• Published 15th Jan 2014
  • 12,532 Views, 1,796 Comments

Hard Reset 2: Reset Harder - horizon

Twilight Sparkle is stuck in a time loop amid a changeling invasion. This time, she's not the only one whose day is repeating.

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(Supplemental material and fan works)

Author's Note:

This is an index to Hard Reset 2 content that doesn't quite fit within the bounds of the story.

Note: If you're reading this before the story itself, these links all contain spoilers (of currently posted chapters).

Cliff's Notes versions

RampantArcana has started a GitHub repository to codify the time-loop rules and the early-story timeline.

Hawthornbunny has posted a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of all the loops, including the ones we don't see, with a lot of critical analysis.

If you're confused, either one of those fan projects is a great starting point, and story comments have a lot of insightful discussion as well.

Fan works

• "Do You Want To Kill Some Changelings?" [Lyrics]RampantArcana wrote a song about the evolving relationship between Twilight and Celestia, to the tune of "Do You Want To Build A Snowman?" from Frozen.

• "Erred Earth's Re-had Easter" [Fanfic]Prawo Jazdy's delightful HR2 homage explores what might have been, if the "easter egg" that I included in Chapter 11 had actually been a cryptic hint that Twilight Sparkle was going to start having some racial issues. NOTE: Currently this is included here (just click on the "previous chapter" link), but should be moving out to its own story soon.

HR2 Movie Poster [Art] — I commissioned Alexstrasza for cover art, and Alex created this amazing homage to Die Hard 2: Die Harder. Looks even more awesome (and contains some easter eggs) at full resolution.

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Comments ( 140 )
Comment posted by horizon deleted May 7th, 2014

Oh it does make sense, just interesting to see Celestia relying on it quite so directly. It's at least as likely that there's some other alternate universe out there that's filled with horrors beyond imagining that Starswirl encountered, and as such coded his equation that way, something "our" Starswirl never ran into.

pferde is horses in German.


I've already had to do this for this story, and I had to do it for Hard Reset too when that was still a fresh thing. It's been enjoyable. I like complexity.

I put down the uber-epic "This Platinum Crown" when I realized I'd had to refresh myself three times, vowing to go back when it finally finished. It was just too long to keep track of it all on an episodic level. I like depth in my stories, but there's a limit. Hard Reset 2 would be even worse, but fortunately the timeline detangling projects produced as fan works have made it easier for me to keep track of events in the story.

Hey sorry I missed your updates can't wait for the next ones and loved it btw I'm on the edge of my seat. Oh and if I have time I'm thinking about making some art of this fic.

:rainbowkiss:Oh gosh this is so useful!


My personal view is that alternate realities "just happen". In that they are created by the choices the people inside of that reality take. Even small choices, such as leaving the house a few seconds different than another you can have far reaching consequences on sequences of events.

And even with time-looping there is only so much you can do, as one person. To fully control events you'd need a lot of people all working for a common goal, and even then you can't know for sure just what all consequences your actions have within a short time frame.

Also there would be multiple versions of a world even with a time-looper. Everyone has a set amount of time they are willing to spend on any project, being able to loop back doesn't increase this number, only the amount of time you can spend on that one thing. Celestia probably has a higher limit than most other ponies but even she has to go "Eigh, close enough" and throw her hooves up at some point.
Now, when she does that there are endless other worlds where, all with her being a looper, she quit/finished her current project at different times/through different means and they all have different consequences and so on.

My view is that Starswirl accidentally sent himself into an alternate universe, maybe not even the one we are viewing right now, maybe one with some major change he could see right away and after convincing himself (and may others) that he wasn't insane went "Oh. Well damn." and after more jumping around, trying to get back to his original universe, a task which without some kind of coordinate system is next to impossible, finally settled in the one we currently see and made it so that all later spell-casters would think such a thing was imposable so as to not also get stranded.

There are other ideas of course, but that is just the one I have based on what we've been told.

On a non-pony related note I recommend the show Sliders for cross-universal shenanigans.


Is there a straightforward explanation coming? Because what I've got at the moment is..

1) Starswirl is a dick
2) Celestia is a huge dick
3) Luna is kind of a dick
4) The Elements of Harmony are enormous, jaw breaking dicks
5) Something something time traveling into an alternate dimension something something
6) Luna wants Twilight to pony up and be a lich
7) Twilight might now be a dragon. Or there could be two or more Twilights.

Am I at least close?

This is a fan fic of a fan fic, and now there is going to be a fan fic of a fan fic of a fan fic. twilight.ponychan.net/chan/predictionsandprophecies/src/131187094867.jpg

Comment posted by Morning Sun deleted May 9th, 2014


Babble is bad, but it's better than having the plot actually depend on a mathematical derivation.

Like, consider Hard Reset 3: Reset Hardest, in which Twilight Sparkle spends 900 loops in a row sitting in the library with a pen and paper, and we watch her work line by line as she derives an improved loop spell that lets her essentially rule the universe. 100% follows from axioms! Watch the tension build as she goes down blind alleys! Shriek in frustration when she fails to notice a 0/0 she can't cancel! Cackle with glee when she finds the missing pole in her contour integral!


or not

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Hard Reset 4: Math Harderest

"Oh!" Supreme Empress Twilight, Time-Looping Ruler Of The Multiverse said. "There's a parenthesis mismatch!"

"Huh?" said Spike, the Empress-Consort and Chief Rubber Duck. "What do you mean?"

"Back at the beginning of the dream sequence where Luna tort… well. The dream Luna and I shared. There was a parenthesis that never got closed."

"Okay. And?"

Twilight's eye twitched. "An unclosed parenthesis, Spike! This is no laughing matter."

"Well, that's hardly going to be one of Dark-Chaos-Nightmare-Harmony-Overlord Chrysalis' plots, is it? I mean, as cunning as she is, she failed remedial algebra."

"Maybe so," Twilight said, "but this cannot stand!"

She took her Pen Of Destiny, whose ink was distilled from the tears of orphans in failed timelines at such concentrations that each letter represented more suffering than a single world was ever capable of experiencing; and her Scroll of the Ages, pressed from the bark of every tree in every timeline whose sap had ever circulated the very first hydrogen atom to have ever existed, created in the Great Before common to every possible history; and carefully scribed upon it a single character:


* * *

"I say, that certainly didn't work."



You know, you could go some of the way to fixing it with judiciously applied indirect discourse. Just back out to the schematic level - the level at which the contents of what's going on really matter.

I wonder how much that would help. Certainly it never mattered to me that there was this whatever squared term. I could have followed it if you'd had your time travel based on general relativity, but there's really no need for it. This isn't Incandescence (only Greg Egan gets to make a premise based on the details of General Relativity. Even Niven only used 'the tidal forces sure are strong here' in Neutron Star). It is a lot more like Anathem... wow, it's a LOT like Anathem now that I think about it... and... wow, yeah, the similarities keep going! But anyway, that suggests that you shouldn't need to use any math more complicated than a Directed Acyclic Graph. Even Stephenson put the math into appendices.

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I do appreciate you folks saying so.

Anyone seeing those 'Edge of Tomorrow' trailers on youtube?

The premise is almost identical to Hard Reset.

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In case you didn't notice, your questions were answered by Twilight herself over at last week's Ask Looping Sparkle special feature. :twilightsmile:

Coming next month! I'll definitely have to go see that one.

The good news is that there are such guides! Hawthornbunny's HR2 Timeline goes loop by loop, showing everything that happened — even the things that the story doesn't directly show — and explaining a lot of the hints and references I cram in. Believe it or not, it's totally a fan project — I've spoken up to correct a few things that directly contradict the text, but it's both gratifying and humbling to see how much Hawthorn gets right by doing nothing but painstakingly picking apart the story I've written. :twilightsmile:

One of the two. :ajsmug:

"FINALLY!" she shouts, spitting out a small strand of fabric that had gotten hooked to her fang. "Noy jitat. Do you have ANY IDEA how much grief that First-forsaken thing caused me?" She looks up at me and narrows her eyes. "Now it's time for teacher's pet to play dead."

Noy jitat

Dies Chrysallis know a pirate named Ios?

Since when has she been to Mir, and does she know Bloth as well too?

Just blasted through everything. The story, the rules, the codex of loops.
I get it all, mostly, and this is a really good story, but blimey my brain hurts.

It tends to have that effect. :scootangel:

Here's a thought you won't be able to unthink: What if the Dark Water was actually the Smooze?

Admittedly, it took me far longer than it should have, as I periodically had to stop reading in order to keep my head from exploding.

Rolled the random number generator, and got this story.

Let the hype begin! :pinkiehappy:

Oh, awesome! Keep me posted - I can link to the translation from the story.

Has the original Hard Reset been translated, by the way?

4529982 Uh...Yes, yes it has. I haven't finished yet with Reigh, and I haven't even started with Changing Lives, but now that I am on holidays, I should have more time for it.

And...are you asking for Hard Reset 2 to be translated?

Oh! I had assumed from your original "random number generator" comment, and the work you mentioned on your user page, that you'd decided to translate it. I'm glad to have you reading (and apparently enjoying) it, though! :twilightsmile:

I know how much work goes into a translation project, especially a longer one like this, so I have no expectations. If you think it's worth translating, I'd certainly be flattered, but just having people read it is cool enough.

4533995 Oh! Well, no. I use the random number generator to decide what fiction from my to-read list I read now.

The translations are something more of personal taste. I would say yours is well worth of it, but first I would have to read the whole thing and wrap my mind around everything that is going on.

And don't worry about the lenght...I am translating The Life and Moments of a Winning pony. Your story is a piece of cake compared with that. :rainbowdetermined2:



I stepped back for a bit to work on the mystery I'm currently editing, but I do still want to move forward with HR2 — I just haven't had almost any writing time in between some health issues and summer crunching into my schedule (with weekend hikes and weekday Ultimate Frisbee league). I'll try to push some words out this weekend.

I am so glad to hear this is going to be carrying on. (I'd been wondering for a while - how long should I wait before trying to nudge you into continuing? I don't want to appear too impatient, the tricky thing is that I am too impatient and I may have been over-correcting for that...)

This is one of my favourite stories on the entire site, and I would really like to see where it goes next.

Thanks for the nudge.

In the short term, this week will be a madhouse leading up to Everfree Northwest. The week afterward, I'm on vacation and hopefully will be able to take a day or two for designated writing time. I want to finish up Cowled Changelings before mid-July; it's already getting into frustrating edit loops and I need to just kick it out the door in a "this is the best I can easily do" state. After that would be a good time to revisit this with fresh eyes.

The good news: I did, a week or two ago, work out a big element that had been stuck in my craw — namely, what game Chrysalis is playing. I'd been feeling stuck in a corner by that, because canon Hard Reset never gives her much beyond "because I'm evil", and since I'm deconstructing everything else about the series I wanted a little more depth. That'll definitely help shape the current arc.



So I can nudge you again in two weeks if there isn't a new chapter, then? I look forward to working out what Chrysalis' game is...

So iv been meaning to ask how did you get so good at writing and were did you come up with the plot?

Fair enough - can't have too much Doctor Who.

Is this story dead? :fluttercry:
We want more mindfuck! :pinkiecrazy:



(nudge) (nudge)

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Don't lose heart — my brain has been in a lot of elsewhere this summer, but this story is still important to me.

Having finally burst through my brain-lock and gotten a new story published, I got some new words written on HR2 tonight — the first in a while. Editing is so much harder for me than pouring out new words, and my brain filed this in the edit bin — but it's been long enough that hopefully I've managed to reset that. I'm going to cross my fingers, reassemble the currently-torn-apart scenes of chapter 16, and put this right on the front burner. Let's see what comes of it. :twilightsmile:




I shall look forward to it.



Ah, but in Spike's case, he'd still be travelling to a time when Pinkie exists, so she can get him after he arrives.


Thanks for the kind words! I've got a lot going on right now and my writing isn't getting a whole lot of time, but this is at the top of my writing to-do list. :unsuresweetie:



this is at the top of my writing to-do list.






In the words of CCC


So, is this completed or canceled or what?
Sitting in my "read later" list pending the "complete" status for rather excessive time now...

This is really well done. I can't imagine the time you put into this and all the flowcharts you must have made to keep your own story straight.

Be sure to take your time and update when you feel like you're ready. :eeyup:

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I feel simultaneously flattered and awful that you've been waiting so patiently for this and that my best response is "not yet".

The last few weeks, pushing out 100 words in a day has felt like a major accomplishment, but that does at least mean forward progress, however minor. I'm a few hundred words from finishing yamgoth's commission, and then this is the Only Big Thing; I've kept interrupting myself this year with writeoffs, but this month's is a minific competition and I've promised in advance to skip the ~15K words of reviews I've been writing up, so I shouldn't lose more than a day or so when that rolls around (instead of the week and a half of solid writing/reading/analytical scrambling). Overall, I've been clawing my way toward rebalancing my life, little by little.



I *am* glad that you are continuing with this story, and that my repeated nagging hasn't driven you to quit in frustration. :twilightsmile: (Yet). I think you kind of spoiled us with your scheduled weekly updates during the first part of the story...

5123091 Yeah, use that timeline. Without that I would have ragequit from trying to understand the confusion that is Hard Rest 2 after the third chapter.

I keep coming back to this page to check if my story update reminder is broken! It's great to see you do you are still planning on finishing the story, it is really one of the most confusing yet amazing pieces on the site!


Such an enjoyable take on a story. Take a good complex story where there's only 1 player, add in 3+ more players without adding in more perspectives, change the rules, and viola a nice radically altered story to sink one's teeth into. If I had to have a complaint it'd probably be that too much is explained. Not enough known unknowns to really get the Wild Mass Guessing going good. Or too many presumed knowns of course.

Glancing at the comments, I appear to be one of the few that think that way. Alas. Regardless, I hope you find your muse once more with this story and that your personal life treats you well. Thank you for providing this entertainment.

Thank you! There's certainly a few open questions, many of which are mentioned or discussed here, but with as much as I was frying people's brains already, leaving too many balls up in the air was risky. We'll see how it goes when I get some new chapters posted. :twilightsmile:

I broke my rule of not reading unfinished stories. This suffering is therefore deserved, but please write more. I beg you. I need to know what happens next.

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