Improbable Island Message of the Day (MoTD)

May Monthly Memento, the Drive is on the map now
Admin CavemanJoe2024-05-09 14:32:47 [Permalink]
Hey folks, the Monthly Memento for May is the Foot Bags, because I've had so much basement flooding oh my goodness. Also, the long-awaited Drive Labs project is finally done, finished, uploaded, live, running right now! This update extends the endgame by placing seven derelict laboratories scattered around the Island. One contains the Improbability Drive, and the other six contain... other things. Mostly good things - permanent atk/def increases, cigarettes etc - and one or two spicy ones that might involve a bit of luck.

So now, when you hit Level 15, instead of hunting around the Jungle, check out the Comms Tent or venture out onto the map!

I won't spoil things too much, but to anticipate your questions: the labs will move randomly around the map, so don't go thinking "Wow, it'd be cool to set up a Place right next to a lab" and pounding in land claim stakes. Also, some labs will be in the same location for all players, and some will be in different locations for different players - I'll leave it up to you to figure out the details of how that whole system works, because I know y'all love that kind of thing.

Happy Lab hunting!

April Monthly Memento, flood
Admin CavemanJoe2024-04-16 14:00:11 [Permalink]
Hey folks, April's Monthly Memento is the April Bool, it gives you +1 Defence all day long.

I got the Improbability-Drive-On-The-Map project just about ready to release, and then we had record-breaking heavy rain and a basement flood. And then I spent a couple of days cleaning that all up and sat down at my computer and said "Right, where was I," and the sky said "Ohohoh, my friend, that was merely the overture," because that's how the sky talks, so we had record-breaking flooding again, breaking the record harder this time, and a much much worse basement flood, bad enough that I was constructing emergency dams out of leftover laminate flooring cutoffs.

So yeah, Island work has been kind of on hold for the past couple of weeks while I sort out all this water. I've got a few new flood mitigation measures installed, and hopefully work will continue and the much-hyped (by me) drive-on-the-map endgame improvements will be with us in late April.

Have fun and stay dry,

April's Monthly Memento will be late
Admin CavemanJoe2024-04-01 15:08:37 [Permalink]
Hey folks, April's MM will be a day or two late. Longer MotD incoming, watch this space.

Have fun!

February's Monthly Memento
Admin CavemanJoe2024-02-28 15:09:26 [Permalink]
Hey folks, I've been so up to my arse in HOUSE SHIT (see previous MotD for the absolute tip of the iceberg) that I didn't post an MotD about the February Monthly Memento, and thank fuck it's a leap year so I've got an extra day to tell you about the largest and most romantic thing in the game.

The culinary aficionados who have eaten at the Cyber City 404 restaurant "FAMILY FUN FOOD WACKY FAKTORY" will already be familiar with the Romantic Spherical Fun Foods and Romantic Fun Pile, but were you aware that for the month of February you can get the extra-romantic takeaway version? Well you can! In purely data terms, this is the largest Monthly Memento the Island has ever seen, weighing in at over nine hundred kilobytes, because it has to squeeze in a shittily-compressed MP3 of Pachebel's Canon. Even more to love!

Your Valentine's Day candy may well be stale by now, but don't worry, Produkt-10 has a seventy-year shelf life - and when it finally does expire, it tastes exactly the same as when it was fresh. Leap years were invented so that I would have a whole extra glorious day to sell you this wonderful slop.

Have fun!

Welcome hackers, outage, foundation funddrive
Admin CavemanJoe2024-01-30 15:13:55 [Permalink]
Hello and welcome, everyone from Hacker News and all the other websites that have been banging on about my enormous CoC since last Thursday.

As a brief explainer to Improbable Island and its current state, imagine you're throwing a party, and it's the best party ever, and you started it in your twenties and now you're 41 and you've had to create extensions on your house to hold All These People, and one day you look behind yourself and remember that you ripped the floor up to create another swimming pool and then got distracted because somebody asked you for a balcony. Suddenly an extra couple of thousand people show up from out of nowhere and start falling through the holes, and the various possums and raccoons that inhabit this particular floor of your house go "What holes?" because they've been there for so long that nobody notices them anymore. Welcome. If you come up out of the lobby and poke around a bit, you might find some places that look like they've at least had a new coat of paint and a minor dusting since computers had a TURBO button.

Yes, do come in, I know this pipe is gushing right now, I thought it'd be quiet for a month or so, just ignore it, I'll have it patched up in a jiffy. You've joined the party just after we've completed a server migration which involved skipping three major PHP versions like a gazelle leaping gracefully over the Grand Canyon and making a perfect ten-point landing only to smash face-first into a schoolbus full of porridge. I hope you love it here, at least once I've tidied up a bit. Welcome, and I'm sorry.

We had a minor server outage Friday night/Saturday morning, and it's my fault, because when my mate texted me to say "Wow you made the front page of Hacker News, hope your box doesn't melt!" and my box had not yet melted, I just couldn't resist replying with my best Posh Horsey Laugh, "Ahwahwahwa, euxgh dahling, hai've been optimizing the absolute bollocks off this game since it ran on spinning rust, Improbable Island hasn't even noticed a little blip like Hacker News, ahohohoho." Sure enough, that very night, around 3am, after serving twenty times our usual traffic for over 24 hours without so much as a sneeze, a whole different server belonging to some other bastard blew its PSU and popped the rack fuse, and down we went like a sack of spuds. Nobody will ever believe me, and that's fine. I guess.

Speaking of stuff falling down unexpectedly, I need some foundation repairs and they're gonna be bloody expensive. It's a long, long story, and you might have seen me talking about it a little at a time in Banter, gently probing around the edges of the subject like your tongue might squirm at a cavity you're trying to ignore, but the short of it is that I live in a house on a hill, the hill is trying its hardest not to be a hill anymore, we gotta jack up the whole front of the house, nine grand kthx.

I got the quote in mid-December after noticing a big crack where I put up my Christmas tree; it's taken me this long to just, like... parse the idea of nine thousand fucking dollars and what to even do about that. Previous fundraisers have been stuff like, oh I need some new tyres, I bet if I ask a few thousand people on the Island I can have that sorted out in a day, or we wanna pay for a whole year of hosting up front because that'll save us a few hundred quid, stuff that seemed big at the time but they're dwarfed in the shadow of this nine fucking thousand dollars.

So I've gotta think of something big and impressive to promise you lot in exchange for this fund drive, but it's gotta be bigger and more impressive than anything I've ever done, and I've gotta think of it while trying not to think about the whole front of my house falling off. So I haven't thought of anything yet, so I guess I'll start the Actual Fund Drive in February with some kind of bonus Monthly Memento or something, consider this advance warning.

Have fun!

Real quick WIP update
Admin CavemanJoe2024-01-23 17:06:49 [Permalink]
Hey folks, I've been a bit quiet the last couple of weeks and wanted to stick my head in and let you know what I'm working on at the moment; endgame improvements!

Basically we're taking the Drive out of the Jungle and putting it in a lab on the map. There'll be six labs that don't have the Drive in, and one that does. In a previous update I talked about rewriting the Stamina system for this, but after some fiddling it became clear that it made more sense to do the drive-on-the-map project first.

Like every project, it's become more complex than I'd initially figured; I've got to make all sorts of decisions about what will be in each lab, how best to give clues about where the labs are and which one has the Drive in it, whether the labs should be in the same place for everyone or whether every player will have to find their own labs.

It's a lovely ball of complexity! Just to give you an example, on the local-versus-global information question.

Having lab locations set globally will encourage you lot to chat with each other and keep an eye out on where the labs are and what's in each one, which is great from a social standpoint - but having the lab locations set on a per-player basis makes their discovery more of an explorey-bribey-determiney game element and less of a just ask banter element. If we're to blend the two together, have some labs in the same place for everyone and others in different places for everyone, then that raises more questions: which labs need to stay in the same location for everyone, and which need to be in different places for each player? Should the contents of any given lab be set locally or globally? Should the labs move around, so the information-sharing happens on an ongoing basis? When, and how? Which brings us to figuring out an algorithm to ensure that we never end up with a lab right next to or on top of another lab, and that they're spaced out in satisfying but only semi-predictable ways, which was an interesting morning in itself.

Anyway, the drive labs feature is, I reckon, probably about 60% complete; the labs move around on an irregular basis, there's a hidden mechanism to determine which are in the same place for everyone and which you'll have to hunt for, there are semi-random outcomes to things like what's in that locker or what will that sandwich do to you, the next part of the work will be rejiggering Headphones Jones in the Comms Tent so that he can give you hints that are just hinty enough to be fun.

I've been moving at a pretty good clip so this should be done probably early to mid February. I just wanted to pop on and tell y'all that I'm still alive and working on stuff. :)

Have fun!

January Monthly Memento, cookies
Admin CavemanJoe2024-01-14 20:56:00 [Permalink]
Hey all, you know what the January Monthly Memento is, it's the calendar again. Use it once a week to get a new game day.

Nerv is now SEVEN YEARS OLD OH MY GOD WHERE DOES THE TIME GO, and she's selling Girl Scout cookies! Players in the USA can buy them at Nerv's online cookie shop. Please choose the shipping option, as we're not driving littleun all around the country for the sake of six bucks.

Have fun!

New Monthly Mementos, dev update
Admin CavemanJoe2023-12-05 18:16:40 [Permalink]
Hey everyone, December's Monthly Memento is Solstice Squirrel's Christmas Number One! We're also doing a special bonus MM to commemorate Harley, our late Improbable Island Official Cat.

So let's chat about the Stamina system for a sec. Back in 2008, you didn't have a pool of Stamina points to use - you had separate turn points for travel, fighting, building etc. If you ran out of Travel points out in the middle of nowhere then you were just stuck, even if you had ten Jungle fights left for the day. It sucked. So I wrote various Wee Thingies to let you swap jungle fights for travel points etc, and those sucked too, but they provided the basis for the Stamina system which we started using at the beginning of Season 2 in 2009.

I had big plans for the Stamina system! Originally we were going to have five main actions (Hunting, Gathering, Fighting, Travel and Crafting), you'd have sub-actions within each, and experience gained would trickle up to the main action category. For example, hitting "Look for Big Trouble" would give you XP in "Hunting for Big Trouble" and "General Hunting," and going up a level in "General Hunting" would get you Stamina cost discounts in "Hunting - Standard," "Hunting for Easy Fights" and the other sorts of looking for trouble.

So why do we have the current weird system, where there are eight friggin' different actions for Travelling, and you can be level twenty in travelling specifically over shallow water and level two in travelling specifically over swamplands? Why does Budget Horse get too tired to travel along beaches but then find more energy to travel across plains? Why doesn't Hunting for Really Big Trouble give you some XP towards Hunting for Big Trouble, which surely is the same thing but easier? Why does it cost fourteen hundred days' worth of Stamina to go from level 98 to level 99 of Travel Across Plains in order to get the same 25-point cost reduction as you got for spending 8% of your Stamina to go from level 3 to level 4?

Well, I ran out of time before the Season 2 deadline, basically. I felt the deadline looming and cobbled something together and it's kind of worked for fourteen years while pissing me off the whole time.

Anyway, I'm in the mood to Correct This Mistake because I'm working on two things; first, refreshing the way Rallies work, and second, having the Drive move around the map rather than lurk in the jungles outside outposts, and giving a bunch more cool things to do in the endgame. Both of those things involve reconsidering the calculations for monster encounters on the map - for years I've wanted to give y'all "Sneaky" and "Stompy" travel options that reduce or increase map monster encounters, but to do it Properly would involve us having twenty four friggin' different actions for Travel, and frankly fuck that so yeah, returning to the Original Plan for the Stamina system is how we're gonna do that. Expect it late this year or early next.

Have fun!

Return of the Wiki
Admin CavemanJoe2023-11-28 15:27:28 [Permalink]
Hey everyone, the Improbable Island Wiki has returned! In fact it's returned twice - that link there is to the New Wiki, which started off completely blank, and here's a link to the Old Wiki which is read-only. We've separated out the old wiki and the new wiki because the old wiki was so full of outdated stuff that it would've been a bigger job to remove/alter its outdated info than it would be to copy-paste the still-relevant stuff into a shiny New Wiki. Make sense? Pfft yeah right

Anyway if you wanna start filling the New Wiki up with stuff then you'll need to make a wiki account, your regular Improbable Island game account is no good there, at least at the moment. In future I plan to make One Account To Rule Them All, where you log in with your email address and choose from a list of all your alts to play, but that's a thing for next year.

Have fun!

Super Fancy Fun Club!
Admin CavemanJoe2023-11-16 16:00:57 [Permalink]
Hey all, in a rare moment of Actually Trying To Make Some Money From This Game, the old Hunter's Lodge has been upgraded into the new Super Fancy Fun Club! Permanent customization items have been restocked too. Prices that ended in .95 or .99 have been rounded up to whole dollar increments, because the whole "Hmm, it's only $4.95, if it were $5 that'd be too expensive" thing demeaned us all.

To gain access to the Super Fancy Fun Club, you'll need to deal with the extremely polite bouncer, and he will only permit entry to the fanciest of people: those who can prove that they can afford two U.S. dollars. In real life. That's right, give me two bucks and you get to mingle with the fancy-cheese-eating secret rulers of the world, resting your feet on the butlers' backs while tossing darts to determine the next pope. Practice your Posh Horsey Laugh so you can fit in better whenever someone looks out the window at the poors. Say things like "Ahwahwahwahwa, jolly good, h'of course h'ai have nyiever used a decomposing chicken carcass h'as an h'ashtray," nobody will ever suspect a thing. Say "He's gorn ento tha hice" instead of "'e's gonn in'er thee 'ouse." Practice "We only wear three-stripe tracksuits in my house," etc. Notice that someone's chucked a bike into the dumpster round the back, and leave it there because you're the sort of person who puts things into dumpsters, that's how posh you are.

Have I say jolly good fun what what,

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