Game Tyrants

Tuesday Night is Game Night

I'm Going to Make a Game




January 7, 2014

    Whilst making New Year's Resolutions this year, I decided I would make Tuesday Night a Game Night -- as in I would try to create a game on Tuesday Nights.  Um, I didn't get very far tonight.  I guess the one thing I did decide was that I would create a sort of journal -- at least for now.  Other observations include:
    Can't say that's much to show for my time tonight.  But I intend to make space for this project in my life -- allow the muse to find me if it will.  So, rather than writing any more, perhaps I shall go for a walk -- or take out the garbage (I need to do that, and living in a condo, it's a long way to the recycle bin).

January 14, 2014

    So, I took a walk and as I did, I decided to play a game:
    This last turned into a sort of theme for the week:
    How can I turn this moment into something for either?
 
    And then, my mind turned to bigger and better things.  I may have mentioned that I've been playing High School Story on the iPhone as of late.  And so, I started thinking about my Grand Project, you know, the project I didn't want to get bogged down in.  And that project would be called Slaughter Quest -- the ultimate online RPG.  Of course, like I said, it's exactly the sort of project I did not want to get bogged down in doing at this time, so I started to think how I could cut that idea down and make it more manageable.  Well, all fantasy adventures seem to include a tavern scene, so why not make Tavern the Game?  And so, I started to list off all the things adventures could do in a tavern:
And this last turned into an idea I'll call Steal the Grog in which different groups of adventurers try to steal from each other -- or maybe just a bunch of different adventuring types with different agendas:
    I almost started to draw a map.
    I, also, thought about doing the Dungeon Crawlers Trivia Game.

    But at some point, I realized I was getting ahead of myself -- too much, too soon.  So, figured I would limit the competition to two groups: Dwarves & Elves (or Dwarves & Dwarves).  And they're playing that game where the one side tries to roll a keg of beer into the other team's town, because once that happens, the party begins, and whichever town the keg is in is going to get trashed.

    And so, that's my game:  The Barrel Roll Game.  Already started coding it using YUI's Charts Widget.  Going good.  Hope to have the finish product posted next week -- along with a series of pages showing pictorially (HTML improvement by HTML improvement) how I went about designing it.

    Anyway, basic concept, get the wavy line on a graph to reach the top (or bottom for the other player).  If the Keg rolls to the bottom, then the Dwarves party in Elf Central.  And if the Elves push that keg of beer to the top, then the Mountain Top will be the setting for the world's highest champagne fountain and the Dwarves will become the laughing stock of the Kingdom.

    Seriously, all you had to do was push that keg down the hill and a bunch of sissy Elves still beat you?  Pathetic.

    Anyway, here are some links:
(((NOTE: THESE GAMES ARE COMPUTATIONALLY HEAVY.  AND ARE EXACTLY THE TYPE OF WEB PAGES THAT WILL MAKE CERTAIN BROWSERS -- i.e. cell phones -- CRASH/CLOSE.  SUCH IS THE NATURE OF ABUSING A GRAPHING PROGRAM BY TURNING IT INTO AN ANIMATION DELIVERY SYSTEM.)))

    Of course, when I loaded this on my iPhone, I had no problem.  But to be honest, I typed out the warning.  And at this point, I don't feel like taking the trouble of deleting it.

January 21, 2014

    Abusing a graphing program to make a Barrel Roll Game morphed into making Quazy: The Face of the Prophet -- a web page I've worked on over the weekend, but haven't touched since.  Think oscilloscope turned into a mouth and you'll have a pretty good idea as to the prototype I'm trying to bring to life.

    Here are the other game ideas I've got going (none of which I'm planning on pursuing at this point, so dropping them here seems like just the ticket):
    Of the lot, Pool View Bingo seems the most promising.  For game squares (and just off the top of my head), I can come up with (see, spot):
    And there, you go.  A few more, and I'll have enough to lay out a game board.

    In the meantime, I think I'll try to focus on Quazy: The Face of the Prophet and see if I can get anywhere with that.

January 28, 2014

Window View Bingo might turn into Tower Tic Tac Toe.  The main difference between the two being how many squares in a row a person needs to get in order to score (5 vs 3).  And although these could be played competitively, I'm more inclined to play them as a group project on a comunal board with better sightings replacing old (while keeping in mind that a bird on the ledge today if worth a flock on the field of yesterday's morn')

One of the reasons to switch to Tower Tic Tac Toe was to reduce the number of categories.  For Window View Bingo, I was making a long list of detailed sightings to place on the squares, but that gets repetitive and/or highly specific after a while.  For example: the palm tree trimmers came today and that should be worth something in the game, but as the palm tree trimmers likely won't come again for another six months, it doesn't seem reasonable to devote a game square to that happy occurance.  So, my thinking was to make general categories (Lawn Work, Pool Activities, Birds, etc.) and then to give the square to whoever had the current best sighting, however the group decides a thing like that (by vote, intimidation, whatever).  I'll let you work out the details on that, for now at least -- along with whatever modifications might be required to the basic idea for team, competitive, or solitary play.  Though, I like the idea that the first person to see an item, gets to decide what square that item it linked to for the rest of the game.  Meaning should someone one-up their sighting, they get the square, but it's the same square as before (just a new owner/claimant).

Anyhow, that's probably a whole lot of words for and idea that I hope is relatively self-explanatory.

And these are the starter categories I came up with for Tower Tic Tac Toe (all judged subjectively based on size, relative rarity, and pleasure to observe):
And someday I may make a board for the game and/or formalize the rules.  Or more than likely, I will say that's enough close to game ... for now at least.


I continue to play High School Story on the iPhone.  And as such, I continue to think about making this style of game (creating my own version, etc.).  So, here's my thought progression on that:
A Man of Means won out (being the last on the list and where my thoughts led) and ignoring the darker aspects for the moment (as in the Made Man expansion pack), I came up with the list of category items:
And from there, I started to work on different character types (Old Money, Internet Billionaire, Pop Star, and so on) and even wondered if I should spin this off into some sort of fantasy or science fiction world.  But then, I decided the real world was fantasy enough for me, so no need to take it any further afield.

Of course, the original idea was a computer game.  But as I think will be a trend to these musings, after dreaming big, I realized I'd never find the time to get around to coding it, so I thought about how I could make the project more manageable and accessible:
Which perhaps explains the appeal of pInterest, but seems like a lot of work for something I'll never own the copyright to (or even be able to post on my own website -- I do believe a magazine photo collage is walking the line, in fact, stepping over).  So for now, it's a work in progress.  How to play the millionaire game from the safety and comfort of my own living room chair?

February 4, 2014

This is going to be a real short week.  Not many new ideas.  

Man of Means became What Would Antonio Perez do?
It was a good bit of motivation.  For an hour or two, but hardly what I would call a game.  Though to be fair, it might fall under the heading of play.

Perhaps next week I will have better insight.  After all, Antonio Perez knows when to keep his mouth shut.  And that's usually right after a person says, goodnight.

February 11, 2014

I think I'm ready to kill this idea from my list of potentials.  It's why this column (blog, whatever) is called Game Tyrants.  And the idea was a board game, Risk like, in which one of the twists would be that each player had a leader, but instead of granting a skill or an ability like they usually do in these sort of games, the leaders in Game Tyrants would force a disadvantage:
Anyhow, this is the end of the line for that.  I'm not planning on developing it any further at this point.

My work from last week with Antonio Perez sort of morphed into a writing project starring Radcliffe Emerson Pierce, which perhaps sounds a bit too much like Charles Emerson Winchester III, whom I will confess provided inspiration for the name.  But I like the Radcliffe part, so that's staying no matter what.  The work is tentatively entitled Today Is the Best Day of the Rest of Your Life and Rad (as he likes to be called) is a bit of a milliionaire playboy

Anyhow, for my game (or writing exercise), I decided to read a magazine (Luxury Hawaii) and try to view it from his (Radcliff Nathaniel Stewart's)  point of view.
And with that, enough with the words.  I shall say goodnight.

February 18, 2014

If playing games are for amusement, perhaps I should branch out more in my pursuit of pleasure and the good life.

So, I did a Conceptual Sketch this week for a Digital Art Project that I am thinking about pursuing -- am I pursuing, in fact; but whether I shall continue to do so, remains unknown...

And that is all he wrote (for this week, at least).

February 25, 2014

After much hemming and hawing, I decided to (once again) link to any images rather than insert anything in-line... not only because that will keep the code on the page simpler, but also because even at only a 100k a week, after a year, that'll be a bit much to download one one page all at once.  So, anyway, here's the link to this week's image.  (Don't know if I'm going to make a habit of providing images, but maybe I will.  Whatever.)  As you can see, I am an Origami God.

But don't feel bad if you don't want to hit the link, you're not really missing that much.  Of course, if you do (or did), you'll maybe have a clearer idea as to why I opted to link to images rather than loading them in-line.  Just saying.  Anyhow, as to the picture (mostly crumpled paper):
So, analysis:
Going to try to doing something 'fun' again next week.
I hope it actually is.
#!*% origami!

March 4, 2014

I bought Sid Meier's Civilization on the same day that I bought my first computer.  It was the first computer game I ever played (PC, personal).  It was the best computer game that I ever played (PC, personal).  I didn't like Civ 2 or 3.  Wasted many an hour on Civ IV.  And was looking forward to Civ 5's release.  And then, I heard all the complaints about the AI, so I never did get around to playing it.  Still haven't.  But today's project was to spend a bit of time on the CivFanatics Forums.
Enough with Civ 5.  One of the interesting things on the forum was a game they were playing similiar to 21 Questions.  It was the longest thread on the forum by a long shot.
They played this game over and over again.

So, anyway, want to start the winning thread in a forum?  Maybe you should try some sort of guessing-game round-robin in which the winner of the last gets to post the next riddle in the series.

Actually, the person who posted the thread had about a bazzillion rules, but the essential features can be condenced down to:
CLUE: It's a computer game, five in the series (perhaps more, I suppose it matters how and what one is willing to count) that traces the ascent of man from the stone age to space ships, oh, and the AI in the latest iteration of the series sucks something awful.  Hope you're not stumped.

March 11, 2014

I don't feel like playing.  I feel like reading up on Bayesian Statistics.  That, in and of itself, is proof that I need to spend a moment or two doing something less constructive.

I like Tower Defense Games.  Of the free ones on the app store, my two favorite are:
Time's a wasting.  I'm off to play.

March 18, 2014

This week, I'm going to watch TV.  Been doing that a lot lately.  MIT has a LISP course online from the mid 80's (1880 or 1980, not sure which) that I'm finding useful.  And though I haven't gotten to to the part of LISP I don't understand yet (he said, perhaps optimistically), one of the things they have gone over is Closure... briefly.  I'm thinking they're going to cover it more in depth, but at a rough idea, as they are using Closure, it means a dataset that is fully expandable -- an array that holds arrays (or more to the point in LISP a pair set that holds additional pair sets).  Anyway, enough of that.

For fun, I'm watching NBC, because I like their app the best (ABC would have probably won out with Modern Family and The Middle, but without a subscription, I can't stream, so it's NBC).  And of NBC the shows I like the best these days are:
Anyhow, that's what I'm doing this week... that and taxes.

March 25, 2014

I've been 'playing' High School Story on the iPhone for well over two months now.  And I do believe I am nearing the end of interest in that 'game'.  I use quotes.  There's not much actual playing involved.  But then, it did capture my interest for months, so it has something going for it.  Anyway, spent the weekend loading up a bunch of new titles (none of them hit the spot) and here's some advice for would be developers (or for me to keep in mind for my own efforts):

Ads -- For the most, ads are done wrong, they should be:

Tutorials

Time Mechanics (this is where you wait around in real time for things to be built, recruited, or completed)

Animations

Final Thoughts (probably the good ones)

That is all.  Oh, and by the way.  I'm putting my money where my mouth is.  This week, I deleted all advertising across all of my sites.  Eh, it was easy.  I wasn't making any money anyhow.

April 1, 2014

    So, here's a game idea.  Seven Degrees of Internet Freedom.  Start with an idea (or website); and from there, how long does it take you to get to another idea (or specific website) being only able to:

First Example:

Second Example

Final Example
    Probably needs a lot of refinement if one wants to keep score, otherwise ready to go as a diversion.

April 8, 2014

    I like those territory conquer games.  Risk, I believe is the most famous.  Though in truth, from my own youth, I remember Dune with greater fondness.  Anyhow, whichever your personal favorite of the bunch (Diplomacy, Axis & Allies, I'm drawing a blank from there, but I'm sure there are hundreds more) the idea is simple, capture territory for the win.  Of the current incarnations (solo games available for free on the iPhone), I like Auralux the best.  So, if I was going to make a game (and I just now might), I would use this game as a starting off point.

Auralux - What I Like:
Troops (spaceships in this case) grow automatically -- about 1 per second, like a beating heart per planet owned (2 & 3 for larger planets)
Troop selection is easy -- touch the screen to form center of circle, slide outward to form outside radius, everything inside is selected
Mechanics are easy -- there is ONLY ONE command decision, where to send your troops, though this might result in different outcomes, see below, they ALL result from the same slide select mechanic, (tap, slide - makes circle, tap sends the troops to final location).  If final location is:
Without playing, this might not be so self-explanatory.  But from a Player's point of view, that is all that's too it.  And I find the mechanics remarkably engaging.

Auralux - What I Don't Like
What I might do if I were to build an Auralux sequel:
Actually, that thing I mentioned about an upgraded planet being about as easy to destroy as non-upgraded one is sort of important (or a nice power equalizer), so let me go over the mechanics of that.  It costs approximately 100 troops to:
So, a 3x planet has a 300 troop investment (at a minimum), but only costs 100 to neutralize, so attacking upgraded planets is the way to go.  It really brings your enemies to their knees.

And then, once last bit on top of all that and I shall call it a week.
But the AI is so terribly horrible, I doubt I shall ever pay for the full version...

April 16, 2014

Boom Beach is a time delay game -- whatever that mechanic is called wherein you can speed things up with gems, but the gems ultimately cost money... or or so rare that they're just another way of measuring time.  I find the time delay mechanic boring.  Seriously, it's wait to play.  I guess I got sick of waiting before I found the allure of Boom Beach.  Certainly, from a strategic point of view, the game seemed lacking.  The choice is where on the beach to land your troops.  From there, it's automated.  Tell you what.  Just play the game for me and I'll get back to you in a few years.  Wonder if the computer can beat itself or if it, too, finds the whole process too monotonous.  Oh, I should note.  Boom Beach has been paying a lot for advertising (or at least, I've been seeing their ads lately).  But advertising is worthless  if players only stick around for a few turns.  I deleted  Boom Beach after about an hour.

Galcon Lite is reminiscent of Auralux.  It's a planetary space conquest game:
However, the AI sucks.  Or actually, maybe the AI doesn't suck.  It plays competently enough, but there is only one real strategy.  Wait until your opponent attacks another planet; and then, turn around and attack the planet he launched his attack from.  There is no other viable strategy.  Even the AI uses this strategy.  So, the game is sort of one dimensional.  And at higher levels, as far as I can tell, all that happens is the computer:
Actually, my impressions at the higher levels is that Galcon Lite becomes a twitch game in which the human doesn't stand a chance against the computer's greater speed.  And at the lower levels, one can literally win on the first move by simply attacking the computer's home base.

How to make it better?
Actually, one of things I wonder about when looking at Galcon Lite is why they never made a sequel (and not just Galcon Pro or whatever the paid version is called).  This is a decent space twitch strategy game... or at least a decent starting point, so why not build upon this and make a whole series of Galcon games.  And then, I looked in the app store (because, hey, how would I know if they had actually made a sequel or not, I mean, I'd never looked), and lo and behold, there are all sorts of games by this company, including at least four Galcon titles..  
Wonder how they improved it in the later versions?

But then, I doubt I'll pay to find out, so I'm guessing I'll never know.

I kept Galcon Lite on my iPhone for a few weeks... perhaps as a reminder to write this column.  Certainly worth the price of admission.  And I've played it a few dozen times.  But I can't see a serious gamer coming back to this game after the initial thrill has worn off.  It's just not that deep.

Oh, and I just downloaded War Hammer Quest at almost a gig in size, the odds of me keeping this on my phone are almost non-existant... and I haven't even tried it yet.  So, just saying, I've been known to be overly critical at times.  Which is another way of saying, if you expect nothing from it, Galcon Lite is sort of compelling... until it's not.

April 24, 2014

Part of the reason for delving into Auralux and Galcon was because I've decided to look into programing a territory conquest game.  Of course, I'm a crappy programmer, so... I took the easy way out.  For graphics, I shall use buttons.  And let the python kivy model do all the heavy lifting for me.

The basic game board can be seen here.

Of course, there's not much to see,  just the Eclipse IDE I use for python, loaded with a little (just a little code) and a graphic of the screen -- a 10x10 grid of buttons.  Push a button to select a territory.  Push another button to effect the outcome (move, whatever).

Perhaps between now and next week, I'll get some sort of Aha!  Or failing that, the motivation to play with it a bit more.  Anyhow, there's the board.  And in truth, I'm already thinking of chopping it down.  The icon buttons on my iPhone are lined up in a 4x5 array, so maybe a 4x4 game boards is the way to go.  Nice and big controls that way.

Oh, and this is all kivy.py standard stuff.  Setting up the game board is less than a hundred lines of code (as I wrote it, at least) and over half of that are bebugging print statements.  So when I say this is kivy standard, I'm pretty serious.  The buttons are straight out of the box.  In my opinion, not much sense wasting any time on graphics until the strategy and game play is ironed out... and maybe not even then.  One of the big games making the rounds right now is a a straight number button implementation, so why stress it -- at least, to start..  Buttons are easy.  And at my level of programming, if a program is hard to implement, maybe I'm working on the wrong program.  There are just too many easy things out there that are still left undone...

April 29, 2014

The game is Lux Touch and it is a straight Risk implementation; or at least, that's how I see it.  I am of the mind that I should be more positive; so, for a free game, it's not bad, not horrible, actually played it a few dozen times before I figured out it's principal weakness.  Oh, and it has a big weakness.  A gigantic weakness.  I suppose Risk as a game has this weakness.  So, it's nothing inherent to Lux... or singular to Lux, but it's there nonetheless.  And this is what it is:

If you stay alive until the second round of turning in your cards, you'll likley get enough armies from the hand-in to wipe out one of your opponents.  If that opponent has any cards, you get them, and by the rules of the game, you can then trade them in -- mid-turn.  So, on your 7th, 8th, or 9th turn, you turn in a set of cards, use the armies to wipe out an opponent, cash in the cards thus gained for additional armies, and finally use the aforementioned armies to wipe out another opponent; and so on and so forth, until there are no opponents left.  The computer doesn't know how to take advantage of this quirk of the rules, so if you stay alive until the 7th, 8th, or 9th turn (pretty freaking easy to do) along with taking over one territory each turn (the requirement for getting a card), victory is essentially guaranteed.  The only real question is whether it will be on the 7th, 8th, or 9th turn.

The other thing that is sort of stupid about the Lux is that each opponent plays be the same gamebook, so certain territories (Brazil for instance) are attacked by almost everyone almost every turn, whereas stuff in Europe and Asia is more or less ignored (by everyone as well).  Ironically, I tend to play the same way, opting to seek control of South America or Indonesea, while ignorning the rest of my holdings, so I really don't notice this that much, but it's there.

But even if this last were corrected and the computer's strategies were more varied, the whole dynamic is sort of overrun by that 7th, 8th, 9th game turn run for the win dynamic.

Truthfully, I have no idea why I never witnessed this as a child.  I guess it was because we hardly ever had more than two or three players; and this hack, dynamic, or whatever you want to call it doesn't really shine until seven players are involved as one doesn't attack the strongest opponent first, but rather from weakest to strongest cashing cards in for armies on the way.

Anyhow, I'm making an effort to be more upbeat in my reviews.  So, despite the lack of longterm gameplay, I would like to thank the makers of Lux (and all the other free apps out there) for making their apps free.  And I would also like to remind them that there was a movie version of Battleship not to long ago, not because it was a great game, but because everyone played it.  Or in other words, the upside for market share is truly staggering in this day and age -- truly staggering.  Which, come to think of it, isn't such a great example.  I mean, Battleship sucked as a game (and likely as a movie, as well, but I don't know as I never saw it).  But I like to think the future will belong to the good free games... but then, I suppose, it probably won't.

Oh, well.

But either way, my life is too short to spend any more of it playing Lux.  So, app deleted.  Still, thanks guys.  I appreciate both the game and the effort.

May 6, 2014

I finally got around to playing War Hammer Quest and deleted it after a few minutes.  It's just not what I want out of a game.  It could be hard to describe what I want out of this sort of game.  But I will say I played Dice Dungeon for slightly longer.  I guess what I want out of a fantasy role playing game is:
I certainly don't want to:
I admit that there's not much guidance there. Maybe I have outgrown RPGs.

Although, that said, I continue to play High School Story... perhaps because it was the first time mechanic game I'd ever loaded, well, that, the lack of combat, and the fact that I'm not overly bored with the content. Anyhow, High School Story provides rings as a bonus for watching ad content.  And like I've said before, I believe this would be better if:
But what I really wanted to talk about this week was the inclusion of a four minute Burger King ad in High School Story's ad lineup.  They had declared the value of a thirty second spot at two rings, so I feel a four minute ad should be worth five rings; and so, I'm on strike and won't watch it:
It's just an idea.  Not that I have access to the click through rates, but if they stopped showing the BK ad due to low retention, the lack of reasonable payoff rates might have been key.  Also, since one of the big thirty second ads is from Jack in the Box and the four minute ad is from Burger King, might I recommend McDonalds get into the act and buy a banner ad that says:
I've got a feeling it would be the sort of advertising campaign that worked.  Or if you don't like that, how about a quest.  The only use for rings (OK, the only use I put them to) is buying quests, so why not have advertisers sponsor quests:

May 20, 2014

I've been going through the free comic books available on the iPhone.  But both iMage and Comixology have changed their format/offerings (the very app that they intend to use down the road has changed), so listing off app names, seems sort of silly.  I haven't gotten to Marvel or DC yet, but I've probably read, well, maybe not an even thousand, but several hundred free comics -- all over the counter and legit from the original publisher.

I wonder why comics aren't supported by advertising?

I do not know???

Not that this is a blog about what apps I've used or have recently stopped using, but then, maybe it is...
Anyway, I've switched from imgur to 9gag and reddit.  I don't know what that says about me.  Or for that matter, how it is possible for a site like reddit or imgur to make money legitimately.  A quick looksey at the sight (I do believe) would reveal that much of the content is a repost (not only from elsewhere within the site or the greater social sharing network) but other websites.  Yeah, a lot of it is original content (OC in the slang), but how much of that OC is actually drawing in the crowds?

Don't know.  Not going to do the research to find out.  But I have a hunch that if they had to pay for content that was owned elsewhere, the sites would dry up PDQ (which is old world slang for pretty darn quick).

Bubble Crackle is the best bubble drop app, just in case you were wondering.  Stayed on my phone for better part of a year.  But I've stopped playing the game, and I have the desire to consolidate my desktop, so out it goes..

June 4, 2014

So, I guess I might not be making a game this year.  Almost at the halfway point; and I've got to admit, my heart's not in it.  I have been doing a lot of photomanipulation.  So in the spirit of keeping this post going, I decided to do a preliminary layout drawing of the sort of picture I'm hoping of doing soon: a main picture, with some sort of cool effect (maybe something like this).  And then, clumped around the main picture smaller images of the same picture worked through with a different effect.  Yeah, that's probably not clear without looking at the pictures.  But then, that's what the links are for...

June 10, 2014

I give you another test page, this one for the Butterfly Effect: a work in progress...

June 15, 2014

I've decided to change my focus from a game to photo effects; and thus, future entries to this weekly post will now be made to a webpage entitled Vision Quest.

Feb 7, 2015 - Lucky's Tavern

The name Lucky's Tavern originates from (blatant self promotion ahead) Celli the Happy Go Lucky's Series of Dragon Bound Adventuring Books and the mythical book within a book (Tales from Lucky's Tavern) in which all the stories started at Lucky's Tavern.  (Sense a theme?)

So, anyway, a year later and I'm still playing HS Story on the iPhone, so there's something to the game:
Whatever, not really going to deconstruct it, just copy it.
So, some sort of Tavern that the player runs and from there orchestrates the actions (quests) of others: simple stories made up of a half dozen chapters of the form:
  1. This is What Led to This
  2. The Current Action
  3. What's Going to Happen Next
Even that's not the important part, the real part, the reason anyone would care.
So, really, just a simple framework on which others can add and utilize whatever resources they can skim from the web (photos, music, additional quests, whatever).
Such an obvious idea, it probably already exists, perhaps I will search for it before long... or then again, perhaps not.  After all, this is as far as I got on the project.  It's highly unlikely I'll ever take it any further.




Thus ends Game Tyrants or does it...








Copyright 2014 Brett Paufler

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