Improbable Island Message of the Day (MoTD)

New Monthly Memento, new map options, fundraising
Staff2022-03-07 17:58:56 [Permalink]
Hey folks, the Monthly Memento for March is the Leftover Winter. It lets you prevent some of your meat from going bad overnight. You might notice this is a reskin of a Monthly Memento we did seven years ago, and that's because I had The Week From Hell at the end of March, but WE'LL GET TO THAT LATER, because I want to tell you about our new Map routine!

There are three places in Improbable Island where you move around on a 2D map, and they all have their own display routines, hotkeys, and ways of doing things on desktop, mobile and screen reader. This was totally unmanageable to put it politely, so I decided to make One Map Routine To Rule Them All, and you can now see it when travelling on the world map. In the coming weeks we'll be using this in Down Below and the new Outpost maps too. If map display looks fucky, clear your cache or do a CTRL-F5.

Here are some highlights of what's changed:

* Pre-move caching. The game now preloads the background graphics of squares just out of view, so you don't get an annoying corner flicker when you move from square to square.
* Hotkey reorganization and extra hotkey options. You can now choose between a set of hotkeys that make sense on QWERTY, AZERTY, Dvorak, Colemak or any keyboard with a numpad. Default is numpad, and the old QWERTY/AZERTY layout has shifted a little to the left because split keyboards (such as the very sexy homemade Ergodox knockoff I'm writing this on) are becoming more popular every day, and the old layout got chopped right at where a split keyboard... well, splits.
* Improved mobile support, which should look a little better and load a little faster on phones.
* Toggleable hotkey and Stamina cost display within the map itself. Check the "Map display settings" link just below the map to turn these on or off.
* An option to highlight or not-highlight clickable squares on the map; default is on, because newbies often don't realise they can move around by clicking on map squares.
* An option to hide the nav links entirely and navigate exclusively by hotkeys or mapclicking. This is really handy on widescreen laptops as it lets you get to the other links quicker.
* A complete eat-my-own-dogfood rewrite of the map accessibility options which should make things easier on blind or visually-impaired players using screen readers. There are now four different ways of having the map audibly read out; the slowest way is more or less like how the old map worked, and faster options are slightly less intuitive but will let you scan the map much quicker with a little practice. Players using screen readers should check the VI Map Help page which explains how the new options work.
* Preferences reorganization; all the map-related prefs are now stored in cookies, so you can have different prefs set on desktop/laptop/phone.
* Hotkey reservation; in making this new mappybusiness I've had to have a wee gander at the nav code as it was assigning hotkeys in a funky way, so while I was in there I added the option to reserve/override hotkeys for specific things. For a start, in the map, "N" will always be iNventory. I'm going to have a general fiddle with navs in the near future, so this'll let hotkeys be more consistent.

There are lots of other improvements, but it's all crap that only programmers or web designers care about, so the short version is that mappy stuff should now be faster, prettier, more accessible, more consistent and much easier to develop for in the future. I hope you like the new map! If you have any problems, first clear your cache or do a CTRL-F5, and if that doesn't work, use the Tell Us About A Problem link.

In other news, I had an ABSOLUTE FUCK OF A WEEK quite recently which has slowed me down and lightened my wallet quite a lot. Wednesday was the death of my last grandparent, Thursday my water pressurizer decided to spray water all over my basement, Friday and Saturday were devoted to plumbing and cleanup, Sunday was a furnace malfunction, Monday - Monday was fine. Nothing bad happened on Monday. Tuesday I find out that my car's gonna need two and a half grand's worth of work and I've no choice at all but to say aye, do the work. If you've been meaning to donate but have been waiting for an opportune time, this is it, 'cause financially this month has been an absolute bastard.

Coming soon: more mobile improvements, more time/weather conditions, Places improvements and 2D Outposts Resurrected!

Have fun!

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