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Building Block Heroes - Inspirations
I've gotten a lot of positive comments over the past couple of weeks regarding the novelty of my idea. As much as I'd like to claim credit for coming up with the idea for Building Block Heroes, most games are built on the shoulders of giants and my game is no exception. This week, I give credit where credit is due and explain how I came up with the idea for Building Block Heroes.
(Disclaimer: I own none of the non-Building Block Heroes related screenshots, and am not trying to claim credit for any of them.)
Hello Kitty Cube Frenzy
The primary inspiration for Building Block Heroes is a game many of you might have played whether you're willing to admit it or not. Hello Kitty Cube Frenzy is essentially a bare-bones version of Building Block Heroes - a game in which you use falling blocks to build platforms in order to collect things. Since the moment I played it as a child, I have always been intrigued by the concept and have always wondered why it was never utilized elsewhere.
As detailed in my previous article, I was looking for an idea that would be relatively simple to create, and my first thought was to re-create Hello Kitty Cube Frenzy. Puzzle games and platformers are generally the genres that appear in game development tutorials anyways, so making a combination of the two was a natural project to work on when attempting to learn how to develop games that are more than GUI applications. In addition, the lack of similar games meant that my game could end up filling a niche of sorts, which might help it stand out a bit.
The main fundamental difference between Hello Kitty Cube Frenzy and Building Block Heroes is the presence of lives in the former game. I'm not a huge fan in general of having lives in games, and Building Block Heroes contains many more ways to "die" or otherwise have your progress through a level set back, so I chose to omit lives in favour of a less artificial method of difficulty.
Hello Kitty Cube Frenzy also contains time limits in each level. I decided to omit them by default in Building Block Heroes due to the greater number of gameplay variables in my game (which will be detailed later on as a describe each area in the game in detail). I like the idea of time limits myself, but not everyone does, so I plan on making time limits optional in Building Block Heroes.
Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo
I knew going into the game that I wanted to increase the pace of Hello Kitty Cube Frenzy. For this purpose, I referred to another game I played extensively in my youth, possible the fastest and most visceral puzzle game I've ever played - Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo.
One of the things that made Super Puzzle Fighter so interesting to me was the way in which players would build up enormous combos and chunks of like-coloured blocks before shattering them all with a Crash Gem. I wanted to recreate this feeling with Building Block Heroes, and since I was dealing with falling coloured blocks anyways, it was a natural decision to use Crash Gems (Breaker Blocks in my case) to destroy existing blocks.
The difference between using Breaker Blocks instead of a certain number of blocks as the trigger for destroying blocks is that the player can afford to be a bit more careless when planning moves. With Breaker Blocks, there is less likelihood for chain reactions as remaining blocks fall into place after destroying other blocks, which in turn reduces the amount of planning needed for every single move.
The tradeoff, of course, is that being careless and creating huge chunks of single colours can backfire if the chunk needs to be destroyed for some reason later on - doing so can remove much more from the level than is necessary. I'm essentially trading strategy for a faster paced game (although I will likely have the other method of destroying blocks as a separate game mode for those that prefer it).
Gauntlet (or any game with complementary teammates)
Multiplayer games in which each playable character possesses a different ability have always intrigued me for some reason. Something about complementing each other, or having to make compromises when less than a full team is present in the game is interesting to me because it adds a level of strategy and teamwork to the game that depends entirely on player preference.
I chose Gauntlet for this example because it was the game I thought of when I chose to include different playable characters, and it happens to use the same four colours as Building Block Heroes as an overarching colour motif. Realistically, there are many games with different playable characters as a gameplay element, and they all probably had a cumulative effect on my desire to include a similar element in my game.
Having four different colours of blocks lends itself naturally to having four characters based on those colours, which is why Building Block Heroes contains four playable characters.
Megaman and Super Mario Bros.
Like most gamers (but strangely not all), I like games with creative boss battles. The boss battles in Megaman have always drawn my attention because each boss always has a set of attacks that are consistent with whatever theme the boss represents. They therefore not only require different strategies in order to combat them, but also help add a certain uniqueness to each of their own levels.
I knew going into the game that I wanted similar boss battles, battles that would help flesh out the areas in my own game and add character to each of them. How to implement them in a puzzle game without lives or energy bars, however, was easier said than done. In the end, I chose to borrow from Super Mario Bros. and have the players rush toward a goal rather than engage the boss directly.
In Building Block Heroes, the players simply build their way to the glowing weak point (the appearance of which was inspired by the weak points in Valkyria Chronicles), which destroys the boss upon contact. Meanwhile, the boss attempts to stop the player using different types of attacks. These attacks do not harm the players directly, but destroy some of their blocks, which can hinder the players.
The manner in which they destroy the blocks is consistent with their appearance and, in most cases, the overall theme of the area they appear in. Their attacks will be described in detail once I describe the areas themselves in detail, but the bosses were by far the most entertaining part of Building Block Heroes to develop!
Long story short, Building Block Heroes is the sum of games that have interested me. For those of you struggling to come up with a gameplay idea, I would suggest a similar path - think of a game with a fun mechanic that interested you, think of what might have been missing from it, and add it in!
I hope this was an interesting read!
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In this daily blog (and video)-series I take a first impressions look at the best mobile games that I come by. Be sure to share your favorite mobile game with the rest of us in the comments below!
Nexon is just pumping out mobile games these days, with base defending deck builder, Winions, being the latest (soft-launched in the Philippines, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland). With a PVP and campaign mode, the game has you building a base in best TD-style, a defense deck used by your AI to protect your base when attacked by other players, and an offensive deck used for the campaign and PVP.
Monetization is alright, with no ads and plenty of premium currency rewarded throughout the campaign, which can be used to unlock chests gained through PVP faster.
Although it might disappear in a sea of somewhat similar games, it's an interesting take on the side-scrolling base defender genre that got popular in the Flash browser game days.
My thoughts on Winions: Mana Champions:
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We are so so sorry for not posting for so long! There are a lot of exciting things we would like to update you on regarding “Project SpaceVille” and FAXIME. Well, there’s been a lot of changes to this project. That includes both adjustments to already planned details, and lots of new stuff too! We’ll be posting regularly from now on. We promise! (wink)
So, onto the good news!
The two programmers on the project have been really busy finishing their B.ASc. on Game Development Engineering. But it's finally over and we are now back track again!
Since our last devlog, FAXIME was basically just the two of us, so you might think that our absence meant that development had stopped. Thankfully, our team size has expanded since then, and we added two new young and cool artists and a public relations guy. (Maybe we can do a post about them in the future, who knows?) (laughs). So, basically, what we want to say is that, while we were mute we were very busy!
Now that that’s said, let’s tell you some of the new features we have implemented on “Project SpaceVille”! In this post, we’ll focus on some social features.
Am I still alone?
We are glad to tell you that you are not alone in this crazy world anymore! We have implemented a new AI system for the characters’ dialogue to allow them to be aware of their surroundings when speaking with you. In other to achieve this, we have also developed a tool that helps create new dialogues. It’s only in prototype phase right now, but it’s already making our life a lot easier for us as developers and game designers.
Our goal is to have villagers that feel “real”, and not not some mindless robotic terminators! (laughs) We hope that you’ll be surprised of how aware your fellow villagers are when talking with them.
Cool... Cool... And what about real people?
Well… Since “Project SpaceVille” is targeted to mobile platforms, it has been a priority since day one to implement social features into the game. So, with that in mind, we’ve been experimenting some features and some technologies.
We ended up creating a prototype multiplayer mode, which allows you to visit your friends’ villages and interact with each other! Right now, everything that you can do in single-player mode, you can also do in multiplayer mode. But, of course, it’s still very rough in the edges so there are still a lot of things to fix. Sadly, do to the nature of this feature (server requirements, security, etc.) it might not make it to the initial release. But we’re still exploring our option.
Meanwhile, we have had a million other ideas of gameplay experiences we wanted to create and we will be telling you about them and other work we’ve done in these past month in a very soon future!
See you soon! (this time, probably next week) (laughs)
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So - the last couple of weeks I have been working on building a framework for some AI.
In a game like the one I'm building, this is rather important. I estimate 40% of my time is gonna go into the AI. What I want is a hunting game, where the AI learns from the players behaviour. This is actually what is gonna make the game fun to play. This will require some learning from the creatures that the player hunt and some collective intelligence per species. Since I am not going to spend oceans of Time creating dialogue, tons of cut-scenes and an epic story-line and multiple levels (I can't make something interesting enough to make it worth the time - I need more man-power for that), what I can do, is create some interesting AI and the feeling of being an actual hunter, that has to depend on analysis of the animals and experimentation on where to attack from. SO.. To make it as generic as possible, I mediated everything, using as many interfaces a possible for the system. You can see the general system here in the UML diagram. I customized it for Unity so that it is required to add all the scripts to GameObjects in the game world. This gives a better overview, but requires some setup - not that bothersome.
If you add some simple Game Objects and some colors, it could look like this in Unity3D:
Now, this system works beautifully. The abstraction of the Animation Controller and Movement Controller assumes some standard stuff that applies for all creatures. For example that they all can move, have eating-, sleeping and drinking animations, and have a PathFinder script attached somewhere in the hierarchy. It's very generic and easy to customize. At some point I'll upload a video of the flocking behavior and general behavior of this creature. For now, I'm gonna concentrate on finishing the Player model, creating a partitioned terrain for everything to exist in. Finally and equally important, I have to design a learning system for all the creatures. This will be integrated into the Brain of all the creatures, but I might separate the collective intelligence between the species.
It's taking shape, but I still have a lot of modelling to do, generating terrain and modelling/generating trees and vegetation.
Thanks for reading,
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This topic will probably be one of the more ambitious topics I will write about for a number of reasons. First of all emotions are not a just about feeling excited about playing that new game you bought today or feeling sad because your favorite character in game of thrones just got killed. It’s very closely related to longer lasting moods. Secondly, psychologists aren’t completely sure on how to explain human emotions. There are a number of different theories that explains what happens when we experience an emotion and many of them are support by scientific studies. I’m not going into those theories because I don’t think they are relevant to this article. There is a link to a crash course video in the references below just in case you’d like to know about emotions in general.
So what is an emotion? And more importantly, why should you take them into account when you design and develop games? Emotions are a bit ambiguous, even psychologists can’t agree on a unified definition. One of the definitions I found: an emotion is an internal response to an event. Something within your body might change when you experience an emotion, for example, your heart rate can increase or decrease. Some other psychologists might say an emotion is more like a feeling or mood. From these definitions it feels as if emotions aren’t very tangible and difficult to study. However, specific emotions and moods can be very useful when designing games. Taking emotions into account when designing games can definitely help you to enhance the player’s experience. And although emotion is an ambitious and broad topic, it also means there are countless ways you can apply it in your game design.Russel’s dimensional model of affect
Just like there are multiple theories of emotions, there are several models to classify them. I will keep to one: the picture below is Russell’s model of affect (Russell, 1980). This is a two dimensional model in which emotions are classified based on how active (level of arousal) and pleasant (positive or negative) an emotion is. Many action games use the model to some extent. You feel your heart pounding in your chest, your arousal is up, feel stressed and tense as you approach the enemy camp. On Russell’s model this would be high arousal and a sort of negative emotion.
Now the important question: Why should you apply all this to your game? Here are a number of reasons:
- Emotions can help form memories so players remember your game in more detail (LeDoux & Doyere, 2011). This enhances the player’s experience, making it richer and feel more personal.
- Allowing your players to experience a positive mood can help them solve the puzzles and riddles in your game (Isesn & Daubman, 1987).
- Arousal in general can be quite useful as well. When you want something important to be noticed by the player, make it more arousing to grab their attention (Buodo & Sarlo, 2002).
- Arousal can also boost the player’s performance. According to the Yerkes-Dodson law (Yerkes & Dodson, 1908) easy tasks can benefit from high arousal while difficult tasks are handled best when the player’s arousal level is low. You can use this law to adjust the difficulty curve of your game accordingly.
- Keeping your player in a positive mood will motivate them and make them try harder (Nadler, 2010). Basically you can keep increasing the difficulty curve of your game as long as the player is in a good mood.
- More specific emotions can also be beneficial as well. Anger, for example, motivates players for confront a problem or pursue a goal. On the other hand, players who feel guilty about an action they did can be motivated by their guilt to do good and counteract what they have done (Parrott, 2004).
Even negative emotion, such frustration can improve your game. It can motivate your player when done right. Remember when you fought an end-boss in a game but lost? What did you do? Did you quit the game or did you go back to the last save and try again? Most games have a difficulty curve of some form to keep players challenged and when the curve is just right, you will occasionally loose and have to try again. This trial-and-error will come with a bit of frustration but quickly changes to excitement and motivates to try again. Frustration in these situations only become a problem when the difficulty curve is too steep and the player gets stuck somewhere in your game. It that case they might even quit all together which is not very good for your retention. Of course there should also be a moment of joy when the player finally overcomes an obstacle to make all the effort feel rewarding.
Be careful with too much frustration and confusion though. It’s never good when your players become frustrated because they can’t figure out how the controls work, how to read the UI of your game or don’t know what to do. Obviously you need to address this kind of frustration and figure out how to minimize it. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to get rid of the bad kind of frustration in your game for all players. Not all players are the same and for some the difficulty curve might be a little on the steep side. While others will always be a bit frustrated about your UI. In those cases you can benefit from the Halo effect (Nisbett & Wilson, 1977): certain salient characteristics bias the perception of other less salient characteristics. It’s not about getting rid of frustration all together, make desired emotions stand out more and the player will focus on them more.
You can apply the knowledge about emotions in your game design regardless of the genre, however, I’d like to show you some examples for narrative and puzzle games. Puzzle games are all about frustration, confusion and joy. The halo effect is at work here: the joy of the eureka moment when the player completes a puzzle is much more salient than the frustration and confusion from the trail-and-error. Puzzle games are a great example of the good kind of frustration as I talked about before. A great example of a puzzle game that uses the good kind of confusion and frustration is Anti-chamber. The player is told very little when they start the game, basically it’s the game to figure out the game (game-ception!). it’s can be great example if you want to make a puzzle game without a tutorial that takes the player by the hand each step of the way.Antichamber: all you need to know
Narrative games probably are the best type of games to evoke emotions in players. When done right, your player will have a memorable experience of an emotional journey. As I talked about before emotions help form memories. There is nothing better than remembering the joy you felt when you helped your character do something amazing. Narrative games can allow players to really empathize with characters when something truly sad happens. My favorite example for such a game is Thomas was alone, one of my favorite games of all time. The emotional narration makes it such a memorable journey. The designers did a great job expressing a full range of passive emotions such as sadness, happiness and serenity. Everything within the design of the game supports these emotions: the choice of the abstract art style, music and the way it is narrated. I’ve never felt so much empathy towards any video game character as I did for Thomas and his friends (and they are just colored squares!).Thomas was alone: squares with a personality!
Some tips and examples for youPANAS example
Now how could you implement all this knowledge into your game or narrative design? It seems like a lot of stuff to take into account but it all depends on your game. A good place to start is to identify the overall feeling or mood you want the player to get when they play your game. Ask yourself: how should the player feel after each session? And what about when they finish your game? Maybe your game has some key-events where you want the player to feel a certain way. Of course your game design document describes how players should interact with your game but why not add a section on how they should feel when they do it?
Playtesting is where you find out if players experience your intended emotions. Set your playtests up in such a way that you can either see or film the play-tester’s face directly. The decode all the different emotions you can use the coding system for facial emotions (FACS) developed by Ekman and Friesen (1978). Even better would be to use software to decode even the subtlest emotions for you. There is a huge range of apps, software and even APIs and SDKs to use such as EmoVu (http://emovu.com/e/). When you don’t have the money for these tools, time to get familiar with FACS or you want to be more thorough with your playtests, you can use PANAS (Watson, Clark, Tellegen, 1988). PANAS is a questionnaire where your play-testers answer questions on how much they experience a certain emotion. The picture at the right is a good example of what a PANAS questionnaire can look like. With PANAS you can find out what overall emotions the player experienced during the game or during key-events in your game. It will be a bit time-consuming to set up but once you’ve created one you can use it for all future games. There is a link to a PANAS worksheet in the references below to help you get started.
Some useful links and references
- Crash Course Psychology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KbSRXP0wik&list=PL8dPuuaLjXtOPRKzVLY0jJY-uHOH9KVU6&index=26
- Worksheet PANAS questionnaire: http://booksite.elsevier.com/9780123745170/Chapter%203/Chapter_3_Worksheet_3.1.pdf
- LeDoux, J.E. & Doyere, V (2011). Emotional memory processing: Synaptic connectivity. In S. Nalantian, P.M. Matthews, & J.L. McClelland (eds), The Memory Process: Neuroscientific and humanistic perspectives (pp. 153-171). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- Yerkes R. M. & Dodson, J. D. (1908). The Relation of strength of a stimulus to rapidity of habit-formation. Journal of Comparative Neurology and Psychology, 18, 459-482.
- Parrott, W. G. (2004). The nature of emotion. In M. B. Brewer & M. Hewstone (eds), Emotion and Motivation (pp. 5-20). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
- Posner, J., Russell, J. A., & Peterson, B. S. (2005). The circumplex model of affect: An integrative approach to affective neuroscience, cognitive development, and psychopathology.Development and Psychopathology, 17(3), 715–734. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579405050340
- Isen, A. M., Daubman, K. A., & Nowicki, G. P. (1987). Positive affect facilitates creative problem solving.Journal of personality and social psychology, 52(6), 1122.
- Buodo, G., Sarlo, M., & Palomba, D. (2002). Attentional resources measured by reaction times highlight differences within pleasant and unpleasant, high arousing stimuli.Motivation and Emotion, 26(2), 123-138.
- Nisbett, R. E., & Wilson, T. D. (1977). The halo effect: Evidence for unconscious alteration of judgments.Journal of personality and social psychology, 35(4), 250.
- Nadler, R. T., Rabi, R., & Minda, J. P. (2010). Better mood and better performance learning rule-described categories is enhanced by positive mood.Psychological Science, 21(12), 1770-1776.
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Time for a new small weekly update!
So this last week we have finished the ship control system for now, it is looking pretty sweet with the rudder and everything with one of the placeholder ships we have, we started out with some cubes to check how it behaved in changing from calm to heavy waves. Next time we take a look on that system is after the VS ship is finished, thats when all the really hard work begins.
Other than that, we have also been in contact with a UI designer which will do some pretty nice work for us. We are setting up some sketches regarding the HUD and main menu as well as the rest of the layout.
A composer regarding more of the music has also been in contact with us and we are currently awaiting some demo songs to catch the right feel. Needless to say, music plays a huge role in this game so its crucial that it feels both correct and top notch. Hopefully I will be able to give you guys a preview soon!
An animator has been contacted to perfect the social abilities and other animations such as waving, smoking from a pipe, clapping, idle, walking and eating/drinking.
Asset creation has also been going steady, and I have been very busy doing some asset tests to see where we can save both time and money for the vertical slice. Here are some previews.
(A bottle test, this is what the player can drink from when seated at the captains table.)
(Barrels found randomly on the ship, as well as in storage during transport runs from port to port)
(Captain`s gun found on the desk in his cabin)
(Bread and cheese, the food in the game can be consumed)
(The hands, there is better hands that are currently being retoped and rigged. The hands will also have a texture with old sailor tattoos)
(From the asset test, checking how it all pans togheter)
On a general note, about 40% of the assets for the ship is done from start. What await`s regarding them is only texturing and collision. Around 15% of the assets is from the asset store and will save us some time getting things ready as of now, we might just throw them out all togheter and make all of it from scratch if we see we have the time and if the VS is going as planned and everything works out well after summer, we will defintly do those 15% from scratch. But as placeholders they do theyr part for now.
Looking forward to the next update!
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Inspired by the likes of Diablo and Path of Exile, I set out to create my own Action RPG in October of 2016. I've dubbed it Project Peril in memory of a cousin who, about 16 years ago, introduced me to Diablo 2. I'm still fleshing out the details of Project Peril's theme, so all I have to say about it right now is that it is set in a post-modern science fiction sort of universe. There will be crazy abilities and powerful items with randomly (weighted) generated affixes, dozens of monsters, lots of loot, and a vibrant player-managed economy with authoritative servers to prevent modding and/or cheating.
Much of the core of Project Peril has been programmed, this includes a login server, server-hosted lobbies and games, monsters, in-house pathfinding & physics, item generation, inventories & equipment, hero stats, abilities, and procedural dungeon generation. Maybe some other things I can't think of off the top of my head right now. While these systems are all in a fairly usable and optimized state, there is still much to go.
There has been little to no progress on the side of art, sound, and story. My plan is to create a respectable presentation of Project Peril's performance, progress, and features, and hope that it is good enough for creative folks to want to work on it with me.
If you want to track Project Peril's progress I post a weekly blog at my website http://aggressivegaming.com and casually post videos to https://vid.me/crayz. I set up a FB page just today http://facebook.com/aggressivegamingcom and I will now try to keep this blog up to date as well.
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With the country boasting a billion potential players, major companies stuffed with cash and increasingly talented developers to call upon, the Chinese scene is well placed to dominate the mobile gaming globe.
In 2012, mobile accounted for just 5.4% of all gaming in China. Last year, it accounted for a whopping 36.6%. In fact, according to Newzoo’s senior market analyst Shanshan Cao, the Chinese mobile gaming market has over-placed US to become the largest in the world with 183 million gamers, in which approximately 71% of them are an (occasional) online gamer, whereas US has around 139 million mobile gamers.
As the growth seems certain to continue, it is especially exciting to those into marketing and advertising. Paid games are certainly one of the sources to generate revenue, but Cao reassures that commercial power of free mobile games should not be underestimated.
“For instance, brand could make their products extra appealing by giving away in-game rewards. In this way, one would not only buy a shampoo, but also get extra lives or other in-game rewards with it, making both a product and a game more attractive for gamers,” she suggested.
Which means brands could collaborate with developers and gaming companies to increase the product’s attractiveness. By now, biggest players in the market are Netease, Tencent, and independent company iDreamsky.
Meanwhile, non-Chinese companies are desperately getting into the tempting market, though many face difficulties. Kown Young-Shik, the CEO of a giant Korean games publisher named Netmarble, described the power of the Chinese mobile games industry as “threatening”.
“Chinese game providers are far more competitive in terms of human resources as a greater number of developers is being poured into the development process. They are rising in terms of mobile game development capabilities,” he said.
He added that a recent visit to China Joy had also made him feel uneasy about the technical clout of Chinese mobile games. “I have seen many virtual reality-based games and quality MMOG (massively multiplayer online game) by Chinese developers. I felt threatened and thought we need to improve our development systems to survive challenges by Chinese competitors.”
Though it might seem obvious to many in the industry that China is a powerful player in the sector, the fact that a CEO of a major mobile gaming power has vocalised this should focus minds of executives around the world.
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I've got fraps: new trailers & screenshots are coming.
Blitz3d(Also BlitzMax, BlitzPlus) are now free, but the forum is down...
Thanks for watching... Friendly, Xylvan, Xilvan Design
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Farkle Friends now supports local and online high scores. It will keep track of your personal top ten scores locally on your device and also gives you the option to share your score on an online leader board.
The online high scores will only keep track of your highest score submitted and will allow you to see in game a quick glance at the top 10 scores overall.
In game you will see this dialog asking you to input your account information to submit your score to the leader board.
I am currently using the GameJolt API to manage the online high scores. So you will need an account there in order to submit a score to the leader board. All in all its coming along nicely.
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As I mentioned in my last post, I am building a web-based game. What does that mean? First and foremost, it means that it is meant to run in your web browser just like any other website. But more importantly, to me it means that it is not meant to be a graphical game. There will be no animations, and you will not be navigating characters through a fictitious world. At least, not in the WASD sense.
What it also means is that just like any other website or web application, I need to pick a stack.
As I mentioned, Django is the key backend component. It is a Python framework that has been around for years, and is my typical go to choice because of its reliability, flexibility, and huge user base. Just spend 5 minutes Googling "how to build a website with django" and you will get a ton of resources. When leveraged with packages like Channels and DRF, it is an amazing tool. Channels allows me the ability to handle a direct connection from the frontend to the backend over a WebSocket (more on that below). And DRF allows me to effortlessly build a complex web API needed to pass information back and forth between the frontend and backend.
But why this?
Well, I initially was thinking that I would skip the Django root and try out a new VERY promising framework called apistar. It is lean and it is built with some really neat ideas. One of the biggest complaints I hear about Django is that it is a batteries included framework (as opposed to flask, Bottle, or Pyramid). And, apistar is built by the same guy who made DRF. The problem is that it is still a bit new. The reliability has not yet been tested, and I am pretty sure its own development API will change at some point. It is a great project and I plan to continue following it. But for now, Django is in.
React? Angular? Vue? Ember? What should I use?
I hate this debate. I really do. I have used a number of JS frameworks, and I really cannot find a best solution. Angular is too ... bloated and restrictive. Ember is inflexible. React is complex. Vue is ... well, maybe I don't have any complaints about it. But we will continue on.
And, to all you out there, I agree that React is not complex to use. In fact, I think it is simple and love its intuitive nature and JSX built right in. I do however take issue with the overwhelming number of packages needed to get up and running. There are a ridiculous number of dependencies. Spend a few minutes Googling "React starter template" and you will see what I mean.
What if I could have everything I wanted in a framework with real simplicity? You know ... like I used to have back in the day when I built my own framework 15+ years ago. Back in the days when I didn't even know what the word framework meant. Hmmm ....
Well, maybe I should just build one then. Take all the ideas I like about modern frameworks and dust off the old stuff. Enter PorterJS. I do not mean for it to be a replacement for anything else. I am not even sure that anyone out there will ever find it useful to build with. But for me and my projects, it does EXACTLY what I need in the way I want it it.
Learn more about the project at dynasties.co.
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Waaaay too long since my last update.
Since then, I've been working (not nearly as much as I should be) on outdoor environments and a skill tree.
I want this game to follow the classic RPG class formula of Mage, Fighter and Thief, but I didn't want to constrain my players to a single class. Instead, I decided to go with a classless/multiclass concept where players are able to traverse a large skilltree which is implicitly divided into the three aforementioned classes.
Take a look at the prototype:
So this is still an early proof of concept, and all of the visual elements will probably change, but it's going to function in pretty much the same way as shown here. You'll also get a (very) small taste of the kind of skills you might see in the game. One more note: the three skill branches never merge in this example, but I think they will in the final version. Also, all parent nodes of a skill must currently be unlocked before unlocking a given child node. I'm not sure if this will persists, or if I'll remove that constraint to give me freedom of traversal.
Other than that, I've been spending a bit of time building some outdoor environments to try to nail down what my worlds will look like.
This first screenshot is, quite honestly, pretty bland and generic, but it will at least give a sense of how villages will be laid out in the world:
After I made this scene, I procured a license for Gaia--a really powerful and full featured terrain generation tool for Unity.
Here's what 15 minutes of work with Gaia looks like:
Pretty amazing huh?
So in the end, I think I'll be using Gaia to build my world, and then I'll refine the terrain manually and tweak the positioning of settlements and other points of interest to best suit the game's story and gameplay.
That's it for me.
Stay tuned for an update on NPCs and monsters!
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Still Optimizing frame rate and AI functionality. This was fun to mess around with sorry for the audio and framerate if it isn't completely clear.
Also for those of yall who are interested in keeping up-to-date more consistently I have a new twitter account follow me here:
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This is another idea I had. Basically imagine if you need to keep a list of billions of IP address (32 bits each) visitors to your site or worse IPv6 (256 bits each?) And if you had each IPv4 address you would get a total of 4+ GB. What if I told you you can reduce that to 400 MB?
The amount of entries encodable by using combinations (of size 2b-digit numbers) rather than permutation (using b-digit numbers) is:
sum ( (2^(2b))! / (k!)((2^(2b)-k)!) ) k from 0 to 2^(2b) = 2^(2^(2b))
And the amount of space used by them is (combo vs permu, worst case scenario all the IP addresses):
I calculated this to be around 400 MB using I think (this might be completely wrong as I don't remember exactly all of this and it does seem dumb to use combinations rather than permutations):
k * 2b
Where k is given by:
sum ( (2^(2b))! / (k!)((2^(2b)-k)!) ) k from 0 to 2^(2b) = 2^32. And the k should thus be limited (ie number of numbers used in the combination from the absolute possible maximum of 2^32 or even 2^(32*2)).
32 * 2^32 or if using bit field then only 2^32
I graphed them and noticed that at early levels (ie less than 32 bits) there was more encodable data by eg using 2b-digit wide number combinations (and finding the correct way to encode and quickly retrieve the visited IP addresses). The method with permutations if allocating data up front would be to keep 2^32 bits in total with one bit for each possible IP address.
This is better than an upfront big permutation bits integers cost.
An x fixed amount of 2b-wide or 3b-wide numbers instead of b-wide numbers might be much cheaper and have same amount values or more perhaps cheaper (less memory) than up-front cost of permutations of a single (2^b)-wide number.
How this would exactly be stored is the main issue.
keeping a linked list is basically a hidden cost
but if you store it as one integer or an array of variable size that helps, or an up-front fixed-size integer with repeats meaning unused and all -1 meaning nothing added, which rather defeats the point because the big-permu-int is more efficient as it can store more for the same num of bits as "unused" repeats etc have meaning as unique
values, but there might be a way to make the up-front permu int variable size to save space that has an equal distribution of possibilities for any same number of visitors and only grows in bit size requirements as there are more visitors.
The max size for a big permu int is 2^32 bits or 0.5 GB for all 32-bit IP's visitors worst case. About a few million visitors is 1/1000th of 4+ billion possible IP addresses (bits in the big permu int) or 1 MB.
The best idea though is to keep this variable sized array for all the numbers for the combo, use a separate integer to count how much bits or digits there are, and find some way to use permutation to encode the combination numbers to get rid of ordering redundancy.
The basic idea is, just looking at the number of permutations vs combinations, of b-bit numbers, there are more combinations than permutations.
As an example using a 2-k 2-bit IP system with combinations we store eg:
0 = 0
1 = 1
2 = 2
3 = 3
0,1 = 4
0,2 = 5
0,3 = 6
1,2 = 7
1,3 = 8
2,3 = 9
Ie we stored more than 2^2 = 8 entries because we also used the fact that not having a number is also a value or combination.
Also has anybody already noticed that the Fermat numbers without +1 are equal to the sum of number of combinations of 0 to 2^b numbers out of 2^b? Ie it is equal to 2^(2^b), which is equal to the more full combinatorics equation for that, if you graph those together.
And compare it to "(2^b)^b" or the number of permutations of b b-bit numbers (ie a single b*b-bit-wide int).
With IPv6 it's going to be even harder to keep track of lots of IP addresses, or even checking through them for the presence of one.
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The new video for Charly Men's BIZARRE is out!
This video is about the progress of texturing the first game location, the appartement of main-character Charly Clearwater.
(created with Unreal Engine 4)
If you have any questions about the texturing or the development, feel free to ask!
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Computer Architectures in Computer Tycoon
Computers are evolving since the 70s. In one of my previous writing, I’ve explained what’s the main difference between Personal Computers and Home computers in the game, and what is the story behind these names. In a nutshell, the expression “home computer” became unused because of marketing reasons. Companies thought that this name will indicate that their computers are only for games, and this will demotivate the business sector in buying their products.
In a nutshell, the expression “home computer” became unused because of marketing reasons. Companies thought that this name will indicate that their computers are only for games, and this will demotivate the business sector in buying their products. Also, the personal computer concept of IBM became really popular and the only alternative that was financially successful is the “MAC”, so we now have PCs and MACs.
(Please don’t forget my mailing list. By subscribing you can be one of my alpha testers or even win a free copy of the game before release
But these are only 2 categories. Still, we have very different architectures, such as “Portable Computers”. Well, this is again, a not really popular expression. Laptops, notepads, tablets could be called like that. This is again, somehow the result of marketing strategies. Basically, when you have a product, you try to sell it as something “new”. Also, these new names or categories sometimes are really logical as well. So today we have laptops, notebooks, tablets and so on. (some time ago we also had PDAs, and in fact we have today smartphones as well, and during that time we had kinda hybrid devices as well).
In Computer Tycoon you will have Kit Computers, Home Computers, Personal Computers, Portable Computers, and Tablets.
Oh, what a nice list, isn’t it?
Oh yes, this is something interesting for youngsters. A long time ago computers were very expensive devices. Also, they very huge physically as well. First, they were bigger than rooms, after that they were as big as a furniture, a cabinet. They used huge magnetic tapes or punch cards. Early developers made such cards as their “programs”. Wow! Just imagine me giving you Computer Tycoon on a 100-meter long card!
Then some nerds created the first computer for a “consumer friendly” price. Is it something like computers today? Well, not really. It didn’t have a screen, neither a keyboard (not a mouse of course). It was able to communicate with you by LEDs on its front panel. You were able to give numerical commands to the computer using toggle switches. And also… these were so called “kit computers” because they were constructed by YOU from a so called (not so user-friendly haha) kits.
They were awesome if you ask me. Here is the kit computer from Computer Tycoon:
Lovely, right? Well, you can’t play GTA V or LOL on it. Not even Tetris or Pong. Still, it was awesome. Before that computer people could only see computers in labors or some universities. Now you could have one at home.
What is really interesting to me, that the next models were not really so far from this actually. They used not much better CPUs, but they got a keyboard and a screen. This is what I call a small step in technological advancement but a huge jump in features. From the user experience perspective, it’s undeniably something very important.
In Computer Tycoon Kit Computers are represented only as introductory and tutorial purposes. In fact, you will start with a Kit Computer and your first task is the get all of the needed technology to build your first Home Computer!
Look at this picture, please:
Here you can see the main parts of this system. Red parts are mandatory at the moment (this is something that can change by time sometimes). Your kit computer will have some memory, a CPU, power supply, the main circuit (let’s call it a motherboard, although it’s not the same as today, but generally this was the base) and some kind of “operating system” (a program that can handle all of these parts)
When you get keyboard and monitor to the accessories and other important technology you can move to the “home computer” era:
Here you go. As you can see the system has expanded. Did you notice that displays aren’t mandatory? Well, there were Home Computers connected to the television. A well-known model was the Commodore 64 for example. Don’t worry about the empty parts by the way. You will fill those with hardware elements. In Computer Tycoon you have to develop the hardware elements first. Building your own system is only the second step.
As you should have noticed. There are different indicators on the screens, such as “performance”, “prestige”, “quality, “features”, and “ease-of-use”. Different elements give different values to these, and different architectures have different possibilities as well. (Oh just noticed the type in “prestige :)) on the screenshot). These indicators will be very important to you because the market will receive your product depending on these values AND on your price of the product… and on the offer of your opponents.
After a while, you will get Personal Computers and Portable Computers as well…
Do you notice the difference? But why aren’t storage or power supply is mandatory? Well, I already mentioned that different architectures mean different possibilities. As I told you in the beginning in real life the difference between PCs and HCs is mainly from marketing aspects AND the modular build of PCs. Although back in the early times it was still more of a marketing tool as well (Because they promised that you can easily change the CPU on your computer, in reality, it was hard and rare), today it’s kinda true. The PC compatible computers can contain devices from a lot of manufacturers together, and also you can greatly improve and customize your system.
If your customer can gather hardware for a PC from different sources.Why couldn’t you avoid some kind of hardware elements? Although you have to offer the main parts of the system, still you can create only basic computers here, without input devices, storages, displays or a power supply… AND of course, you don’t have to create an operating system either. Is it beneficial to you? Well, we will see! (Oh my gosh, “operation system” on the screenshot! Well, I will have to operate out these labels soon )
Portable Computers come only one step later. Although they won’t be a hit fast:
The first portable computers were not like our laptops today. Some of them were as big as a traveling suitcase with a screen on it as small as your palm.
And again. The mandatory parts are changing. Also, I should notice that the viewable architectural differences are only one thing. With different devices, your customers will have different desires and you will have to solve this. There will be some additional design concerns connected to the different architectures. You don’t have to create the fastest Computers out there for the same price as their Personal Computer rivals. Also, Home Computers will tend to be more a prestige symbol after a while. Oh, MACs are very nice. But will a hardcore gamer buy a MAC for gaming purposes? Of course not. Or will a hardcore player buy a tablet maybe, for gaming purposes? But at the same time, a businessman, will buy a Nuclear Reactor Madaf***er PC to show documents to his customers?
And eventually, we will have the tablets:
Although Tablets are portable, they function today as a really different thing compared to laptops for a reason. These are much more like a gadget than a computer. It’s unlikely that you will use a tablet for computing astronomical data, right? And although laptops are portable, having them in your bed isn’t recommended. Laptops are portable in the first case to move them between your homes, rents or workplaces and use them on a table. (Oh I know that how much of you don’t see it like that ) But a tablet is really something that you can grab and bring it with yourself to anywhere. Even to the toilet haha! Also, a tablet is even more of a luxury product if you ask me, something that is for your comfort and pleasure, not for work. A laptop will last much longer than a tablet. (this is a concern even to banks today where they would like to use them to enrich the customer experience. What they don’t really consider that these are not durable enough to serve too long under a massive user load).
They won’t last for too long, because in my opinion after a while their design will be obsolete. In the future, I’m sure that we will use some kind of light-based devices, and holographic GUI. Also, I do believe that our “desktop” computers will be all portable after a while. Well, maybe I’m wrong in that. We will see!
Originally I planned to include PDAs and ROBOTS into the game, but I decided to cut them out because of financial and design concerns. But if the game will sell well, I will include them in DLCs.
I hope that you enjoyed my article. Please share it if you like what you see. I’m a solo-dev fighting with time, I need your support out there. Also please remember that I’d like to release the game in early access, or at least create a demo for you to October 5. in memory of Steve Jobs.
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I feel like we can all agree that in every rpg combat is important, for example imagine a game that you defeat every opponent by mashing the attack button, what difference will a goblin and a Dragon will really have? If combat is not challenging in a logical way there is little reason to feel excited facing a fearful opponent like a Dragon over a goblin. ofcourse a good combat will be probably hard for me to make but i will try to push myself for atleast the basic mechanics of a challenging combat, hope i don't sound very cliche till now.
Having finished the basic graphics i will start working on the code now, hopefully a small test demo will be ready soon.
combat animation test
link to my deviantart gallery
Thanks for reading!
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It's been a little bit of an art push lately. First of all, I started work on a dungeon tile set. Up there is my first stab at it. I created a couple different wall variations, a door and a hex-pattern tile ground texture (used in conjunction with existing sand and gravel textures). Don't have anything in the way of doodads or decorations yet. Doors are still kinda tricky. I had a conversation with riuthamus about it. The gist of doors in this game is that a door needs to work with any configuration of walls around it, so trying to do artwork for a traditional-looking door and choosing alternates to match up with the surrounding walls was getting to be too difficult. I had already implemented doors some time ago that utilize portcullis-like behavior: when you open the door, it slides into the ground. Closing it brings it back up again. The door in the above shot works the same. The issue lies in creating a graphic that looks door-like, even though it doesn't look like a traditional door. I'm not sure there's a perfect solution for it. But at least when you hover over a door, a popup appears with the label 'Door'. Hopefully that's enough of a clue for people to figure it out.
I've also started experimenting with MakeHuman. The ogre in this shot is a result of that experiment:
It was a quick effort. I just used some of the clothes provided with MakeHuman (hence the jeans and button-up shirt, articles of clothing that would be quite difficult to obtain in the Goblinson Crusoe universe) and ran some of the various sliders for the mesh deformation all the way to 11 to try to get an ogre-ish form. The experiment worked pretty well, I think, certainly well enough to warrant further experimentation. As a bonus, MH will export a skeleton rig to fit the mesh, though I still have to rig it with IK and animate. As it turns out, I'm still terrible at animating. Who knew?
I spent some more time doing miscellaneous cleanup. Fixed a bug that caused creatures to die multiple times if they died in a round with multiple dots on them. (They would die once for each dot because I wasn't checking for isdead in between dot applications.) Formalized the construction of summoning spells, so that a flashy spell effect is played when things are summoned. Added some flashy effects for things dying. Moved and rearranged some data tables again. You know, crazy shit like that.
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Update Beta 0.2.0:
-The game is now divided into acts
-Fixed a small bug
-Some small additions before the final
-Now the sword must be recharged before it can hit
-Balanced some pattern of attacks
-Slightly changed a couple of sprites
-Slightly changed a soundtrack
Try the Beta on Gamejolt: https://gamejolt.com/games/eart/259207
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It's been a busy few days. We upgraded the GameDev.net software and servers this weekend, and while there are plenty of problems to still fix the whole process has exceeded expectations.
Quite a bit is new, actually. It wasn't just a software and server move. It was also an opportunity to change a few things. Here's a list of the big changes.
Article and Forum Category Changes
We merged quite a few of the article and forum categories, which now better align. If you remember, we had top-level categories of Technical, Creative, and Business. These were fine 18 years ago but the taxonomy of game development has changed a bit. These are the changes:
- Top-level categories are now: Programming, Visual Arts, Business, Audio, Game Design, Community, Affiliates, and Topical
- Graphics and GPU Programming now includes Graphics Programming and Theory, DirectX and XNA, OpenGL and Vulkan
- General and Gameplay Programming includes Mobile Development
- APIs, Middleware, and Tools is now Engines and Middleware
- Visual Arts is now a top-level category with 2D and 3D Art as the forum
- Breaking into the Games Industry is now Career Development
- Game Design is now a top-level category with Game Design and Theory as a forum
- Writing for Games has moved to the Game Design category, from Creative
- Virtual Reality moved to Topical, which is intended for topics that span multiple categories
New GDNet+ Benefits
Be sure to check out all the GDNet+ Benefits that come with the upgrade. The list is much bigger!
Now you can keep track of industry events with the calendar. We'll also create a community calendar in the near future.
Blog navigation is now better. You can theoretically read every single blog post that has ever been submitted. On the old version you could only view the latest posts.
This is one of my favorite. The Activity stream is like "Latest Content" but much more powerful. The default is to be able to see all activity across the entire site, but if you don't like that you can create your own Activity Stream. You can subscribe to an RSS feed of the streams.
Freelancers are now a GDNet+ perk. If you're a freelancer wanting to broadcast your services to the GameDev.net audience I recommend you check it out - it's 1/6th the cost it used to be.
Jobs are now powered by our new job portal, GameDev Jobs at https://gamedev.jobs. We'll be making more changes here, but GameDev Jobs allows us to do much more with job seekers as well as employers - you can even upload your resume for employers to search. As with the GameDev Market, we'll be using GameDev Jobs to power job listings on GameDev.net.
Easily Add New Content
You'll notice a "+" sign on the menu. This is a shortcut to add new content. Start a blog, submit news, start a new or topic quickly and easily.
Realtime Notifications and Messages
You might have noticed already, but you'll receive realtime notifications as activity happens around the site. If your browser supports it, you can receive the notifications on your desktop.
For a while our Google, Facebook, and Twitter logins were broken. Not anymore!
Now you can login to GameDev.net with your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account, and if that isn't enough you can also login with your Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Discord accounts - the latter of which will also integrate your GameDev.net account with our Discord chat room.
Having a problem with the site? Now you can use the support link at https://www.gamedev.net/support which is available in your Profile menu under "Support".
What are these Pixel things?
Some members have noticed a new attribute in their profiles called "Pixels". It's time to explain what those are, but first we need to talk about Reputation.
In our old system, reputation was awarded for up votes and down votes as one would expect, but it also awarded reputation for activity - things like logging in, posting a blog, upvoting someone, and so on. While it encouraged activity it didn't help with knowing which members were knowledgeable, helpful, or produced interesting content - basically the things that would define a member's reputation.
With our new system, reputation is exactly as it sounds. It is calculated entirely off of a member's up and down votes, which I encourage everyone to use. Not only do up/down votes let the community know about the reputation of the member, it also lets the community know the quality of the contribution.
Enter the Pixel. The Pixel is our way of valuing all the other stuff and more. Pixels reflect your activity as a member - you earn pixels by doing things on GameDev.net, such as posting a topic in the forums. If reputation is a measure of a member's helpfulness and quality, then pixels are a measure of a member's activity.
In fact, if we gamify GameDev.net, then pixels are your score.
But be aware, you can also lose pixels. One way is simply through decay. If you stop using GameDev.net then your balance will decrease. If you get warned, you'll lose pixels. Basically, do something that's not conducive to the community and good content, and pixels will be taken away.
Pixels are a neat concept. We're excited about what we can do with them.
As for current reputation, we're going to see if we can normalize reputation to real upvote/downvotes. I'll make another blog post about this when we have a solution. We need some kind of reset so the new definition of reputation matches members' values.
We have a running TODO list and will be busy for a few more weeks to get the upgrade where we really want it to be. I don't want to spill too much on that, but we'll be bringing back the Image of the Day, improving the GameDev Marketplace and GameDev Jobs integrations, adding ways for you to showcase and get feedback on your projects, support for contests, and more.
We're excited because this upgrade marks a new beginning for GameDev.net, and we hope you agree.
As always, please leave your feedback in the comments below! And if you have any problems please let us know through the Support portal.
Hello all, 1 month ago I had released my 2nd game on Android and WebGL. It’s a simple clicker/idle game, in which we gather funds and we buy upgrades, from time to time, we make decisions. I must say, that creating this game, was very fun.
„Tree Tap – Money Idle Clicker” Was downloaded by 539 users, WebGL version got 13500 game plays, those numbers are not big, to be honest, those statistics are really weak, but I’m glad that someone had played my game. 141 users had download game from Amazon Store, 398 from Google Play. The Biggest number of downloads (in one day) was 72. Game is downloaded 12-14x/per day. As a curiosity, record of my first game (downloads in one day) was 30. Actual number of downloads of my first game is 427.
How does earnings from „Tree Tap – Money Idle Clicker” looks?
$2.37 (Unity Ads)
I can’t withdraw those cash, it’s too small. I was ready for those earnings, I don’t hope too much on earnings, I still learn, I think, that my games are too weak, to earn some cash. For marketing, I had use: Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Wykop(Polish website) and I had written to many youtubers, sites. I was also frequently updating game, based on players requests. As a next curiosity, my game is frequently used on those devices:
Some Data, about users of my game:
Google Nexus 6P - 4.5%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge - 4.5%
Samsung Galaxy S7 - 2,8%
Google Pixel XL - 2.0%
A lot of Samsung Devices ( 60-70% )
What are my plans? I plan to make new updates for „Tree Tap – Money Idle Clicker”, then I will learn new things in C# and I will make next game. I think, that it will be next clicker, but I plan to make a other mechanic for it, it won’t be boring clicking.
If You got any questions, feel free to ask them, threat this as a curiosity, I got 18 years, I’m still weak newbie.
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the game will be quite big. I plan that there would be shops to buy tools, items for harvesting, planting, fishing, etc. Then there would be mini events to score our crush. I believe that this will take a long time to finish:We want to make a game that make you happy and enjoy it
now our plan is we do the Demo for free and the Update for patreon
This is just a beta version Memory trees Alpha 0.3
for test map and mini game
our game make 2 version for male and female story will be Different
we know that our game still on develop still have so much thing to do
but hope you still enjoy
Become Patreon for play Memory trees Alpha 0.7
If you like please Share our project
If you like please reblog tumblr or Share in FB that help us alot (a--oaEUR?a--oaoe?)
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