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Update: Games of Chance
November 3, 2018


This week I developed an extension of the category system which allows crafting transitions to have more than one possible outcome. This is obviously needed for things like fishing, which is included in a minor way in this update. The old "do this and get that, guaranteed" just doesn't feel right when dipping a hook in the water. You'd be hauling 'em out one after another.

All transitions in this game are A + B = C + D. In the past, A and B could be categories, which might mean that an axe can chop anything in the "kindling source" category into kindling.

The new probability system now allows C and D to be categories as well, but a new kind of category with weights for each member. Whenever the transition is invoked, one of the members is picked at random, according to the weights. The weights can be any probability distribution. Some outcomes can then be very rare, when that's appropriate (like catching a special fish, or finding a diamond in a mine).

But I didn't stop at fishing. To fully put this new system through its paces, it made sense to explore the human activity that led to the development of probability theory in the first place: games of chance. Also known as gambling. Thus, I didn't just stick in a probability set with a few outcomes, like fishing. I included one set with 21 outcomes (for a pair of rolled dice), and another with 52 outcomes (for a deck of cards). Good thing I did this, because including categories this big unearthed a serious, long-term crash lurking in the category system.

And come to think of it, fishing and gambling really do go hand in hand.

The tutorial was also updated with some improved wording and a "hint hallway" for people who are really stuck (age-gated at 35, so you have to have been trying for 20 minutes before you get any hints).

Those of you who saw moving ice holes related to penguins, that bug has finally been found and fixed. And a new protocol is in place (PING/PONG) to help the client detect true cases of the bouncing-forever bug, as opposed to just genuine network outages. This should result in far fewer false reports. And one new cause of bouncing-forever, this time caused by the new reconnect system, has been fixed.

And stacks, and partially-used objects, no longer revert to their full state on server restart. Their true states are correctly remembered. This also means no more weird universal locks after server restart.

All that said, I still have quite a long list of mini-bugs on GitHub to fix this week before the Steam release on Thursday. That will be my focus, and there will be no new content this week (it would be weird to ship a content update on the very day that the game goes live---the new players will need a week to settle in). I hope to push out the final bug fixes (including content fixes) on Tuesday, to allow time for some last-minute fixes on Wednesday as well.

The plan is to put out a nice-sized content update the following week, and then continue with weekly content updates thereafter.
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