Improbable Island Message of the Day (MoTD)

Time Shifts, Deprecated Skin Reminder, Featured Places
Staff2021-03-12 19:17:59 [Permalink]
Hey folks! Pretty soon it's gonna be time for the traditional semiannual clockpoking fuckery in which we prod impotently at our car stereos until we get angry enough to try to find the manual online somewhere and then start shouting in a big glass/metal box about why the blithering hellfuck can't stereo manufacturers put the model number somewhere on the front so you don't have to pull the entire head unit out and end up with your aerial wire flopping around out of its socket while you try to read a series of tiny numbers off a dusty sticker upside down in the fucking dark while the pedestrians outside wonder whether they should call the filth on this incredibly profane person who's clearly trying to nick a car stereo, that's right, it's DAYLIGHT SAVINGS CHANGEOVER TIME!

This is my traditional reminder to everyone that Improbable Island runs on UTC and does not observe any form of back-and-forth clockbothering, so if you're changing your clocks in the next few weeks then you can expect your New Day times to change too - or rather, to stay the same while you leap around in time, depending on how you look at it.

Because this is an international game, remember that other players might not have changed times with you. DST begins on the 14th of March in the US and Canada, the 28th of March in the UK and much of Europe, and in some parts of Australia and New Zealand on the 4th of April (AUS and NZ will adjust their clocks in the opposite direction), and much of the world doesn't bother with the whole DST thing at all, so generally EXPECT A MESS. It'll all be over by the first week in April, but if you're planning time-sensitive Island events that fall between now and then, try to build some flexibility into your plans so you can adapt to clocktickling-related confusion.

This is a great time to check the batteries in your clocks, remote controls, and any toys or gadgets around the house. If they've leaked, dismantle down to the bare board (spudgers are useful for prying apart remote controls without marring the plastic), rinse/scrub with 50/50 vinegar and water and a cheap toothbrush, and allow to dry completely before applying power. The vinegar is important to stop the reaction, without it the corrosion will continue to creep along conductors and then a few months down the line it'll be knackered. Don't forget the batteries in your smoke/monoxide alarms - if those have leaked, don't fuck around with vinegar, chuck it away, stick your hand in your pocket and buy a new one.

Anyway, enough about semiannual rituals, let's talk about this new Keyring that's (probably) appeared in your Backpack by now (if you don't have one, go poke around in a Place with locked doors). The new Keyring item shows you all your Places and Keys, and gives a neat little minimap with blinky red dots that show you where your Places are (it deliberately doesn't show you where your Keys lead, because some players like to treat the handing out of Keys as a scavenger hunt, and I didn't want to spoil their fun). If you don't see the neat blinky red dots, and you're using the standard Horizontal or Mobile skins (IE you haven't changed your display skin in Preferences), hit CTRL-F5 or empty your cache, and that should reload the CSS and let you see the blinkies. If you're using the old Vertical, Classic or Console skins, you should change to Horizontal via your Prefences menu, because those skins are deprecated and will soon be removed.

Some players, now reminded of how they own SO MANY PLACES, have reacted to their sea of blinky red dots with WOE and REGRET. If you've reacted this way, and would like to trim things down a tad to be more manageable, I can transfer Places to other players or erase them entirely for you. Just pop me a Distraction with a complete list of what you want done (please be complete and specific, include place names and coordinates and what you want to happen with each individual Place, let's not get into a ten-message back-and-forth of seeking details and clarifications) and I'll sort you out.

I've been thinking about Places a lot this week. People have made hundreds of really neat Places, but getting players to see and explore them is not as frictionless as I'd like. So I'm thinking about game-engine-related things to get people out and exploring the map more (for example, Dan's Quests could be map-based rather than random-number-grinding-based) but also, I'd like to really highlight some of the best Places in the game, and that's not really a thing that can be solved with a program or a game engine change, we need human sense and tastes, we need judges. So, I've decided to set up a Featured Places system, and to work it, a Featured Places Committee.

This is a very new idea but it's already clear that it's going to take a lot of organizing and possibly a long time, so we're getting the ball rolling now before we're fully aware of what shape it'll be. Accordingly, there will be changes mid-construction and bits left undecided at first and filled in later once we have a better sense of how we want this to work, and for folks who don't like that kind of thinking, the following paragraph may be anxiety-inducing.

The general idea is that once or maybe twice a month depending on how folks feel, we'll choose a really neat Place (or two, depending on how folks feel) and highlight it on the Map and in Outposts (and maybe other places, depending on how folks feel) and give it some attention. The mechanics of deciding which Place to Feature will be up to the members of what I'm calling at the moment a Featured Places Committee, although the name may change if we think of something more fitting or just funnier. The FPC will be made up of ordinary players (and maybe one mod, we're still thinking it through). These players may be required to make a non-gameplay alt to which I can grant special fast-travel powers in order to more easily facilitate their decisions (or not, we'll see). The job of these FPC players will be to gather Place nominations from regular players (or maybe to nominate Places themselves, who the fuck knows), to evaluate those Places, rank them by awesomeness, and decide on a monthly or fortnightly winner. FPC members won't be allowed to nominate their own Places or those of close friends, and if their own Places happen to come up (which is likely because we'll want to choose folks heavily into Places and Place building to manage this), they'll be expected to abstain from voting.

I'm thinking five or seven people on the FPC, maybe with a limit on time spent on the committee in a stretch (or maybe not, depending), but an odd number anyway to reduce the potential for ties. Everything about how Featured Places will work is very vague right now because I want to hash out some details with the committee itself, and the committee does not yet exist. So I guess we'd better form the committee!

To apply for a spot on the Featured Places Committee, please send me a Distraction with the subject line "FPC Application." In that Distraction, tell me why you want to be on the FPC, what you think might be involved, any ideas you have for voting or nomination systems, your rough location (country-level is fine), your timezone (in terms of UTC offset, here's a list), and whether another player talked you into applying. A lot of players might not want to apply themselves but will have ideas for other players who'll do a fine job, and by all means tell me about those players with the subject line "FPC Nomination," telling me why you think I should invite them to apply and keeping those messages to one nomination per Distraction so I can keep it all straight.

I'm really looking forward to forming this committee and getting some eyeballs on the Island's best Places!

Meanwhile, have fun,

~CMJ
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