Improbable Island Message of the Day (MoTD)

Happy Holidays!
Admin CavemanJoe2018-12-24 21:38:25
Hey, all. This is maybe the first Christmas that my daughter will remember, so I'm totes excited.

The Monthly Memento for December is a Solstice Squirrel AI-enabled robotic toy with an unfortunate bug that puts her into a murderous rage if she can't find her nuts. There's a hell of a warmup period 'cause she's a very patient squirrel, but the eventual attack is so powerful it'll let Rookies play a part in taking down Titans.

Jill & The Jokers part 5 went up last week; part 6 is already written, but I'm taking a couple of weeks before I post it so higher-level players don't get the weird experience of having part 5 happen and then immediately going to part 6 which is supposed to happen later on in the game.

Meanwhile I'm working a little bit on the puzzle combat system - mostly housekeeping, making the code more ordered so that I can track down and squash one or two annoying bugs that have been hanging around for ages. Winter Of Bugfixes, man.

Thanks for being here with us during the festive season. The Island is a truly special place.

Have fun!


Wait, there's SWAG?
Fully synched Sessine2018-12-03 03:04:41
Sessine here, with a public service announcement.

I bet a lot of you didn't even know the Island has swag you could buy. Three quirky card decks, in ascending order of weirdness:

- a regular Island-themed 54-card deck, usable for any card game

- smudged cards from the old Trains feature. (Old-timers might be sentimental about this one.)

- a fan-art tribute to the Island, two long years in the making. Even if you don't buy this one -- or if you already have it -- watch the art slideshow anyway because the art is amazing. (The music is my fault.) It's a challenge, too! How many Island features can you identify?

There's also a fancy boxed Collector's Set with all three decks!

I did mean to get this announcement out in time for holiday giving, but, well... Sorry! Better late than never. At least now you know....

OH! And while I have your attention. DID YOU KNOW that the Island has a fan webcomic? It's true! It's NEW DAY (check it out!) has been going since 2014 and is now more than 160 pages long. Follow the newbie Clayton from his stunned arrival in NewHome through to his gradual discovery of what it really means to be a kittymorph!

December Monthly Memento, J&J5
Admin CavemanJoe2018-12-02 01:19:12
Hey folks - the Monthly Memento for December is the Solstice Squirrel.

Jill & The Jokers 5 will be up in the next few days.

My root canal, and complications relating to it, is still an ongoing thing and is likely to remain so until at least the middle of the month, so my apologies if work is slow.

Have fun,


More bugfixes, new Monthly Memento, Jill & The Jokers Part 5, hacking attempt, OMG LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY GROSS MOUTH
Admin CavemanJoe2018-11-19 18:25:46

November's Monthly Memento is the Well-Worn Novel - curl up with it for a warm fuzzy buff.

I finished Jill & The Jokers Part 5 today. I looked at the date of Jill & The Jokers Part 4, and noticed it's been four years. So I'm giving y'all a few days before I upload it, so you can re-read the old story (check your notebook) and remember what the h*ck was even going on.

Jill's original quest has had a couple of bugs fixed (she now heals properly between fights even when you run away from the monster, that kind of thing).

Some boring performance improvements were attempted, rolled back, and attempted again. They're working out pretty well.

Some guy tried to hack us - he gained access to some pages related to the Stamina system backend, but no personal information was compromised. I've since banned the guy and hardened the pages involved.

Alright so tooth stuff, don't even read this, and if you do don't say I didn't warn you.

Edit: Long story short I had a massive infection and have been in pain for three weeks - I've removed the details because some folks ignored the warning and then were upset by them. /Edit



Skeleton Exhibitionism and more minor improvements
Admin CavemanJoe2018-10-03 21:27:27
Hey, all. The new Monthly Memento is the Bone Corer, which will take out your skeleton and show it to the monster you're fighting, rendering it unable to attack or defend as effectively due to the trauma induced by your godawful skeleton puns.

Have fun!


Update 2018-10-03 21:20 UTC: We continue on with bugfixes and minor improvements. Deleting single Distractions at a time without using the checkboxes works properly now. Google Analytics has been removed from the site, which may speed up page rendering for some users. I'll be doing some cleanup of the templating system for improved performance on FireFox, since I'm becoming increasingly suspicious of Chrome. More basic improvements, minor bugfixes, and boring behind-the-scenes stuff.

Which is hard, 'cause what gets people donating to the site and telling their friends about it is flashy, fancy new features, released every couple of weeks, which are broken as hell upon release and never quite properly fixed. Game development has been going this way for a long time - long enough that taking the time to fix or improve your old shit is, these days, rather unusual.

More boring bugfixes and infrastructure upgrades coming soon! Have fun!

Update 2018-10-03 23:45 UTC: Candy Bombs have been restocked, 'cause 'tis the season.


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!


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!


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!


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!


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!


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