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crystal hung in firmament's descent

(Published 10/25/2023.)

How's it going? From a host of diverse and awesome contributors, we've got a full fifty five albums to share with you today! Plus, plenty other additions and improvements - and a Cascade-tuned, honey-sweet letter celebrating the wiki's fourth year. Details, as ever, past the split!

We've got a lot to cover this Cascade-day update; if we may request an extended period of attention, please bear with us, 'coz this letter is... long!

We'll start with the albums, since we're so honored - and excited - to welcome these additions from all these contributors. You'll likely recognize some of these faces!

Wow. It's hard to find words to describe how awesome it is to get to welcome all of this music to the wiki, and to get to share it with you and everyone visiting the site. This is, without a doubt, the biggest single content release for the wiki yet - and it came together over just a month or so since last release, which is just mind-boggling to process...

We want to give thanks to everyone who took time to help this release come together. Of course, that especially means all the fine faces above who gave their time, energy, patience and care to bring each of these additions, to make them happen - the level of passion, determination and energy we've gotten to witness over the last five or six weeks is inspiring, invigorating, and... kind of just, the coolest? Sorry! Said it's hard to find words. But it's meant so so much, and we hope that bringing together all of your additions in this one, gargantuan compilation - helps cement, in the wiki's history, everything that you've put in and brought here at once today. Thank you!

We also want to thank everyone who's worked more in the background over the last month or two. Thank you to Niklink, Makin, and koba, who have all taken time to help out with getting new contributors started and running - the start of the slope is always a little steep, so we can't overstate the way your assistance and readiness to help out is important and impactful!

Thank you to Celeste and June, who've been working with art tags and sharing their experience recently - we're sort of in the middle of a huge and pretty awesome tag system revamp, and while it wasn't all the way ready for this release, we're really looking forward to getting to dig into it soon; your comments and experiences have really inspired us to get that revamp right. Y'all's presences in the Discord have also just been really nice and chill!

Thanks to lynndotpy, natalia, Makin, vriska and Niklink for helping out with system infrastructure discussions! Sorry, this is belated - we've kind of had backend details on pause for a couple months, between last update and this one. But your input has been a big help. It kind of preceded this recent burst of activity, and we feel the infra conversations brought us, personally, to a better connection between our experience of developing the wiki's code-side and, well, everyone else's experience of actually using that code! Since we've been doing our best to make working with the wiki easier and more welcoming, and of course working directly with people new to the site, command-line tool, and data, we feel we owe thanks to all of y'all for being a part of the conversations that came right before all that. Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who's reported data errors and feedback, whether over Discord or in email. Especially Lilith - your attention to detail kind of leaves us awestruck, it's really reminiscent of our mindset filling out album data way back when we were first starting the wiki! The catches and comments everyone leaves are what keep the wiki polished and, as best as we can hope to be, accurate and reliable - it's hugely important to any home of archival and reference, so we're endlessly in gratitude, whether you've shared just one point of feedback or somethin' like a hundred. Thank you!

And thanks to everyone who's been hanging around in the Discord, in general. I know the last couple weeks have been kind of crazy as we've been focusing so hard on getting everything ready for this release. Honestly, we've been a little worried about any of y'all burning yourselves out... but, as best as we can tell, you've also been kind of having a blast even as peculiarities of the wiki act up and additions don't go as smoothly as you'd like to hope for. The energy you all have and bring and share is seriously staggering.

We want to thank everyone who hasn't been busy with additions and data work, too - just being present and hangin' out, starting up or jumping into conversations on topics that interest you, sharing music and projects and anything else you've been up to, and offering kind words and company is - another of those things we just don't know how to say means so, so much! As much as HSMusic is a static if growing website, it's also a dynamic, beautifully alive community, and everyone plays a unique and special part in that, whether you're active on the regular or just pop in from time to time. Thank you.

Okay, wow, that went on a little longer than we expected, and there's still some more to cover... This is an incredibly well-planned news entry...

Feature additions!? Yes, actually! The changelog goes into more detail, but the two headline updates are...

The album commentary page is pretty much entirely reworked, featuring track cover art(!) and, if you're on a computer or some other widescreen device, a pretty frickin' fancy sidebar for navigating the whole album at once, all on the one album commentary page! Dunno how obviously it shows, but we took a page (lol) from album booklets, here. We hope y'all bookworms and commentary obsesors find something to like in the redone layout! For some examples, check out Land of Fans and Music 5 Act 2, Homestuck Vol. 8, AlterniaBound, and Shortcuts.

And flash pages are pretty much completely reworked!! This kind of came together in an instant after Makin dropped a bunch of album additions all at once. It's still begrudgingly a bit hard-coded, but in a much less tangled kind of way than before. We redid the sidebar from the ground up (it's got one box for the current act and a less detailed one for all the other acts), and added dedicated gallery pages for each act(!!). The presentation of flashes still might get touched up a little more sometime soon! But it was a lot of fun getting this to work in a generally more useful manner than before - that flash sidebar was some of the oldest and crustiest code on the site, and the new one being so much less jank kind of shows how far the code and design process for the wiki has come.

Plus we've got a few more minor changes: Improved group navigation (you can finally switch groups from the info page on a phone, thank goodness). And album galleries get a similar navigation bar (including stub gallery pages) and display the album cover alongside track covers! We've got a bunch of other feature additions in the oven too, apart from the tag rework, which got a ton of code attention and broke ground for new features and details on the wiki like kind of nothing else before. Even if you can't see it yet. It's part of what made the other changes here possible, promise, and definitely important to most cool and new things coming sooner or later!!

So! You've made it to the end. Very nice. Thanks a jillion for your time, and/or impatience skipping to the conclusion (there's not a lot here... you should read the rest... it's more engaging...).

We're coming up on the last couple of months of the year. I have no idea if there's going to be another major wiki update before 2024 rolls around - it's possible! but we've also been REALLY active the last couple months and we're kind of feeling a period of settling down and goin' a bit slower coming on. Not an impromptu, dubiously final hiatus, no! Just taking some time to get to know the site as it is, and putting a lighter, more curiously following than confidently guiding touch into what comes next. That's only where we're personally at; certainly, if more albums or other additions are ready, we'll bundle 'em up and share them with you soon. But on our part, we're just happy to see where this goes and do gentler work helping the wiki and the community. And we're unbelievably happy to have y'all here with us, for that, and bringing such incredible works and additions and details and touches over the last not-so-little while.

To date, it's been four years since Homestuck's official Bandcamp was rearranged to have a bunch of compilation releases, to the exclusion of so much beautiful, passionately illustrated track art, not to mention whole solo and team albums such as One Year Older, Genesis Frog, The Wanderers, Squiddles!, and more. October 25th, 2019 marks the date that we realized there was no way it'd be right to let this stand, on its own. It's been almost four years since the wiki released. We had no idea how far it'd come, and - although we're a broken record! - there's no way it would've been possible without any and all of y'all.

October 25th, 2019 also marks the launch of Homestuck^2, and as hopefully everyone who visits here is aware, that's just been revived with a whole new team of passionately creative artists, writers, and other talented individuals. I think when Beyond Canon released, compiled almost comprehensively of fanmusician names we were altogether unfamiliar with - at the time! - it kind of marked a turning point for the future of Homestuck. In a lot of ways, Land of Fans and Music 5 Act 2 feels like that all over again. All of these launches were unforgettable, each crystallized in just a moment, but whose reverberations and refractions have, ever since, shone through maybe everyone who's touched or been touched by Homestuck fanmusic. And every day is part of that! Not just the big launches, the big releases, the big updates. Every day is another something special to treasure, celebrate, and take with us forward.

Hopefully, this wiki and community embody some of that spirit, and y'all, no matter if you've been around the site since the start, are visiting the site for the first time, or are reading old news entries just for the heck of it, can feel that like we do!

OK, OK, that's enough sap for ONE extended news entry, darn it!! ✨

Have fun exploring all the additions and updates!! Full details are, as ever, in the changelog - including a bunch of fixes and smaller additions over the last few weeks that you might also be interested in checking out!

Thanks so much, y'all. Have a great 10/25! 🎑

~ Quasar Nebula

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