Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Dateline Oct 1, 2002: Second State: Part 1 of Newbie Chat from 9/30/02

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

We had a very interesting chat with a couple of the characters from the Search For Ed Sobian on The full chat transcript can be found at [link forwards to].

Posted here is an edited transcript. I’ve cleaned out some of the noise, untangled the threads, fixed a couple of typos and spelled out some the the TLA’s (three letter acronyms).

[18:45] [TCPHeather] I see you
[18:45] [FrankenPaula] ok
[18:45] [wb] Yes
[18:45] [FrankenPaula] aah great!
[18:46] * FrankenPaula cheers
[18:46] [TCPHeather] This is SO late-90’s!
[18:46] [TCPHeather] A/S/L
[18:46] [TCPHeather] lol
[18:46] [FrankenPaula] lol
[18:46] [TCPHeather] sorry
[18:46] [FrankenPaula] having flashbacks? :)
[18:46] [KradDrol] heh
[18:46] [TCPHeather] Totally
[18:46] [wb] Are you there too Lars?
[18:47] [TCPHeather] Lars is here, but he’s running around
[18:47] [TCPHeather] lol he just waved
[18:47] * FrankenPaula waves back
[18:49] [beth] Hi everyone!
[18:49] [lars] HIII Beth!Q!!!
[18:49] [FrankenPaula] lol
[18:50] [TCPHeather] Aw, man, Beth- Lars just squealed
[18:50] [TCPHeather] I think I’m jealous
[18:50] [beth] I’m a big fan of Lars! Hi Lars!
[18:51] [TCPHeather] I’m open to pretty much anything. I wear a size 7 and a half shoe.
[18:51] * FrankenPaula makes note of Heather’s shoe size
[18:51] [FrankenPaula] lol
[18:51] [TCPHeather] It’s important
[18:51] [TCPHeather] lol
[18:51] [taxicafe] CLUE!
[18:51] [TCPHeather] Shall I meantion one is slightly larger than the other?
[18:53] [lars] HIII Beth!Q!!!
[18:56] [TCPHeather] I have a headache already!
[18:56] [taxicafe] too much hair dye?
[18:56] [taxicafe] :)
[18:56] [TCPHeather] Hey! That ain’t smurfy!
[18:56] [TCPHeather] :)
[19:01] [TCPHeather] Did you know ostrich is technically red meat?
[19:01] [TCPHeather] Good to know!
[19:01] [Mootwo] yum.

[19:01] [taxicafe] While we wait to get started Lemme cover a few things from teh CD admin side of things
[19:02] [taxicafe] For the few of you who may have never visited Collective Detective before: Welcome!
[19:02] [taxicafe] Our Second State case appears to already have the second largest community of those searching for the missing Mr. Sobian
[19:02] [Frappster] Who is first?
[19:03] [taxicafe] Second State is an OPEN case meaning it’s free to join and use the Case resources
[19:03] [taxicafe] We will also be inroducing the PM Permission slip in the next day or so
[19:04] [taxicafe] Which we have just added in options to allow organizations like True Crime Press the option of using posts, quotes, and other materials on CD
[19:04] [taxicafe] if you so opt-in
[19:05] [taxicafe] I understand that was a bit of an issue that needed some resolution, and we’re glad to help the search out in any way
[19:05] [taxicafe] I thank Ms. Hawkins for taking some time out to chat with us
[19:05] [TCPHeather] Cool… we’ll check that out!
[19:05] [taxicafe] and with that will turn everything over to our OPs and to Ms Hawkins
[19:06] [FrankenPaula] thanks taxi
[19:06] * taxicafe gets off soapbox

[19:06] [FrankenPaula] ok, since this seems to be an orderly group, we’ll start off in un-moderated mode
[19:06] [TCPHeather] *applause*
[19:06] [FrankenPaula] one person at a time can ask a question, and heather will answer
[19:06] [TCPHeather] Sounds good to me
[19:06] [FrankenPaula] if it gets too busy with many people speaking at once, we’ll go into moderated mode
[19:06] [TCPHeather] Not a problem so far
[19:06] [TCPHeather] lol
[19:07] [FrankenPaula] we’ll just moderate lars, you never know what he’ll say icon_smile.gif
[19:07] [TCPHeather] Yeah, really
[19:07] [TCPHeather] he’s looking for my glasses

[19:08] [FrankenPaula] Heather, i have a question that i think many newcommers might be thinking
[19:08] [TCPHeather] OK, shoot!
[19:08] [FrankenPaula] there’s a lot of information out there already, we’ve been searching for Ed for many months
[19:09] [FrankenPaula] will TCP try to find a way to summarize some of the most important information for the newcommers?
[19:09] [FrankenPaula] i’ve heard from a lot of people that they feel overwhelmed because of all the info that’s out there
[19:09] [SuperguyA1] I’d like to get involved, but I hfeel really behind
[19:09] [TCPHeather] Yes, when we relaunch the website, we will have things organized in a much clearer manner
[19:09] [TCPHeather] I know before I came to TCP, in my first few interviews here, I felt SO overwhelmend
[19:10] [TCPHeather] I just wanted to call editors and say “Hey, have you read this book? Write about it!”
[19:10] [TCPHeather] I think we can all see that this goes FAR beyond your average book publisher’s area of expertise
[19:10] [TCPHeather] so you can see why things might be a bit bumpy at times
[19:11] [TCPHeather] Personally, I go to to get up to date
[19:11] [TCPHeather] lol
[19:11] [FrankenPaula] lol
[19:11] [FrankenPaula] thanks :)
[19:11] [TCPHeather] Once we get the site redesigned and launched, though, hopefully we’ll give a run for your money. icon_smile.gif

[19:11] [FrankenPaula] is that still on track for OCtober 15?
[19:11] [TCPHeather] It’s getting better… like I said, just takes time.
[19:12] [TCPHeather] A big meeting is coming up Thursday
[19:13] [TCPHeather] We’re outilining everything… I have to talk to them about some other stuff that happened in relation to the Lars sitaution this past week.
[19:13] [TCPHeather] Stuff like that.
[19:13] [TCPHeather] Our tech guys are coming in for that and will outline all the dates.

[19:13] [FrankenPaula] the lars situation? details! icon_smile.gif
[19:13] [TCPHeather] Well, you know about the registration thing already
[19:14] [FrankenPaula] oh right
[19:14] [TCPHeather] But Maggie Stein has just been… well… I’ll bite my tongue

[19:14] [Cortana] the registration thing?
[19:14] [Cortana] (sorrry n00b question)
[19:14] [FrankenPaula] the registration was delayed because lars mis-mailed some documents
[19:14] [Cortana] Oh. nm.
[19:14] [TCPHeather] Yeah, I had Lars faxing stuff all day and he got confused and didn’t stick a stamp on it.
[19:14] [TCPHeather] Cuz faxes don’t need stamps- easy mistake to make.

[19:14] [beth] No, tell all Heather! What’s with Maggie Stein?
[19:14] [beth] We hear she’s “difficult”
[19:15] [TCPHeather] Personally, I think jealous is more the word.
[19:15] [beth] Does Maggie have a crush on Lars or on you?
[19:15] [TCPHeather] This is Lars’ first job out of modeling school
[19:15] [FrankenPaula] oh, bravo Lars!
[19:15] [TCPHeather] she needs to cut him a break

[19:15] [taxicafe] TCPHeather] How about some introductions and background for those of us new to all of this?
[19:15] [headmocker] how about WHO is Maggie Stein?
[19:16] [TCPHeather] I’ll start with me: I’m the publicity Director for TCP
[19:16] [TCPHeather] My name is Heather Hawkins, in the past I’ve worked with Sega doing the launch of Dreamcast
[19:16] [TCPHeather] and also in the music biz
[19:16] [headmocker] and TCP is….?
[19:16] [taxicafe] TCP == True Crime Press right
[19:16] [TCPHeather] with The White Stripe, The Gorillaz, Aimee MAnn, etc.
[19:16] [TCPHeather] Lars is on the chat, too.
[19:16] [TCPHeather] He’s my assistant
[19:17] [TCPHeather] Maggie Stien is not here (thank god!) She’s a lawyer who looks over our press releases and stuff sometimes.
[19:17] [TCPHeather] *Stein
[19:17] [TCPHeather] God forbid I spell her name wrong.
[19:17] [headmocker] eeew, lawyers
[19:17] [TCPHeather] I know. *roll eyes*
[19:17] [Cortana] hey, lawyers ARE necessary…
[19:17] [TCPHeather] A necessary evil, perhaps
[19:18] [TCPHeather] Really, I’ve known some hot lawyers in my day. They make for good conversation.
[19:18] [TCPHeather] lol

[19:18] [taxicafe] Is TCP concerned with the Holiday season effecting the investigation as people become distracted with Holiday type things?
[19:19] [TCPHeather] Um… we would certainly hope that people will make time in their holiday activities to help us locate a missing man.
[19:20] [TCPHeather] You know… turkey, mistletoe, e…

[19:20] *** oysterlass has joined #live
[19:20] [TCPHeather] Oh no!
[19:20] [Frappster] heh.

[19:20] [Cortana] The “beta” of Second State rewarded its members with prizes with serious value, does TCP intend to reward the members for playing the main campaign?
[19:20] [TCPHeather] We understand that there is more to be found, yes.

[19:20] [Frappster] Why the blue hair?
[19:21] [TCPHeather] The blue hair?
[19:21] [TCPHeather] Have you ever been to a “rave.”

[19:21] *** oysterlass has quit IRC (Quit: Today is a good day to chat.)
[19:21] [FrankenPaula] Oystlerass?
[19:22] [FrankenPaula] i didn’t see her come in
[19:22] [TCPHeather] Thank goodness!
[19:22] [FrankenPaula] was she here the entire time?
[19:22] [TCPHeather] I think she wants to hire Lars

[19:20] [Cortana] How do you expect the offering of prizes will affect collaboration?
[19:21] * FrankenPaula waves her antique keys in front of KradDrol
[19:21] [TCPHeather] The calendar that we uncovered indicates that the same conditions that existed when E found the money and the investigators found the items will exist 12 more times this year.
[19:21] [FrankenPaula] there’s even one for Dec 24, for a very merry christmas icon_smile.gif
[19:21] [TCPHeather] Yeah, tough night

[19:22] [Cortana] Heather, do you believe that prizes will encourage or discourage working together?
[19:22] [TCPHeather] but I digress…
[19:22] [TCPHeather] Well, it’s hard to tell.
[19:23] [TCPHeather] I mean, we’re all in this together. We have been from the start.
[19:23] [FrankenPaula] speaking as a community member, I haven’t seen any competetiveness or problems with that
[19:23] [TCPHeather] I guess the knowledge that there might be items of value to be found… I don’t know.
[19:23] [FrankenPaula] though that can always change
[19:23] [TCPHeather] It will be interesting for sure!
[19:23] [headmocker] FP: did you know about the prizes before you found them?
[19:23] [KradDrol] we’ve seen some form of that with Push.
[19:24] [FrankenPaula] we figured after the first one that there might be more
[19:24] [TCPHeather] I thought the first group did a great job of helping each other the first time the bank opened
[19:24] [TCPHeather] Sometimes, you need to work together, you know?

[19:24] [wb] Heather, how exactly would you characterize the relationship between True Crime Press and Oysterlass?
[19:24] [TCPHeather] Oysterlass?
[19:25] [TCPHeather] Well, I bought a Search4E BBQ aporon from her, and it was of the utmost quality!
[19:25] *** oysterlass has joined #live
[19:25] [FrankenPaula] she’s selling bbq aprons?
[19:25] [TCPHeather] She’s just a junk peddler looking to make a dime as best I can tell
[19:26] *** oysterlass has quit IRC (Quit: Today is a good day to chat.)

[19:25] [beth] For confused newbies, stop by and
[19:26] [beth] after the chat, ok?
[19:26] [beth] They will help you

[19:26] [TCPHeather] I’ll give another shout-out to
[19:26] [beth] make sense of all the names and stuff.

[19:26] *** oysterlass has joined #live
[19:26] [FrankenPaula] having problems Oysterlass?
[19:26] [TCPHeather] Dang, that kid who lives behind her must be at soccer practice or something.
[19:26] [FrankenPaula] lol
[19:27] [taxicafe] Gotta keep the browser window open :)
[19:27] [TCPHeather] Always the sign of a quality business when a person can’t even get onto the internet.
[19:27] [TCPHeather] lol
[19:28] [oysterlass] problems? huh? I never claimed to be technical.

[19:27] [beth] Oysterlass, would you like to introduce yourself to all these newbies?
[19:27] * Frappster swoons over Oysterlass.

[19:28] [FrankenPaula] ok for the nOObs, Oysterlass is a mysterious, beloved, junk dealer who often seems to have inside knowledge on what’s going on

[19:28] [dme] yeah, i was wondering if we newbies were expected to know about all the in-game websites already discovered or if they will be ‘rediscovered’ through the course of the real game? hope that made sense

[19:29] [oysterlass] hey wait a second — I’m still trying to figure this out.
[19:29] [oysterlass] oh, i get it. you just type.
[19:29] [TCPHeather] Lordy, bring in the clowns!
[19:30] [oysterlass] where is andy when I really need him?
[19:30] [FrankenPaula] welcome Oysterlass!
[19:30] [TCPHeather] but, lord if I know where to start! lol
[19:30] [FrankenPaula] at soccer practice?
[19:30] [oysterlass] thanks. paula…
[19:30] [oysterlass] nah, with his girlfriend. cute.

[19:28] [wb] Heather, can you explain how the search for Ed began?
[19:28] [TCPHeather] The Search4e began when James Pitt, a true crime writer, approached us when his neighbor, E, dissapeared under mysterious circumstances.
[19:29] [headmocker] please do assume that none of us have ever even heard of Second State or Ed Sobian before tonight.
[19:30] [TCPHeather] See above… James Pitt asked us to help.
[19:30] [oysterlass] james pitt asked for help with PR, you mean, to revive his lagging career.
[19:31] [TCPHeather] No, a man is missing, didn’t you see the press conference?
[19:31] [oysterlass] asking who?
[19:31] [oysterlass] you sound like James Pit… a mmaaaaan is miiissssingggggg
[19:31] [TCPHeather] Exactly
[19:31] [beth] “Ed” is known as “E” because it came out during the investigation
[19:31] [oysterlass] nothing in this world is exact
[19:31] [TCPHeather] didn;t you see the sheer emotion on his face?!
[19:31] [oysterlass] yes, so sheer I could see right through it
[19:32] [beth] that he’s also Emil Sobiak and Eric something. Many aliases
[19:32] [TCPHeather] That’s not about PR, that’s about EMOTION!
[19:32] [TCPHeather] Eric Sobel
[19:32] [oysterlass] I like that: ES: Eric Something
[19:32] [TCPHeather] (For those of you wondering, there is a Press COnference available for viewing at

[19:32] [FrankenPaula] ol, why are you interested in this search?
[19:32] [oysterlass] there are many different kinds of emotions in this world. Need to succeed is one of them.
[19:32] [TCPHeather] So is need for glasses
[19:33] [TCPHeather] where the heck is LArs?!
[19:33] [oysterlass] Me? why? For the sheer fun (as opposed to sheer emotion) of it.

[19:33] [oysterlass] Paula, why are you so interested?
[19:33] [FrankenPaula] purely out of the goodness of my heart
[19:33] [FrankenPaula] i weep for Ed Sobian :)
[19:33] [oysterlass] brava regazza
[19:33] [TCPHeather] Oysterlass would like to sell you a lovely line of Search4e Tea Cozies
[19:33] [carlitoxxi] Grande OL!
[19:34] [oysterlass] ma guarda! che bella!

[19:34] [beth] Maggie Stein is James Pitt’s lawyer. Does she also work for True Crime Press?
[19:34] [beth] TCP is James’s Publisher
[19:34] [oysterlass] Fa una bella marinara!
[19:34] [TCPHeather] No, but we use her sometimes
[19:34] [TCPHeather] She’s like our out-of-house, in-house counsel

[19:34] [FrankenPaula] Heather, do you plan on having the press conferences on a regular basis?
[19:34] [oysterlass] House. yeah, House of Ill Repute
[19:34] [TCPHeather] Until Lars finishes law school
[19:34] [TCPHeather] lol
[19:35] [TCPHeather] Whenever necessary, yes.
[19:35] [oysterlass] Law school? The guy can’t spell his way out of a papur bag!
[19:35] [FrankenPaula] Lars in law school? LOL
[19:35] [oysterlass] That was a joke, get it: papur
[19:35] [TCPHeather] I’m sorry… what are you saying about Lars?

[19:35] [oysterlass] Heather, is it true that Maggie Stein mixes potions in her office?
[19:36] [oysterlass] me? About Lars? Just questioning the gray matter.
[19:36] [TCPHeather] I think she mixes two products together to deal with her sebborhea dematitis
[19:36] [oysterlass] That’s why she’s always scratching
[19:36] [TCPHeather] And it explains the odd anti-fungal stench

[19:36] [beth] Dana Bruno is an investigative reporter who
[19:36] [beth] got involved in the case by reading news stories and
[19:36] [beth] contacted James Pitt. Heather, have you
[19:36] [beth] done background checks on Dana and James?
[19:37] [oysterlass] Who has?
[19:37] [TCPHeather] Other than the pre-press-conference lunch, no
[19:37] [TCPHeather] Can I just say… those two can drink us ALL under the table!
[19:37] [oysterlass] Dana Bruno is an investigative reporter who.
[19:38] [TCPHeather] She’s a reporter who we brought under our unbrella to provide a third-party account of the goings-on
[19:39] [TCPHeather] Dana does her homework… sometimes, though, I wonder where she gets the homework she does.

[19:37] [wb] I understood from the press conference that there are now other people missing. Is that correct?
[19:38] [TCPHeather] Yes, relating to a professor at UC Berkeley
[19:38] [oysterlass] who is this Klaus Schneider fellow? Berkeley == hey, I saw the press conference.
[19:39] [TCPHeather] Not sure of the details on that

[19:39] [oysterlass] What I’d like to know is why Maggie Stein is continually trying to intimidate me. heather?
[19:39] [TCPHeather] She’s trying to prevent you from profiting on a poor missing man.
[19:40] [oysterlass] I think she doesn’t get it — free enterprise and all that.
[19:40] [TCPHeather] Can I request a Search4e shotglass?
[19:40] [TCPHeather] Free enterprise is one thing… interfering is another.
[19:40] [oysterlass] why not? I’ll get my glassblower on it tomorrow.

[19:40] [FrankenPaula] ok anybody other than Oysterlass have any questions? :)

[19:40] [wb] So Ed disappeared along with $666,000?
[19:41] [TCPHeather] Yes… he transfered $666,000 out of Banco Isla Hellabourous
[19:41] [TCPHeather] into his own account
[19:41] [TCPHeather] shortly before leaving Genetech West

[19:41] [taxicafe] This isn’t connected to $1.045 Million stolen by a fat naked guy in Nevada right?
[19:41] [TCPHeather] I’m no investigator, though… I just do PR.
[19:42] [oysterlass] Which fat naked gy?
[19:42] [FrankenPaula] in Push, NV :)
[19:42] [TCPHeather] I’ll call Toyota on my Sprint cellphone and ask!

[19:42] [Frappster] Is the money still in E’s account?
[19:42] [TCPHeather] If I had access to E’s account, I wouldn’t be here, would I?

[19:42] [wb] What is the most immediate thing investigators should do once they register?
[19:42] [TCPHeather] Get up to date on the story, I would say
[19:43] [TCPHeather] considering there are people new to this

[19:43] [wb] Are their any outstanding problems that need attention right away?
[19:43] [TCPHeather] the oldbees can requaint themselves
[19:43] [TCPHeather] If I knew this, wouldn’t I be attending to them?
[19:43] * FrankenPaula recommmends that newbies get a good latin dictionary
[19:43] [wb] I thought you’re a PR person, not an investigator.
[19:43] [TCPHeather] Honestly, you guys know more about the intricacies of the investigation than I do
[19:43] [oysterlass] oysterlass recommends that newbies visit the junkyard… often
[19:44] [FrankenPaula] i think wb was asking if there’s any parts of the investigation that we should be focusing on more?
[19:44] [TCPHeather] Seriously, I want a good book to promote
[19:44] [TCPHeather] I’m being totally forthcoming with you.
[19:44] [TCPHeather] You guys have been making great progress

[19:44] [wb] OL, about that skull…
[19:44] [oysterlass] The skull, the skull. I’m looking right at it as we speak.

[19:45] [beth] So Heather, what drew you to TCP? Did you come directly from Sega?
[19:45] [TCPHeather] Nope, I was working for a company called Girlie Action
[19:45] [TCPHeather] A music PR/Marketing firm
[19:45] [Cortana] LOL
[19:45] [TCPHeather] they laid me off. Second lay-off in two years
[19:45] [TCPHeather] I decided to try a change of pace.

[19:45] [oysterlass] Heather, would you consider doing PR for me?
[19:46] [TCPHeather] I think that would be a conflict of interest
[19:46] [oysterlass] That’s okay, I have a lot of qualified applicants.
[19:46] [TCPHeather] and Lars has been warned, too.

[19:46] [Frappster] Girlie Action has some cool clients
[19:46] [TCPHeather] Indeed, they do.
[19:46] [TCPHeather] The music industry, however, is a horrible place for anyone who actually likes music.

[19:46] [FrankenPaula] OL, have you decided on a PR person yet?
[19:46] [FrankenPaula] Oysterlass recently asked for proposals from community members to become her PR person
[19:47] [oysterlass] Well… I ‘m leaning in the direction of Beth.
[19:47] [FrankenPaula] yay beth!
[19:47] * taxicafe ^5s beth
[19:47] [beth] Woo hoo! I’ll make you a star, baby!
[19:47] [oysterlass] Her proposal was the simplest. And I’m such a complex person.
[19:47] [oysterlass] Beth!! Way to go!!!
[19:48] * wb is jealous
[19:48] [wb] You can use my syndicated column idea. No charge.
[19:48] [oysterlass] WB, don’t be jealous. If I were a simpler person, I would have gone with you.
[19:48] [beth] She meant that as a compliment, wb
[19:48] [oysterlass] Thanks, WB
[19:48] [oysterlass] Yeah, it just came out wrong.
[19:49] [wb] it’s ok. I’m sure I’ll find a way to fill my time. :)
[19:49] [beth] See, I’m on the job already: )
[19:49] [oysterlass] Va bene, Carlito.
[19:49] [oysterlass] WB, maybe you can be beth’s consultant

[19:49] * FrankenPaula wonders of Lars needs a pr person

[19:49] [TCPHeather] Oysterlass, can you please forward me a street address for you?
[19:49] [TCPHeather] I need it for my files.
[19:50] [TCPHeather] Email it to , please
[19:50] [TCPHeather] thanks
[19:50] [oysterlass] A street address? So you can pass it along to Maggie Stein. And I can be… served?

[19:50] [FrankenPaula] what would you like to know intherafters?
[19:50] [intherafters] well, i guess i’m kind of lost….
[19:50] [intherafters] so this ed guy is missing….
[19:50] [intherafters] and who is he?
[19:50] [TCPHeather] Organization, you know
[19:50] [intherafters] and why are the police not handling it?
[19:50] [TCPHeather] I got a new Palm Pilot
[19:50] [TCPHeather] The police don’t care
[19:50] [oysterlass] Ask James. Police blew him off.
[19:50] [FrankenPaula] he’s a former hacker, he managed to steal some money from an online bank belonging to the Templars, and now he’s missing
[19:51] [TCPHeather] apparently, James Pitt went to them and they said he was just a drifter
[19:51] [intherafters] *thank you, FP*
[19:51] [oysterlass] But the police think he’s on vacation or something
[19:51] [beth] taxi: If I were new I would read
[19:51] [beth] to get the official story
[19:51] [oysterlass] But the police don’t care boo hoo
[19:51] [beth] Then I’d read to get some of the secret stuff

[19:51] [TCPHeather] Has his place been rented yet?
[19:52] [FrankenPaula] yes it has Heather
[19:52] [TCPHeather] Man, I was thinking I could rent me a summer home. No dice.

[19:51] [oysterlass] If I were new I’d come to OL Junkyard
[19:51] [beth] Then I’d subscribe to
[19:52] [beth] And then I’d visit Oysterlass junkyard every day
[19:52] [beth] And be sure to join the Raw Bar forum
[19:52] [oysterlass] yeah
[19:52] [beth] It’s where the *most* valuable information
[19:52] [oysterlass] Doin’ your job, Beth!
[19:52] [beth] and tastiest recipes are dished out
[19:52] [FrankenPaula] and be sure to come hang out in #secondstate and ask us tons of questions whenever you feel lost
[19:53] [oysterlass] and look at James’ depositions. Sheer… sheer.
[19:53] [intherafters] ok, so websites, another forum…. is that it?
[19:53] [FrankenPaula] no need to shout about it :)
[19:53] [beth] You can find links to lots of websites that will be useful
[19:53] [oysterlass] WHOOPS.
[19:53] [beth] but will lead you through
[19:53] [beth] slowly and you’ll have links to all the sites
[19:53] [FrankenPaula] turn off your caps lock pearlgirl :)
[19:54] [TCPHeather] Big ups!!
[19:54] [oysterlass] sorry, I just got so excited.
[19:54] [TCPHeather] She’s getting winded.

[19:54] [beth] And let’s mention is the work of our friend FrankenPaula
[19:54] * FrankenPaula takes a bow
[19:54] [TCPHeather] Yay for FP!
[19:54] [taxicafe] Hurrah for FP
[19:55] * wb ^5s FP
[19:55] [FrankenPaula] :)

[19:54] [wb] Also, Collective Detective is allowing all members free and unlmited access to the Second State Case. There are some really nice organizational tools available.
[19:54] [taxicafe] Hurrah for CD

[19:55] [beth] Oh, and visit my site for puzzles we’ve solved
[19:55] [beth] and how we did it
[19:55] [beth]

[19:55] [TCPHeather] Where is Lars with my glasses? I can’t do this much longer!
[19:55] [oysterlass] I can sell you a pair of glasses
[19:56] [FrankenPaula] lol
[19:56] [TCPHeather] I have astigmatism
[19:56] [taxicafe] Heather] Anytime you’re eyes beging to bleed, let us know and we can wrap up
[19:56] [oysterlass] I have a stigmata.
[19:56] [beth] In your eye? We can promote that!
[19:56] [taxicafe] OL] That’s when you HANDS begin to bleed
[19:56] [TCPHeather] OL is Christ Himself?
[19:56] [TCPHeather] Good to know
[19:56] [oysterlass] in my hands, in my eyes. whereever.
[19:56] [TCPHeather] I’ll put that in my palm pilot
[19:56] [taxicafe] Now THAT’s an investigation
[19:56] [TCPHeather] along with your street address…
[19:56] [oysterlass] I wouldn’t go that far.
[19:57] [TCPHeather] …which you are emailing me, correct?
[19:57] [oysterlass] me?
[19:57] [beth] Heather, I really don’t see why you need OL’s address
[19:57] [carlitoxxi] My pleasure Heater and Lars icon_smile.gif
[19:57] [oysterlass] carlito, ciao bello
[19:57] [taxicafe] That’s she’s emailing you… correct?
[19:57] [beth] You know you can communicate with her online.
[19:57] [TCPHeather] It’s just on my list of things to do
[19:57] [beth] I think that’s good enough
[19:57] [beth] So you can cross it off your list, ok?
[19:58] [TCPHeather] It’s so impersonal, though
[19:58] [FrankenPaula] OL, maybe she wants to send you a christmas card
[19:58] [TCPHeather] Is this a “my people call your people” thing
[19:58] [beth] I disagree. I think online is very personal

[19:59] [oysterlass] uh-oh. closing in on me, here under the Brooklyn Bridge.
[19:59] [oysterlass] (kidding)

[19:59] [FrankenPaula] Heather, have you met Nancy?
[19:59] [FrankenPaula] she seems like an interesting person
[20:00] [FrankenPaula] FYI: Nancy is Owen McCleery’s lesbian wicca ex-wife
[20:00] [oysterlass] wicca way is best?
[20:00] [FrankenPaula] Owen McCleery’s the publisher of True Crime Press, but is now in a coma after a hit and run accident
[20:01] [TCPHeather] I had a message from Nancy today
[20:01] [TCPHeather] I have weird voicemail here, though
[20:01] [TCPHeather] it has you announce who’s calling
[20:01] [oysterlass] Hard not to like Nancy isn’t it?
[20:01] [TCPHeather] and people never leave a message
[20:01] [FrankenPaula] you have a voicemail from Nancy?
[20:01] [TCPHeather] I think the beep’s busted
[20:01] [oysterlass] The long suffering wife, still reading to her comatose husband
[20:01] [oysterlass] ex-wife, that is.
[20:01] [TCPHeather] Yeah, all I have is her saying who’s calling.
[20:02] [TCPHeather] Lars tried to fix my phone.
[20:02] [oysterlass] Merry meet?
[20:02] [TCPHeather] Yeah… didn’t work.
[20:02] [FrankenPaula] aah

[20:02] [marcel] so McCleery is the publisher?
[20:02] [marcel] does he have anything else to do with what’s going on?
[20:02] [TCPHeather] Yes, he was injured in a hit and run a while back, though.

[20:02] [Frappster] hey OL, did Andy make use of that C Compiler?
[20:02] [oysterlass] He’s working on it, thanks a lot.

[20:02] [wb] Was that hit and run definitely an accident. The timing seems a bit suspicious
[20:03] [TCPHeather] He’s pretty much just drooling and watching Teletubbies right now.
[20:03] [marcel] but what was he doing before, other than publishing books?
[20:03] [TCPHeather] Well, who knows… untill they find out what happened, there’s no way to tell.
[20:03] [TCPHeather] I never met Owen. I got hired on after the accident.

[20:03] [marcel] so this guy disappears after stealing some money, the police don’t want to look for him and…. FrankenPaula and other people are looking for him?
[20:04] [wb] we are. And we need some help!
[20:04] [FrankenPaula] correct marcel
[20:04] [TCPHeather] We are getting the help of the internet community in our search, yes.
[20:04] [oysterlass] I’m not looking for him.

[20:04] [beth] Also, Marcel, the CIA and FBI are looking for him
[20:04] [TCPHeather] NSA
[20:04] [marcel] if the police don’t care, why do the CIA and FBI?
[20:04] [TCPHeather] Lars loves the NSA
[20:04] [FrankenPaula] that’s what we’d like to know!
[20:04] [wb] I believe Ed used to do some work for them.
[20:04] [TCPHeather] NSA is his favourite album, after Celebrity.
[20:04] [beth] Because E was a hacker and he stumbled on some
[20:05] [beth] info that they want

[20:05] [FrankenPaula] he apparently also stole something from his former employer, Genetechwest
[20:05] [FrankenPaula] Genetechwest has some connections with the NSA
[20:05] [oysterlass] Sometimes the locals don’t really know what’s happening, do they. Police, I mean.
[20:05] [Cortana] what was E’s position w/ Genetechwest?
[20:05] [oysterlass] When’s the last time you saw some CIA guys and cops on the beat having dinner together?
[20:05] [FrankenPaula] he was a contractor there, hired to find the source of a worm that was accessing their secure system
[20:05] [Cortana] What sort of secure system?
[20:05] [TCPHeather] Seriously, though, Marcel- yeah, we’ve been getting calls from the NSA and FBI and all sorts of weird people,.
[20:06] [FrankenPaula] he only worked there for a few months, he found the worm’s source, it was

[20:06] [petbugs] i have a newbie question: who is running this game? is it amateur? is it promoting something? is there a company behind it?
[20:06] [TCPHeather] Petbugs- True Crime Press is sponsoring the search
[20:06] [Cortana] to what end?
[20:07] [TCPHeather] Because we feel that there is a story behind it that will make a good book.
[20:08] [Cortana] Do you intend to use the material written by the detectives in your book?

[20:06] [marcel] Genetechwest? what’s what?
[20:06] [FrankenPaula] marcel, they’re a genetics company that does a lot of secret work for the federal government
[20:06] [marcel] and what do they have to do with anything?
[20:07] [marcel] they’re a genetics company, but what do they have to do with Ed Sobian? I mean, you haven’t told me why we’re talking about them
[20:08] [FrankenPaula] marcel, he was working for them before he disappeared, he found the templar bank while doing work for them
[20:08] [marcel] do you think they killed him? Are they looking for him?
[20:08] [FrankenPaula] they now seem to be looking for him as well
[20:08] [FrankenPaula] he also seems to have stolen something from them
[20:08] [marcel] *that* is what I was asking
[20:08] [FrankenPaula] we’re not completely sure what their involvement is
[20:09] [TCPHeather] ES worked for Genetech West
[20:09] [beth] Marcel: it would if there were docs at the company
[20:09] [beth] saying they were going to kidnap you
[20:09] [FrankenPaula] marcel, we have some of their internal office memos and they indicate that they are looking for him
[20:09] [TCPHeather] When ES was working at Genetech West, he found someone breaking into their system
[20:09] [FrankenPaula] we also have some NSA documents that mention genetechwest
[20:10] [TCPHeather] he followed them out and found/transfered the money

[20:06] [Frappster] OL do you have any aspirations to leave your junkyard? Maybe after you’ve sold enough Search4E merchandise to make a handsome profit.
[20:06] [oysterlass] I love my junkyard. It’s home to me.
[20:07] [petbugs] ah, okies

[20:10] [Cortana] What does Genetechwest do?
[20:10] [TCPHeather] Genetic research stuff for governement agencies or somesuch
[20:10] [oysterlass] more like somesuch
[20:11] [FrankenPaula] that’s all we know
[20:11] [oysterlass] or nonesuch
[20:11] [FrankenPaula] they do seem to be connected to Priory of Sion, a secret group concerned with protecting the Meringovian (sp?) line
[20:11] [oysterlass] It’s a Sion to tell a lie.
[20:12] [FrankenPaula] ooh somebody call the bad pun police :)
[20:12] [oysterlass] lol
[20:12] [headmocker] Meringovian?
[20:12] [FrankenPaula] lol, confused yet? :)
[20:12] [oysterlass] sounds like a full-bodied red, meringovian
[20:13] [FrankenPaula] they’re a group that was formed during the crusades to keep a certain blood-line on the french throne
[20:13] [FrankenPaula] the Templar Knights were formed out of their group
[20:13] [FrankenPaula] and Templar Knights seem to own the bank that Ed stole the money from
[20:14] [TCPHeather] They are talking about the supposed background of the people that owned the money E found
[20:14] [TCPHeather] There may be a connection between the Templar Knights and Banco Hellaborus (where the money was found)

[20:14] [headmocker] a whole lot of stuff is being mentioned without being explained, and it is really confusing to me and the other newbies
[20:14] [Cortana] Is there a real guide posted somewhere?
[20:14] [FrankenPaula]
[20:14] [FrankenPaula] i’m working on a trail at
[20:15] [wb] headmocker, so far there are eighteen websites associated with the search. It sounds like a lot, but has the best summary available. It’s chronological and has links to everything.
[20:16] [wb] Much of the other stuff mentioned is background information. Historical and such.

[20:16] [TCPHeather] On that note… I just got orange chicken in my already aching eye
[20:16] * intherafters was under the impression that this chat was to help newbies get up to speed quickly
[20:16] [TCPHeather] Well… it was, but it’s a lot to get up to speed on quickly
[20:16] [LadyLynx] How much outside references are we going to need - or can most information be found on research sites on the net?
[20:16] [TCPHeather] There are levels
[20:16] [TCPHeather] you can find it all on the web
[20:17] [LadyLynx] Great.
[20:17] [headmocker] fab
[20:17] [TCPHeather] and most of the info can be found on the sites themselves
[20:17] [TCPHeather] The thing to do is to check out the sites mentioned and get up to date on the story
[20:17] [TCPHeather] the story is not all that complicated, but, like I said, there are levels
[20:17] [LadyLynx] I’ve read a lot of them. Only problem is I get off on tangents reading about the Templars and get lost for a few hours. [g]

[20:17] [TCPHeather] Last words?
[20:18] [TCPHeather] Ummmm….
[20:18] [TCPHeather] Yeah, you have to take that stuff in nibbles
[20:18] [TCPHeather] I haven’t gotten into the Templar stuff at all
[20:18] [TCPHeather] there’s plenty else to digest!
[20:18] [FrankenPaula] yah, i shouldn’t have mentioned the templar stuff, that’s too much for now
[20:18] [TCPHeather] It’s a very human story… just see how people interact
[20:19] [TCPHeather] figure out their motives
[20:19] [oysterlass] and visit
[20:19] [oysterlass] I mean

[20:19] [TCPHeather] I know Dana wants to do a chat soon
[20:19] [TCPHeather] she knows this stuff inside and out
[20:19] [FrankenPaula] that would be good

[20:19] [Frappster] Is Andy’s girlfriend cute?
[20:19] [oysterlass] really cute. love those braces.

[20:19] [FrankenPaula] I understand James is going to do a chat too?

[20:19] * marcel thinks a simple chronology *should* be mentioned to newbies…..
[20:19] [TCPHeather] I don’t go back much farther than Sept, 2001 with my knowledge of the case
[20:20] [TCPHeather] There is one on, I believe
[20:20] [FrankenPaula] actually, i think beth has one on her site
[20:20] [marcel] and what is beth’s site?
[20:20] [TCPHeather] Can someone direct Marcel to a chronology?
[20:20] [beth] Beth’s site:
[20:21] [beth] Enjoy. And don’t freak out, guys. Sounds like a lot, but it’s not too bad really

[20:21] [TCPHeather] Thanks for hanging in there, but, think, if it were easier to understand, it wouldn’t be a very exciting story, would it?
[20:21] [TCPHeather] lol

[20:21] [FrankenPaula] marcel, come into #secondstate on a more quiet day and we can walk you through some of it
[20:21] [wb] We can all stick around after Heather departs if you want.
[20:22] [wb] I haven’t been around as long as FP and Beth, but I’m happy to stick around and answer whatever questions I can.
[20:21] [beth] We are **so* glad you new guys are here!
[20:21] [LadyLynx] What is the best message board for a newbie to dip her toes (posts) into?
[20:21] [TCPHeather] Yes, we are!
[20:21] [TCPHeather]
[20:22] [LadyLynx] Great. Was there and liked it.
[20:22] [FrankenPaula] we even have a newbie forum there :)

[20:22] [TCPHeather] OK, everyone. Lars is downstairs with my glasses. He lost his key.
[20:22] [LadyLynx] LOL Feels so weird to be a newbie… but I like it.
[20:22] [TCPHeather] I gotta go.
[20:22] [FrankenPaula] good night Heather, thanks for comming!
[20:22] * marcel waves
[20:22] [oysterlass] Better newbie than barbie
[20:22] [TCPHeather] Thanks for having me!
[20:23] [intherafters] byebye
[20:23] [taxicafe] Thanks Heather and oysterlass for dropping in
[20:23] [FrankenPaula] yes, i’ll stick around too
[20:23] [TCPHeather] Thanks for having me!
[20:23] [wb] Thanks Heather!
[20:23] [taxicafe] Good luck to both of you
[20:23] [beth] Me too. Bye Heather!
[20:23] [wb] Don’t forget to take Lars with ;)
[20:23] [oysterlass] signing off. don’t forget to visit — beth, go for it.
[20:23] [FrankenPaula] good night oysterlass!
[20:23] [wb] Thanks Oysterlass!
[20:23] [beth] Bye OL, and thank!
[20:23] *** TCPHeather has quit IRC (Quit: Today is a good day to chat.)
[20:23] [beth] thanks
[20:23] [oysterlass] Night all.
[20:23] *** oysterlass has quit IRC (Quit: Today is a good day to chat.)
[20:24] [lars] Bye Beth!!!!
[20:24] *** lars has quit IRC (Quit: Today is a good day to chat.)

[20:24] [FrankenPaula] as you saw, oysterlass, lars and heather are both characters in the game
[20:24] [FrankenPaula] that can be a bit confusing in a newbie chat
[20:24] [FrankenPaula] especially when they start talking to each other about stuff
[20:24] [taxicafe] Yeah… got a little TOO in-character for a recruiting effort
[20:24] [Frappster] I’d be horrible at staying “in character” for the game
[20:25] [FrankenPaula] the odd thing is that Heather Hawkins is definitely a real person
[20:25] [Frappster] How much you wanna bet Heather and OL are going out for drinks right now :)
[20:25] [taxicafe] But they’re trying

[20:27] [LadyLynx] For those of us who are new to the ARG genre, is there a book/site/? that would help us understand what is going on?
[20:27] [FrankenPaula] well, has info on what’s happened in the game so far
[20:27] [LadyLynx] Got that bookmarked.
[20:27] [FrankenPaula] or do you mean info on the arg genre in general?
[20:27] [wb] LadyLynx, nothing general really.
[20:27] [dnbmathguy] and for more info on the genre
[20:27] [LadyLynx] The genre in general.
[20:28] [FrankenPaula] LadyLynx, there isn’t an arg howto or something like that
[20:28] [LadyLynx] Okay, thanks.

[20:28] [KradDrol] try
[20:28] [KradDrol] that still has a lot of stuff from the beginning of the genre
[20:29] [FrankenPaula] basically, you visit websites, send emails, and solve puzzles
[20:29] [taxicafe] probably still has the most documented camapaign to date
[20:29] [KradDrol] the Trail there will help get you grounded
[20:29] [LadyLynx] Thank you.
[20:29] [FrankenPaula] is about a specific game, the Beast, created to promote the movie A.I.
[20:29] [wb] It’s a group effort for sure.

[20:29] [LadyLynx] I’ve looked over the beta info site and was kinda overwhelmed.
[20:30] [FrankenPaula] apparently the site will have lots of information and resources when it goes live
[20:30] [LadyLynx] Can’t wait.
[20:34] [beth] LadyLynx: Search4e will probably last until Sept 2003
[20:34] [beth] We’ve had that in a press release or something

[20:35] [taxicafe] Question] Is the CD Trail for SS pretty well up-to-date. Sadly, I’m not as well versed on the SS events as I should?
[20:35] [wb] FP has put a lot of time into the trail.
[20:35] [beth] She’s still working though. You are better off starting
[20:36] [beth] with
[20:36] [FrankenPaula] taxi, it’s not done yet, i’ve just started on it
[20:36] [beth] But it takes a long time. Paula works very hard.
[20:36] [FrankenPaula] wb has been helping too
[20:36] [beth] Yay wb!
[20:37] [wb] Yay beth!
[20:37] [beth] Awww shucks.

[20:37] [FrankenPaula] y’all, we’re explaining things more in #secondstate right now
[20:39] [beth] I gotta go anyway. Get a good night’s sleep before starting my PR job for a fictional character tomorrow. : )
[20:39] [beth] Cheers!
Session Close: Mon Sep 30 20:55:10 2002′, 0, 2083, 22, ‘bill’, ‘, 0, ‘, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, ‘);
INSERT INTO `dd_stories` VALUES (24, 0, ‘editor’, ‘Second State: Part 2 of Newbie PostChat from 9/30/02′, ‘2002-10-02 15:58:30′, ‘Following the regular chat, we did some Q&A with a number of newbies interested in Second State. The full chat transcript can be found at

Posted here is an edited transcript. I’ve cleaned out some of the noise, untangled the threads, fixed a couple of typos and spelled out some the the TLA’s (three letter acronyms).’, ‘Session Start: Mon Sep 30 19:11:16 2002
Session Ident: #secondstate
* TCPHeather has joined #secondstate
[FrankenPaula] hi heather
[FrankenPaula] this is our usual chatroom

* FrankenPaula has yellow walls, nice and sunny
[beth] Yeah, gotta have color on the walls IMHO.
[beth] Mine are blue now. Nice grey-blue. Painting soon though
[TCPHeather] Oh! Blue is nice!
[TCPHeather] Mine were once blood red
[TCPHeather] like living in guts!beth
[FrankenPaula] that would be too much for me

[TCPHeather] I wish I’d brought my glasses!
[TCPHeather] I think I should send Lars home to get them for me.
[FrankenPaula] shot glasses? ;)
[TCPHeather] Both, the ones for the eyes and the ones for the soul.

* taxicafe has a question to ask:
[taxicafe] Is TCP concerned with the Holiday season effecting the investigation as people become distracted with Holiday type things?
* dme has joined #secondstate
[FrankenPaula] ask it in live taxi
[taxicafe] Just didn’t want 20 people at once asking at the same time :-)

[headmocker] how about explaining who in hell lars is and what the registration issue is for those of us who have never looked at SS before?
[FrankenPaula] lars is heather’s personal assistant, he made a goof up which delayed the registration of going live
[headmocker] ah

[KradDrol] are the second state people supposed to be in character during the chat?
[FrankenPaula] yah, they’re always in character

[Frappster] I think I’m gonna grab a Labatts, I’m thirsty now
[TCPHeather] I could use a beer, too! Actually, a vodka soda, thanks!

[beth] Running the game: bpictures, to learn more

[Frappster] Heh, I like that the ‘plot’ reason that a Publishing company is sponsoring the search for a missing man, isn’t necessarily out of compassion to find the missing man, but to make a profit on the eventual book
[TCPHeather] Of course we care about finding him
[TCPHeather] it’s weird, though… he really had no friends
* TCPHeather has quit IRC (Quit: Today is a good day to chat.)

[headmocker] so, can someone tell me, in a nutshell, why i should play this game?
[FrankenPaula] basically, i play because of the interaction with the characters and the depth of the story
[wb] hm, the game has a huge amount of depth to it.

[headmocker] and the story is….
[FrankenPaula] finding a missing guy - in a nutshell
[headmocker] like, there’s this guy, and he’s missing….
[FrankenPaula] he was working for genetechwest, hired to find the source of a worm

[headmocker] and there’s something about the templars that we kept getting off on this tangent about
[wb] and he snagged $666K [just before he disappeared]
[FrankenPaula] the source was a site called, which lead him to an online bank
[FrankenPaula] he stole money from the bank
[Frappster] The Templar Knights came and got him, after he took their 666k
[wb] And he stole something else from the genetics lab.
[wb] So they are after him too.
[wb] We don’t know much about them (Genetech West) yet.
[FrankenPaula] the bank belonged to templar knights
[beth] Hacker disappears. Weird group with links to Knights Templar responsible? Why does the government want to know. Genetech west is evil, but what are they doing specifically? Why does Cassandra of the FBI sleep with all her coworkers? That’s my nutshell

[headmocker] worm?
[FrankenPaula] like an internet worm
[headmocker] ah
[Frappster] is the spec

[headmocker] i thought Genetechwest was biological stuff?
[headmocker] well, the name “genetech” kind of implies biology….
[FrankenPaula] yah, they’re a genetics research company
[FrankenPaula] and they have a lot of federal contacts
[wb] It’s some type of genetics lab that does gov’t work.

[headmocker] so what does an internet worm have to do with anything?
[headmocker] was it in their network or something?
[FrankenPaula] yah, it was in their network and it was accessing top secret files
[wb] the worm got into GTW’s network. They hired Ed to find it and kill it.
[FrankenPaula] the worm came from a site called, which seems to be owned by templar knights
[FrankenPaula] it appears to be a site about a bike race, but that’s just a cover

[headmocker] if they were just gonna tell me to go read the website, they didn’t have to come all the way in here to do that ;)
[wb] I think they expected people to have already seen the website and have questions about what they saw.
[FrankenPaula] i think they expect newbies to just jump in
[Frappster] Yeah, even for me who’s had some experience with some of the other games of this time. catching up on SecondState is tough work cause its been going on for so long already

[FrankenPaula] so basically, missing guy - genetics company involved, secret Templar societies involved too
[FrankenPaula] NSA & FBI interested in the case
[FrankenPaula] we still don’t know the WHY of any of it
[FrankenPaula] we have a lot of documents and background information, but personally, i’m confused about a lot of it now too
[LadyLynx] That sounds at least interesting.

[FrankenPaula] the main people are:
[FrankenPaula] Ed Sobian, former hacker, missing guy
[FrankenPaula] James Pitt: his neighbor, started the investigation
[FrankenPaula] Dana Bruno: investigative journalist, got involved in the investigation, doesn’t like James Pitt
[FrankenPaula] she thinks he’s hiding something
[FrankenPaula] James Pitt is a true crime writer and got his publisher True Crime Press involved
[FrankenPaula] they hope to get a book published at the end about this story
[FrankenPaula] i don’t know whether the book is going to be for real or in-game
* wb thinks it will be real
[Frappster] Might be for real, heck more money to be made.
[FrankenPaula] Oysterlass is a shady character with lots of insider info
[Frappster] I like Oysterlass’s character the best. Very mysterious.
[FrankenPaula] Oysterlass might know Ed Sobian
[FrankenPaula] Heck, oysterlass might even be Ed Sobian
[FrankenPaula] apparently James thinks that somebody kidnapped Ed, while Dana Bruno thinks he’s in hiding
[FrankenPaula] another character is brian, he has a website where he posts secret NSA and FBI documents
[FrankenPaula] he works with Dana Bruno

[wb] There are two in-game message boards.
[Frappster] oh did you see OL made a post asking for more stuff Spy++, CryptoAPI tutorial, and Password Phreaker
[FrankenPaula] yah
[wb] Oysterlass has one message board. She’s very fun to interact with.
[FrankenPaula] yes!
[LadyLynx] I’ve been to the Junkyard today.
[wb] It’s in-game, so I wouldn’t post meta-discussion there.
[Frappster] And she gives out recipes
[wb] The other message board is specific to the game but no in-game characters will be there.

[FrankenPaula] as for the prizes that have been won, they were on the same bank website that Ed stole the money from
[FrankenPaula] the bank website seems to open it’s system according to a templar calendar
[wb] The next opening is Oct. 15
[FrankenPaula] we have a copy of the calendar and there will be 12 more bank openings over the course of the game
[FrankenPaula] so potentially, 12 more prizes might be won

[LadyLynx] Do many people working on the game make up their own personal sites - to document their progress - or just to help them keep track of what they are doing?
[FrankenPaula] i think beth and i are the only ones
[FrankenPaula] though will have some sort of a notebook feature that will supposedly help us keep track of stuff
[wb] Paula and Beth have done an incredible job documenting what has happened so far.
[FrankenPaula] we could definitely use more help with documentation.

Dateline November 7, 2002: Interview with Dave Szulborski of Change Agents and fame

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Dave Szulborski, PM for Change Agents: Out of Control, webmaster for, and all around nice guy, was gracious enough to take some time out his busy schedule to answer a few questions.

We hope to publish a follow up in a couple of days for fans of CAOOC to fill you in on the unsolved puzzles and some additional background on the storyline.

Q. How long have you been involved in playing these types of games?
A. My first experience with this type of game was Majestic for which I was a Beta tester. I had heard of the Beast vaguely around the same time but didn’t really understand what it was until it had almost concluded. I’m truly sorry I missed it in it’s original “run”.

Q. What do you find most compelling about Alternate Reality Gaming.
A. My favorite thing about AR (or immersive) games as a player is the way they blur the lines of reality and fantasy. A good game should have you feeling as if you’re living out an exciting and compelling story, like being in a movie or novel. Done right, these games can truly be called “virtual reality.” As a creator of this type of game, what fascinates me most is finding new and unique ways to tell and advance the storyline. That’s exactly how I approach an ARG project, as if it is a novel or screenplay I am writing. I have a lot of story ideas and concepts in my head but they are all useless without a way of conveying what I am envisioning to an audience. Let’s face it, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination and much creativity to make a few phony websites or to encrypt some clues and hide them in the source code etc. What makes a successful game is making the content you create a meaningful and coherent part of a larger, compelling story.

Q. Besides your obviously creative nature, what inspired you to create Change Agents: Out of Control?
A. CAOOC was actually the third ChangeAgents game in the last few years. The first one was created and played out during the Majestic Beta testing phase and was an attempt to amuse myself and the fellow Beta testers while we waited for the actual game to launch. I had coincidentally just gotten some new digital recording equipment which allowed me to record some new music like a “band” but playing all the instruments myself and was seeking an identity to put the music out under. Majestic had hinted around at possibly involving mind control themes so I came up with the idea of a rogue group of “agents” who used their music to combat secret mind control efforts. As it turned out, the early Majestic storyline was all about mind control and it had a lot of people wondering if the ChangeAgents were really part of the game. This first game lasted about a month and a half and involved about six websites, all pretty much conceived and designed on the fly. After Majestic launched and EA started their “Bios” program encouraging players to make their own mini-games using peripheral Majestic characters, I did a second ChangeAgents’ adventure that coincided with the last few months of the actual game. This game involved a lot more planning and forethought and was a month in development before running for about two months and incorporating a little over a dozen sites. This second game was also well-received by both the EA PM team and the Majestic community.

After Majestic I took a few months off, not really aware of any similar games or projects underway, until I stumbled upon Lockjaw, again unfortunately near the tail end of the game. The quality and success of Lockjaw and the community sites popping up at the time inspired me to do another ChangeAgents’ game and CAOOC was born. The storyline of CAOOC was inspired by my continued fascination with conspiracy theories, mind control technologies, universal mythology, and the struggle between technology/science and magic/mysticism.

Q. What did you find to be the biggest obstacle to creating Change Agents?
A. There were different obstacles associated with the different steps or phases in producing the game. In designing and creating the games, the major obstacle was my lack of formal training in web programming and development. Before beginning the ChangeAgents’ storylines, my own experience with web design was some basic HTML, and even that was extremely limited. In order to find effective and exciting ways to tell the stories I had in mind, I had to constantly learn new internet programming and design skills. I spent hours surfing the net and taking note of designs and technologies I liked and then did whatever I had to do to learn how to do it myself. This included buying multitudes of books on Flash, Photoshop, JavaScript, Perl, and on and on, as well as bastardizing whatever cool source codes I could get my hands on to make them fit what I was doing. Whatever I couldn’t find I designed myself. I still spend a few hours at least every week devouring whatever I can get my hands on that explains web design or programming.

As far as the execution of the actual CAOOC game, the biggest obstacle was the limited number of people playing the game. Since I was doing the whole thing myself and wanted to use personal interaction throughout the game, I never really wanted 100s of players but had planned on around 50 or 60 people. In fact, a few of the plot devices and real world events I had planned for later in the game would require about that many people to work. Unfortunately a few circumstances near the game launch prevented CAOOC from getting the players I thought it would attract. First, CAOOC launched right after Lockjaw ended and I had mistakenly assumed people would be anxious to find a new game. As it turns out, many were simply “burned out” from Lockjaw and not interested in doing anything new for a while. Additionally, there were rumors of Beast II starting up soon and many people seemed hesitant to commit to something else if that were coming soon. Right around the same time a few other less-than-stellar independent games self-destructed (anybody remember Codename Constellation?) making the environment even less encouraging for a new game from a relatively unknown source. These factors plus my unwillingness to “pimp” the game by spamming potential players and/or message boards probably limited the number of players throughout the game. The smaller numbers definitely kept me from carrying out some of the things I had planned for later in the game but, in the long run, probably allowed me to devote more personal time to each player interaction, making it a much more unique experience for those who were playing.

Q. Having created one of the most successful games to date, what advice can you offer for other potential PuppetMasters?
A. That really depends on how you define success for this type of game and what the actual goals of the PMs are. Any successful game though requires a lot of preliminary planning and development work. The surest way to kill your game and yourself is to just come up with a couple of websites, a puzzle or two, a general story idea and then go live, thinking you will do the rest as you go. You need to have everything in place before launching the game, including the complete storyline, and almost all the sites for the game. Not that a good PM doesn’t react to the players actions and decisions and adjust the story accordingly, but having a well-planned out foundation in place allows you the freedom to improvise in ways that make sense and fit the story. I actually write out complete character bios and histories for all the people and groups to be in my games in an effort to give them depth and believability and to establish guidelines in helping me determine their future actions and reactions. You can never have too much detail in the planning of the game. Write out all your ideas and storylines and read them over and over again to make sure they make sense. There’s nothing worse than putting something out there on the web and having someone point out an obvious mistake or inconsistency a short time later. Proofread, proofread, proofread! This is one of the major weak points to producing a game by yourself. It’s much easier for others to see your mistakes. The same goes for puzzles. If you are going to encode something, make sure you do it properly. There’s nothing more frustrating for a player than to spend hours and hours on a puzzle only to find out that he couldn’t really solve it anyway due to an error in it’s design. Also, puzzles should be well-integrated into the storyline. A puzzle just for the sake of having a puzzle that doesn’t make sense to what is happening in the game ruins the reality and immersiveness of the experience. There has to be some reasonable explanation for why that 12 year old character has Morse code giving away nuclear secrets hidden on his Dragonball-Z website, after all! Finally, don’t get discouraged by individuals criticism or negative comments. Don’t ignore them because there could be something valid in them that could really help your game but be true to your ideas, the ones that motivated you to undertake a huge project like this in the first place. You’ll need that passion to carry you through the long process of running a game (because it literally consumes your life!) Remember, very few people have actually designed and successfully completed one of these games and most of the critics and self-appointed experts out there have done little more than play a game or two or help compile a guide or trail. That doesn’t mean they know how to actually create something like this.

Q. If you had to do CAOOC again, what would you change?
A. The main change would be in the timing and manner of the launch. In my excitement I rushed into CAOOC without thinking it through completely. I underestimated the value of some well-orchestrated promo activity to build up a “buzz” for the game. Also, I would have liked to have had an opportunity to try some of the crazier real world events I had in mind if there had been enough players, numerically and geographically. One other thing I would change would be the appearance of readily-available Flash decompilers during the CAOOC game.

Q. How much time did it take to develop and run CAOOC?
A. CAOOC was in the planning and development stage for about 6 weeks before I launched it and I worked on it probably 4 to 6 hours a day, four or five days a week. Some days I worked well over eight hours on it, even after the game launched. I would estimate that pre-launch I put at least 200 hours into the game, divided up between research, writing, domain name searching and registration, basic site development and puzzle planning. The game itself was pre-scripted to contain two dozen websites and run for a three to four month period, depending on how fast things were solved etc. Because of circumstances that developed during the game, though, CAOOC ended up lasting three months and using a few short of twenty different websites. I spent a lot of time after the game launched re-doing puzzles and sites that relied to heavily on Flash. It was extremely frustrating to spend hours developing intricate puzzles and cool interactive Flash devices only to have someone rip the file apart and get the answers in minutes, with no regard for the correct method or relevance to the story. So during the game I re-wrote entire sections to take the answers out of Flash based programs. To some extent, this actually hurt the overall game because the players didn’t get to see some of the cooler Flash things I had developed.

Q. I know you played along with Push, Nevada and created the website. Were you surprised by how many people thought the site was part of the game?
A. Yes, actually I was a little surprised. Even though I deliberately designed the site to be “mysterious”, I was sure that people would realize it wasn’t connected due to the Whois info. One thing I’ve learned from doing these games though is that most players are desperate to find the next clue or website and tend to overlook obvious evidence or information.

Q. Now that Push, Nevada is over, what are your plans for
A. will be used for the next ten weeks or so to promote the upcoming game. After that I might use it to speculate about who is going to win the money because they probably still won’t have announced it by then.

Q. There are a couple of trends in Alternate Reality Gaming. One is the number of games offering prizes. The other is the pay to play revenue model. You’ve stated pretty strongly that you advocate free, quality games. What issues do you think these trends create?
A. Actually, I would put both of those together under the same trend as they kind of symbiotically necessitate each other. What I mean is, as more people and companies try and develop this kind of game, most of them are approaching it from a revenue generating mindset. If they can’t at least cover their costs, they’re not interested in doing it. That’s understandable but obviously not necessarily the best thing for the player. The internet as a whole and this genre in particular have a history (albeit brief) of being free and will meet resistance transitioning to a “pay-per-view” mentality. Also, due to the mysterious nature of most of the games, it’s hard for a player to know exactly what he will be getting for his money, adding to the hesitation to make a commitment to pay for playing. Offering prizes is one way PMs are trying to get the player past the “Is this going to be worth it?” phase. But competing for prizes raises all kinds of problems as well. No matter how it is handled, there is bound to be resentment over who gets the prizes and how they were awarded (witness the Push fiasco and to a lesser extent some player’s reactions to the search4e prizes earlier). Instead of fostering cooperation and teamwork, it leads to suspicion, accusations and resentments between players. And to most players, the cooperative community experience is supposed to be one of the most attractive things about these games. Another reason I prefer offering totally free campaigns is that it’s just more believable; somehow it doesn’t make sense to get an e-mail or phone call from a character seeking help to start a game only to have to pay $10 or something before you can help them. (Ahh excuse me, shouldn’t you be paying me for helping find Ed?!?) Which brings us back to the prize concept. If you are going to use real world prizes and artifacts, they need to also make sense with the storyline. It doesn’t make much sense for secret groups to be giving away or selling or auctioning off clues to their secret plans, now does it?

Q. Do you think your situation is unique in that you have essentially committed extraordinary amounts of time and expertise to your projects?
A. Yes, there’s no doubt that I’ve committed more resources to doing this than most people would be willing to do, in terms of time, expertise, and finances. CAOOC literally took over my life for over three months while I was at the same time working over forty hours a week for my “real” job. I didn’t keep track of the exact expenses but I easily spent hundreds of dollars producing the game as well. But to me, it was all very, very much worth it. The enjoyment I got from writing, producing, and running CAOOC is hard to put into words. I guess it all has to do with doing something and telling a story you truly believe in and finding a way to make the time to do something you genuinely love to do. Despite only sleeping three or four hours a night sometimes during the course of the game, I felt more alive and inspired during that time than I have since it ended. The simple act of creating something passionately and devotedly is one of the true pleasures and meaningful endeavors in our otherwise short and tragic lives.

Q. For companies or individuals considering their own project, what one thing would you want to tell them to help them be successful?
A. One of the first and most important things would be to not underestimate the potential players. When players get together working on a tough puzzle they can do amazing things. If you’ve planned on it taking them seven days to solve a puzzle and they do it in two hours and you don’t have a back-up plan, you’re screwed. You really have to try and anticipate all the different potential things a player can do, which is not easy. Also, find a way early in the game to “personalize” the important characters, either through interaction, pictures, voice mail, anything that puts a face, voice or personality to your characters. If the players don’t care about them, they won’t invest the time to play the game. Give players new stuff to look at and do as often as possible. I don’t subscribe to the “once-a-week” update club. The real world isn’t like that and the game shouldn’t be either. CAOOC had almost daily updates via e-mail, videos, new sites etc for the entire three month run. Yes, it’s very hard to do but if I can do it by myself then a team should be able to do it as well.

Q. You have another project in the works. What can you tell me about it?
A. I can’t tell you too much yet that the letter that’s been posted elsewhere hasn’t already mentioned but I’ll run through a few quick facts for you.

  • It is not a ChangeAgents’ story. It is not about mind control or secret government agencies (at least not in any way you might dream of).
  • It is not a solo effort. Some team resources are already in place, others are being recruited for specific needs.
  • It is in development now and already has over two dozen websites conceived and integrated into a multi-layered storyline. Anyone who has experienced the ChangeAgents’ games understands what “multi-layered” means but this game will take that concept to a whole new level.
  • It will involve challenging puzzles and tasks that will require research and activity on the web but in the real world as well. Real world objects will be key elements of the game.
  • It will be free.
  • It is tentatively scheduled to begin near the end of the year.
  • It will make generous use of video, audio, e-mail, phone calls, chats and IMs. Again, CAOOC was a good indication of what to expect but again, the new game is going to take these things far beyond what’s been done before.
  • The puzzle at will give you a clue as to where to find out more about the new game. There will also be regular “releases” of info and teasers etc starting soon and increasing as the game gets closer.

Comment - Thanks to Mottjr’s and Sapagoo’s work solving the puzzle at, we have a hint about an upcoming game, Chasing The Wish.’, ‘The solution, posted at, points to the website

The premise is a bit whimsical, yet intriguing. Click through to learn more and you’ll see the following teaser:

“Chasing the Wish is an immersive internet game unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. There is a whole new world waiting to be discovered inside your head and in your computer.”"It starts soon. Are you ready?”

“For more information about the game and pre-registration e-mail us.”

“More information available November 12, 2002″