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KickStarter Black Geyser, a brand-new RTwP RPG - now in BETA

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by GreenMagicSpell, Apr 27, 2015.

  1. roshan Arcane

    roshan
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    I see that you've taken the advice regarding renaming the "put quietly" skill. :)

    On your front page "Magical Spells" should be a clickable link leading to the detailed descriptions of the spells schools that are available elsewhere.
    http://www.blackgeyser.com/game-spells

    Your pages regarding the races read like a load of gibberish, there's lot's of names that no one would care about. Before dumping those names on the player, it's better to explain how the world originated, what the metaphysics of it are (where do gods/magic etc come from), what are the major deities, what are the cultural regions and major kingdoms, what are the core conflicts, what's the gist of the history. Until you do this, it's better to introduce the races as mechanical concepts, what bonuses do they get, what makes playing as a rillow or fjeldegug unique? How will this affect the game and how does this come into play in combat?

    Oh and another thing, the writing is also terrible because most of the conclusions are basically non sequiturs, one aspect of the story does not logically follow from the other. For example:

    Why did the rillows have fun all the time in taverns and caves? Why did they use narcotics?

    Why could only the rillows brew the potion?

    Why did this release of magic make the rillows immune to narcotics?

    Why did the archmages defy Zida Suda? Why did he respond by destroying the cities? What's this all about?

    The rillow origin story is utterly terrible because it keeps jumping from one thing to another, none of which have any logical connection. To make a story interesting and for people to relate to it, there has to at least be a logic to it, a natural progression, and preferably something to make it human or relatable. Right now it sounds like random shit anyone could have pulled out of their ass, and no, I am not spewing "bullshit lies", just unfortunate truths. I think Vault Dweller has already pointed out similar issues with the fjeldegug story.

    TLDR: introduce the game world in a logical fashion, emphasize mechanical aspect of the races, completely rewrite origin stories so that they make some sense.
     
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  2. GreenMagicSpell Educated

    GreenMagicSpell
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    You may have a point there, so I don't get why you're trolling with other parts :) Your why-why-why questions (why fun, why brew, why made them immune...) make no sense, because an infinite number of such questions could be asked for any game at any time. There are no irrelevant connections, just unexplained parts -- that's also what storytelling is about: raising curiousness. Some parts can be implicitly inferred IMO (I didn't write the story but it's pretty obvious): a magic collapse may have all sorts of crazy effects. Stories make people use their imagination.

    I agree they need a better writer, but that's mostly about style, not content or logical fallacies. Some texts probably need a better cohesion. But most of your "why" questions sound like you expect the player to be a 5-year old child.

    For example:
    Why do you read this text now? Why are you visiting RPG Codex? Your answer (as an example): "I loved RPGs from childhood so I played a lot of games". Why did you love RPGs as a child? "Because I got a computer and an RPG was the first game I played". Why? "Because daddy heard computers were cool, so he wanted to gift me with one". Where did he hear it? Etc. Etc. Etc. Childish.

    Nonetheless, the Rillow text could see some clean-up indeed, but definitely not because it doesn't explain everything to 5-year old children, instead it goes too deeply to backstories IMO.

    EDIT: the rest of your post is helpful, I took notes.
     
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  3. Grokalibre Savant

    Grokalibre
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    Whether you're an official representative or not, you're currently their representative here. Your not being paid for that changes nothing.
    If you're too emotionnally invested to be able to cope with the harshest sort of feedbacks without losing your cool I fear how this thread will go in a near future. And while I don't doubt you only have the best intents, your reactions to some posts may hurt the game you're trying to promote.

    Personnally I feel like you want to have your cake & eat it too by doing a rep job while using the "I'm no official dude" card as some sort of license to call names freely.
     
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  4. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    Just be strategic. As long as you're on the Codex you'll get your share of shit flown your way. Now, do you want the thread about the game to be dominated by the shit? Or the good bits? Then you know what to focus on and what to ignore.

    Anyway, not much to add, I think we've covered all the big stuff available on the website at this point.

    They don't need to produce a site or KS pitch that exhaustively covers every detail and answers every question VD lists. You should take it more as an indication that there's a lot of stuff in there that's currently unclear. SOmetimes the solution is to give more detail; sometimes the solution is to write just as little, but change what is there. (For example, you see this disconnect when the team is apparently wondering whether Geyser and Greed are competing as the two foci. Geyser is not a foci, because nobody knows after a quick glance what the hell the Black Geyser is and why the Geyser will crush you. They do with Greed.)
     
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  5. GreenMagicSpell Educated

    GreenMagicSpell
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    The devs just clarified to me that a World section was planned, and they just didn't have the time before to add it. So hopefully it will be up within a few days.
     
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  6. roshan Arcane

    roshan
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    You see here is the problem. Kids can take things for granted, "that's just the way it is" may work for a 5 year old but you can't expect an adult audience to buy that. Those origin stories sound like the sort of thing I would have come up with when I was ten or twelve. And you should keep in mind that fans of games like Baldur's Gate are now 17 years older than they were in 1998. And, since your friends have their time, money and possibly even their futures invested in this project, you and your friends also can't take it for granted that this sort of very loose, dodgy and illogical approach to storytelling will fly. You have to be able to demonstrate capability, realism and maturity, because you are asking people for cash upfront for a product that does not exist yet. You have very little margin for error, so harsh but down to earth criticism is your best friend. To dismiss it as "trolling" would be a mistake.
     
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  7. GreenMagicSpell Educated

    GreenMagicSpell
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    I think some parts looked like trolling, but maybe they will think differently. I attached a few URLs as well to the summary I sent them.
     
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  8. Mustawd Arcane

    Mustawd
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    Why don't the devs post here directly? The way you talk about them makes it sound like they're in a far away place with no internet access. I can appreciate being a fanboy of their product so far, but it's just plain weird that they're not the ones promoting their own game. Instead, they leave it to some random fan to try and introduce it to the world.

    That's fine if that's what they want to do. Not sure if it's the most effective way to approach this though. I mean some of your responses have made the game look worse, not better. Your response to roshan's post about the structure of the story and the stand is a perfect example. No one who knows proper English well could defend those snippets with.a straight face. The structure is absolutely al over the place. Yet you see nothing wrong with it. It just makes me question the devs' judgment if they're entrusting you to respond to the community as a whole.

    Which is unfortunate because I agree with others that the screenshot is lovely; as are the portraits. But some of the aspects of the website just scream "amateur hour". So my feedback is:

    1. Someone from the dev studio should take the lead on responding to community feedback. Look at the Serpent in the Staglands thread for a great example by Whalenought Joe.


    2. Think about what you want to say with future posts and content on the website. Everything should have a specific and well thought out reason for being made public. Look at&t her successful kick starters for an example.

    3. Get an editor and/or writer.what you had so far is bad; like, very bad. You need to get someone who knows what they're doing to help develop the backstory or make edits to better communicate what you're trying to say

    4. Limit your scope. No one says it has to be on all platforms at once. Develop for something big; like the PC, and move on to Mac, Linux, etc. whenever your game ships and enough interest builds. Using resources to do everything will only make things unnecessarily difficult and will strain resources.
     
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  9. Abelian Somebody's Alt

    Abelian
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    The in-game screenshot's style reminds me of Cossacks (a good thing).

    Isilmerald sounds like a portmanteau of "silmaril" and "emerald".

    The "Count me in, but with Paypal" is the odd-man out in the poll, since it can skew the average pledge projection (ex. one quarter of the backers choose the Paypal option, which can range from $1 to $100+).

    In the FAQ section: "What is the origin of the name "Yerengal"? It comes from the expression Yer-En-Gal, which means "World of worlds"". I'm no linguist, but in my experice a word and its plural have a similar root in natural languages. I would expect something like "Yer-En-Yeren" or "Gal-En-Galys" (these are silly examples). Maybe it would be easier to change "worlds" to another word: "world of worlds" sounds a little meta.

    This is a minor nitpick, but the world map looks similar to Arnon and Gondor in Middle Earth, Faerûn's Sword Coast, Warcraft 1-2, etc. This is a common thing in fantasy maps, but it doesn't help the game stand out either.
     
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  10. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    So much this. For freelance translating, I take the industry standard of around 10 cents per word, though depending on the project I'd go down to 5, but that'd be the lowest rate I'd work for. Nobody who's at least moderately competent would work for less. That quickly adds up when you have a lot of dialogue and descriptions. That rapidly adds up when you have that many languages. I mean, holy fuck. A full fledged RPG has, what, at least 100k words? The very, very cheapest they could get would be 5k per language, then, if they get cheap translators and have only 100k words.

    The VERY cheapest (and I mean very, 5 cents per word is bottom of the line freelancer without agency who is desperate for a job, big agencies can go up to 20 cents a word, 10 per word is a good price for an indie to pay if they want a solid quality translation from a reliable freelancer) they could get with that many languages would be around 30.000 euros.

    That's as much as some kickstarters ask for the total game. And that would be if ALL the translators would be the cheapest freelancers they can find, which would inevitably lead to some languages getting a Russian shovelware quality level translation. Yeah, this isn't going to work. At most, a translation to German might be a good idea because Germany is a big market, but again - it would be expensive.

    If the devs were to hire me as a freelance translator for the German version of the game, I'd ask for a standard rate of 10 cents per word, while I could go lower for simple texts such as item names and interface tooltips, but no lower than 7 cents per word. That is the cheapest you can get for a quality translation, really. Any cheaper and the translator is probably shit.

    So, honestly, cut down on the amount of languages you want to release the game in, or make translations into stretch goals. Big stretch goals, because quality translations are expensive. Heck, even shitty Russian shovelware quality translations are expensive for an indie.
     
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  11. Perkel Arcane

    Perkel
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    There will be stretch goals for some of those languages judging by page
     
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  12. ArchAngel Arcane

    ArchAngel
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    Stretch goals for languages are proven to not attract people to give more money.
     
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  13. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Angthoron
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    It can be bundled with some other cool-seeming shit that's easy to implement.
     
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  14. Lucky Arcane

    Lucky
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    10 cents is pretty generous of you. I’d ask around 15 or maybe even 17 cent per word, myself. Games can be a real pain to translate as a freelancer, because of the mishmash of different text styles you get and they just expect you to do all of them perfectly. First a technical tutorial and now we switch to purple prose exposition. Then some poetry. Oh, you want me to translate the EULA too? Greeeaaatt. An agency would just put a specialised translator on that, no such luck as a freelancer. Better hope you know someone with a legal background!

    Agency’s are probably best suited to the needs of game developers. They’ve got actual consumer support and can work on multiple parts at the same time, so the translation can come out soon after the game’s launch, when people are still interested in it. Though, like you say, they’re quite a bit more expensive than freelancers.



    If they do, they should go with JarlFrank’s suggestion and have it translated to German. It’s relatively similar to English, so you’d be able to get a better translation for a lower price. And RPGs tend to do well on the German market.

    Just to reinforce the point, though. They should make it an appropriately expensive stretch-goal. You really don’t want to go lower than a 10 cent per word translator. At 5 cents per word you’ll get someone who throws your text into Google Translate and then edits it a bit. Serviceable, but painful to read.



    Annoying, but true. The value of a good translation is something you only notice when you don’t have it. It doesn’t make for a very flashy stretch-goal.
     
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  15. Hey, you forgot to tell him about my music, so I'll act like a sad asshole until you do.
    Just kidding, bro. :lol:
     
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  16. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Oh, yeah, right. If you need music for the game, GreenMagicSpell , hire zwanzig_zwoelf, he's a good game composer! And he's distantly related to me so you know his shit has to be good.
     
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  17. Zorba the Hutt Arcane Weasel

    Zorba the Hutt
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    Perhaps they just have monocled tastes

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Angthoron
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    I dunno, name isn't striking me as particularly terrible. Sure, you can make some terrible puns with it (too easy, bah), but it's not really worse than, say, Bald Uhr's Gay or Planet Escape: Tournament.

    What is a bit more disturbing is that it has a subtitle. Don't have a subtitle on your first game unless it's a part of an established franchise. Black Geyser: The Courier. Why? Just make it Black Geyser. If the game takes off, give that a subtitle, or just slap on "2" and be done with it. I get that it's probably going to be a "trilogy", or maybe even a "saga", but seriously, it's just pointless and unwieldy at this point, and it's everything that's being mocked time and again about game naming conventions. Keep it simple. Like, Fallout was called Fallout, and not Fallout: Waterchip Down.

    Regarding the writing, VD has some good points, and others weigh in with good points as well. They're not trolling. If you want to see what trolling a dev is like, go to MMOs subforum and check out Greed Monger thread. Curiously enough, the dude responds in a way that takes the wind out of troll/flaming very very quickly - if you will ever consider doing more online PR, maybe even for a living, I recommend having a look.

    And cheers on changing the Put Silently skill name. Much better already.
     
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  19. To be fair, I had no opinion on whether your friends' project was actually a scam, I was just giving you a hard time. That being said, self-righteousness and indignation aren't proof of anything. If you're still feeling butthurt about the accusation, my friends are developing an ointment specifically designed for butt-related pains. If you pledge twenty dollars or more to their Kickstarter campaign, you will get a bottle of the ointment FREE! Here's some concept art from their website if it helps:
    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]


    In case you still can't tell, I'm joking with you :D

    In all seriousness, though, you are getting some really valuable advice here from some passionate and talented RPG gamers and developers. It's definitely worth taking notes (and it seems that you are). I have to say that some of the names feel sort of contrived, while others feel like they may be unintentionally cheesy. If the "crushmaster" is meant to evoke grins and laughs, then it's doing its job very well. If it was meant to be a more serious title, then something like "brute" may have been more appropriate. Mixing standard fantasy fare with off-the-wall crazy can seem a bit forced like in the race names. A lot of the location names seem problematic. The easiest way to explain it is to say that many of the names of locations, gods, etc. seem like names that I or anyone else could and would make up on the spot, and they somewhat lack consistency. It can be difficult to create a strong fantasy language, which is often accomplished by basing the language on real-world languages and their earlier forms and doing everything possible to remain consistent. I imagine that resources are too limited to go all out for something like the language (you probably can't afford to hire Josh Sawyer ;)), but it is an important aspect of the project.

    Well, maybe I'm being overly polite at this point. Listen, a game doesn't have to be perfect at everything it does to be good, but this project does have some serious issues. One of those issues, in my eyes, is the writing. The loredumps on the website range from amateurish to almost cringeworthy. As others have said, some of the writing could have been done by a 12 year old. While it does sound insulting, it's an honest critique which they would do well to consider. It's important to remember that if we react to the writing in this way, then others will too. This is fine for now, but if you don't plan on hiring a better/more professional writer, then your success may suffer for it. If the lore, names of characters and areas, in-game descriptions and dialogues all suffer from poor writing, then the game will be poorly received. If the writing on the Kickstarter page appears overly unprofessional or amateurish to people, then they will be hesitant to back the project.

    Bits like thieves being able to plant items on people are cool and promising. Overall, there are some interesting ideas there and I wish you (and your friends) the best of luck.
     
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  20. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    For a fantasy writer, 'why?' is the most important and helpful question because it helps him/her avoid writing silly things like:

    So a race whose most distinctive feature is "hunger for joy" (hipsters?). That alone sounds retarded but it gets worse. The filthy hipsters don't have jobs but somehow they party all the time in taverns because they have that hunger for joy thing and I guess money grows on tree in Yerengal. However, the society accepted them (how tolerant of them) because the hipsters had a special skill (all of them!). They knew how to make iphones, er, I mean, dur-dur potion which could cure deadly diseases and male baldness.

    - hunger for joy is an awful fucking description
    - NONE of them - not a single fucking winged hipster - had a job (is there anyone on this team of pros and experts who's older than 12? A wise 14 year old perhaps who has the maturity level of a 16 year old, perhaps?
    - even though the fucking hipsters didn't have jobs, they partied all the time, snorting powder.
    - but they had a special skill!

    So not one of the winged imbeciles wanted to quit doing drugs all the fucking time and maybe open up an alchemy store, selling the dur-dur potions to people?

    Here is my advice: when writing fantasies find some historical parallels. For example, the gipsies - they are travelers resisting attempts to settle down, kinda existing outside of the 'civilized' society. They're good at tinkering (a special skill!) and can find odd jobs here and there. Since they survive on their own, they have a wide set of living off the land skills (including taking advantage of the gullible). They aren't all alike (no race is) and many settled down, yet the majority is sticking with their tradition (probably due to their upbringing).

    So back to your rillows, while you don't have to explain everything, you have to paint a proper picture. Reading that paragraph creates a lot of questions (and not of the "I want to play the game to find out!" variety).

    First and foremost, are they the nation of drug addicts? Do they just brew these potions, sell a batch, then hit the taverns? Is the potion's recipe a secret carefully guarded by the fun-loving drug addicts and not a single addict ever sold it for a few fantasy bucks? Or only rillows can make it, stirring it with their dicks? Not a single fucking rillow has a job? Why? Allergic to non-fun?

    It just doesn't sound even remotely plausible overall.
     
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  21. Whiran Magister

    Whiran
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    Yes you are.

    It doesn't matter what you think. The reality is that you are their official representative.

    Don't care.

    And you will lose your project potential customers.

    Way to spread the word.

    Seriously, think about what you're writing before you write it. You aren't writing for the person you are responding to. You are writing to the people who are lurking and reading. The way that you come across will influence people's purchasing decisions. You will gain and lose potential customers based 100% on what you are writing and how you are writing it.

    If you don't understand why the WHY of everything is really important in an RPG then you shouldn't be representing one. The why of everything indicates how well developed the world is. The more detail to how the world operates the better the sense of immersion when playing the game. When things just do not make sense or were put somewhere just because that detracts from the experience of the game.

    If you cannot answer a, "Why is X doing this?" then that means there was no thought put into it. That also means that the quality of the game is low.
     
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  22. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Angthoron
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    Here's how it actually went down:

    Rillows were a nation that relied on growing poppy flowers, processing them and selling drugs to neighbour nations. Eventually, Rillows discovered the secret of boiling krokodil dum-dum potion that got people so high they might as well have wings, which is how Rillows got their current moniker. With the money they made with drugs, Rillows partied at the taverns and picked up broads at the rave caves, habits embraced by the populace due to heavy reliance on hired goons crushmaster mercenaries. One day they got the son of the local viziercomrade addicted, and before they knew it, it was the end for their party-having, drug-vendoring days. Today, Winged Rillows spend their days hooked on krokodil imbibing their own potions and gradually growing uglier for it. Because they're usually high wherever they go, they're still called Winger Rillows, reminding everyone around them that drugs are bad but their effects are pretty fascinating.
     
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  23. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    This.

    :lol:
     
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  24. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    There is a good reason for this actually. Content stretch goals make the game better if they are reached (well, at least they should), but you can still play the game you backed if they are not. On the other hand, extra platform or language are much riskier :
    If you back the game, but it doesn't reach the stretch goal, you can end with a game you cannot play (otherwise, if you are ok with playing in English, why would you care for the translation in the first place? Same for extra platforms), so there is very little incentive for the players most concerned about these goals to pledge anything before they are reached.

    Concerning the platforms, getting exposure on iOS certainly is a very tough task, and getting them to pledge on KS, an almost impossible one. I would only focus on PC (Windows, Mac, Linux), and then later port to iOS if the game is successful (and only to iPad).
    If the game tanks on PC, the iOS release will do even worse.
     
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  25. vonAchdorf Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    vonAchdorf
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    (Part of) the development team should know that, because they have released a free(mium) RPG'ish title on Android which has less than 10k downloads since it's release in August 2015 and I bet that the conversion and player engagement rates are really low – not because it's a bad game, I don't know that, but because from looks and the description ("difficult") it also caters to a niche, even though the premise sounds fun.
     
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