Improbable Island Message of the Day (MoTD)

Mmmmm, it's a Monthly Mementos, Mods and Mastodon MotD!
Admin CavemanJoe2017-11-02 03:02:51
Hey, all! The Monthly Memento for November is up, and it is the Writer's Block. Use it for a minor buff making Carpentry actions slightly cheaper while Place building.

We've added two new moderators! Long-time players Csodas and Ghostface Koalah have been given moderator hats. Give 'em a warm welcome and try not to make them turn grey prematurely.

We've officially made the switch to Mastodon, and our Twitter and Facebook accounts are now dormant. Well, more dormant. I started to write up a short post about why we're moving to Mastodon, but the short post became a long post, and then the long post became an essay, and round about when I got to the part about building a "horrifying dystopia of constant corporate surveillance and algorithm-induced fanatical extremism just so that one day you'll click on an ad and earn someone twelve cents" the essay started to look more like a gibbering manifesto, so I won't subject you all to that and will instead just say that you should join us on Mastodon because there's no adverts, there's no creepy advert-related tracking, posts are shown in the order in which they're made, the software is open-source, and there are far fewer dickheads than on most other social media platforms. Here's a Join Mastodon page that someone has made, here's the Wikipedia entry, and here's the instance that Improbable Island's official account is on, Mastodon.social. Here's a quick guide on how to choose a Mastodon instance:

1) Scroll through the list on joinmastodon.org until you find one with a name that sounds cool.
2) Click the cool-sounding link, check out their theme, code of conduct and rules, and see if it's actually as cool as it sounds. Some sites are more permissive, some are more restrictive, try to find one that suits your tastes. Sessine found a really cool-sounding instance called wandering.shop that's trying to be like a coffee shop at a sci-fi convention. Alexander Quandle found a neat instance called icosahedron.website which is for people who "like stellated platonic solids very much." Improbable Island's official account is on the original Mastodon website, mastodon.social, because I lack imagination. All of these instances can interact with each other just like gmail users can email yahoo mail users, so your choice of instance is mostly for aesthetics and local flavour.
3) Got lucky? Sign up and then follow @improbableisland@mastodon.social. Second thoughts? Repeat steps 1 & 2 until they bear fruit.
4) Find other Islanders. I follow back anyone who follows me, so you can look at who the official Improbable Island account is following and follow them - or, you can search for the hashtag #findingislanders.

See y'all on Mastodon, and have fun!

~CMJ
Wednesday Bugfixes
Admin CavemanJoe2017-10-04 16:14:04
Hey, all!

* Chat auto-update no longer stops working at random
* Chat export now uses the correct colours
* Teleporting to rooms in Places from the Structural Menu no longer results in a badnav
* Midnight now gives more verbose status updates on trimming chatareas

It's only been a couple of days since the last MotD, so do check it out for details on Candy Bombs, the new Mod Call button, and October's Monthly Memento.

Have fun!

~CMJ

New Monthly Memento, Candy Bombs back in stock, new Mod Call button, chat autoupdate bugfix
Admin CavemanJoe2017-10-01 04:30:10
Hey, all. The Monthly Memento for October is Focker & Pratt's Captivating Candy Compressor, which lets you eat a whole bunch of candy at once rather than clicking tediously on individual pieces.

And speaking of which, it's that special time of the year again! Candy Bombs have been restocked in the Hunter's Lodge. I'm looking forward to seeing how our new server handles the traditional October Chocopalypse.

We've got over ten thousand players right now, so we've added a button underneath chat areas. Click on it (twice) and the Bat Signal goes up to any online mods (yeah, in internal chats we call it the Bat Signal) who can come and sort things out. It's quicker than doing a Problem Report, more appropriate to the context (because Problem Reports were intended primarily for bugs and the whole moderation thing was kinda bolted-on at the last minute), and it also preserves chatlogs until a moderator sees them, so mods aren't piecing together accounts of whatever happened at three in the morning when we were all asleep.

While I was at it, I finally tracked down a long-standing bug with chat that would cause auto-update to stop working unexpectedly. The bug is now fixed, so auto-update should be much more reliable now!

Have fun!

~CMJ

Hacking attempt, new Monthly Memento, computer problems, porn
Admin CavemanJoe2017-09-01 02:51:23
Hey, all. At about 11:00 UTC this morning, a script kiddy attempted to use a SQL injection in the Distractions system. The attempt was unsuccessful, but as a precaution, I took Distractions down for a bit while I hardened the system up a touch. Distractions are now back online and nothing has been compromised, but now is a good time to remind you to use proper password hygiene. When it comes to passwords, the only thing that makes them hard for a computer to guess is their length. Use a long phrase as your password, something like "Help me my spine is on fire" rather than "$p1n3," and try to avoid re-using passwords for multiple websites.

Anyway, it seemed like an appropriate new Monthly Memento would be the Hacker Balaclava, which lets you hack Improbable Island just like this guy, to gain a piffling amount of Req. You can use it as many times a day as you like, but with each use you become more likely to get caught and sent to the Failboat.

Speaking of awful computer fuckups, hey guys guess what I had an awful computer fuckup. In transitioning to a new operating system installation I used a backup program that didn't follow symlinks, and long story short the work I've done but not yet released on Improbable Island is gone. All I have left is what's live now. So if things seem slow around here, that's why.

In lighter news, my good friend Phoenix Baker (see previous MotD's) has once again asked for the kindness of the Island in... alright, some backstory: way back several years ago, Phoenix wrote some lesbian erotica and asked me to make the cover for it. Since then, I've thrown the Island at it every now and then, wanting Phoenix to be successful. Well, job done, the third (!!!) sequel to the story in question has been nominated for Literotica's best lesbian story of 2016. Those of you who are so inclined (and who are so so-inclined that they already have Literotica accounts) can vote for Phoenix's story "High Voltage Mittens" here. I'm sure Phoenix will be thrilled.

Have fun!

~CMJ

Official 2017 Commemorative Limited Edition FUCK AMERICAN AIRLINES Bonus Monthly Memento
Admin CavemanJoe2017-08-06 16:37:51
I recently had to travel to the UK for a wedding (which we really couldn't afford in the first place), and American Airlines changed our return flight three times and shunted us from Manchester to Philadelphia to Washington DC before ultimately cancelling our flight, leaving us stranded in Washington with a one-year-old baby who'd been in airports for twenty hours, and our bags in Pittsburgh. American Airlines flat-out refused to offer compensation, lodging, food, a refund on the flight we'd paid for and not received, or even an apology. Completely out of baby food and nappies, we ultimately had to rent a car at one in the morning and drive all the way home to Pittsburgh. American Airlines not only failed to treat Emily, Minerva and I as paying customers - they treated us like a bitter enemy, despite our unfailing politeness while my hungry baby whimpered on my hip. This isn't even the whole story, there's a novel's worth of farce to go on, but for the sake of brevity, we had our money stolen from us and were treated like the scum of the earth.

Now, you too can enjoy this experience!

Because we had to put the rental car on the credit card, and because renting a car from an airport half an hour after the rental place was supposed to close will cost you about four hundred bucks (and they only had Mustangs and pickup trucks left), we're hurriedly trying to scrape some money together. If you donate twenty dollars in a single transaction this month, you'll receieve the Official 2017 Commemorative Limited Edition FUCK AMERICAN AIRLINES Bonus Monthly Memento!

"But what does it do?" I hear you cry. Well, with a single click you too can experience the sort of service you'll receive from American Airlines. Namely, it tells you it's going to take you to New Pittsburgh, and then it dumps you in Squat Hole and tells you to go fuck yourself.

If that's not enough realism for you, the Official 2017 Commemorative Limited Edition FUCK AMERICAN AIRLINES Bonus Monthly Memento: Turbo Champion Edition will do exactly the same thing as the Official 2017 Commemorative Limited Edition FUCK AMERICAN AIRLINES Bonus Monthly Memento, but also includes a shitty, low-quality photo of me giving you the finger. The Official 2017 Commemorative Limited Edition FUCK AMERICAN AIRLINES Bonus Monthly Memento: Turbo Champion Edition is yours for a thirty-dollar donation.

American Airlines: Believe the hype, read the reviews, if they did this to me, then they'll do it to you.

Have fun! Also I'm gonna be fixing some long-established bugs this week, so fingers crossed.

~CMJ
Minor Kissing Booth change
Admin CavemanJoe2017-07-09 19:57:06
Hey, all. A minor change.

The old Kissing Booth in Common Ground (an ancient file that pre-dates Improbable Island) determines the gender of the person staffing the booth (the kissee) by checking against the player's gender and assigning a kissee of the opposite gender.

The new change simply assigns a character at random, so you can kiss (or not kiss) any of the characters available. The buffs and outcomes remain the same.

The kissee is generated randomly, for each player, individually, at each new day.

Have fun!

~CMJ

Seasonally-appropriate Monthly Memento!
Admin CavemanJoe2017-07-01 16:02:45
Hey, all! The new Monthly Memento for July is The Watcher's Swimsuit.

There was a glitch where the new Monthly Memento was briefly a shitty, non-working version of the Monthly Memento for last July, the Sparkler. That's because a year ago I accidentally typed monthly_memento_2017_07 instead of monthly_memento_2016_07, and then went "Hmm, that's gonna cause problems a year from now. Oh well, plenty of time to fix it between now and then, I'm sure I won't forget." And then I had a baby.

Have fun! Also if you're not aware that HyperTeleporters are a thing, check the previous MotD!

~CMJ
Hyper Teleporters now available in the Hunter's Lodge!
Admin CavemanJoe2017-06-30 03:58:19
Hyper Teleporters allow you to instantly teleport to any map square, regardless of whether there's a teleport beacon set up there already. Available now in the Hunter's Lodge. The larger multipacks are limited items, so grab 'em while you can!

Have fun! And join us on Mastodon, at https://mastodon.social/@improbableisland! We already use it more than Twitter!

~CMJ

A better World Map, and more stuff coming soon
Admin CavemanJoe2017-06-20 15:55:27
Hey, all! This weekend I coded up a new version of the World Map overview page (buy a World Map from the Comms Tent so you can see it). It loads MUCH faster than the old one!

Coming soon: better teleporters! Also, the last MotD was only a couple of days ago, so make sure you check that one too, because it's awesome.

Have fun!

~CMJ

Teleport Beacon costs slashed, also erroneous PayPal stuff
Admin CavemanJoe2017-06-18 02:46:46
Hey, all!

If a Place owner has a Teleport Beacon in one of his or her Rooms, then when a player uses a One-Shot Teleporter, they'll have the ability to teleport directly to that Room. When I built this system, they were intended to showcase the more awesome Places on the Island, giving players easier ways to get to them. Anyone who can be in the Room where the Teleport Beacon lives can donate cigarettes to fuel it, so it'd be a nice way to bring players together towards a common goal.

Unfortunately, they've not been as successful as I would like, because the costs were just way too damn high. It costs four cigarettes to run a Teleport Beacon for one game day. That's 24 cigarettes per real-world day. They ended up being a thing that would be used for special plot occasions, not a thing that would get any significant use.

So, as of today, I'm slashing the prices on Teleport Beacons, both to buy the beacon itself and to run it. Previously, a Teleport Beacon cost 200 Cigarettes and 50,000 Requisition - they now cost 100 Cigarettes and 20,000 Requisition. While before they cost 4 cigarettes per game day to run, they now cost one cigarette per three game days - a 92% cost reduction!

Hopefully this change will help put more awesome Places in the spotlight.

In other news, if you've noticed that the funddrive page is showing up at newday and claiming we're skint even though the donations bar is blue and therefore claiming that we're rolling in dough, that's because since the server move, some donations got logged twice (or even thrice) by the game. Nobody had their money go missing - rather, some people got too many points. I've corrected the overall bookkeeping, but figured I'd leave the donations bar blue because it's nice for it to be blue. If you're one of the (many) people who had their donations logged twice, don't worry - you can keep your extra Supporter Points.

Sometimes the donations bar and the funding status page won't agree for other reasons - for example, sometimes people add extra zeroes to their donation amounts and then realize what they've done after the transaction has already gone through, and message me saying "Oh shit I can't pay my rent." In those cases I just refund their cash, but it does leave the donations bar erroneously high. The funding status page is the best indicator of the Island's overall financial stability, the bar's just for fun and extra Stamina and such.

Have fun!

~CMJ

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Game Design and Code: Copyright © 2002-2005, Eric Stevens & JT Traub, © 2006-2007, Dragonprime Development Team