Improbable Island Message of the Day (MoTD)

Yet more skin updates, couple bugfixes
Staff2021-05-14 19:53:01 [Permalink]
Hey folks, just an update for y'all 'cause I said a week or so ago I was gonna try and do better about doing regular MotD's about what I've been up to lately.

If you find you can't click anything, do a CTRL-F5 or clear your cache, and that should fix things right up.

First up, couple of bugfixes; Valentine's Day Cookies now add the correct buff, and Place names are formally allowed to have colour in them (but not bold/italics/justification formatting). Formerly Place names weren't allowed to have colour but some folks found a workaround and instead of taking away the colours I figured fuck it and decided to make colours in Place titles Officially Allowed.

Next up, the beta skin! I've added three new subvariants on the Dense Jungle variant. There's now a lighter, darker, and mistyrainy subvariant, all of which are accomplished basically by altering gradient colours. I added a lighter version of the Pub variant too. Because a subtle change to one or two lines of code can have such a big effect on the feel of the page, this is giving me ideas on how to make different places feel very different without inflating page sizes too much.

I also painstakingly, pixel by pixel, recreated the old .gif-based foreground tree shadows as 8-bit .png's. Combined with the new CSS background powers that we can use now that we no longer have to support crappy old Microsoft browsers, the tree shadows look a lot better now. The old shadows were single-colour-plus-transparent images that we overlaid on top of the beige page background; because the beige background varies in colour and the shadows did not, they'd appear to fade in and out at different points on the page. The new images are blended dynamically with the beige page background and I think they look soft and nice and more like shadows than overlaid images. I'm pleased that I was able to reuse the old shapes but update them for a better look.

Here's a before and after of the tree shadows that I think probably explains it better than the wall of text above. Notice how towards the bottom of the first screenshot you'll see the tree shadow is actually lighter than the surrounding page content!

I've put a raindrop demo in too. At the moment they're a little rudimentary but choosing Dense Jungle (misty) and Raindrops darkest does give a nice drizzly feeling to the page. Try a combo of Dense Jungle (lighter) and Tree shadows light for a nice sunny feeling instead.

Unrelated, I've been thinking about making the hunt for the Drive a more map-based thing. Like maybe after defeating your final master you're given a Drive Detector and told to head out onto the map and follow an arrow, rather than going between Outposts. I think it'd be a more interesting endgame and it'd also be an opportunity for otherwise-grindy players to notice some of the neat Places y'all have been building. Distract me or try to catch me in chat if you've got input on this idea. (for avoidance of doubt this idea is about putting the Drive on map squares, not about putting the Drive inside Places, which would be a logistical, narrative and moderation nightmare)

Talk soon and have fun!

~CMJ
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