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About Me







Found 339 results

  1. I'm very often facing one small problem when trying to learn some new stuff - hard to choose what to learn next. Even if the problem seems to be small it has a very huge impact on the final result I think. And because Game Programming offers so much to learn, I'm always feeling that I'm missing something important and wasting my time learning something not important or unneeded. Or usually, I'm afraid to focus on something specific and huge for a long time, because I think that I'll spend all my time on that particular filed and will not be able to solve another problem. So I've tried to fit all my thoughts in this questions. 1) Are you trying to cover all the aspects of Game Programming? Or you trying to focus on some specific aspects like physics, animations, or networking etc. 2) What is your way to find a new theory or whatever else for your learning process? (Manuals, Courses, Books, Documentation? etc.) 3) When you trying to learn while practicing, are you search for learning because of a problem that appears, or because you wants to try new things? How do you choose this new thing? And finally, Which of this two approaches was the best for you if any? Not actually in the scope of the topic, but I'm also very interested to hear your thoughts on this. What is Game Programming for you? How would you describe what should Game Programmer able to solve?
  2. Hey GameDev! I'm currently sitting with a cool 2D game concept and time/team to get into a decently good development cycle, but torn between several engines. I'm currently considering: Java or Kotlin - LibGDX C# - SFML bind(SFML.NET), Unity, Godot C++ - Unreal, Cocos2d-x, SFML I'm not exactly sure about language either; With my interests lying mostly in Java/Kotlin area, they are pretty slow. C# is mostly referred as go-to game dev language, but SFML is pretty low-level(and won't run on my Linux Mono setup duh) and I personally don't like Unity too much as it's pretty heavy for my taste and seems somewhat messed up with its truckload of different features. Maybe it's not true and I've been approaching it from the wrong end since everyone seems to recommend it? Godot is there, too, but its C# support is in beta stage right now and they themselves advise not to use it for serious projects. I also considered C++ as I'm somewhat fluent in it, but it's pretty low-level and shooting myself in a leg seems to slow down the development and clutter the code too much. Maybe it's not true for some engines/APIs? Not sure. Just in case, I also know Python 3 and JS basics in case there is a decent solution(though I was unable to find it). If there are good options I'm missing for listed languages - please let me know as well!
  3. supermikhail

    A simple language game

    You click on objects in the world and get their name and how it's pronounced, in Russian which is my native language. That's pretty much it. Basically I want to be 100% sure that I can accomplish the project. The problem is, as a player, would I want to buy it? I myself am poor and consequently very selective with my entertainment spending. Which means, it'd be too lean an offering for me. On the other hand, I more or less believe that there are... enough "suckers" out there who'd pick up anything with "language learning" in description... To put it plainly. I guess that's the short of it. I don't know if that last intuition of mine is correct. And if it is, I don't actually want to scam people. But I don't want to promise something that I don't know that I'll be able to deliver, like... voice recognition or anything as useful and preposterous. Or even a story. I've never written for games. I've never designed a puzzle. All of which would probably add all the value necessary, but more likely just show me my limits. I suppose you could say "make a prototype". And I know I won't enjoy playing it, simply because, well, Russian is my native language and I like challenge. But I'd enjoy making it, and I like the idea of using videogames for studying languages. Any thoughts to help my conscience, more or less?
  4. Okay, looking for some constructive feedback/criticism here... What follows is the code of my c# UDP Socket Class. I've written this based on a number of online examples and a few distant memories from the past, so I really have no idea how "bad" the code is/could be in a 100+ concurrent connection scenario(my dev environment is just two machines at the moment)... It works, I know that, it is fairly stable(I can't break it when using it normally), and it behaves how I believe I want it to. It is a dual purpose class for handling both Servers and Clients. It uses an asynchronous receive and synchronous send(I may switch to async send if it proves beneficial later on). My servers use Client sockets to communicate with each other and to perform internal connection tests in a multiple server, "single shard" type environment. I'll be devising some heavy load testing methods a little further down the line, but I'm hoping to fish out most of the major gotchas before I get there. So, please, let me know how to fix it up if it smells terribly to you, or if not, that's even better... Sorry for the large code dump, but THANKS for checking it out! using System; using System.Collections.Generic; using System.Net; using System.Net.Sockets; using System.Text; using UWAvatarServerData; namespace UWAvatarServer { public class UDPSocket : IDisposable { //Some simple string length counters and averages to get a rough idea of generated traffic. public int sndMax = 0; public MovingAverage sndAvg = new MovingAverage(); public int csndMax = 0; public MovingAverage csndAvg = new MovingAverage(); public int rcvMax = 0; public MovingAverage rcvAvg = new MovingAverage(); //Constant for configuring the prevention of ICMP connection resets private const int SIO_UDP_CONNRESET = -1744830452; //UDP socket private Socket _socket = new Socket(AddressFamily.InterNetwork, SocketType.Dgram, ProtocolType.Udp); //Buffer Size Constant private const int bufSize = 8 * 1024; //Raw string data from client packets private Dictionary<EndPoint, Queue<string>> messageDictionary; //Queue for holding raw string data from server packets when in client mode. private Queue<string> cQ; //Referece to the data store used by the server(for access to the current game time clock) private UWDataStore dataStore; //Time code storage for last sent/received messages private double lastSentMessage = 0; private double lastReceivedMessage = 0; //Boolean to determine which mode we're in so received messages get put in the right place. private bool clientMode = false; //Max string lenght allowed by the servers. private int maxMessageLength = 1450; //IDisposable stuff public void Dispose() { Dispose(true); GC.SuppressFinalize(this); } protected virtual void Dispose(bool disposing) { if (disposing) { // free managed resources if (_socket != null) { _socket.Dispose(); _socket = null; } } } //State class for async receive. public class State { public byte[] buffer = new byte[bufSize]; public EndPoint epFrom = new IPEndPoint(IPAddress.Any, 0); } //Server "Mode" public UDPSocket(Dictionary<EndPoint, Queue<string>> msgsDict, UWDataStore DATASTORE) { clientMode = false; messageDictionary = msgsDict; dataStore = DATASTORE; lastSentMessage = dataStore.UWServerSeconds; } //Client "Mode" public UDPSocket(Queue<string> mq, UWDataStore DATASTORE) { clientMode = true; cQ = mq; dataStore = DATASTORE; lastSentMessage = dataStore.UWServerSeconds; } public void CloseSocket() { _socket.Close(); } //Internal connection status checking public int SendHowStale() { if (lastSentMessage == 0) lastSentMessage = dataStore.UWServerSeconds; return (int)(dataStore.UWServerSeconds - lastSentMessage); } //Internal connection status checking public int ReceiveHowStale() { if (lastReceivedMessage == 0) lastReceivedMessage = dataStore.UWServerSeconds; return (int)(dataStore.UWServerSeconds - lastReceivedMessage); } //Start/Bind a Server. public void Server(string address, int port) { //In case restarting uncleanly, dunno if this actually does anything.. _socket.SetSocketOption(SocketOptionLevel.IP, SocketOptionName.ReuseAddress, true); //Ensure all async packets contain endpoint info and etc. _socket.SetSocketOption(SocketOptionLevel.IP, SocketOptionName.PacketInformation, true); //Ignore ICMP port unreachable exceptions. _socket.IOControl((IOControlCode)SIO_UDP_CONNRESET, new byte[] { 0, 0, 0, 0 }, null); //Bind to port. if (address == "all") { _socket.Bind(new IPEndPoint(IPAddress.Any, port)); } else { _socket.Bind(new IPEndPoint(IPAddress.Parse(address), port)); } //Start receive callback process. Receive(); } //Setup a Client to Server socket. public void Client(string address, int port) { //Dunno if these two options do anything for client sockets, but they don't seem to break anything. _socket.SetSocketOption(SocketOptionLevel.IP, SocketOptionName.PacketInformation, true); _socket.IOControl((IOControlCode)SIO_UDP_CONNRESET, new byte[] { 0, 0, 0, 0 }, null); _socket.Connect(IPAddress.Parse(address), port); //Start receive callback. Receive(); } //ServerSend sends to any EndPoint from THIS server. public void ServerSend(string text, EndPoint ep) { try { byte[] data = Encoding.ASCII.GetBytes(text); _socket.SendTo(data, ep); lastSentMessage = dataStore.UWServerSeconds; if (text.Length > sndMax) sndMax = text.Length; sndAvg.ComputeAverage((float)text.Length); //Console.WriteLine("TO NET: " + text); } catch (Exception ex) { Console.WriteLine("ServerSend Exception: " + ex.Message); } } //Client Send only sends to the connected Server. public void cSend(string text) { try { byte[] data = Encoding.ASCII.GetBytes(text); _socket.Send(data); lastSentMessage = dataStore.UWServerSeconds; if (text.Length > sndMax) sndMax = text.Length; sndAvg.ComputeAverage((float)text.Length); //Console.WriteLine("TO NET: " + text); } catch (Exception ex) { Console.WriteLine("cSend Exception: " + ex.Message); } } //Setup Async Callback private void Receive() { try { State so = new State(); _socket.BeginReceiveFrom(so.buffer, 0, bufSize, SocketFlags.None, ref so.epFrom, new AsyncCallback(_Receive), so); } catch (Exception) { } } //Receive Callback private void _Receive(IAsyncResult ar) { try { State so = (State)ar.AsyncState; int bytes = _socket.EndReceiveFrom(ar, ref so.epFrom); lastReceivedMessage = dataStore.UWServerSeconds; string smessage = Encoding.ASCII.GetString(so.buffer, 0, bytes); //Console.WriteLine("FROM NET: " + text); if (smessage.Length < maxMessageLength) { if (smessage.Length > rcvMax) rcvMax = smessage.Length; rcvAvg.ComputeAverage((float)smessage.Length); if (clientMode) { cQ.Enqueue(smessage); } else { if (!messageDictionary.ContainsKey(so.epFrom)) { messageDictionary.Add(so.epFrom, new Queue<string> { }); } messageDictionary[so.epFrom].Enqueue(smessage); } } _socket.BeginReceiveFrom(so.buffer, 0, bufSize, SocketFlags.None, ref so.epFrom, new AsyncCallback(_Receive), so); } catch (Exception) { } } } } Generally speaking I use it as such: public static bool running = true; static void UDPServer() { using (s = new UDPSocket(MessageDictionary, UWDataStore)) { s.Server("all", 37373); while(running) { //Servery Stuff Goes Here. //Like reiteratively dequeuing the Message Dictionary Queues and processing/replying to all commands/etc... } } } All processing of individual messages from clients is handled with Task.Factory tasks, and a reference to the server's socket varible (s), and the client's EndPoint is sent along the ride for use in replying to clients. There's no game logic and there are no client replies that happen directly from within the UDP server's main while loop, mostly just connection status checking and reorganizing of the Message Queues into Tasks. Thanks again for making it this far.
  5. Hello, I'm scripting a music player with blueprints in Unreal Engine. I have a UI and I want to call the Play Music, Go To Next Song, and Go To Previous Song functions from it. How would I do that?
  6. supermikhail

    Am I good enough for hobby projects?

    I'd love to be able to contribute to some hobbyist project, but I'm interested in many areas and haven't focused hard in any single one, so I don't know if anything I might be able to produce would be worth anything to anyone even for free. For example, I recently did a couple recordings for LibriVox: https://librivox.org/reader/12671?primary_key=12671&search_category=reader&search_page=1&search_form=get_results I was told I have a nice audiobook voice, maybe I could contribute as a voice actor (except, of course, I'm not a native English speaker)? I've been dabbling in low-poly 3D art, for many years - probably this armadillo is my proudest moment: https://imgur.com/sAdKnTG Of course, I've been programming, but I haven't managed to finish any projects, so I don't really have anything out there. But I spent about 2 years honestly wrestling with Unity, and a while with libGDX and Godot. I did this badly recorded video about a rather arcane project - Oh, I also have a degree in translation between English and Russian, but I haven't engaged in that since uni, nor am I burning with desire to, but... I wouldn't mind to if I could be useful somewhere in that capacity. Except I also don't have a portfolio. All that is to say, do you see me making a thread "[...] looking for a project" - fill in the brackets with what you think is applicable - and that not being a complete waste of a good thread? I honestly just want to be useful in some way, and hopefully gain some experience. Of course, it doesn't have to be on this forum, if you see other options.
  7. JoAndRoPo

    Daily Bonus Logic

    Hi! I have a doubt regarding the Daily Bonus. Let's say 7 days. Player receives Daily Bonus in Day#1, Day#2, Misses Day#3, Plays on Day#4, and so on. What happens when the player misses a day? Does the Daily Bonus reset back to day#1? or does the player miss the reward of the missed date and continue to receive the reward on the next day? Can you name me some games that have used a unique daily bonus logic?
  8. I´ve been searching in the web since last year and couldn´t find an answer. All I find are "recommendation" posts that are based on preferences or trivial and ambiguous matters such as difficulty. If It takes me 1 year to master SFML and it takes me 2 years mastering Opengl and the other libraries needed; I would choose Opengl; because I would be wasting 1 year in something that has only hobby uses. If I invest a year in learning something I would like to make a profit from It. Also If an Engine would be moer job-wise, I would choose that instead. I am in second year (finishing) in Software Engineering (in Argentina) and have advanced knowledge in C, C++, C#, Net, Web languages; and a little of Assembly. So I don't need the basics of language. I found SFML and It comes with a bunch of services (net, audio, graphics) and used it a bit, and found it quite information-less; I heard about DirectX and Opengl, but all I find is "It is verry difficult, use SFML". If you ask me about hobby, I would like somethinc close to code and efitient; for 2d graphics that I could draw myself. If you ask me about work, I would choose something that could help me get a Job. What would be awesome is, if there is something that could be a mixture of that. Thanks in advance, Santiago.
  9. In the first episode of Madsen's Musings, I discuss the issue of being too self critical about your work and how that can get in the way of your progress. Wanna learn more about me or my work? Go here:http://www.madsenstudios.com/ Subscribe to my YouTube channel or follow me here on GameDev.net to see all the latest updates. A transcript is provided below the video. Transcript So I'm walking my dog Kobe, she's right here, and I had this idea -- this thought -- that I noticed myself, and so many artists seem to deal with feeling like they're inferior, or they're somehow a fraud and people are going to find out that they've been faking it this whole time. This is something that plagues so many people, from the highest tiers to the newest beginner in our industry, and just some ideas -- some thought -- that came to mind for me with the right ratio; with the right balance it can be an ok thing to have hypercritical thoughts about your playing, but it can quickly turn to a negative thing if it's out of balance. If you are too negative; if you are too hypercritical about your playing; if you don't appreciate what you're doing well. You want to have a list of things that you can work on. You want to have a list to say "these are objectives that I haven't met yet". But you also want to relish and enjoy; appreciate and recognise the things that you do well. I'll give you an example: Oh yeah, quick story. In 2014, I was fulltime freelancing and I had a brief lull in work, so I joined Fiverr -- that's with two Rs: F I V E R R. I joined that service to offer remote saxophone recordings. (Mosquito on my face.) I didn't know how well it would go. I thought "well maybe if it goes well it'll keep me on my horns a little bit more often and also it will help me just fill up my schedule and get some extra cash." Before doing Fiverr I used to be really critical about my saxophone playing feeling like "oh I don't do this like this player over here" or "that player over there is really really good at this approach", that sort of thing, and... not to brag, but to put it humbly, the response from Fiverr has been great! It's been really really positive. I've done something like over 580 projects on Fiverr, have a 5-star rating from about 99% of my clients, and that's fantastic! And it's made me realize that there's things in my playing that people appreciate and that they want to have... they want to have in their songs. (Sorry, I've got some people behind me I guess.) Anywhoo, if you're feeling in fear about your performance as a musician; as an audio professional; as a composer or sound designer, you know what? Keep it in check. Let some of that propel you and motivate you to get better, and let some of it just roll off your back because you want to keep your morale high. You want to keep your enthusiasm and you want to keep your self-confidence high. Artists just tend to be hypercritical of themselves. Artists to be very sensitive and feel like they suck. So there's this TED talk I watched and it discussed why people feel like others are more creative than they are and it's a real simple premise: When you look at someone else's finished work you don't see the whole process. You don't see all the doubt. You don't see all the terminal, or even just not knowing what to do next; the evolution of ideas that the person goes through to finally get to the end product. Instead you're seeing the end product, and you're saying "man, this is awesome, I could never do something like this." But that's just not reality. So what is the takeaway here? The takeaway is to have a healthy balance of being critical about yourself as a musician and also appreciating and recognizing what you do well. I think in the long run that can help keep you more motivated to stay in music, to stay on your horn, to stay on your instrument, to feel good about the efforts you're putting into it, and yeah... I'm gonna have a beer. [Out takes] [Wayback Machine Archive]
  10. Hello everyone, I have a strange problem. I have been coding C++ with CodeBlocks 17.12 using SDL 2.0.8 and SDL Image 2.0.3. I have been using MingGW and the GCC GNU compiler. When I run my app in CodeBlocks under either Debug or Release it runs fine, but when I go to my Release output folder and double click my EXE, it merely opens and immediately closes. I have the SDL and SDL image dlls in the folder with my release build, and I'm not getting errors that any dlls are missing. This is strange! Help would be much appreciated, Thank you, -Omerta
  11. Hey, I'm currently starting next iteration on my engine project and have some points I'm completely fine with and some other points and/or code parts that need refactoring so this is a refactoring step before starting to add new features. As I want my code to be modular to have features optional installed for certain projects while others have to stay out of sight, I designed a framework that starting from a core component or module, spreads features to several project files that are merged together to a single project solution (in Visual Studio) by our tooling. This works great for some parts of the code, naming the Crypto or Input module for example but other parts seem to be at the wrong place and need to be moved. Some features are in the core component that may belong into an own module while I feel uncomfortable splitting those parts and determine what stays in core and what should get it's own module. An example is Math stuff. When using the framework to write a game (engine), I need access to algebra like Vector, Quaternion and Matrix objects but when writing some kind of match-making server, I wouldn't need it so put it into an own module with own directory, build script and package description or just stay in core and take the size and ammount of files as a treat in this case? What about naimng? When cleaning the folder structure I want to collect some files together that stay seperated currently. This files are foir example basic type definitions, utility macros and parts of my Reflection/RTTI/Meta system (which is intended to get ipartially t's own module as well because I just need it for editor code currently but supports conditional building to some kind of C# like attributes also). I already looked at several projects and they seem to don't care that much about that but growing the code means also grow breaking changes when refactoring in the future. So what are your suggestions/ oppinions to this topic? Do I overcomplicate things and overengeneer modularity or could it even be more modular? Where is the line between usefull and chaotic? Thanks in advance!
  12. Well, here goes. I'm currently developing a game whose core economy is based on an approximation/simulation of the actual periodic table of elements(the first 92 or so). Essentially the player is using a future technology(future setting) to mine pure elemental resources from the planet without harming the ecosystem/terrain. Think Star Trek type tech. The game is multi-player online(not online yet, still in lab), design goals are aiming for MMO. I'm currently at the problem of Currency. My design parameters are such: At Server Start, the game will have a fixed amount of each of the 1-92 elemental resources distributed in global resource deposits that are recoverable using the tech available to the players. Resources amounts will be balanced so they meet the requirements of the games crafting system/etc. as well as attempting to match a rough approximation of a feasibly naturally occurring system. These fixed resources and the things they get turned into are to be the entirety of the "Matter" that is required for input(trade goods, crafting ingredients,etc.) in game play activities. All Crafted Items can be converted back into useful elemental matter through Recovery processes. Lost matter(Recovery is not always 100%) will develop new resource deposits, or add to old ones that have not been discovered yet. Discovered Resource deposits must be exhaustible. The problem arises when I begin conceptualizing a market system, and most specifically an Auction system. I come to the conundrum.. How do I setup a starting bid amount or even a bidding system without a specific currency? Do I choose a specific element, say grams of Gold, as THE currency? Do I generate some code that tells the players that they have items in their inventory that are worth more than the current bid of 20kg of Iron, according to the current market conditions on the trading platform? Do I do both of these things? Do I need a more abstract form of currency to make it more (but less) tangible to the players? (not my favorite, but) Dollars, Coins, Gems? Something totally abstract that cannot be mined or crafted? I'm trying to attack this conundrum from a "how would a player like it to work?" perspective.. But I'm stalled a bit. Any insights/experiences/thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!
  13. Jastiv

    How not to do Alpha Testing

    Many years ago, my husband had a co-worker who used to work in the games industry. Apparently he got an exciting position as an alpha tester for games. He had to move all the way out of California. He tested games, but apparently, he wasn't paid enough to afford to live there, so he had to move back to New England when the money ran out. I'm not really sure who befitted from that arrangement, the guy, surely not, after all he didn't end up making any money and just lost it while playing incomplete buggy games. The company, well, they paid an awful lot so someone could live in a high cost to live area, instead of being able to support someone living in a lower cost area. Surely there is a better way to get alpha testers for games now than this lose/lose arrangement.
  14. JoAndRoPo

    Store Values

    Hi! Question#1 - Is it OK to take another game store values for my game? Will, there be any issues of any kind? Question#2 - How are store values calculated? For example, the below values is taken from Clash Royale... 80 Gems for $0.99, 500 Gems for $4.99, 1200 Gems for $9.99, 2500 Gems for $19.99, 6500 Gems for $49.99, 14000 Gems for $99.99 How are 1200 gems calculated for $9.99? and so on...
  15. What follows are some really UGLY mock-ups, so please don't worry about critiquing the visual design. I'm designing the economic system for my game and I've mocked up what I think are the required minimum features/etc. that will be needed to string it all together. I'm wondering if I've forgotten anything that will prevent the system from working. The Goal is a straight forward minimalist Auction, Stock Market, and Banking System that my game will use to control the flow of 92 elemental resources and the ###s of Items that they will be able to construct from them. The following image constitutes the feature set of the main menu of the Trading Screen. On the upper left are the Order Filter options. On the lower left are the Create New Order Options. Imagine something like an interactive periodic table here instead of this crudeness. Once a filter is chosen or after clicking on an Element: The Orders view... There will be all the necessary trending indicators and maybe even graphs and whatnot too so, don't worry about that. Am I missing anything that I would need to account for on the data side and display for the user, to have a functional Stock Trade interface? Auctions: Just a simplistic timed auction system, anything I forgot here? When you click on a specific item it will take you to a more detailed page for that auction, nothing special. Two different base item types, elements(resources) and Items(game items). Banking: Clicking on a transaction history item will take you to a detail page with ... details. I'm sure I missed something silly, or critical... Been staring at it for too many hours now. Help! Thanks in advance! EDIT: Create Auction options, view/edit/etc.. those will be in there too.
  16. PaulSim

    7 UX Lessons From The Trenches

    This article will be a run-down of several UX / UI-flow lessons we learned by carefully observing a couple of hundred people playtest an early build of our game Steamhounds at live events recently. For context, Steamhounds is a turn-based game, mixing JRPG and tactical/grid-based combat. Players can battle against the AI, but we encouraged them to compete against their friends (sitting side-by-side in front of a pair of monitors) whenever possible. Now, our game’s basic layout and presentation of information were not terrible going into this whole experiment. Experienced gamers and players familiar with the genre generally had no problem getting up to speed without any back-seat driving on our part. But at these live events, there are people who may have never even touched a similar game before, and these players can reveal a lot about the hidden quirks and assumptions in your design. Anyway, without further ado, on to our observations: Problem #1: People Don’t Read Text I think most devs are aware of this one. A surprisingly large proportion of players will skip through any text you put in front of them. We observed that the vast majority (>80%) of players would click straight through the instruction screen we added at the start of the demo, which explains the basic flow of the game: We’re guilty of this too – honestly, who bothers to read the manual when you buy a new gadget? The expectation is that if something is user-friendly, then you can learn how to use it more or less entirely by intuition and experimentation. We anticipated this, but a bigger issue is that once in-game, many players also skipped over our on-screen prompts. This impacted player experience most seriously when they didn’t notice instructions which tell them what they need to do next: The Solution We know that on-screen text is generally the last thing players are inclined to turn to when they are stuck. So, let’s make it impossible to miss: We use movement to draw attention to the prompt as it appears, and then keep it animating until the player follows the instruction. The text was simply too hard to notice before. By forcing the player to pay attention to it, we practically eliminated instances of players asking “so, what do I need to do now?”. We could probably improve this further, by having the animation and positioning of the text draw the player’s attention in the direction of the tiles which they need to click in order to select a position. Problem #2: Interactable Stuff Needs To Be Clear Let’s get the obvious part out of the way: buttons should look like buttons, and it should be clear to the player what choices are available to them at any given moment. In Steamhounds, the player needs to select an action from a menu on their turn (some kind of ability like “ranged attack” or “defensive stance”). When this happens, a menu pops up: This works great – there’s a distinctive sound cue, and an eye-catching spinning animation as the menu expands to fill most of the screen. Nobody has any trouble realising that they need to click one of these buttons. The issue is that after selecting an action, the menu disappears and the player needs to select a position on the battlefield in order to target their ability. We observed that some players would get stuck here, searching around the screen with their mouse, looking for something which could be interacted with: The Solution Although we highlight the clickable tiles, this is somewhat subtle. It’s made worse by the fact that players often look briefly towards their opponent after selecting an action, not noticing the tile highlights appearing. So, here’s our fix: If the player doesn’t hover over a valid tile for a while, we make them flash. This simple change had the intended effect – at the next playtesting event, we rarely had to prompt a playtester to let them know that they needed to click on a tile to continue. We’re once again applying the well-known principle that movement/animation can be used to draw attention. Once the flashing draws them in they inevitably hover the mouse over one of the tiles, and the subsequent highlighting makes their purpose clear. Problem #3: Calls-To-Action Should Be Immediate/Contextual Indies often talk about the idea of a “call to action” when marketing their games – you want people to “sign up for the mailing list!”, “wishlist the game!” or “leave a review on Steam!”. But there are also moments in-game when you want the player to make a choice or perform a particular action. So why not apply some of the same principles, making the next click or decision the player needs to make as clear as possible? Before a battle in Steamhounds starts, players need to set the starting positions and stances (“formation”) for their team. The flow for setting up the formation is not immediately obvious to all players. This is what the screen used to look like: While this tells players everything they need to know in order to set the formation, there are a couple of issues – (a) players don’t read text, and (b) the instructions are presented in a single block, which doesn’t really feel like a clear call to action. Not great. The Solution Since we already implemented fancy attention-grabbing animated text, why not use it to break up this intimidating block of instructions? Now, we guide the player through the process step-by-step, first to “click a character to set their stance”, then to “select stance”, “select position”, and so on. Use contextual prompts which tell players what they need to do right now. This way, they are guided step-by-step through the whole process, and not put off by long sequences of instructions. Problem #4: Terse/Technical Language Needs To Be Used In Moderation As students of game design, we’re all comfortable with the kind of hyper-specific language used to convey game rules. You know – the keyword-laden stuff you find on a Magic the Gathering card or in a board game rulebook – “targets one creature”, “discard 3 cards”, “hits all adjacent characters”. If you’re used to this language, these instructions are perfectly clear and unambiguous. But I’m sure you’ve had experiences playing games with more casual players, who sometimes interpret these rules in ways which your designer-brain tells you were clearly unintended. In Steamhounds, most of this rules-heavy text is found in the tooltips which appear when you’re selecting one of your character’s abilities to execute. Our first instinct was to keep these descriptions as short and direct as possible – after all, we don’t want giant multi-line blocks of text in these tooltips – so we tried to keep them down to one, or at most two, brief sentences: Seems fine, right? But we noticed that this ability was being underutilized by players. The Solution We think the main reason behind the unpopularity of the Focus ability was this: players who didn’t carefully read the rules presented to them previously didn’t have the context needed to understand its significance or benefit. Lots of players will skip through the rules introduction, and hovering over this button will be the first time they encounter anything relating to the “Focus” mechanic. So, we made this change: It’s a bit more wordy, sure. But we noticed an increased rate of people using this ability. The new text both “sells” the ability to the player, and provides additional context so that they can understand its significance, even when viewing this tooltip in isolation. The general principle we’ve learned from this is to describe things in ways which sound cool or attractive and try to make the basic mechanical effects clear without assuming players have internalized information presented elsewhere. Problem #5: People Have Preconceptions About Certain Words We made some interesting observations about how the language we used caused certain players to interpret rules text in unexpected ways. It seems like this is the result of the ingrained associations they have with particular words. What’s the problem here? The word “target” has a connotation of aggression. “Target” is often used in rules text as a neutral term for anything targeted by an ability. Experienced players are very used to this, and understand that the ability pictured above is clearly a buff which you would use on your own characters. But the association between the word “target” and an offensive action was so strong for some players that they would understand this to be an ability which you would use on an enemy, causing the next attack against them to deal additional damage. The Solution It seems like we may need to move away from using such technical language. Here’s our fix: As a designer this is a bit painful – it feels a bit unnecessarily verbose. However, we observed that this new text basically eliminated confusion about how this ability worked, and players stopped trying to target it against their enemies. Devs should consider their desired tone and target audience, and find a balance which works for them. Overly long rules text is surely a problem, but being slightly redundant is an opportunity to reinforce your game’s tone and character. The lesson here: observe playtesters to see if your choice of language has any unexpected implications. Even among English speakers, this can absolutely vary by culture. Problem #6: People Have Associations With Certain Colours This is similar to the previous subject about the connotations of words. Colours are also associated with certain feelings or concepts. We were already attempting to make use of this, by highlighting tiles to show the effects of abilities. Red for aggression, green for support/protection, etc. For the most part, this works fine. But there was one association which we didn’t anticipate, which tripped up a couple of players. They associated red not with aggression, but with something being invalid. So when they hovered over a target to attack them, they were confused because they thought the game was telling them that they couldn’t target that character (in reality, the game just doesn’t show a tile at all if it is not a valid target). The Solution We needed to try and avoid “overlapping”, conflicting associations. The fix: We just shifted the red highlight toward a slightly orange hue. It remains to be seen whether this has really solved the problem (which only affected a couple of players to begin with). But anecdotally, we haven’t had anyone else getting tripped up in the same way. So, once again, double check that your presentation doesn’t interact in an undesirable way with existing associations in the minds of your players. Problem #7: Extra Clicks Are Evil This is one we were absolutely aware of, and had already designed and tweaked the UI flow to remove unnecessary clicks. The problem came with a last-minute addition we made to the build of the game used specifically for live demos. At the end of a battle, a fanfare plays and a big “Victory” or “Defeat” message appears on-screen: Then, the user can click anywhere to exit the battle and return to the main menu. We modified the demo build to display a mailing list signup prompt after the user leaves the battle. This seemed like a great idea – but there was one fatal flaw. The moment the “victory”/”defeat” message appears on-screen is precisely when the players share a good-natured handshake (or start trash-talking each other) and get up from their seats. The battle is over, resolved, and there’s no reason for them to hang around. So, they would leave without ever seeing the mailing list prompt. The Solution Have the game automatically display the newsletter signup screen after a couple of seconds. Honestly, we should have caught this one beforehand – blame it on the last-minute addition of the feature. But the simple change of removing the unnecessary click increased our newsletter signup rate to 3x what it was previously. Ditch those unnecessary clicks! Summary Use movement/animation to draw attention to text prompts Make interactable UI elements clear Think of prompts as calls-to-action. Make them immediate and contextual Be careful about overly technical language, and try to provide context to help players understand the decisions they are making Check for unexpected mental associations of colours, words etc. Smooth out the UI flow by removing unnecessary clicks Hopefully, some of the points outlined here will be directly applicable to your own game somehow. But mostly, we hope that we can convince you of the value of the general approach – observe new players, work out where they are getting stuck or confused, and then extract general principles and try to apply them across the board. We added metric-gathering code into our demo build to record data about battle results, how often each character and ability was selected, and various UI timing information. This was certainly helpful and allowed us to be somewhat scientific in measuring the effects of the changes we made. But probably the majority of the insights here came about the old-fashioned way – watching over players’ shoulders, filling pages with scribbled notes. None of us here are UX experts (and so the unofficial alternate title for this article is “7 UX Screw-Ups We Should Probably Have Avoided”). Like most teams without a dedicated UI/UX person, we try to follow common sense and stay up to date on some simple best practices. But with your head so deeply inside your own project, it’s impossible to view all of the rough edges objectively. The fresh eyes of a new playtester are incredibly valuable – make as much use of them as you can! [Wayback Machine Archive]
  17. Hi all, I'm looking for a career change as the job that i currently do is neither a passion or something that i really want to be doing for the rest of my life. I would ideally like to begin a career in the gaming industry as like most others i have a strong passion for gaming and all things related. I have been looking into a junior test analyst QA job and was wondering if this is the correct place to start. I'm a dedicated worker so don't mind working my way up and I love being hands on with things. I was wondering if anyone had any advice regarding this or how i can go about gaining experience in this field to give myself the best chance. I'm more than willing to do either weekend work or free work to get my foot in the door so if there is any advice or help anyone could give me that would be great. Thanks for reading, Dan
  18. A few years ago I started creating a procedural planet engine/renderer for a game in Unity, which after a couple of years I had to stop developing due to lack of time. At the time i didn't know too much about shaders so I did everything on the CPU. Now that I have plenty of time and am more aware of what shaders can do I'd like to resume development with the GPU in mind. For the terrain mesh I'm using a cubed-sphere and chunked LODs. The way I calculate heights is rather complex since it's based on a noise tree, where leaf nodes would be noise generators like Simplex, Value, Sine, Voronoi, etc. and branch nodes would be filters and modifiers (FBM, abs, neg, sum, ridged, billow, blender, selectors, etc). To calculate the heights for a mesh you'd call void CalcHeights( Vector3[] meshVertices, out float[] heights ) on the noise's root node, somewhere in a Unity's script. This approach offers a lot of flexibility but also introduces a lot of load in the CPU. The first obvious thing to do would be (I guess) to move all generators to the GPU via compute shaders, then do the same for the rest of the filters. But, depending on the complexity of the noise tree, a single call to CalcHeights could potentially cause dozens of calls back and forth between the CPU and GPU, which I'm not sure it's a good thing. How should I go about this? Thanks.
  19. FedGuard

    noob questions

    Hello all, I would like to start off with thanking you all for this community. Without fora like these to assist people the already hard journey to making an own game would be exponentially more difficult. Next I would like to apologize for the long post, in advance... I am contemplating making a game. There, now that's out of the way, maybe some further details might be handy. I am not some youngster (no offence) with dreams of breaking into the industry, I am 38, have a full-time job, a wife, kid and dog so I think I am not even considered indie? However I recently found myself with additional time on my hands and decided I would try my hand at making a game.Why? Well mostly because I would like to contribute something, also because I think I have a project worth making (and of course some extra income wouldn't hurt either to be honest). The first thing I realized was, I have absolutely no relevant skill or experience. Hmm; ok, never mind, we can overcome that, right? I have spent a few months "researching",meaning looking at YouTube channels, reading articles and fora. Needless to say, I am more confused now than when I started. I also bought some courses (Blender, Unity, C#) and set out to make my ideas more concrete. I quickly discovered, I am definitely not an artist... So I decided, though I do plan to continue learning the art side eventually, I would focus on the design and development phase first. The idea being, if it takes me a year or more solely learning stuff and taking courses without actually working on my game, I would become demoralized and the risk of quitting would increase. So I thought I would: 1: Keep following the courses Unity and C# while starting on the actual game development as the courses and my knowledge progress. 2: Acquire some artwork to help me get a connection with the game and main character, and have something to helm keep me motivated. (I already did some contacting and realized this will not be cheap...). Also try to have the main character model so I can use it to start testing the initial character and game mechanics. For this I have my first concrete question. I already learned that outsourcing this will easily run up in the high hundreds or thousands of dollars... (lowest offer so far being 220 USD) I am therefore playing with the idea of purchasing https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/3d/animations/medieval-animations-mega-pack-12141 with the intention of then have an artist alter and/or add to the animations (it is for a Roman character so some shield animations are not going to work the same way.). This way I could start with the basic character mechanics. Is this a good idea, waste of money,...? Any suggestions? I then have a related but separate question. Is it a good idea to buy Playmaker (or some other similar software I haven't yet heard of like RPGAIO), and using this for initial build, then changing/adding code as the need arises? 3.Get a playable initial level ready as a rough demo and then starting to look for artist for level design and character/prop creation. ... I would really appreciate some input from more experienced people, and especially answers to my questions. Of course any advice is extremely welcome.
  20. I've been trying to organise a small-medium sized toy game project to supports macOS, iOS and Windows simultaneously in a clean way. But I always get stuck when I cross over to the target platform. I'll try to explain, I have organised my project in modules like so: 1. core c++ engine, platform agnostic, has a public c++ api 2. c api bindings for the c++ api, also platform agnostic, this is actually part of 1 because its such a small project 3. target platform bindings, on iOS and macOS this is in swift. Basically wraps the c api 4. target platform code. This part just calls the api. Also in swift. So in all I have 4 modules going simultaneously, all compiled into a separate static libraries and imported into the next phase/layer. Am I even remotely close to something functional? I seem to getting stuck somewhere between 2 and 3 when I cross over to the target platform. In theory I would just need to call the game loop, but I always end up writing some logic up there anyway.
  21. gdarchive

    Color Palettes

    Intro Due to my belief in learning through self-discovery and my ongoing creative evolution, I've long put off doing any tutorials. However, after making pixel art for over 3 years I've established many solid techniques worth laying out in a concrete fashion. While I'm excited by the prospect of helping others with my experience, I still urge artists to explore things their own way. The wonderful thing about art is the unlimited number of solutions to a problem. I offer you solutions that have worked for me and I hope they work for you, but I will be even more thrilled if you discover a better solution along the way. When it comes to pixel art, it all starts with a good color palette. Creating a custom color palette can be a very satisfying and powerful way to establish your own unique look. I'll guide you through my method as I create a new palette. But first, let's go over some basic principals. It's all about HSB I find it easiest to understand and control color through HSB. Hue - The actual color (0 - 360º) Saturation - The intensity or purity of a color (0 - 100%) Brightness - The amount of black or white mixed with a color (0 - 100%) By understanding and adjusting these 3 fundamental properties you can create custom colors with precise control. I recommend this article by Steven Bradley for more detailed definitions of HSB. Color Ramps A color ramp is a specific range of colors that work well together, arranged according to brightness. Here is an example of what I consider a good color ramp. Brightness steadily increases from left to right in this example. As the colors reach high brightness levels it's important to decrease saturation, or you'll end up with intense eye burning colors. Also, colors with very low brightness can become overly rich and weighty with high saturation. Saturation peaks in the middle swatch in this example. A good color ramp should also apply hue-shifting, which is a transition in hue across the color ramp. In the previous example the hue is shifting by positive degrees as the brightness increases. Many beginners overlook hue-shifting and end up with 'straight ramps' that only transition brightness and saturation. There is no law that says you can't do this but the resulting colors will lack interest and be difficult to harmonize with ramps of a different hue. This only makes sense to me if you want a monochromatic look and stick to one straight ramp. The Palette A color ramp is essentially a palette, but most palettes contain multiple ramps. I like to create large palettes with lots of ramps, which I can then pull smaller palettes from per assignment. Mondo - 128 colors Become a Pixel Insider member and download Mondo I took the opportunity to make a brand new palette for this tutorial. My intention was to create a general purpose palette that strikes a balance between vibrant colors and desaturated natural colors. So, how to make such a large palette? First I decide how many swatches I want per ramp and how many degrees of hue shift. For this palette I want 9 swatches per ramp with 20 degrees of positive hue shift between each swatch. I like a lot of hue shift because it creates harmony between ramps and just looks neat, but 20 is about as high as I go. The color picker panel in Photoshop. We only need to be concerned with adjusting HSB. I use Photoshop, but a similar color picker panel should be accessible in just about any graphics software. To start I pick a color that will fit right in the the middle of a ramp. The hue is somewhat arbitrary, but the saturation and brightness is critical. I want the middle color to be be the most vibrant so I set the saturation and hue to the max combined number I'm willing to go. After I've chosen my first color I can set the hue for the remaining swatches based on the positive 20 degree shift I wanted. I could reverse the direction of hue shift if I want but positive hue shift usually results in more natural colors, warming as they become brighter. I still need to sort out the increments for S&B. Unlike hue, shifting the S&B in uniform increments doesn't necessarily produce satisfactory results. However, there are a few tendencies I follow. Brightness consistently increases from left to right and usually never starts at 0, unless I want black. Saturation peaks around the middle and never fully goes to 100, or 0. The goal in mind is to create even contrast between each color. After some tuning and eyeballing these are my final values and resulting color ramp. The hue shift looks pretty strong but it will make sense when I add more ramps. This version shows the difference in the increments. Pay attention to what the S&B are doing. You can see there is some consistency in the pattern. The saturation takes larger steps on the ends and smaller steps in the middle where it's the highest percentage. The brightness takes smaller steps as it gets closer to the end at full 100%. Here's another visualization that clearly shows the flow of S&B as line graphs. You don't have to follow this general flow of S&B. It just depends what look you're going for. I've made ramps where the saturation continues to climb as the brightness decreases, creating an X pattern. This results in vivid dark colors. The biggest mistake is combining high saturation and brightness, unless you want to burn some eyeballs. I recommend a lot of experimentation with the HSB values of your ramp. I've tried to come up with mathematically precise formulas but it always seems to come down to trusting the eyeballs to some extent. Now let's finish the palette. Up to this point all I have been doing is picking colors and drawing them as single pixel dots on a tiny canvas. I haven't actually added any swatches into the swatch panel. With the first ramp established all I have to do to create more ramps for my palette is shift the entire set of hues. I want 8 ramps total so I will shift the hues of each ramp by 45 degrees to complete the 360 degree cycle around the color wheel. I could do this in the color picker by adjusting the H value one color at a time, but In Photoshop I can save a lot of time by duplicating the ramp and changing the hue of the entire selection (Image-Adjustments-hue/saturation, or ⌘+U). After adjusting the hue of all my color ramps my palette appears like this. It looks pretty nice but It's lacking more neutral desaturated colors. To add desaturated colors I duplicate the whole middle section of the palette, omitting only the darkest and lightest colors on the ends, flip it over and desaturate them with the Hue/Saturation panel. I omit the light and dark columns because they appear nearly the same as the originals. I flip the colors because it makes for easy navigation, and it looks cool. The desaturated colors can provide a more natural look, and work well as grays in combination with the vibrant colors. The final task is actually adding the colors into the swatch panel. With the color picker panel open I sample each color with the eyedropper and click the 'Add to Swatches' button. I add them from left to right, top to bottom so they will appear in the swatch panel in the correct order. This is quite tedious but the only way I know of to add the colors in the particular order I want. Once I've added all the colors into the swatch panel I click on the panel options and make sure to save my palette. I can then easily load the palette as a .aco file into the swatch panel anytime. Also, by selecting 'Save Swatches for Exchange' you can create a .ase file, which can be loaded into several other Adobe programs. Save the image of your palette as a .png file and you can load it into Aseprite. Well, that completes my 128 color palette - Mondo. Now let's look at how I use the palette with some examples. Picking Colors This example keeps it pretty simple, mostly relying on horizontal ramps of adjacent colors. You can also see how the warm desaturated colors work nicely with the vivid hues. I've added white into palette for extra contrast. This example shows how ramps can move horizontally and diagonally. Because of the hue shift every color is surrounded by colors that can work together. Harmony is everywhere, just pick and play! This example uses complimentary color in combination with neutrals. The result captures an ominous yet hopeful feeling that perfectly fits the mood I wanted. Picking colors for your art always requires some good sense, but a versatile palette with criss-crossing ramps like this makes it much easier. A little color goes a long way with pixel art, as you can see I never use a lot of colors for any one image. Creating a palette with this method also works great for game art, and will ensure everything in your game has consistent colors. I used this method to create a 160 color palette for Thyrian Defenders. We've been able to depict an incredible range of environments and characters while maintaining a consistent look overall. Other aesthetic choices come into play, but color is the fundamental ingredient that ties everything together. Final Word Overall I'm quite happy with how this palette turned out. I think you'll be seeing more of my work in the Mondo palette from now on! I hope this helps you come up with some palettes of your own. I know It can take a bit of time to get a feel for HSB, but even if you're a beginner I think making palettes like this is a great way to understand color. Go crazy with HSB and don't be afraid to experiment with formulas that look different than my example. Also, you don't have to make such a large palette. Start with trying to make a small ramp. About The Author Raymond Schlitter (Slynyrd) is a former graphic designer who turned his creative passion to pixel art and game design in early 2015. Now he shares his knowledge with tutorials while he continues to make fantastic art and work on games. Support him on Patreon and get the inside scoop on his latest work. Note: This post was originally published on Raymond's blog, and is reproduced here with kind permission from the author. If you enjoyed this article please consider supporting Raymond on Patreon, where he provides backers with exclusive downloads such the Mondo palette as .aco, .ase, and .png files. Get Mondo! You can also make a one time donation to the author if you prefer not to subscribe on Patreon. [Wayback Machine Archive]
  22. Hi! I'm creating a spider solitaire game in my free time and will be adding daily challenges. There will be a challenge each day until the end of the month. After which, the challenges will reset for the next month. I do have some in mind but for a card game, creating unique challenges for each day is kind of tough. I played Microsoft's Spider Solitaire's daily challenges and found them to be the same/boring after a while. I would love to hear your ideas (unique) if any. Something different from the daily challenges created by Microsoft Spider Solitaire.
  23. I'm writing a rendering system for our in-house game engine. My idea at first was to include only a Vulkan backend,but then Apple refused to port vulkan to MacOs and Microsoft relased their DXR raytracing for DirectX12. There is stil Radeon Rays for vulkan, but DXR is directly integrated with the graphic API. So we were thinking of a multiple backend rendering system with Vulkan for windows and Linux, Directx12 for Windows and Metal2 for MacOs. But this system would lead to an incredible amount of code to write than a single API, so my questions were: Should we stick to a Vulkan and maybe use a translation layer like MolteVk to port it to macOs ? Is it worth tl write the multiple APIs renderer ? Should we write a different renderer for each platform and then ship separate executables ? (Sorry for possibly bad English 😁)
  24. Hello All, Finalizing the next update now. This update is focused on MFI controller. The game will be completely playable using the controller and you will never have to use the touch screen. Almost complete. Question I have is I want to roll into this update some balancing to difficulty. I am getting reports the game is too hard right away. I have some thoughts on how to ease into the pain but wanted your opinions as well. Here are my thoughts: Slowly introduce the “harder” Germ enemies Lower the HP of the enemies in the starting rooms Lower the number of enemies that can be spawned into the room Combination of the above or all of them What are your thoughts? Thanks! View the full article
  25. How the heck would I know if I'd make a good game designer? (I like me some words, so if you feel like skimming, basic stuff is in bold-italics lol): Story Time: I've played video games since I was five and my dad forced me to play Ready 2 Rumble with him--it all seemed such a fuss until Afro Thunder burst in and stole my heart. Fast forward to middle school and I started picking out games on my own--mostly RPGs with some fighting and strategy and Mario and blessed Harvest Moon mixed in. Some puzzles. Adventure point-and-clicks? To die for. So I stumble through yada yada life yada yada high school yada yada want to be a writer yada yada college yada yada piddle around with game design yada yada. Got a creative degree that wasn’t games-related. Wrote a few CYOA for an app, published some writing, and kept journals and journals of game design ideas. Studied coding and art on the side. Now I'm considering Grad School at SMU Guildhall. School says my credentials are good, so that’s not my problem. Here’s my problem: Dudes, I'm not very skilled at video games. I played my first MMO ever yesterday with a 2-week-old character and totally sucked at the group play. Like, I got performance anxiety. Bad. Thank God I was a low-level or I would have felt like even more of an arse. Buttons weren't doing what I thought they should; fences were not being jumped over; healing (Lord, I was the healer) was few and far in-between. Um, guys, I couldn't even get the revive button to work. I don't even get test anxiety, but I was having flash backs to high school track and field and they were a bit not good. (*´=∀=) I was the first one to die and everyone ended up waiting on me at the beginning of the level because I thought I was literally just playing with my real-life friend and not two additional strangers--both of whom must have had the patience of saints and the vocabulary of sailors to get through that awful flashpoint. (ノ∀゚*) [Will I regret going into this much detail? Probably. Stick around for lolz]. On one level, being a newb is completely hilarious and inevitable. On another--I just felt deflated. I thought--is is too little, too late? Despite playing games all my life I've never been competitive or cared about the nitty-gritty details of memorizing maps, coming in with gear, chatting with other people on the internet (**shudder**). I'm literally more comfortable giving speeches and talking on the phone with sales people than I am with chatting with fellow players online. Even chat forums are a stretch for me. (Heh). So, can you be a good game designer while being a mediocre to middling player? How important is it to cater to competitive and multiplayer-based players? Does anybody else get multiplayer anxiety? I’m not a casual player per se--I just enjoy narrative experiences and quick matches (like in fighting games) more than party-based stuff. (As a disclaimer, I could actually see how FUN the MMO parties could be--if I knew what I was doing. But the idea of holding people back while looking like an imbecile who can’t use a mouse is mortifying--even if it is anonymous mortification xD). Thanks in advance for those who read through (or read all, bless you) of this post. Also, if you’ve been to school for game design and wouldn’t mind sharing what you knew beforehand or wish you’d known beforehand, that’d be great. All I know is I'm going to do the flashpoint again, to just get over the jitters, and hope I get to mastering it a bit. I like the gaming community--but, weirdly enough, it scares the daylights out of me.
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