Improbable Island Message of the Day (MoTD)

PayPal woes (edit: resolved)
Admin CavemanJoe2018-09-11 15:29:58
Update 2018-09-11 15:25 UTC: We've now processed all the donations, so y'all should have your points! The donations system is properly working again. Also, since all the donations for the weekend came in all at once, the Kitty Bar is pretty full right now, which grants everyone extra Stamina. Now would be an excellent time to go Jungling or sort out those build jobs you've been putting off. Extra donations right now aren't wasted - they extend the time that the Kitty Bar remains full!

Original MotD follows:

Hey, folks - just a quick update on the donations situation.

On Friday evening I went off to bum around in the middle of nowhere for a couple of days, out of mobile phone coverage, so of COURSE that's when something decided to go screwy in our donations system.

I'm tracking down the problem right now, and hope to have it fixed tomorrow. If you've been affected by the bug - if you've made a donation and not gotten any points - there's no need to take any action right now, I should be able to re-send all the relevant pings and sort you out with points automatically.

Thanks for your patience! And, since I never did the announcement, the new Monthly Memento for September is the Pen, which is by no means mightier than the sword but which can make a very nice sword accessory.

Place owners, please be aware that this month we'll be fixing the "Is character female?" Contrivance so that it returns false for nonbinary characters, as it should (previously it returned true for female and nonbinary characters).

Other bugfixes from last week I didn't think were worth announcing but since I'm doing an MotD right now, here they are:

The & colour code is now handled properly in commentary mouseovers
The % colour code is now handled properly in the Memento Forge
Fixed a bug that could cause a player to have a blank item in their Inventory

Update 2018-09-17, more small fixes:
Fixed a bug allowing emoji in custom weapons/titles
Updated the Key Management page in Places so that it uses the nicer, newer contestant search (like in the Gifting Station)
Raised the character limit on extended bios to 40,000 characters

Have fun!

~CMJ

Glitch in Donations
Fully synched Sessine2018-09-08 17:16:08
Sessine here, relaying a message from CMJ.

There's a glitch right now in the Donations path between PayPal and the Island. Terrible timing -- his mother is visiting, and he's in a (no-doubt beautiful but) remote location, where even phone reception is spotty. So please... hold off on donations until Monday or so when he can get it straightened out.

He'll let you know when it's all clear.

Minor bugfixes and improvements
Admin CavemanJoe2018-08-23 16:34:11
Hey, all. Not very huge updates today - I've started a new schedule at pinballjob that should give me some more time to work on the Island (I'm just gonna work an 11-hour day, take a day off, and then work another 11-hour day, take a day off, on and on forever, the very concept of "weekend" is meaningless to me now) and for the time being I'm just kinda going through the bugs list and fixing a few things here and there. A lot of it is boring behind-the-scenes stuff, but here are some highlights:

-> People often petition to have Places transferred to new characters or deleted, so I've made a new tool for the mods to make that easier, rather than having to pester me to dig around in the database;
-> Midnight should now interact properly with refreshless chat;
-> Cookies and the Notebook should now work properly in terms of giving the items they're supposed to reside in and not leaving Mysterious Blank Items in the Inventory (I'm working here and there on another mod tool to make it easier to deal with petitions regarding players' inventories);
-> Fixed a dozen or so typos scattered everywhere;
-> Caught a couple more places where the new gender-neutral option was having trouble;
-> Probably the most visible change: your Inventory page will now indicate which sort and display mode you have set, and I've added a new option to sort by combined weights.

This is probably gonna be a month of quiet, behind-the-scenes fixes and minor tweaks and improvements to existing systems.

Meanwhile, Place programmers, please check the previous MotD for important information about an upcoming change that could affect your Place.

Have fun!

~CMJ

New Monthly Memento is up, also new gender option stuff
Admin CavemanJoe2018-08-05 01:06:44
I spent the last couple weeks doing 17-hour shifts in preparation for the ReplayFX Festival, where I was running around fixing arcade games and pinball machines. Accordingly, this month's Monthly Memento is the FLOPT.

A LOPT, or Line Output Transformer, or Flyback Transformer if you're American, is the transformer inside a CRT monitor that generates the voltages necessary to hurl a stream of electrons towards the tube's phosphors in order to light them up and create a picture. This requires an eye-wateringly ridiculous voltage, in the tens of thousands of volts depending on screen size. Some LOPTs malfunction in impressive ways, casting crackling arcs of lightning towards grounded frames or sweaty, conductive technicians such as myself. In these cases, the "F" in FLOPT stands for what the technician will shout upon becoming part of the path to ground.

It can be difficult to predict how voltages of this magnitude will behave under malfunction conditions, so this item is for use when all other options are exhausted and you're almost certainly gonna go to the FailBoat on the next combat round. Using it will immediately deal 30,000 hitpoints' worth of damage to either you, the monster you're fighting, or the planet Earth - that's one hitpoint per volt in the average 25-inch monitor.

Have fun!

~CMJ

EDIT since it's only been a couple of days since this MotD:

We recently added a new gender option to Improbable Island's new characters, so that they can go by... well, "they." The changeover went smoothly enough, with only a few weirdnesses here and there. One of those weirdnesses was in Place programming, where nonbinary characters would trip the "Is character female?" Contrivance.

I've just added a new Contrivance to the mix to check specifically whether a character goes by "they." The "Is character female?" Contrivance will continue to work in its current broken manner (returning true for both female characters and nonbinary characters) until next month, because fixing this bug will almost certainly break some Place Programs, so I wanted to give Place owners a heads-up first.

I've also added basic "They" functionality to the Daily News - this will now display the correct pronouns, but may result in some grammatical weirdnesses (such as "They're a real badass, isn't they") that may fall through the cracks, so I encourage you to report any problems via the "Tell us about a problem" link at the top of each page.

The nonbinary-or-nonspecific gender option is available to brand-new characters who sign up after July of this year - existing characters will be able to use "they" once I've fixed a few more of the existing bugs and built a better gender-handling system than Doc Paprika. So, low bar to pass there.

Have fun!

~CMJ

Some changes
Admin CavemanJoe2018-07-01 20:34:39
Hey, everyone. We've got some updates for you!

They them their
Hey, all. We've revamped our home page a tad, and tweaked the game's opening sequence. In doing so, we added a gender-neutral option.

I know a lot of you have been asking for this for ages, and I can only apologise for how long it's taken - if it were as simple as writing some new text and swapping a couple variables around, I'd have done this back in the 00's. I think I've found everywhere the player is likely to still encounter gender-specific language, but in a game this complex there's bound to be some that snuck past me, so if you're playing a gender-neutral character and see something that doesn't look right, please use the "Tell us about a problem" link and let me know where you saw it.

For the time being, the gender-neutral option is only available for new characters - existing players who've been asking for gender-neutral options will be able to switch things out in the coming weeks, once I've had a chance to work on the new system a bit and make sure it's running properly.

Banter's nicer now
We've made the decision to unsplit the two out-of-character chats on a trial basis. There's been a change for the better in Banter culture, and the reasons we had for splitting the chats in the first place have died down a lot in the few years since we did it, so new characters as of today will have Character Chat be their default chatroom. Player Chat will remain available for those who prefer slower-paced chat. Please be nice to the rookies!

Tube Clay
The new Monthly Memento is the Tube Clay. Did you know that over the past century, the London Underground has dumped so much heat into the surrounding clay that it's starting to be a real problem? If you're interested in the engineering aspect of it, it's a pretty neat rabbithole.

World Community Grid
It's still down because of IBM's mollasses-slow response to the GDPR. I'll keep you posted.

Rookies are back
New players will have the "Rookie" title again, so that they can be welcomed properly in chat. Again, a lot of things have changed for the better since we removed the Rookie title! (hell, that was back in PvP days...)

Have fun!

~CMJ

World Community Grid integration temporarily down
Admin CavemanJoe2018-06-07 01:23:02
Hey, folks - the computing giant IBM was apparently unable to comply with the GDPR in time, so has disabled access to the API for World Community Grid, meaning that Cobblestone Cottage here on the Island doesn't work right now. They say that they can't let just anyone access the API since the GDPR came into effect, and they've got to put people through some kind of test or take some kind of information to make sure API users have the right stuff. I've requested an access token but first they have to figure out what the right stuff is. Once they have the information they need from me, they'll give me an access token and I can update the Cobblestone Cottage code and y'all can get your Cobblestones - and once they've figured out what information they need from me, I'll give it to them.

It's all very silly and embarrassing.

TL;DR: no Cobblestones right now, blame IBM.

Have fun,

~CMJ

Chat improvements
Admin CavemanJoe2018-05-28 04:41:41
Hey folks, I've added a beta improvement to chat - posting a comment no longer refreshes the whole damn page. Since we're still figuring out how this is going to interact with Place programs and so on, for now I've restricted this feature to the Player Chat and Character Chat channels in Outposts.

I'd say "post feedback in the Enquirer," but fixing the Enquirer is next on my list, so you can email me at admin@improbableisland.com if you wanna let me know what you think.

Have fun!

~CMJ

GDPR stuff, email confirmation
Admin CavemanJoe2018-05-21 04:14:03
Hey, folks! In accordance with the upcoming European General Data Protection Act, you'll have noticed by now that every damn website you've ever signed up for has been sending you emails telling you that they've updated their privacy policy, because they're being forced to tell you in plain English that they harvest all your data and sell it to spammers, scammers and sociopaths.

We've never done any of the shady shit that the GDPR is designed to thwart, but now we have to tell you that in plain English, so here is a link to our shiny new Privacy Policy. That link will also appear at the bottom of every page.

You'll have also noticed that, ironically, we're now gathering everyone's email addresses so that we can email you to tell you that we have a Privacy Policy that says that we typically don't email you.

You'll have noticed that last month was pretty quiet, new-features-wise, and this is why. Don't worry, the schedule will be back to normal next month.

Have fun!

~CMJ

New Monthly Memento is up
Admin CavemanJoe2018-04-01 17:41:05
Hey, folks! I hope you're having an EGGS-CELLENT combined Easter and April Fool's Day! I have a truly EGGS-CEPTIONAL Monthly Memento for you, that I'm very EGG-CITED about. I'm sure it'll CRACK YOU UP, although some might find it EGG-REGIOUS.

I'll show myself out.

Have fun!

~CMJ

Quick reminder
Admin CavemanJoe2018-03-11 05:51:53
Improbable Island's server runs on UTC, so if your country's clocks are going forward soon, remember that our clock does not. That means new Game Days will happen an hour earlier relative to your local time.

UTC is basically the same as Greenwich Mean Time, but we distinguish it from GMT because people living in the GMT timezone put their clocks backwards and forwards (for example, in England we'll be leaving Greenwich Mean Time and entering British Summer Time later in the month - so in the autumn and winter, Improbable Island's clock is set to the same time as it is in England, and in the spring and summer, it's an hour behind). American Islanders who are friends with the British and vice-versa, your friends' timezones will be another hour off until the last Sunday in March.

TL;DR; your clock probably changes this month, the Island's doesn't, so game days start earlier in relation to your local timezone. Change the batteries in your smoke alarms.

Have fun!

~CMJ

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