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Warp

Final thoughts on Doom 2 after completion?

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I guess my biggest gripe with Doom II is that it somehow lacks the consistent sense of place that the three original episodes had: like yeah a lot of the Inferno levels are weird and frankly not that great, but they really feel like some freaky twisted vision of Hell from beginning to end. Doom II’s introduction to Hell feels like...nothing, really, and a lot of the other Hell maps are the same way.

 

That said, I could say the same thing about Doom II that I did about TNT: when it’s good, it’s really good, and like for example I think MAP28 and MAP29 both are once again brilliant representations of Hell, distinct from the ones in Inferno, more oppressive, more subterranean, more cavernous, and frankly more epic than any of the E3 maps could be. Hell I even like Bloodfalls and think it feels appropriately Infernal too. And like I said before I like the Chasm, although I don’t think it really feels like Hell so much as like some underground mining facility with really unsafe walkways. There’s a lot of great creative mapping in Doom II, even where it fails to make me feel like I’m in any kind of place besides a level Sandy Petersen made—Tricks and Traps is just a big box of silly gimmicks but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun.

 

I guess for some reason Doom II’s dull maps stick out to me as being boring more than UD’s. Maybe because they’re often boring and long. And brown....and that sense of progression through some kind of series of places instead of abstract levels in a game is really part of the experience for me I guess.

 

It’s needless to say though that Doom II’s bestiary fills out the game perfectly and that the most tactically interesting demons are introduced there. I don’t imagine that’s in doubt by anyone.

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22 minutes ago, Omniarch said:

I strongly disagree with point seven, however, mainly because I always play from pistol start, since almost all Doom maps are balanced that way. For me, the problem with D2's structure has nothing to do with being 'forced' to play 32 maps back-to-back. I don't even play D1 episodes that way, let alone entire megawads.

 

The problem is a thematic one. D2 doesn't have the same feeling of visual progression as D1, nor the same sense of place. Most maps feels like total abstractions, and those that try to be something else (MAP13) tend to run into problems. This is of course totally subjective, and I actually think D2's design sensibilities (especially Romero's) are actually far more interesting than D1's, mainly due to far greater use of the third dimension and a generally experimental attitude. Frankly, the main thing that drags the game down are the monotonous visuals.

My point about first maps in the episodes is not that they force you to pistol start, but that they are too short and easy because of being balanced for pistol start. One starting map is good, the rest just take up valuable map spots. 

 

And I love Doom 2 visuals. I love experimental, abstract depiction of hell subverted Earth. Doom 1 hell is kind of mundane in comparison - it even has tiled dropped ceilings right outta the office room.

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1 minute ago, Orchid87 said:

My point about first maps in the episodes is not that they force you to pistol start, but that they are too short and easy because of being balanced for pistol start. One starting map is good, the rest just take up valuable map spots. 

Technically, all IWAD maps are balanced for pistol start first and foremost, but I totally get what you mean. Personally, I tend to dislike the 'lite' design of MAP01s, and am of the opinion that mappers should just start with a complete experience rather than a lack-luster 'tutorial' level. A lot of the best wads (read. Valiant & Ancient Aliens) do this.

 

4 minutes ago, Orchid87 said:

And I love Doom 2 visuals. I love experimental, abstract depiction of hell subverted Earth. Doom 1 hell is kind of mundane in comparison - it even has tiled dropped ceilings right outta the office room.

I actually agree here. @StupidBunny is dead on when he said Doom 2 has some very high highs in that department, but lacks overall consistency. Personally, I'd kill for an 11-map re imagining of Doom 2's visual themes that actually tries to create a sense of narrative progression. Add that to the looong list of wads I want to make.

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8 hours ago, Azuris said:

As the Episodes are more or less themed, it is easier to jump right into a Part of the Game you are in the Mood for.

Also the Endscreens are giving you a bit of Motivation to Progress further.

The Map with your next Location is also a nice little Thingy.

Those three Points makes that the Game doesn't feel like a Marathon, even if it is the same Amount of Maps.

So it is something psychological.

That makes a lot of Sense. Thank you.

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8 hours ago, Orchid87 said:

2) New enemies give the much needed variety. Chaingunners, hell knights, arachnotrons, revenants, mancubi add to the game. Fuck the pain elementals though.

The archvile hangs its head in shame at being so flagrantly excluded from your list.

 

(The Wolfenstein SS soldiers don't give a f*ck either way.)

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7 hours ago, Omniarch said:

I agree with all these points. Doom 2 is mechanically the better of the two, this is beyond doubt. I also partially agree with point 5, simply because I personally like McGee's contributions.

 

I disagree with point six. At the very least, one has to admit that Plutonia was a revolution in level design within the Doom community, and left a greater mark on history than any of its contemporaries, even though it adds nothing to the base mechanics.

 

I strongly disagree with point seven, however, mainly because I always play from pistol start, since almost all Doom maps are balanced that way. For me, the problem with D2's structure has nothing to do with being 'forced' to play 32 maps back-to-back. I don't even play D1 episodes that way, let alone entire megawads.

 

The problem is a thematic one. D2 doesn't have the same feeling of visual progression as D1, nor the same sense of place. Most maps feels like total abstractions, and those that try to be something else (MAP13) tend to run into problems. This is of course totally subjective, and I actually think D2's design sensibilities (especially Romero's) are actually far more interesting than D1's, mainly due to far greater use of the third dimension and a generally experimental attitude. Frankly, the main thing that drags the game down are the monotonous visuals.

 

Point eight is also fair, though I don't really agree with most of the criticism leveled (heh) against Sandy's (regular) maps in either game (except Limbo, fuck Limbo).

I have to agree with Omniarch here, and that's what I always loved about Doom 1. And for me, it might just be the nostalgia talking, but I've always adored the distinct sense of progression throughout the game, both thematic and difficulty wise. I have to admit, Doom 1 has its fair share of bad maps, definitely. Maps like Slough of Despair, Limbo, Phobos Anomaly and a few more. Don't get me wrong Doom 2 is still very distinct in its themes and such, just take one look at a map like Industrial Zone, and right away you can tell: "Oh, that's Doom 2"

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17 hours ago, GarrettChan said:

Nobody points a gun in your head to force you play all 32 maps continuously or in one session, and every map is well designed enough for you to do pistol start to begin with. If you really don't like to play it continuously, take a break when the intermission shows up and do a pistol or whatsoever.

With vanilla Doom II, by the time I get to MAP12 or so, I am just bored with the game: I have acquired every weapon and I have met every enemy there is to fight (with the exception of the SS troopers and technically the Icon of Sin), yet the game does not get much harder, better designed or even visually more interesting. Heck, even the soundtrack starts to rehashing previous tracks. As Warp pointed out, there is just no sense of progression past the first dozen of maps. I do not have that problem with custom mapsets with the same premise like Doom II Reloaded and Hellbound.

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7 hours ago, Omniarch said:

Personally, I'd kill for an 11-map re imagining of Doom 2's visual themes that actually tries to create a sense of narrative progression. Add that to the looong list of wads I want to make.

Have you tried Doom 2: Reloaded or Hellbound? They are 32-map each, but they do a good job at creating a sense of narrative progression.

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Since my favorite words are appearing non stop on this thread (sense of place, cohesive progression, contextual narrative) i can't help but made a shameles plug, mostly for @Warp as pretty much the rest may know about it:

 

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23 minutes ago, Rudolph said:

Have you tried Doom 2: Reloaded or Hellbound? They are 32-map each, but they do a good job at creating a sense of narrative progression.

I actually played Hellbound before I played D2! Though admittedly I only got to like the fourth or fifth map. Its a good set though, with a great sense of narrative and atmosphere. I have also played a few maps from D2: Reloaded, and enjoyed what I saw there. Certainly, it is a very visually consistent take on the whole 'Hell on Earth' schtick.

 

Neither are quite what I have in mind, however, since both just use D2's resources to craft their own visual styles rather than reimagining the original aesthetics. There is something 'clean' about those sets, which stands in stark contrast to the often extreme experimentalism of D2 (epitomized in MAP15: Industrial Zone, imo).

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38 minutes ago, Omniarch said:

Neither are quite what I have in mind, however, since both just use D2's resources to craft their own visual styles rather than reimagining the original aesthetics. There is something 'clean' about those sets, which stands in stark contrast to the often extreme experimentalism of D2 (epitomized in MAP15: Industrial Zone, imo).

Then have you tried Brutal Doom's companion piece Extermination Day?

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There aren't many, if any maps in Doom 2 that I don't personally enjoy, but its biggest issue is mainly the overall less consistent design than that of the original Doom, which had a better sense of place all around since it wanted to carry a narrative.

 

Whereas Doom 2 doesn't care much for this, going all the way to having pure gimmick maps, such as Barrels 'O Fun, and takes inspiration from all sorts of places - The Chasm is based on a nightmare Sandy had once, for instance, where he found himself walking on a rope, as reflected by the narrow ledges of the map.

 

But, despite this, essentially any Doom 2 map plays better than Doom's. They may not be as aesthetically pleasing, which pretty much everyone is going to agree with, but the gameplay is top notch. Not going to be everyone's cup of tea though, seeing how divisive some of its maps are.

 

I tend to favor Doom 2 over TNT as well. The one huge issue that TNT has, despite all it gets right, is the fact that it has some fairly solid maps which surpass Doom 2, but it also has way worse maps than it does. Simply put, its highs are higher than Doom 2, but its lows are also lower. Way, way lower. No IWAD map ever comes anywhere near Habitat levels of trash.

 

On that note, since Sandy is still proud of his work, I hope one day he'll consider making his own Sigil-esque episode for Doom 2, to see how they fare against Romero's. Controversial statement: Seeing how Doom 2 plays better than the first game, I think Sandy could definitely beat Romero at his own game, ha! Overall, I do consider Sandy the superior designer of the two.

 

But both have their merits, and I appreciate them for what they had to offer, I'm not interested in who's better than who.

Edited by seed

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I think it's fine, the downtown could have been better, I mean, it looks like a city for me, but the enemy placement can make it annoying, same with the inmost dens, it's a good map, but, in my personal opinion, it misses something. I think my favorite maps are monster condo, the courtyard and the citadel, I don't know why, but I like them.

 

 

I still think TNT is better, but, it's a good sequel and it's really worthy

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Simply put, I loved it. It started off great with the first 11 or so maps, got a bit muddy in the city levels, and came back strong in the hell levels, and ended kinda weak with the IoS. Plutonia was a much better and more satisfying to beat.

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When i finished it as a kid: woa that was more Doom and it awesome. 

When i finished it as an adult: ehh... could have been better.

 

The final boss is lame and the levels were very hit and miss. 

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1 hour ago, Rudolph said:

Then have you tried Brutal Doom's companion piece Extermination Day?

I don't really play GZDoom wads, especially not with BD. Not really my cup of tea. Thanks for all the suggestions, though. I appreciate it!

 

52 minutes ago, seed said:

Controversial statement: Seeing how Doom 2 plays better than the first game, I think Sandy could definitely beat Romero at his own game, ha! Overall, I do consider Sandy the superior designer of the two.

Ouch, oh, the spice, it burns! That is one 10,000 degree kelvin take you got there! As a big Petersen fan I wish, just wish I could agree with you here, but overall I think the two are decidedly equal, and Romero's maps have definitely aged better from both a gameplay and visual perspective, even if Petersen's stuff was more experimental.

 

Though, admittedly, if Sandy only had to make six maps for D2 rather than sixteen, he might well have proven the better designer. The main issue with most of his maps is the vague sense that they are underdone, and could have used a bit more polish. Without that shortcoming, I think his stuff could have been phenomenal.

 

Man, I wish Sandy would decide to make something like Sigil. That would be a very interesting set indeed.

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DOOM II was an epic release at the time. It was packed full of innovation in map design that blew me away. This was still the 90's when cryptic aspects of gameplay was the norm. Figuring weird things out was part of the computer gaming experience. The SSG and Megasphere felt tacked on, but the additions to the enemies were absolutely thrilling and terrifying. Final DOOM was two sets of amature trash which tarnished the DOOM name, leaving a bitter taste in my mouth.

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6 minutes ago, Omniarch said:

I don't really play GZDoom wads, especially not with BD. Not really my cup of tea. Thanks for all the suggestions, though. I appreciate it!

I think it is playable with vanilla Doom.

 

EDIT: A quick Google search gave me this from forum regular Nevander.

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My appreciation for Doom II is more nostalgic than anything and I can't imagine modern Doom mapping without the additions it made to the formula. That being said, I've been somewhat spoiled by more modern level design and admit that Doom II feels a bit weird to go back to. I never liked The Pit all that much despite that one apparently being popular, and other maps like Downtown and Industrial Zone are somewhat confusing drudges to navigate. And Nirvana? Blegh. Still, it's got some definite high points like Refueling Base, Suburbs, and The Courtyard, and I still enjoy a playthrough every now and again since it's one that I know I can beat on Ultra-Violence. It's also very sparing with its Revenants, which I appreciate, haha.

 

Still, I do think Plutonia and arguably TNT are overall more memorably designed and better served as blueprints for how later Doom works would be made, but THOSE wouldn't exist without Doom II, so it has its place. Also, Sandy doesn't get enough respect even if his maps can be hit-or-miss. I don't think The Chasm is as bad as everyone says! But I do think The Factory is, so... hey, they can't all be zingers.

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People say Doom 2 was more inconsistent in visuals, but I don't think thats a bad thing, it gives out a much more varied experience. Plus, design-wise it was very coherent. Also, Doom was always much more focused on the gameplay side of things anyways.

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The weird thing about Doom II is that I believe some of its maps were originally meant for Doom, e.g. MAP10.

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2 minutes ago, Rudolph said:

I think it is playable with vanilla Doom.

Nah, I just checked, on the wiki it says it is only for GZDoom.

 

5 minutes ago, NaturalTvventy said:

DOOM II was an epic release at the time. It was packed full of innovation in map design that blew me away. This was still the 90's when cryptic aspects of gameplay was the norm. Figuring weird things out was part of the computer gaming experience. The SSG!!! and Megasphere felt tacked on, but the additions to the enemies were absolutely thrilling and terrifying. Final DOOM was two sets of amature trash which tarnished the DOOM name, leaving a bitter taste in my mouth.

OooooOOOo that burns! I can barely look at this take for its sheer, incandescent luminescence! Ouch.

 

Jokes aside, I do find it interesting that 90's games tended to be far more difficult and cryptic than modern releases. Why do you suppose this is? My guess would be that games were intended to be played over and over again, and mastered through trial and error. Perhaps completionism was a more niche pursuit back then? Regardless, I find it interesting that you bring this up, given that your maps seem to subscribe to the above logic perfectly. I had to turn to the wiki to figure some of your secrets out!

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1 minute ago, Omniarch said:

Nah, I just checked, on the wiki it says it is only for GZDoom.

Sorry. By "vanilla Doom", I meant with vanilla gameplay.

 

However, trying to load Nevander's version gave me the following error message, so I guess it is not compatible with GZDoom 4.5.

 

Spoiler

 

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43 errors while parsing DECORATE scripts

 

 

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3 hours ago, Rudolph said:

With vanilla Doom II, by the time I get to MAP12 or so, I am just bored with the game: I have acquired every weapon and I have met every enemy there is to fight (with the exception of the SS troopers and technically the Icon of Sin), yet the game does not get much harder, better designed or even visually more interesting. Heck, even the soundtrack starts to rehashing previous tracks. As Warp pointed out, there is just no sense of progression past the first dozen of maps. I do not have that problem with custom mapsets with the same premise like Doom II Reloaded and Hellbound.

 

Doesn't many of these also apply to Doom 1? After E2M8, technically you only don't see the SMM, and the game doesn't get much harder on E3 as well, and the visuals are more or less the same. Though music only repeats on E4. Can I call this no sense of progression past E2? For gameplay, Ultimate Doom is even worse because you have no mid tier except Baron and Cacodemon, and you don't have the SSG.

 

From Map12 onwards, the city theme matches the title "Hell on Earth", but people just like to crap on Sandy Petersen about his city design. It's back in 1994, and there's no reference or what so ever to produce a city level. Not to mention, there are a lot of limitation in vanilla which can easily cause visplane overflow if you make things wide open with lots of details.

 

With the difficulties, even today, there are so many people complaining Plutonia being unfair, I couldn't imagine if they went hard on difficulty, how people would react to the game. Doom 2 is easy for sure, but it's not that easy for people trying to beat it on UV back then.

 

Lastly, there's no point comparing Doom 2 with Doom II Reloaded and Hellbound, which are WADs from 2009 and 2013, and no to mention Hellbound is limit removing, not vanilla.

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One thing I don't think anyone has mentioned yet is that the primary reason for Doom 2's existence was to re-release a Doom game under a commercial license, allowing sales in retail stores.  The original Doom was designed around the shareware business model, and just like most if not all shareware-model games at the time, Doom was not available in stores.  You had to order the fully registered version through the mail, a method of which I'm sure could not possibly keep up with the sheer demand for such a hit game.

 

That said, I always thought Doom 2 was a half-assed pile of shit, although a few years ago I played through Doom 2 on Playstation and it was the most I had ever enjoyed Doom 2.  The colored lighting really adds a lot of atmosphere, and you always meet interesting people at Club Doom.

 

 

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1 hour ago, GarrettChan said:

 

Doesn't many of these also apply to Doom 1? After E2M8, technically you only don't see the SMM, and the game doesn't get much harder on E3 as well, and the visuals are more or less the same. Though music only repeats on E4. Can I call this no sense of progression past E2? For gameplay, Ultimate Doom is even worse because you have no mid tier except Baron and Cacodemon, and you don't have the SSG.

E3 does take place in Hell itself, so there is definitely a sense of progression: after fighting your way through Phobos and then Deimos, you have finally entered the realm where the invaders are coming from and you know the climax is just around the corner. Sure, some Episode 3 maps are underwhelming, but since the episode is only 9 maps long, it is not too bad. I do not particularly like Episode 4 either, but since it is a bonus episode added after the original release, I do not think it counts.

 

In contrast, there are so many points in Doom II that feel like natural end points, yet the game keeps going and going while the level design itself takes a dip in quality. Even the text screen after MAP11 is self-aware enough to acknowledge this somehow:

 

Spoiler

YOU HAVE WON! YOUR VICTORY HAS ENABLED

HUMANKIND TO EVACUATE EARTH AND ESCAPE

THE NIGHTMARE. NOW YOU ARE THE ONLY

HUMAN LEFT ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET.

CANNIBAL MUTATIONS, CARNIVOROUS ALIENS,

AND EVIL SPIRITS ARE YOUR ONLY NEIGHBORS.

YOU SIT BACK AND WAIT FOR DEATH, CONTENT

THAT YOU HAVE SAVED YOUR SPECIES.

 

BUT THEN, EARTH CONTROL BEAMS DOWN A

MESSAGE FROM SPACE: "SENSORS HAVE LOCATED

THE SOURCE OF THE ALIEN INVASION. IF YOU

GO THERE, YOU MAY BE ABLE TO BLOCK THEIR

ENTRY. THE ALIEN BASE IS IN THE HEART OF

YOUR OWN HOME CITY, NOT FAR FROM THE

STARPORT." SLOWLY AND PAINFULLY YOU GET

UP FROM THE FRAY.

 

Edited by Rudolph

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1 minute ago, Rudolph said:

E3 does take place in Hell itself, so there is definitely a sense of progression: after fighting your way through Phobos and then Deimos, you have finally entered the realm where the invaders are coming from and you know the climax is just around the corner.

 

Isn't for Doom 2, it's you evacuate all people from the so-called starport and you go to the city and clean up more Hellspawn, and later go back into somewhere like Hell like progression?

 

And again, doing different segments and pistol starts seem to fix the problem and you can make it a so-called episode yourself. However, you can't do it backwards on Doom 1 where I want to play them continuously, so what's so bad about not breaking them apart?

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8 hours ago, GarrettChan said:

Isn't for Doom 2, it's you evacuate all people from the so-called starport and you go to the city and clean up more Hellspawn, and later go back into somewhere like Hell like progression?

I disagree. To me, much like Thy Flesh Consumed, Doom II often feels like a disjointed succession of maps: thematically, late-game maps like The Abandoned Mines and Monster Condo could have easily followed earlier ones like Dead Simple and 'O' of Destruction. In my opinion, the game could have been shortened to half its current size - removing some of its most forgettable maps in the process - and it would have felt much better in terms of global pacing. Heck, the whole Hell chapter could have been reduced to three maps, e.g. The Spirit World, The Living End and then Icon of Sin.

 

In non-Ultimate Doom, there is at least a clear thematic progression from fairly pristine techbase to twisted techbase to purely alien landscape. Such progression is found in Doom 64 as well, albeit to a lesser extent, and gathering the Unmaker and the Demon Keys is a good incentive for continuous play; it also helps that the levels are generally nicer-looking and more memorable than Doom II's.

Edited by Rudolph

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1 hour ago, Omniarch said:

Nah, I just checked, on the wiki it says it is only for GZDoom.

 

OooooOOOo that burns! I can barely look at this take for its sheer, incandescent luminescence! Ouch.

 

Jokes aside, I do find it interesting that 90's games tended to be far more difficult and cryptic than modern releases. Why do you suppose this is? My guess would be that games were intended to be played over and over again, and mastered through trial and error. Perhaps completionism was a more niche pursuit back then? Regardless, I find it interesting that you bring this up, given that your maps seem to subscribe to the above logic perfectly. I had to turn to the wiki to figure some of your secrets out!

The truth hurts!

 

For sure. My experience of gaming at the time was that I bought maybe 2 or 3 games in a year. I suspect this was somewhat normal. Having a bunch of stuff that was really difficult to figure out was a result of this fact. Today there are endless options which allows for much more of a thrill in novelty and reduces the incentive to spend weeks and months unlocking all of a game's secrets. That thrill is gone. There's also the obvious factor of the internet and the ever present temptation to look something up.

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