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Monomyth - A first person action RPG/dungeon crawler

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by RatTower, May 7, 2017.

  1. Siveon Bot Patron

    Siveon
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    If you bog down content like that you can say action-platformers, bullethells, and FPS/TPS' are the same kind of games. It doesn't really mean much.
    You go through a linear level of obstacles
    You try to kill whatever is in your path with ranged weapons
    Better weapons are typically temporary, either lasting a short amount of time or having bullets

    etc.

    The big deal is the actual gameplay itself, and the setting. They may all scratch a similar itch but sometimes it just ain't in that exact area. And for me at least, there isn't much in the exact area of Ultima Underworld/King's Field. Although I'd count System Shock 1 in that area since it feels like a crawler.
     
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  2. Thal Savant

    Thal
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    You know, the one thing that amazed and delighted me on my Ultima Underworld playthrough was how it seemed be this massive evolutionary leap from Nethack (the only roguelike I've played), which incidentally contain all the elements you have listed. It was like someone had taken its brilliant basic formula, and updated it into a simulated 3d world and added quests, dialogue and story to it. Fly through lower abyss and you'll feel it too. The only real difference between UU and Nethack is the procedurally generated everything vs hand crafted world.

    I would disagree with one element you have listed. While combat is pretty easy in Ultima Underworld, it however, had by far the most advanced rpg combat system developed at the time, with attack direction and even body part targeting and headshots IIRC. Its real time competitors were blobbers, duly noted by contemporary reviewers, who while still revering Dungeon Master, predicted that there was no going back to abstractions like that. Why Otherside didn't understand this revolutionary element as well is beyond me though. The game really isn't about leeches and popcorn.

    Hence, if you were to perfect this genre, combat that is satisfying in itself, would be the first and possibly final step.
     
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  3. Excommunicator Arcane

    Excommunicator
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    OK but you actually are completely wrong
     
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  4. Bad Sector Learned

    Bad Sector
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    I always thought UU to be an evolutionary step from games like Dungeon Master (first person, real time, light simulation-y aspects, puzzles based on altering the level, set in a dungeon made of multiple levels, etc) than something like Rogue (which, granted, does have some of the elements i wrote, but still i find their use in UU closer to DM). How did you make the step from Nethack to UU?
     
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  5. DJOGamer PT Magister

    DJOGamer PT
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    I forgot to add backtracking to that list.

    But I was very specific with the aspects I explained, which constitute and define the experience of those games.

    Yes but doesn't change the fact they are very similar games design wise. For example DMC and Ninja Gaiden may feel different to play, but they are without a doubt the same type of game.

    It's funny because it was due to a similar situation I formed this opinion. Back in 2017/18 when I played SS1 for the first time, I was about half-way trough the game going back to a previous area after getting a item that allowed me to progress, when it hit me.
    "Wait a minute", I thought, "am I playing Super Metroid (or Prime)?".

    Yes, but the point I was trying to make is that, in these games the combat isn't the main focus of the experience (unlike action games). It's just another another element to complement/enhance the Level - which is the true focus of the experience (or at least the closest aspect to it).
     
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  6. Thal Savant

    Thal
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    It's been a while since played UU, but I'll try gather my thoughts. In principle, I believe you are right, and I also remember comparisons to Dungeon Master. I won't dispute that.

    The Nethack thing is more uncanny, is undoubtedly colored by my personal experience of not having played blobbers but having played Nethack extensively. I think the biggest similarities come from the fact that both roguelikes and dungeon crawler blobbers had a similar goal of transferring pnp dungeon crawling rpg to pc and faced similar challenges and dealt with them in broadly similar way. In fact due to various technical, etc, limitations that I won't get into, you could make a case that none of the early rpgs are rpgs (let's not get into that either). Essentially however, both Roguelikes and first person crpgs took from pnp rpgs only oppressive dungeons and combat systems. The list has more elements, but so you could also condense them into two: The Dungeon and The Monsters. Or even one: The Dungeon, which is then designed to be appropriately engaging in various ways (one of which is horde of enemies). In this way roguelikes and first person crpgs are very similar. The fact that one is topdown and with ASCII graphics, and the other is first person (or that one is turn-based and the other real-time) is not in my mind that important if the basic experience is similar. I think the genre division between roguelikes and rpgs was once thought be more important, and even about 20 years ago, many roguelike purists thought that its not a real roguelike if it doesn't have ASCII graphics. Today that position is simply ridiculous.

    With regards to UU, I think the first time I felt a sense of familiarity was status messages. (it's xy, you're hungry).

    I think the biggest one was how magic is designed to be not simply a gun but a way to pass obstacles, just like in Nethack. I've always felt sorry that games have stopped doing that (aside from Morrowind). To me that's more important than the fact that UU has rune magic. It would be just as good as a with a spell list, if the spells were the same and were used in a same way. And same thing with many essential items and consumables. So you have boots that allow you to walk on fire in UU, where have I seen this before? The basic logic of wands and potions and why use them is the same both games. In fact in many cases, it's the same wand. Or how about getting an unidentified item, and not being sure, when you can identify it?

    Or the fact that the game has obstacles, environmental and others. So my fascination with UU and Nethack is also connected to ease and accessibility of Fallout and Baldur's Gate and their successors, which don't have obstacles. Environment doesn't challenge you, except for the traps you remove with your thief. These games are easy, while Nethack and UU are challenging. Both in Nethack and UU your consumables are valuable. In games like BG they really aren't. You can beat your encounters without them and can run to town for restocking healing potions. Well that shit doesn't fly in Nethack, or in UU, although UU is more forgiving, I suppose. These games have actual resource management, including hunger. In any case, I'm still looking for an isometric rpg in the vein of JA2, BG that implements passwall spells, levitation, elevated surfaces and allows you to find quest objects and solutions with scrying magic. However, kudos to BG1 for having random encounters between maps, which means that getting back to city from Cloakwood may be harder than you think, especially with a wounded party. I like that kind of uncertainty.

    It also dawned to me while playing UU that it was actually meant to be too hard for you to beat with your first character. You are supposed to piece together the way to complete the game in multiple playthroughs, just like in Nethack and other roguelikes. That's why you collect mantras, but can use them even if your character hasn't found them yet. After you complete UU, they even congratulate you for beating the game. Which is a feat since this was pre-internet and players could typically share tips only though friends and gaming magazines.

    There's also the fact that UU levels are also similarly laced with corridors and rooms, and it's one continuous dungeon just like Nethack. If you look at the map, they just look similar tile-based dungeons, with UU having only more content with more variations and things to do.

    It's just that I expected getting into UU would harder when played it 2-3 years ago the first time. I started rpgs with BG1, after all. And yet, after 10 minutes of familiarizing myself with controls I felt right at home. Because of Nethack of all games. But this time the game had immersive first person graphics, simulated combat as well as all the hallmarks of Nethack that I've discussed. What a shame rpgs didn't build on its formula. Haven't played Arx Fatalis yet, so maybe I'll get a fix soon.
     
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  7. Thal Savant

    Thal
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    I agree with this. I was rather visioning a future, where this element would be preserved but also improved by making combat enjoyable. And also pointed out that the UU devs felt the same way, since they created the first ARPG combat system. The devs probably felt that since it's supposed to be immersive sim, the combat must also be simulated instead of being an abstraction. It's only so basic due to technical limitations., but now those limitations are gone. However, now we have only ARPG combat with no other simulations though, which is a real shame.
     
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  8. LESS T_T Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    LESS T_T
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    It boggles my mind that they showcased the trailers on the site only for a limited time, even in 2000s.
     
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  9. Bad Sector Learned

    Bad Sector
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    This was an interesting read and i hadn't thought about the connections like that (although it might be because i haven't played Nethack much and that was many years ago).
     
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  10. RatTower Arcane Developer

    RatTower
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    Crunch is finally over. Time to get back into gamedev mode.
    Worked on some parts of the map and added a new spell:



    Implementing this spell I was wondering:
    Apart from basic attack/support spells (like fireball/increase strength/etc), what are some spells you'd like to see?

    In Ultima Online there was a spell called Summon Food - I always liked it, even though it was pretty useless.
    So for shits and giggles I thought I might quickly implement that in Monomyth at some point, but that actually raised a question for me:

    Should food/hunger have an impact on the player character?

    Now starvation was a thing in UUW and while it was near impossible to actually starve to death, food had an impact on recovered hitpoints during sleeping.
    Which brings me directly to the next question:

    Should it be necessary to sleep every now and then?


    Neither of these are particularly hard to implement. I'm just wondering whether they wouldn't be more of an annoyance, rather than adding something to the game.
    In the same sense, one more other thing:

    Lockpicking minigame: Yes/No?
    Some people like it. Some people hate it. Either way, it is something that'd give a little variety to stealth runs.
     
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  11. forumvisitor#451 Scholar

    forumvisitor#451
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    Spells - similarly creative to SS2's psi. I also enjoyed shape-shifting in Dishonored. Or runes which could be combined to get different combinations of abilities / spells.

    Food / hunger - yes. I liked statuses in Prey and even though it was too easy, different effects on character added depth.

    Sleep - do not know. Whatever that makes it more engaging and not being there just for realism sake.

    Lockpicking - would it be possible to implement a system similar to reloading in Gears of War? Like - it will pick the lock anyways if you push the button (or hold it as in lockpicking in first 2 Thief games), but you can engage in lockpicking so it is faster / less noisy / better?
     
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  12. JBro Learned

    JBro
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    No mandatory sleep and NO MINIGAMES.
     
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  13. Darkzone Arcane

    Darkzone
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    Utility spells like "Detect Magic", "Light", "Invisibility", "See Invisibility", "Spider Climb", "Dimension Door", "Clean water and food", "Sense Enemies" or "Levitate" spell and etc. But this depends how you do build up your spell system. Are the spells standing alone on their own or do they build up upon other spells, like ability / spell trees? Example: "Telepathy" leads to "Force Shield" and "Push Enemy". "Force Shield" leads to "Levitate".

    I think yes, but i like survival games. So is this a Dungeon Survival RPG or not?

    See above answer. Also to add: Breathing air (oxgen), drinking, sleeping and food are the basic needs that you cannot survive without. So the question is that you should ask yourself: Is this a Dungon Survival RPG or not?
    If it is a DSRPG, then this basic needs must have an influence and this are the resources that have to be managed by the player.

    NO MINIGAMES. Make it a ability that can be trained or leveled up.
     
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  14. DJOGamer PT Magister

    DJOGamer PT
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    Since it's a Action RPG, I think the best way to go with spells is making few, but make them so versatile the player can use them in multiple ways.

    I will give some examples:
    • Instead of a teleport spell, a spell that switches the positions the player and the object he's marked; for example: imagine you're in a room, in that room there only yourself and a vase, you mark said vase, you execute the spell and then you and said vase are instantly switched places; if there was no vase in the room, you could not perform the spell; you can even make an alternative mode for the spell where instead of switching the player's place with another object, the player marks 2 objects to switch places; of course then with high enough level at the magical skills/perks you could switch places with living beings instead.
    • A spell that locks an object in place (even if it's in midair), for X time; if said object is attacked during the spell's effect it will gain momentum and will be projected (in the direction it accumulated more momentum) after the spell's effect wears off (this one is totally ripped from BotW by the way).
    • Astral Form spell: the camera leaves your body and your free explore (of course your body would be vulnerable while doing so) - you can put a limit to the distance the player can travel; in your astral form you could "see" magic energy (imagine to locate an artifact or discover where a necromancer/wizard is hiding); you could possess beings that have lower Willpower than your PC; you can talk to spirits; you can enter other dimensional planes; etc...
    • A more complex spell: creates a hand/arm out of pure energy; if the player taps the cast spell button the hand will stretch out; if the hand encounters any obstacle/object in it's path it will attempt to grab it; if said obstacle/object is heavier than that of the strength your hand can hold, then your PC will be pulled towards said obstacle (if the obstacle is for example a door/lever then obviously the door/lever will be closed/pulled and the player won't be pulled); if the obstacle/object is lighter than that of the strength your hand can hold, then said object/obstacle will be the one who's pulled towards your PC; if the player double taps the cast spell button, the hand will close into a fist and perform a quick punch in the place you're point the camera at; if the player holds down the cast spell button, the hand will grab on (to the object the player had his crosshairs pointed at) and keep a hold of it, while as long as the player keeps holding down the spell button (which obviously will keep burning down your mana/stamina) - if the player is holding an enemy he can then throw him instead of putting him down.
    And then, as you upgrade your magic skills/stats these spells would also have their effects upgraded - imagine a spell that concentrates a lot of magic energy at the soles of the PC's feet; at level 1 it reduces the noise you make; level 2 it allows you to jump higher; level 3 you could walk on water; and at level 4 you could walk a few steps on air (like the hover boots of Ocarina of Time).

    You could do a poll to see if the majority of people don't mind with survival mechanics.

    You could also implement it in as a separate difficulty mode/option, that the player has to active in the beginning of the playtrough and after that it couldn't be changed.

    Now there obiously are numerous ways you could go about implementing a survival system. And they can be either simple (like just hunger/sleep) or more complex (besides sleep and hunger you also have to be cautious for temperature, diseases, etc...)

    In my opinion, since you're not making a open-world (like Gothic, Morrowind, BotW), I don't think your game would gain much from those more complex systems.
    As for sleep, I also don't think you should implement it - this would also make sense from a story perspective since the game will be like what 50 hours at most (plus the fact you'll have shrines and can say that resting in said shrine heals your body).

    As for food, yes.
    Ways to go about it:
    -there are Hunger stages that increase depending on the time of your last meal; the higher the stage, the more your Stamina will go down; if the Stamina hits 0 (or whatever limit you put in) your HP will start to decrease as well until you die (or simply like in UUW)
    -you have a fatigue bar, this bar fills up by not only not eating but also by doing activities that put strain on your body (running, fighting, casting spells, carrying weight, certain status effects, ect...); the more the fatigue bar fills up, the more those activities cost to perform; the higher your fatigue the more susceptible you get to certain effects.

    And of course you can then add more to these simple systems.

    First, since this is an RPG, it's mandatory for this to be stat based.
    So the player can't open a level 3 lock if he's level 2 on lock-picking.

    But since your game also has a strong Action component, I don't see any harm to a mini-game. Actually I quite like it since it's another mechanic that when well done can properly challenge the player.
    So IMHO do include it.

    In fact, if you're interested I can tell you the system I designed.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
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  15. SpaceWizardz Learned

    SpaceWizardz
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    Best spell in Dark Messiah:
     
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  16. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    Copy the kingdom come lockpicking minigame
     
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  17. Thal Savant

    Thal
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    The answer to these questions sort of depends on what kind of game you are trying to design. It's no point to have a levitation spell, if your levels are not vertical. On the other hand, a levitation spell would have ruined Thief. Rope arrows, though, perfect.

    Levitation Yourself/other (should be short duration)
    Light (design some pitch black areas, warrior has to use a torch)
    Darkvision (ditto)
    Magic mapping (include secret areas)
    charm monster
    teleport self/other (lower level random tele/higher, spell opens the map and you choose)
    polymorph self/other/item
    water breathing
    tensers transformation type (short duration)
    wizard's eye (the camera leaves your body behind, free to explore level
    create food/item/etc
    Create disguise/illusion
    invisibility
    see invisible (invisible monsters/invisible traps/invisible items)
    slow time
    passwall
    make sound (make monsters go there)
    Rust (monster drops iron weapons)
    Dispel (monster, magic field, magic trap, magic item)

    Some of these should only be included, if you can make them fit your design ideas, and add meaningful content to support them. Also, there should be trade offs, some only for high levels, etc.

    The thing with survival mechanics is that they become sort of jarring, if your character is otherwise very powerful. Hence, early game hunger, late game non-issue might be okay. Kind of like with Nethack. Also it might break the game into neat 4x type phases like: survive, explore, evolve, exterminate. Nethack gave player a reason to eat however, could you do the same though? If food is like in TES, it's a pointless chore. Better to spend resources elsewhere then. This type of thing should be chore gameplay mechanics. It might also be more sensible to concentrate on something like managing health.

    I think the really important part is design the game in way where you first build tension and then release it. A bit like Diablo 1's Dungeon/Tristram. You should feel like you're in danger when in the unknown, and feel relieved when you get back to your "safe space" (which you could perhaps make unsafe at some critical point). Whether you sleep there or not is another matter.

    No, if it takes you to another screen. Should be like in Thief, you stay in normal mode, but lockpicking is simulated. Higher skill makes it possible to open tougher locks and make happen faster.
     
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  18. V_K Arcane

    V_K
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    Terrain traversal: levitation, water walking, water breathing, teleport. If you have some environmental hazards, like lava or poisonous gas, maybe spells that allow to go through those unharmed.
    Divination: detect monster, detect treasure, detect secret, see invisible etc. - depending on what is in the game.
    Stealth: invisibility, move silently, disguise, darkness, night vision - depending on how deep your stealth system is.
    Mind control: charm, calm, enrage, scare, confuse, bait enemies - depending on how deep AI is.
    Summons (preferably with non-combat uses like in Ultima 8), maybe also summoned weapons.
    I would go for it. But not for the "summon food" spell because it'd trivialize the food mechanic (unless spells require expensive reagents).
     
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  19. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    Love the idea of passwall, but it might be a little broken. A possible solve is to make it a high level spell and create a ping of sorts, that would alert all casters of your position. If an enemy uses passwall, they can be alerted with a sound and a visual outline of their enemy visible through whatever walls and obstacles are in the way, like the whatever-it-was-called vampire vision in that elder scrolls game. Playing a low level spell caster being aware of a high level spellcaster being recently nearby yet unaware of one's position would make for some interesting tension. Like an inversion of a stealth mechanic, layered on top of regular stealth.
     
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  20. huntsman1899 Literate

    huntsman1899
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    What RPGs out there have the most of these? Especially the Terrain Traveral ones.
     
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  21. udm Arcane Patron

    udm
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    IMO The Dark Mod hands down has the best implementation of lockpicking. But then, that's also because it has the element of tension created by constant guard patrols and their footsteps. Otherwise, it'd be a complete waste of time.

     
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  22. huntsman1899 Literate

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    Glad. You. Asked.

    OK let's talk utility spells first. There are far too few RPGs that make good use of Utility Spells. Things like Create Rope (climb up to wooden beams or down into pits), Levitate, Grow Vines (grow vegetation into climbable vines on walls) , Freeze Water (to cross rivers/moats), Create Wall (block enemies temporarily), Control Air/Water/Fire?Earth (to cross hazards). Unlock, Disarm, Read Mind (to learn weaknesses), Charm Beast, Levitate Object (to use as platform to jump from), Enchant Weapon, Animate Object (common items like furniture come to life to fight for you), Detect Illusion (checking for false walls and mimic chests), Magic Lock (to keep enemies from opening door).

    As for Offensive Spells, I hope Ice spells are different from Fire spells which are different from air spells, etc. Ice should cause the expected effects (slowing enemies, stopping them with visual effect), Fire should cause damage over time and be more powerful versus ice-based enemies, etc.

    Sleep and food should be counted, but not to an annoying level. Not enough sleep and your health and stamina is at 75% effect (no lower). Not enough food and your skills are at 75% effect (no lower). Summon food, use a skill to harvest monster parts to safely prepare/eat monster parts, or thieving to find hidden stashes.

    No Lockpick minigames. Skill just determines speed (picking is in real time) and chance of success.
     
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  23. Metro Arcane Beg Auditor

    Metro
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    In light of the above I feel the urge to say: don't overextend yourself with a bajillion 'utility' spells just for the sake of having them. If your game doesn't make that much use of 3D space then there is no need for 90% of the spells people have suggested.
     
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  24. V_K Arcane

    V_K
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    If your 3D dungeon crawler doesn't make use of 3D space, you should rethink your level design. And then add a bajillion utility spells. :cool:
    Earlier TES (Daggerfall, Morrowind), M&M6-8, UUW.
     
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  25. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    Might be worth having a spell that creates a sound at target location, to distract enemies. Perhaps even on a delay.
     
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