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CAPS

Modern Melee Combat - A dress in the heat of battle

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Hey, I'm currently working out some idea's however I've hit a point in which I think it would be better if I ask some of your opinions before I continue. I won't lay down the whole game design because that would be pointless, so I'll simply tell you everything you need to know so you can (hopefully) give a meaningfull opinion. I'm trying to make a Combat(read: Fighting) game in which technology has advanced in such a way that it favours Close range weapons (swords, scythes, daggers) over Long range weapons (guns, rifles etc). However I'm trying to use technology that's already present or is currently in R&D-stage. So here's the list I already have. 1) Dragon Skin® Body Armor - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNY1MtsVwG8 This basicly works like the Water&CornStarch-trick. 2) Invisibility Cloak - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ja_fuZyHDuk It doesn't make you disappear completely which is a good thing 'cause if it did the light wouldn't reach your eyes making you blind aswell. Once again this would effect ranged combat alot more then close range since they won't be able to see the weird refraction at range. 3) Carbon Nanotube Muscles - http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/03/nanomuscle/ These would greatly increase strength and speed. 4) Evasive NeuroTech - http://science.discovery.com/tv/weird-connections/episodes/episodes.html If this could be used in combination with the Muscles allowing your body to response alot quicker then a normal human could. So where lies the problem? The Armor. Eventho Carbon NT Muscles are extremely strong and the DragonSkin Armor stops almost every bullet it still doesn't solve the problem. The kinetic energy will simply pass and mess you up nontheless. I came up with: Cloak-DragonSkin (think StarWars / Akatsuki (Naruto)). You would still be vulnerable at some spots but a large part of it would hang infront of your body unable to pass the energy to your body. However, I want to have it as realistic as possible and somehow it simply sounds weird ... a dress in combat?. I try to maintain a certain amount of logic/realisme even if it is a game. *)So my question to you is, does this indeed sound weird? *)What would be more realistic? *)Does any of you have a better solution? I'm awaiting your responses/opinions/feedback. ^_^

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I can't remember what they are called, but there are materials that remain soft (sometimes fluid) state at rest, but solidify/stiffen when subjected to a sudden force, like the impact of a bullet. This material could lie close to a person's body, and then spread the force of a bullet around, stopping it from causing any serious harm. Here's one example of what I'm talking about: a lightweight bike helmet.

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Hmm, as theOcelot said, a STF-based armor is more realistic than wearing a party dress, but another answer would be Magnetorheological Fluid. Which is pretty much the cape from Batman Begins; magnet filaments embedded within a material that reacts to electrical current. Hit a switch, and you got armor.


http://science.howstuffworks.com/liquid-body-armor2.htm

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Original post by theOcelot
I can't remember what they are called, but there are materials that remain soft (sometimes fluid) state at rest, but solidify/stiffen when subjected to a sudden force, like the impact of a bullet. This material could lie close to a person's body, and then spread the force of a bullet around, stopping it from causing any serious harm. Here's one example of what I'm talking about: a lightweight bike helmet.


That basicly how DragonSkin works. However a bullet carries a buttload of energy with it, even if it was able to be spread you'd still get a good punch.

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Original post by Elhrrah
Hmm, as theOcelot said, a STF-based armor is more realistic than wearing a party dress, but another answer would be Magnetorheological Fluid. Which is pretty much the cape from Batman Begins; magnet filaments embedded within a material that reacts to electrical current. Hit a switch, and you got armor.


http://science.howstuffworks.com/liquid-body-armor2.htm


Altho the MR Fluid-concept is a very interesting concept it would once again be a cloak/cape still leaving the question unanswered, is a cloak in battle a realistic concept?

*****

EDIT: I misunderstood the STF-part, I thought it worked the same way as DragonSkin but it doesn't. So I guess this is the solution, MR fluid or the Shear-thicking armor.

I'm still looking forward to other responses.

[Edited by - CAPS on June 4, 2009 3:26:25 PM]

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Stephen Coonts had a pretty good book about a suit of armor that would harden when impacted by something at very high velocity. I forget what it was called though...

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Once people are augmented with cybernetics the range of combat will polarize ( either at extremely long distances or extremely short ones ). As the hit percentages drop too low at medium range given conventional weapons ( ie simple projectile weapons and unguided missiles ).

A cyborg, with full body augmentation and full stealth capabilities can move too quickly and silently over irregular terrain to engage using simple unguided weapons. Look at the various cyber suits in development :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSP46lWvxJ4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0X1vyWU6bw

These are just first steps, the 2nd and 3rd generation would be awe inspiring in their speed and strength.

These suits will allow the augmented/wearer to absorb enormous kinetic loads as well as carry and move with enormous weights (300+ pounds maybe) relative to todays solider quickly over rough terrain without tiring ( only limited by their fuel cells ).

That or full robot armies is where its going.

-ddn

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So where lies the problem? The Armor. Eventho Carbon NT Muscles are extremely strong and the DragonSkin Armor stops almost every bullet it still doesn't solve the problem. The kinetic energy will simply pass and mess you up nontheless.


This seems to usually be handled by wearing an appropriately rated "soft" armor/layer for absorbing Blunt Force Trauma, such as TurtleSkin.

Quote:
Scientists measure the effects of kinetic energy imparted to the body by placing the soft body armor up against a slab of Plastalina Clay #1 before they fire a bullet at the body armor. The kinetic energy creates an indentation in the clay called a Backface Signature. NIJ Standards dictate that the acceptable level of blunt force trauma to the body may create a backface signature indentation in the clay not greater than 44 millimeters (1.73 inches) in depth.

[Source]

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Original post by CAPS
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Original post by theOcelot
I can't remember what they are called, but there are materials that remain soft (sometimes fluid) state at rest, but solidify/stiffen when subjected to a sudden force, like the impact of a bullet. This material could lie close to a person's body, and then spread the force of a bullet around, stopping it from causing any serious harm. Here's one example of what I'm talking about: a lightweight bike helmet.


That basicly how DragonSkin works. However a bullet carries a buttload of energy with it, even if it was able to be spread you'd still get a good punch.


Well, I think that's as good as it's going to get. Every increase in the level of protection decreases your mobility. Given the "buttload of energy" carried by a bullet, even your thick cloak won't help much, unless it's very heavy, which would be prohibitively cumbersome. The bullet will just push it out of the way.

The whole concept of "technology has evolved to favor melee weapons over ranged ones" is a bit unrealistic in itself. By the time all these other technologies are ready, won't we also have directed-energy weapons too, á la laser guns? Those are being developed too. I think the US Army just tested a laser weapon on a missile.

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You're probably going to have to give yourself some artistic license, if melee weapons are going to be important again, it's not going to happen for a while.

In the Dune books, they had energy shields that blocked anything going faster than a given velocity, so you had to get close to the opponent and shank them old-style.

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Original post by CAPS
I'm trying to make a Combat(read: Fighting) game in which technology has advanced in such a way that it favours Close range weapons (swords, scythes, daggers) over Long range weapons (guns, rifles etc). However I'm trying to use technology that's already present or is currently in R&D-stage.
You have three approaches here: armour strong enough to stop projectiles, cloaking to make it hard to see the target well enough to shoot at it, and movement fast enough to dodge incoming projectiles.

Unfortunately, this can all be countered with guided anti-tank missiles. These exist currently, can be fired from a hand-held rocket launcher, can use a variety of detection and guidance systems to overcome the cloaking and dodging, and can punch through any armour you could mount on a person.

-----

If you ever decide to leave behind the complete realism angle, Frank Herbert's Dune had a very nice 'personal shield' mechanic, where the shields only stop high-velocity objects from entering. This has the dual effect of making projectile weapons obsolete, and also slowing down the hand-to-hand combat (fast slash with a blade will bounce).

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Original post by theOcelot
Well, I think that's as good as it's going to get. Every increase in the level of protection decreases your mobility. Given the "buttload of energy" carried by a bullet, even your thick cloak won't help much, unless it's very heavy, which would be prohibitively cumbersome. The bullet will just push it out of the way.

The whole concept of "technology has evolved to favor melee weapons over ranged ones" is a bit unrealistic in itself. By the time all these other technologies are ready, won't we also have directed-energy weapons too, á la laser guns? Those are being developed too. I think the US Army just tested a laser weapon on a missile.


You mean this? http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3181489483846658366
And ... http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-10201745-76.html.

It'll take a long long time before we see any lasers on the battlefield. All the above mentioned technologies are already in a advanced stadium of research. Usually the problem is making them on large scale. This is not to say my idea is likely.

I have found my answer tho, it seems Biosteel and Carbon Nanotubes will be the future. Woven Fibers Body Armors distribute the impact energy over the entire surface unlike the DragonSkin which works much like Standard Kevlar but instead in discs-form overlapping each other distributed over the Armor.

So I think I've formulated my solution.

Quote:
Original post by Prinz Eugn
You're probably going to have to give yourself some artistic license, if melee weapons are going to be important again, it's not going to happen for a while.

In the Dune books, they had energy shields that blocked anything going faster than a given velocity, so you had to get close to the opponent and shank them old-style.


What exactly do you mean with Artistic License?

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Original post by swiftcoder
Quote:
Original post by CAPS
I'm trying to make a Combat(read: Fighting) game in which technology has advanced in such a way that it favours Close range weapons (swords, scythes, daggers) over Long range weapons (guns, rifles etc). However I'm trying to use technology that's already present or is currently in R&D-stage.
You have three approaches here: armour strong enough to stop projectiles, cloaking to make it hard to see the target well enough to shoot at it, and movement fast enough to dodge incoming projectiles.

Unfortunately, this can all be countered with guided anti-tank missiles. These exist currently, can be fired from a hand-held rocket launcher, can use a variety of detection and guidance systems to overcome the cloaking and dodging, and can punch through any armour you could mount on a person.

-----

If you ever decide to leave behind the complete realism angle, Frank Herbert's Dune had a very nice 'personal shield' mechanic, where the shields only stop high-velocity objects from entering. This has the dual effect of making projectile weapons obsolete, and also slowing down the hand-to-hand combat (fast slash with a blade will bounce).


How do these guided systems work, heat? Movement?

I'm determined to stick with my realism angle. Shields are for later, the ''laser''-era.

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Original post by CAPS
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Original post by Prinz Eugn
You're probably going to have to give yourself some artistic license, if melee weapons are going to be important again, it's not going to happen for a while.
What exactly do you mean with Artistic License?
As in, there is no rule saying that artists have to pursue realism.
Quote:
Quote:
Original post by swiftcoder
Unfortunately, this can all be countered with guided anti-tank missiles. These exist currently, can be fired from a hand-held rocket launcher, can use a variety of detection and guidance systems to overcome the cloaking and dodging, and can punch through any armour you could mount on a person.
How do these guided systems work, heat? Movement?
As I said, a variety. Any metric you like can be used for guidance: heat, visible motion, radar, radar motion, etc. or any combination of the above. You can't cloak every signature of a person (even B-2 bombers are visible to radar from some angles), and the enemy can choose to develop whichever tracking system you aren't able to cloak.

And look at current warfare: already the issue is avoidance and stealth rather than armour (armour being primarily effective against infantry). If the enemy can find you, they can destroy you - even the most heavily armoured tank can be destroyed by a single air-to-ground missile, or a direct hit from another tank.

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All guided weapons can be defeated by some form of countermeasure ( ie flares, active defense, IR blocking smoke, jamming, etc.. ) if you have sufficient level of tech. Of course right now all these guided weapons are focused toward high priority targets (tanks, helicopters, fighter planes) since a single infantry solider or squad isn't valuable enough to expend a multi-million dollar guided missile on.

Advance stealthy cyber enhanced soldiers who are strong enough to carry a variety of countermeasures to defeat long range guided weapons can possibly close with the enemy fast enough to engage in close range combat, where their added armor, augmented reflex and super strength will give them an incredible edge.

They will be carrying enough armor to stop most if not all standard infantry projectile weapons so the combat might very well resort to hand 2 hand. They themselves should be able to carry devastating heavy weapons like mobile mortars, heavy machine guns, etc..

Directed energy weapons are quite possible, however they will be quite expensive and high priority targets, defended like how AA batteries are now, don't think they will be used against low priority targets like infantry.

-ddn

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Original post by ddn3
They will be carrying enough armor to stop most if not all standard infantry projectile weapons so the combat might very well resort to hand 2 hand. They themselves should be able to carry devastating heavy weapons like mobile mortars, heavy machine guns, etc..

-ddn


So, we move up to non-standard weapons. Screw infantry, I'll take the same techs used on your super infantry, mount them on a LAV, and then set them up with 6+ 30mm auto cannons that are controlled by gunners inside you use a wide spectrum sensor suite on each cannon to guide their cones of fire.

Or, if all infantry can run at super speeds, then I'll withdraw till we're both nearly out of power, then ambush you while you try to get close enough to cut my men.

That, or land mines. Lots, and lots and lots of landmines. And I'm not talking about those puny little blow a tank up mines, I'm talking defend my holdings with mines that go off and leave a 20 foot crater, and are then replaced by robots.

I really thing Frank Herbert had it almost right, the only method that is going to make soldiers go back to bladed weapons is some form of defense that would protect from even the most massive physical energies, but not minor forces. However the flaw here is low pressure grenade launchers. Design a weapon that travels slow enough to pass through the shields, and then explodes.


But the real answer? Honour and Tradition. This is by far the best and most probable method of going back to the sword and shield. Make a culture at war with itself that values not just the killing of an opponent, but the method used to kill them.

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Original post by Talroth
I really thing Frank Herbert had it almost right, the only method that is going to make soldiers go back to bladed weapons is some form of defense that would protect from even the most massive physical energies, but not minor forces. However the flaw here is low pressure grenade launchers. Design a weapon that travels slow enough to pass through the shields, and then explodes.
He did have a variant on this, with the slow-pellet stun guns. I also seem to recall shielded troops still being vulnerable to gas attacks in the later books.
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But the real answer? Honour and Tradition. This is by far the best and most probable method of going back to the sword and shield. Make a culture at war with itself that values not just the killing of an opponent, but the method used to kill them.
This would probably make the most sense - there are many examples of cultures throughout history that have placed a high value on honourable methods of war.

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You do realize an armor made of carbon nanotubes would be much better than dragon skin?
It's hard and flexible at the same time...

Carbon nanotubs is really the material of the future.
You may want to take a look at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potential_applications_of_carbon_nanotubes

Note also you're not likely to cut carbon nanotubes with sword-like things, even if they're made of carbon nanotubes.

[Edited by - loufoque on June 4, 2009 9:22:24 PM]

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"Inventing" any kind of body armor will not do your realism any good. Historically, the answer to heavily armored personal were long range weapons to pick them off. So using armor to explain the use of close combat weapons goes against anything anybody ever learned in history classes. Any armor that can protect a human from a bullet at high velocity will be suited or at least easily modifiable to protect at least as well from close combat weapons. Your only choice is to give close combat weapons an edge in another field that bullets can not deliver:

1) Have your melee weapons come attached to a large energy source and have them deal energy damage on impact. Like a taser on steroids. Short range and deadly if you can pierce the armor even a tiny little bit. This will not make long range weapons obsolete, just no longer the weapon of choice. Getting shot still sucks, it's just that getting hit by an energized close combat weapon sucks way more. Gets you killed three times over, not "only" twice like an automatic weapon. Add in some cyberware that will get fried by the energy weapon and you have two reasons to use those.

2) Have long range weapons be obsolete by increase in personal speed. A ranged weapon is deadly because I have 1-5 shots before you close in on me. If I have only one or even less before you are all over me with your sword, I'd probably rather have my own sword. But note that long range weapons would still be viable as a surprise weapon. Like fire once and then charge. Or in a terrain where you cannot charge easily.

3) Maybe only some very costly stuff is able to pierce the latest armor. a coated melee weapon is worth a lot, but rapidly firing tons of coated bullets of that stuff and hope to have one of them hit is way over budget. A melee weapon is reusable and efficient. Just note that corporations or states may still use hit squads with automated weapons using the stuff. They can afford it and they will if they really want someone dead.

4) Make your scenario so lowtech or otherwise unhealthy for technology (swamp, desert, no oil available...) that a sword or axe is the most reliable weapon. No moving parts, no energy required, can kill a bazillion people without the need for externally manufactored components (aka ammunition).


In other words: make your reasoning for melee combat logically sound. Don't ask me to believe that armor got so good that instead of a bullet I will need a sword. That's just not the way our world has worked for about 5000 years and it's highly unlikely that it will change tomorrow.

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The main thing, is that by trying to stick to one form of realism, you're destroying another; which means that immersion will be much harder.

All you need is 1) an alien planet 2) a long-dead alien super-civilization 3) a war in such said civilization 4) armor and melee weapons which survived where the ammunition did not.

Stick it together with some fancy words, bright glowy things, and an insane cult or two, and you'll have everything you need to blast your game's mojo straight to the player's brain. You can mimic elements like the Brotherhood of Steel from the fallout universe, armor design from things like Too Human or In Fury Born, the wicked energy-blades from the original Gundam series, and so forth. Its pretty formulaic.

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Original post by Prinz Eugn
You're probably going to have to give yourself some artistic license, if melee weapons are going to be important again, it's not going to happen for a while.

In the Dune books, they had energy shields that blocked anything going faster than a given velocity, so you had to get close to the opponent and shank them old-style.

Why not a personal active protection system, like the Phalanx ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phalanx_CIWS ), but on a smaller scale.

Such a system would need to not react to normal nearby objects, so would look to the object speed to determine if it is a threat. So fast moving projectiles would be shot down or deflected by the pCISW, but slow moving objects (like a punch, kick, or sword) would not. A good enough system could theoretically protect the user from any fast moving projectile (and yes, tracking systems today are good enough to track and intercept even a bullet from a gun).

This could be the solution to the ranged attack problem. a small personal CIW system could protect the wearer from ranged attacks, which would mean that they would ahve to get up close and personal if they wanted to take someone out.

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It's natural for people to turn towards alternative ranged methods of combat than resort to melee. The response to a speed-based interception system won't be resorting to melee, but instead overloading the intercept. People will turn to things like low-spread shotguns, and adapt other cluster weapons to work at longer distance.

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Look at how stealth technology changed air combat, it's no longer who can see the farthest but who can get the jump on who. The whole point of stealthy infantry is that the enemy can't be on the defensive all the time to an enemy they don't even know is there.

Fixed weapons like unmanned/manned turrets and the like will very likely be destroyed on the very first strike by fast guided micro weapons of the future ( small missiles fired from behind a rock with self targeting AI ). To survive in the future battlefield you'll either have to be mobile, stealthy, agile (fast enough to dodge or duck), or have some form of active defense ( see the active defenses mounted on APCs and tanks now ). Advances in technology will allow infantry super strength and speed and weapons will of course be developed to meet that challenge ( larger caliber guns, guided weapons, etc.. ).

Combat will occur at either extremely long ranges ( the stand off ranges for guided weapons ) or close range in my opinion because of this. In an urban combat environment you don't need active defense to shoot down a missile you can just duck into a building. Sure the missile might take out a wall or something but against cyber enhanced infantry blast and shrapnel damage is much less effective. How many missiles can you throw at them or large caliber weapons until they close the range?

Yes in old school combat where both you and ur enemy are out in open plains/desert long range weapons win. That's where stealth is more important, if your suit can cover your heat signature and blend you into the environment, and you don't emit any energy signature which can be tracked, you'll be virtually invisible to all types of detection (well as long as you don't move too fast).

-ddn

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Original post by ddn3
Fixed weapons like unmanned/manned turrets and the like will very likely be destroyed on the very first strike by fast guided micro weapons of the future ( small missiles fired from behind a rock with self targeting AI ). To survive in the future battlefield you'll either have to be mobile, stealthy, agile (fast enough to dodge or duck), or have some form of active defense ( see the active defenses mounted on APCs and tanks now ). Advances in technology will allow infantry super strength and speed and weapons will of course be developed to meet that challenge ( larger caliber guns, guided weapons, etc.. ).

Combat will occur at either extremely long ranges ( the stand off ranges for guided weapons ) or close range in my opinion because of this. In an urban combat environment you don't need active defense to shoot down a missile you can just duck into a building. Sure the missile might take out a wall or something but against cyber enhanced infantry blast and shrapnel damage is much less effective. How many missiles can you throw at them or large caliber weapons until they close the range?

Yes in old school combat where both you and ur enemy are out in open plains/desert long range weapons win. That's where stealth is more important, if your suit can cover your heat signature and blend you into the environment, and you don't emit any energy signature which can be tracked, you'll be virtually invisible to all types of detection (well as long as you don't move too fast).
I don't have a particular problem with this view of ranged combat and counter-measures, but I still have many issues with the idea that melee is a reasonable substitute.

I mean, here I am in my multi-million dollar suit, with stealth capabilities, active mag-fluid armour, active defence, super-strength, and a small fusion reactor to power it all, etc. I take my vibro-blade/energy sword, sneak up behind and kill some rent-a-cop, and his buddy turns around and hits me with a $50 taser... Whoops, there went all my fancy electronics, and I am now standing around in a few tons of inert metal.

I mean, make all the fancy offensive and defensive systems you like, they are still vulnerable to EMPs (unless every compnent is carefully shielded). Luckily for current generation tanks and planes, we haven't developed the technology to deliver EMP blasts at a distance, but you are talking about bringing all this fancy technology into touching distance, at which point we have existing, highly effective EMP delivery.

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I agree that is the route it's going, to counter the increasing robotoization of the battlefield nations will develop EMP weapons and in turn those nations who depend upon high tech will harden them against EMP and electrical attacks. A full metal or conducting shell should protect against most EMP and electrical attacks ( think IronMan ).

Another thing to think about, with the increase in strength due to battle suits, the shield might make a comeback. Nothing stops bullets & missiles like a foot of depleted uranium in a tower shield formation ( it might weight a ton though ).

-ddn

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