Work In Progress / The Cogwheel Chronicles: Volume 1 Mechastica

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cybernescence
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Posted: 6th May 2019 21:14
A quick update. I finished the memory reset and it seems to be working OK, I'll keep testing though.

When standaloneresetallbetweenlevels=1 in setup.ini, GG standalones will have a full memory reset between each level loaded.

Any weapons collected will be automatically carried forward across levels. Any game (lua) variables will have to be written out and reloaded by each level (easy job).

It does add 8 or so seconds to each level load, but video and system memory reset, so best used with large level game builds.

I also fixed the IBL lighting not initialising correctly in standalones.

Lastly just been playing around with the water shaders to add some transparency and swirl effects at the terrain/water intersect boundary:



You can get the shader and instructions here: - https://forum.game-guru.com/thread/220729#msg2615285

Cheers.


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Kitakazi
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Posted: 10th May 2019 02:57 Edited at: 11th May 2019 00:38
Quote: " so best used with large level game builds."

How large would you say a level needs to be to use standaloneresetallbetweenlevels=1?
And are you going by the file size of the level or things like number of entities used / scope of the map?

I guess my real question is what exactly is a large level size for gameguru? And If its purely memory how do you know when you are reaching a large amount? my memory gauge in top left of editor has never worked...

Your game looks really cool btw.
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cybernescence
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Posted: 14th May 2019 17:05
@Insane6 - it will depend - if the levels use the same assets irrespective of how many, then very little extra memory will be used when moving to next level load, but if the levels are completely different and/or have a lots of entities (thousands) then it may be useful to use this setting. Essentially would need to try it without it being set and only try with it if issues being encountered. I added a numeric memory display to GG so I could keep track of memory usage for debug purposes - so I can see when it peaks.

I've just added some bill boarded name tags that follow the NPCs (can be used for non NPC assets too) for the game, lua:

CreateNPCNamePlates(e,"name",R,G,B) -- r,g,b text color
UpdateNPCNamePlates(height) -- height name plate appears over NPCs

This is reusing the code set-up for multi-player (though the shader was borked and needed fixing too):



Cheers.


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Defy
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Posted: 16th May 2019 05:00
The volume of work speaks for itself.
Keep it going , all the best
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cybernescence
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Posted: 18th May 2019 02:09
Thanks Defy. I'll try

So when testing I noticed the Terrain LOD sliders weren't setting terrain values appropriately/correctly (the "LOD Far" wasn't enabled to do anything at all). So have changed the engine and getting much better FPS on terrains now with the LOD sliders adjusted.

Also still testing the IBL, seems to really help fix/blend the terrain into the skybox. Also further tweaked the water shaders, getting some reasonable water transparency and foam swirls at shallow depths.





Cheers.


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Wolf
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Posted: 18th May 2019 22:26
The water shader is marvellous!
synchromesh
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Posted: 20th May 2019 02:14
That's looking pretty stunning.
Hard to believe the bottom shot is even GameGuru
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Bored of the Rings
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Posted: 20th May 2019 18:59
Wow this is really stunning
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cybernescence
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Posted: 21st May 2019 19:23
Appreciate the comments guys, thanks

Well another 3am finish and I got the grass improved and able to be loaded and moved anywhere alongside the terrain. Also tied the fog color automagically (as default) into the horizon color of the sky box being used. All these little things are adding up I think to make the terrains more inviting.

I couldn't properly trouble-shoot the terrain FPS with the default info, so separated out terrain polys from everything else in the control sliders (pic below). This makes it so much easier to tune the terrain LOD sliders and see the impact on terrain polys (and knock-on to FPS). Also shows the entity polys in isolation so helps to smooth out scene poly peaks with better placement. The terrain coding in GG is a quality piece of work.

I'm getting not bad FPS now with terrains and as I run GG as a default at twice the stock linear size, four times area size I'm getting happier. I'm going to have a look at LOD impostors now for trees ... I saw some old (?) code in GG that I think could be used to morph to quad LODs.

Cheers.







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reliquia
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Posted: 22nd May 2019 11:17
wow! really cool stuff here cybernescence.

You mentioned that you 'got the grass improved' along with the terrain improvements, just wondering if this is helping sort the issue with grass popping in\out of view.

Great work though.

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Earthling45
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Posted: 22nd May 2019 14:25
It is so enjoyable to follow this, thanks for the updates Cybernescence.
cybernescence
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Posted: 22nd May 2019 16:12
@ Reliquia - thanks and yes that grass popping is (was) annoying

Actually you can try that update without engine change, just easy shader changes. Take a backup of apbr_core.fx first (in case you need to restore) then open it up with notepad and change two lines:

From this:
float fEdgePerc = max(0,fDist-(GrassFadeDistance*0.4f)) / (GrassFadeDistance*0.6f);
To this:
float fEdgePerc = 1- smoothstep(GrassFadeDistance-600,GrassFadeDistance, fDist);

And from this:
output.color.a = 1.0f - fEdgePerc;
To this:
output.color.a *= fEdgePerc;

Then delete apbr_veg.blob (not the apbr_veg.fx), restart GG and see if the grass popping has stopped. It has for me but I'm running a 4x terrain - the '600' value in the first replacement line might need tweaking if you still get popping, but should be OK I think.

@Earthling45 - thanks for posting, sometimes think I won't bother as few are reading, though it is turning into a journal of GG updates so may be useful at some point just for that as I'll forget what I've done or why .

On an I5/GTX750TI I can now run around the 4X GG terrain shown in the pics that is completely covered in grass (vegetation setting at 80, quantity, height, width = 50) at 60FPS (vsync'ed), dipping to 50FPS when detailed terrain LOD encountered.

I now suspect the occlusion culling is not working for grass, now that I've separated out terrain polys to monitor it, I can see there is no change on grass polys rendered irrespective of occlusion culling slider value. So might get more mileage out of the grass system yet.

Cheers.

Bolt Action Gaming
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Posted: 22nd May 2019 19:30
So I can confirm occlusion has a huge effect on grass. If you spray terrain on long swaths of visible terrain and pop occlusion to maximum, it does occlude out past around 1500-2000 units. It makes mountains look bald and far terrain look ... remarkably poor. From a performance standpoint I'm sure it makes sense but from a visual standpoint it looks terrible. Perhaps the answer lies in setting up a proper LOD for the vegetation model?
reliquia
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Posted: 23rd May 2019 01:04
@cybernescence - thanks for the info

Tried the changes you suggested and I think the grass does looks much better with those settings in that it doesn't fade out so close to the player - much better for the visual look of the level.

However I still get grass popping in and out in some areas right in front of the player, usually - but not limited - to areas where there is a sharp rise in the terrain.

Reliquia....
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cybernescence
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Posted: 23rd May 2019 07:30
@BAG - the occlusion was partially working. I’ve added some changes that I think has fixed it, still testing. The LOD comment gave me an idea, can’t really simplify that veg model much more it is only two planes and as the grass objects are reused and roll around the player position rather than being wherever painted in the terrain. However could darken or colour the terrain or even texture it differently for the distant view of grass. So will try that. Also your comment made me think there might be a way to add more than one type of grass - tricky as there is only one texture channel available but perhaps the value of the channel could be made to refer to different grass types.

@reliquia - thanks for testing, I’ll check that out and fix. I suspect it’s because GG is doing a horizontal/flat distance check only at the moment.

Cheers
cybernescence
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Posted: 23rd May 2019 17:33
WIP - multiple grass types - well three . Still have the hard yards to do on this, but I want reeds at water side and other types of veg elsewhere ...



Cheers.

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GraPhiX
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Posted: 23rd May 2019 17:34
Awesome
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Posted: 24th May 2019 15:20
Man you continue to impress. I'm really looking forward to that one. Always seemed like a reasonable simple add to make 3-4 diff vegetation types. Keep up the good work!
cybernescence
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Posted: 26th May 2019 16:56
Well that was a bit of a nightmare/challenge - I can see why it was left as one grass type only

However, now seems to be working perfectly for three grass types (which I think is plenty, certainly to code and for performance).

The grass is overlaid as per normal (green - grass type 1), but by also pressing 'z' key, it paints grass type 2 as red and with 'x' key grass type 3 (highlights in blue).

The tricky part was getting all the intersecting types to work properly, so when all three colors are laid down (white), it renders all three grass types at that position, when only two, depending on which two grass types/colors (purple, yellow, turquoise) it mixes only the correct type of grasses in game at that position. Whomever coded the original grass system (Lee? Simon?) did a great job in providing rolling mesh models over the terrain but it wasn't geared up to have more than one grass type (not in original spec I guess) so a lot of code changes for this one.

It's legacy compatible, so if only one type of grass exists in the veg folder, all colors in edit mode will render the same grass.

I'll now apply to the Cogwheel terrains and test thoroughly. I'm now calling a halt to engine changes unless something critical turns up being required as I have spent (probably) too much time on this and not enough on the actual game - but it was enjoyable for me being a coder at heart .

Cheers.




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granada
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Posted: 26th May 2019 17:22
Very cool cybernescence,looking better all the time

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synchromesh
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Posted: 27th May 2019 10:57
Wow !!
The only person ever to get all his work done by "Friday" was Robinson Crusoe..
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Bolt Action Gaming
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TGC needs a 'donate to cybernessence' button.
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Posted: 30th May 2019 04:15
Can I ask the obvious greedy question - will that be pushed to public? ^^
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Posted: 30th May 2019 14:04
excellent work as usual Cybernescence, amazing what you have done so far with the game and the engine.
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Posted: 23rd Jun 2019 14:53
Spectacular stuff!
cybernescence
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Posted: 29th Jun 2019 14:05
Thanks all for the comments !

Well I said no more engine changes, but then remembered the LUT discussion that rolfy started https://forum.game-guru.com/thread/220092.

Using a LUT for tone mapping is really effective, so added a mod so that placing a LUT.png (or .DDS ,though .PNG recommended) in Game Guru\Files\effectbank\reloaded\media folder and setting setup.ini flag uselutpostprocessing=1 can be used in the post processing shaders.

This is a performance friendly way to get fine control over the final color render of the game by doing the tuning in photoshop, gimp or paint.net.

Example with/without LUT below:




Cheers.






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cybernescence
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Posted: 29th Jun 2019 23:02
Just updated the terrain shader to use combined textures, diffuse with specular in alpha and normal with ao in alpha channel.

This saves texture memory and the results for terrain really pop (the ao really make a big difference), it's now looking a lot like how the basic unity PBR terrain does ...



Cheers

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Avenging Eagle
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Posted: 30th Jun 2019 12:10
Sterling as always The LUT post processing will come in really handy! I've been using ReShade up until now but you have to put up with a watermark when it first loads, and it applied any effects/corrections to the whole program, meaning menus and cinematics get given the same treatment (not always desirable).

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Posted: 30th Jun 2019 13:31
Really nice work cybernescence your a star m8
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Posted: 30th Jun 2019 17:53
Very nice. Your modifications are amazing. Thanks.
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science boy
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Posted: 9th Jul 2019 16:44
jaw dropped

well i been catching up on your chronicles, and by far a rich deep immersive read and just watching what you are doing is somewhat mind bogglingly beyond awesome, i was always going to be a buyer of your game i will always buy and plug an indie developer if effort and time and some original angle on it. also i have to like the game.

when are you thinking of dropping the cogwheel on us?
cant wait to play it, the only other game i have played and loved or got hold of was rolfy's Eldoras the golden land, loved what he had done.
i am looking forward to wolfs releases too, and tbh loads.
sorry i been a bit quiet this last few years, i am finding it hard to juggle 2 houses and diy etc, a full time manager job and a girlfriend and friends along with holidays weekends away chores and daily living, only recently have i found some time to get back onto here and even then in sporadic attempts. and then because i am skimming some of the threads i am apparently saying things that have been debated or been condemned and i pop up with a comment and being some what poked fun at! ( i look a bit silly), so i am going to stick to certain threads and keep it to what i know, or if i am to say anything read the entire forum threads for any already used topics.

well again keep up the work and i am sure i speak for most when i say i cant wait to play this game

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Posted: 10th Jul 2019 09:00
This looks amazing!

Good work, Cybernescence!
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cybernescence
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Posted: 14th Jul 2019 13:33 Edited at: 14th Jul 2019 14:04
Hi all, thanks to those have commented

@science boy - nice to have you back from time to time - looking forward to seeing more of twin world dev. Re beta drops of Cogwheel, well this has led to discovery of another GG standalone bug that took 8 hours to fix (I'm once agaIn getting seriously narked with all the things to fix). This one might not bother most people but it did me. GG is supposed to run off compiled shader files (.blob). It does, but only if the .fx files are also present (even though it doesn't actually use them once compiled into a .blob). This means (meant) that all custom shader files had to reside alongside their compiled equivalents in a standalone. Which I didn't want, I've spent hundreds of hours on these shaders, they are just as important to me (to protect, for now anyway) as the custom models I've made. So another mod needed so that GG engine will run properly with only .blob files present.

@Avenging Eagle - yes the native LUT processing works well and can try different ones without restarting GG, just swap the LUT out and restart the game in editor rather than reload GG. I wish I had a better 'graphical eye' like you, Rolfy and Wolf have to make my own, so far just using those 'film stock' LUTs that Kodak and Fuji film released.

The main work has been on continuing to develop the PBR terrain shaders. I've done an almost forensic analysis on the differences between GG and Uni/UnR and have found dozens of optimizations required. Also interwebs research found these amazing sites that illustrate how to properly blend, lerp and treat terrain normals & triplanar mapping. It's astonishing the difference these techniques make to the terrain, but I guess hardly surprising, as Wolf keeps saying about visuals - "it's all about light" .

https://medium.com/@bgolus/normal-mapping-for-a-triplanar-shader-10bf39dca05a

https://catlikecoding.com/unity/tutorials/advanced-rendering/triplanar-mapping/

https://blog.selfshadow.com/publications/blending-in-detail/

https://developer.nvidia.com/gpugems/GPUGems3/gpugems3_ch01.html

Created a lerp function for normals (to include AO in the alpha) after reading the above sites and also introduced different tri-planar mapping techniques - it's made another leap in the terrain visual impact.



I also introduced color splat maps (GG variation maps) for the terrain, so there were four colors that could be chosen from the terrain palette and blended (R,G,B,Black) rather than the grey scale 2. I'm not entirely sure this really adds much more appeal, so might drop this.



EDIT: Forgot - I also rounded out the "Environment Probe" work so that a zone can be selected from editor and added to map. Once player enters this zone the diffuse and specular IBL cube map auto updates to the centre of the zone. When leave it fires up again to refresh the cube map to outdoors, or if it hits another indoor zone updates to that. This allows the specular PBR reflections to be consistent with the environment the player is in and adjusts the ambient light from the diffuse.



Cheers

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Bolt Action Gaming
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Posted: 15th Jul 2019 18:09
... just

"EDIT: Forgot - I also rounded out the "Environment Probe" work so that a zone can be selected from editor and added to map. Once player enters this zone the diffuse and specular IBL cube map auto updates to the centre of the zone. When leave it fires up again to refresh the cube map to outdoors, or if it hits another indoor zone updates to that. This allows the specular PBR reflections to be consistent with the environment the player is in and adjusts the ambient light from the diffuse."

Emphasis mine.
Dude!


cybernescence
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Posted: 21st Jul 2019 17:52
Thanks BAG

Back to game dev now and using the particle systems to get dragon to breath fire and hot steam out of the NPC mechs. At last! It looks better in action than as a still.



Cheers

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Bolt Action Gaming
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Posted: 22nd Jul 2019 16:21
That's pretty nasty. How are you going to manage damage dealing from the cone of fire - simple raycast?
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Posted: 22nd Jul 2019 21:36
I wanna see a Wideo of that dragon fire!
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synchromesh
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Posted: 23rd Jul 2019 01:51
Quote: "I wanna see a Wideo of that dragon fire!"

Ditto
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cybernescence
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Posted: 23rd Jul 2019 19:03
Hi all - here's the video -



Cheers.
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@cybernescence, that i absolutely fantastic. well done.
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AmenMoses
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Posted: 23rd Jul 2019 22:08
That's pretty good, are you using the standard shader?
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cybernescence
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Posted: 24th Jul 2019 01:20
Thanks guys.

Yes standard commands and shader on this one. I might have a play with the shader as I see you have included a command to switch to a different one which is great.

Cheers.
cybernescence
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Posted: 24th Jul 2019 22:29 Edited at: 24th Jul 2019 23:11
I think the additive shader works better for dragon fire:



EDIT: not using a sprite sheet in this case works even better with additive blending, really liking this effect now:



Also, can't win 'em all, pounded by the assassin (with new AI):



Cheers.

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Wolf
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Posted: 25th Jul 2019 13:53
Impressive once again!
cybernescence
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Posted: 3rd Aug 2019 20:05
Thanks Wolf

So have added a new command to make the particles easier to use on characters:

limb_number = GetLimbByName(e,"smoke")

So now as long as I add a bone limb called 'smoke' to the characters where smoke (or fire or whatever) is to be emitted, this command gets the limb number ready to use in the ParticlesAddEmitterEx command.

Also found some issues with the particles in that the particle image sprite sheets were not being reset on a rerun of the editor, so that the number of particle images were being used up and then defaulting back to '0' (stock smoke image).
The new command for adding a different shader also needed a tweak as the shader effect was being lost on restart of editor.

New pretty tough to beat NPC for the battle arena part of Callandan air city:



Cheers



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synchromesh
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Posted: 6th Aug 2019 01:49
God your good with the steampunk creations !!
Amazing stuff ..
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science boy
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Posted: 6th Aug 2019 21:23
Yep i look forward to this release. Its a piece of art and creativity that begs to be explored and enjoyed

This rocks
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Posted: 7th Aug 2019 05:14
nice

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