Archive:Apocalypso Chat

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The Apocalypso Chat was a chat with the creators of I Love Bees, who refer to themselves as Puppetmasters on 7 November 2004.[1]


Session Start: Sun Nov 07 00:00:00 2004
Session Ident: #apocalypso

[15:32] * vpist[e]ve is now known as vpisteve
[16:09] <vpisteve> Welcome to the Ilovebees PM chat. This chat is moderated and will begin at 2pm, PST. Please see the FAQ at http://tinyurl.com/4vh9t for details on how to submit questions, etc. The Question queue will open up at 1:50. To join the queue, PM one of the channel ops, and they'll put you in line. You will be voiced when it's your turn to ask a question.
[16:20] * fireball scurries about the room, checking the microphones, putting the namecards out, filling the water pitchers (with beer)
[16:21] <Lou> heh
[16:28] <vpisteve> Welcome to the Ilovebees PM chat. This chat is moderated and will begin at 2pm, PST. Please see the FAQ at http://tinyurl.com/4vh9t for details on how to submit questions, etc. The Question queue will open up at 1:50. To join the queue, PM one of the channel ops, and they'll put you in line. You will be voiced when it's your turn to ask a question.
[16:45] <vpisteve> Welcome to the Ilovebees PM chat. This chat is moderated and will begin at 2pm, PST. Please see the FAQ at http://tinyurl.com/4vh9t for details on how to submit questions, etc. The Question queue will open up at 1:50. To join the queue, PM one of the channel ops, and they'll put you in line. You will be voiced when it's your turn to ask a question.
Session Close: Sun Nov 07 16:46:51 2004

Session Start: Sun Nov 07 16:47:29 2004
Session Ident: #apocalypso
[16:47] * Now talking in #apocalypso
[16:53] <vpisteve> Welcome to the Ilovebees PM chat. This chat is moderated and will begin at 2pm, PST. Please see the FAQ at http://tinyurl.com/4vh9t for details on how to submit questions, etc. The Question queue will open up at 1:50. To join the queue, PM one of the channel ops, and they'll put you in line. You will be voiced when it's your turn to ask a question.
[16:53] * Blue is now known as Guest5952150
[16:57] * cather|away is now known as catherwood
[17:00] <vpisteve> Welcome to the Ilovebees PM chat. This chat is moderated and will begin at 2pm, PST. Please see the FAQ at http://tinyurl.com/4vh9t for details on how to submit questions, etc. The Question queue will open up at 1:50. To join the queue, PM one of the channel ops (except me), and they'll put you in line. You will be voiced when it's your turn to ask a question.
[17:03] <vpisteve> No more questions, please
[17:08] <vpisteve> (taps mic) Welcome to the Ilovebees PM Chat. We'd like to thank
[17:08] <vpisteve> the PMs for taking the time to come visit. Before we get started,
[17:08] <vpisteve> I want to go over how everything will work.....
[17:09] <vpisteve> The channel is moderated, so that only those who are "voiced" (with a + next to their name) can talk in channel. If you'd like to ask a question, watch the topic. When it changes to "Questions: YES" you can PM any channel op (with a @ next to their name) and they'll put you in the question queue. When the topic changes back to "Questions: NO," no more PMs will be accepted. Please. do not PM the Puppetmasters...
[17:09] <vpisteve> When it's your turn, I'll call your name and you will be voiced. You can then ask your question. You will be allowed one question and one followup question per turn. The chat is planned to go for two hours.....
[17:09] <vpisteve> First off, I know we all want to congratulate Jim on the new baby boy! :)
[17:09] <Jim> :)
[17:10] <vpisteve> it was fun singing to him :)
[17:10] <Elan> Yay Jim!
[17:10] <vpisteve> So, Elan, why don't you start by introducing us all to your team, and any other opening comments you'd like to make. Then we'll tackle the questions.
[17:10] <Jim> !soren oscar
[17:10] <Elan> right.
[17:11] <Elan> Ok, so we've got Sean Stewart, Jim Stewartson, and Jane Mcgonigal....
[17:11] <Elan> oh, and me.
[17:11] <Elan> Sean was the lead writer, Jim was our tech guru, Jane was our communities expert, and I was the Director. The four of us also made up the core design team.
[17:12] <aab_123> Question: Now [meta], Next [DarkForge]
[17:12] <vpisteve> ok, question time then
[17:12] <meta> To each person (if different), when did your work on the ilovebees ARG start (aproximate month/year)?
[17:12] <Elan> We started working on this project as a team about a year ago.
[17:13] <meta> That's a lot of time and devotion :) Thanks
[17:13] <Elan> Microsoft asked us to think of a way to make Halo 2 a cultural event. They knew the launch was going to be huge, but they wanted the story to show up in unusual places, and they wanted the community to react in a way that the world has never seen before.
[17:13] <sean> so we thought, of coursxe, of bee-infested payphones
[17:13] <sean> as anyone would
[17:14] <vpisteve> followup?
[17:14] <meta> no, i'll let the others go on with their questions. thanks for the time
[17:14] <aab_123> Question: Now [DarkForge], Next[Absentee]
[17:14] <Elan> thanks meta!
[17:14] <DarkForge[la]> I have a question for Jim (congrats again!), who designed Flea++. In particular, I have a question about the use/meaning of the ">>" operator. I translated Edgar Allen Poe's "Tell Tale Heart" into Flea++, and I had a very hard time figuring out how to use >>... it appears to be a highly context-sensitive (logically Intensional?) operator, notoriously challenging to formalize. Do you have a (formal?) write-up for ">>
[17:15] <vpisteve> :o
[17:15] <DarkForge[la]> :-)
[17:15] <Jim> lol. to be perfectly honest, after a while, i started to use the syntax cheat sheet from the wiki :)
[17:15] * Elan is trying hard to keep his hands on the keyboard through bursts of laughter
[17:15] <Jim> the >> was more or less a catch-all for something highly associated with another thing
[17:17] <Lou> followup?
[17:17] <DarkForge[la]> flup: How long did it take to develop? How much time b/w versions 1 2 3...?
[17:17] <krystyn> (and 4!)
[17:17] <Jim> the widow's journey took about 2 weeks to develop. we were up to version 17b when we shipped it
[17:17] <Jim> done
[17:18] <DarkForge[la]> omgwtfbbq thx
[17:18] <aab_123> Question: Now [Absentee], Next[Nova]
[17:18] <fireball> Colin asks: "What was the idea behind using a single site (as compared with the beast, and virtually every other ARG after that, having many sites)?"
[17:18] <Elan> Mostly, we just wanted to try something new. When a genre is this young, it’s all about experimentation. (the project, not being young) So we tried as much new stuff as we could. Sean keeps telling me that next we have to build the carrier pigeon game.
[17:19] <jane> Also, think: Rear Window
[17:19] <Elan> followup?
[17:19] <jane> The feeling of intense narrative developing in a tiny, confined space. (done)
[17:19] <fireball> it was absentee.
[17:19] <aab_123> Question: Now [Nova], Next[sfsdfd]
[17:19] <fireball> no flup
[17:19] <aab_123> heh sorry.
[17:20] <Nova> Hi guys, first of all - even though I know you've heard it before, thanks so much for this great ARG. It's been an absolute pleasure to take part in. My question is related to the story:
[17:20] <Nova> This story has been filled to the brim with intriguing questions. The most enduring mystery, for me at least, was established in the very first chapter and has remained unresolved. What is it about the name Durga that makes Jersey think it's 'at least partly right'? We've speculated many things, the leading theory seeming to be that the name comes from the Hindu goddess. Are we on the right track? If not, what was the real origin? And i
[17:20] <sean> hey
[17:20] <sean> Hindu goddess is your winning answer
[17:21] <sean> There were actually some nice puzzles based on her secret symbol we were thinking of
[17:21] <sean> Back when Jersey's last name was "Singh" it was all slightly more coherent
[17:21] <sean> :)
[17:21] <sean> done
[17:21] <Nova> No followup, save to say thank you for the answer. I've been wondering for a while about that!
[17:21] <aab_123> Question: Now [sfsdfd], Next[ThaJinx]
[17:21] <vpisteve> thx nova
[17:21] <Elan> thx nova
[17:21] <vpisteve> sfsdfd, you're up
[17:21] <sfsdfd> Sean: First, on behalf of everyone, let me say: OMGOMGOMG :) Thanks for rocking our worlds *twice* with incredible stories - some of the greatest stories we've experienced in *any* medium.
[17:22] <sfsdfd> Now for the Q: The variety of puzzles in this game was comparatively limited. Those in AI were much more varied - even recognizing pieces of data as a puzzle was difficult! Was this stylistic shift a decision to keep the story moving at a consistent/predictable pace, or to include a wider audience?
[17:23] <sean> ok
[17:23] <sean> last time out, the answer to a puzzle was, OMGWTFBBQ! I'M a XENOBOTANIST!
[17:23] <sean> a cool experience, but unpredicatable
[17:23] <sean> this time, the basic sol.ution to the puzzle was, OMGWTFBBQ! I LIVE IN TOPEKA!
[17:24] <sean> so yeah, we wanted to make the game more accessible to a broader range of people, and less dependent on high intensity puzzle solving. We were sharply corrected in this inclination
[17:24] <sean> ;0)
[17:24] <sean> done
[17:24] <sean> elan has fp
[17:24] <Elan> probably worth noting that the original game design didn't have any of the sleeping princess puzzles included
[17:25] <sfsdfd> That makes sense. Some puzzles in AI were so tough that they stalled the pipeline. Thanks!
[17:25] <sean> david. very damn forgiving
[17:25] <sean> at least in public
[17:25] <aab_123> Question: Now [ThaJinx], Next[atdt1991]
[17:25] <sean> <smile>
[17:25] <ThaJinx> Hey guys, you're probably sick of it already, but thanks for such an awesome game; part of what drew a lot of us to it was that it was a brilliant way of communicating a brilliant story.
[17:25] <ThaJinx> The motif of bees is just short of overbearing throughout the whole of the game, and it wasn't until the final chapter of the drama that it was revealed to be based around one of Yasmine's memories. At what point in brainstorming or conceptualization did the connection of these two ideas come into existance?
[17:26] <sean> very very very early
[17:26] <sean> usually things are done kinda on the fly, as you will have gathered. But early on, Elan wanted a banal website. I liked bees because they are cute and fuzzy and loveable and everybody is scared of them
[17:27] <sean> As soon as we had bees, I had the last scene in my head--"Allright hone, this will hardly hurt a bit. Just a little sting."
[17:27] <sean> as the crucial link between Yasmine and Margaret
[17:27] <sean> someone else typing, sean done
[17:27] <Elan> Sean used that exact argument to talk me out of my first idea..."Bob's house of hubcaps"
[17:27] <vpisteve> heh
[17:27] <aab_123> Question: Now [atdt1991], Next[anaerin]
[17:28] <ThaJinx> Thanks again :D
[17:28] <atdt1991> Thank you for giving us three months of incredible stories, a five-hour radioplay, and a chance to participate in something great. My question is pretty open: How often did you cruise the forums and chats, and what were your thoughts/feelings while watching us work things out together?
[17:28] <Elan> this is ALL Jane.
[17:28] <jane> I'll take this first, since it was my job to watch 24/7
[17:28] <jane> I will say I have read EVERY Haunteed Apiary Let Op! post, I mean EVERY, and every line of chat in IRC #beekeepers.
[17:29] <catherwood> (that's more than I ever read!)
[17:29] <jane> And everyone on the team received frequent FWD's of posts, excerpts from IRC, etc.
[17:29] <atdt1991> ... wow.
[17:29] <jane> (done from me)
[17:29] <sean> two words: a_plan
[17:29] <sean> jim typing
[17:30] <Jim> i also should say i'm pretty close on jane's heels in terms of lurking on IRC, given that you all were my primary bug testers :)
[17:30] <Jim> (done)
[17:30] <aab_123> Question: Now [anaerin], Next[Absentee]Question: Now [anaerin], Next[Absentee]
[17:30] <jane> P.S. Our thoughts watching you guys was: Wow, they are dramatic and spectacular to watch as anything
[17:30] <aab_123> er... sorry.
[17:31] <Anaerin> Okay, First of all, thanks for the ride. Some of those wavs brought tears. And as for the question, what's the deal with the heartbeat in the background of the wavs? Was it just to create tension, or was it something more?
[17:31] <Elan> this is a tough one.
[17:32] <Elan> Ok, I guess I can just post the spoiler if you'd like?
[17:32] <Anaerin> Please. :)
[17:32] <Elan> Ok, the sound you're refering to was called "the encasement"
[17:33] <Elan> it was designed to make each of the audio files sound "weathered". Like they'd gone through the equivolent of digital hell to get here.
[17:33] <Elan> The sound was put in the background of each file to indicate which had come from the future......
[17:33] <Elan> ....and which had not
[17:33] <Elan> good enough?
[17:33] <Anaerin> That's great! Thanks a lot.
[17:33] <aab_123> Question: Now [Absentee], Next[SkilletAudio]
[17:33] <fireball> Gestas asks: "Where did the jazz that Jersey plays come from? Original or actual piece?"
[17:33] <Elan> no problem. (Trying to leave the remnants of the puzzle in there)
[17:34] <Elan> That's actually a great question for Bob Fagen. (Media producer) We had the luxury of saying, "Bob, we need something incredible here" and then he'd deliver. We're going to try to set up another chat with Bob and the actors to field questions like that.
[17:35] <Elan> in the meantime, is there another question we can answer?
[17:35] <aab_123> Question: Now [SkilletAudio], Next[Cortana]
[17:35] <SkilletAudio|Splotch> First, let me thank you for the most enjoyable gaming experience I've ever witnessed, an entertainment experience that I'll never forget, and for a drama that has touched my heart. Also, Anaerin for speaking the question that I have been banging head to wall over for months. Anyway:
[17:35] <SkilletAudio|Splotch> The players have felt connected personally to the characters, to the point that many of us have been moved to tears at various parts of the story, myself included. I can of course appreciate that you have been affected yourselves by this game, after all I am sure it is a labor of love. In what ways has ILB affected you in ways you couldnt predict?
[17:36] <sean> don't know about "couldn't predict" at first, but I know we all became emotionally invested in teh *players* and the *playing*, too.
[17:36] <Elan> skillet, I remember on one of the first days of the game, you said in IRC, "This is really beautiful. In order for any of us to move foward WE ALL have to move forward." I wanted to find you and buy you lunch.
[17:36] <jane> I developed an irrational LACK of fear of bees.
[17:37] <sean> i told the NYT guy that these two games have, at the risk of sounding corny, completely reaffirmed or exalted my faith in humanity
[17:37] * Elan sees payphones......................EVERYWHERE
[17:37] <sean> what the audience brings is so incredible, the cohesion, creativity, responsiveness...
[17:37] <sean> I said somewhere, and this is not meant as random flattery, that this is a new artform...
[17:37] <jane> yes, watching this game changed my idea of what gamers are capable of.
[17:37] <sean> ...but the audio isn't the art, or the puzzles, or the story
[17:38] <sean> they are designed to precipitate, to catalyze the actual work of art
[17:38] <sean> 'which is you
[17:38] <sean> done
[17:38] <SkilletAudio|Splotch> Flup: Do I get to choose where the lunch is? :) Seriously tho, thanks. Done.
[17:38] <aab_123> Question: Now [Cortana], Next[checksum]
[17:38] <Elan> :)
[17:38] <aab_123> one second.
[17:38] <aab_123> Cort: please hold for a sec.
[17:38] <Cortana> okay
[17:38] <sean> sing something classical while holding, though
[17:39] <sean> entertain us
[17:39] <SpaceBass> I have a followup for Jane..has this game and community changed the opinion you stated in your paper about the Beast?
[17:39] <vpisteve> ha!
[17:39] <aab_123> la la la
[17:39] * Cortana hums along with the mozart
[17:39] <SpaceBass> about how worrisome the blurring of reality and fantasy can be
[17:39] <jane> ah ah ah.. well...
[17:39] <jane> actually, after that first article I wrote another article clarifying my position, which was that blurring the line between reality and fantasy is not worrisome at all
[17:40] <jane> when it it is entirely conscious and strategic on the part of the players doing to the blurring...
[17:40] <jane> I think in this game, you guys wound up doing a lot of unusual and interesting things in the public eye...
[17:41] <jane> that challenged people's expectations of where it's okay to have fiction or play... and that's great. That was part of the point of the game, I think.
[17:41] <jane> My opinion of the community after this game is that you guys can play wherever you want, and the more of you doing it, the better. (done)
[17:41] <aab_123> Cortana?
[17:41] <Cortana> First, thank you (and thank you and thank you). In addition to new friends and a great story, I now know the shortest path between the Smithsonians, Spout Run and Union Station. The live calls provided for a lot of direct interaction between the "seekers" and the "hiders" (if you think of search operas as a grand game of hide and go seek). No doubt, they provided for comedy and drama. Was there a call or two that stick out in you
[17:42] <Cortana> I'm told there's clipping...
[17:42] <Cortana> one second
[17:42] <sean> Crewmember, What is the Enemy of All Mankind?" "...Burger king?"
[17:42] <jane> Dizzy! Dizzy! we loved that
[17:42] <Cortana> No doubt, they provided for comedy and drama. Was there a call or two that stick out in your memory? (side note. carrier pigeon game?)
[17:42] <sean> dragonrider's first about her sister
[17:43] <jane> also loved: zzub zzub. (a bee! a bee!) My cellphone text signature is now "zzub zzub."
[17:43] <Jim> hmrpita and the SP, the kind soul who was willing to sprint and get his guitar for the Op and play Wish You Were Here
[17:43] <sean> DC squad cheer (regular and Princess version)
[17:43] <sean> there are many many many
[17:43] <Elan> Everyone keeps telling me I was too mean, but I *LOVED* making JR run to get his guitar (leaving the phone dangling) Then returning out of breath and shakey, but still delivering a beautiful tune.
[17:43] <Elan> One of my favorite team moments was sitting in instant messenger, each of us silently typing the lyrics to the song as he played for us.
[17:43] <sean> Bagsbee singing Golden Slumbers on the staten island ferry
[17:44] <sean> poor Mallory at Applebees...
[17:44] <jane> Also, we ADORED calling cities where we didn't know if there were very active communities (no thread on UF, for instance), and they would shock us and answer and be brilliant.
[17:44] <sean> pittsburgh! Milwaukee!
[17:44] <jane> Rhode Island!
[17:45] <Elan> done. followup?
[17:45] <sean> done, but only cuz we don't have time for more
[17:45] <Elan> indeed
[17:45] <Cortana> Nope, thanks again :)
[17:45] <aab_123> Question: Now [checksum], Next[ViveRant]
[17:45] <Cortana> (spartan power?)
[17:45] <vpisteve> thx cortana
[17:45] <vpisteve> ViveRant, you're up
[17:45] <checksum> Hello and thank y'all! Well, I'm really tempted to ask about a_pawn, but instead, my question is an open-ended one. What about this ARG's behind-the-scene activities would we players find most interesting, but that we'd have no idea to ask you about because we weren't there with you?
[17:45] <Elan> spartanpower: fluke
[17:45] <vpisteve> er, checksum :P
[17:45] <Elan> wow. there's a great question
[17:46] <vpisteve> reminder: no questions right now, pls
[17:46] <sean> <getting it out of the way: the prep puzzle sucked, we're sorry, don't ask)
[17:46] <jane> I think the process of Payphone Scouting was pretty interesting...
[17:47] <sean> We touched a little on the DVD on the studio work. It was fascinating working with really good actors, and then...
[17:47] <jane> although our lead payphone scout is not in this chat right now, I think many of you would find very interesting the extremely intense stories from traveling all over the country hunting donw payphones.
[17:47] <sean> we had to kind of semi-invent a very particular kind of audio. This p-o-v mic thing, with no ambient sound from location, was very novel.
[17:48] <jane> (although many of you have your own extremely intense stories traveling all over hunting down payphones, come to think of it ;) )
[17:48] <sean> Elan and Roland sat down and drew blueprints of every set for every scene. Then we moved all the actors various distances from their mics, according to how close they were to the pov...
[17:48] <sean> so we could create and keep consistent a sort of sonic landscape
[17:48] <sean> it was fascinating to me, anyway.
[17:48] <sean> done
[17:48] <checksum> In followup to Sean's answer...
[17:49] <Elan> another good one is how much we end up caring about the players. When Weephun betrayed the princess, we all sat around thinking "Whoa, are we really gonna mess with this guy? Can he take it?"
[17:49] <checksum> How did the studio recording go, i.e. did the actors take to the parts easily/was the recording a long process or did it fly by, etc.
[17:50] <Elan> there was this really beautiful relationship that builds out of playing with each other for so many consecutive days
[17:50] <checksum> (and Elan, yeah, in the future, we love it when you mess with us)
[17:50] <Elan> :)
[17:50] <sean> varied by actor
[17:50] <sean> ...
[17:50] <aab_123> Question: Now [ViveRant], Next[Absentee]
[17:50] <sean> some hit it instantly from the first moment of casting (Jan/Kari)
[17:51] <sean> others took to it more slowly
[17:51] <sean> also, as writers we learned to write to each actors strengths
[17:51] <ViVeRANT`> Just wanted to say a quick thanks for making think Durga was hiding in my thermostat every morning while I was eating breakfast... :p For my Question:
[17:51] <ViVeRANT`> Outside of the axons in the UK where there plans to go to other continents or countries or was that a mid-game decision? (ie cover the same ground as the halo2 website)
[17:51] <sean> and they in turn got more comfortable with the sound of the scripts, so I could stop saying, "Aaron Sorkin/Tom Stoppard" in the funny bits and "WWII movies!" for other stuff.
[17:52] <Elan> When I first pitched the game, I was asked "How many payphones should we ring?" Answer: "All of them". I was slowly pulled back into reality. The foreign payphones are remnants of "thinking big".
[17:53] <Elan> followup?
[17:53] <ViVeRANT`> Nope just wish technology would have allowed you to come up north :)
[17:53] <ViVeRANT`> thanks done
[17:53] <aab_123> Question: Now [Absentee], Next[LasPalmas7]
[17:53] <fireball> Rose asks: "I know it took us a couple of days to find the text snippets, assemble The Widow's Journey (named by Rob Magus in chat by the way), translate the SP's strange email, and for xnbomb to correlate the text with the SPDR program language...was there an aha! moment at which you knew that the lightbulbs over our heads had turned on and we were finally getting it?"
[17:53] <sean> fp
[17:54] <sean> Canadian payphones don't take incoming by law. Tried some anyway (Canadian here!@) Sorry!
[17:54] <aab_123> sure... ;)
[17:54] <Elan> This is a question for the author of the flea.....Jim?
[17:55] <Jim> yes, there were several days there, where we were not sure if that moment would come. when we read xnbomb's post, we knew it would happen...
[17:55] <sean> jim and I brooded like anxious hens over the whole process.
[17:55] <sean> done?
[17:55] <aab_123> Question: Now [LasPalmas7], Next[Kybard]
[17:55] <aab_123> er. sorry.
[17:55] <aab_123> still Jim.
[17:56] <Jim> followup?
[17:56] <fireball> Go on to LasPalmas7
[17:56] <LasPalmas7> ILB me cry/laugh/shive(Reminded me of a old game called Portal). Thank you so much. I love you all. Question have allready been answered. So all I have is love..
[17:57] <aab_123> Question: Now [Kybard], Next[AgentMunroe]
[17:57] <Elan> thanks Laspalmas!!
[17:57] <Kybard> First - when I'm proud and amazingly happy to have stuck with you guys, the beekeepers, and ILB for the duration of the game, I do this: :D! -- Anyway, my question's for Jane... I want to ask about your experience in handling the e-mails we sent to Dana.
[17:57] <Kybard> Particularly in the pre-8/24 game, I think that the back-and-forth communication with Dana was key to getting a lot of people more interested and immersed in what was going on. Can you tell us about how you/ the team handled answering all those e-mails, and maybe tell us about some of what you thought were the most memorable of the e-mails you recieved from us beekeepers?
[17:58] <jane> First, you guys sent some amazing emails to Dana. the whole game. I regret that Dana was too busy traveling through Asia to spend 24/7 reading and writing back to them as I would have like to...
[17:59] <jane> early on, the goal was to sneak a little bit of useful game data into each email, in the guise of a personal response to chit chatty stuff...
[17:59] <jane> if you go back and look at the early emails, there is something useful in each one, even though they were very conversational and kind of fluffy :) ...
[17:59] <Kybard> we like fluffy. :)
[17:59] <jane> the most wonderful thing about the emails to Dana:
[18:00] <jane> most of them had no expected audience, outside of Dana-- and yet they were so beautifully crafted and written---
[18:00] <jane> it was touching. and we forwarded them around the team.
[18:00] <jane> so they did have a slightly bigger audience, but they deserved as big an audience as some of the stuff we were making, imo.
[18:00] <sean> elan adding...
[18:00] <jane> maybe dana should make a public scrapbook
[18:01] <Elan> Jane always wanted to do more with Dana (write postcards from China, more individual responses, etc) but we had to pull her away. (look at it this way, we traded Dana for live chat.)
[18:01] <Elan> done
[18:02] <Elan> followup?
[18:02] <Kybard> So most of the freedom of typing the Dana e-mails was given to Jane?
[18:02] <Kybard> Instead of it being scripted?
[18:02] <Elan> absolutely
[18:02] <jane> yes, it was all me

[18:02] <sean> all jane
[18:02] <jane> I was lucky they were very trusting :) (done)
[18:02] <Kybard> Yay. It was fun talking to you. :)
[18:02] <aab_123> Question: Now [AgentMunroe], Next[Astald]
[18:02] <AgentMunroe> First off, thanks to you all for an amazing game. Coming to it as a Halo player, this was my first ARG, and the game itself, the storyline behind it and the community were all absolutely amazing. I will remember this experience for a very long time. :-)
[18:03] <Elan> thanks!
[18:03] <AgentMunroe> My question: Is the story in ILB considered official Bungie/Halo backstory, or is there some amount of creative license that you were allowed and used?
[18:03] <sean> Yes
[18:03] <sean> :)
[18:04] <sean> So here's how it worked:...
[18:04] <sean> we went in with a story idea and went over it with some Bungie folks. They made some pertinent suggestions (e.g. the use of the Forerunner artifact as the McGuffin to create the slipstream malfunction...
[18:05] <sean> and the ship name Apocalypso.
[18:05] <sean> After that, they gave us the Halo bible, we had the three novels, and then a Bungie person read every script to make sure we didn't so something weird
[18:05] <sean> e.g. they felt that people wouldn't be hanged in their world, but given permanent coma
[18:06] <sean> follow-up?
[18:06] <AgentMunroe> No flups, just many thanks. :-)
[18:06] <aab_123> Question: Now [Astald], Next[Absentee]
[18:07] <Astald> First and foremost, I would like to say "Hello" to all of you for the first time, and thank you for this wonderful experience! Now for my question. What exactly was the "Manticore" and why was he destroyed so early in the game?
[18:07] <Elan> go Jim go
[18:08] * vpisteve juggles for the crowd
[18:08] <Jim> Actually, the Manticore was a Sean construct... I just figured it sounded like something resembling a security process, so i wrote down "sec proc". Then we killed it :)
[18:08] <Jim> followup?
[18:08] <fireball> Binarius asks: "Whose idea was it to set the coke machine to display SPARTAN POWER? I do not believe it was a coincidence/a third party stunt."
[18:08] <fireball> whoops.
[18:08] * fireball wipes that.
[18:09] <Astald> Go ahead, no flups
[18:09] <Astald> thanks
[18:09] <aab_123> Question: Now [Absentee], Next[Dewback]
[18:09] <fireball> danman_d asks: " You [the PM's] have the previous experience of running not only the first, but probably also the most successful ARG ever. Did the community's response to and proficiency at this game meet your expectations? Were there times when you thought "the Cloudmakers would have had this solved by now!"? Or was it the opposite?"
[18:10] <sean> Which kid do we love better?
[18:10] <sean> no
[18:10] <fireball> no fup
[18:10] <sean> they're different. Beast was first, we were lucky, they were brilliant.
[18:10] <sean> but...
[18:10] <sean> ILB is bigger...
[18:10] <sean> CM were unbelievable puzzle-solvers, but ILB WENT OUTSIDE
[18:11] <sean> ILBeres braved hurricanes
[18:11] <vpisteve> :)
[18:11] <fireball> and drank a few
[18:11] <sean> wore scuba gear in public, jumped off freaking payphones, sang in front of construction crews on the staten island ferry
[18:11] <sean> so we never compared either to the other unfavorably. Honest truth
[18:12] <sean> we just asked more of this group, I think.
[18:12] <Elan> well, I did. But I'm just mean
[18:12] <sean> Could be wrong.
[18:12] <sean> followup?
[18:12] <aab_123> Question: Now [Dewback], Next[ONI|Gabriel]
[18:12] <Dewback> First off, I won't blame any of you for not knowing much about Alabama in terms of Axon Placement and such . Also the following question was written BEFORE this chat started.
[18:12] <Dewback> Why would you choose bees when Pigeons were clearly the better choice? I mean come on, you could have had a bunch of feathered rat jokes and send out carrier pigeons.
[18:12] <sean> Seanis SeanDewback SeanDewback explodes
[18:12] <Elan> CREEPY
[18:13] <Dewback> roflomao
[18:13] <aab_123> ummm... fup?
[18:13] <Dewback> Anyways, I wont have a followup. I'll just end it with my trademark.
[18:13] <sean> I am from the south, dew...
[18:13] * Dewback Explodes
[18:13] <aab_123> Question: Now [ONI|Gabriel], Next[aab_123]
[18:13] <sean> We sent a poor hapless axon hunter to the South.
[18:14] <sean> give him a break.
[18:14] <sean> :)
[18:14] <ONI|Gabriel> First of all, many congratulations to Jim and family. :) Secondly, I'd just like to say a joking thanks for giving me a fantastic excuse to not study (both today, and during the last few months.) It's been utterly incredible experiencing every high and low from here in New Zealand, and I hope we get the chance to do it all again sometime soon..
[18:14] <ONI|Gabriel> My question is: Were there any times during the planning or the game that you started wondering if you could handle just how big it was/could be? (Secondarily, did
[18:14] <ONI|Gabriel> you expect it to be this big, or bigger?)
[18:14] <sean> <thinking...>
[18:15] <sean> You could feel from the very beginning that it was big, much much bigger than the Beast.
[18:15] <sean> Happily,m Jim built the rig too last. But on the first day, while he was adjusting to the load....
[18:16] <sean> it was like that scene in a godzilla film where you can see the glass of water start to shake, and you start to worry...
[18:16] <Jim> Thanks Gabriel. I certainly felt the pressure beginning a few days prior to the 24th when the traffic started getting really huge... Then of course, the whole thing melted for a few hours which made me feel better.'
[18:16] <sean> <sean done>
[18:16] <Elan> Um, ya.....we were ready for how many people were out there. And um, the site going down every five minutes during chapter 11 was all part of a puzzle....ya, you guys just haven't solved that part yet.
[18:16] <Jim> lol
[18:16] <sean> oh
[18:16] <sean> right
[18:16] <sean> and we usin' CODE NA<MES
[18:17] <sean> fp?
[18:17] <ONI|Gabriel> as a follow up: did you expect the semi-backlash against the "Halo 2 fanbois" after the training events?
[18:17] <sean> <honest to god we tried calling NZ multiple times>
[18:17] <aab_123> Question: Now [aab_123], Next[Mukaikubo]
[18:17] <aab_123> As a group - What is the first thing you think of when I type the word "Enhottenate"?
[18:18] <aab_123> speechless.... I understand.
[18:18] <sean> <still enhottenating the last Q, aab>
[18:18] <jane> I LOVE THAT WORD!
[18:18] <jane> I just ordered the enhottenation t-shirt from cafe press
[18:19] <Elan> We've actually been pretty happy with how well the two different groups have worked together. I know there were some rough patches, but our early design (in sending out the honey to the ARG guys) was to give the game to them first. You guys did an incredible job at making everyone feel welcome.
[18:19] <sean> we counted on them to make life good for the H2 people, and I think they did
[18:19] <jane> Oxford English Dictionary 2005, guys. Enhottenate. you can make it happen.
[18:20] <aab_123> thanks guys :)
[18:20] <aab_123> Question: Now [Mukaikubo], Next[Johnny Nitro]
[18:20] <Mukaikubo> How worried were you about a potential 'letdown' when you realized a large fraction of the community was expecting a Beast-style multi-site, massive puzzle game instead of this heavily story-oriented game?
[18:20] <Elan> ya, that was kind of terrifying.
[18:21] <sean> <still typing elan>
[18:22] <sean> <and you could add the same question back for the H2 fans that really, really wanted that single player demo release, as a mod points out...>
[18:22] <Elan> We thought that we could build a story game, and cut out the puzzles. (ok, I thought. The team later took turns pounding me into a pulp) When we realized that we were losing fans over my poor decision, we quickly scrambled. pretty much overnight, we added puzzles and live chat. (good thing we put up that whole 777 thing with no real plans about what to do when it hit.)
[18:22] <jane> (responsive design = one of the best things about ARGs!)
[18:22] <Elan> fup?
[18:22] <Mukaikubo> Well, first of all, this ARG pulled me in the Halo universe, so you earned a bit of your pay. The followup question is which "flavor" of ARG is harder/more expensive? [18:23] <Elan> That's a tricky one. I think any flavor would be easy if we just did it more than once.
[18:24] <sean> oh, yeah
[18:24] <sean> a cinch
[18:24] <sean> <rolls eyes>
[18:24] <Elan> the problem with Sean is that he's just lazy.
[18:24] <sean> ok, here's the noblesse oblige answer:
[18:24] <sean> we get a budget to make these things.
[18:24] <sean> It's sort of incumbent on us to try as many things, and make as many mistakes, as possible.
[18:24] <sean> Isn't it?
[18:25] <sean> done
[18:25] <Mukaikubo> !thanks
[18:25] <aab_123> Question: Now [Johnny Nitro], Next[Absentee]
[18:25] <Elan> ahem mistakes = features
[18:25] <johnny_nitro> First off, thank you all for a great 3 months. I now have a huge backlog at work to attend to, but it was very worth it. Now for my Q:
[18:25] <johnny_nitro> How was the time and place of the "live" calls determined, both at the start of the game, and as the game progressed?
[18:26] <jane> Well, every Monday we assessed a few things:
[18:26] <jane> what phones had been answered the week before, what were the forums reporting on who planned to be out, and who had we NOT called yet
[18:27] <jane> ... but after we strategically picked some calls,
[18:27] <jane> there was a random factor, too. Because we didn't know how long a call would take, so when we finished up a call, we might find that Hawaii or Fargo or Los Angeles was next, and just go for it
[18:28] <jane> FYI, whenever anyone picked up a live call, we all squealed to each other on IM
[18:28] <jane> :)
[18:28] <jane> (done)
[18:28] * Elan has the chat logs to prove it
[18:28] <johnny_nitro> followup: was there a technical or legal reason private phones could no be used for live calls?
[18:28] <johnny_nitro> not rather
[18:29] <Elan> actually, the reason was lame.........caller ID :(
[18:29] <vpisteve> can you tell us a little about the backend to the axon call system?
[18:29] <Elan> all the live chats were made out of a box I built in my living room
[18:29] <sean> regular calls = payphones, spoofed caller ID; live calls = elan's cell #
[18:30] * Elan spent most of the game praying no one would hook up any tracing device to a payphone
[18:30] <sean> <someone is typing, ahng on...>
[18:31] <sean> steve: 70,000 lines of code
[18:31] <vpisteve> holy crap
[18:31] <sean> jim doing fp
[18:31] <Jim> vpisteve, anything specific you are interested in. Basically a real-time database-driven system that connected a telephony vendor with a server that sat behind our cluster of webservers.
[18:32] <vpisteve> so, all the site updates in response were automated
[18:32] <vpisteve> of course, they'd have to be, heh
[18:32] <Jim> mostly, but for the live calls we built tools that could enhottenate axons by hand during the calls.
[18:33] <Jim> it was quite a contraption :)
[18:33] <vpisteve> and it was voice recognition for the answers, or someone listening in?
[18:33] * catherwood yells "dizzy!"
[18:34] <Jim> yeah, VoiceXML-based voice rec... Initially we were going to do touch-tones but discovered that a lot of payphone disabled that feature :)
[18:34] <sean> initially meaning, a week before the 24th w2e discovered...
[18:34] <Elan> ya, we discovered that all of five days before the first call
[18:34] <Jim> right
[18:34] <vpisteve> :o
[18:34] <Jim> a bit of a scramble hehe
[18:35] <vpisteve> well, great job there
[18:35] <vpisteve> ok, next question
[18:35] <aab_123> Question: Now [Absentee], Next[Addlepated]
[18:35] <sean> y, new Q
[18:35] <fireball> sapagooasks: "Money-wise, do you think there is a market for this type of ARG? Or will we have to wait another three years for a game of this magnitude where we don't feel like the PMs have gone into debt?"
[18:35] <Elan> Well, we've set up a whole new company to test that premise :)
[18:35] <Elan> fp?
[18:36] <Elan> honestly, we hope so. We're all betting a lot on it.
[18:36] <Lou> flup
[18:36] <Lou> Are you hiring?
[18:36] <Elan> LOL
[18:36] <sean> get in line, buddy.
[18:36] <sean> I'm out of work in a week
[18:36] <sean> it's back to STAR WARS novels for me...
[18:37] <sean> Oh, that's YODA: DARK RENDEZVOUS
[18:37] <sean> ahem...
[18:37] <Lou> Thanks, but I'll leave this work to the experts (that means you, Sean)
[18:37] <Elan> oh sure, I can just see the ad. convenienct hours, paid vacation, well paid.....
[18:37] <aab_123> Question: Now [Addlepated], Next[Rendon|writing]
[18:37] <Addlepated> First, from the Urban Hunt/Dread House PMs - congratulations on a great game, and for introducing so much fresh meat, er, new players!
[18:37] <Gupfee> hey a Sean novel is a Sean novel :)
[18:37] <Addlepated> My question is: Jane, on your site there are around 20 bottles of honey. Where did they all go, and what other community pockets were out there playing along with Unfiction?
[18:37] <Elan> here here!
[18:37] <Elan> re: urban hunt
[18:37] <jane> Congratulations on UH/DH!
[18:38] <Addlepated> Aww, thanks! =)
[18:38] <jane> So: that's really two questions... in addition to the ARG sites (deaddrop, UF, ARGN) we sent some to gaming forums
[18:38] <jane> Gamespot, IGN, etc.
[18:39] <jane> There were some incredibly active XBox gaming forums playing along, although less in terms of axon play--
[18:39] <jane> but 'til the end, there were several major XBox forums (including a Dutch site that I had a hard time following, unfortunately due to lack of translation skills!)... they were very active on spec/story
[18:40] <jane> and to conclude: someday Elan and I will regale you with the story of how we got those damn letters in the jars of honey,
[18:40] <jane> and the very many things we tried stuffing into the honey first before we settled on those letters :)
[18:40] <jane> (done)
[18:40] <Elan> (and the ensuing ant infestation)
[18:40] <aab_123> Question: Now [Rendon|writing], Next[Crispy]
[18:40] <vpisteve> i'll vouch for the ants
[18:40] <Rendon|Writing> First off I would like to nominate this for some acadamy award or another (Most of my questions have already been answered...) Q: At anytime did what was discussed in #beekeepers affect the story? How much did the accual story vary from what yall thought it would?
[18:41] <sean> hey
[18:41] <sean> OK, yes, in case you hadn't noticed, we were paying a lot of attention, and it affected the progress of the narrative in a lot of ways, directly and indirectly
[18:41] <sean> ...
[18:41] <sean> weephun I think everyone knows about; in fact the Op was only ever to mkae one live call
[18:41] <sean> the rest would be SP
[18:41] <sean> only....
[18:42] <sean> There were other things like: I knew from the beginning the Flea would kiss the princess, maybe, or anyway that would be cool...
[18:42] <sean> but for what it meant or implied, that crystallized after reading the forum post by the guy who mapped out Queen=Superego, SP = ID
[18:43] <sean> then there were things direct and indirect in audio. We were about 2 - 3 weeks ahead, so I could drop in a line from Kamal re: payphones
[18:43] <sean> ..and did..
[18:43] <sean> but also we could hear people say, That Sophie, she's got no substance, and that would drive something like the story in Kamal 9, with the immigration cop...
[18:44] <sean> <it;'s the Rick on the train station in Paris waiting for Ilsa scene--points if you recognized...
[18:44] <sean> then we built the game around the tools and meta things
[18:44] <jane> Also, in terms of the Aunt Margaret/Dana story, the players drove that quite a bit, as well. For instance, it was the players on voicemail and live calls who came up with the idea of "making Dana useful" as a way to get the Operator off her back...
[18:44] <sean> e.g. the Last Fortress training task to play ender's game on the SP was driven by knowing about your scripts, and angelo, and etc.
[18:45] <sean> does that give any sense?
[18:45] <sean> = fp?
[18:45] <jane> ... and then it was an individual player who suggested the Op use Aunt M as leverage, and finally it was the players who made Dana go to the darkside toward the endgame--
[18:45] <aab_123> Question: Now [Crispy], Next[Moriarty_]
[18:45] <jane> while a number of very eloquent letters came into suggesting interesting ways to play both sides of the fence, most people said "Do what the Op tells you to" and so we had Dana do just that. (done0
[18:46] <Crispy> First off, I'd like to thank you guys for such a wonderful game and story experience (Or do I?! Bwhahahaha!). Anyway, What were some of the more memorable things you remember from Chat/the Forums, and what were some of the chat names you guys used in your little espionage of awesomeness? (side note: I'm scoring the zings from this chat. Sean: 11 Elan: 2 Jane: 2 Jim: 1 Beekeepers: 6)
[18:46] <Jim> oh sure. pick on the geek. :(
[18:46] <Elan> DAMN THAT SEAN!!!!
[18:46] <sean> FLEAmageddon
[18:46] <Crispy> 1 more point for sean.
[18:47] <sean> The Thread of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
[18:47] <jane> ...what I really need to do right now is look at my SENT folder so I can find all the things I forwarded to the rest of the team...
[18:47] <sean> tarrsk's 5er
[18:47] <Elan> I remember starting to evaluate our game based on the number of grown men who posted that they were crying.
[18:47] <Elan> (we're sick sick people over here)
[18:48] * Lou|poker is now known as Lou
[18:48] <Crispy> flup: Jane...I hope you didn't read anything of the things we said about Dana in chat... ;\
[18:48] <Crispy> any of the things, rather.
[18:48] <jane> um, no not at all. :)
[18:48] <sean> EVERY WORD
[18:48] <sean> oops
[18:48] <sean> what she said
[18:48] <sean> really, too many to list
[18:48] <jane> Don't worry, everything said was out of love for the game :) It's all good.
[18:48] <Crispy> Crap....allow me to apologize for the whole chat. ;)
[18:48] <sean> even the puzzle solves--Shado's explicdation of spy v spy, for instance
[18:48] <aab_123> Question: Now [Moriarty_], Next[Fi]
[18:49] * Elan thinks Crispy deserves a point
[18:49] <Moriarty_> Thanks for such a wonderful game guys. At what moments in the game did you find our actions hilarious? frustrating? worrying? stunning?
[18:50] <jane> We loved the communications infrastructure you guys set up for live calls-- it let us plan much more challenging live call challenges
[18:50] <Moriarty_> and by 'stunning', I mean something where we sorta shocked you. :)
[18:50] <Jim> lol. there was about 45 minutes when no one would instruct the Flea to kiss the damn Princess already that was a little frustrating :)
[18:50] <sean> Siege: "20 Seconds? Are they INSANE? ... OK, here's how we're gonna do it."
[18:50] <jane> When we gave you 20 seconds to find the 3-word relay code hidden on the site, it was only because you had already been so damn amazing we figured, "yeah it sounds impossible, but who are we kidding, these guys don't KNOW impossible"
[18:51] <sean> listen, a game like this is like a punk concert
[18:51] <sean> you go dive off the stage again and again and just hope the players catch yuou
[18:51] <jane> The most interesting to watch you guys do for me:
[18:52] <Elan> challenging = pouring over hours of recorded chat audio trying to make 8 renditions of "row row row your boat" sound like they're in the same key
[18:52] <Jim> worrying: 45,000 people coming up with ways to hack/DoS the servers
[18:52] <jane> Was when factions around the SP-army and the Operator's crew, etc. started to pop up--
[18:52] <sean> We actually have a decent sense, I think, of WHETHER something MIGHT be possible; we have more than once put something out without knowing what the solution is, confidence you will find one.
[18:52] <sean> mostly confident.
[18:52] <sean> e.g. this whole damn game depended hugely on darkforge and inio, right? How many phones get answered without them?
[18:52] <jane> We had NO IDEA how you would handle it. We were mesmerized by the fine, subtle negotiations you guys went through, the debates and the strategies for having that while not derailing the larger community
[18:53] <aab_123> Question: Now [Fi], Next[The Bruce]
[18:53] <jane> You guys get big props for doing such interesting things with the ability to "choose sides" and at the same time stickign together. (done)
[18:53] <Fi> Hi guys. My first question is on behalf of Marog, Flidget (both absent), Dan, Adrian, myself and the rest of the London axon-hunters: please could you tell us what happened to our pesky phone! ;) Why did you pick *central* London (with such a high payphone density ;)? Was the phone tested by anyone? And what were the problems that stopped us finally getting it?!
[18:54] <jane> The London phone was found and tested by a team member
[18:54] <jane> We are also very curious about the problems that stopped you from getting it ;)
[18:54] <sean> freaking PAYPHONES, man
[18:54] <sean> daaaaaaaaaammmmmnnnnn
[18:55] <sean> :(
[18:55] * Elan volunteered repeatedly to hand verify that phone....or the ones in Hawaii
[18:55] <Fi> hah! So it shall remain a mystery then? ;)
[18:55] <jane> We'll keep calling it. (next?)
[18:55] <aab_123> Question: Now [The Bruce], Next[Absentee]
[18:55] <thebruce> first I want to say thanks for an amazing arg - it was my first (didn't even know about the Beast until ILB started), and I wish I could have made it to one of the training events to meet & greet some of you. It sucks being stuck in Canada as I'm sure a number of my fellow beekeepers can attest to :) (and Sean? You're also Canadian? :o ), and I hereby dedicate all my lost hours at work to ilovebees :)... I can't wait to finally
[18:55] <thebruce> But anyway, this is for everyone - did anyone ever attempt to 'role play' a beekeeper anonymously? Did you post any memorable messages as a 'beekeeper' pushing us in the right or wrong direction?
[18:56] <sean> no
[18:56] <sean> we don't cheat
[18:56] <Elan> never
[18:56] <jane> no posts
[18:56] <aab_123> fup?
[18:56] <thebruce> awe... flup: Just out of personal curiosity, did you frequent The Axon Plot, and are you following the "Creeeepy..." fan fiction site? :)
[18:57] <jane> I certainly frequented the Axon Plot--
[18:57] <sean> people from the beast will know that we immediately use player reference materials because they are more carefully put together than our own
[18:57] <jane> I wasn't working on the radio drama side and I found that resource EXTREMELY helpful to keeping up with what the rest of the team was doing ;)
[18:57] <sean> spent much time at thebruce refs, but not the fan fic site (yet)
[18:58] <aab_123> Question: Now [Absentee], Next[Scott]
[18:58] <aab_123> Hmmmm.
[18:58] <aab_123> too long :)
[18:58] <aab_123> Question: Now [Scott], Next[So Seoul]
[18:59] <fireball> devolver asks: " Did you get any ideas from reading these boards? For example, I think someone brought up the idea of trying to talk with the SP when Melissa went into her crazy "i love bees" phase at the end of calls. Then, during the next round of axons, that actually worked. Was that always planned?"
[18:59] <aab_123> oh sorry :)
[18:59] <fireball> dammit. just after the buzzer.
[18:59] <fireball> and not the question I meant to past.
[18:59] <fireball> devolver asks: "What was with the phrase "consumate the truth." It seemed to generate a lot of talk, but I'm not sure how important it was. Did Melissa now that Durga shouldn't try to mess with the artifact?"
[19:00] <fireball> (the first question has already been answered.)
[19:00] <Elan> (sean is typing)
[19:01] <sean> I think I'm going to take the 5th on what Melissa's motivations were. When in doubt, ask TuxKamen. His thinking is pretty much mine on most things about this story.
[19:01] <sean> :)
[19:01] <fireball> ok, next Q
[19:01] <Scott> !behold extren proc Scott >> !label "PF >> seeker
[19:02] <Scott> :_)\\)
[19:02] <Scott> At the risk of opening up a spoiler: why is harmony the key? Is it a game refence to be fFound only in Halo2, or something you planned but never had the chance to unveil?
[19:02] <sean> loose-semi end
[19:02] <sean> backstory: they tried a quiet evac on troy
[19:02] <sean> on harmony, they...
[19:02] <sean> didn't
[19:02] <sean> didn't have the political will to NOT evac twice
[19:03] <sean> <whoever said, Coventry in forum was of course right>
[19:03] <sean> BTW
[19:03] <sean> PM interjection
[19:03] <Scott> yow.
[19:03] <Scott> (interjection joke)
[19:04] <sean> ABC world news tonight wants to do a story on the game. Problem: they need moving pictures, cuz it's like, TV. Any chance that if any of you have any you could start a threat with links to which we could point the producer?
[19:04] <sean> carry on with previously scheduled questions. (Um, THREAD)
[19:04] <vpisteve> The PMs have graciously agreed to stay a little longer, so we'll go for another half hour or so. No followups from this point, tho, so as to get to as many questions as possible. Thanks, PMs! :)
[19:05] <aab_123> Question: Now [So Seoul], Next[Wiser]
[19:05] <SoSeoul> Dear PMs, you guys have paved the way for ARGs with your big-budget "blockbuster" projects (much thanks!). What do you think of some of the "indie" or "grassroots" ARGs that you might have seen?
[19:06] <sean> jane writes scholarly articles on these.
[19:06] <jane> First, big picture-- We think the grassroots ARG scene is awesome
[19:06] <sean> We think their existence is COOL. Go jane....
[19:06] <jane> This is a really hands-on medium, anyone's game... and yes, I for one watch all of the indie ones to study YOUR skills and art
[19:07] <jane> And feel like we're all in this together, pushing this forward. (done)
[19:07] <aab_123> Question: Now [Wiser], Next[xnbomb]
[19:07] <Wiser> Since my original question was already answered, I just have a little quick one. How much space was used up on the gmail and hotmail accounts?
[19:07] <jane> Well, gmail shut us down one day for excessive use :)
[19:08] <catherwood> yay!
[19:08] <jane> Also, funny story about the blog:
[19:08] <jane> I have a friend who works for Blogger, and we were IMing one night, and she was telling me stories about this one crazy blog
[19:08] <jane> that no one could understand why it was getting so much attention and traffic--
[19:08] <jane> and everyone at Blogger was trying to figure out what the hell it was :)
[19:08] <jane> So, you guys got their attention. ;)
[19:08] <jane> (done)
[19:09] <aab_123> Question: Now [xnbomb], Next[AdrianHon]
[19:09] <xnbomb> As you conceived the axon aspect of ilovebees, did you consider how the degree of geographic literacy that people have would impact how well the axons would work? Were you concerned that people would have difficulty finding the axons because translating coordinates to a location is a relatively specialized and uncommon skill? Were you impressed (as I was) by the resources that the community developed to help with this? (e.g. inio'
[19:09] <jane> (the payphone locator tool was amazing)
[19:09] <Elan> We were incredibly impressed but not at all surprised.
[19:10] <xnbomb> rest was DarkForge's)
[19:10] <Elan> The early idea was to build a game that everyone could play. The barrier to entry was not what you knew, but where you were. As you guys got better and better at it, it raised the bar for us.
[19:10] <Elan> fup?
[19:10] <aab_123> we've turned off fups
[19:11] <aab_123> Question: Now [AdrianHon], Next[DNico]
[19:11] <vpisteve> :)
[19:11] <Elan> oops
[19:11] <AdrianHon> I've developed a passing interest in ARGs and I heard that you guys have done something in this genre before, so maybe you'll be able to answer this question ;) What do you see as being the future of ARGs? More real life events, more direct player interaction? Will they continue to be mainly marketing-funded, and when do you think they'll really break through to the general public in a big way?
[19:11] <vpisteve> lol
[19:11] <Elan> I instantly don't like this Adrian guy...where did you find him?
[19:11] <sean> the real future of arg's in one word?
[19:11] <sean> MARS
[19:11] <sean> sorry, adrian
[19:11] <sean> :)
[19:11] <AdrianHon> :)
[19:11] <Gupfee> you want I should kick him Elan? ;)
[19:12] <Elan> got anything more extreme? I was thinking we could raid his house
[19:12] <Gupfee> oooh
[19:12] <Lou> cupid's knife?
[19:12] <AdrianHon> Hey, I'm *in* your house right now...
[19:12] * Gupfee checks the british air flights
[19:12] <sean> honestly, who the hell knows? This is the movies, circa 1903. Some of what we are all involved in now is going to be the Future; and some is going to be that thing where they held up big cards while the organ player noodled around
[19:12] <Elan> there's like 4 of us man. We PMs might be wimpy geeks, but we can take you on numbers
[19:13] <jane> (well said, Sean)
[19:13] <aab_123> Question: Now [DNico], Next[G3K]
[19:13] <sean> one more
[19:13] <sean> about adrian's thing
[19:13] <aab_123> sure
[19:13] <sean> there was an arg that started in the 17th century
[19:13] <sean> called "Science"
[19:13] <sean> it's still big
[19:14] <aab_123> Question: Now [G3K], Next[AF]
[19:14] <sean> collaborative puzzle-solving and collective narrative has a future.
[19:14] <sean> I think
[19:14] <sean> next
[19:14] <sean> sorry
[19:14] <sean> rampancy
[19:14] <Lou> please, continue, if you like Sean
[19:14] <sean> n, let's get more points
[19:14] <jane> (Jane demands the zing points for that b/c she told him to say it) pffft ;)
[19:15] <G3K> Since I have a personal interest in this topic ;-) How do you secure a game like this? How do you cover your tracks, and how important is it that no one finds out who you specifically are during the game? (P.S. as far as albums go, release all the live call audio please! :-D)
[19:15] <sean> SCOREBOARD, HONEY
[19:15] <sean> YOU are asking US?
[19:15] <sean> myriad wise-ass
[19:15] <sean> :)
[19:15] <G3K> lol soz
[19:15] <G3K> I did what I could ;-)
[19:16] <G3K> seriously though, how horrible would it be if you had been exposed?
[19:16] <G3K> any contingency plans?
[19:16] <Jim> well, as we've found out the hard way, there is no way to completely cover our tracks... we just put up as many barriers as we can and then run away screaming for our lives.
[19:16] <sean> yeah, it would have been bad. Jane explains...
[19:17] <jane> I don't think it depends on actual lack of knowledge on the players' part... it's about suspension of disbelief, not total cluelessness, you know?
[19:17] <sean> but similarly, suspension of disbelief is easier if you don't see how the ARG (like laws and sausages) is made
[19:17] <jane> We know you guys knew various things at different times... and you have as much responsibility as we do to hold the curtain up. We thank you for that.
[19:17] * jamesi is now known as Guest5952154
[19:17] <jane> (true, Sean. so both sides do their best)
[19:17] <Elan> (just to fill everyone else in. The companies original name was Myriad Entertainment. When I saw "myriad wise men" I shaved my beard and started leaving only leaving the house with a hat and sunglasses.
[19:18] <sean> yeah--thanks to those who know stuff, and elect not to spoil it for others
[19:18] <Elan> much much much thanks :)
[19:18] <sean> next Q?
[19:18] <aab_123> Question: Now [AF], Next[Fi]
[19:18] <AF> Where did you get the idea for using the payphones? It made the game all that more fun to play, despite not making any aside from my personal two. And, it confused my friends when I picked up my cell, listened for a sec, and hung up, so thanks for that experence of tyring to explain it to them!
[19:19] <AF> *trying
[19:19] <sean> elan's idea
[19:19] <Elan> I used to pitch this really simple idea:
[19:20] <Elan> we'd create an updated radio drama and broadcast it over thousands of ringing payphones across the country
[19:20] <Elan> Pick up a phone, listen to a story. (seemed pretty simple when I was pitching it.)
[19:20] <Elan> It was somewhere along the process of physically verifying all the numbers, address to GPS conversion, broken phones, carrier conflicts, voice recognition, busy signals, muted phones, player submitted numbers, unlocking thresholds, and database corruption, that the team started cursing my name
[19:21] <jane> (I LOVE PAYPHONES, I never cursed Elan's name!)
[19:21] <Elan> done
[19:22] <aab_123> aab error.... Question: Now [ether], Next[Rowan]
[19:22] <fireball> ether asks: "I just wanted to thank you guys on a great game, i wish I could have gotten more envolved but school and the Canadian Border sort of stopped me from doing it (Border: So, let me get this straight, you have to urgently get into new york to answer an incoming phone call from an AI operator who is stuck in the past... sure buddy). Anyway, just wondering if you are going to be able to get DVDs out to us Canadians"
[19:23] <Elan> We're working on a plan to try (and try and try) to mail out DVDs to all those who couldn't be at a live event. There's all kinds of fun issues that I won't bore you with, but it's something that's really important to the whole team, and we'll really try our best.
[19:24] <Elan> done
[19:24] <fireball> next Q
[19:24] <aab_123> Question: Now [Rowan], Next[343_guilty_spark]
[19:24] <Rowan> Did it surprise you that it took the Halo Forums so much longer to catch onto the fact that www.ilovebees.com showed up in the Halo Trailer - that they didn't notice it in the theatres but in the high-res version on the net?
[19:25] <Jim> a few of them did notice in the theaters... but the flood happened as soon as the high-res version went online.
[19:25] <Elan> <shameless but true flattery> you guys are just way better at this sort of thing then they are.
[19:26] <sean> WERE
[19:26] <jane> (we loved the early reports in #beekeepers when a few of you found the trailer at theaters and no one believed the reports) :)
[19:26] <sean> they are all YOU now
[19:26] <Elan> We did all we could to make the game fun for everyone, but as far as starting the viral trail, we knew we should rely on the community that loves to dive into this sort of thing.
[19:27] <Elan> done
[19:27] <aab_123> Question: Now [343_guilty_spark], Next[lilserf]
[19:27] <_343_GuiltySpark> Oh. Hello. You seem to have become quite proficient with handling unexpected questions. You are good planners.
[19:27] <_343_GuiltySpark> As for the question. "I'm going to sleep" turned into "!grope pillow". "* _343_Guilty_Spark floats away" turned into "evade evade". How do you feel about Flea++ apparently becoming a geek-trendy lingo, similarly to 1337speak? Do you not fear that, at some point, you shall do what Terry Pratchett did about his "the hedgehog cannot be buggered at all" songs - that is, say "what have we done!?" ?
[19:28] <sean> !behold Jim
[19:28] <sean> ...
[19:28] <sean> hm
[19:28] <Jim> I'm honestly amazed and honored and generally happy as all get out about how much fun people have had with Flea-speak...
[19:28] <sean> slow typing
[19:29] <Jim> !sean :P
[19:29] <Jim> done
[19:29] <aab_123> Question: Now [lilserf], Next[Nobodyman]
[19:29] <lilserf> You briefly mentioned this as the "Ender's Game" aspect -- what was the motivation for the outcome of the text marker/SP hunt "puzzle?" How did you feel about the response when the community worked so hard for those markers, only to find we'd unwittingly killed the SP?
[19:30] <sean> i for one tried not to read the boards.
[19:30] <jane> We were glad you appreciated the dark irony of it.
[19:31] <Elan> We knew we had to get there eventually, and thought this would be a fun way to do it. (seemed better than making one person the bad guy)
[19:31] <sean> we tried to honor the thing by planting the elements reasonably carefully
[19:31] <sean> you knew dana was helping her get the sp
[19:31] <sean> etc.
[19:31] <jane> (The quotes were from Tristram Shandy--
[19:31] <jane> which Dana revealed VERY early in the game was her favorite book--
[19:32] <jane> it was possible you guys could have realized that you were aiding Dana, which you knew was all about capturing the SP, and revolt...)
[19:32] <jane> (done)
[19:32] <aab_123> Question: Now [Nobodyman], Next[Troy_McClure]
[19:32] <fireball> HitsHerMark remarks: "If somebody could let them know that I'm sorry for any stress or trouble I caused concerning the note I found taped to one of my axons..."
[19:32] <fireball> damn my paste buffer.
[19:32] <fireball> Nobodyman asks: "·Where there any aspects of the game that you were hoping to have that were ultimately scrapped? Any painful sacrifices?"
[19:32] <sean> we take care of our crew
[19:32] <sean> no problem
[19:32] <krystyn> :)
[19:33] <Elan> I wanted to end the game (chapter 12) by crosswiring all the characters chatters to the payphones. All the live calls were supposed to be with Kamal, Jan, Jersey, etc.
[19:33] <krystyn> !
[19:33] <Elan> ya...would have been nice.
[19:34] <Elan> next?
[19:34] <aab_123> Question: Now [Troy_McClure], Next[Gemini]
[19:34] <Lou> Scoring update from the folks in #beekeepers: Sean: 18 Elan: 7 Jane: 5 Jim: 4 Beekeepers: 11
[19:34] <Elan> quick note: THANKS TO THE MODS!! (you guys rock for putting this together.)
[19:34] <Troy_McClure> Hi, Troy here, speaking for Team Boise, we would all first like to say thanks for the great game, it was amazing on all accounts, and me personally for actually taking the time to talk to me on the phone :D, (sadly i never got to speak with jane though :O) and sean for including the "Hi I'm Troy McClure..." thing
[19:34] <Troy_McClure> Now for the question, Did any of the communities actiosn end up causing a large rewrite of the script (weephun etc), what was the longest most paniked night of the game? (i apologize if this is trout... i had to take off for 30 minutes)
[19:34] <jane> (jane will send honey to the scorekeeper is he gives her the edge over Elan, at least)
[19:35] <Jim> !splotch score
[19:35] <sean> boise is so trolling for the love
[19:35] <sean> geeeeeez
[19:35] <sean> yes, it's true
[19:35] <Troy_McClure> hehe
[19:35] <Troy_McClure> we love you... what else is there to do in boise?
[19:35] <sean> rewriting the whole How the Hell do we Rescue the Princess thing is pretty damn close, anyway
[19:35] <Elan> hahahahahahaha
[19:36] <sean> Every thursday night was the longest most panicked point of the game.
[19:36] <Elan> ya, that was a fortunate coincidence of events. Needed to find something to do with Perdita's story, needed a fun activity for live chat, needed to entertain the larger community who couldn't answer phones. We spent a lot of time putting that together.
[19:36] <jane> Getting the phone schedule ready for 1400+ calls in 3 hours on 10/31 was my most longest tiredest night(s)
[19:37] <Elan> JANE RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[19:37] <sean> next
[19:37] <sean> ?
[19:37] <aab_123> Question: Now[Gemini], Next: Closing statements.
[19:37] <Gemini> First, thanks for the great ride. Hopefully Halo 2 will be this good. Question: How was the geographic distribution of axons determined, and did the scouts visit every axon before it was called?
[19:37] <jane> We started with about 70/30 split on scouted axons and nonscouted axons...
[19:38] <jane> The geographic distribution was designed two ways:
[19:38] <jane> First, we wanted axons is places where we thought players would be... second, we put axons in places we thought were cool, interesting, or might be fun to go visit...
[19:38] <jane> Big props to our two most traveling axon scouts, Kiyash and Ronnie
[19:38] <jane> who got speeding tickets, weird looks, jet lag etc. in their herculean efforts to travel all over the country
[19:39] <jane> (done)
[19:39] <vpisteve> Great questions everyone....Can you all give us any closing comments you'd like?
[19:40] <sean> I want to say, nothing like this happens because of 4 people. I had three other writers on the project, Maureen McHugh, Alex Irvine, and Wil McCarthy.
[19:40] <sean> They rocked. Jesse and Bob and the crew at mixmagic rocked. Kristen rocked EXTREMELY HARD.
[19:40] <sean> and several of those people are going to drop by #beekeepers nowish.
[19:40] <sean> and:
[19:40] <jane> I want to say, publicly, that being invited onto this project by Elan, Sean, and Jim was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. And watching you guys was the greatest show on Earth.
[19:40] <sean> to all ILB
[19:40] <sean> Thanks
[19:40] <Elan> love
[19:41] <Elan> I’ve gotten a lot of mail in the last few days saying “thanks for the game”. It cracks me up. You guys ARE THE GAME. We build a room, put up streamers and keep our fingers crossed. When you guys show up, you bring life with you. It was amazing to watch. Getting the chance to play with people smarter than I am is my favorite part.
[19:41] <sean> we love you...
[19:41] <jane> (watching you guys play and rock the world of ILB, I mean-- you made it come to life)
[19:41] * catherwood is gonna cry
[19:41] <sean> ...godbye
[19:41] <Elan> I know there's a bunch more questions....happy to respond to anything I can....elanlee@hotmail.com
[19:41] <jane> Yes, in conclusion, we always slept well at night knowing you guys could handle anything.
[19:41] * Giskard is now known as Gisk[a]rd
[19:42] <jane> (except we never actually slept at night)
[19:42] <vpisteve> Just to announce, we're putting together a Call-in Conference call for next Saturday with Elan and the voice actors. Watch unfiction for details....
[19:42] <vpisteve> similar to this chat, but on the phone. you know phones?
[19:42] * krystyn shakes fist at steve.
[19:42] <vpisteve> OK, we're out of time, so that'll have to wrap it up for the moderated chat. I'd like to express my sincere thanks to the PMs for taking the time to be here, and thanks to the mods for doing a great job facilitating this. Thanks for coming everyone. PMs will now join you in #beekeepers :)
[19:42] <Lou> Final scoring from #bk: Sean: 18 Elan: 7 Jane: 777 Jim: 4 Beekeepers: 11
[19:42] <aab_123> Thanks to everyone that was on my list to ask questions, and sorry to those of you that didn't get to ask. Hopefully the PMs will answer your question in #bk
[19:42] <jane> w00t!
[19:43] <Jim> jim > !score recurse
[19:43] <Elan> thanks guys!
[19:43] <Jim> thanks everyone!
[19:43] <jane> thank you, moderators
[19:43] <Lou> Jane, bribery always works
[19:43] <sean> thanks and good night
[19:43] <jane> 'night.

See Also

A [1] between:

  • Yuri Lowenthal - Yuri/Kamal
  • Kristen Rutherford - Kristen/Melissa/SP/Durga
  • Jane McGonigal - Jane/Dana
  • Tara Platt - Tara/Genie/various
  • Sean Stewart - Sean/writer/designer