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Please say that you dont try to model a *whole* city.


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Well, its problable to late now anythis, but maybe someone will give me a response and say, that this will be done the way i would want it to.


Soooooo....
One of the MAIN problem i have with rpgs is, that they try to reproduce a whole, 100% explorable functional world (or a whole 100% explorable part of a world), as something like that cannot be done with current technology.

 

Bad examples: Ultima 7, Baldurs Gate 1, Arcanum

These games had fully eplorable major cities which should be huge and be populated by thousands of people.. but actually consisted of a few dozen buildings appropriate for a population of a few hundred. At most. 
Also these worlds, although they tried to be "complete", had no single bakery. No real, big forests. No animal farms. Almost no industry at all. They just were *much* to small to be considered a whole, functional world.
That just breaks the game for me, i have a very hard time trying to enjoy games with such immense logical inconstincy. Please dont do this in ToN.

Good examples: Baldurs Gate 2, Planescape: Torment

Athkatla and Sigil were huge cities, and the player could visit some interesting *spots* in them. But never the whole city. Like, all these living quarters for all these thousands of people that actually live in huge cities. And thats fine for me, because it made sense and the places actually felt like big, sprawling cities.
Please do this the right way in PE.


TL;DR: A whole city is huge and there is no need to model every single common living quarter in a computer game. Make only some interesting areas be explorable and dont try to model a 100% accessable city, because this always ends like ****. 

Tarrant of Arcanum VS Athkatla of Baldurs Gate 2 for illustration.

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Mr Amarok, though I agree with the general point of your thread I do feel that I must complain in the strongest terms. I spent many a happy hour baking bread in Britannia with the good baker, and object to your whitewashing him from existence. Good day Sir.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Oh, i really didnt know that actually this kind of industry existed in U7 - i never really played this game.

In that case, please replace "bakery" with your favourite among "tanner, saddler, barber, brick manufactory, doctor or carpenter" and add the phrase "per city" behind it.

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While I do agree that cities in games are often too small, I've never actually taken much notice of it while playing. When I think about it, the city sizes in Baldur's Gate and Arcanum do certainly come across as oddly small, but when playing the games I've just enjoyed exploring them. It bothers me when one has large cities but can't go into almost any of the buildings, but I apparently don't tend to notice small cities so much. 

 

Athkatla and Sigil certainly did feel like much larger and more active cities, though, and I do think that's generally the better way to go about things when making a very large city. 

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I agree, claiming to have access to a "whole city" when, in truth, it's only a small area tends to be frustrating. Perfect example of how not to do it: Dragon Age II. The entire premise of the game was that it took place in the  "City of Kirkwall"  Said city was half a dozen areas that got used over and over. Even if they had simply called it a village it still wouldn't have worked as the restrictions were so blatantly shoved in your face there was no way it could have been mistaken for anything other than what it was: a half dozen small zones.

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You should try Ultima 7 Amarok, it's surprisingly well detailed, with most of the occupations on your list found somewhere in Britain. Fields are harvested outside the cities, you can hire carts to drive from location to location, hire a ship at the port, peruse numerous shops from jewellers to bowyers, visit and plan on how to rob the mint, drop into the inn to sit down and listen to gossip, music and order a pint or a meal. It's very much a living world, with npc routines and almost every object interactable in some manner, I haven't even begun to describe all your Avatar can experience there.

Edited by Nonek
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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Yes, please give cities a somewhat realistic look and feel!

 

(Btw.: Another bad example would be fallout. The size of a vault, for example is just ridiculous! Although it didn't stop me from loving those games, a more realistic approach would please me very much!)

 

And while you're at it, please make realistic houses aswell:

 

- A house should have roughly the same (realistic) proportions on the in- and outside! No tiny shacks containing enormous rooms!

- Windows and doors should be at the same places on the in- and outside

- I would like to see realistic furniture: A house should have a place to sleep for every inhabitant, a table to eat at, a place to cook meals etc.

- A merchant should have a place to store his goods. I don't like merchants with a vendor's tray who have dozens of halberds, warhammers and full plate armor in stock....

- etc.

English is not my first language, so please forgive me any mistakes!

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I think the last game that towns and cities felt overall big enough was in morrowind. Granted vivec was monstrous but didnt supply the little details, the other cities and towns on the other hand felt juat right. Ex. Balmora

 

Granted, they wasnt a 100% perfect without their flaws, but overall felt just right to me.

Edited by redneckdevil
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I don't mind them being magnificently grand, so long as they're actually full of reactivity and happenings. I don't want to explore an entire city for an hour, only to find that there's ONE event that occurs in an alleyway at night, and about 10 total quests, and that's it.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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My problem with the cities isn't that they are too small, but that they are too sparsely populated. Even a tiny village with 100 people living in it should have 100 people walking around... I would be surprised if there were more than 100 NPCs in the entire Baldur's Gate city. 

It is really immersion break for many of the houses to be locked/empty, or just have npcs with one line of dialogue.

 

It would probably be too difficult to make a giant city that does this well, so I agree that focusing the story on a small area but really fleshing it out would be nice.

 

That being said, this is a minor concern for me as long as they have a beautiful and/or interesting set of areas for me to explore.

Edited by ShadowTiger
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As long as they feel like they are massive metropolises.

Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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For clarity, my understanding of the OP's sentiments is that the explorable content of any given city, town or even village, shouldn't attempt to represent the entirity of said city/town/village. In short, we should be able to explore the bits key to us, while non-key areas are left out of sight so the town doesn't appear tiny.

 

Personally, I'm not terribly bothered by it, although I can see the logic of the OP's point. Given that some of the first RPGs I played had an active town population of around 10 people, and a visible global population of less than 100 people, I find it very easy to suspend my disbelief in this regard. Obviously the OP and others struggle rather more with this, and the OPs suggestion is a good way of getting around it. So in that sense, this idea has my (admittedly somewhat passive) support.

 

What I am desperately against, however, is the expansion of playable areas to include the true scope and size of the mundane. I do not want a town of 10,000 explorable houses, each with four npcs inside. I don't even close to a hundredth of this. I do not want to search 100 houses to find the ten that have quests in and the one that has the swordsword +3 in the attic.

The sense of exploration made the infinity engine games; the exploration of the world map, the exploration of dangerous areas, the discovery of key things within towns. But what the IE games were generally so good at was providing exploration without delving into workmanship. Carefully searching through difficult monsters in the sword coast was exciting, checking each of the unguarded 20 containers in the hub could be rewarding...

...routing through several thousand empty crates in Fallout 3/NV was a bloody chore. And the games punished you if you chose not to do it.

 

Immersion is good, but the prime concern should always be gameplay. The likes of TES and the console Fallouts got, in my opinion, on the wrong side of this line. 100% immersive cities would be even further in the wrong direction.

Unless I'm picking a suspect between the baker, the butcher and the carpenter, let's leave them out of sight.

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Wow, this is the most stupid argument ever. "Don't try X because others have failed at it." The fact that the realism of such games is lacking in certain key respects isn't a reason to give up the struggle for realism abruptly; it's a reason to try to make improvements in this regard.

 

I suspect that in reality this viewpoint is in fact more along the lines of "blah blah boring ****, gimme more action!", which is a sentiment echoed elsewhere in this thread. Personally I think action and drama (or "gameplay" as some shortsighted people, who don't realize that other people like different things, call it) aren't what makes an RPG interesting, even if they do contribute to a game's story. To me, the RPG elements of a game are better with more detail and realism. And maybe the rest of you want RPGs to just be glorified action/adventure games, but I'd rather not.

 

But for the love of the gods, let's not say "don't try realism because you don't get it right", because if we're honest here the reason you don't like that is not because they don't get it right (if that was the case, you'd be saying "try harder!"), but because you don't like the nuances that realism brings.

Edited by mcmanusaur
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Wow, this is the most stupid argument ever. "Don't try X because others have failed at it." The fact that the realism of such games is lacking in certain key respects isn't a reason to give up the struggle for realism abruptly; it's a reason to try to make improvements in this regard.

 

I suspect that in reality this viewpoint is in fact more along the lines of "blah blah boring ****, gimme more action!", which is a sentiment echoed elsewhere in this thread. Personally I think action and drama (or "gameplay" as some shortsighted people, who don't realize that other people like different things, call it) aren't what makes an RPG interesting, even if they do contribute to a game's story. To me, the RPG elements of a game are better with more detail and realism. And maybe the rest of you want RPGs to just be glorified action/adventure games, but I'd rather not.

 

But for the love of the gods, let's not say "don't try realism because you don't get it right", because if we're honest here the reason you don't like that is not because they don't get it right (if that was the case, you'd be saying "try harder!"), but because you don't like the nuances that realism brings.

 

Well, even assuming that people aren't interested in action and drama, and would equally like or even prefer knocking on the doors of 100,000 houses to find the one that houses a particular quest, there is the factor of coding time to think about. Designing a city on that scale would take a huge amount of time and resources and when it was done it wouldn't leave a great deal to make the sort of IE games PE is modelling itself on.

 

In terms of the manner of the argument, choosing examples of games that handled it better than others is the clearest and quickest way to illustrate the point. Besides which you repeatedly refer to the thread having people 'give up on realism'; the exact opposite of the OP (and others') point.

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Wow, this is the most stupid argument ever. "Don't try X because others have failed at it." The fact that the realism of such games is lacking in certain key respects isn't a reason to give up the struggle for realism abruptly; it's a reason to try to make improvements in this regard.

No dude, I think he was saying "don't try it because it can't be done accurately for a game like this (which is okay in the end because if it was done accurately it would be really lame)".

 

It's a pretty minor thing for me, but ultimately I agree with the OP. Although I think he mixed up Project Eternity with Torment at one point in his post.

Edited by Tamerlane
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A game with a city of 10,000 explorable houses would have to be structured pretty differently from the ones we're used to, even with sandbox games. It would have to behave a great deal more realistically. People would turn you away at the door if you had no business being there; if you broke or forced your way in, you would be treated as an intruder or a criminal and so on. And the game would provide you with reasons to visit specific places. 

 

Since most of those 10,000 houses would play no role beyond adding verisimilitude and, perhaps, if you're a catburglar type, providing places to burgle, they would probably have to be generated procedurally; there's no point spending that much effort hand-crafting them.

 

Come to think of it, there is such a game: Dwarf Fortress. It's a hell of a fun game. I was badly hooked on Fortress Mode a few years ago, and it's come a looong way since then. I'm sure that concept could be taken into other directions as well. Dwarf Fortress is nothing like P:E is going to be though.

I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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Wow, this is the most stupid argument ever. "Don't try X because others have failed at it." The fact that the realism of such games is lacking in certain key respects isn't a reason to give up the struggle for realism abruptly; it's a reason to try to make improvements in this regard.

I fear i wasnt clear enough with my point in the first place (and posting in kinda hard to decipher retard english didnt help too).

 

I didnt to say "dont make whole cities because it failed in the past".

With current technology it is not possible to produce completely explorable, realistically designed settlements with a population of >1000 in computer games. Neither is it necessary.

 

Such places, no matter if they lie in the real or a fantasy world, have hundreds of streets where nothing besides normal dudes doing their daily stuff is going on. All these streets consist of different, normal housing blocks with living quarters, marketplaces, industry and commerce, infrastructure, trash bins and old women doing housework. There is no reason to design such things, which exist hundreds and hundreds of times beside each other,  in a realistic scope by hand, because they are of no interest to the player. 

 

Maybe with future technology, complex algorithms and superior computer power there will be easy ways to produce functional and realistic worlds with ten thousands of buildings and inhabitants which the player has complete access to, but this still wouldnt have much significance because no player ever will want to visit insignificant places with rather little variation. Just like in the real world, where people usually dont have interest in all and every street and sideway of a city they visit.

 

Regarding role playing games which depict big cities i wanted to say that i *hate* the cheap illusion of something which obviously is impossibly, because there are better ways to do it.

Producing a completely walkable city sufficient for 100 people, while still missing essential things which should be there in a real city, and pretending that the scope of the place is a hundred or a thousand times larger than actually depicted is a very bad way of making a virtual world. I just walk through the original city of Baldurs Gate and constantly ask myself: "Where are the graveyards for all the dead relatives of these people? Where are the waste dumps? Who made the bricks for all these houses? Where do the food products for the inhabitants come from? Who brings the weapons into the weapon shops?", as i walked through all and every street of this city and couldnt find these places or persons. Its just like telling the player that he is going to visit a 10 man family and then finding a 5 square metre hut with one bed and three people in it which say "The whole family greets you". Things like that break a game for me, its a total immersion killer for everyone who cant disable his logic thinking abilities.

 

A much better - and *easier* - way is to do it the Athkatla way. That said, showing an abstracted overhead map of a really big city and giving the player a handful of interesting spots in that place he actually can walk onto. Producing one fully mapped and explorable living quarter in an area which is significant to the story while simply not showing the other 300 neighborhoods, as there is no reason to visit them. This is escpecially easy to do in a top down 2D game, as there never is a need for invisible walls or stuff like that. Streets just go into the end of a map and upon walking onto them the player is greeted with the city overmap, where he can choose another significant area he wants to go to.

 

I hope PE will keep this in mind, it would make me very happy.

 

 

 

Although I think he mixed up Project Eternity with Torment at one point in his post.

I posted the same thing on the ToN Forums before, so yeah.

 

(Btw.: Another bad example would be fallout. The size of a vault, for example is just ridiculous! Although it didn't stop me from loving those games, a more realistic approach would please me very much!)

Yeah, Fallout Vaults do this the same bad way. Exactly that thing is my single biggest complaint with F1 and F2 which i otherwise love. In these cases i always have to trick my mind with things like "The elevator actually connects the vault with a dozen other floors, i just wont visit them because they are insignificant to me" to enjoy the game. It bothers me quite much.

Edited by amarok
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Wow, this is the most stupid argument ever. "Don't try X because others have failed at it." The fact that the realism of such games is lacking in certain key respects isn't a reason to give up the struggle for realism abruptly; it's a reason to try to make improvements in this regard.

No dude, I think he was saying "don't try it because it can't be done accurately for a game like this (which is okay in the end because if it was done accurately it would be really lame)".

 

It's a pretty minor thing for me, but ultimately I agree with the OP. Although I think he mixed up Project Eternity with Torment at one point in his post.

 

Even "if it was done accurately it would be really lame". That's exactly my point. The issue here is not that there isn't enough realism in games for the OP's taste; it's that the OP doesn't want realism. Be honest about what you're arguing, guys. There's no point in pretending to be concerned about the level of realism in games if you don't want realism anyway.

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In terms of the manner of the argument, choosing examples of games that handled it better than others is the clearest and quickest way to illustrate the point. Besides which you repeatedly refer to the thread having people 'give up on realism'; the exact opposite of the OP (and others') point.

 

That's exactly his point. He does not want realism. The fact that he claims that things aren't realistic enough is a null point because that's not what he wants in the first place. Let the people who are actually concerned about realism decide whether it's realistic enough.

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Wow, this is the most stupid argument ever. "Don't try X because others have failed at it." The fact that the realism of such games is lacking in certain key respects isn't a reason to give up the struggle for realism abruptly; it's a reason to try to make improvements in this regard.

I fear i wasnt clear enough with my point in the first place (and posting in kinda hard to decipher retard english didnt help too).

 

I didnt to say "dont make whole cities because it failed in the past".

With current technology it is not possible to produce completely explorable, realistically designed settlements with a population of >1000 in computer games. Neither is it necessary.

 

Such places, no matter if they lie in the real or a fantasy world, have hundreds of streets where nothing besides normal dudes doing their daily stuff is going on. All these streets consist of different, normal housing blocks with living quarters, marketplaces, industry and commerce, infrastructure, trash bins and old women doing housework. There is no reason to design such things, which exist hundreds and hundreds of times beside each other,  in a realistic scope by hand, because they are of no interest to the player. 

 

Maybe with future technology, complex algorithms and superior computer power there will be easy ways to produce functional and realistic worlds with ten thousands of buildings and inhabitants which the player has complete access to, but this still wouldnt have much significance because no player ever will want to visit insignificant places with rather little variation. Just like in the real world, where people usually dont have interest in all and every street and sideway of a city they visit.

 

Regarding role playing games which depict big cities i wanted to say that i *hate* the cheap illusion of something which obviously is impossibly, because there are better ways to do it.

Producing a completely walkable city sufficient for 100 people, while still missing essential things which should be there in a real city, and pretending that the scope of the place is a hundred or a thousand times larger than actually depicted is a very bad way of making a virtual world. I just walk through the original city of Baldurs Gate and constantly ask myself: "Where are the graveyards for all the dead relatives of these people? Where are the waste dumps? Who made the bricks for all these houses? Where do the food products for the inhabitants come from? Who brings the weapons into the weapon shops?", as i walked through all and every street of this city and couldnt find these places or persons. Its just like telling the player that he is going to visit a 10 man family and then finding a 5 square metre hut with one bed and three people in it which say "The whole family greets you". Things like that break a game for me, its a total immersion killer for everyone who cant disable his logic thinking abilities.

 

A much better - and *easier* - way is to do it the Athkatla way. That said, showing an abstracted overhead map of a really big city and giving the player a handful of interesting spots in that place he actually can walk onto. Producing one fully mapped and explorable living quarter in an area which is significant to the story while simply not showing the other 300 neighborhoods, as there is no reason to visit them. This is escpecially easy to do in a top down 2D game, as there never is a need for invisible walls or stuff like that. Streets just go into the end of a map and upon walking onto them the player is greeted with the city overmap, where he can choose another significant area he wants to go to.

 

I hope PE will keep this in mind, it would make me very happy.

 

Herp derp. Realism isn't all or nothing. Different players may have different interests than you. You criticize Baldur's Gate for having a big city and leaving out the "uninteresting" but realistic parts, claiming that it kills your immersion, and then you say to include only a single relevant district of a larger imaginary city? I'm sorry, but I just don't understand how that's any different. I don't get how you're suggesting anything new. It seems that you're just arguing against realism not because it's not being realistic enough for you (and with current technology it can't be), but really because you don't want realism in the first place.

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Who cares if it's totally realistic or not? Cities are fun to explore. They only need to feel real enough.

This, basically.

 

It's worth noting that the current speed of game production makes a full city that has the amount of distinct people you would expect in even a medieval "metropolis" more or less impossible to create - not to mention the challenge of making it fun to navigate. Ever been to New York or London or Tokyo? None would make for particularly enjoyable game levels if fully simulated, because they all have their own distinct idiosyncrasies and annoyances. Tokyo's addresses are based on when the building at the address was constructed, for example. Try teaching someone who gets lost in New York to deal with that.

 

Which is not to say that a fully simulated virtual Tokyo wouldn't be an interesting environment, because it would. But, well, did you ever play The Getaway for PS2? The developers worked for ages with GPS data and photographs and stuff to recreate a tiny chunk of London as accurately as possible, and it got boring to drive around in after about five minutes. The same developer tried the same thing on a much grander scale with 1940s LA in LA Noire, and the same thing happened after like ten minutes. They added a button to skip the drive to a location in that game, and everybody used it.

 

Granted, that developer had plenty of other problems, but the fact remains that the accurately recreated cities just weren't any fun to roam around in.

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Ironically enough Tarant of Arcanum is probably most well done city in CRPGs. I know it's way too small than it should be, but it's still really big compared to anything else I know. Personally I'm fine with game logic "realism" (ie. lack of toilets, big houses having only one room and cities being smaller than they should be), but it would be refreshing to see someone attempt to create actual fully realistic big city. I understand tedious amount of work such effort would need, so I'm fine with smaller cities, but I hope bigger cities are atleast comparable to Tarant in terms of size.

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While big cities are fun to explore, I say keep the cities manageable.  Athkatla was near perfect size in my book.  Maybe a smidge bigger - like 20% or so, but not much more.  And zones are good.

 

Having bakeries, and butchers, and weavers is realistic, but if it doesn't directly complement the combat mechanics or a specific quest, it should be kept as window dressing, not interaction.  There's only so much RPG that can be included in a RPG before it becomes bloated. Now I'm not at all opposed to having a butcher between an armorer and tavern.  But the butcher shop probably shouldn't be accessible, and should just have a nice sign and maybe some cuts of meat in the window.

 

Let's all take a moment when thinking about walking through huge cities:

Remember Athkatla in Baldur's Gate II? Have you ever played the game, and by the endgame, have the whole party in boots of speed?  And then restarted a new game?  Even those "smallish" maps seemed like hours of real time walking after having used boots of speed.  And if any of you remember that experience, try imagining walking through HUGE maps with mundane, non-usale buildings.  <pound head>

 

The game needs a balance, but maps that are too large become tedious.  

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They should try to make a city work different from a small town, mechanics wise. Like enforced limits on possession of weapons/ working of magic, more shops and inns and *competent* healers, specialized pickpockets stealing your coin, gang fights, quests that require stealth and discretion rather than combat. If these are in, I'm willing to believe that I'm actually in a city.

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