Improbable Island Message of the Day (MoTD)

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
Hey, folks - sorry it's been quiet the past couple of weeks, I've had HORRIBLE GROSS PAINFUL TEETH THINGS THAT I WILL TELL YOU ABOUT IN REDTEXT WHICH YOU CAN AND PROBABLY SHOULD IGNORE.

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. Emily had to have a root canal in October and I guess one of my already-filled molars got jealous 'cause on November 1st I got some wicked tooth pain. Like, couldn't sleep. The dentist said it was root canal time - I said yeah, I saw how much fun my wife had with hers and decided it was a good idea to have one myself. He laughed, said "Hold still," spun up his drill and ground the top of the tooth down so I wouldn't be biting on it. No anaesthetic or anything - it probably wouldn't have worked anyway with the kind of infection I had, and my dentist is an old pro and works quickly so no biggie, the infection itself hurt worse anyways. I went home with some antibiotics, some SERIOUS AMERICAN-STYLE PAINKILLERS so that I could at least sleep at night, and a mouth full of bone dust and metal shavings like carnivore glitter.

I returned a few days later and he did the Big Needle Things, pumped my gob full of novocaine, and proceeded to bore a hole straight through the top of my tooth and down into the roots. Reach up and feel around your jaw, feel how deep those roots of your teeth go? AWESOME. YEAH. IT SUCKED. Nowt like holding your mouth open with a bunch of sharp files sticking out of the hole where your tooth used to be. He then filled the holes with medicated stuff and said "Okay, that's QUITE an infection, let's get you on another week of antibiotics." Yeah no shit it's infected, one whole side of my face is hotter than the other.

Another week goes by while the antibiotics do their thing and I go in for Root Canal Part 3, which was this past Friday. Here are some of the highlights:

The dentist's eyes widening while a bad taste and a worse smell invades my mouth, and he says "Oh hey, we got some GOO in here!"

A suction thing in my mouth, dentist says to his assistant "Look at all that stuff coming outta there! This is the tooth from hell!" Assistant: "Ewww, yikes!"

Dentist, to his assistant, regarding my roots: "Alright, remember how this one was at a weird angle? Get one cooking - we've gotta be quick."

"Cooking" in this case referring to the hot, molten rubber that they flow into your tooth roots during a root canal. Deep enough that the novocaine didn't reach, which involved some novel and exciting pain. The sort of pain that, after you're done screaming like you haven't since you were a tiny child, makes you laugh because of the sheer absurdity of it.

I go back the day after Thanksgiving so they can do the final root, grind the fucker down and put a little tooth-shaped hat on it. 0/10 would not recommend a root canal.

Have fun, and GO FLOSS YOUR FUCKING TEETH,

~CMJ

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!

~CMJ

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.

~CMJ

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

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