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ttlg - stuck in the past...


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Once Doom 3 goes GPL (or it doesn't and you decide to go Xreal etc)... you should just release the broken "free" version with poor placeholder assets. Some folks will just live with it as is but I suspect that someone will come along and say "this has to be fixed". That "free" version could live along-side the premium version until someone showed-up with the needed goods.

 

So oDDity's normal maps are shaped to the contours of the Doom 3 head shape and you don't have the source models?

 

Maybe you could use oneof8devil's normal map to heightmap to model conversion process? You'd have to clean-up conversion artifacts but it would be less work than trying to replicate his work from scratch?

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Take it or leave it, TTLG is here to stay as well as TDM. It gets enough attention, it will rise upon its own when Thiaf 4 falls on its ass.

Absurd amount of work? It would essentially be like starting over. It's not something that would be finished in a few months, it would be a number of years. Then what? All the existing maps would

No, they do not work "fine", unless you define "fine" to be "work mostly" :)

(the D3 zombies f.i. miss sleeping animations, and who knows what else they do not have...)

 

So if an AI can't do what you want it to do, it's "half-working"?

 

There are two D3 zombies. One of them has several sleeping animations, and the other does not have any. So yes, if you try to put the one that does not have any sleep animations to sleep, it causes problems. If you consider that "half-working", then I guess our rats, horses, spiders and werebeasts are only half-working, as they don't have sleep animations either.

 

And btw, you proved my point I made a few posts earlier just nicely by again dragging out arguments on "why we don't remove or replace these assets" instead of just replacing them

 

Nobody is stopping anyone from replacing anything. I certainly won't be doing it, however. And I'm unaware of anyone who even has the ability to replace the most significant assets, let alone the desire.

 

The implication that if we weren't "dragging out arguments", the work would just get itself done, is silly.

 

So oDDity's normal maps are shaped to the contours of the Doom 3 head shape and you don't have the source models?

 

Not really, no. I have all the source models. Models are easy. High poly models (required for good normalmaps) are hard. D3 heads already have excellent normalmaps, and at least half of our existing heads use them.

 

Once Doom 3 goes GPL (or it doesn't and you decide to go Xreal etc)... you should just release the broken "free" version with poor placeholder assets.

 

Yes, some kind of "TDM lite" has been proposed in the past, and might be feasible, though it would need huge disclaimers to avoid giving the wrong impression.

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That's what I was referring to.

 

The "source" High poly models for the normal maps.

 

If you don't have those, oneofthe8devilz's method can be used to recreate them (though with artifacts).

 

But you could probably smooth-out the artifacts in Sculptris\Zbrush (etc).

 

http://www.doom3world.org/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=23265

 

I think njob can also make a height-map from a normal map as well so either approach might work to get those "source high-poly models" so they can be adequately revised to make them "Doom 3 free".

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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So if an AI can't do what you want it to do, it's "half-working"?

 

There are two D3 zombies. One of them has several sleeping animations, and the other does not have any. So yes, if you try to put the one that does not have any sleep animations to sleep, it causes problems. If you consider that "half-working", then I guess our rats, horses, spiders and werebeasts are only half-working, as they don't have sleep animations either.

 

Please do not split hairs on "half" working being working 50%, or 90% or only 10%.

 

In my book, these zombies do not work fully. I tried to use them in a map so they lay down and stand up and it doesn't work - that counds as "not working" in my book.

 

(And for the record, yes, I consider our horse "not working fully", there quite a lot of open bug reports on them.)

 

As you wrote in the bug report for the zombie, we can't even add the animations. This is not a simple "oh its a small bug or missing feature, we will eventually add it". This is a "one of our zombies can do it and the other can't do it". Try to explain to our mappers why zombie X can do Y, but zombie Z can't do this. (From a usability viewpoint this is just madness).

 

Anyway, we can stop arguing here anyway, as the point I was trying to make has already been stated.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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That's what I was referring to.

The "source" High poly models for the normal maps.

If you don't have those, oneofthe8devilz's method can be used to recreate them (though with artifacts).

 

That's a neat tool, but even if you set aside the legal issue of using the D3 assets to create the high-poly model, you're still left with a large amount of work. You've got to create the highpoly model, put it into a modeling program and fix the artifacts, use high poly modeling techniques to modify it so it's not an exact copy, then recreate the normalmap, make a low poly model with the same uv-map, re-rig it, and redo the diffuse texture. And that's just one head. Like I said, if someone wants to do it, be my guest, but it won't be me.

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Thanks Springheel!

 

That clarifies the situation very precisely!

 

Yes, I was not sure if any amount of fiddling with the acquired "source model" would make it distinct enough to be considered unique but there must be some limit because it is a face after all and all human face configurations can't be copyrighted... How much you would have to morph the thing and how bad it would look after are other concerns though... Yet I still think this one is ( a least philosophically) surmountable (other than Zenimax using big lawyers, bribes, etc to rig any legal action in their favor...)...

 

Yes, the required art-work is still daunting.

 

So this is the primary stumbling-block for a standalone TDM.

 

This should be added to the site FAQ so that it can be referenced as I have seen this topic at TTLG, DarkFate and even Moddb posters bring this up.

 

Thanks again.

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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I'm pretty sure Brink is still using their heavily modified idTech4, so it's likely not to go GPL anytime soon.

 

I'm thinking of making my own "Thief-like" framework for Unity... well, it's pipe dreams right now, but as I'm learning the tech it seems more and more doable. You can directly sample lightmap indices in the API! And if I do make it, I'd probably avoid this content-heavy art style... considering that most of the time you're watching guards from 30 feet away in near-darkness, it doesn't make sense for them to be modeled so realistically. Check back with me in a year... :|

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Prey 2 is also using Id Tech 4...

 

Yet, the tech can still be licensed while it goes GPL (though Id has historically granted licensees the courtesy of waiting awhile after the release of their games before GPL-ing their tech.).

 

*Crossing-Fingers for Id to uphold their statement about GPL being concurrent to the release of Rage*

 

In a sick way, I kinda like the prolonged wait for GPL Id Tech 4 because it mean TDM's hard-fought technical workarounds still count as remarkable compared to what others have done with Doom 3 modding. Once it's GPL, folks will forget how much these guys had to overcome when they made this mod.

 

 

...Good luck with that Thief-style indie Radiatoryang. It'll be interesting to see if your work gets more fan missions than TDS also :D

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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I'm pretty sure Brink is still using their heavily modified idTech4, so it's likely not to go GPL anytime soon.

 

I'm thinking of making my own "Thief-like" framework for Unity... well, it's pipe dreams right now, but as I'm learning the tech it seems more and more doable. You can directly sample lightmap indices in the API! And if I do make it, I'd probably avoid this content-heavy art style... considering that most of the time you're watching guards from 30 feet away in near-darkness, it doesn't make sense for them to be modeled so realistically. Check back with me in a year... :|

 

Unity is really cool no doubt. A lot can be done with simple scripting.

 

But to have dynamic lights/shadows you gotta buy pro. So $1500 isn't something to shake a stick at, especially if all you plan to do is make a free game.

 

At least with UDK you can build a free game and I believe you get all the lighting, etc... It'll just cost more in royalties if you go retail.

Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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No offense, but this is the twenty-first century. Not everyone wants to Run Windows anymore. I don't know about Unity, but UDK is not cross-platform (besides consoles). I still believe that the TDM team made the right choice, because the mod can run on any PC regardless of the OS. It will probably eventually run on the Mac too.

Edited by lost_soul

--- War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.

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UDK makes me nervous. With a game that depends heavily on interactions with lack of light and shadows, why choose an API or environment that excels at efficient and pretty daylight?

 

I also distinctly remember an email directly from Mr. Carmack many many months ago:

I doubt that any outside contact would help the case, but I think the open source battle is mostly won -- the iPhone open source releases have been without a problem, and I just need to chase down a couple more sign offs for the RTCW release.

 

No Doom 3 release would be possible before Rage's release, though.

 

John Carmack

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No offense, but this is the twenty-first century. Not everyone wants to Run Windows anymore. I don't know about Unity, but UDK is not cross-platform (besides consoles). I still believe that the TDM team made the right choice, because the mod can run on any PC regardless of the OS. It will probably eventually run on the Mac too.

 

Apart from that (which as a non-windows user I can only strongly echo), there is also the problem that "a lot can be done with scripting in Unity" doesn't translate easily (or shortly) into "a working frob system", or "a working stim&response system", or even "a working thief-like AI with auditory/visual senses", and if you get an auditory system for sound propagation working, well, who knows.

 

If you are lucky, then Unity is a bit more than the eyecandy and provides you some usable frameworks (and if you are even luckier, they are still available and working stable in a year), if you are unlucky, good luck replicating this all with scripting.

 

I think people sometimes greatly underestimate what complex things you need to get even the most basic Thief-gameplay style things to happen...

 

It's true, we have some difficulties with the closed-source engine, and implementing things like SEED is not fun (I'd pay 1000 $ if it was just "done" because that would have saved me 6 months of my life...) BUT and that's the big but, we found work-around for all the important issues, and for most secondary issues, too, and we got a workign toolkit, AND an art asset library and over 30 working FMs.

 

That's more than anybody else e.g. any most fan projects or game mods I can remember in that regard got. Most of them get never beyond the "we moddelled three new guns and here are render shots" stage before school begins and the mod is dead.

 

That is even more FMs than TDS got. One could even argue that from a POV of a thief fan, TDS didn't even get game nor the toolkit properly done. :)

 

Anyway, TDM is nothing to sneer about.

 

Of course, it could be better...

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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I'd join the chorus and say even if you wanted *different* stealth game, it'd still be better IMO to make a branch version of Dark Mod than start from scratch on another system. Yeah it's already got the frobbing and the mantling and the object manipulation and the light gem and the very complex AI states & tasks (a huge deal!!!), even "simple" things take months of work; and all of that is open source. It's already got the foundation for any kind of stealth game you could imagine.

 

Also my suspicion is, even if you got an entirely standalone game, I'm not sure it would still get many more mappers and players. Stealth is just a niche mechanic, however easy it is to get and play the game.

 

It might make sense if you were doing an absolutely completely different game though, pared way down, like Yahtzee's Art of Theft.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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viktor.jpg

 

Not to hijack the thread or anything, but my planned Thief-alike in Unity would get made under the following design constraints:

  • First person only. I'm a purist, but perhaps only in this respect.
  • Web browser deployment with short load times, works on all platforms.
  • A gameplay mechanic with "social" stealth. I like how Hitman and Assassin's Creed handle it, and it would make for interesting intersections with shadow-based stealth.
  • Non photo-realistic, simple art style. Mostly flat colors, some occasional details. Relatively few textures. No lip-syncing, no facial morphs, no detailed conversations. I really like the concepts Viktor Antonov did for the Paris in Arkane's canceled FPS "The Crossing" so that'll likely be the basis for my version of The City. (see image above)
  • No dynamic shadows in Unity Free. Instead, simple point lights and spotlights. Moving light sources are better than dynamic shadow projection anyway, in terms of gameplay.
  • Light gem calculation is faked based on instanced trigger fields + a raycast to the light source to modulate for distance. Pretty cheap and good enough, I think?
  • Simplified NPC states and AI. Complex AI != the player thinking they're complex, necessarily.
  • Limited sound propagation using the navmesh, like how Thievery did it, right?
  • Automatically generated navmesh (pre-placed A* pathing nodes attached to level prefabs)

With the features above, I'm confident I can do all of that on Unity Free and I have the skillset to prototype it, even with my limited programming experience. It's just a matter of finding a lot of time to do all of it. As I said, check back in a year ;)

 

There are also some pipe dream features that I'd have to do research on, but I think they're integral to the life of the concept:

  • At some point, 2 player modes, either cooperative or competitive.
  • Eventually, also an integrated level editor in your browser. LittleBigPlanet-style; upload your level to a database. Everything lives in the cloud. I'm doing academic research into easier game design tools, so I could probably borrow the tech for this.
  • Ideally, an Assassin's Creed / Brink-style "free run" button that lets you climb stuff and do parkour easily. Looks too hard to do though, and mostly an animation / IK problem that I don't have the expertise for.

Edited by Radiatoryang
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In regards to a standalone TDM, we need a starting point and that begins with a list of assets that are shared or derivative of Doom 3's assets. The completeness of the list is irrelevant as it can be expanded on as time progresses. It's also important that team members get the ball rolling here as you folks are the only ones with intimate knowledge of TDM's development from start to finish.

 

I suspect it all hinges on guidance. People need to know where their effort is needed and where it is wasted or they won't bother. Give them a list and the freedom to choose what they want to work on and things will happen. Embrace the idea of TDM as a living document and that the first submissions you receive will not always be perfect but they are a start. The proof is in the textures, sounds, and animations that have been and are now being improved along with the growing library of fan missions.

Edited by rich_is_bored
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Raycast to determine lightgem? Yeah, that's a nice cheap mathematical solution. From your design approach, I don't think that the lightgem will need to be as flexible as the one in TDM's 3D environment. You won't get partial occlusion except by distance from the light source, but it's fast.

 

Just remember the slippery slope that if you've got the capability to do something, soon there's going to be an overwhelming demand (from yourself or from others) to implement it. That'll burn you out.

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Speaking on the "death of modding" issue, I've been looking at upcoming games and wondering what games might even be able to take up the modding mantle for this next generation, like the way Half-Life 2 is sort of the go-to platform for a lot of generic FPS mods, then UnrealDK and Doom3. But if someone wanted to make a good Total Conversion on an upcoming engine, what would their options be, just speculating?

 

I was thinking Rage, then maybe Doom4 after it, (id5) though I remember Carmack's pessimism about modders being able to handle the megatextures. (I understood he suggested that you could still make maps without big megatextures though.) Then way off in the distance already id6 (virtualized geometry!) and whatever game that will be. This is assuming id games will stay moddable. But aside from that, what's even on the horizon? I can see a whole scene growing up around Unity and a heavily souped-up id4 and UDK in the coming years, but that's different from something completely in the next engine generation or two. Has anybody read about anything?

 

E.g., Do Source and Unreal have next gen engines in the pipes with plans to open them up?

 

Edit: FTR, I'm happy sticking to DarkMod myself. Feels like we came out just in time to catch this gap in modding. Just wondering how the scene will evolve in terms of actual games and engines.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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E.g., Do Source and Unreal have next gen engines in the pipes with plans to open them up?

I doubt that Valve or Epic will ever open even ealier versions of their engines. As for next gen versions - yes, they are already exist (Tim Sweeney has mentioned at GDC 2009 that Epic's next gen game will be in production for five years: 2009-2014), but I doubt that they are available to license for everybody.
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But will they stay as moddable as the previous games?

And will a scene grow up around them so there's tutorials and resources and a community to work with?

I don't care about the license or openness as much as the moddability. (I shouldn't have used the word "open". I just meant it in the informal way, it's not a completely locked down game you can't mod, much less make a TC on.)

 

And I didn't mean to pre-judge the future singling those companies ... Maybe the modding scene may move to completely different games, and what might those be?

 

Edit: It's an even further question what kinds of maps will be made and distributed. I have a feeling, since T4 and any future Thief-s won't be moddable, that Dark Mod is the end of the line for Thief-like maps, which is why it's good it's open source so we can continue to develop on our own. But I wonder if any other game will have a scene like our's again.

 

I see it more likely coming from a Total Conversion than a vanilla AAA game ... First you have to excise all the consolisms, big icons, hand-holding, and probably re-do the gameplay. You just can't go that far with a vanilla FPS (why I was never that impressed with Crysis mods, otherwise awesome environments). But something may be just over the horizon completely new, since I feel like there's this pool of people like us that would jump on it.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Well, with tomorrow's release of Portal 2 an updated Hammer will be out. Engine updates and performance gains.

Still, I don't like that'll change the mod scene for that engine much.

 

UDK and Unity are great and popular for what they are. Free. Open. Useable for indie devs to make money on and hit the mobile market.

Not too familiar how things are going with UDK, with Unity a lot of people use it. It's easy to make simple games and put them in a web browser. There are a lot of scripts and packages available (FPS kits, car kits, etc...) but the programs are charging for them. There's money to be made there so I don't see it going in the Mod direction. I assume most UDK projects will be the same, made for money, so people involved will want paid.

 

---------

I guess it depends on what the mod is going for. Source (Hammer/Halflife) is a great tool for FPS games, but I think the team made a good choice with Doom3 for TDM. 1 dynamic light in Source can bring fps to it's knees. And either way the same work would have been needed to put TDM into Source, but it would've lost the whole dynamic light thing which is pretty important for an upgrade to thief imo.

Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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I was going to add another edit, and then my internet clicked out. So I'll make a new post out of it. I wanted to bring it back to more general thoughts and why these issues are even an issue.

 

Edit2: But you know, I stuck largely with Thief FMs from 2000 and I still play released FMs now, 11 years later. And I can see playing with Dark Mod over the next 10 years. I absolutely *love* being able to see the source code and knowing so many of my hairbrained ideas have a viable platform in Dark Mod. But outside of that there's largely a void... The idea of story-based maps that still have gameplay (not glorified point & click adventure, and more than vanilla FPS), AND that you can mod... I draw a blank. Maybe we're it, the last stand of individual-made story-based maps.

 

Edit3: The thing about Unity is that, because it's for scratch games, it changes the character of the games coming out. No matter how many general scripts they make, I feel like the gameplay is always going to be more modest and clumsy, just because the whole thing is tailored for individuals or small teams on small time-frames, like modding too, except it's for a whole game from the ground mechanics up. Some may be more experimental and interesting for that reason, but it will be a perpetual string of experimental one-offs (like pre-AAA games)... You won't get this scene of continuous honing of a model to perfect it and experiment within a working model, like honing and experimenting within a martial art or music genre, rather than continuously inventing your own every time. So it just doesn't move me in the same way the big modding scenes do.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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There seem to be story-based mods for HL2, but they are also more interactive fiction and less game, if that makes sense. Thief has always been a successful combination in that respect.

Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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Yeah that's part of why I was drawing a blank. If you mod over a typical FPS, you either have to go with the FPS which usually kills the story-telling, or you have to gut it of gameplay altogether and it's interactive fiction or glorified P&C Adventure, which is fine but it's like an article I read. Every medium needs to play into its structure, not fight it.

 

E.g., early movies were like moving photography before they picked up on adding a narrative thread. Then some games are like glorified movies with discrete interaction nodes. But the structural core of FP engines is open interaction in 3D space. So you want gameplay tuned to that to play to its core essence. And stealth gameplay is one way to do that that still lets you do good storytelling. It's not necessarily the only way, which is why we may be surprised. (I had some ideas here too, like the LSD-model or economy gameplay, but still not as open as stealth.)

 

But in any event, I don't see a good platform for it coming up. I'm worried about there even being a good platform for the IF trend with Half Life 2 mods in a future engine, which I like too.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Regarding the hardcore TTLG contingent, I'm guessing the main consideration might be the different/undeveloped universe. Understandably, certain names, locations and characters can't be used due to IP issues and this might put a lot of people off. This is perhaps inevitable for a community that starts threads discussing Garrett's dick size. Even FMs and mission packs that feature new characters (e.g. T2X) have the benefit of an established gameworld and environmental conventions that are taken as given. You might be someone else and robbing a generic mansion, but you feel as though out there in the night everything else continues as normal, that Bafford's and Ramirez's estates are continuing to exist elsewhere in the City. The Thief series has the advantage of three professionally produced games that have created and built upon a rich tapestry of characters and places, and the games' plots are arguably key components of fan interest, if only for attracting and keeping fans in the first place before they discover FMs.

 

Naturally that makes the challenge of attracting existing FM makers perhaps a lot more difficult than if the Thief IP could have be used. It's been said on TTLG already that The Dark Mod lacks a 'strong protagonist' and this is a perfectly understandable observation when you consider the emotional investment in the original games and the strong association with Garrett in particular. Of course, TDM as it is is a toolkit rather than a fully-fledged game (not to downplay the achievements made so far in any way), and although an 'official' mission pack was talked about it is quite an undertaking and there are more immediate and pressing concerns.

 

It will be interesting to see how the mod's own universe develops, organically or otherwise.

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I don't really think the "lack of Garrett" has much to do with it. Some of the most popular and memorable Thief fan missions had nothing to do with Garrett or thieving whatsoever, such as Rose Cottage where you play a paranormal investigator with no thieving background (IIRC). If people aren't flocking to the Dark Mod it is most likely due to more practical concerns, like the need to obtain and set up a new game and learn a new toolkit. I don't think anyone really expects a total overnight abandonment of the classic series in favour of TDM, any more than the whole world is going to stop using Windows in favour of Linux just because it is technically superior in some ways.

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