Improbable Island Message of the Day (MoTD)

New Monthly Memento, and a podcast you should listen to
Admin CavemanJoe2017-03-04 06:14:45
Hey, folks! March's new Monthly Memento is online, and I've had a bastard of a time updating my test server so that's why that's late as hell. It grants free daily travel from the Travle Ajents!

Also I've been listening to the Beef and Dairy Network podcast, and you really should too. It's the best podcast for those involved - or just interested - in the production of beef animals and dairy herds. It's got nothing to do with me personally but I like it a lot.

Have fun!

~CMJ

Baccy Bandit updated
Admin CavemanJoe2017-01-30 05:58:53
Hey, folks! The one-armed bandit in the Prancing SpiderKitty was one of the first minigames I wrote for the Island, waaaaay back in 2008.

It sucked! :D

Its payout percentage was too low, and its payout profile too vicious. (this is former-arcade-operator-speak for "it didn't pay out enough, and when it did pay out, it was with hundred-cig prizes to a few lucky bastards, while the other suckers got shafted for dozens of games in a row without so much as a sniff of success")

Plus, the code was dreadful. So, this weekend I rewrote the whole thing from scratch.

The new version is much friendlier to play - its payout percentage is higher, your chances of playing several games in a row with no winners are lower, and the new version has HOLD and NUDGE features. For those outside the UK, a HOLD is when you pull the handle and a reel you've held doesn't move, and a NUDGE is when you press a button and shift a reel down one extra stop.

(yeah, I couldn't believe it when I came here and found out that nudging just wasn't a thing. American fruities are boring enough to cure my gambling addiction)

Have fun!

~CMJ

EDIT: I've mucked about with it some more! I added a whole 'nother reel, which you can activate using the Super Spin feature, costing two cigarettes for a spin instead of just one. Have fun!

New Monthly Memento is online
Admin CavemanJoe2017-01-01 18:01:54
Hey folks! This month's Monthly Memento is a special one, because you can use it as many times a day as you like. The first time you use it each day, it'll give you a longer buff - the second and subsequent times, a little tiny short buff. Because giggling at the charred remains of 2016 never gets old.

Have fun!

~CMJ

Squat Hole is a place you deny coming from, not a place you stay.
Admin CavemanJoe2016-12-27 05:24:10
Hey, folks! I went aaaaaallll the way back to 2008 to drag out a beloved-but-defunct old module, tweak it, give it a fresh coat of paint and make it live again! The Travle Ajents is now open for business in Squat Hole!

Also while I was in there I found a bug in the Skronky Pot that had been there since... well, since 2008, and fixed it. The Skronky Pot will now warn you if it's getting full. Merry Christmas.

Have fun!

~CMJ

New Kittania is online!
Admin CavemanJoe2016-12-12 22:29:17
Hey, folks! The new, map-based version of Kittania is online! Soon we'll have map-based versions of all our Outposts online, and then we'll unveil them to the general public - but for now, you can beta-test both Kittania and NewHome with a Dimensional Shifter from the Hunter's Lodge.

Have fun!

~CMJ

Updates, new Monthly Mementos, and VOTING
Admin CavemanJoe2016-11-01 20:51:05
Hey, all. Updates have been slow lately because BABY, but the new Kittania outpost has its art all ready, and all I have to do now is write a bunch of descriptions and code and it'll be ready to rock. In the meantime, there's a new Monthly Memento out for November, and you'll be pleased to learn it's got nothing whatsoever to do with the American elections.

And now, I must ask a favour of you. My friend Sabrina is doing a research project for her psychology class, and she needs participants. If you click here, you can take a 10-minute test (I know it says 30 minutes, but that's like a slowest-case-scenario thing) that will a) help Sabrina out immensely, b) show off the Island's amazing ability to swarm upon a thing and take it from 60-odd participants to like way way more than that (and the more participants, the more reliable the results) and c) contribute to Very Important Scientific Research, and I don't know if you're aware of this, but contributing to Very Important Scientific Research is the duty of every citizen of the planet Earth. The research is over - thanks to you lot, we blew it up! Sabrina has more participants than she knows what to do with. If you're in the USA today, and you're eligible to vote, YOU MUST DO SO. I am a dirty immigrant with no right to vote, so y'all better do so.

Have fun, and hopefully we'll have a new Outpost for you to explore soon!

~CMJ
Babies and Badnavs and lists, oh my
Admin CavemanJoe2016-08-21 22:27:57
Hey, all! I tracked down a long-standing bug that was hiding good and proper, and exterminated it. Timeout-related badnavs should, in theory, now be a thing of the past.

Also, the Contestants List has been completely rewritten from scratch to make it more awesome!

Also, since you've been asking:


Have fun!

~CMJ

CMJ is a father!
Fully synched Sessine2016-07-28 17:33:35
Like all new fathers, Dan is very properly paying all his attention to his wife Emily and his amazing new daughter, Minerva. He has given me permission to let you know the good news:

"4.2 kilos, 55cm, 2016-07-28 02:38 UTC. Local time was 2016-07-27 22:38 EST. Kid'll have two birthdays, one for us and one for the English family. :)"

I've seen pics. She is a little sweetie, sleeping so peacefully on her mother's shoulder. What will she grow up to be? As with any new baby, there's a sense of wonder, of new beginnings, of infinite potential. I know that she will have a ton of Islanders wishing her the very best in life.

Welcome to the world, Minerva Hall!

Two minor changes
Admin CavemanJoe2016-06-13 04:47:45
Hey folks - first, our logo changed temporarily. If you don't like it, it'll change back again soonish.

Secondly, we have a new feature that should hopefully make things easier on mobile users - instead of hunting around in your phone's keyboard for the grave accent, you can now just stick two commas in instead! This change should work everywhere, but I did it on a whim at midnight so let me know via the Problem Report link if it causes issues or doesn't work in some places.

Have fun!

~CMJ

A new Monthly Memento and a story about shitty wiring
Admin CavemanJoe2016-06-03 03:46:58
So the study, Improbable Island's headquarters, is being turned into the baby's room - and the plan was to move the study to the kinda weird extension attic room upstairs with the six-foot ceilings (I am 6'1"). Yesterday - with six weeks until the baby's here and no nursery yet - I discovered the fatal flaw in this plan, as I realised that not a single fucking one of the sockets is earthed.

So gather 'round, my fellow Englishmen, as I tell you the shocking truth about the American electrical system.

Americans use 110v (except if you meter the socket you'll get 120 (and when you buy appliances they're labelled 115)) because they can't be bloody trusted with 240, for reasons which will become clear shortly. We use 240v largely because of our kettles (and we still have to import electricity from across the channel for five minutes a day after Eastenders, when everybody puts the kettle on at once) - but knowing that we're playing with voltages that'll kill your ass dead if you give them half a chance, we take pains to ensure their safety. Look at the British plug - the best in the world by a long way, even if it will turn your foot into a butcher's-shop nightmare if you stand on it. The earth pin is longer, and opens a mechanical restrictor gate that allows access to the live and neutral sockets - whose pins are insulated halfway-up, so there's no possible way you can touch them when they're energized. Our wire colours conform to international standards and our earth wire choice actually set the international standards, designed to be viewable by the colourblind and to still be recognisable when the insulation is faded and covered with dust and grime. Every appliance that has a fuse, has it right there in the plug where it's easy to get to.

So I'm used to this double-safe, well-thought-out electrical arrangement, and then I get to the States and the first time I go to insert one of their tiny, flimsy-ass two-pin plugs, a big fuck-off crackle of lightning jumps from the socket to the pins. Give it a gentle tug and the plug falls halfway out of the socket, exposing the conductors. Not only is there no mechanical gate on the earth pin, there just plain is no earth pin half the time. Outlets are supposed to have a narrow socket for the live and a wide socket for the neutral, but unless your house is brand-new you'll probably have sockets that aren't even polarized. It doesn't matter whether the hot line or the neutral line is fused and switched, go ahead and plug it in any old way round! Some appliances come with grounded plugs, some don't bother (even ones with metal exteriors!), so what do you do if you want to plug a three-pin appliance into a two-socket outlet?

Well, you don't, of course, because that would be forehead-smackingly dumb - but if you really, really want to, you can use a device called a cheater plug which takes your two-pin outlet and adds a socket for the ground. The ground socket is connected to a little metal tab - you're supposed to screw this tab into the centre of the outlet, which is probably connected via some circuitous and dodgy route to ground through rusty flimsy shitty little screws somewhere (that has about as much chance of carrying fifteen amps without burning your fucking house down as I have of growing wings out of my dick and flying off into the sunset), or you can run a wire to a water pipe or something and go "Eh fuck it close enough," or you can just kinda leave it dangling there not connected to anything and not have any ground at all, because the Venn diagram of "people who would use a cheater plug" and "people who would wire it up properly" has an overlap about two electrons wide. You don't have to be an electrician to get hold of these things - any old Joe Bloggs can buy them in any hardware store.

So anyway. I'm in the attic soon-to-be-study room looking at the sockets and going "How is this possible? These people sent men to the fucking moon!" and I get out my meter in the dim hope that there's a ground to be had via the centre screw, which will hopefully connect to the outlet casing, which will hopefully connect to the armour of the wiring, which will hopefully snake into the house and be connected to another thing that probably connects to ground somewhere. One probe into the live socket, the other touching the screw - 120v means there's a solid ground from the casing that the electrician just couldn't be fucked to wire up, an open line means there isn't and I'll have to start tearing into the walls.

My meter reads twenty-two volts. Fucking awesome.

So, this month's Monthly Memento is all about electricity and wiring and tearing apart your house to make it not ridiculous. Or rather, since this is Improbable Island, it's about tearing apart your house to make it more ridiculous. The new Monthly Memento gives one random Contraption or Contrivance per day. If you have a Place on the Island, you can use Contraptions and Contrivances to create nifty little programs that run inside your Place. Some folks can get quite elaborate, building entirely new games inside their Places - others just use them to give special little individualized touches. Either way, Place Programming is a fun thing to play with!

Hope you enjoy it! Now I'm off to figure out what to do with my study.

Have fun!

~CMJ

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