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3D ACTION GAMES

This section of my web page deals with 3D action game shooters. I briefly go over their history and date of release and tell you about my experiences with that particular game. My current favorite is Counter Strike which I enjoy a lot even though it can be frustrating from time to time due to sometimes having a disparity between the different skill levels of players.

Select a game from the list below to read about one of these games and a brief history of the game:

1)    Wolfenstein 3D

2)    Doom

3)    Doom2

4)    Duke Nukem 3D

5)    Quake

6)    Quake 2

7)     Counter Strike

8)    3D Game Links



Wolfenstein 3D

This game is essentially a re-write of Castle Wolfenstein from Muse Software. I can remember playing the original Castle Wolfenstein on my Atari  800XL and it was one of the few games that had voice synthesis. You basically had 2 controls. One for the gun and one to move around the castle. You were a solider stuck in an underground castle trying to work your way of before the Germans soldiers could realize that you have escaped your jail cell.  I used to have a lot of fun with this game but I never did get out of the castle.

When Muse Software went out of business, the copyright to the game expired. ID Software then purchased the rights to redo the game. Created by ID Software and distributed to Apogee Software back in 1992, this game was unlike any other game when it was released and was a harbor of just where the computer games industry was going to be headed next.

This game was not without controversy. Although the game depicts the player shooting at Nazi soldiers and has some symbols of Nazi Germany all done in a cartoonish sort of way, these types of images are banned in Germany. Germany really wants to clean up their act and not allow something similar to occur like what happened with Nazi Germany. ID Software had to redo the game and change the images in order to sell the game in Germany. This was the first time that a company had to rewrite a program due to the sensitivities of another nation. If you don't believe this, take a look at 3D Realms site. The URL for the section with Wolfenstein 3-D is:

http://www.3drealms.com/wolf3d/

Those of you who might have Doom2 should check out WolfenDoom . This is a cool conversation where you can use the Doom 2 engine and have Wolfenstein 3d Environments. Some of you might not be aware but there are 2 secret levels in Doom2 where the graphics were done in a Wolfenstein 3D type fashion. The WolfenDoom site carries this concept even further with whole new scenarios that were not part of the original Wolfenstein 3D. It even includes remakes of the original missions as well as a remake of "Spear of Destiny" which was a sequel to Wolfenstein 3D. These new scenarios are available in both a Mac and PC version.

In addition, I remember receiving from Apogee a version of Wolfenstein 3D called Super Wolfenstein. The game mechanics were the same but it came with a program that could create Wolfenstein 3D boards in an instant. So one you got tired of playing with the original boards that come with the game, you could create use the new program to created random boards to play on. This keeps the game fresh and interesting.

Later on this year there is supposed to be a follow up to Wolfenstein 3D called "Return to Castle Wolfenstein" which is supposed to be based on the Quake 3 engine. I can't wait for this one to be released. There are supposed to be both a single player option and a multi player option over the Internet and there are various missions with different objectives in the game. I have seen some of the graphics that the game is going to have and it looks spectacular so far. I hope that the game play is also as equally well done as the graphics are going to be.

Doom

Doom was one of the greatest success stories of the shareware concept. Id Software sold the game as a shareware package where the first episode was free. You could play it as much as you wanted and without worrying about it expiring on you but if you wanted to play the rest of the scenarios, you had to pay for the remainder of the game. Since the game left you hanging story wise at the end, it did create an incentive to go out and buy the reminder of the game. That is not to say the Wolfenstein 3D did not have a similar marketing ploy but with DOOM, you had the ability to create your own custom boards but it required the non-shareware version of it in order to so/ Wolfenstein 3D did not require the updated version to create custom boards.

Another advantage that Doom had over Wolfenstein 3D was the dynamic lighting. In Wolfenstein 3D, every room was well lit and there was nothing that was hidden from you. In DOOM, some sections of the map were purposely not well light at all to create an element of danger. In addition, it was possible to create effects with the floors like floors that would lower themselves. Eventually Doom would end up with a feature that supported multi-player play over a LAN or through a modem that Wolfenstein 3D never did.


Doom did have some drawbacks. It required at least 4 megabytes of RAM on a computer as a bare minimum to run it. Wolfenstein 3D required only 640k of which I think 560K had to be free. At the time I had a 4 megabyte RAM computer
so I  had to create a boot disk in order to be able to run the game. I did not have any such requirement with Wolfenstein 3D but DOOM was a much better game.

It was also fun creating custom boards for DOOM. I found a program that allowed someone to create their own maps and I created several of them and I still play them from time to time.

Of course there are problems with some of the controversial images that are presented in DOOM. DOOM did deal with the fact that the player was a space marine and some demons had managed to escape from hell and if was your mission to stop them. And there are other issues with people unable to distinguish between a game which is what DOOM is and reality but that is an area that is best left to psychologists and not for someone like myself to comment on.

Doom 2
The follow up to the successful shareware version of the first DOOM, ID decided to take a different path when this was released. DOOM 2 was strictly released as a commercial product. There was no shareware version of DOOM2 as there was with the first DOOM.   In addition, there was 30 plus boards that were all part of one cohesive story. The original DOOM being shareware had three episodes with the first episode being shareware. You had to buy the commercial version in order to obtain the two other episodes. But with the release of DOOM2, they decided to keep it strickly commercial.

As for the game itself, there were some additional bad guys thrown in and a new double barrel shotgun added to the game. The guy itself required a more powerful machine than the first DOOM did. There was a bit of backlash when people who could play DOOM on their machine tried playing DOOM2 and it started to play sluggishly. The ending also was quite different in that you got to face the ultimate baddie, John Romero's head . John Romero was one of the programmers for ID. That was a nice touch although at the end of the game, it tended to cause Z_malloc errors on my machine because there were too many monsters in the game and my machine could not keep up with all the AI that had to be created for the number of monsters onscreen. I think they should have placed a limitation to the number of monsters that could be on screen at any time.

There were some nice touches that I was not expecting. One of those touches were the 2 hidden boards. You got to see the DOOM2 version of Wolfenstein 3-D and even Billy Blaze from Commander Keen made a cameo appearance (although not in a good way). Actually there is now a version of DOOM2 boards that strictly take away the fantasy element of DOOM2 and play Wolfenstein 3D environments with the DOOM2 engine. If you want to see it, visit the WolfenDOOM site at:

http://www.doomworld.com/wolfendoom/index2.html



Duke Nukem 3D

Review coming soon.

Quake

Review coming soon.

 

Quake 2

Quake2 is the sequel to the computer game Quake released by ID Software , the same company who brought us Wolfenstein 3-D and DOOM .

By far one of the most popular of the 3-D world simulators, this program housed some of the most awesome graphics for a 3-D shooter at the time of its release. With all types of features like different weapons enhancements, different player skins for multi-player mode (both serious as well as funny skins) and the ability to do custom board design, it truly is a lot of fun to explore this simulated world. Very often, you will be able to download these custom boards as you enter a room so that you don't have to spend extra time searching for the custom board just to play on it. You just need to set the Multi-player option set up from within the Quake2 program to automatically download the different elements of the custom board.

Before you can begin playing Quake2, you will need to download the latest version, 3.20.  On ID software's site, you will see several files for Quake2. The first file is 5 megabytes and only updates the game itself. The second file is 13 megabytes and updates both the game as well as providing the basic multi-player boards that most players use. The third file is 19 megabytes and includes the same files as the multi-player boards but also include the "Capture the flag" boards.  There are also 2 add on missions, Arena and Xatrix that can be downloaded as well. You will need at least to download the 13 megabyte file in order to play deathmatch. The files for "Capture the flag" are optional since not as many players play that version.

I especially like playing against other players in real time. It is this sort of kill or be killed atmosphere that adds an element of danger to the game and keeps you on your toes at all times. For those of you new to Quake, this method of playing other players on the Net in real time is called "deathmatch". Granted you do get the occasional jerk who reminds you constantly how much better they are then you (people remember that this is a game, first and foremost) but for the most part, you only get some slight taunting or teasing. And the taunting itself tends to be quite humorous at times (for example a player might say something like Ouch! that must have hurt when they shoot you down) .

Basically players collect different weapons and try to use these very same weapons to take out the other player's character before they themselves are taken out. Each time you are successful in defeating another player, the program adds a "frag" to your count. Games can be played with a set time limit or a set limit of frags (first player to reach that number of frags wins) or the person running the server can leave the option to perpetual so that players can just keep going and going and going ( hey?! How did the energizer bunny get in here? :) ) for as long as they want.

If you prefer not having to play against other players and having to kill them, there is an option to play in cooperative mode. In this mode, game players work towards a common goal which they are presented with at the start of the board (press F1 on your keyboard to get mission details and how far along your team is towards obtaining those objectives) and players try not to shoot each other as though they were part of a real team of Marines trying to get into enemy lines. This tends to be a great deal of fun because players can get to be social for a change instead of being combative and this allow players who are just getting started with Quake2 not to get discouraged when they are playing since players of all skill levels are usually welcome in cooperative mode.

In addition, you can use the cheat codes in cooperative mode which you can not do in deathmatch (Cheat codes can be used in deathmatch mode too but the person running the server must run the server with the "set cheats 1" option when they start the board and I have yet to see anyone do this when running deathmatch. This makes sense since if cheat codes are set, then someone can play in god mode and thus never get killed so no one will get frags. That would defeat the purpose of deathmatch mode) .  Be careful though when using cheat codes. Some players running the server want players to actually play in cooperative mode without the cheat codes and will kick you off if you use the cheat codes. Better to ask first when you enter a room if it is ok to use cheat codes. Most of the time they will say yes just as long as you don't use the god mode to shoot other players on purpose. If you do, you will get booted out without warning for sure. No one wants to play with a player who is a back stabber.

There is also another variation of Quake called "Capture the Flag". If you have ever gone on a weekend excursion to play Paint Ball, you will get the general idea. Players start on one of two teams and must select which team they will be on at the start of the round. The program will not allow one team to have all the players. If one team has one more player than the other, the next player to join must join with the team that is short handed. That means that at most, one of the teams will have only a one player advantage.

The teams get assigned a color of either red or blue and when players see other players, their skin is colored either red or blue to match the team color. This way you can tell which players are on your side and which players belong to the enemy side. The game is played with a set time limit  and teams get points added depending on how long they can hold onto the other team's flag as long as they return the flag to their own home base. You need to make sure that your own flag has not been captured when you return the other team's flag in order to obtain points for your team. Your team also gains points if you manage to take out a player from the other team. I am not sure but I think your team can lose points if you manage to shoot down your own time.

If after the time limit is reached and the score is tied, there is a sudden death time limit where play keeps going and players who are killed are eliminated and the team with the last player standing wins. New players have to wait until a game ends before they are allowed to join and then they can join one of the teams in the next game.

You still have to be careful though. Just like in Paint Ball, you can shoot a player on your team and they will suffer the consequences. Players must try to get to the other teams territory and steal the other team's flag and return the enemy flag to their team's home base. It creates an element of strategy since you have to consider whether to charge after the enemy flag with guns blazing as a group or maybe have only a small raiding party consisting of your team's best players and the other players are left behind at the home base to guard their team's flag from enemy invaders.

There are 2 other variations that I am aware of.

1) One such variation is called "Catch the chicken". Basically there is a chicken generated by the program which a player can pick up. Once the player picks up the chicken, a clock begins ticking. The longer a player holds the chicken, the more points they accumulate. The other players can not harm other players that do not have the chicken in this mode so for those who want to have some fun without playing deathmatch, you only have to worry about shooting the player who has the chicken. Don't start shooting players without the chicken or you will get booted. This happened to me the first time since I was not aware of the rules and shot anyone in site. You will see that player's character holding the chicken in their arms as they move.

The player holding the chicken can not shoot while holding the chicken so they have to run when they see other players.  If the player is in trouble, they can throw the chicken away but then they are not gaining any more points once they release the chicken. Usually you throw the chicken away if you know you are going to get killed since getting killed loses any weapons that you might have gained prior to catching the chicken.

Recently a new variation of "Catch the Chicken" was added with players working as a team. There are four teams with different colors. When one of the players on your team picks up the chicken, the other players gets their weapon replaced by an egg launcher. The egg launcher itself does not hurt other players but it does push them away. It could be used to push a player off an edge, or into either acid or lava if you are playing on a board with either one of those hazards.

One interesting thing about this variation is the chicken will drop feathers as the player moves so it leads a small trail for the players to follow when they are chasing after the player with the chicken.

2)    The other variation is the "Saint" variation. Instead of a chicken, there is a halo that gets generated. The person with the halo becomes the Saint. The Saint variation unlike the chicken variation does not have the player lose the ability to shoot other players. Instead, the player who is the Saint gains some health points and thus is much harder to kill. Players gain points for killing the Saint as well as gain points as the Saint when they kill their pursuers. The program will also automatically generate messages to the other players to let them know who the Saint is and instructs them to kill that player while the Saint will get a message to let that person know that they are the Saint.

The player who is the Saint will actually see a little halo just in front of them as they move. This variation does not seem to be as popular as the "Chase the chicken" variation though. Maybe because once a really good player becomes the Saint, it is hard for the lesser players to kill them without making a pact with the other players to gang up on the Saint.
 
 

  How I started playing Quake2

I first started playing Quake2 quite by accident. I was logging onto the Internet Gaming Zone to play some cribbage and watch a few chess matches played by the better chess players. I was kind of tired from work and cribbage is a nice way to relax since the game is more social. Chess can also be social at times but with people constantly obsessed with not losing any rating points, it can be a dog eat dog world.  As I was downloading some of the patches necessary to play on the Internet Gaming Zone (I hadn't logged in to the zone for about a year) , I started scrolling on the main web page to see what changes had occurred since the last time that I had played on the zone.

As I started scrolling to see what new games had been added since the last time that I had played on the zone, low and behold there was Quake2 listed as one of the choices. I had recently attended a computer show in Miami about three weeks prior to logging onto the zone and brought quite a few cool games for my new computer like Diablo, Hexen2 and Quake2 of course among the many games that I purchased. I wanted to buy some new games for my new computer since my old computer limited me in the choice of games that I could buy because of it's lack of power and speed.

I had already solved Diablo (cool game by the way and I recommend getting it but the ending is too hard I think and a bit of a disappointment) and I thought that I was going to like Hexen2 more so that Quake2. Hexen2 uses the same 3-D rendering engine as Quake does and since I remembered the Quake 1 demo that I had played a few years back, I didn't think that Quake2 was going to be as much fun as Hexen2 was going to be. Funny how things turned out. Hexen2 just mostly sits on my shelf now while Quake2 is played day after day after day.

That is not to say that Hexen2 isn't a fun game but Quake2 is even more fun. I especially like getting some of the really cool skins for deathmatch. I have so many of them to choose from (500 plus currently, too many of them for me to keep track of the exact number that I have) that I have a choice of which skins to use when I play in deathmatch mode. I can choose some of the playful ones like Homer Simpson ( multiple Homer Simpsons at that) when I am feeling friendly and various other cartoon characters (my favorite being Supergirl) or I can chose some of the more serious players skins when I plan to do some serious fragging (This one tends to be either Darth Vader or a really well done Marine that someone created) .

There are even some player skins that are just that - SKINS only! The player skin is a female in different states of undress. For you ladies out there, I am sure that there are male nude skins around also but so far I have not run into any of them (and I am not interested in searching for them either) . If you are interested in obtaining player skins to use for deathmatch, I recommend the following sites:

http://www.telefragged.com

http://www.planetquake.com

For those males who think only guys play Quake2, you are going to be receiving a very rude awakening once you start playing since there are female players that actually play Quake2 just as well as the guys and some are even better. So don't think that just cause they might be the "fairer" sex that they are going to be pushovers. You have been warned.

  Clans

Clans are essentially a group of players who form a particular group. Generally, players will have some sort of naming scheme to identify they are part of a particular clan.

Players usually have to try out for a clan and hope that they are good enough to join. You generally play against either one specific member who originated the clan and if you are able to frag them more than they did you or at least remain close, you get invited into the clan. I have tried to join several clans on the Internet Gaming Zone just to see what it might be like to be a member of some of the more exclusive clubs. So far, I have only been good enough to join one clan (barely made it at that) .

Being part of a clan allows people to brag how good the players on their clan are and how exclusive their clan is since they only accept the best of the best. It is also fun to receive a player skin specifically for that clan and then to battle against other clans with their own skins for even more bragging rights.

Some clans have some very friendly people and are more social and don't really care about how good your play skills are while some are so exclusive that they will kick you out of their game if you try to join it and are not yet a member. Most of the Quake clans lie somewhere in the middle as far as tolerance goes for non-clan members.

  To mouse or not to mouse

This is probably the hardest decision you are going to have to make when it comes to playing Quake2. For just about every computer / console game that I have ever played in my life, I have had to use a joystick controller of some kind to play a game. From the old Atari 2600 style joysticks, to Gamepads for the Sega Master System / Sega Genesis, to the Sony Playstation, to the Gravis Gamepad for PCs, I have used just about every type of common joystick controller to play a game.

Imagine my surprise when I started reading some tips on playing Quake2 that the best choice of controller is a mouse. I couldn't believe that when I first read it. A mouse? To play an action style game? I found that hard to believe. I know that a mouse is great for pointing and clicking and makes graphic work easier by being able to move images on a screen. But I was not prepared to consider it as a device for playing action style games.

Sure you can use the mouse to play Solitaire and other similar games but when it came down to some serious gaming, I figured you had to use a joystick controller. When I first started playing Quake2, I was using a Gravis Gamepad with 4 buttons. I figured since it worked so well with Duke Nukem 3-D that it would work equally as well with Quake 2. It worked ok but it really presented a problem in that Quake2 puts a premium on the ability to jump, strafe (moving side to side without having to turn) , ducking (not as much as jumping but it has some strategic points depending on the board that you are on) and the ability to look up or down in the simulated 3-D world. You also need the ability to change weapons quickly from time to time.  With all these required abilities necessary to play Quake2 well, I was going to need another controller than just the 4 buttons that came with the Gravis Gamepad.

So I went to CompUSA to check out some of the joystick controllers that were available.  I had asked someone on the zone prior to leaving for CompUSA which joystick works best with Quake2 and someone had mentioned the Sidewinder Pro. I went to check it out when I arrived at CompUSA but I thought that it was a bit too flimsy and perhaps likely to break under grueling conditions which I was most likely going to place it through. I also didn't like the buttons. They seemed to be a bit low and after getting a good deal of use which I was expecting, they would no longer work. At least, that is the impression I obtained after playing with the store model.

Instead I chose the Gravis Xterminator Digital Gamepad and it has been very good choice for Quake2. It has separate buttons for strafe along the top of the controller along with a separate wheel that mimics the mouse. The controller is programmable and has a hot switch button so that the buttons (6 main buttons, a hot switch, a third button plus two buttons on the handle)   can be toggled to do one thing with one setting and do something else completely different with the other setting at the push of the hot switch button.

I can basically do all the common tasks required in Quake2 that I could on the keyboard without ever having to actually use the keyboard itself. The controller can be hooked up to either the game port on your sound card or it has the ability to be hooked up as a USB device. It works with both the PC and Mac and the program that comes with it on CD has pre-built settings for 48 of the most popular games including Quake2 so that you can start right away without having sit down and program it. Thus you can start playing with the controller right out of the box.

Despite the coolness of the controller, I still have to grudgingly say that the mouse is the best choice of controller for Quake2. While the Xterminator allows me to mimic the ability of the mouse to look up and down, it can not do it as quickly or as effectively as the mouse. This ability to quickly look down or up to fire at a opponent that is above or below you is crucial in this game. Right now I am using both the mouse and the Gravis at the same time as I play and it works well from time to time but I am still trying to adjust to using two sets of controllers at the same time to play Quake2.
 
 

Practice playing deathmatch - Revenge of the Bots

While Quake2 has an option to play the game as a solo player, the enemies in Quake2 are quite dumb (at least at the easy level; haven't tried yet some of the other settings). They fall for the same tricks over and over again very easily and thus provide very little practice for playing against other players in deathmatch mode. So how is someone to get practice at deathmatch without being in deathmatch mode itself? That is where bot programs like Eraser and Gladiator come in.

Programs like Gladiator allow someone to play against the computer where the computer has AI routines added to how the computer controls the enemy. Each bot is given its own distinctive style of play. Some will be very aggressive while others will be more docile. This allows players to chose the level of difficulty that they want to play at so that they can improve slowly over time. The bot programs usually are best used with a launcher that allows someone to use a point and click system for the set of choices rather than having to type a long elaborate command to get the bots to work. Most of the bots have been given instructions on how to proceed on the common multi-player boards that come with Quake2 but they also have the ability to "learn" new boards.

What I found to be most fun was the fact that with the Gladiator bot program, someone went the extra mile to create artificial personalities for the bots. They taunt each other as well as the player by name as though you were actually playing against other people. I remember when I first started Gladiator, I expected them to mimic other deathmatch players but I did not expect them to communicate. I remember even chuckling the first time that they made a comment. After a while, you get to see just about everything that they can say so it loses its impact that it had when you first started playing with the program but you have the option to change what they say by editing one of the text files and thus you can tailor the responses to what you would prefer.

The bot program is excellent and the bots can even learn to negotiate new areas although it usually takes some time for the bots to learn to move on new boards. It is not perfect and you will occasionally see the bot doing things that a player would not do like running against the side of a elevator that needs to be lowered before they can ride it and thus, the bot becomes easy pickings. A real human player would know better than just to sit around waiting for an elevator without first having their back to the elevator to look for players chasing them.  But other all, the Gladiator bot program is a good aid for practice and you don't have to worry about lag like you would if you were playing real players on the net. 


Counter-Strike 

  

My current favorite 3rd person shooter, this one has taken me also an entire year before I have become good with it.A tactical simulator, there are basically 2 teams at the start of a round with opposing objectives. The two teams are called terrorists (T for short ) and counter-terrorists (CT for short). In the bombing boards, the terrorists have one member of their team who has a C4 bomb. The terrorists need to reach one of two bomb sites and successfully plant the bomb at that location. The CTs must now stop the bomb from going off by reaching it in time to defuse it. It is best to have a defuse kit if you are a CT since it cuts down the defusing time in half and can sometimes make the difference between your side winning or losing.

In addition, there are other scenarios where the terrorists are holding people hostage and as a CT it is your duty to either kill all the Ts without killing the hostages or break into their stronghold and return the hostages safely to a safety zone.

The third type of scenario is the VIP mode. One person of the CTs is selected randomly at the start of the level to be the VIP. The VIP is given extra armor at the start and must try to reach their transportation out of the area safely. The Ts have to kill the VIP in order to succeed. So the CTs must protect the VIP at all times.

The fourth scenario is one that I have never played but I have heard about. In this one, the terrorists are escaping from an area and it is up to the CTs to kill the Ts before more than 50% of them escape. I have never played this scenario so I can't really comment on it.

As for the game itself, each side has different set of weapons with different bullet capacities although some guns are available to both sides. Unlike Quake games, weapons have a recoil that causes them to move in your hands as you shoot. If you holding the fire button (what players call going full auto), you will find that you are going to be shooting wildly and not hitting your target. The secret to success is learning how to shoot in small bursts to help with the recoil effect as well as to maintain accuracy.

In addition to the weapons, players can buy three different types of grenades. One of them is the traditional explosive grenade that causes damage to those in its vicinity when it hits the ground, the second type of grenade is a smoke grenade which provides some cover for players, and the third type of grenade is called a flashbang, so called because when it hits the ground, it releases a white powder that will blind someone unless they look away. Using the flashbang to blind an entire team rushing is a good basic strategy but be careful not to blind yourself in the process.

In addition, it is possible to buy defuse kits if you are a CT and both sides can purchase night vision goggles to see in those areas of the maps that are not well lit. Certain boards also have cameras that can be used to try to spot the opposition.

There is so much strategy to this game that it would take an entire book just to describe the strategies for each board. With some boards, your team needs to try to rush to a specific area before the other side arrives in order to gain the upper hand but sometimes by walking slowly and not creating sound, someone can surprise a player. Counter-strike is one of the few games where sound is critical and I recommend getting a headset as you can use sound as a clue to where other players are.

By the way, if you ever see a player with the name [ECU]Trinity playing counter-strike online, that is probably me playing (and kicking your butt too I hope...hehehe). Best of luck if our paths cross and hope to see everyone having fun while playing online. By the way, send me an email if you want to receive a good practice map that lets you practice with the different guns. I have one called de_aimcenter that I found online and it is pretty good. It is sort of like a shooting gallery.

Best of luck :)

trinity



  3D Game Links

This is my set of links for different 3D Games. If you would like to have your site added to my set of links, please send an email to:

ace942@bellsouth.net

I will try to add your link as soon as possible.  With that in mind, here are the links:

Planet Quake

Telefragged

WolfenDoom

3D Realms

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