Improbable Island Message of the Day (MoTD)

A safer Island, new formatting code, graphical outpost reminder, ideas for better combat
Staff2020-08-14 19:34:29 [Permalink]
Hey folks! You remember that I've been working alternately on code stuff and social stuff lately? Well, I've created some new tools to help our beloved mods find gross stuff before others stumble across it.

The problem with online moderation is usually that folks have to find something nasty before it gets brought to anyone's attention. A hard lesson we've learned is that most people don't bring things to the mods' attention - so if someone posts something gross, a bunch of people will stumble across it and feel bad about it before anyone lets the mods know about it. Chat areas have the Mod Call Button, so things tend not to get too nasty there, but there are other elements where there's a bigger barrier to reporting. Mementos have been of particular concern lately - a recurring troll tactic has been to make a hateful Memento and then leave it somewhere on the map or in some alt's bio.

So, now we have a new tool called the Mod Queue. When someone makes a new Memento (or mould), updates their avatar, changes their bio or rollover, it generates a receipt that automatically pops up for me or the mods to look at and click a button to say "Yeah this is great."

I made this system so that we'd see all the bad stuff before players stumble across it and have their day ruined - but I didn't realise when I was making it how much it'd highlight the good stuff. We've seen so many wonderful, gorgeous, imaginative bios and Mementos and avatars lately, it's been almost overwhelming.

I've talked here in the past about how online moderation means you get a focus on the most problematic parts of a community, how that can make it seem like the bad stuff is bigger than it is, and how that can grind away at your mental and emotional health - this has been a blessed antidote for that feeling. Every day I log on and get a stream of creativity and beauty and reminders that you lot are fucking awesome.

In particular I've been interested in ASCII art in extended bios. I knew that one or two people were into it, because they'd been talking about it in the chat channels, but I didn't realise how many folks were giving it a go. Some years ago I toyed with the idea of adding a formatting code for a fixed-width typeface, which would make positioning of this sort of artwork much easier, and more consistent across browsers and operating systems - the idea sat at the bottom of the priority list for years, because it was gonna be complex and I didn't think many people would use it. Now I see how many people are decorating their bios with ASCII art - something I love, and wouldn't have known how many others were into had it not been for the mod queue - I've decided to work on it a little bit this morning. Use the `_ tag in bios, places and Mementos to use a fixed-width typeface. If it doesn't appear to work for you, clear your cache or CTRL-F5 - if it still doesn't seem to work, please hit the Problem Report link. This is very new and experimental so please report any problems you find.

Speaking of neat features for creativity, have you checked out the graphical Outposts beta? You don't need a Hunter's Lodge item for it, now, I've opened it up to everyone. Check Kittania or NewHome, under the "Preview features" nav heading.

In completely unrelated news, we had a chat in the chat channels today about combat.

The problem with combat in Improbable Island has always been one of numbers. A level-one newbie begins the game with 10 hitpoints, 1 attack point, and 1 defence point, and there's not a lot you can do to make that interesting over multiple rounds save for relying heavily on randomness.

Said newbie will always encounter monsters with 1atk and 1def. Making a start on fixing this would involve multiplying everyone's existing stats by ten, so that the above newbie would have 100hp, 10atk and 10def, and encounter some monsters with, for example, 7atk and 13def, and others with 12atk and 8def, serving to differentiate the monsters on a greater level than just their descriptions and body parts. This would also in future allow us to stock Sheila's with new items with stats in between the current items - in the current system you can't make a new weapon and call it a "sharpened spork" with 1.5atk, but if a spork were 10atk rather than 1atk, and a butter knife were 20atk rather than 2atk, then our sharpened spork could slot right in between at 15atk.

Multiplying every stat by 10 will be a good base for adding more interesting facets to combat such as extra talents, new stats, more species-specific game features - people came up with some great ideas for new combat features in chat, but if we're starting at 10hp then we can add as many features as we like and there just won't be the resolution to make them terribly interesting.

What do you think? Should we whack an extra zero on everything? Let me know via Distractions.

Have fun!

MoTD Archives:

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Game Design and Code: Copyright © 2002-2005, Eric Stevens & JT Traub, © 2006-2007, Dragonprime Development Team, 2008-onwards © Improbable Enterprises
Privacy Policy