Greth held a QnA on the evening of 8/18 on Chatango. Here is the transcript, editted slightly for format.
Regendur: Well Stef, I imagine you're up to date on everything via server?
Superstarrstef: I am pretty much up to date with everything, although I don't play Minecraft
ExPerson: Who plays who?
MFGreth: Ah, now that, I cannot answer. Sorry :)
TheNeave: Now, I have a rough idea how much you pay for hosting and whatnot...but, I'm intrigued as to the accounts. Naturally Zimmeh purchased those especially for the story, did you do the same with Intelligentman, Strangerman, etc., or were they just accounts with bizarre names you happened to already have access to?
MFGreth: No. All the accounts were purchased.
MFGreth: I specifically bought Strangerman 2, and IntelligentMan. Zimmeh bought Strangerman 1. Forerunnerman actually isn't purchased yet. We needed to get some of his storytelling out of the way early, but didn't have thje funds. We used a Humble Indie Bundle 3 code for a short time. He'll be purchased tomorrow.
Harshad423: So.... does some sort of console come in to play in the story? Maybe some kind of lone wolf badass?
MFGreth: The console is entirely ooc, for the most part. It's whoever is chatwatching.
ExPerson: What do you plan to do in the way of public advertising, if that's at all part of the plan?
MFGreth: Anyways, as for advertising, we literally just started discussing that tonight. I originally wanted a smaller, tight-knot group in the very beginning, as we've had, but now we need to expand definitely. Deacon talked about advertising on WH, and we were thinking of other possibilities.
Harshad423: What's your estimated timespan for the arg?
MFGreth: Not to sound unprepared, but there isn't one at the moment. We definitely have the story, it's just a matter of how to spread it out. I think with our model of using several media forms, rather than just mc or just the net, we can go for a while without seeming too stale.
TheNeave: One of the things I prided myself with concerning Amaranthine was the open-ended nature of it. Every decision the players made changed the path of the story. Does GE work in a similar manner?
MFGreth: The thing about Gentle Earth is that we have an established 'bible'. We have a timeline dating all the way back to the 1800's for the story. And a lot of it is already fleshed well. However, we've kept it fairly open also to accomodate changes and possibility. As for what happens in the future, it is ENTIRELY dependant on how players will end up playing. For example- Regendur has sought out the towers. He's found quite a few. This is a very good thing for the players, in the end. You can expect heavier updates the next week. I also started the wiki to accomodate the in-game history, so it helps me as well as all you. I can say, 'what did they decide? what happened again?' and use that knowledge to help decide the next course of action. I mean, as much as an established story is important, an ARG lives and evolves. It can't be straightforward to b. That's how it used to run. Not anymore.
ExPerson: I'm rather curious as to what your plans "outside of the net" are.
MFGreth: Can't reveal now, sorry. I'll just say it's going to concern who is going to be the bravest and will themselves to give a character their address.
MFGreth: Another thing I will admit, is that I haven't fed my staff all the details yet, because I want to make sure they're entirely plausible first. So they don't know 100% of everything. Not to be a Jad-hole, either, I just don't want to cause a ruckus and then have it go down the drain.
Harshad423: how regular are your events going to be?
MFGreth: That's something I'm still trying to determine. Ideally, there would eb something small every other day, like at least a Niklos or David visit to feed small info. And a big one every week. That depends on schedules though.
Loiathal: Ok, rephrase the question then: Advance notice for the big events?
MFGreth: Yeah, that's something I need to work on. We did it perfectly for Invasion. Invasion had a solid 24 advance notice, and a whole website theme. I'd like to do something like that once a week.
DeathMiasma: Did anyone figure out the IntelligentMan backround, and did you actually think someone would find it?
MFGreth: No, no one figured it out. And no, I didn't honestly.
Harshad423: Are there anyways a single player, through an extreme act of dipshittery, could end the arg for everyone?
MFGreth: No. They could definitely make bad things happen, but it will never be a 'the moon falls' scenario.
Regendur: Will BEN actually affect the story at all, or be referenced to?
MFGreth: To tell the truth, the thing about Invasion that we decided is that it is entirely canon. For both. That being said, BEN's involvement in GE is only a minor misstep for the story. He's irrelevant for the most part, except as a sort of easter egg cameo. But you could say they both happen 'in the same universe'.
Regendur: Huh. But would the same apply to the HC side?
MFGreth: That's up to Zimmeh. The original plan of Invasion was different. We originally planned that BEN would infect GE as you saw, then IntelligentMan would boot him, as you saw. But then it would continue on HC while IntelligentMan 'fixed' HC, because as you recall, it was down. And would finish with some more angry shenanigans there, this time IM getting his rear kicked. But we couldn't fulfill the second half due to poor server timing.
Harshad423: So, any plans for mini events similar to the zombie maps on HC?
MFGreth: We're going to have a pirate battle. We're gonna make a map with one island and water and people are given infinite resources to build small ships within an hour then they sail off as crews and battle to the death. there will be plunder for the winners. I figured 'We're on a tropical islands and we have working boats, we need a pirate duel'
Regendur: Why are they testing us?
MFGreth: Because they are scientists. :)
Regendur: What are the towers for?
MFGreth: I can get into that, a bit. As you already know, IntelligentMan is obviously an AI. well the towers all serve multiple purposes. One of the main purposes they serve is observational stations for the scientists and IM. sometimes you might just find them standing in one, looking down, even if they're 'not on'. Another purpose they serve is to maintain testing environments, using IntelligentMan. thats all i can say for now.
Regendur: I'd laugh if I saw one of them looking down from tower 8.
MFGreth: Who says they only watch for players?
MFGreth: the exception is tower 3 of course. there's no obersavtional stations for tower 3. it does serve more than one purpose though.
DeathMiasma: ...wouldn't Tower 1 be an exception?
MFGreth: How so?
DeathMiasma: Isn't it destroyed right now?
MFGreth: well yes, but it was. In fact, IntelligentMan often watched spawn from Tower One.
Regendur: Was that book, 'Who was Laura Sharpe?', a summery of the morse code or a translation of it?
MFGreth: No, it was not. It was David's personal thoughts on the broadcast he found, just as you had. He decided to share it with you, because he wants to help.
MFGreth: Actually, funny note, I named David after David from 2001. It has no bearing on the plot though.
Harshad423: What are your exploration rules? There were some problems with that in HC.
MFGreth: Explortation is free, because we have a world border. It is encouraged in fact.
Harshad423: No issues with stumbling on canon places?
MFGreth: my only stipulation is that if you find a canon location, tell a mod first. Just remember that building takes time, so if a canon location is found half-finished or with sign, respect that.
MFGreth: think of it this way. alot of canon places are out in the wilderness for a REASON. they WANT to be found. I WANT you to explore. the islands have been inhabited before the players inhabited it, remember. just like i said, make sure its ok to reveal firstly. secondly, a canon location is usually built as much in one sitting as possible so not to break the fun, but if you find one unfinished, or with a sign saying leave alone, please do. and lastly, if you travel somewhere and come back a week later and now there's a canon building there - im sorry, but im not trying to break your suspension of disbelief, its just that im not superman haha. thats about it on exploration. There may or may not be a totally canon location right in town and none of you even know. that being said dont tear the place apart wrecklessly.
DeathMiasma: Is there any chance of you telling us how many towers there are?
MFGreth: No. Not likely. I'll tell you that they're all preplanned but not all built. There's also double digits.
DeathMiasma: Is there anything yet to be discovered on the net?
MFGreth: Of course there is. That doesn't mean it's on canyouhearme. also, be aware that the most important thing right now more than anything in the server is that website. That is the absolute most important piece of the puzzle that you guys need. Right now anyways. You can expect some updates fairly soon anyways. keep checking. Also note that the most important location in the server right now, just to help out, is not any of the towers. Definitely not. Finding them is good though. So keep at it.
Regendur: Is there anything we should look out for other than more towers at the meantime?
MFGreth: Hm. Well. You might want to explore and see if you can find any other small homes, that aren't a player's, obviously, and the place in town. There's also something near tower 6 you should probably try and find and it's not the mine.
Shoubox: You know you are awefully kind to give so much away xD
MFGreth: oh they dont know anything shou. not even close. even if they found everything on the server they dont know jack. ha ha. because even my staff doesnt know half of my current setup. i try to keep it as safe as possible until last minute. I'm trying to be a bit generous tonight. Because after this, it's going to get tough. I'm not thinking the minority anymore. I'm playing for bigs.
Regendur: Well, do tell about the third eyes on Nik and Ziato's heads.
MFGreth: Oh ho ho, so you've seen those eh? Nice catch.
Regendur: Blame Gir.
MFGreth: I see I see. Well, I can't tell you. Make of it what you will.
Regendur: She's the one who looked em up on MNCS.
Regendur: Miners Need Cool Shoes.
MFGreth: also I'm glad, that was more or less a very hidden clue.
DeathMiasma: Oh, did you intentionally make it so that we couldn't see David's skin on the previosuly mentioned site?
MFGreth: No. David does not have a skin yet. Simply because he doesn't actually have an account yet, as said before, we were skimming by on a HIB3 code. in game he simply looked like MCSteve. But I've made his skin in photoshop.
DeathMiasma: Oh, you said that canyouhearme.net has the most important clue. Is it currently on the site, or will it be added later?
MFGreth: it doesnt HAVE the most important clue. it IS the most important clue. anything on that site needs serious consideration.
Regendur: So Death, means you should decode the morse code. ^^
MFGreth: If you do decode it, don't be disappointed. think about what it means.
DeathMiasma: Is that white swirl in the photo a wormhole?
MFGreth: cant answer that. but ill say it should be obvious.
Regendur: Is Laura Sharpe as important as I think she is?
MFGreth: Yes. Probably more so.
MFGreth: I'd say the wiki and canyouhearme.net are the most important resources at your disposal right now. the wiki for obvious reasons.
MFGreth: let me give you a bigger hint, because im trying to do this qna and give you all a bunch of little leads so you can start finding the bigger ones. you, as a player, are not playing a character. you are playing TWO. the you viewing the website and the you playing the server are two different entities. thats not to say you cat discuss the website on the server, because that would be silly but keep that thought in mind and context.
DeathMiasma: Oh, the pictures on [abandoned] are named with numbers. Are they arbitraryily assigned through an image host, or important?
MFGreth: oh, no thats not a clue. thats just image host, as you said. I'm glad you're thinking that way, however, because that sort of thinking will be important later.
Regendur: Do we need to do guessing of html pages now/in the future like on HC?
MFGreth: No at the time. The only pages you see are the ones there. I'm not going to say you will never need to do that though.
DeathMiasma: Are the tower locations decided on a whim, based on where the environment looks nice, or do the locations serve a purpose i.e. like the giant transmutation circle from Fullmetal Alchemist [/nerd]
MFGreth: Haha ha. The locations of the towers are chosen at random to be honest. However, Any other locations you find that are NOT a tower are there for a reason. Like the Abandoned Cabin was very specifically placed. The towers however, are chosen where there is an appropriate amount of space they are rather large, you know.
Regendur: What do you mean by 'specifically placed'? Do you mean in the location or by the environment or..?
MFGreth: location. for the cabin anyways. other locations might eb chosen for the environment. youll have to figure out why that is yourself. anymore questions ? any about the cabin?
Regendur: What was Nik looking for in it?
MFGreth: the diary, and the map.
MFGreth: or do you mean later?
Regendur: Well, later too.
MFGreth: Cant tell ya.
Regendur: Are there any secret rooms in it?
DeathMiasma: Oh, is the "You must pick a mayor by Wednesday" thing ever going to happen?
MFGreth: Well, that was based on a earlier concept that has been scrapped. I still encourage you all to form the community officially however. Picking a mayor and other positions would be a very good thing, for more than just community reasons. The more you establish deepshore, the better.
Anon9076: In that case, I nominate Reg for mayor.
MFGreth: I'll set up something on the forums.
Deaconayc: You need a mayor
Deaconayc: so I dont farm your houses
MFGreth: thats right. if you have a mayor, the deaconmonster wont eat your children and piss on your stables
DeathMiasma: Wait, did you mean "harm"?
MFGreth: no, farm. as in break your houses for the blocks. he was kidding.
MFGreth: your gonna wanna try and get everything you can out tonight cause i dont think thisll happeb again for a looong time.
Anon9076: Is the border to the world canon, or OOC?
MFGreth: canon. if it expands, you've done good.
DeathMiasma: Well might as well ask what you can tell us about "he comes."
MFGreth: Oh lord is that still there? My apologies, that was part of the Invasion.
Regendur: In the newspaper, the head engineer's name seems to end with a 'd'. Is that David?
MFGreth: i cannot answer who it is
DeathMiasma: What can you tell us about the C.S.S.A.?
DeathMiasma: Including what it stands for?
MFGreth: Sure that I can tell you. Colorado Springs Science and Applications
Regendur: The blacked/burned out stuff is the important stuff, is it not?
MFGreth: the part that has been burned off reveals too much, yes. just so you know, the part with a 'd' revealed is a last name, not first name.
DeathMiasma: Is that a person in the photo with the white swirl, and if so is it Laura?
MFGreth: it is a person, and not it is not laura.
DeathMiasma: Do we know the person who it is?
Regendur: What about IM rebelling? Why did he rebel?
MFGreth: Because he was tired of Ziato's controlling nature. I thought that came off in the acting. Perhaps not. if you recall, Niklos questioned whether he believed Ziato could control him during the argument between niklos and ziato.
DeathMiasma: The "two control nodes" refer to what the scientists used to control IM, not to which towers he drew his power from, yes?
Regendur: Nik said that Tower 6 was theoretical. Why'd he say that?
MFGreth: Because it didnt used to exist.
Revanade: Whats up with that lake near spawn? Is it genuine beauty appreciation, or...?
MFGreth: I dunno, what about it?
Revanade: It just caught me as odd is all.
Regendur: I think he means if there's a secret behind it. DeathMiasma: Does that imply that IM built Tower 6 unbeknownst to the scientists? MFGreth: I cant answer either question
DeathMiasma: Alrighty then, what purpose will The Forerunner (the boat) serve story wise? Nikos seemed very defensive of it.
Regendur: Is the Hatch canon at all?
MFGreth: no. it's just zimmeh having fun, because he compares it to LOST.
DeathMiasma: "Forerunnerman: Have you discovered the message yet?" We never got a follow up to that. Have we discovered it?
DeathMiasma: So does it refer to the message in the morse code?
Regendur: Do the other towers have a specific purpose to each of them? For instance 1 and 7 are for controlling IM, 6 seemed like it was for lightning, 1 for weather control...
MFGreth: as i mentioned earlier, all the towers are used for observation, but also have other uses for them. multiple uses. but yes each one has a specific role. and no, 6 isn't for 'lightning'. you need to interpret deeper, haha.
Regendur: Do the placement of the numbers on the tower have any meaning?
MFGreth: no, they just signify what tower it is.
DeathMiasma: Why is your character oblivious to the scientists/IM/etc...
MFGreth: because im just building and moderating. im not really a character so i feign ignorance. i dont really exist, per se, im ooc.
Regendur: Were you gonna talk about the 5th character?
MFGreth: NNnnope. you can find out his/her name though if you fnd the location.
Regendur: What about the funding?
MFGreth: that issue has been solved. donations are always appreicated however.
Regendur: How many locations are there that we haven't found?
MFGreth: cant tell ya
Regendur: Can you point us in the right direction?
MFGreth: ehmmmmmm, nah. just keep exploring. also see if you can find the one in town.
DeathMiasma: Is it underground?
MFGreth: cant say
DeathMiasma: Will the location be obvious when we find it? (And you're telling me :P)
MFGreth: location of what?
DeathMiasma: The place in town, will we know we've found something canon?
MFGreth: probably. if not ask.
Regendur: Are other locations way out in the boonies? Or closer-ish to town?
MFGreth: they can be anywhere.
Regendur: Is Laura Sharpe somewhere on the Island?
MFGreth: yes and no.
Regendur: oh do tell.
DeathMiasma: Is the location in town hiddent to the point where we need to break blocks to find it? (Sorry for beating this subject to death.)
Revanade: Would what we need to break be obvious?
MFGreth: well, it has a different consistency than the sourrounding blocks, but it's not out of place. if that makes sense.
Regendur: Are the scientists trying to find Davey for more testing?
MFGreth: Niklos isn't.
Regendur: Then why is Niklos looking for him?
Regendur: Oh, who is Ciela?
MFGreth: Cant tell yah. and Niklos cares.
Regendur: Is there anything else to Ciela's place?
MFGreth: nope. but it's important.
Revanade: So is that the important place in town you were talking about?
Regendur: was the ??? book all of David's diary?
MFGreth: yes. that doesnt mean he hasnt written other things. books are essential to the server side of the story, like how clues were put on signs in HC. books will be the heaviest form of clue giving.
Regendur: what about the story books? I've read Micromegas.
MFGreth: the story books were all very relevant. are, I should say. they are extremely big hints to the backstory. backstory that doesnt even involve ziato or niklos or ciela, not directly anyways. or intelligentman for that manner, or really any of the characters you know. its more for like, everything that happened before. like, I didnt lift any story plot directly from the pages, but the settings, characters, and plotlines help establish the backstory. I'll even break it down. Micromegas and Colour Out of Space are more or less about the past. Landor's Cottage is more or less about David. Harrison Bergeron is a bit more about the present, but also hints at the past. You will find more non-character written books in the future as well that will serve similar roles. if you want my honest opinion, the ones to read are probably Micromegas and Colour Out of Space. that's really all I can say about the books, because thats enough to understand them I think. The books were/are very important. I took a long time specifically selecting them. They're very relevant.