are undead, skeletal in appearance, and difficult to kill due to their extreme durability.
- Denizens are immense, powerful NPCs. It appears that their primary role is to teach and test their corresponding players, offering The Choice, acting as the final boss of each player's planet, and, in at least some cases, giving players quests or riddles.
Sburb seems to differ only minorly depending on its players' culture. An example of a cultural difference would be the fact that human players have Quest Beds while troll players have Quest Cocoons. More commonly, however, aspects of the game seem to take after human culture. Structures resemble human architecture and Earth geography, and carapacians have human-exclusive qualities like red blood. It is shown that the game's language changes depending on its players.
Sburb's distinctive logo on Earth (first iteration) is a neon-green silhouette of a simple house, broken into six 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 few 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 mirrors 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. That would be one of each for each of the four kids, except Jade 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 late, 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, the package with the server 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.
Dave also had issues with retrieving his discs. After spilling apple juice upon them, Dave hung them up to dry, only to throw a sword at an encroaching crow, sending the disks flying out onto a building below. Instead of using them, 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.
Then, while John was using his client Disc, and had finally retrieved the server, Dave made a second copy of the server disc and connected to Jade, meaning that John only once got the chance to be the server.
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. Instead, she faced great difficulty in obtaining a stable internet connection and safe place to run the game from.
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).
A session of Sburb begins long before the players actually run any programs. The paradoxical nature of it allows it to set up certain features on a host planet that enable it to be played at all, such as the presence of each planet's First Guardian and Frog Temple(s) giving it no true origin. Before beginning the game, players will already have significant parts of their lives be involved in the game's outcomes. Every fully functioning session (that is, every session destined to be won and every Null session) will ensure certain features about itself and its players and as such, require them. Deviation from Sburb's rules appears to be integral to the game's experience, to the extent that it is often, ironically, the way that it is meant to be done.
Entering the Medium
Sburb consists primarily of two different sides—the client and the server. Each runs their own separate discs of the game, and connects to the other. The server is able to manipulate the environment around the client in a matter similar to that of The Sims; manipulating the client's house and placing objects from the Phernalia registry that facilitate the basic functions of Sburb. The game requires a bare minimum of two players to function properly, each acting as each other's server and client player. Despite that, increased amounts of involved players connected through a daisy chain of clients and servers offer a greater variety of items in the phernalia registry, as well as larger amounts of build grist to work with, multiplying by 10 from the base amount of 20.
The most important item in the Phernalia registry is the Cruxtruder. Opening this with great force will provide the player with Cruxite dowels, which can be used with other provided items to alchemize the player's unique Cruxite artifact; the item that ultimately allows them to enter the Incipisphere. Once opened, the Cruxtruder also provides the player with a countdown timer to indicate when a meteor will collide with their house, urging them to enter quickly.
The Cruxtruder also releases a Kernelsprite—one of Sburb's most integral elements. This can be prototyped up to two times with virtually any item, . Once the player enters the Incipisphere, the kernelsprite loses its kernels and becomes a sprite; a guide of sorts for the player with a deep knowledge of Sburb's mechanics. Depending on the items prototyped with the sprite, they can either be , , or . It is required that the kernelsprite is prototyped at least once before entering in order for the session to function as necessary.
Once the player has successfully entered the medium, their house will be transported to their planet in the Medium. This is also the point at which their kernelsprite hatches—its kernels travelling to Prospit and Derse. This imbues many of the game's constructs with elements of the kernelsprite, including the Underlings that promptly begin spawning around the player. The player's house is situated in an isolated location on their planet, and their server player must, using the build grist provided by killing enemies, build up to the first of The Seven Gates, which allows their client to access most of their planet .
Grist has a secondary purpose as materials used to facilitate alchemization through the use of the Alchemiter. This allows the player to create useful items, such as more portable computers or more powerful weapons. (Players tend to as well). This is one of the player's main channels of advancement, as better items often require rarer types of grist from rarer enemies. This also allows for the creation of consumables .
As players build up each others houses, they gain access to higher gates, which will thusly grant them access to each other's worlds; one's own second gate taking them to their server's house, the third gate to a random part of their server's world, and the fourth gate to their server's server's house, continuing onwards. The details of the gates aren't well known, and it is debatable how each gate corresponds to each location. What is evident, however, is that alchemizing tools that enable flight can more or less trivialize the act of building until later on.
Over the course of this progression, the player can explore their land, meet the consorts living there, and learn about their mythos. They may also find out their own personal quest, which generally has to do with fixing a wrong committed by that planet's denizen: John must unclog the oil in the pipes on his planet and clear the overcast sky, releasing the fireflies his denizen trapped there; Rose must restore underwater life to her planet after her denizen had eaten every living thing, etc. Their denizen will be awoken at some point over the course of this quest. As the player explores and slays enemies, they will ascend the Echeladder and become stronger. They will also earn Boondollars, which can be spent primarily on Fraymotifs; special high-level moves that can be critical for success. Boondollars and the Echeladder, like the Sylladex, seem to exist outside of Sburb but are taken advantage of by it.
Once a player reaches the seventh gate above their own house, it will lead them to their denizen's palace. The point of progressing gate-by-gate is to steadily gain the powers and abilities necessary to be able to fight and defeat the denizen, which guards a huge hoard of grist. This grist is meant to be used for the Ultimate Alchemy, and complete the game's true purpose.
The Battle Between Light and Dark
At the centre of the Incipisphere is Skaia, and at the centre of Skaia is the Battlefield. The Battlefield changes depending on how many prototyped kernelsprites have entered the session and hatched, and it can only function at the bare minimum with two prototypingslight and dark- the armies of Prospit and Derse respectively. This cannot take place without a two-tier prototyped battlefield, and will result in a without it. This battle plays out as the players progress.. This serves two main functions, the most pressing of which being the battle between the forces of
Prospit and Derse house the player's dream selves between each other, as well as the one of the game's most significant species, the Prospitian and Dersite carapacians. The battle between the white and black carapacians on the checkered Battlefield is likened to a game of chess—the ultimate goal being to kill the opposing side's king. The royalty of each side are aided with rings and scepters that allow them to take on the properties of the kernelsprites. The forces of Prospit are always destined to lose, however, and the Dersite capturing of the white king's scepter is what allows for the triggering of The Reckoning.
The Reckoning is a 24-hour event that results in a rain of meteors from The Veil at the edge of the Medium towards Skaia. If this continues for too long, the battlefield risks being destroyed, and Skaia is prevented from achieving its ultimate goal. Skaia will attempt to defend itself using portals that will transport the meteors directed at it towards the host planet that the players originated from, resulting in the meteoric apocalypse that prompted their escape to The Incipisphere in the first place. While most of the portals redirect to the same day, many are sent to a variety of different time periods across the host planet's history. Some meteors act as seeds to plant structures like the Frog Temple far in the planet's past.
While the Reckoning is at hand, the players must defeat the Black King to put a stop to it and save Skaia.
Paradox Clones & The Scratch
Every Sburb player (with few incredible exceptions) is a paradox clone—meaning they are a perfect ectobiological clone that is destined to become the person that is eventually targeted for cloning (i.e. the Alpha Kids), or a descendant of a paradox clone (i.e. the Beta Kids). This cloning is done during sessions, and the resultant children will ride meteors during The Reckoning to their place in the history of their home planet.
The Scratch is a (usually) optional event during Sburb that effectively resets the host universe back to its start. It is initiated when the session's Scratch Construct (found on the Time player's planet) with the aid of the quills of echidna; the Space player's denizen. It is a lengthy and difficult process, as the game will spawn many high level underlings to prevent it from succeeding. The key difference between a pre-scratch and post-scratch sessions is that the order of paradox clones delivered deviates. For the kids' sessions, this means that John, Rose, Dave, and Jade were born as millenials destined to play Sburb, but post-scratch, their ectobiological parents and true paradox clones Jane, Roxy, Dirk, and Jake were the ones that would take their place as Sburb players (albeit under ). The remaining generation become the ancestors or guardians of the Sburb players. Since the scratch entirely recreates a universe and its session from its beginning, the players who initiate the scratch will remember nothing of their time before the universe is reset, though naturally, with a known exception. It is shown, however, that if players escape their universe and session through some means, they will not be erased from existence with the universe they knew.
Because of the way that the paradox clones are sent to different times, only one session between the pre-scratch and post-scratch session actually has to involve the creation of paradox clones, which is how void sessions are able to exist, given that they rely on their scratch counterpart to initiate The Reckoningweird plot shit. The pre-scratch session is intended to be the one in which cloning takes place, however a known glitch in Sburb can cause the post-scratch session to involve cloning, dooming the pre-scratch session to require scratching since it is necessary for the players involved to exist in the first place. The glitch will also result in the post-scratch host planet's first guardian being Doc Scratch.. Between the two sessions, the one that created the paradox clones is the universe in which Sburb released as a beta, while the session that didn't is the one in which Sburb released as an alpha. This is heavily speculated to be due to
It is not known if the scratch of one session will affect other sessions from the same universe.
The Ultimate Reward
With Skaia saved, the players are prompted to complete their personal quests and continue ascending their echeladder. At this point, players will find more out about their aspect, and often have full control over it by ascending through the God Tiers.
God Tier is generally reached by maxing out the player's echeladder and then dying on their Quest Bed or Sacrifical Slab. This grants the player greater control over their aspect, and gives them the highly useful(?) Kiddie Camper Handysash. While ascending God Tiers, players stop earning Boondollars due to it both no longer being especially purposeful and because “that shit is for babies now”. The player's quest is deeply entwined with their mythological role.
For some players, their personal quest is an integral part of beating the game. It is the role of each game's Space player, the one who brought the volcano known as the Forge into the game, to conduct their own ectobiology on the frog population native to their planet to create the perfect tadpole, which will combine with the Battlefield and Skaia to become the Genesis Frog—the ultimate goal of the game. This is done often with the help of each session's Knight. Failure to conduct proper ectobiology will result in a cancerous Genesis Frog , which can lead to a range of catastrophies.
The players must fully construct their houses to serve one final gameplay purpose: The Ultimate Alchemy. Reaching Skaia, they will now function as platforms on top of which large Grist Rigs can be placed that feed Skaia from the player's accumulated Grist, allowing the Gensis Frog to mature. Assuming this is all done and the Frog is healthy, it will release the vast croak, allowing the players The Ultimate Reward.
Null, Void, and Dead Sessions
An average null session contain all the rules of a regular session, but are destined for failure, however there are two known exceptional kinds of session. Void sessions lack integral elements like Time and Space players, but their defining feature is the lack of sufficient prototypings. This leaves the battlefield in an inert state of stalemate, and results in a cold war of sorts between Prospit and Derse. These cannot be won without intervention of some kind. Dead sessions are sessions that, though they may present as ordinary sessions to begin with, are doomed to be played by only one player, and are by most measures impossible. It is one specific player.that this kind of session is only meant to be won by
As the players explore their planets and learn of their lore, they learn of their personal planetary quest: a task that they must accomplish to help their planet in some way. Each quest is unique to the player and their planet.
These quests aren't necessarily instrumental in the game's outcome, but instead appear to serve to develop each player's abilities, and help their personal growth. As Jaspersprite told Rose, “its not just an important thing to do to win the game... Your quest is really important for you to do. Not really because thats how to get the prize. But because its what you need to do for yourself!” Rose develops this idea, later saying that “I think my quest was fundamentally bound to the nature of this land, which was customized to the profile, needs, and potential for growth of a thirteen year-old girl.”
The quests all appear to require the player to, at some point, face their denizen, or at least wake them.
Since before John's entry into the Medium, LOWAS had had a sky overcast with dark clouds. Typheus is implied to be responsible for this. John's quest, phrased as a riddle, was to journey to the place where "constellations danced beneath the clouds," and to free the stars from the shade and release them into heaven. The "stars" refer to the fireflies that inhabit LOWAS, trapped under the clouds. To clear them, John had to travel to his denizen's palace, which resembles a large pipe organ, and on the organ within.
However, John's quest had two stages. Before he could use the pipe organ, he first had to clear the oil that had covered his planet and clogged all the pipes. To do that, he had to face his denizen, and presumably ask him to clear the oil.
It is unknown how the issue of the oil would have resolved itself had he requested this from his denizen: rather, John came to Typheus asking for help mastering his retcanon powers, and, in the process of that, banished the oil from existence on LOWAS and.
Rose's denizen, Cetus, had at some point eaten all the marine life on LOLAR, and then gone to sleep. To restore life in the oceans, Rose must "play the rain," meaning that she must play a song whose notes form the musical analogue to a genetic code that will make life possible again. Involved is the comparison between light waves, waves caused by falling rain, and sound waves: Rose must somehow play the music formed by these.
Out of all the kids, Rose is the one who has done the least progress on her planet quest. She seems to be disinterested in it entirely, and has instead spent a large amount of time navigating her planet, attempting to find ways to break the game. After arriving in the new session three years after the scratch, she began to wonder if she should still do her quest at all, as it was designed for a thirteen year old girl who has since matured, or if she was ever really meant to complete it in the first place.
Dave's quest is the most vaguely-described of all the beta kids' quests. It has something to do with Dave's pulling Caledfwlch out of the golden stone on his planet, LOHAC, and having to break it in the process. As Davesprite tells Dave, “that sword / its important to getting your shit figured out / you were supposed to break it to get it out of the thing / like another personal sort of mythological milestone you were supposed to clear”.
Breaking the sword angered Hephaestus, who wanted to fix it but could only do so with lava from a lit Forge. Thus, integral to the completion of Dave's quest was bringing the Forge into the session, and Jade convincing Echidna to light the Forge, creating some sort of truce between Echidna and Hephaestus. However, Hephaestus could not do this in Davesprite's timeline, as Jade died before entering, hence his frustration.
Davesprite brought the broken Caledfwlch to Hephaestus, who gave him The Choice: to either repair the sword and forge the Royal Deringer, or to fix something else, that Davesprite never mentioned (though he did say that Hephaestus, with the Forge, can fix anything).
Although Davesprite knows much about Dave's personal quest, he decides not to explain anything, as he and alpha Dave would find that boring. What the true purpose of this quest is remains uncertain: it may be to mend Caledfwlch, to grant Hephaestus use of the Forge, for Dave to simply contemplate and grow into his role as a Knight, or something else.
When Jade arrived on LOFAF, the entire planet was covered in deep snow, freezing most of the wildlife there. Although this was never explicitly phrased to be her quest, Jade had to meet Echidna, and somehow convince her to stoke the forge, which melted all the snow and brought its forests to life again. None of these events were ever shown in-comic, only discussed, so the exact mechanics of how a forge is stoked are unclear.
Due to their status as Nobles (instead of Heroes) in a Void session, Jane, Dirk, Jake and Roxy had very minimal personal quests. What little is known about their quests is largely encompassed by the fact that their session is entirely inert, save from divine intervention from the arrival of the four pre-scratch kids, forcing the post-scratch kids, and by extension, the entire session, to lay in wait. All four of their lands are themes around death and noble gases, with emphasis on how stagnant and inert the nature of the session is. All the consorts are dead and all the enemies are skeletal undead monsters, and seemingly only appear after the arrival of all four players. None of the pre-scratch kids would make much headway in their personal quests, aside from Jane and Roxy in various measures.
On Jane's planet, the Land of Crypts and Helium, the aspect of infertility and the awaited arrival of life are constantly referred to, with lush flora growing just visibly out of reach under the planet's surface, occasionally breaking through the soil. Jane would partially accomplish this through the augmented abilities she gain by unlocking Trickster Mode. Half of her planet would be suddenly covered in lush, tangled plant-life. This overgrowth would show visible signs of decay later on, possibly indicating that Jane's sudden power-up was not intended as part of her quest.
Roxy made some progress on their personal quest on the Land of Pyramids and Neon following the events of [S] GAME OVER, but only through their consultation of their Denizen, Nix. Nix would simply provide the Choice of remaining where they are and facing oblivion in a soon to be doomed timeline, or going to LOWAS and joining John in the new timeline, at the cost of their friends facing the similar loss to the one they have already faced. The result of Roxy's would seemingly manifest with the death of their alternate, post-retcon self. Nothing else is revealed about Roxy's quest.
Sburb has no description or instructions regarding its true objective, instead revealing information to its players through cryptic explanations from their sprites. This is an integral part of the game and is refered to as the Ultimate Riddle, first mentioned by Nannasprite. It seems closely related to Time shenanigans, Weird plot shit, paradox clones, and the immutability of fate. According to Karkat, the gist of the Riddle is that:
- “YOU WERE ALWAYS THE KEY TO SEEDING YOUR OWN EXISTENCE THROUGH THIS GAME. AND ANY HOPE THAT IT COULD HAVE PLAYED OUT DIFFERENTLY OR THAT YOU COULD HAVE AVOIDED THIS WHOLE MESS WAS ALWAYS JUST A RUSE. [...] BECAUSE IF IT DIDN'T GO DOWN THIS WAY THEN HOW WERE YOU EVEN BORN, GET IT.”
The clues to the Riddle are found in the game world in the form of strange poems that players discover during their various quests. Karkat mentioned that these poems are also necessary to solve Weird puzzle shit.
Karkat also mentions the Riddle in relation to his backwards trolling of John and the Time shenanigans that result in , when John contacts Karkat, who realizes that his own future actions will trigger John's desire to contact him, causing their present conversation.
As John and Rose begin to meddle with the game, John discovers a Meteor barreling toward his house, apparently triggered by the creation of 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 by sending meteors down to Earth through portals around Skaia. Only those that enter The Medium survive.
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.
Through exposition from their sprites, 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 Jack Noir before claiming it. This reward was stated to be entry to a new universe which they had created - the Kids' universe - where they would have ruled as gods.
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 adapted 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. Terezi displays use of an on Karkat's hive. It is unclear whether all versions of Sburb have this, but author commentary appears to suggest this is the case.
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.
- According to John's official Sburb calendar, the game 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, while the Homestuck Beta began on April 10, 2009). 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."
- In Hiveswap, the troll neighborhood of Outglut is referred as being a Subgrub. Seeing how the Hivebent trolls play Sgrub, this ties into how Sburb is a corruption of the word Suburb.
- 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. When the beta kids joined the alpha kids' session, the arrow changed to ====> due to the fact that it is now an eight player session.
- 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 could have started 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. 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 color red, considering her outfit, text color and eyes have changed to this color.
- There's a possibility of the pre-scratch Sgrub logo being blue, as it would complete the blue-purple-red-green pattern often seen in Homestuck. This color would correlate to either Aranea or Horuss.
- 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.
- The colors on the left border of the Homestuck #4be24f, Sgrub Beta #7638e7, and Sburb Alpha #f40c0c.
denoting "parts" 1, 2, and 3, also seem to represent the Sburb/Sgrub logo colors. This would make Sburb Beta
- The part 2 image originally had a different blueish color for Sgrub Beta, however, which was #4047e0.
- As showed in [S] ACT 7, each of the four sections of The Treasure has an aspect symbol of one of the Beta kids. The section with the Breath aspect looks different from the others, which might reference the fact that he was from a different timeline due to the use of his retcon powers.
- Because the Alpha logo is horizontally reversed, the same square was on the top left, where Light, Rose's aspect, was. If you replace all the Beta kids with the Alpha kids, then Roxy has the different square. This might also mean the same as John, as she travels along with John to the new timeline.
- While "THANKS FOR PLAYING" is the default message for players winning a session, scratching one shows .
- The ultimate riddle could be a reference to enlightenment. There are exactly seven gates opened in the game before solving the ultimate riddle. This could be alluding to chakras, and how there are seven main chakras. Once all of the main chakras are opened, you supposedly receive enlightenment. Enlightenment in other words would be the solution to the ultimate riddle.
|NPCs||Sprites • Underlings • Denizens • Consorts • First guardians • Carapacians/Exiles • Leprechauns|
|Locations (starting planet)||Command stations • Forge • Frog Temple|
|Locations (Incipisphere)||The Medium • The Veil/Ectobiology labs • Skaia • Prospit/Derse • Planets • The Seven Gates|
|Concepts||Prototyping • Ectobiology • God tiering (Mythological roles) • Grist/Ultimate Alchemy • Boondollars • Fraymotifs • Dream selves • Phernalia • The Scratch • Null sessions • Internet|
|Related concepts||Sylladex • Skaianet • Crockercorp|