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Death Machine Miyagi

We all like a good 'plot', apparently. So let's talk specifics.

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I keep seeing consistancy showing up and I have to agree. There shouldn't be elements that are presented as be critical to the plot in some way that are then just dropped with no explanation (Heavy Rain).

 

On the Gorion letter, I was under the impression that his original comment on his relationship with the PC's mother was a lie. Would you tell the PC that his mom was an evil presitess and going to sacrifice him to resurrect the God of Murder? Would the PC even believe it?


Rub my belly....you know you want to...give in to the temptation...and don't mind the resulting love scratches and bites.

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A sense of mystery that persists even after the game is over. In PS:T you never learn your name or what your original crime was, but that's okay. On the other hand, once you learn the truth about the Reapers in ME3 it kind of takes the fun out of it (they were a lot more interesting as eldritch abominations).

 

Also no depressing endings or forced drama that's there for the sake of "art." **** that noise.

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A sense of mystery that persists even after the game is over. In PS:T you never learn your name or what your original crime was, but that's okay. On the other hand, once you learn the truth about the Reapers in ME3 it kind of takes the fun out of it (they were a lot more interesting as eldritch abominations).

 

Also no depressing endings or forced drama that's there for the sake of "art." **** that noise.

 

I love unresolved parts of the plot (done in an intentional way and not because of bad writing making a plot hole). One of my favorite things in the Elder Scrolls for example is that there is an entire race that vanished, and despite the fact different characters in the game have guesses that are anything from being all killed, to being destroyed by a god, to becoming divine, the game never tells you what really happened to them.


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On the Gorion letter, I was under the impression that his original comment on his relationship with the PC's mother was a lie. Would you tell the PC that his mom was an evil presitess and going to sacrifice him to resurrect the God of Murder? Would the PC even believe it?

 

For me, what undermines that explanation is that the letter mentions how she was his friend and, on occasion, lover. Now, lying that she was his friend to soften the reality is one thing, but why the hell would a Gorion who is trying to ease your pain make casual reference to how he banged your mom when he never actually did? Is that supposed to make charname feel better? Does a man trying to comfort his foster child from the grave routinely throw in details about his wild sex life from when he was younger...fake details, at that?

 

And he doesn't even present it in a 'your mother and I were very much in love' kind of way; the implication is that he is lying about basically being f***-buddies with Charname's mommy.

 

So yeah. If Gorion is lying, then he's was a dirty old man with a warped mind.

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On the Gorion letter, I was under the impression that his original comment on his relationship with the PC's mother was a lie. Would you tell the PC that his mom was an evil presitess and going to sacrifice him to resurrect the God of Murder? Would the PC even believe it?

 

For me, what undermines that explanation is that the letter mentions how she was his friend and, on occasion, lover. Now, lying that she was his friend to soften the reality is one thing, but why the hell would a Gorion who is trying to ease your pain make casual reference to how he banged your mom when he never actually did? Is that supposed to make charname feel better? Does a man trying to comfort his foster child from the grave routinely throw in details about his wild sex life from when he was younger...fake details, at that?

 

And he doesn't even present it in a 'your mother and I were very much in love' kind of way; the implication is that he is lying about basically being f***-buddies with Charname's mommy.

 

So yeah. If Gorion is lying, then he's was a dirty old man with a warped mind.

 

Who knows. He could have put it in to provide Charname with some thought that perhaps Gorion is more than just a foster father. Or perhaps he was involved with her and didn't realize that Charname's mom was all evil until later. There are a multitude of explinations for this inconsistency. I'm just going to go with what lets me deal with this piece of inconsistency.


Rub my belly....you know you want to...give in to the temptation...and don't mind the resulting love scratches and bites.

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I'd actually prefer something a lot closer to the plot of FO:NV. World has issues-go fix them, or not, as you desire. And in between all the little things you can do you can advance into the realm of regional politics, become a large player, and eventually, through your actions, decide how things turn out. Granted, I knew going in to FO:NV who I was going to support, as I 'knew' who had created the NCR. But as the game advanced, I found myself tilting in that direction anyway. This game sounds similar, with several different factions you may be able to gain favor with. And while yes, FO:NV gives you hard choices, as long as you keep in mind what your character wants to see happen, you can pretty much make the game turn out exactly as you want, provided you're willing to put in the effort. Ever since certain other games that shall remain nameless (MASS EFFECT 3! *cough*) that's really what I've been looking for in an rpg. And it's harder to find than you'd think.

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I guess I won't get a like for this but I'll admit: PST was nice, but I never really put it on the throne so many others did. In fact, even after playing through the games two or three times...in the end the Nameless One's problems with mortality and transcendence were pretty lost on me...It was a nice change though, and yes it got me intrigued for different playthroughs to find out a little more...but after all was said and done, PST didn't left that much of an impact on me...

 

Maybe it is also because I couldn't relate to the protagonist and. especially, could never immerse myself into the world of Sigil that much...

 

That being said: I like the good old stories where a young inexperienced guy/girl gets forced into the world, makes friends and enemies and, concerning the latter, quickly gets a clearly defined antagonist and his ambitions to thwart. And even if the plot isn't all that new and "deep" and innovative I don't care that much, the best stories have been told already anyway over the last thousands of years...

 

But by all that is holy, keep the plot coherent as far as style and tone and topics are concerned. Don't go the Mass Effect road and turn force a pretty straightforward story about saving the galaxy from body-melting mass-murderes into something half-assed philosophical BS that has never been adressed in the previous games and quests...and give us a vllain like Irenicus who appears and confronts us regulalry and who's actions are felt most of the time even if he is not present at the moment...

 

Yeah..a villain/antagonist. I think having a good one is quite a big helper to get a story moving and keep the player/reader hooked up.


Vox: The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me Vox

 

Are you ... like a crazy person?

 

Vox: I’m quite sure they will say so.

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Who knows. He could have put it in to provide Charname with some thought that perhaps Gorion is more than just a foster father. Or perhaps he was involved with her and didn't realize that Charname's mom was all evil until later. There are a multitude of explinations for this inconsistency. I'm just going to go with what lets me deal with this piece of inconsistency.

 

That's the thing, though. When this was discussed over on the Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition forums, there were a number of fan wank explanations for writer sloppiness. The one I liked best is that the Celestial who is showing you all of this is purposefully manipulating you for her own ends and the ends of the gods she serves.

 

It doesn't matter. All are very clearly fan wank, attempts by fans to cover up plot holes that wouldn't have been there if the writers had just checked what was previously written.

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1. The beginning. My character wakes up with a hangover. There are three hot elf chicks in my fur sleeping bag fighting over me.

 

2. Revelation: One of the elf chicks tries to kill me. :: DRAMA ::

 

3. I kill the elf chick with an empty wine bottle :: REGRET I loved her ::

 

4. I go to a tavern and meet a load of hard-as-nails adventurers.

 

5. They tell me all about their problems. I tell them to STFU, as (a) nothing is as tough as having to brain a hot elf chick with an empty bottle, and (b) there's fifteen levels of mega-dungeon to explore.

 

6. We go to the merchant and get seriously tooled-up:

 

Lots-of-guns.jpg

 

Note the Vorpal AR 15 in there.

 

7. Flashback involving hot elf chick (note - this is NOT a romance, it is a James Bond style moment of sexually-charged machismo charged with regret. It makes me feel deep) :

 

hotelfchicksorceress.jpg

 

8. We explore the dungeon, get loot, kill stuff.

 

9. A key NPC betrays me, but I re-load and it's all good.

 

10. I meet an iconic bad guy and use my Charisma-dump Persuade skill to get him to kill himself.

 

Tim_Curry_darkness_legend.jpg

 

RARGH TOO CLEVAR FUR MEEEEE CHARISMA D00D!!!

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PS:T Alignment modification for your choices and the fact that you could get yourself into a pickle by making the whole city dislike you was pretty dang cool. I also liked the choice in ME1 on Virmire .... although it was much of a choice for me; I hate Kaiden! was pretty new in a game I can't remember very many games where you had a no win situation where a companion died, left yes, but not died. I want to be Indiana in an Indiana Jones movie, let me figure out who I'm up against and what prize we are both going after.

 

And don't make me kill everything I see to get there .....

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This whole thread is TL;DR since Avellone gonna Avellone and Ziets gonna Ziets....

 

BUT...

 

I still wanna smite the forces of Ebul and then in a true M. Night Shmalalalalalayan "tweeest" I will proclaim to my naive followers that "it was all just as planned" and take my throne as the supreme big bad!!!

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I want a character driven story in the context of large scale, world impacting events. Best case is the character interactions lead to wonderfully written, self-contained vignettes that make some impact both on the larger goals and in the development of, say, a companion.

 

For a model, none do this better than the mass effect series (don't talk to me about the horrid ending though), especially ME1. Never have I cared about my companions and character more than that series.

 

Edit: regarding gray choices, like which dwarf to name king in DAO, for instance, i hate it when I feel that I have no real good knowledge with which to make the decision, and that my decision probably won't matter much anyway. If you're going to go to the trouble to write those type of things, make both outcomes matter in a way that might make a difference in someone's playing style. That's what made the ashley/kaiden thing work so well.

 

Edit2: And Ashley definitely deserves to be in everyone's binder full of women, right next to the hot elf chick.

Edited by sfam

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I want a character driven story in the context of large scale, world impacting events. Best case is the character interactions lead to wonderfully written, self-contained vignettes that make some impact both on the larger goals and in the development of, say, a companion.

 

For a model, none do this better than the mass effect series (don't talk to me about the horrid ending though), especially ME1. Never have I cared about my companions and character more than that series.

 

Mass Effect 1 started out good (issues with the game engine, inventory, and annoying planet exploration asside) and ME2 continued with uping the stakes, fleshing out the world, adding in new characters to care about, and showing the results of some of your actions. ME3 (ending aside) started failing from the beginning because unless you had the last ME2 DLC you lost out on plot context with the Reapers (they're here and already destroyed one system and we blew up a Gate? When did this happen?), some of the major choices from ME1 like the Rachni queen were completely irrlevelent (she lives and becomes enslaved, she dies and becomes a cyborg, but has no plot impact other than enemies and a single mission), and dropped plot points from ME2 (suns burning out faster than expected? Interesting? Is there something else going on here?).

 

Good plot: World changing events that the PC is a part of. Choices that actually have some sort of visible influence (ie The Witcher) even if minor. Characters that are well rounded with their own motivations that have an impact on the main quest, minor quests, and other characters in the party.

 

I'll even take moral/ethical dilemmas that may even leave me with two or more "bad" choices as long as the story leading up to them is cohesive.


Rub my belly....you know you want to...give in to the temptation...and don't mind the resulting love scratches and bites.

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Who knows. He could have put it in to provide Charname with some thought that perhaps Gorion is more than just a foster father. Or perhaps he was involved with her and didn't realize that Charname's mom was all evil until later. There are a multitude of explinations for this inconsistency. I'm just going to go with what lets me deal with this piece of inconsistency.

 

That's funny. I never even thought about it because it seemed so obvious they just forgot about the letter from the first game. The idea that did it as some sort of vast secret history is highly unlikely. They just messed up. Now we can still try to reconcile them but if they really meant there to be this big secret story there they would have hinted at it in TOB.

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Another important thing: plan ahead.

 

Consider Mass Effect. The game series introduces a race, the Reapers, who are so uber-powerful that just one of them is enough to nearly fight off a whole armada of spaceships in the end of the first Mass Effect. And there are, as the ending of Mass Effect 2 shows, probably tens of thousands of them or more. Since they obviously intended to continue the story, the writers should have set to work ahead of time, thinking: 'How can we allow the player to fight and defeat an enemy so overwhelmingly superior to anything the known galaxy could possibly throw at them?'

 

The answer they chose, incidentally, was 'we'll think of some half-assed Deus Ex Machina when the last game rolls around.' Really lazy, sloppy writing.

 

They should have been laying the ground for the eventual solution from the first game onwards. Set the stage for the eventual victory and it becomes that much more satisfying.

 

Plan ahead, at least when it comes to the major plot points, and foreshadow things. Its an extremely elementary writing tactic and yet so many video games do such a horrible job of it.

Edited by Death Machine Miyagi
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Another important thing: plan ahead.

 

Consider Mass Effect. The game series introduces a race, the Reapers, who are so uber-powerful that just one of them is enough to nearly fight off a whole armada of spaceships in the end of the first Mass Effect. And there are, as the ending of Mass Effect 2 shows, probably tens of thousands of them or more. Since they obviously intended to continue the story, the writers should have set to work ahead of time, thinking: 'How can we allow the player to fight and defeat an enemy so overwhelmingly superior to anything the known galaxy could possibly throw at them?'

 

The answer they chose, incidentally, was 'we'll think of some half-assed Deus Ex Machina when the last game rolls around.' Really lazy, sloppy writing.

 

They should have been laying the ground for the eventual solution from the first game onwards. Set the stage for the eventual victory and it becomes that much more satisfying.

 

Plan ahead, at least when it comes to the major plot points, and foreshadow things. Its an extremely elementary writing tactic and yet so many video games do such a horrible job of it.

 

My understanding, based on interviews with head writer after he was reassigned, was that the Reapers were actually saving sentient life as something else was going on that we only had a glimpse of in ME2. The final or near-final battle would have been to determine to either join the Reapers or to attempt to fight something that even they didn't have a solution for.

 

Now that would have been cool to see done. Oh well, instead we'll get ME4: Look at the Pretty Rainbow of ending choices.


Rub my belly....you know you want to...give in to the temptation...and don't mind the resulting love scratches and bites.

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What were the details of the grave crime Morte commited that landed him on the pillar of skulls?

If memory serves me right

 

He lied to TNO (good incarnation?) making him believe that he could become immortal with Ravel's help.

And that's actually the origin of TNO condition of loosing his memories and becoming a 'different person' each time he revives.

 

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What were the details of the grave crime Morte commited that landed him on the pillar of skulls?

If memory serves me right

 

He lied to TNO (good incarnation?) making him believe that he could become immortal with Ravel's help.

And that's actually the origin of TNO condition of loosing his memories and becoming a 'different person' each time he revives.

 

 

I don't think its ever spelled out explicitly. All it said was he lied somehow and it resulted in TNO's death. Now, which death it was, and what the lie was, is never specified.

 

For the best, IMHO.

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Talking specifics, what do you think are the most important elements in a good CRPG story?

 

All of them.

 

I can't see there being a single list of narrative decisions that you can make in order to get great results every time; the art of storytelling does not lend itself to soulless concepts like "best practices." When I first heard of Disney's Gargoyles TV series back in 1994, I was sure I wouldn't like it: a serious show from a studio whose best output for years had been comic? What a terrible combination of elements! But when what I got was this:

 

http://youtu.be/XfF6ktzfPC4

 

I changed my mind quick. There really isn't any swearing blood, or killing after the second episode ( there is until then!) but the show was light years ahead of anything I had seen from Disney story-wise since Walt himself was running things.

 

Also remember that the same idea can lead to a great story:

 

Avatar-Aang-avatar-aang-32080481-495-350.jpg

 

Or, well:

 

avatar_movie_poster.jpg

 

But you can't create a good idea (or fix a bad idea) by following a formula.

 

What works and what doesn't? What have past games done right and what have they done wrong?

 

All of it, all of it, all of it, and ... all of it. :cat: Probably the biggest issue to date is that, because games are usually made or broken on gameplay (or huge advertising budgets... ) that story can and often therefore does take a back seat entirely. We are talking about an industry where this take made it into the final product of a major release:

 

http://youtu.be/dRjK_jKNVVQ

 

What gaming stories need to stop doing, is that. There can be higher standards in game storytelling (and Obsidian embarrasses everyone else in this regard), and developers (or more likely, publishers) need to stop falling into the trap of believing that gaming audiences won't demand a well done narrative and therefore it is okay to skimp on storytelling effort.

 

Is there a difference between what makes a CRPG story work and what makes a movie or novel or comic or whatever story work?

 

Yes.

 

 

The short answer is that games have gameplay, and are thus more (overtly) collaborative in terms of crating a narrative. The long answer, is that I don't know how. :yes:

Edited by Vargr Raekr

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I want a character driven story in the context of large scale, world impacting events. Best case is the character interactions lead to wonderfully written, self-contained vignettes that make some impact both on the larger goals and in the development of, say, a companion.

 

For a model, none do this better than the mass effect series (don't talk to me about the horrid ending though), especially ME1. Never have I cared about my companions and character more than that series.

 

Mass Effect 1 started out good (issues with the game engine, inventory, and annoying planet exploration asside) and ME2 continued with uping the stakes, fleshing out the world, adding in new characters to care about, and showing the results of some of your actions. ME3 (ending aside) started failing from the beginning because unless you had the last ME2 DLC you lost out on plot context with the Reapers (they're here and already destroyed one system and we blew up a Gate? When did this happen?), some of the major choices from ME1 like the Rachni queen were completely irrlevelent (she lives and becomes enslaved, she dies and becomes a cyborg, but has no plot impact other than enemies and a single mission), and dropped plot points from ME2 (suns burning out faster than expected? Interesting? Is there something else going on here?).

 

Good plot: World changing events that the PC is a part of. Choices that actually have some sort of visible influence (ie The Witcher) even if minor. Characters that are well rounded with their own motivations that have an impact on the main quest, minor quests, and other characters in the party.

 

I'll even take moral/ethical dilemmas that may even leave me with two or more "bad" choices as long as the story leading up to them is cohesive.

Totally agree with your point about ME3 probs, especially the Rachni and final geth outcome, but the characters and some of the actual vignettes were just stellar, such as Tuchanka and Rannoch. Those were better than the witcher story i think.

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Another important thing: plan ahead.

 

Consider Mass Effect. The game series introduces a race, the Reapers, who are so uber-powerful that just one of them is enough to nearly fight off a whole armada of spaceships in the end of the first Mass Effect. And there are, as the ending of Mass Effect 2 shows, probably tens of thousands of them or more. Since they obviously intended to continue the story, the writers should have set to work ahead of time, thinking: 'How can we allow the player to fight and defeat an enemy so overwhelmingly superior to anything the known galaxy could possibly throw at them?'

 

The answer they chose, incidentally, was 'we'll think of some half-assed Deus Ex Machina when the last game rolls around.' Really lazy, sloppy writing.

 

They should have been laying the ground for the eventual solution from the first game onwards. Set the stage for the eventual victory and it becomes that much more satisfying.

 

Plan ahead, at least when it comes to the major plot points, and foreshadow things. Its an extremely elementary writing tactic and yet so many video games do such a horrible job of it.

 

My understanding, based on interviews with head writer after he was reassigned, was that the Reapers were actually saving sentient life as something else was going on that we only had a glimpse of in ME2. The final or near-final battle would have been to determine to either join the Reapers or to attempt to fight something that even they didn't have a solution for.

 

Now that would have been cool to see done. Oh well, instead we'll get ME4: Look at the Pretty Rainbow of ending choices.

The original version was that using eezo technology and, I think, biotic powers, as byproduct, dark matter/energy was being created.

In each cycle, the more the various dominant races of the galaxy spread and grew, the more dark matter/energy was being created. Too much of this stuff would, for example, cause a star to age much sooner than expected (ME2 Tali recruit mission). And that would be quite bad actually.

The Reaper, were the race(s?) of the first cycle and when they found this truth, decided to "evolve" and leave the galaxy (probably after purging all organic life) so that it could regenerate its equilibrium.

But organic life would start again sooner or later and every 50000 years they purged the hell out of the galaxy like they did the first time.

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The original version was that using eezo technology and, I think, biotic powers, as byproduct, dark matter/energy was being created.

In each cycle, the more the various dominant races of the galaxy spread and grew, the more dark matter/energy was being created. Too much of this stuff would, for example, cause a star to age much sooner than expected (ME2 Tali recruit mission). And that would be quite bad actually.

The Reaper, were the race(s?) of the first cycle and when they found this truth, decided to "evolve" and leave the galaxy (probably after purging all organic life) so that it could regenerate its equilibrium.

But organic life would start again sooner or later and every 50000 years they purged the hell out of the galaxy like they did the first time.

 

I wonder if there is any way of getting Drew Karpyshyn picked up by Obsidian. He might work well with Chris and George.


Rub my belly....you know you want to...give in to the temptation...and don't mind the resulting love scratches and bites.

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i want to discover that the Baron of Santa Monica is a Malkavian

i want to read "don't trust the skull"

i want to tear down the wall of the faithless and slay a god

 

hm, something tells me the plot of this game will be great :D

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What gaming stories need to stop doing, is that. There can be higher standards in game storytelling (and Obsidian embarrasses everyone else in this regard), and developers (or more likely, publishers) need to stop falling into the trap of believing that gaming audiences won't demand a well done narrative and therefore it is okay to skimp on storytelling effort.

 

To be fair, I think they fall into that trap because gamers themselves have a bad tendency to encourage it. A game can be a huge hit, sell truckloads of copies, and still have an utterly abysmal storyline, bad acting, banal characters, the works. I think many game companies still operate under the old John D. Carmack philosophy that plot in a video game is like plot in a porno movie: expected to be there, but that isn't what the audience shows up for.

 

Obsidian is one of the companies that is pushing back against that philosophy, fighting for the idea that plot and gameplay are equally important and there is no reason why a fun game needs to skimp on telling a good story. Which is why I'm guessing most of us pledged our money.

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[...]And so on, with any number of plot threads. They work best unexplained. Imagine if the game said, 'And now you remember your name was Bob.'

 

The best kind of fantasy/sci-fi, CRPG or no, is the kind that truly makes you believe that the story you're playing/reading/whatever is just one story among many in this world. There were any number of stories before yours, and there will probably be many after, of which you are likely to hear only the most cursory of details. The world did not begin when you rolled your character, nor will it end when the credits start.

 

I wish I could "Like" this post multiple times.


"Time is not your enemy. Forever is."

— Fall-From-Grace, Planescape: Torment

"It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question, and he'll look for his own answers."

— Kvothe, The Wise Man's Fears

My Deadfire mods: Brilliant Mod | Faster Deadfire | Deadfire Unnerfed | Helwalker Rekke

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