Emails, Lighting, and AI

Hey Folks! As some of you have no doubt noticed by the glaring red box at the top. We have (had?) an email problem.

A short while ago, Hotmail users stopped receiving emails from both the site and my personal email address. No error messages. No bounced email warnings. No emails in junk folders. Just emails sailing unannounced into a digital black hole.

My initial attempts to tackle the problem all failed, largely because I couldn't identify the problem. The bluebottlegames.com domain seemed to be clear of any spam blacklists. So did my mail server's IP. I tried checking Hotmail's site to see if they had any tools to debug my issue, but asking Microsoft a question is like interrogating a mountain. I did find a direct contact form at one point, and actually received a prompt reply! Unfortunately, it amounted to this:

Our investigation has determined that the above IP(s) do not qualify for mitigation.

I'm not sure what to do with that information. Does this mean there is no problem? That the problem won't be dealt with? Correction, I am now interrogating a mountain that replies in riddles.

Fortunately, I blindly stumbled upon a step which seems to have helped. I queried my own personal IP against any blacklists, and it turns out it was on a few. Note, this is my house's dynamic IP address. The "originating IP" in the email, not the outgoing mail server's IP. Sheesh.

Fortunately, one of the blacklists has a self-serve tool for de-listing an IP for, I guess, people in my situation who don't control our dynamic IPs. I also made another change to my mail client to ensure the outgoing server was in-line with my domain's designated sender list.

Even more fortunately, it appears this may have done the trick. I saw my first few emails appear in my Hotmail junk folder, which is an improvement! And after some flagging as "not spam," the rest were appearing in my inbox again.

Is it solved? Hard to say. I'm going to leave that red box up there over the weekend just in case. It'd stink to be an Hotmail customer waiting for a registration email or reply from me only to never get it and not know why.

After wasting most of my day on stupid email issues (stern glance at you, Microsoft), I did get a bit of game dev done. Namely, I finished my emissive model tests and know how I can fake that adequately with a "cookie" spotlight if I need to. Until I know exactly how to proceed with graphics, though, I decided to turn my attention back to gameplay.

So I tackled two of the more annoying issues in my gameplay that have been around for a while. First, I sorted my AI priorities by highest need, rather than age. I think this is working now, though the way AI evaluates goals seems like it'll need some tweaking.

And, I also adjusted my ship-building mode to have depth-sorted clicking when deleting parts. Previously, it would just delete the first object it detected under the mouse, which unfortunately sometimes deleted floors and structure before furniture, lights, or walls. Now, it appropriately checks the depth of all objects under the mouse and deletes from top to bottom.

They're fairly minor code changes, but they make a big difference in predictability.

Next week, I hope to finish adding toilets and maybe another psysiological need/item pair, and start watching to see how crew balance emotional and physical needs. At that point, it might be good to start exploring ship duties and how those fit in. (E.g. repairs, cleaning, operating ship equipment) And maybe, if I can figure out how to proceed, it'd finally be time to add a control panel to control where the ship is going? And how the user will interact with it?

Could be fun! Hopefully, I get to do more of that instead of sysadmin and biz admin for once :)

Comments

ra1's picture
ra1

Even though you already resolved the issue, I believe "mitigation" is MS speak for "doing something about it". In this case, if MS were to mitigate those IPs, it would override the filter that is/was blocking your IPs, to specifically allow them through.

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

I think you're right. Although, possibly the more important question is, what does "qualify" mean in this context :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games