Here is a thread to talk about gaming

Mercutio

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Just to keep the stuff out of the video card thread.

Marvel's Midnight Suns is free on Epic Right now, if you are a person who played and like the Firaxis X-Com games. I always check Epic and Amazon Games every week became none of my other friends remember to do that and get mad when they miss something.

I do not game very much on computers at all but I am surrounded by people who do. I am more likely to play tabletop or pen and paper role playing games.
 

Santilli

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CODMW4 is my favorite.
Ordered Oregon Trail 5th addition.
I'll be lucky if it runs on 11.
Looking at GOG for the Tex Murphy stuff.
Like games I can run on my rig, without going on line.
 

Handruin

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I gravitate towards factory building games so I'm a big fan of Factorio and Satisfactory. I also like survival style games so I have far too many hours in Rust
 

ddrueding

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I gravitate towards factory building games so I'm a big fan of Factorio and Satisfactory. I also like survival style games so I have far too many hours in Rust

These are the exact 3 games I've played in the last many years. I'm in Rust right now, on a cool Danish server with some rules that make it much less toxic.
 

Handruin

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These are the exact 3 games I've played in the last many years. I'm in Rust right now, on a cool Danish server with some rules that make it much less toxic.
Oh nice! I was part of a chill server that I played on regularly with two other friends in a trio, but they just announced they're calling it quits and closing down their server. It's tough to find a nontoxic server these days.
 

sedrosken

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The way I heard Valheim described once was "viking-themed Rust with less assholes online". I don't play Rust to verify that particular tidbit, but I'd believe it. I do quite enjoy it but I'm not one for being very creative with building. I spent 5 hours building our compound in stone but a solid chunk of that was acquiring the stone with which to do it -- I ended up building a three-story stone box for our actual home, with a two-story high stone wall surrounding the limits of our workbench for the purposes of keeping undesirables (greydwarves, draugr, skeletons) at bay. About the most creative thing I did was set up shelving for our chests set up long-ways Minecraft-style.

Another annoyance is the game's predilection toward Soulslike combat, with dodging, blocking and rolling being a big component of it. I have no problem with combat having a high skill ceiling, and I have no problem with the enemies scaling tougher as you go along -- within reason. Valheim's collision detection is not nearly spot-on enough for the combat to be the way it is at times. I have died quite a few times to situations I felt unfair. My friend and I have, with some difficulty, become proficient in parrying, as the game nudges you towards with the infuriatingly-tough Draugr and especially Abominations and Wraiths. You pretty much have to parry in order to survive an encounter with any of them. I have a feeling our Iron arc was so long-winded just because it took us that long to get decent with the mechanics and get our stack high enough that we have some higher-tier foods and meads to aid our survivability.

Annoyingly, in comparison, the mountains we're in now are easy. Wolves do a fair amount of damage if they connect, but they're pushovers health-wise and they signal their attacks very unsubtly. The hands-down most dangerous part of what we're doing now is making sure to carry enough frost-resistance meads until we have the wolf pelts and silver ingots to make the wolf armor that grants frost immunity. The frost immunity granted by the mead makes Drakes into total jokes. That said, I am told that the Plains will be much more difficult between the Deathsquitos and Fulings.
 

Handruin

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Having played a lot of hours of Rust and Valheim, I would not compare the two much at all. Rust has progression and a tech tree similar to Valheim but in Rust you're constantly having to strategize how to protect your loot from other players raiding you. Base building in rust is a bit of an art and science in terms of calculating how much cost the other players will endure while trying to raid and loot your base. Every wall, wall type, door, etc has a durability and when arranged in certain ways makes it more tedious to break in.

Other players will spend the resources they gathered to build explosives, etc to spend on trying to get in and take your base. You also have to plan a lot for offline raids, since your base and character persist when you log off.

Granted the raids are one aspect to Rust, but as a player you need to account for it while exploring and doing other PvE gaming on a server while mixed with PvP.
 

Handruin

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Rust also has one of the better base-building UIs compared to many other games I've played that have a base building component. In addition to that, for as much as Rust drives me crazy with how the devs spend their time changing things, they have one of the better electrical aspects of any game and now they have automation components to make quality of life better. The amount of fun things you can add to you base with designing electrical circuits really appeals to me.

For example, one thing I love to add to our team's base is a helicopter landing area. I'll add in automated garage doors so they open once the heart beat sensor detects any of our team that's authorized. Once the heli moves inside the doors close.

I'll also use the same heartbeat sensor for other purposes to detect anyone who isn't part of our team and it will signal to open garage doors to an automated turret. I've also wired in the ability to trigger the doors to close if the turret runs out of ammo and then it illuminates a light inside the base to tell me to refill it.
 

Handruin

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The way I heard Valheim described once was "viking-themed Rust with less assholes online". I don't play Rust to verify that particular tidbit, but I'd believe it. I do quite enjoy it but I'm not one for being very creative with building. I spent 5 hours building our compound in stone but a solid chunk of that was acquiring the stone with which to do it -- I ended up building a three-story stone box for our actual home, with a two-story high stone wall surrounding the limits of our workbench for the purposes of keeping undesirables (greydwarves, draugr, skeletons) at bay. About the most creative thing I did was set up shelving for our chests set up long-ways Minecraft-style.

Another annoyance is the game's predilection toward Soulslike combat, with dodging, blocking and rolling being a big component of it. I have no problem with combat having a high skill ceiling, and I have no problem with the enemies scaling tougher as you go along -- within reason. Valheim's collision detection is not nearly spot-on enough for the combat to be the way it is at times. I have died quite a few times to situations I felt unfair. My friend and I have, with some difficulty, become proficient in parrying, as the game nudges you towards with the infuriatingly-tough Draugr and especially Abominations and Wraiths. You pretty much have to parry in order to survive an encounter with any of them. I have a feeling our Iron arc was so long-winded just because it took us that long to get decent with the mechanics and get our stack high enough that we have some higher-tier foods and meads to aid our survivability.

Annoyingly, in comparison, the mountains we're in now are easy. Wolves do a fair amount of damage if they connect, but they're pushovers health-wise and they signal their attacks very unsubtly. The hands-down most dangerous part of what we're doing now is making sure to carry enough frost-resistance meads until we have the wolf pelts and silver ingots to make the wolf armor that grants frost immunity. The frost immunity granted by the mead makes Drakes into total jokes. That said, I am told that the Plains will be much more difficult between the Deathsquitos and Fulings.

Those Deathsquitos were a huge pain in the ass early on. The only real way to make it past them was parrying perfectly with them assuming you can get the timing down given their size and flying. Until you get the better armor etc, they really were annoying as hell to deal with. I don't know if the devs ever changed the balance with them over time but they were to be avoided.
 

sedrosken

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Those Deathsquitos were a huge pain in the ass early on. The only real way to make it past them was parrying perfectly with them assuming you can get the timing down given their size and flying. Until you get the better armor etc, they really were annoying as hell to deal with. I don't know if the devs ever changed the balance with them over time but they were to be avoided.

From the strategy guides I'm reading, maxed Iron is the minimum you want to even be seen by them in, and that's with poison resistance and a fair helping of luck and skill. I don't plan to get full Wolf armor in the mountains like my friend is, I just want the cape for the frost resist effect without needing to brew meads and the draugr fang, silver sword and silver shield so I'm competitive damage-wise. I think we can fast-track our way to padded armor. But the swamps we wanted were always bracketed by plains so we're unfortunately familiar enough with deathsquitos that we know not to take them lightly. Once we got hit so bad I had to use dev commands to give myself the ability to go retrieve our stuff, faced with the option of either cheating and losing any way of saying we were playing honorably or spending another 7 to 8 hours to remake all our stuff. We keep backup gear but it's meant for the biome we're currently trying to get through, not the next one up we just happened to get caught in. If we die in our good stuff there, we're not getting it back normally.
 

Mercutio

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Played "Firewatch" recently, really well worth the few hours of gameplay time. (I got it on sale).

That game is very pretty. It's an absolute walking simulator it is something different and enjoyable. It's on Xbox game pass, which is probably the only way I could see someone obtaining it. It's not worth $20.

I own an odd number of games where you play as an animal just trying to survive and do animal stuff, like Lost Ember, and Away. I kind of like games with an interesting 3D environment to explore, but I'm not competitive in the way my friends are and generally don't want to play arena shooters or the like.

I like turn based strategy games like Battletech, X-Com and Alpha Centauri, but I have a pretty healthy relationship with actually just playing one turn per day of whichever game I'm actually playing.
 

Mercutio

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Kind of a cool story:

City of Heroes is the only MMO I really played. P5 was also a fan, back in the day. The game was closed by its Korean parent company NCsoft in 2012 as a cost-saving measure after a Korean-only title failed at launch, even though the game was still making money and had a very stable player count.

In 2020, it became public knowledge that a small group of players had obtained the server-side software and kept a private server running for the eight years since the game closed. The server binaries were made available to the public and City of Heroes returned to the world, albeit forked to a number of larger-scale subgroups with differing philosophies regarding play. A few months ago, one of those subgroups, called Homecoming, was given official endorsement to use the City of Heroes IP by NCsoft as a 100% free to play title. Some of the original programmers and artists have resumed work on the game, and the game actually has a concurrent player count across all public instances in the low five digits most of the time, which it a little bit amazing for a 20 year old title with nothing even resembling a marketing budget. It scales fine to 4k, has a physics engine and it can use a cel shader renderer that looks great and runs on whatever potato you can find that has OpenGL libraries (i.e. anything that isn't an Intel iGPU since Intel stopped shipping OpenGL drivers for Windows in 2014 or something).

The two other mainstream super-hero MMOs are both born of City of Heroes DNA; both Champions Online and DC Universe Online were largely written by people who worked on City of Heroes as well. Both are still running, but neither has had a real update in the last decade. By the estimation of most fans of that style of game, City of Heroes was always the best title of its genre, and it is now once again the game with the most active new development work and I think the largest base of active players as well.

I haven't really messed with the game in the last few years, but I played in the game's original beta test and all the way up to the day it closed. Its 20th anniversary was a few weeks ago, and I think it's amazing that it has had such a remarkable resurrection.
 

Handruin

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I remember joining you in CoH a very long time ago but only for a short duration. Was a neat world but I don't remember most of it from back then.
 

LunarMist

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What do you suggest for someone who likes to play with himself, but no violence or competitions, and offline, like during a lunch?
 

Santilli

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New rig is up and running. CODMW 4 is SPECTACULAR WITH THIS HARDWARE!
 

sedrosken

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Kind of reminds me how the server emulators for Asheron's Call still proliferate even after a cease and desist from Warner Bros. The original dev dropped out and dropped off the face of the earth, but not before open-sourcing his work as a final F U to WB. A lot of the early playable servers were based on his code, and of course it was taken and extended in many myriad ways. These days for people wanting an end of retail era experience should likely stick to servers running on the more logically planned out, C#-written ACE.
 

ddrueding

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What do you suggest for someone who likes to play with himself, but no violence or competitions, and offline, like during a lunch?
The building style games. From easiest to most rewarding:

Cities: Skylines
Kerbal Space Program
Satisfactory
Factorio

I think of them as puzzles that you work your way through to find more optimal designs.
 

Handruin

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What do you suggest for someone who likes to play with himself, but no violence or competitions, and offline, like during a lunch?
In addition to ddrueding's suggestions, also look into a genre of games called Cozy games.

I enjoyed
Dave the Diver
Stardew Valley
ShipBreaker
Firewatch (was mentioned earlier)
The Planet Crafter
Power washer simulator

Others that are still similar but maybe a hint of violence:
Subnautica
Outer Wilds
 

Mercutio

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What do you suggest for someone who likes to play with himself, but no violence or competitions, and offline, like during a lunch?

something something low hanging fruit something

My #1 stupid waste of time games are Breakout or Bubbleshooter type titles. I like this one for Android and understand that I tried dozens before I picked that one. These games work really well for those "It's going to be a couple minutes while I wait for a progress bar"-times.

Another non-violent game that I adore is Sherlock: A Game of Deduction, which I started playing while I was still in high school. The original developer updated it from DOS all the way to Win32 and still sells a version made for Windows 95 on his web site, but I'm more likely to play it on my phone at this point. There's a free version as well.

I might also suggest a couple tabletop games that have a digital version: Pandemic, Sentinels of the Multiverse, Gloom and Majesty (all can be played on mobile or desktop). Pandemic is a game about, duh, trying to stop a pandemic. It notably predates our real life horror by more than a decade, and the tabletop version includes variations where the state of each game session causes permanent changes to the rules of the game. Sentinels of the Multiverse is a 100% cooperative game involving a team of unique super heroes represented by decks of cards work to defeat some equally unique villain and setting. The characters and settings are unique creations, and it's actually one of my favorite in-real-life tabletop games. Majesty is game about collecting and trading gems. Very straightforward. Gloom is a card game in which you are trying to guide your family to its most terrible fate, while trying to improve the circumstances of your rivals, with the aesthetic of an Edward Gorey cartoon at all times. All four games can be played alone against or with friends.

A game I bought on disc a zillion years ago and still kind of love even though I can beat it in my sleep now is Ghost Master, where your job is to scare all the living souls out of a given environment. You have a roster of different sorts of scary spirits for this. I wish there were more maps or some sort of spiritual update for this one, pun intended.

To Be or Not To Be is a game by Ryan North, writer of the comic strip Dinosaur Comics and also closely associated with Marvel's extremely charming Squirrel Girl comic. To Be or Not to Be is the Choose-your-own-Adventure version of Hamlet, in which you can play as Hamlet, Ophelia, or Hamlet's dad. It is actively hilarious. I played this on Android. It is also on Steam.

My partner suggests Spiritfarer, a game where you are a psychopomp, a being who guides the deceased to their afterlife. Your job is to help them find happiness while you carry them to their rest aboard your seaship. This is a surprisingly serene game. Dorfromantik is a tile-placement game that lets you build charming little villages and forests. This game is kind of a peak serenity experience. Timberborn is a city-building game, except your cities are for beavers.

She also had some suggestions for spot-the-difference or puzzle solving games that she played on her ipad but I'm not familiar enough to go looking at that stuff. She plays WAY more games than I do.

Her current fixation is actually an older game called Darkest Dungeon, a game about managing groups of absolutely doomed adventurers who are tasked with exploring your family's ruined estates filled with Lovecraftian nightmares. This game ALSO has a very Edward Gorey vibe, but most particularly has striking narration by Wayne June, who is the platonic ideal of a narrator for horror stories. This IS a violent game with very strong elements of body horror as well; each sortie by the adventurers includes management of their personal needs as well as the afflictions of madness as stress overtakes them. It's a game I could never actually play. It stresses me out just to watch it; every turn could lead to some terrible malady. Even the adventurers themselves have these tragic backstories for how they came to your estate. My partner has been talking about livestreaming it in her full goth bondage librarian wardrobe (aka the stuff she used to sort-of wear to work), just for the vibe of it.
 

ddrueding

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That's pretty much like every facility I designed in real life. ;)
Same. Some of the reasons I like the escape of the game version:

It is solvable
You have or can get the information needed to succeed
You don't need to wait for permission to act
If things go poorly you can just start over

It is the ideal version of the world ;)
 

LunarMist

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Did you do the water and air, or what were the manufacturing conditions? Class 8 through 5 air and UPW or sterile?
That Monday morning wait for results was stressfull. In the 20th century there was not all of the online stuff.
I was also worried about the occasional explosion in unclassified areas.
 

LunarMist

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In addition to ddrueding's suggestions, also look into a genre of games called Cozy games.

I enjoyed
Dave the Diver
Stardew Valley
ShipBreaker
Firewatch (was mentioned earlier)
The Planet Crafter
Power washer simulator

Others that are still similar but maybe a hint of violence:
Subnautica
Outer Wilds
I'm not so sure about burying crap in the woods, but the Firewatch has some personal relevance as a great uncle supposedly had a job standing on high with binoculars watching for smoke during his youth.
 

ddrueding

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Did you do the water and air, or what were the manufacturing conditions? Class 8 through 5 air and UPW or sterile?
That Monday morning wait for results was stressfull. In the 20th century there was not all of the online stuff.
I was also worried about the occasional explosion in unclassified areas.
HVAC and plumbing were included, but not for manufacturing facilities. Just office and warehouse spaces. Far simpler requirements, but for me the challenge was the budget, timeline, and diverse stakeholders.

Cleanrooms are nuts.
 

Mercutio

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Oregon Trail 5th edition was released at about the same time as Windows XP. It's a completely normal Win32 application. It definitely SHOULD work. Things get a lot goofier when you try to get games originally made for Windows 95/98 to run on new systems, but for example the original Age of Empires, the Microprose Magic the Gathering game and Ultima Online are all good examples of the awkward in-between Windows games that surprisingly still work on contemporary hardware. UO is still under active development, though, and AoE still has a player base in the tens of thousands.

The version of Oregon Trail that I remember from grade school was about 99% text based and made for the Apple II.

For what it's worth, the game that was originally called Rogue and eventually morphed into Nethack, was written at the end of the 70s and has had updates as recently as a couple years ago.
 

sedrosken

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The case of Age of Empires is almost certainly Microsoft putting real man-hours into making sure it works on modern machines. Windows as late as Vista had application-specific compatibility code for things like Lego Island being weird about how they invoked APIs. Some things like the 16-64 bit gap they can't jump on their own without a helper program like OTVDM, but there's a shocking amount of 30-to-40 year old code that you can coax into operating on modern Windows.

The problem Merc alludes to is that a fully 32-bit program was a lot more negotiable in the age of stuff being targeted for Windows 9x (1996-2002ish), where a lot of the user-facing part of the OS was left 16-bit for performance reasons on the lowest common denominator hardware of the era. It's a big reason why 'resources' were such a hot commodity and didn't necessarily linearly map to available RAM. You could have your 16-bit resources completely full and have plenty of RAM open. A regular Pentium or a 486 is a lot faster in 16 bit code than 32 bit, and while the P6 derivatives take a performance penalty from it, they do still run it and mostly do so fine enough that it didn't matter at the time.

A lot of games of the era ran in 640x480x256 in a palettized mode that didn't translate well to 16-bit color and beyond, and a lot of games of the time detected your video mode and refused to run in anything but 256 colors. When they did run, often they have the palette glitched out in such a wonderful, silly way. Sometimes you can fix this with a patch to whatever API they're using to draw video, like patching the ddraw.dll file for Diablo and Starcraft before both of those got updated ports. Sometimes telling Windows to revert to 256 colors for that application helped. It's still a problem to this day for lots of older games and the general consensus these days, unfortunately, is to either emulate a period machine or wait on GoG to patch it rather than try to fool with it yourself.

I'd wager a lot of the stability jump from 9x to 2K was the underpinnings abandoning the old 16-bit cooperative model entirely, running non-compliant code in a VDM, and gaining access to real memory protection more than any big security upgrade by going to the NT base. For as stable as NT 4.0 was in its time, I can attest that it is a major pain in the ass, much moreso than Windows 9x, for many reasons, but one thing it did right early on was enforce a sane environment.
 

Mercutio

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A Chinese company makes this thing called the Odin. It's $200 - $550 (if you buy from their store instead of Amazon) and has either a Snapdragon 845 or SD 1 gen 2(!) in it with either 6600 or 8000mW battery, with a 6" FHD screen and the horsepower to run Windows on ARM, Linux or Android. The fit and finish lines up with Nintendo Switch / Steam Deck class hardware and it's basically made to run every emulation system known to man. The price sounds absurd , but it's cheaper and it'll have a longer battery life than a Steam Deck or a high resolution tablet like the similarly spec'd Galaxy Tab S9, and the people who make it say they're trying to support all three OSes that run on it.

Frankly, this thing looks cool as hell.
 

Mercutio

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Anyone tried AMD's software? Would this help?
HYPR-RX/FSR 2 “Quality” Mode + AMD Fluid Motion Frames

FSR is real and it helps upscale graphics, which decreases pressure on your GPU cores to render each frame but increases pressure on your texture memory since the upscaled frames still have to be spit out in their upscaled resolution. This actually kind of benefits AMD and Intel hardware more than nVidia, where 16GB RAM configs are pretty common on midrange hardware, where nVidia treats 16GB+ as an absolute premium feature.

My normal advice to gamers who aren't absolutely made out of money is to game at 2560x1440 or FHD instead of 4k or to play games in a less than fullscreen window, which is something I started to do because the old-ass games I like often don't like to go bigger than 1920x1080 anyway. If you're on a 4070, it's probably not anything you have to worry about either way.
 

Mercutio

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Intel also has a frame-generation trick, called XeSS. It's only supported in about 200 games total, and I've never heard of 80% of them, but it does work on AMD and nVidia GPUs, just like AMD's FSR. The Spider-Man games from Sony ARE supported, though, and from what I can tell, frame rates are better using FSR on an nVidia GPU than XeSS. I'm testing on a 1080Ti, which isn't exactly a powerhouse card these days. I don't have an AMD GPU decent enough to mess with, but I suspect Intel's thing probably works best on an Intel GPU.
 

sedrosken

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A Chinese company makes this thing called the Odin. It's $200 - $550 (if you buy from their store instead of Amazon) and has either a Snapdragon 845 or SD 1 gen 2(!) in it with either 6600 or 8000mW battery, with a 6" FHD screen and the horsepower to run Windows on ARM, Linux or Android. The fit and finish lines up with Nintendo Switch / Steam Deck class hardware and it's basically made to run every emulation system known to man. The price sounds absurd , but it's cheaper and it'll have a longer battery life than a Steam Deck or a high resolution tablet like the similarly spec'd Galaxy Tab S9, and the people who make it say they're trying to support all three OSes that run on it.

Frankly, this thing looks cool as hell.

I believe this class of device is typically referred to as an emulation handheld, and this one in particular is likely most useful with Android. I considered grabbing a Retroid Pocket 2 or something, and ended up with the Anbernic RG35XX H instead. It's nowhere near as fast -- I think the Pocket had enough horses to make GameCube/Wii emulation doable, where this thing struggles with higher-end N64 and PSP titles -- but mine cost me a grand total of $60 and for something I was just buying to dip my toes into the hobby, this seems to have been the right call as I played it for a grand total of two weeks and have seemingly let it rot since as I picked up other things to do.
 
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