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Does Fallout’s WASTELAND setting help or hurt it? – The ART!

There is beauty in the wasteland. Not in it’s craftsmanship, per say, but in it’s history. The fictitious events that shaped the world. The thought that went into the styles of the
time. That is what’s so interesting about the look
of Fallout. Unfortunately, all of this gets overshadowed
by the destruction. The wasteland is just that, a wasteland. It can be boring. Devoid of life. And like, that’s the point, but is that a good setting for an exploratory video
game? That’s why it’s so important that Fallout 4 is set
in such a busy city like Boston. Any splashes of life and character help. It should be refreshing when you finally see
something besides rocks and dead trees. If the designers didn’t focus on the small details, like the mid-century
set dressing, then this world would have no character. It would just be barren emptiness. They make a conscious effort NOT to put any
green plant- life in the wasteland either. Anything that was once alive would have been eradicated during the nuclear
holocaust. That includes plant life. But this greatly reduces the color pallet, something they were hoping to improve
on since Fallout 3, which is just a muddy, gray blob. We can also look at an apocalyptic game like The Last
of Us which handles it’s weathering quite a bit differently. Look at how much green plant life there is. The theme was way different here. Nature is reclaiming the land. But man is it gorgeous to look at. It’s refreshing and I know the wasteland is supposed to be dreary and it does a good job
of that. It’s more of an unfortunate setting. The game also does do a good job of not being as brown as say, Skyrim. Fallout 4 works with what it can to provide color variations
painting buildings, cars and other objects in bright
greens, reds, blues, or yellows. Colors you wont normally see in nature, providing a very pleasing contrast. This is where the worlds design history becomes so important. It’s the only splash of life we have left to hold onto. I guess there’s a metaphor in there somewhere. Hey I’m an artist not a writer. Somebody else can figure that out. The most interesting part of Fallout’s design
is the 1950s influence. 1950s design is known for being clean, optimistic, a window to perfection. It’s a very interesting juxtaposition against the horrid, miserable
wasteland, which is the ACTUAL setting for the series. Now, a lazy artist would just paint a skyline
that looks cool and be done with it. It’s easy to paint wreckage after all. You just scribble around a bunch, right? Well… with that mentality you certainly wont be getting hired
by Bethesda any time soon. They started with sketches by Adam Adamowicz. He made some of the fantastic imagery you see in Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Skyrim. Unfortunately, in 2012 Adam lost his battle with lung cancer at age 43. At a loss without their friend, and main concept
artist, they cracked open his sketchbook from Fallout 3
to get some inspiration for how this wasteland should
look. These sketches are very rough on purpose. It’s SUPPOSED to look like a wreck. But the goal here is just to get as many ideas out on paper as possible. Shape, contrast and line weight are most important. Line weight can be used to show depth and gravity. You’re only working with black and white, so any sort of variation helps. After asking “what would Adam do?” And getting majorly inspired, the Fallout
4 team got to work on creating a new world,
starting from the very base layer and working their way up to
the rundown wasteland we know. They took details from a lot of great design influences that, frankly, get lost
in all the wreckage. They could have just started in the setting
that Fallout 4 takes place in, but Bethesda has higher standards
than that. The artists more or less built out the entire
worlds history. You see, Fallout’s world is built around a
lot of perimeters, which could make concepting a
challenge. It has to be 1950s retro, but futuristic. Pulpy, but decayed. This world has our history, with a ton of
different American design influences, but the timeline diverged
in the 1950s where the design philosophy sort of froze,
but technological progression didn’t. There was a heavy focus on nuclear power. To dictate this, the concept artists drew
a ton of inspiration from Atomic Age design. There is very little evidence of this perfect future before it
gets all dystopian on us. The artists took the time to draw out a completely progressive Boston consisting of buildings
that were built AFTER the Fallout series’s timeline diverged
from our own. The primitive buildings of Boston’s past would
have been dwarfed by the new architecture. This is an optimistic future. It’s bright colors contrast well with the
old gray concrete and steel of the past. Now, take this optimistic future, and rip it all down. Ruin it. Pretend a bomb went off in it. Cause it did. And we’re still not done. Take that, and age it 210 years. After the nuclear holocaust of 2077, we start
to see a new design aesthetic. Now we start to see the Boston we know from Fallout 4. Now technological progression gets pushed back. Everything is very primitive. Even though we have all of that beautiful design work, all
that alternate history, it has to be more or less ruined
for the narrative of the game. All of that history went from being prominent design influences, to subtle. Did you see all the cultural shifts? There’s a lot of alternate history here, and all of that history should
dictate the aesthetic. So with all of that in mind, imagine building
this world. Imagine your job is to rebuild the Boston
skyline based on these perimeters. You have to ask yourself a ton of questions. Which design era should we be replicating? Is it 1950s design? Is it futuristic? Is it decayed enough? It depends on what the area calls for. The institute is one of the only places with
a clean futuristic look. You can see the atomic age design influence in the computers and the rounded
shapes of the medical equipment. It’s stark contrast from the rest of the game makes it really stand out. But most places need to have a little bit of grit to them. They need to be aged 210 years. Does this mean the concept artists drew two versions of every single piece just to show
how it was weathered? Not necessarily, but they DID do this for
some areas. While it’s important to get a feel for the
history, concept artists don’t typically have a lot
of time. Drawing a whole set twice would be very time consuming. Painting a few set pieces taking place prior to 2077
was enough. However, a LOT of the set dressing WAS designed
with both time periods in mind. First drawn pristine, with some color variations, then weathered. The weathering process is actually quite fun. Most of these objects are painted metal, so besides the cracks, dust and scratches,
there’s usually a lot of rust. This could all be painted in by hand, but
there’s other techniques at work too. There are Photoshop brushes that apply a rust effect, or even random scratches. There’s also decals you can get; Transparent PNGs
that you can just paste onto a piece. It helps to paint around the effect though to blend it in as best you can. We need a word for this stuff. The act of designing based on the history of the world. DESIGNING SEQUENCIALLY. Perhaps the BEST example of designing sequentially
is the fashion and the character design. They did it to the MAIL MAN. They EVEN weather’d this guys FACE. Some of these guys went through a TON of design iteration. The 1950s influenced design is obvious. Take what’s there, and make something new out of it. Put some holes in it. Not only does it have to look like it’s been through
hell, but it has to look VERY DIY. Like it was put together to serve a function, or to show that it’s all they could
find, similar to the scavenging we see in the weapons, items and
enemies. But we can spend a whole ‘nother episode on
THAT… History, color and architecture are what add
life to the otherwise dead and baron landscape. There are a lot of rules and limitations that make concepting
this world very difficult. Even as a wasteland, it still has to be interesting. But what do you guys think? Did they do a good job? Is it interesting enough? Is there anything you’d like to have seen done differently? Leave it in the comments below and if you like this video make sure you absolutely
ruin that like button. You get it? Like… they ruined this game? Not in a bad way like, they weathered it… cause like…
nuke… ok forget it. Thank you all for being here and for supporting
us on our Patreon. You guys are what make these videos possible and don’t forget you can see these videos
early at just the $3 level and provide feedback at just the
$5 level. Talk to us. Be a part of that community. You could also talk to me on Twitter @BobWulff and tell me any suggestions
you have for this show. Anything you want to see let me know and I will do it. Thanks for watching guys. I’ll see you in another video. Have a good week.

Cesar Sullivan

100 thoughts on “Does Fallout’s WASTELAND setting help or hurt it? – The ART!

  1. I dunno man. I loved the wasteland. I just love post apocalyptic stuff in general. It's just personal taste. The only thing that could've been better (for me) was to have the colors not look so faded. But that was easily fixed by boosting saturation with an enb.

  2. I'm pretty sure after 170 years, That there wont be anything nuclear or hostile anymore, And it would be just like before the bombs fell, Look at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Those were rebuilt in LESS then 100 years

  3. Fallout just wouldnt be Fallout without tge wasteland, look at the Fallout 3 Capital Wasteland, it was meant to be dark with not very much color, it gives the player a feeling that they are not safe, the setting alone can make a game cross the line of being good and being bad.

  4. It would have been cooler if there was more, he was asleep for a LONG time. They would have rebuilt more than that in that amount of time

  5. I prefer the wasteland effect rather that a bright city I love the fallout world and that's odd considering I'm know to be optimistic and happy not dark sad and pathetic

  6. I love the open world, but I can never appreciate it because Preston has a settlement that needs my help.

  7. I'd like to see a Fallout game with overgrowth in the future. I like the desolate setting but still, gets kinda boring… I did however absolutely loved it in New Vegas though – the desert setting is really cool, but it would be pretty lame to reuse it that soon.

  8. the wasteland gets a bit repetitive in it's deconstruction of a previous society. I think fallout designers have a huge task in having to balance the history with the making of a landscape that is insteresting to explore, and i think they didn't completely succeed, although they've done much better than fallout 3. The main problem for me was the lack of big targets to focus on. Fallout 3 was easier in that sense. Too much complexity is not as good of a thing as it sounds like, it leaves the player confused and distracts from the narrative, and i think the fallout 4 ruins have too much beautiful but useless clutter. The visual queues didnt really help making specific targets stand out more than others and the rust ambience being thorough throughout (aside from the institute) didn't help give a sense of change and progression. I found myself playing and often wondering how come in an inhabited place in the wasteland, even in diamond city, the floors would always look like something out of a junkyard. wouldn't the residents sweep? Wouldn't the signs of life change the ruined exterior to something slightly more resembling the old world? Yet almost all the indoor floors in the game have rubbish textured on them. My favourite landscape comes from the far harbor dlc. They really worked on it and every landmark in far harbour has matter of fact a standing out style that differs depending from faction to faction and from location to location. The landscape fuels a better adventure.

  9. In Fallout 4, the colour pallet got stuck between colourful and dreary.
    When I played Fallout 4 the first time, the colour pallet made it hard for me to feel like I was playing fallout.
    They needed to commit to either having colour in the world, or not.

    Far Harbour was very easy to play for this reason.

  10. I've seen Fallout 4 as not worn enough, 200 years will do alot more to the landscape. For one every single tree and bush would have rotted completely in Boston's climate. Unless the war caused the climate to be dry or wood eating bacteria to due off. At the least trees would rot to stumps in 200 years

  11. Why is there so many bottle caps in in the crates in fallout4 when they had paper money before the nuke. also know as "prewar money"

  12. i actually really liked the grey/ brown design of fallout 3, where the only hope of seeing green was a plasma bolting hurtling towards your face….or Harold and Bob's love children i suppose

  13. I remember coming home from school and wanting to see a new lore video from this channel. Now I don't know why I'm still subbed. After all this time, clicking the same button that allowed me to see your new videos in my subscription page is hard to click, but maybe in the future I'll sub back, when the things that made me love this channel return.

  14. Was kinda dumb to compare fallout's environments to tlou as they had totally different goals.

    Metro is a much better comparison, which sees the same setting done in a far more interesting way. The surface missions of metro are among my favourite because of its morbid nuclear setting, which has just a hint of mystery and life.

  15. I think they don't get or voluntarily decided to not depict what an actual abandoned town would look like. I've visited Chernobyl, the closest real life location to Fallout.

    And there is a LOT more vegetation and decay after 30 years than in Fallout. You see large avenues reduces to a footpath in a forest, and the only way to see how wide it used to be is looking at the buildings and lightpoles. Some of the buildings interior, like the schools and the supermarket are just like in Falout, but indeed, Nature would reclaim it much faster.

    Would that work in a video game? Not sure people would like a massive forest with buildings inside of it.

  16. In a world of makeshift items and dilapidated structures, how come the power armor is always nice uniform pieces of metal? Why don't we see patchwork armor made from molten scrap? I'd love to see armor that was welded together with old license plates, face shields made of rebar, flooring in homes made from a sea of various branded soda cans. They could have taken some inspiration from real world artists who take junk and make them into beautiful pieces like this. These types of creations would reflect not only the need for everything to serve a necessary function for the sake of survival, but would also reflect the need for people to still enjoy pretty things, something that can be simply admired.

    Imagine walking into a heavily guarded fort, and as you finally make your way to the room that has stores of Nuka Cola Quantum and other valuable items, you notice the floor is made from thousands of old world copper pennies. Only too late you realize that the floor is also attached to a breaker panel and a massive generator. Someone hiding behind a tattered couch leaps out, wearing a fully insulated suit, and makes a mad dash for the switch. He pulls the lever, energizing the penny-floor, and baconizes you within seconds.

  17. I get that everything got nuked in Fallout, but after 200 years there should be SOME green plants around. The nukes didn't hit every square inch of the continent, and if animals can mutate to survive, so should plants. I don't think "nuclear apocalypse" should equate to "nothing but dirt"

  18. It was great in Fallout 1 and 2, because it created GREAT atmosphere of desolation and wasteland, but since you quick traveled across it, it didn't divert from gameplay.
    But Fallout 3 and 4 is FPS, it cannot have those empty, worldbuilding wastes around, because travelling across them would be hugely boring. So it just packs it full of things on every meter, which makes zero sense, especially after 200+ years after war. Good for playing, but it breaks immersion like hell.

    I mean, I do not really expect to go to countryside and find ton of things from 1800 just lying around in ok condition.

  19. I'd like to see physical exhausted people. I want to see your backpack k wright effect your stamina, aiming , how food regenerate health. If you carry 200lbs of gear you should suffer for it. Food will regenerate less, you need to drink more, maybe the weight hampers aining. Hygiene should play a role as well as battlefield psychology. The wasteland is not a fun place. Your mind should show that. Why can't you die from infections? I know, I'm pulling straws but it does matter. Why can you carry 200lbs and you still suffer little for it. Why not limit your weight to 60lbs? Realistically if you lived out of a pack 60lbs is heavy. You won't run fast and you will need more food to keep up. You tire faster, breathe heavier and with radiation you get more if it as you breathe. Since we are talking about weight. Why not keep it realistic? You can only carry so much. One rifle, one pistol, a few medical supplies, tools and clothing should do . Add ammunition and armor and 60lbs is easy to get. I think fallout puts too much emphasis in putting a ton of gear onto your person. I like how the last of us did the gear. You had a rifle on the outside, pistol in a holster. That's how it should be. For weapons, I'd like to see older scopes, slings, rusted mags, aged barrels and barrel wear. Maybe the scope glass isn't as clear, maybe it's off on the dials. Why not add bullet drop?Just a few ideas.

  20. Imagine a Fallout Spinoff Series where it's still before the bombs went off, where you would fight in battles kind of like a Call of Duty, just take away the linear campaign aspect and make it open world somewhat.

  21. well actually It is, I really enjoyed the clear blue skies and dead world below – and the few plants managing to spring up are brown and withered from radiation and mutation. – and the hint of the bright optimistic world beneath all the dust is still there, they did well.

  22. I sort of like the Fallout 3 art "style" with the bleak, drab and hopeless barely surviving feel where Fallout 4 gave it a lot of color making it look like more like today, while Fallout 3 felt so different and beat up and burned out that it gave it a very depressing setting

  23. i guess they shouldve made more interesting npcs and enemies, look wise and behavioural. Think this is bethesdas weakness

  24. It will never be not exciting because a mix between 1950s , futuristic AND wasted produces a very different atmosphere that is intense, yet sad and it really shows how much of a loss the nuke created

  25. No, no, no. I grew up with the original Fallout. A harsh, dead, wastenland. With NO colors. I want that green and gray color filter back. They should add that filter to Fallout 5. Like, you could toggle it on and off.

  26. Does The Elder Scrolls' medieval setting help or hurt it? What a stupid question.

    The problem with Bethesda Fallout is that the games it is based on do not have a seamless open world like Bethesda RPGs, they had a map of the West coast and you travelled over a 2D map with different locations scattered around. Only the key locations were designed and not the miles of barren wasteland.

    Fallout wouldn't be Fallout without the wasteland.

    What you're describing is Wasteland 2. The sequel to the predecessor to Fallout.

  27. Imagine the kind of game Bethesda would have to try to make if they could go back in time before the war? Set some good presidents and build their games? What kind of game would those even be?

  28. What pisses me off is how HUMANS have decayed in the franchise, we essentially built all we have from nothing, the fallout peoples have books and left over technology but they are just content with sleeping in a house with decayed furniture and overturned bed frames while they sleep in mattresses on the floor, we visit places in FO4 and 3 where people should be doing better, think os Canterbury Commons for example, people wouldn't just resign to live in a place like that, they would clean up their living quarters, they would remove rubble from the streets, they wouldn't use mattresses on the floor with perfectly good frames overturned everywhere, this franchise wants us to believe that humans can't rebuilt, boston after 2 hundred years would be a lot better than we see, even with deathclaws around, we hunted the biggest game the world has thrown at us with nothing but spears but they expect us to believe that in a world with laser weapons and power armor people will just hole up and never even pick up after themselves.
    I love the series but I seriously hope that they will give us a world we can believe in and don't even get me started on plant life.

  29. I feel I have to use the spring season mod on ps4 just to have a some of the areas interesting. I mean how doesn't at least some green pop up after 210 years. Yeah nuclear radiation has an effect but if there's red bloodleaves and the green leaves on a mutfruit plant theres gotta be bits of green grass.

  30. I loved that in New Vegas there was variation in the environment. Like, when you went North there was living pine trees. Even fallout 3 at least had that one area with that forest cult with the living tree ghoul thing. 4 felt too barren. You'd think after 200+ years there would at least the desert plants thriving.

  31. really this is a debate of the focus of the game itself, New vegas Benefits from the wasteland feeling because it's similar to it's non-wasteland form, but with an interesting setup of a semi-lawless future

  32. Bethesda logic, what if our next game ends with the bombs falling, and your choices depict whether you make it into a Vault or not, as well as effects if your vault survives for 200 years, and who inside will survive. That sounds like a unique twist on an existing dynamic.

  33. Damn, I missed 5 of your Fallout videos. I didn't see them in my subscriber-page. Youtube is such a garbage nowadays, I keep missing videos because of it. :-I

  34. I think a bit of green would be welcome, I love when people think realistically when designing world spaces and IRL radiation wouldn't prevent plant life to regrow, so adding living trees and grass to the "country side" of the Commonwealth would make for a huge boost in my eyes. All the rest of the design works perfectly for me, and don't get me wrong I wouldn't change the Glowing Sea because being bare bones and destroyed sets the atmosphere for that place.

  35. People should keep in mind that The Great War happened more than a 100 years ago in Fallout and that its focus isnt about people surviving after a catastrophe but instead is about a whole new and unique world.

  36. This dude just comes off as incredibly condescending and narcissistic. Gives off a vibe like he thinks his opinion is the best thing to ever drop. Or that he knows more about art, and the direction a game should go in more than the people who created it.

  37. Not to mention that this dude claims to be an artist, yet doesn't seem to understand that art is subjective. He tosses out some outlandish, outright objective, claims and trays to pass them off as just his opinions. He outright says "there should be more green in the wasteland after a nuclear fallout. Last of Us has greenery and they're in an apocalypse type setting so fallout should to!". Dudes a hack. That's why he's an "artist" making YouTube videos instead of using his art to make a living

  38. it didn't matter that the wasteland would be boring, because in the first two games, there weren't many locations to be found either. most of the games were exactly that: just a wasteland. what was important about the locations that the games did have were the stories, characters, and quests that they had within them. it doesn't even take finishing the two original games to realize this. adapting old games like these into modern ones isn't a simple task, specially when it comes to fallout.

  39. Was I the only one that just REALLY didn't like the lighting of Fallout 4? Like that's my only problem with the visuals at all.
    Maybe i have the wrong term but it seems like the lighting gives it a.. weird, fadedness to it that looks more like a camera issue than any natural weathering effects :/

  40. Everyone knows how Bethesda should've treated this game,
    when you look at that concept art you see the city go on for what seems like miles. When Bethesda realized they couldn't pull off more than a couple city blocks for the whole city of Boston, they should've fixed the real issue instead of working around it. They should've made a new engine to support newer hardware.

  41. But this still doesn't change the fact that Fallout 4 is just a dumbed down, mainstream RPG wannabe.

    Such a let down compared to Fallout 3 and New Vegas.

  42. The thing is, Chernobyl to this day has large amounts of radiation all over the place. As well a lush amount of greenery. And it's only been, what 60-70 years but after 210 years? Also, say the earth was obliterated and completely infertile, how can settlers grow lush, green melons, corn, tatos, razorgraiin, mutfruit etc. It would most definitely look more like The Last of us aesthetics. Except the glowing sea where it's a literal devastated wasteland.

  43. What's wrong with a grey blob? I don't mind getting depressed by all the grey in game, in fact it's why I play fallout. I usually try to take out as much color as possible when playing Fallout 4 with mods, because I don't want color in my game about a world that, to me, is supposed to be depressing.

  44. I should've known a lot more of this video's content beforehand, being an architecture major, but I'm gonna be playing FO4 with a new perspective from now on. Very impressive!

  45. There's a difference between a zombie apocalypse and a nuclear holocaust irradiating everything and killing anything else with the ash cloud after.

  46. First, I know this is a year out… I just couldn't help throwing my two cents in.

    As far as the design of the prewar world, I think Bethesda has done a pretty good job throughout the series. Sure the older games have problems, but then, the first pass at any major project is going to be a little rough.

    The problem is that they seem to treat the world as if time stopped halfway through the initial nuclear winter. In reality, after 200 years, the only way you could tell that the apocalypse was specifically nuclear would be with a geiger counter… hell, if you didn't know anything about the Bikini Atoll or Chernobyl, the only way you'd know that atomic fallout was involved in those places would be to test for the trace amounts of radioactive elements in the plants, animals, or soil… and that's only 50ish years on. And the fans made a point of this problem in the Fallout universe pretty quickly; one of the earliest and most popular mods to FO3 was "Fellout" which tried to correct this aesthetic by changing the sky pallet, tweaking the water colour and levels, and adding green plants wherever they could.

    But beyond the exaggerated effects of radiation on the natural world, there's also an odd mixing of Nov 2077 with 200 years later in the environmental story telling as well. It's like what most of the design team wants to do is set their stories only about 40 years after the bombs fell, and they just sort of ignore the passage of time whenever it conflicts with that. Things like refrigerators that have been sealed in an unopened bunker for 200 years look just like ones that have been sitting on the surface the whole time, and are often filled with things like mutfruit and and grilled radroach. Or places where 200 years worth of raiders have all somehow decided to leave the skeleton of someone who died at the dinner table completely untouched. Or the ridiculous fact that everyone seems to prefer living in building where the floors are literally sagging into eachother, rather than pry the boards off the nearly pristine building next door, or use the bricks to build new structures (much like what happened to many of the ruins of ancient Rome or the Great Wall in the years that followed their abandonment).

    Of course, a lot of these conflicts actually come from time constraints or putting gameplay first, which there is sort of an argument for… but the dreary wilderness and hand-me-down aesthetic of clothes and housing are largely a design choices, not to mention completely anachronistic with a more authentic progression of the lore. If Bethesda wanted to escape them, they could easily do so just by being more "realistic".

  47. Why wouldn't plants have repopulated after 200 years? Especially grasses? Those things spread like wildfire.

  48. Maybe this is covered furthter into the video. But plant life would not be gone from radiation alone. Look at Chernobyl. That was 50 years ago I believe and its teaming with plants and animals. There is still radiation there. But the plants are growing. Maybe being a bomb it would burn them up but i live in Minnesota USA and here we burn fields to make certain plants grow better. So I'm just thinking it should be green. Back to the video

  49. There's one thing you forgot to mention: Istvan Pely donated some of his own designs to Fallout 4 setting. I mean, he gave the actual 3D models he had made years ago for the MOVKUP project.

  50. The reason they don't have green plant life if because the radiation is still so strong in the water and soil. Humans can barely survive it, let alone plant`s. And the ones that can grow are still brown and brittle.

  51. By the time Fallout 4 should be happening in the timeline nature should have at the very least begun to retake land. It shouldn't be all dead as it is in the game.

  52. In a future Fallout game they should make it so some random town of 10 people or something was an experiment testing glass domes and it perfectly preserved the town so that you can explore prewar stuff.

  53. 1:06 – Yeah, but the plant life would have recovered in 200+ years.

    It's ridiculous that Bethesda doesn't show that.

    What's even more ridiculous is Fallout 76, where everything is green.

    Never mind that all of the creatures that evolved from 200+ years of radiation-augmentented evolution are present in West Virginia after only 20 or so years.

  54. Now that i heard how they put it together, i feel intrigued to try and recreate parts of my city to a post-apocalyptic state

  55. FO4 fripped up big time…in 200 years plants should have been a little bit more alive…FNV did a nice job whit green-orange contrast between Vegas and the desert

  56. i wish people would actually get proper clothes. i get the average scavver doesn't have time to spit shine his house but wearing dirty torn clothes everywhere? at least patch it or something

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