Kristian Ronge

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About Kristian Ronge

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  1. Yay, another year of great releases to place on my backlog. :-) I much approve of this year's picks for the Espi Award for Lifetime Achievement. Doug and Andy, you rule. Greetings to all doomers, young and old. Happy 23rd birthday, Doom! Time to step back into the shadows...
  2. Well, we just passed over to the 11th here but it's still the 10th in some parts of the world, so nyah. :-P Happy 22nd, Doom! Greetings to doomers everywhere -- past and present. I'll have a look at the Cacowards now and see what I need to catch up on. :-) As is my tradition, I just loaded up E1 and made a rusty-as-hell episode UV max run. Back to lurking..
  3. Many years ago, I made a New Year's resolution never to make any more New Year's resolutions. So far, so good. :-) Happy new year, Doomworld forum regulars, BTW.
  4. "Alien Vindicta" was the work-in-progress name for "Alien Vendetta". See Ling's post about the project here in August, 2000, pointing to this site which I dug up courtesy of archive.org, dated May 16th, 2001. Also mentioned and linked to here in June 2001 on newdoom.com. It was the project homepage before doom2.net hosted it (project leader Anders Johnsen even alludes to the name change from "Vindicta" to "Vendetta" in the project news updates).
  5. All right, time to wrap things up. Map 29 -- The Fountain The club members who commented on this before me have pretty much got this one's number. It's a hellish cavern/temple; oversized and boring to play. However most of it is visually ... if not appealing then striking. That red marble area falls into the almost unforgettable category, and I wish Rob had done something more with it instead of a lift orgy snooze-o-rama and an unbelievaby silly Cyber "trap" (not much of a trap when you hand someone an invuln beforehand) with practically unkillable monsters -- I left all but one Cyberdemon behind, even though it's theoretically possible to kill one, or perhaps a few, more with luck and determination. The map's not really worth it, though. The ascension up to the MM/Cyber fight was probably the best fight here, the rest wasn't much fun. To be fair, there're no bullshit setups, no retarded crusher traps, no map 14 marble rooms, et cetera, so it would be ridiculous of me to complain too much! ;-) What's the point of the megasphere secret? --2/5 Map 30 -- Apocolypse (sic) By the time this was released there had already been far more interesting variations made on the baphomet scenario. However, this does a fair job at making things exciting; even though it is very plain and a bit by-the-numbers this symmetric arena houses four boss shooters which makes for a hectic experience if you hang about for too long. There's a lot of health and ammo to go by, but you won't need it -- you can rush through the whole thing pacifist style and then win by firing any weapon into the exposed brain (so no hunting for the RL is needed) -- the least efficient is the SSG but it is possible. This end map was about what I would expect if I told your average mapper in 1996 "hey you, make a baphomet map for this megaWAD we're putting together!", and, consequently, about what I was expecting from the WAD before I played it for the first time. --2/5 Overall Impressions I calculated my average grade to be 2.9375, and that seems just about right. "Realm of Chaos" is, for me, an unquestionaby average megaWAD from days long gone, and looking at it without nostalgia glasses on, I find some good or very good maps, some complete duds, and a veeery large in-between section. I wasn't expecting anything else, mind you. :-) I appreciate having the opportunity to play through this one, as it has been on my to-play-list for almost a decade. My five favourite maps were map 6, map 11, map 12, map 15, and map 23, with map 12 being the standout. But many maps were enjoyable in most respects! If there is one thing I miss it is challenge ... I could always follow Memfis' example and go through it again with -fast. :-) Thanks to the other club members for sharing their thoughts, opinions, and, in Steve's case, fun trivia and historical anecdotes about the maps and mappers! I have been quiet about choice of next month's WAD(s) and the reason for that is simple: I'm out for August. Sorry. :-) EDIT: I aim to be there for at least part of the duration!
  6. Huh? You can activate the starting sector as a lift. (or just push the switch from below of course but you shouldn't use such tricks) ;-)
  7. Map 28 -- Fortress of Death Aptly named, this, because it is a sort of fortress set in a vast lake, and given the gameplay, a lot of players are going to die a whole lot. The fighting in the first areas is relentless: you start in a Doom 2 map 26-like scenario where you are dumped in the lap of a lot of monsters screaming for yor blood. There's just no way of playing this start safely -- you have to dash past the first group of monsters and grab the SSG, and hope there's enough infighting for you to reach a safe spot. You progress by finding keys in side areas and come back to the main area. The main area, two stone/wooden blood filled courtyards connected by a metal corridor, I thought was very well designed -- it is pretty to look at, it is well interconnected with other parts of the map, and it changes gradually throughout the course of your progression as you're running back and forth through it, as walls lower, doors open etc. There's also a very neat sequence, almost cinematic, as you enter one of the two courtyards in the main area for the first time, where the light level is lowered and monsters start teleporting in. Once you reach past the red key door, the map eases up and the first time I reached that point I made it all the way to the exit. I must've been killed at least 7 or 8 times prior to that though (most of those times at the start obviously). The side areas are for the most part okay, but they vary a lot in theme, and parts of them are very stupid or feel gimmicky, as is the case with the various switch tricks, at least one of which -- the one right behind the RK door -- can be broken inadvertently and prevent the player from completing the map. What is the point of the four Barons? They pose zero threat to you and killing them is a hassle as they can move so close to you from below that you can't see nor hit them. I ran away and came back to kill them last ... boring! A whole slew of traps are found in the side areas, too, and most of them were good. The YK trap is a little douchey but you're beamed into a reasonable ambush and not a ring of Arch-Viles or something, so I can live with it. Progression is sometimes gimmicky but otherwise fine with a few slightly unintuitive things; for example, it wasn't entirely obvious when the doorway to the pinkies opened. The boss monster arena (with another Pestov Platform!) I felt was gratuitous, and frankly, very poorly executed. It posed no challenge at all. I awoke the monsters and then let them all infight until there was one Mastermind and one Arachnotron left. All this time I did nothing, except kill a stray Baron which found its way through the protective pillars, and took almost no damage. The secrets aren't well designed: two of the four secrets are two extremely obvious side areas to the initial lift with a little bit of ammo and health, and then there's two for the price of one past the YK door (with an easy-to-spot texture change) with some health and powerups, most of which, frankly, you don't need. The chainsaw or berserk could be used for the pinkies later on I guess (but by then you are likely to have a lot of shotgun shells), and the medikits are nice but you get a whole slew of them just after fighting the Mancubus close by. It's a map which I want to like more than I do. Damn it, I enjoyed the fast and furious, tough-but-fair gameplay this one served up, and loved the fact that I was challenged a bit for once in this WAD. But there're many stupid bits. Side note: did any of this give anyone flashbacks to MM map 29, "Island of Death", at all? Maybe it served as inspiration for some things here... --3/5
  8. Map 27 -- Venom I think Steve's final map of the WAD starts out rather enjoyable -- the opening sections have plenty of neat monster closet traps, and keep the powerups to a minimum. In short order, you're going through about 150 monsters, nearly all of them imps or zombies, in classic room-to-room combat. The theme isn't the most cohesive but it sort of works. I didn't find anything confusing or frustrating, quite the opposite, I was enjoying myself here. I could make out the two switches to get to the blue key on the dark platform without any problems (I have a good gamma correction for this monitor) and found the progression very reasonable. Mind you, I did notice the blue key door before I went off in search of either the red or blue keys. Otherwise, I would perhaps have scratched my head a bit wondering where to go after grabbing the BK. A pity there were no new monsters waiting for me as I made my way back to the BK door. The RK area is very small and the key could easily have been replaced by a switch, it's just lying there past the door. I loved the spectre trap BTW; I was totally expecting a trap, obviously, but did *not* expect the entire wall to open! There are four secrets in this part of the map, all of them are just monster closets... Strange. Anyway, the second part of the map follows, past the RK door, and this is where the map changes completely, featuring some vast rooms with monsters strategically placed on ledges, sniping at you. This wasn't quite as fun even though monster placement was good enough to not become awkward (a good example is the chaingunners on the pillars in the nukeage room, they can easily be sniped with the SG or chaingun safely from a large distance, as they're placed on the same level as the player). The fights grow bigger as you're fighting more monsters at the same time, and more ammo is dished out, alongside the rocket launcher (even though I liked that it wasn't just handed to you and required some exploring to find, it did feel a bit haphazardly thrown out into a corner). The largest hall features a pyramid which the player must ascend by running over specific linedefs.. this sounds more unintuitive and weird than it is, I immediately caught on to the principle when running behind a pillar with a HK on it to try to activate it, and found that it lowered "by itself". The map ends with the player being teleported into a small courtyard with a mixed group of monsters, including several chaingunners, and overlooked by more hitscanners (SS troops again!?); this fight felt a bit harsh but not unreasonably so, however I was glad to be at 180/180 at that time and not 40/40. This one was surprsingly quick to play through, in spite of the monster count and size, but this is mostly a blunt and fast paced map. The first part was definitely better, as the fighting, with the exception of the ending teleporter ambush, was a bit more intense and I didn't have a whole lot of ammo or health to waste yet. There was a strange dispersion of powerups throughout: being fed armours when I was almost at full armour, and being given several -- at least three I think? -- berserk packs, etc. Thematically it didn't quite hold together towards the end, the last three battle arenas didn't make much sense to me in contrast to the first areas, and had no real connection between them. Side note: what happens if you use the teleport at the top of the pyramid before grabbing the yellow key? ;-) --3/5
  9. Map 25 -- Castle of the Hellknights Another small one. You're immediately dropped into a somewhat exciting but also slightly awkward starting fight (which contains a secret reminiscent of setups found in maps 18 and 28 in MM, where you must wait to build some stairs. However here it is quite unintuitive to do so, and you're unlikely to find the secret unless you happen to choose the wrong side door and stumble into the completely unmarked hole) and from there quickly make your way into the "castle" of the Hell Knights. I wasn't quite as captivated by this as other club members (partly perhaps by the fact that Antoni does away with the "inside the Icon of Sin" theme after a few corridors). This area features some cramped combat with roaming HKs but you're given far too much health for this to pose much of a challenge, and if you stumble upon the plasma secrets (which I quite liked) it's very easy. From there, it's off to two small optional side rooms with additional powerups and rockets, or go straight to the last few rooms, which feels like a forced hub -- as in, the author felt he needed to lenghten a very short experience, so he did it as quick and dirty as he could... feint to the left, feint to the right, and finally head towards the goal. It looks quite old-schoolish nice, and I'll admit entering the Icon through the mouth is a memorable moment, but nothing else is memorable, and you're given way too much health and ammo, even if you don't find the plasma rifle and another(!) blue armour tucked away in secrets. --2/5 Map 26 -- Above and Below I found this one to be much more interesting (and fun). It's more or less a concept map wherein you progress through raising ledges/lifts crossing through various rectangular rooms (via pedestals), filled with an assortment of monsters. Most of the goodies are found up on the pedestals and alcoves, but to reach the exit you are forced to collect two keys by jumping down below, where a small legion of monsters assault you from ... everywhere basically. I really liked how you feel hunted throughout the map -- the design is largely symmetrical and somewhat open, so monsters below you, once awakened, can follow you around the map and creep up on you. There are also some flying monsters which you need to dispatch of as soon as possible or they will cause you much grief. Rob shows a good grasp of how to make the most of the scenario he's put you in by creating difficult (but not infuriating) setups. It's generally safer to hang out above, but your movement is very restricted, whereas there is a much fiercer resistance on the ground where you can move more freely. Several times you need to jump over gaps which may have one or two roaming monsters beneath blocking you (or even making you fall down!), and there are several crossfire situations where imps, HKs, Barons even, fire at you simultaneously while you try to take them out from the safety of an alcove, or while precariously balancing on the ledge-lifts. Knowing that falling down may land you in the lap of several angry imps or demons is quite exciting. Some side rooms available from the ground level contain the keys needed to exit and some much helpful powerups. These rooms were a bit difficult to spot (Rob made the tunnels dark, perhaps to make things scary?), as I ran past them several times before noticing them. That is probably my biggest complaint as far as progression goes. I can understand that there needed to be an incentive to visit the ground area, but it's not so elegantly done. Visually, it's very plain but I really dug the gameplay here. In my first playthrough I stupidly didn't realize I could activate the raised ledges as lifts and spent what felt like an eternity scrounging for ammo and health and fleeing from roaming monsters, continuously waking up new monsters in the process (and finally succumbing to a cheap Caco bite in the back from way up above after some valiant fighting with minimal resources). :-) Rob turns the screws on you with this one, and I liked every minute of it. Fun map! --4/5
  10. Map 23 -- Ancalagon This may be the first map I've played which shares its name with a DW demos forum speedrunner. This one I rather liked, for a lot of reasons: it has its fair share of traps and surprise moments, without ever treating you harshly, it has several optional side areas with goodies (e.g., the plasma rifle and first megasphere are clear deviations from the shortest path from start to finish), you're rewarded for finding secrets but they are mostly well-guarded, it looks nice (plain, sometimes, yes, but nice) and although it borders on being too long for my taste I found myself so immersed in this to not care. There're plenty of firefights throughout yet it is obvious that Steven held back in some places (where things could have been made much nastier), and for the most part I think that's quite all right, especially since, for a map of this length, a brutal encounter 25 minutes in could just make things frustrating (seeing as I play without savegames). Some encounters were a bit too easy, though, such as the BK ambush. Also, it was a bit strange that you're fed two megaspheres in close succession towards the end (I was at 190/190 when I got to the second one). The last section with a sequence of rising walkways is very memorable and, again, even though the fights are less violent than they perhaps should be, it was fun. I second D.o.t.W's improvement idea about the rising floor! The very last room was a bit of an anti-climax. A consistently enjoyable map for the duration of my playthrough. After getting the soulsphere and blue armour I never looked back, but much of the map should be more intense without those powerups... or indeed, all that ammo in the secret guarded by the HKs. I'll need to play it again to find out. Oh, and speaking of secrets, I found all the secrets right away in this one (Steve's conditioned me to become good at spotting misalignments!). --4/5 Map 24 -- Burnt Guts Hey, the Pestov platform makes a comeback! I was beginning to fear the authors had grown tired of that gimmick, or decided that there was no place for the platform in hell. This was a short little romp, set in a hellish landscape flanked by mostly marble and wood structures. This one looks really good, as others have commented, if a little bare at times (the YK room looks quite plain, for example). Both the red and blue keys are obtained through cute little sequences, the latter ending in a trap which must be brutal with fast monsters. Gameplay is for the most part quite decent, with a careful ammo balance, as Jayextee notes. You're stuck with the (S)SG and chaingun until you reach the yellow key, but even after getting the plasma rifle and rocket launcher, you'll need to conserve ammo a little bit (e.g. through using the SG instead of the SSG when the SSG isn't really called for, making the monsters in the YK teleport trap infight some, or by chainsawing some of the pinkies) to get 100% kills comfortably. The rising bridge to the marble swasn't a stroke of genius as far as progression goes but the farther end of it, at the marble pillars, did look like a lift to me so I jumped in to reach it and stumbled upon the correct path that way. That's the only flaw as far as progression is concerned. The fights are for the most part at least decent but this, I agree with dobugabumaru, is where the map stumbles a bit (although the first minute or so was quite fun). For example, the YK teleporting trap was far too slow, the RK sequence was too tame, and having Barons up in the lookouts is just an ammo sink. Also, the secret is just painfully obvious. You don't even need to be in an explorative mood to find it as the rad suit is placed just in front of it... --3/5
  11. Map 21 -- The Prison A rather dull map, in many respects. The end fight in the circular area was all right, but I didn't fancy anything before that, really. The teleport trap in the first courtyard was far too tame and by-the-numbers to become exciting, and the middle section, with the imp/HK/Revenant cages was outright boring -- I don't like sniping away at monsters I could easily just run past, for several minutes. And.. that's about it as far as the fights go. I agree with Cannonball that ammo balance here is pretty nice -- you have just enough to not have to leave monsters behind and come back for them, if you conserve ammo at the start and try to make some monsters infight a bit in the final area, making sure you have enough plasma ammo for the ultra-cheap chaingunner trap at the end (which, apart from making 100% kills a bit of a RNG gamble, has a serious flaw, as Hurricyclone points out). I certainly appreciate the challenge of killing everything quickly with an ungenerous ammo supply. I also liked the way both secrets were set up, even though getting the computer map is *completely* useless, as the map is super linear and the other secret doesn't show up with it anyway. There were some strange things I consistently noticed through several playthroughs: imps would get caught seemingly under the floor of the platform in the first courtyard at times, unable to reach me (but I could shoot them with hitscan weapons), and the same thing happened for a HK and imp in the BFG secret room. Adam mentioned this as well so it is most likely a systematic design flaw. Anyway, dull map to look at (except the pointless pitch black tunnel which I couldn't look at :-P), mostly dull to play. I not only think this isn't Rob's best map so far in the WAD, it is by far Rob's *worst* map. Side note: what's the point of monsters being able to follow you into the BFG secret room? Made for a long backtrack when I realized a Baron had teleported in after me long after I'd left. --2/5 Map 22 -- Nova Akropola Another large one from Steve. This one does all right. The first part is standard, blocky, hallway-to-hallway minion disposal. The first courtyard has a decent demon/spectre ambush, then you enter a teleport to the second part, which features gigantic locales, much like map 19. And much like map 19 it feels a little bit empty, even though there are a few more critters lurking about here. I kept feeling, as dobugabumaru probably did given his comments, throughout the map that no fights here were quite as exciting as they could have been: they were a bit too simple, by-the-numbers, or featured too weak of an opposition to raise my pulse, with the exception of the rather nice Cyber/AV finale. Especially the "siege" setup at the blue key seemed great at first until I realized I'd been handed a BFG and a shitload of rockets and cells and was facing some imps and SS soldiers (again with the SS soldiers!?). Yeah yeah, I needed the cells for the finale, but still. The two side areas in the second part are set up a little unorthodox in that you collect two keys in one side area to get the third key in the other side area. I obviously chose the BK, i.e. wrong, side area first and had to backtrack to the other, then go back again. :-( Action was decent, with some hitscanner sniping, one or two ambushes, and some larger monsters thrown in. Secrets were easy to find, and very rewarding (the plasma rifle secret was quite cool in that it was heavily guarded). The map looked okay to me, a bit of varying themes, but the main areas are built on a grand scale and competently so. I agree with Adam that the second part of the map is the better part. It's a bit too easy at this point in the WAD, isn't it? Some annoyances: the switch which gives you the rad suit near the start, for example. Why is the rad suit placed all the way across the room? I will have to go through all that blood and fight off the monsters therein plus a spectre guarding the rad suit, and when I pick it up I only have use for it during the much shorter backtrack through the blood (okay, technically there's a medkit in the nukeage right at the beginning of the second part which you could grab without taking damage, too). An awakened Arch-Vile in the end trap resurrected a killed imp (in the first blood area) through the wall, so I could not reach it -- something to consider for maxrunning. --3/5
  12. Map 20 -- Teleporter Central Cramped map wherein you visit a plethora of small areas via teleports to collect the three keys needed to exit the map (via a courtyard guarded by a Cyberdemon). Progression is quite free and there are lots of ways to complete the map, as you can visit most of the areas in any order. I played through in the order goat-baron-archvile (i.e. did the two teleports with the goat texture in between them first, and so on). That was a breeze, as I was handed a megasphere, rocket launcher, plasma rifle and BFG almost right away. When contructing a concept map such as this, where the players may choose any random teleporter, it is of course immensely difficult to balance health and ammo supplied to them so that it's possible to complete the map no matter which sections they play first and which they play later, but this handout, after having only played about a minute or so, felt absolutely ridiculous. I played it through in the complete reverse order, and, yep, it was still incredibly easy. Antoni solved the problem inherent with these designs by handing out powerups like they're stimpaks. Everywhere you look there's a blue armour, megasphere, or soulsphere. The fights are still very fun, though, even if they're not dangerous in the least. The Lost Soul skirmish at the start was great fun, and the two major traps feature tons of monsters to waste, it's just that I almost feel sorry for them as they have no chance against me, armed to the teeth and juiced up. The secrets were all right, although perhaps a trifle easy to find, apart from the one you open up behind you right after teleporting. Not surprisingly, sometimes the secret contained an item which could only be useful for a player who chose to play the particular area first. Yay, I'm near 200/200 and found a green armour! ;-) The Cyber showdown was a little exciting because of the relatively small courtyard wherein you face it, but it's too easy for it to get stuck on a rising pillar and become a sitting duck...er... standing Cyber. The ending requires some quick reactions (or luck) to achieve 100% kills, but it's not frustrating and I liked the shock trap. All in all, I can see what Antoni tried to achieve, but the execution feels so-so, in spite of some neat fights and traps. --3/5
  13. I call it as I see it. ;-) Map 19 -- Port Fury This map turns up the heat a bit again! It's split into two separate parts. The first part, which is good fun, houses all of the (sort of easy-to-find) secrets, and some delightful action. It feels, and, to an extent, looks, like something out of.. Plutonia maybe? You're under assault from the get-go and there's not a dull moment. The map loses a bit of momentum in the second part, mostly because it's much too empty, playflow is not as good, and what fighting there is, aside from the excellent and very bitchy last room which is sure to be insane with fast monsters, isn't all that interesting. You run through a vast outdoor area featuring a nice attempt at realistic locales (the titular port, featuring a warehouse with loading docks, and a ship) while being sniped by well-placed chaingunners and ... uh, SS soldiers? Makes little sense, but oh well. The fighting inside the warehouse felt almost boring, maybe that has to do with the first part of the map being so intense? Ammo balance is very good -- for kicks, I played through without using the plasma rifle at all, and only using the RL after I had picked it up at the warehouse, and I had just enough ammo throughout (a bit of a surplus at the very end, that's okay). This one hovers somewhere between a 3 and a 4 for me... I'll be generous, because the bits I liked were quite fun. Side note: WTF is up with that death pit in the plasma rifle secret? (yes, I obviously fell in on my first playthrough) --4/5 PS: I followed parts of your map 1-14 playthrough tonight, Suitepee, thank you for that. Fun to watch!
  14. Map 18 -- Dead Radio I like the theming and texturing of this grey/silver techbase with some nukeage base thrown in. It's simplistic but done competently and in good taste. The action is a bit slower than the preceding maps, and takes a while to build here, which is a welcome breather after the rather intense series of maps we've seen since map 13 and onward. You fight mostly minions throughout the map, though towards the end there's a plethora of larger monsters to deal with. Progression is fine apart from two things: the double-switch past the reactor room (I had no idea what I'd just activated, but no biggie as I got the blue key at the same time), and that you can aquire both the blue and red keys without having seen either door. In the case of the blue key, I assume it's even likely, given that you open access to the BK door by jumping through a window into a reactor and ooze below; I didn't even realize you should do that until I saw the blue armour down there by chance! Also, had I not run off to the red key door early on I would not know where it was and would surely have scratched my head for a bit. Backtracking aptly involves at least some new fights (the Revenants, Lost Souls and Barons on lowering pillars) to keep things from getting boring. Some small design "flaws": There's a side room next to the lowering Baron pillars which seems to serve no function at all(?), it was a bit of a hassle to chase down all the monsters roaming around on the ground in the large reactor room (that whole area is a bit dull to be honest), the number of rad suits given in the swastika nukeage room is insulting, and 6/7 secrets is the maximum (one secret sector is impossible to get into). I had to search really hard to find the plasma gun secret... Side note: I was very disappointed that jumping from sectors 117/122 onto the big light indentations in the wall did not reveal any secrets. ;-) --3/5
  15. Map 17 -- No Escape A base map with a simple layout. It's very violent, as I've come to expect from Antoni, and contains a few delightful traps, especially the RL trap and the YK trap. While the fighting is generally good, it contains some odd bits: what's up with the "Run!" room? (I didn't run but rather stayed outside of the room and patiently mowed down the monsters with the chaingun.) What's up with the Cyberdemon in the garden? The two adjoining secrets make little sense, too, they almost punish you by giving you an invisibility and then dropping you off at a Cyberdemon with nothing stronger than a RL (with a handful of rockets), if even that. I also didn't like the pitch black maze part. When playing from scratch, the first bit, up until getting the blue armour at the BK could be pretty challenging -- that it, unless you find the super obvious secret in the starting room casually handing out a megasphere, the SSG and a backpack. I counted three(!) megaspheres and one blue armour in this map, plus various medikits, and looking at the map again, I even missed an additional soulsphere and green armour in the Arachno/Baron pillar room. That's just too easy, in spite of a multitude of bigger monsters, because you're very rarely placed in precarious spots (the YK trap being one exception). I would've preferred being able to use the stronger weapons and being given less health. Here, Antoni gives you all the health in the world but forces you to take on the various heavy-hitters, and the Cyber, with the shotgun(s) and chaingun. Not quite as challenging, and not quite as fun as it could have been. All in all, an okay map. --3/5