Thursday, 17 August 2017

Cyberpunk adventure game Technobabylon now out on iPhone & iPad


Ever feel like you're living in a dystopian society where the government has gone off the rails and your every move is being watched? Technobabylon is the game for you. :)

Just released as a Universal App for iPhone and iPad, Technobabylon is a $4.99 USD download (or equivalent in local currency) from indie developer James Dearden and Wadjet Eye Games, the most prolific publisher of pixel art adventure games since the Sierra and LucasArts days. Technobabylon originally released on Steam in May 2015 and quickly became one of Wadjet Eye's best selling and best reviewed adventures.




About Technobabylon
City of Newton, 2087. CEL agents Charlie Regis and Max Lao are investigating a serial Mindjacker who is tapping into the neural wiring of seemingly ordinary citizens, stealing their knowledge and leaving them dead. An agoraphobic net addict named Latha Sesame might be the next target. But when Charlie's past comes back to haunt him, he and his partner find themselves on opposite sides of the law, with Latha's fate in the crossfire. 


Blade Runner meets Police Quest in Technobabylon, a slick point & click adventure that blends past and future with its retro-styled pixel art and intense cyberpunk plotline. Technobabylon sets you loose in a world where 'wetware' wires people directly to the web, where the cerebral online Trance has replaced almost any need for human interaction, where the city's omnipresent AI, Central, has eyes on everyone and everything -- a world that could be ours sooner than we think.


App Store page 



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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Earthling Priorities - a 4-word review


  • Short
  • Retro
  • Oddball
  • Enjoyable

There you go.  I was going to write something longer, but really the above is all you need to know. 








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Preview trailer: The Journey Down - Chapter 3!

It's coming! (On 21st September 2017)



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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Article: Indie Dev describes the rewards and pitfalls of running an online multiplayer game with cryptocurrency integration

Editor’s note:

The following is an article by @CryptoDatabase about his experiences creating and running online games that support cryptocurrencies, the lessons he's learned along the way, and advice for indie devs planning to make similar games.

I previously interviewed him about his older game.  I am a player of both games and helped beta test the latest game.

The article below is quite  a long read, but very interesting, and basically essential reading for anyone thinking of making their own online game that features cryptocurrency either as in-game currency or as a supported currency for players to earn / spend / trade with.



Developing and running your own cryptocurrency game is exciting and can be a new adventure, especially if you’re just starting out. You have to be careful though as this path can be treacherous and full of obstacles. I first started working on games and other crypto related sites back in 2013, and though a lot of things have changed since then I still get the enjoyment of creating things that other people use. Here is the story of how I got started, and what I have faced on my adventure with creating crypto games.

I got started with cryptocurrencies back in 2012; then in 2013 someone gave me my first crypto, FeatherCoin. At this time I had already been developing and working on websites for a while - though they weren't the best, and looking back today it amazes me on how much progress I have made. The first major website I created was cryptodatabase.net, which I created as an alternative place to find information on as many coins as I could find and insert into it. From there I branched out and created my first game called Dragon Knights of Valeria.

One of my previous jobs was with a game company, where I was responsible for managing in-game moderators and the in-game support chat which was run through the mods directly. Through my job there I had 24/7 direct access to their company’s support team, as well as the developers for their games. I helped test new games that they were working on, and provided feedback in regards to how players may view certain features or aspects. This helped me learn what players want or expect with games as I had to watch and interact with the players directly to get their views, and it is one of the main reasons why I have been able to develop my own games successfully. I learned how players interact with each other, what they expect from game developers, how they respond to certain types of updates, as well as what players really want from the games they play.

The games I managed for them brought them a lot of money in a short time, but the games ultimately died off after a couple months. The games themselves were fun and addictive and the support was excellent from the mods, but the developers didn't listen to what the players wanted, nor did they listen to me entirely when I gave them advice based on what I saw from their players. They focused more on what would make them more money in the short term, and ignored the long term aspects. This caused their player base to steadily dwindle until the games were no longer profitable.

This taught me a valuable lesson, one that I still use today and one that has served me well. I learned that one of the key things for success and game longevity relies on the dev team interacting directly with the players and getting to know them. Players are more apt to stick with a game and interact with it if they are able to pass their ideas and suggestions on directly and get a real response, compared to sending in a support ticket somewhere and receiving a copy/paste response from a support agent.

It’s common practice to reply to support/ideas/suggestions this way in major game companies. They provide a cookie cutter response, pass it on to the devs, and then the devs will eventually give them a response. These responses are usually based on whether it would make them more money or not, small suggestions are often overlooked and players often wait days or weeks just to hear back. Players want to know that they are being heard and taken seriously; if they feel abandoned, or that their views aren't being considered at all, they will give up and leave after a short time.

My first game, Dragon Knights of Valeria, was a browser-based MMORPG styled after the old school games from the early to mid 2000s. Players travelled the Valerian World killing monsters, completing quests, and much more. Its original purpose was to help promote my Crypto Database website but it quickly grew to be more active and popular. Starting out I used the experience I had gained from working for the game company, interacting with players throughout the day and listening to what they wanted, how they played, and what they were interested in. From there DKV grew into a game full of new features and aspects that were based almost entirely on players’ suggestions and what they wanted to see.

Almost every day new updates were coming out or small tweaks to current features were made based on feedback. This was great and all went according to plan until I learned another, more valuable lesson. Managing games and knowing what players wanted was only part of what it takes to run a successful game.  I had learned how to manage and operate a game, but I had not learned how their backend operated.

By this time DKV was a year old and had grown so massive on the back end that I had problems with my hosting provider being able to keep up with what the code required. To combat this I had started working on a newer version of the game, one that was much more efficient and used less resources. This version became known as Dragon Knights of Valeria 2 (DKV2). It all seemed to be going well until my host finally got tired of my server using so many resources and they suspended its operation once again. This forced me to release the unfinished version before it was ready in order to avoid a large loss of players.

The new version was able to run from the same server for a little bit until I ran into the same problem as I had with DKV. My host suspended me again and I had no choice but to upgrade my server and run the game from a VPS which could handle the resource usage of the game. I had never used a VPS and to this day I am still not familiar with how it all works, as I was used to CPanel hosting for years. My host migrated my sites for me, and due to some complications they had on their end I ended up getting a newer admin panel that wasn't normally included, which helped me out a lot and allowed DKV2 to come back online much faster.

At this point I had learned how to manage a game and its players as well as what is required in order to run one server wise, but there was something else I had also had to learn that was equally important. That was how to create and run an in game economy based on real currencies. I had to find a way to stabilize what was going out to match what was coming in as well as plan ahead for the future and any updates that may come that modified current plans. This required a lot of patience and time, as each new modification or tweak to the system didn't provide immediate results and often led to further modifications.

Finding the equilibrium with the game economy took well over a year; many things required changes and tweaks in order to get it all working smoothly. If you are working on your own game or want to work on one then one of my suggestions would be to focus on this aspect - a balanced game economy can lead to far greater things.

DKV2 did great for another year until I learned some more hard lessons. I had a backup system in place that made copies of my databases every hour and emailed them to 2 separate email addresses, one to my private email server and another to a public server. I thought I was safe as I had a constant stream of backups coming in but I had failed to insure that the backups I had were complete. DKV2 had grown so much that my server was unable to provide full backups of the databases and game code files.

The end of DKV2 came with the crash of my server. This crash deleted everything, all of the server software and files were gone. I thought I was okay as I had my backup system, but when I attempted to re-upload the game I found out fast that I couldn't. The database backups were only able to compress just over 3 million records, which left out several tables at the end of the backup. The game code backups were also massive, over 16gb in size and it suffered the same fate as the database backups.

I lost over 2 years of work on DKV and DKV2 as well as 4+ years of work on my other websites because I failed to check my backups. I can't stress enough how important it is to create backups of your games and websites as often as possible, storing them on a USB drive in case of failure will help keep it safe. The loss of my work temporarily killed my enjoyment of developing stuff. I didn't see any point in continuing if it could all just be lost in the blink of an eye. My journey didn't end there though; in the immediate days following the fall of DKV2 I received many messages asking me to continue with the project and create a new game. I didn't feel like going through that again at first, but the messages kept coming in.

Within a week I had started working on a new game, one that was more up to date but still followed the same concept as DKV2. This new game is called Dragon Knights of Valeria 2: Universe and it continues the story from where DKV2 left off, but far in the future. Its main game mechanic is similar to DKV2 in that the main object of the game is to travel around the Universe fighting enemies for rewards. It is also set up to pay players for playing as DKV2 was.

DKV2:U went through months of beta testing before it was released; beta testers were a great help in uncovering bugs and providing suggestions. Once all of the bugs were sorted out and the game was running without issues it was launched and promoted in the news with the help of BitcoinPRBuzz.

Since its release it has received over 60 new updates, some of which were previous uncompleted plans and some were suggestions from players. New suggestions come in all the time though as players advance in the game and get new ideas of what they would like to see added. Sharing these with me and suggesting its addition doesn't mean it will be added into the game immediately or at all, they usually depend on how it will affect the game and how realistic it would be to code it into the game. Most suggestions that are posted end up being modified or party incorporated into something else so in a way they are added in.

The launch of Dragon Knights of Valeria 2: Universe hasn't been without its problems though. On July 16, 2017 I received an email from a hacker claiming to have gained access to the server and proceeded to download a copy of the game and databases. They demanded I pay them $200 in BTC by a certain date or they would release the source code and databases and deface my websites. I then took some security precautions, sent out a mass mail to users letting them know of the hacking, searched through the games code to locate how they managed to gain access to it and then I removed it.

When dealing with anything having to do with money or finances people will try to get in and take what they can. In this case I only lost the privacy of my code and databases as I store the games coins and my own on separate systems contained at my house. The hackers were not able to take any money and instead turned to asking for it, which was refused. I had offered to hire them to do security testing for me but they refused and insisted on trying to blackmail me. In turn, I contacted the sources of their illegal ventures as well as the local authorities in those countries.

If I were to sum all of the above up into a warning, it would be simple. Be careful and keep up to date backups of your websites code and databases, plan ahead into the future and keep a balanced game. If you use 3rd party code be sure to check everything and familiarize yourself with their work; the smallest thing can let a hacker get into your system and destroy your work.

Listening to what players have to say about your game is one of the most important things you can do. If they are unhappy with a feature talk with them and see what you can do to improve it or change it. As a game developer you have to keep in mind that a game is nothing if nobody wants to play it. Financially, happy players spend more money where players who are upset are most likely not going to spend any money and if they do only in small amounts.

I think this about sums up my experience developing indie style crypto games, if my experience helps you with your game then please share it with your friends.





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Monday, 14 August 2017

Acquittal: Induction - a new British law-drama adventure/visual novel game by Procella Games

Capital punishment hasn't occurred in the United Kingdom since 1964, but, on the 15th March 2019, a colossal domestic terrorist attack on the state's most prestigious law school leaves the criminal legal system in chaos. With thousands of deaths, survivor Storm Sente, a mere 20-year-old law student, finds himself called to the bar to fulfil his premature duty.

But as the so-called People's Movement for the Revival of Capital Punishment grows into an ever-larger, ever-present threat, the bar is by no means a safe place to be. With even the long-standing local police corruption rearing its ugly head, there's more to fight against than the cases themselves as friends become almost indistinguishable from enemies – the very future of law and order hangs in the balance, from forces both inside and out.

Join Storm and investigate crime scenes, defend clients in court, achieve justice for the innocent and – with a bit of luck – uncover the truth of the fateful terrorist attack and the sprawling cult behind it.


Procella Games officially announces its flagship title of its flagship series, Acquittal: Induction, a British law-drama adventure/visual novel game for PC/Steam, just launched on Kickstarter.

Acquittal: Induction, the first instalment in a planned series, was born from inspiration from Capcom's Ace Attorney series and is in many ways a homage. Alternating between the investigation of criminal cases at the crime scene and the defence of clients in heated courtroom trials, it inherits its basic mechanics from the classic adventure series, while taking and running with those core concepts.

The game draws more inspiration from both British courtroom dramas and real-life cases, also adapting the genre to a format more befitting the PC/Steam platform, featuring updated, stylish graphics and new Sherlockian game mechanics (such as Testimony Analysis, Brainstorming and Concatenation) in the way of divergent thinking. These new game modes allow for logic and puzzle-solving like never seen before, moving from pointing out simple contradictions in testimonies to deducing complex facts and theories in order to fight your case and uncover the truth.


Featuring a distinctive style, innovative gameplay mechanics and an epic story with a colourful cast of characters to match, Acquittal: Induction is comprised of five episodes, each longer and more challenging than the last. The 1st of these (The First Daybreak) is available to be sampled in the demo. The subsequent episodes will be released incrementally (as free updates included in the purchase) as development completes with funding.

This adventure game will be available for PC, Mac and Linux, to be released through Steam Direct. As the budget information on the Kickstarter campaign shows, the majority of the game assets have already been completed, with the bulk of the artwork and music mastering for later sections of the game requiring this additional funding. The demo available to download features over half of the entire first episode in a fully-functional, complete experience.


Acquittal is Procella Games' flagship series, an independent self-employed game developer, Sam Griffiths, based in Coventry, England, focusing on avdenture games for the PC/Steam platform.



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Nakawak - A GameBoy Style Metroidvania for PC

Nakawak is a Metroidvania style game for PC with 2 versions - original Gameboy and colour versions - lovingly created to replicate the experience of the classic GameBoy titles that the developer so fondly remembers.

It's already funded and 2 stretch goals are already down, but with 10 days to go there's a chance to reach the 3rd and 4th stretch goals - the 4th in particular will see the game greatly extended.  

For more info on the game and the developer, please check out the Kickstarter Campaign.



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Thursday, 10 August 2017

"West of Loathing" comedy RPG gallops onto Steam today (Windows, Mac, Linux)

From the creators of the long-running cult MMORPG The Kingdom of Loathing, West of Loathing is a single-player, story-heavy, funny as hell adventure/role-playing game that answers the burning question: "What would Skyrim be like if you played as a bean-slinging stick figure in a ten gallon hat?" 


It would be exactly like this, my friends:





Price: $11 USD with a 10% launch discount through August 17 (sale price is $9.89)




About West of Loathing

Leave your family farm and head west to find your fortune in a huge, humorous game inspired by classics adventure/RPGs Quest for Glory and Paper Mario. West of Loathing features:


  • A sprawling open world: Traverse snake-infested gulches, punch skeletons wearing cowboy hats, grapple with demon cows, and investigate a wide variety of disgusting spittoons -- nearly 100 unique locations to explore!

  • A goofy spin on good ol' RPG gameplay: Charm your way out of trouble as a silver-tongued Snake Oiler, plumb the refried mysteries of the cosmos as a wise and subtle Beanslinger, or let your fists do the talking as a fierce Cow Puncher.

  • A "colorful" cast of stick-figure characters: Interact with dozens of NPCs and hundreds of enemies -- some of whom are good, many of whom are bad, and a few of whom are ugly.

  • A gag around every corner: Wordplay and dad jokes abound -- along with at least one drunken horse, more than 50 hats, and liberal use of the Oxford comma.




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Jon Hare’s ‘Sociable Soccer’ to kick off big time on Steam Early Access this Summer

London, United Kingdom - August 10th, 2017 - Legendary football game designer Jon Hare’s Tower Studios in partnership with Finnish studio Combo Breaker, today announced that Sociable Soccer, Hare’s latest fast-paced, arcade take on the beautiful game, will launch in summer 2017 on Steam Early Access with Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and mobile platforms to follow. To celebrate the announcement Tower Studios have released a new Steam Early Access trailer:




Sociable Soccer is a super quick, adrenaline soaked football action game, an unholy alliance of Guardiola’s tiki taka and Klopp’s gegenpressing, where ultra sharp passing and shooting can easily be thwarted by a well timed slide tackle.. something like Rocket League in boots”, said Jon Hare, Designer and Director of Sociable Soccer. “After nearly two years in development we are excited to be launching soon on Steam Early Access. The game has a whole world of soccer already in place and online and offline matches are playing like a dream. As we sprint towards full commercial launch in late 2017 we invite gamers and football lovers to become part of our game changing, new sports franchise as we add new features, game modes and updates every few weeks”.


‘Godfather of football games’ Jon Hare, designed two of the biggest football franchises of the 20th century in Microprose Soccer and the genre defining Sensible World of Soccer, one of the 10 most influential video games of all time according to Stanford University. Faithful to his sports game pedigree Sociable Soccer features over 1,000 club and national teams from around the world and over 30,000 players, with 67 international football trophies to compete for and lighter friendly game modes including trademark custom teams. Beneath its sleek visual presentation lies a game of significant complexity with pinpoint controls and tactical depth. Easy to play and hard to master with single player, classic local multiplayer, online multiplayer and manager modes all supported. Sociable Soccer is a perfect blend of the instant playability of yesteryear with the power of modern technology.


Follow Sociable Soccer on Twitter: @Sociable_Soccer
Like Sociable Soccer on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sociablesoccer/
To learn more about Sociable Soccer visit: www.sociablesoccer.com/
To learn more about Jon Hare visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Hare
To learn more about Combo Breaker visit: http://www.combo-breaker.com/



About The Team
Sociable Soccer has been designed for modern technology from the ground up by a team of superstars from the European games development scene . “A designer can only be as good as the team around him” commented Jon “I waited almost 10 years until I found a team good enough to make my next football game with and the team behind Sociable Soccer is a combination of the very best of British design, Finnish engineering and French art”. Indeed the combined portfolio of Jon and the Combo Breaker team in their various roles is staggering: Sensible Soccer, Cannon Fodder, Max Payne, Alan Wake, Tomb Raider, Angry Birds, Bike Baron, Tower Bloxx, The Walking Dead. The list goes on and on with over 20 international #1 games between them.




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Friday, 4 August 2017

Review - Subject 13

Subject 13 is an adventure game that frequently switches between 1st and 3rd person (the result is quite good and not nearly as disorienting as that description might suggest!) - the last thing you remember is that you are drowning, and then you wake up in some kind of research laboratory.  A disembodied voice guides you through things, and soon you're entangled in a mystery involving quantum theory and all that sort of thing.  Everyone seems to have disappeared... or were they disposed of?  


It's all for you to find out in an adventure game that's heavy on puzzle density - LOTS of puzzles in almost every location, although the same basic types of puzzle are often reused - and a few inventory-based puzzles.  In the entire game there are only two characters you can speak to, but you can find recordings along the way of what people describing what had happened to them.  This worked okay some of the time, but at others felt rather redundant - it was a technique handled better, I felt, in Lifeless Planet.  Still the storyline is okay, not exceptional but generally speaking you do want to find out what happened next.

The puzzles were a bit of a mixed bag to me - I prefer my adventure games to have plenty of interactions with other characters and lots of inventory puzzles, so perhaps I'm not entirely the target demographic for this game - certainly I enjoyed solving some of the puzzles, one or two I found difficult, a few I simply found annoying.  If you like games that essentially present you with one logic puzzle after another with a hint of storytelling, you might like this more than I did.


The graphics were nice (sometimes very nice) although they glitched a couple of times - once I had a main character with a black square for a head - but I wouldn't say these glitches were frequent.  The graphical detail of the backgrounds was good, sometimes great, but there was seldom much movement to suggest a living world (this was possibly intentional).  Music and SFX are good, voice acting is generally okay, but like the backgrounds, felt a little lifeless.  I'm not quite certain if alternate endings were possible... at any rate then ending I got left me mainly unsatisfied, and I didn't enjoy he game enough to want to try again for a different ending.

Overall I didn't feel that Subject 13 was exactly a bad game, but it didn't really grab me at any point, and whilst I did enjoy some of it, there were quite long sections that I didn't.   It isn't really my style of game in all fairness, though the AdventureGamers review came to similar conclusions to myself.  If you still want to take a look it's available on Steam.



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Q.U.B.E. 2 - Sequel To Multi-Award Winning Q.U.B.E. Coming 2018

London, United Kingdom - August 3rd, 2017 - Independent developer Toxic Games announced today that Q.U.B.E. 2 is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in early 2018. Q.U.B.E. 2 puts players in the shoes of British archaeologist, Amelia Cross, on a beautiful yet mysterious alien planet.  With the help of fellow survivor, Emma, Amelia must face the challenges of the Q.U.B.E. in the hope of finding a way back home. Q.U.B.E 2 retains the shifting, environmental puzzles of the original but wraps the action around Amelia’s own intimate story and her quest for survival.

“With Q.U.B.E 2 we want to give the player more story but we also want to give them more choice,” said Dan Da Rocha, Managing Director of Toxic Games. ”We’ve developed the tools players can use to solve puzzles, subverting the linearity of the original in favour of something more open, something that allows players to put their own stamp on solutions.”

To accompany this announcement, Toxic Games have produced a teaser trailer giving players a sneak-peek into how this new story will unfold and the gorgeously evocative environments Amelia must overcome. The team will also be at Gamescom in Cologne from August 22nd- 24th giving an early look at the game. Keep your eyes peeled for that! 





About Toxic Games
Toxic Games is an award-winning, independent game development studio based in the U.K. which specialises in brain-twisting, first-person puzzle games. The studio was established in 2010 by former classmates, Daniel Da Rocha, Dave Hall and Jonathan Savery. Toxic Games has since expanded and are working with a number of talented collaborators who have allowed the studio to greatly improve the level of production and quality. Key collaborators include Harry Corr, a talented environment artist who has worked on titles such as Grid 2 and Dirt Rally; David Housden, a BAFTA nominated composer, best known for his original scores for Thomas was Alone and Volume; and Benjamin Hill, a writer and producer whose notable projects include the critically acclaimed Ether One and IGF Nominated Duskers.

Toxic Games’ debut title, Q.U.B.E., was released back in late 2011 followed by Q.U.B.E.: Director’s Cut which was released on PC in 2014 on console platforms in 2015. This featured a completely new story, voice acting, an all-new original soundtrack and a special time trial mode. Toxic Games are currently working on the sequel to their award-winning first-person puzzle game, namely, Q.U.B.E. 2.




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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Brawlhalla World Championship Dates Announced

Atlanta, GA - July 31, 2017 - Brawlhalla, the epic free-to-play platform fighter from Blue Mammoth Games, will host players from around the world at the second annual Brawlhalla World Championship taking place at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta, Georgia from Friday, November 3 to Sunday, November 5, 2017.

Top Brawlhalla Circuit and regional players will be invited to participate in the global 1v1 and 2v2 brackets, competing for more than $100,000 in cash prizes.

Regional championships beginning Saturday, September 2, 2017 and continuing each weekend through Sunday, October 8 will give players in the Australia, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Europe, US-E and US-W regions a chance to earn a spot at the World Championship.

Four skilled players will emerge from the Brawlhalla Championship Expo (BCX) Open, a tournament held during the event on Friday and Saturday, to compete in the $100,000 invitational World Championship on Sunday.

At last weekend's Brawlhalla Summer Championship, the final seasonal tournament leading up to the Brawlhalla World Championship with more than 1,300 circuit points and $10,000 on the line, Remmy, ithrowow and noeL took the top slots in the North American 1v1 bracket. The European 1v1 bracket was headed up be Eramm, Dobrein and Diakou.

Full Brawlhalla Summer Championship results can be found on Smash.gg for both the North American and European regions.

"With the Brawlhalla Circuit complete, next up is to see who will come out on top as regional champions," says David Kisich, Director of Esports, Blue Mammoth Games. "Soon these two groups and the BCX Open tournament winners will compete on stage to show us who are the best Brawlhalla players in the world."



Players can sign up for the BCX Open tournament via Smash.gg. Fans unable to attend in person can watch the event live via the Brawlhalla Twitch channel.

For more information, please visit the Brawlhalla esports website.


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