Improbable Island Message of the Day (MoTD)

We're in trouble and need some money
Admin CavemanJoe2023-05-22 17:35:18 [Permalink]
Hey folks, we are officially In Trouble and I need your help.

The short version: We need a lot of money in a very short time and I can't give you much exciting stuff in return for several months. I know, shit isn't it, but the long version explains a bit better.

You might remember back in March our roof started leaking while I was writing the new chat system. Sorting it out enough to last another couple of years was a big job that involved demolishing the chimney (and replacing the hot water heater, which was the only reason we even had a chimney - cheaper than rebuilding, y'see) and it ended up about three grand, to which I said "Hell, I should probably do a fundraiser on the Island, after I get this new chat system written up and in."

Well, shortly after that in April, I took my car to the mechanic because it was making a Noise and I don't have a lift or garage or even driveway to fiddle with it. The mechanic said "Come and have a look at this," which is their way of saying "Oof you're gonna spend some money here pal," and took me under the car and pointed at things so he could hear me say "Oh" and "Sheesh" and "Yikes" and "Fuck Pennsylvania winters." I left the mechanic two days later a couple of grand lighter, and thought "Damn, I really need to get on that fundraiser thing, just make it a bigger one. Tie them together." But by then I was thoroughly invested in making Places run faster, so all my Island time was going into that.

End of April, my web host emails me to say hey, we're decommissioning all our first-gen dedicated servers, you've got until September to make arrangements to move. I go "Well I've been meaning to upgrade this box anyway, the new ones are faster for less money," and I check out their annual plans and it'll save a couple of hundred quid to buy a year at once rather than doing it monthly like we've been doing for the past 15 years. But to do that, I need to have a couple of grand up front.

I also need, since the new server will be running PHP8, to remove/replace/rewrite all the parts of the game code that won't work with this new PHP version. So I go to Goodwill and spend $50 on a computer that's new enough to run the software I need, replicate the new server's environment on that Goodwill box and copy the Island over to it to see what breaks. Basically everything breaks. I start rewriting stuff, beginning with the Inventory display - the good news is nearly all of it will be backward-compatible, which is part of why you have a shiny new Inventory screen now. That $50 Goodwill box is my full-time dev machine now btw, it's nearly twice as fast as my old one and uses way less electricity yay.

(I looked at the manufacturing date on my old processor and went "2009, eh, that's only four years old," and then I counted again before crumbling to dust like that bloke at the end of The Last Crusade)

Anyway then in mid-May my cat went blind. Harley, I mean, the Improbable Island Official Cat as of last year when Stewart passed away. I take him to the vet. Guess how much the bill was? If you're thinking "This is gonna be a couple of grand isn't it," well that's exactly what I was thinking in the waiting room. Along with "Well shit, I hope he even wakes up from the anesthesia."

Well, good news, it were only a grand and a half. And now he's on daily pills and only mostly blind. We're taking him back next week for a followup, fuck knows how much that's gonna be.

At this point if I don't get this fundraiser thing moving now, then I'm sure something else will come along to give me a big fucking hint to get a fundraiser going, so here's the fundraiser. If you care about this game and want it to continue, give us some money.

What do you get in return?

Well, when we've done fundraisers in years past, I've usually accompanied them with some fancy new game feature or bundle deal or something, but today the circumstances are different.

When I fired up the Island on my PHP8-having test box, it output some error messages. And by that, I mean it output so many notices, warnings and error messages, one after the other, that Firefox sat and spun a circle for five minutes, the scrollbar getting smaller and smaller, until it ran out of memory and crashed. That's right, PHP8 got its red pen out and nitpicked so hard that my browser couldn't even load its full list of complaints.

When we did our last server move, back in 2017, you all had written the equivalent of a thousand copies of The Fellowship Of The Ring. We're now at closer to a thousand copies of the entire trilogy, and PHP8 has something to moan about regarding the vast majority of it.

So this is not going to be a quick, straightforward, fix-a-couple-of-things-and-we're-good server migration like last time. This is going to be the sort of job that takes months of very intensive work, diving into the parts of the game code that haven't been touched since the Bush and Blair years, just to make the Island work at all on the new machine. Which we have to move the Island to. Before September. Oh, and I've got two weeks before Nerv's off school for the summer.

So, yeah. Got a bit of an emergency going on. I spent all of last week (except for the vet visit) fixing stuff just to get to the point where I could log in to the game on PHP8 and fight one jungle monster.

As I'm sure you're aware, this is kind of a big game. All of my coding time and energy is going to be invested in simply getting it all to work with modern PHP/MySQl, I simply haven't the spare time to code up something really neat and cool and profitable.

So really the best I can do, for now, is to restock the beloved old Hunter's Lodge Selection Boxes, and promise something really neat in... five months! Check the Lodge for details on the Hunter's Lodge Selection Box, the Deluxe Selection Box, the Builder's Selection Box and the Programmer's Selection Box.

Have fun, gimme yer money, and wish me luck as I dive deep into the code mine and don't return for several months,

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