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PC Games (Games) Games

Civilization V To Use Steamworks 295

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-it-doesn't-get-you-in-hot-water dept.
sopssa writes "2K Games today announced that Civilization V will be using Steamworks for online matchmaking, automated updates, downloadable content and DRM for the game. Steam's Civ V store page is also available now, revealing some new information about the game. There will be an 'In-Game Community Hub' for online matchmaking, communication, and for sharing scenarios between players. While including Steamworks might put some people off, it might also indicate better online gameplay than in the previous Civilization games, where it was almost impossible to have a good game without playing with just friends."
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Civilization V To Use Steamworks

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  • by T.E.D. (34228) on Friday May 07, 2010 @05:28AM (#32124166)

    The thing that really sucks about this is that Civiliation has always been my go to game when my internet connection is down.

    Next they will take away HOMM, and I'll be stuck talking to my family or something when internet goes down. (shudder)

    • by Krneki (1192201) on Friday May 07, 2010 @05:30AM (#32124178)
      I always bought CIV, but if this DRM is too restrictive I'll just get it for free.
      Why would I pay to have more problems?

      I'll wait and see.
      • by smallfries (601545) on Friday May 07, 2010 @05:39AM (#32124212) Homepage

        That's exactly what I was thinking. I've got a row of boxes sitting on a shelf with Civ1 - 4/Warlords. If they put something on there that is a problem it will be the first cracked version that I've downloaded for free.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Eraesr (1629799)
          And that's exactly the problem with piracy these days. People think that restrictive DRM warrants an illegal download while the only legal solution to your problem would be to simply not play Civ V at all if you don't like the DRM.
          • by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Friday May 07, 2010 @06:06AM (#32124336)
            And that's exactly the problem with game and media execs these days, they completely fail to realize that there is absolutely no way to stop piracy and that adding more DRM just encourages more illegal activity. Ignoring reality doesn't make it go away.

            Of course, you're assuming that the DRM is legal in the first place, which it isn't. It removes your ability to make back-up copies as allowed by law.
            • by Richard_at_work (517087) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .ecirpdrahcir.> on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:35AM (#32124892)
              Nowhere in 'the law' does it say that content providers must allow you unhindered ability to make a backup copy, it merely states that you are allowed to make a backup copy within the limitations of copyright law - its not illegal to hinder that at all.
              • by williamhb (758070) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:23AM (#32126284) Journal
                The one that is a bit iffy however is that it does hinder your Right of First Sale. Purchase a real game and you can sell it second hand. Purchase a Steam game, and it's much harder (including a fee to Valve). You also have to realise that this really is an explicit intention of Steam. The record execs might care about piracy. The game companies care about second hand sales. Whatever number of BitTorrenting pirates there might be out there, there's an EBGames or a GameStop with a wall-ful of second hand copies in every shopping centre.
            • by Narishma (822073) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:41AM (#32124940)

              You can make backups of Steam games, not to mention that you can re-download them as many times as you want, even on different computers. You can also play them offline, so I don't see what your problem is.

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by Coopa (773302)
                Although i haven't experienced it in a long time myself, 'offline mode' on Steam was notoriously picky about letting you play offline.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by drinkypoo (153816)

                You can make backups of Steam games, not to mention that you can re-download them as many times as you want, even on different computers. You can also play them offline, so I don't see what your problem is.

                You cannot install a steam backup without steam. You cannot use steam without updating it. You cannot update it without a network connection. Thus, you can not restore a steam backup "offline", you can only unpack it. The difference is playability. That's what the problem is.

              • by blind biker (1066130) on Friday May 07, 2010 @11:17AM (#32128362) Journal

                Can you resell your game?
                Can you activate your game without Steam?
                If one day Steam goes down, how long will you still be able to play your game?

                Can you, with a straight face, and with honesty, claim that a Steam game is 100% under your control? Can you answer this last question without "but"s?

          • It's vastly more satisfying to thumb your nose at the pointlessness of the DRM by downloading the superior cracked version even if philosophically it's better to just not buy or play the game.

            They'll blame the lost sale on piracy and lobby government for more draconian laws either way.

          • by mcvos (645701) on Friday May 07, 2010 @06:43AM (#32124528)

            And that's exactly the problem with piracy these days. People think that restrictive DRM warrants an illegal download while the only legal solution to your problem would be to simply not play Civ V at all if you don't like the DRM.

            Depends on where you live. Buying and installing a patch that removes the DRM is also legal in many places. And I think that where I live, not buying but downloading a complete cracked version is also legal, as long as I don't use torrent to do it (because then I'd be uploading at the same time).

          • by TheLink (130905)
            Not a problem to me. Downloading is legal in some countries. AFAIK in my country (Malaysia) distribution is illegal (e.g. uploading), but downloading isn't, so as long as you don't use P2P (or are a leecher) you're legal ;). I think they plan to change the law soon.

            Copying is not the same as stealing.

            Laws dealing with stealing have been around for thousands of years and far more proven in their long term usefulness to society than copyright laws.
          • Why is this flamebait?

          • by metacell (523607)

            People think that restrictive DRM warrants an illegal download while the only legal solution to your problem would be to simply not play Civ V at all if you don't like the DRM.

            If I'm not going to buy the game in either case, playing a pirated copy doesn't cause the producer any loss of profit.

            • If I'm not going to buy the game in either case, playing a pirated copy doesn't cause the producer any loss of profit.

              In a sense that's true.

              However, are you familiar with the Tragedy of the Commons?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Pojut (1027544)

          That's exactly what I was thinking. I've got a row of boxes sitting on a shelf with Civ1 - 4/Warlords. If they put something on there that is a problem it will be the first cracked version that I've downloaded for free.

          If it ends up being broken because of DRM, why not buy the game so the developers get their cut and then download the cracked version? You get an easy-to-use version, the developers get their cut, and everyone is happy.

      • by bmecoli (963615) on Friday May 07, 2010 @05:39AM (#32124214)
        I've use Steam, and not once have I ever had an issue with it. their download/DRM model works rather well and isn't nearly as bad as say, Ubisoft's. I mean, their whole business model is what has made the platform so successful in the first place, so I wouldn't worry about CIV V being on Steam.
        • by hedwards (940851)
          It works until you tire of the game and want to sell it or somebody happens to break into your account and they disable it without compensation. Steam's just as bad as the rest of them, at least with other schemes you're just out one game if things go wrong, with steam you could very well be out all your games.
          • by Thanshin (1188877)

            or somebody happens to break into your account and they disable it

            Happens to break into your account? How does that happen?

            I'd like to know your opinion on online banking.

            • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday May 07, 2010 @06:55AM (#32124612)

              In most countries if your bank account is compromised there's regulations to protect you.
              If on the other hand you have a large number of games the steam admins can simply confiscate your property and you have no recourse.

          • Backup copies also work until someone happens to break into your house and steals them, your computer and fluffy the cat. And you thought putting your daily backups on a microSD card in her morning meals was SOOOoooo smart.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Rockoon (1252108)

            It works until you tire of the game and want to sell it

            Nobody ever tires of Civilization.

            Just.. one.. more.. turn..

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          When I first got steam, I was on dialup. When you install Steam, you have to update it. These during-install updates are downloaded with no resume facility. I had to actually take my computer to someplace with broadband in order to even install Steam. Once you have it installed, the updates (or purchased games) are downloaded with resume, but that's only after the initial update.

          Further, Steam backups can't be played without installing and updating Steam as well, assuming it's not already installed. And kee

      • by MrZilla (682337)

        I have already preordered Civ V, but this makes me a bit worried.

        I have never played a game that uses Steam, so I don't know if it's bad or not. I'll definitively keep an eye on what people are saying.

        But if it turns out to be too bad (for me), I'll just cancel my preorder and not get the game at all. There are plenty of other games out there (including Civ 4)

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          I have never played a game that uses Steam

          It's not bad. After a while, you'll find that Steam has some distinct benefits.

          Like when I buy a new computer, it'll download and install any of the games I want to play. No disks. I have played Steam on machines that lacked an optical drive entirely.

          Get past the extra hassle of having to wait until the Steam client logs in (unless you set it to offline mode) before your game starts, but that only adds a couple of seconds to the game start. On my game machine, I

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by famanz (1447895)

            I have never played a game that uses Steam

            It's not bad. After a while, you'll find that Steam has some distinct benefits.

            Like when I buy a new computer, it'll download and install any of the games I want to play.

            Agreed. I just built a new computer and reinstalling my steam games was a breeze.

            My biggest complaint with steam, which is really with some of the publishers who use it rather than Steam itself, is that some games have extra DRM in addition to Steam such as Games For Windows Live (GFWL). I've only bought one game through Steam that uses GFWL, Red Faction: Guerrilla. I don't recall the Steam purchase page mentioning that I'd need to create a separate account and be signed into it as well in order to play

      • Steam DRM isnt that bad it even got an offline mode when your net connection is down.
        Steam have always let you have your software on multiple PC's but only allowed to be logged in at one place.

        the steamworks intergration with the save games is going to be interesting tho.

        Of all the DRM I've seen Steam is the one least obtrusive I've seen.
        It also lets you download a game which you bought on DVD through your net connection if you have registered it with them ala "Supreme Commander 2"

      • No extra DRM. It's locked to a Steam account, but you can log in on any computer which has Steam installed and play any game on your account. If it's not installed, you can download it. PITA, but better than the alternative method of having all of your games on every computer: Carrying every installation disk you own.

        I buy all of my games on Steam now. I might get a couple from Good Old Games, if I can find some I like.

        Off topic: Does anybody know if there's an online store offering System Shock 2 for dow
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MogNuts (97512)

        With everything that is going on these past few years with DRM, I do not disagree with you whatsoever. More power to you.

        This is directed to all Slashdotters, not you. I've said it before, I think we should stop think of PC games as owning them, and treating them as rentals. That's how the companies are treating us, so we should respond in kind. And I don't mean to just roll over and accept it. I mean the following:

        Only buy games, new or used, at a rental price-point. When there is a special on Steam like w

      • Write to Firaxis and let them know.

        I recently bought the complete Civ IV specifically because it has no DRM what-so-ever, I like the game, and want to support further development. When I heard Civ V was going to have DRM like this, I sent a note to Firaxis saying that I certainly wasn't going to be buying the game if it's crippled by DRM.

        Let them know that it's backfiring and will actually cost them sales.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by lemmywrap (1605025)

      When a user installs your game, the DRMS server collects information from the customer's computer that uniquely identifies it. The collected information is used in combination with the metadata regarding your executable file to generate a custom binary, that checks that it is running on the user's computer. If the user changes the configuration of their computer such that the CEG checks would fail to identify the computer, the CEG system will automatically generate a new executable file for the user, and update their game installation. These checks occur whenever your game is run, regardless of whether the computer is connected to the Internet or not. In addition to examining the user's computer, the CEG system will detect tampering with the executable file, and will conceal its workings from reverse engineering.

      Should still be able to play it while offline, it would only require an internet connection when installing or after changing your hardware.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Thanshin (1188877)

      my go to game when my internet connection is down.

      Mine is Dwarf Fortress. No mouse means I can even play it on the car (better while someone else drives) or while waiting on the airport.

    • Steam has an offline mode. You should only have to go online once to activate it.

      • It doesn't work about half of the time. There's various reasons it doesn't work. You've changed hardware, you've been offline too long, it thinks there's updates for the game and you MUST install them even to play in single player more.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Thanshin (1188877)

          I can imagine hardware changes to be a problem but how does it know there are updates without you being online?

          I know about the updating the games I have set up as offline, but it notices only when I'm actually online, so I can download the updates. I fail to see the problem.

          Either you're offline (or just dont let steam connect), and you get no update notifications, or you're online and connected, in which case you must download the updates, which I would, anyway.

          I can see a problem if, for some reason, you

          • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:00AM (#32125122)

            thing is that steam is utterly retarded when it comes to network connections.
            If there's *any* kind of network, no matter if it's just a point to point between 2 laptops, a local lan with no net connection or anything which looks like a network connection then steam will decide that you don't really want to be in offline mode, obviously you made a mistake when clicking "offline mode" and so it kicks you out of offline mode and freaks out because it can't connect to the steam servers and locks itself up.

            Even worse is when it does this while I'm using my edge dongle (very low bandwidth) and it decides that it absolutely positively has to download the 100mb patch for that single player game I was trying to play before it will even think about letting my play it.

            If you've never experienced problems with steam then you're on a high bandwidth, high reliability, always-on, unrestricted net connection.
            In that situation steam is the best thing since sliced bread.

            Otherwise steam has very very real problems and hordes of dedicated fanboys who deny those problems even exist.

            "Either you're offline (or just dont let steam connect), and you get no update notifications, or you're online and connected, in which case you must download the updates, which I would, anyway."

            This tells me how little thought you've put into this.
            I'm on 3 different networks regularly.

            1: home, DSL, steam is pretty good on this except when it decides I really really need that massive patch for the game I want to play in single player.
            2: university wireless, steam doesn't like this at all since it can't get at the steam servers but there is an active net connection so it decides I don't really want to be in offline mode then locks up because it can't get at the steam servers.
            3: wireless dongle when I'm traveling, if I make the mistake of trying to play steam without first pulling out the dongle it will decide I need all the latest patches.... over an edge connection wherever I may be.
            this is where steam really goes to shit.

            uncommon:
            4: I'm on any kind of LAN without a net connection or if my ISP goes down.

            • by Shrike82 (1471633)
              I'm a fairly vocal supporter of Steam but I have to wholeheartedly agree with this point. Offline mode works well if you're truely offline, but is an absolute piece of crap when Steam decides that it [i]should[/i] be able to go online. If I tell Steam to be Offline, I expect it to ignore anything that even vaguely looks like a network connection until further notice. I don't care if the Steam central servers are sending pleading messages to my machine begging to be allowed to update. I've said no, and I mea
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              If there's *any* kind of network, no matter if it's just a point to point between 2 laptops, a local lan with no net connection or anything which looks like a network connection then steam will decide that you don't really want to be in offline mode, obviously you made a mistake when clicking "offline mode" and so it kicks you out of offline mode and freaks out because it can't connect to the steam servers and locks itself up.

              They fixed that in the new Steam client.

              At least the changelog mentions offline mode fixes, and it did work for me in a scenario you describe (network with several boxes and a router but no Net access + offline mode).

              No, I'm not a Steam fanboi. I've ran into problems with offline mode in the past, largely the same as yours.

          • by geekoid (135745)

            Because sometime updates take stuff away, or change the game in a manner that isn't fun.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by bornyesterday (888994)
      luckily steam has this nice "offline mode" option. I was playing civ 4, l4d2 and bad company 2 this past weekend when waiting for cable in my new apartment
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by omglolbah (731566)

      You can play Steam games in "offline mode". I do so frequently. It works great :)

      While I loathe DRM, the Steam DRM is so non-intrusive compared to the competetors that I can live with it just fine. Since I started using Steam a few years ago I have spent more money on games than ever before...

      Of all the DRM schemes to use, this is the one I would pick if I had to make a choice as a consumer.

    • Steamworks on other games like Torchlight just serve to add features, not remove then. In Torchlight it redistribute your savegames. So you can start a game on the Netbook, and wen you get home, continue that game on the Desktop.

      I don't know you, but this sounds like a good feature to have in Civi.

      And you can play Torchlight offline. The whole Steam thing can run offline.

    • The pirated version will allow to play without internet connection ;)

      IIRC, you can also put steam in "offline mode" and then play without internet connection. But to do that you must be logged in the first place, so it's only a valid method when you're planning ahead of time to do that. If your ISP/router/whatever goes down you're fubared.

    • by Vahokif (1292866)
      You can switch Steam to offline mode and it'll still work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ledow (319597)

      Offline mode. You have to be online on Steam to download the damn thing in the first place, but once it's installed you just set it to offline mode and play away. It won't stay like that forever, but are you seriously telling me that you won't be online with Steam running in the background (even if just for a minute) for more than about 30/60/90 days?

      I don't buy games that have stupid DRM because I do play offline, but I've spend hundreds of pounds on Steam lately because their system is the only one that

      • by Terrasque (796014)

        "It takes literally minutes to reinstall 9Gb of game from a Steam Backup if you suddenly get the urge to play it again, or you can redownload it if you lose your backup."

        Too bad those minutes are around 300-400.. At least, that's my experience (games with many small files kill Steam restore - even on SSD)

        • by ledow (319597)

          I call bullshit of the highest order.

          I have recently deinstalled and reinstalled from backup about 7-8 games, totalling Gigabytes of data with 1000's of files and it never took more than a handful of minutes (and most of that was churning to load the setup program into memory before it actually did anything). This is not a top-of-the-range laptop by any means, bog-standard cheap 320Gb hard drive. Its filesystems were made two years ago and haven't been defragged etc. *EVER* and it was going from one parti

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Thanshin (1188877)

      Totally offtopic moderation curiosity, feel free to ignore.

      Several similar posts in this thread, saying essentially "I use steam offline and had no problem with it" have been simultaneously modded exactly once as flamebait. I suspect it's the finest example I've yet seen of a single guy using the "-1 disagree" mod with his entire pool of modpoints. :)

      • by halivar (535827)

        Karma may a bitch, but meta-moderation is a poxy whore with a truncheon. He'll get his.

  • by Bugamn (1769722) on Friday May 07, 2010 @05:36AM (#32124194) Journal
    In my time Civ started with dirt and road, if you were lucky.
    • by mcvos (645701)

      My first thought was: Steam tech in Civ? What'll they think of next? Horseback Riding?

  • But but ...
    I still haven't won Civ 3 C on deity level yet.
    The C5 graphics/movies look stunning, but multiplayer Civ, which I've never tried in years of playing, seems like an extremely tedious business.
    I turn off "see friendly moves" on large maps because i think the AI's turn takes to long.
    Imagine having to wait for two (or five) human players. And I tend to play "one more turn" for about ten hours occasionally.
    Any experienced online Civ players care to explain how that works? Do you play one turn per day

    • by azaris (699901)
      In CIV the player turns are concurrent (turn-based WEGO). It works pretty well, although if you're used to strict turn-based IGOUGO in single-player the combat will throw you off a bit.
  • by bersl2 (689221) on Friday May 07, 2010 @06:20AM (#32124400) Journal

    Your phalanx unit successfully defends against an attack from an enemy battleship.

    • by homb (82455)

      That's actually rather normal. The phalanx unit hunkers down, digs foxholes and caves. Good luck mr. battleship.

      (the problem of course being how the phalanx ends up sinking the battleship)

      • while pounding away at the cliffs, one of the big guns overheats and jams, the shell in the chamber explodes setting off a chain reaction that sinks the ship

        • by homb (82455)

          Or of course a night insertion by the phalanx special forces team that scales up the battleship with knives between their teeth and murder in their eyes.
          The rest is history.

  • shameful (Score:2, Interesting)

    by emkyooess (1551693)

    Well, here's to the first game in the Civ series I don't buy.

    • I second that (Score:4, Informative)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:08AM (#32124692) Homepage Journal

      Civ 5 was going to be my first PC game purchased in literally years (besides the humble indie bundle [wolfire.com], who could pass that up? But I'm talking about going to a store and buying a box.) But I am diametrically opposed to Steam's attack on First Sale law, and will not purchase any game which uses Steam again. I already went through it with Half-Life 2; I did not find any of the mods worth playing, so to me the game has zero replay value, and I would like to re-sell it, but I can't, even though I bought it on a disc at the store. Just say no to Steam. I will not be paying for Civ 5.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by emkyooess (1551693)

        Do not forget that steamworks DRM is also included on boxed copies.

        • Re:I second that (Score:4, Informative)

          by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:13AM (#32125274) Homepage Journal

          Do not forget that steamworks DRM is also included on boxed copies.

          What part of my story about buying Half-Life 2 in a store and not being able to resell it led you to believe that I would not understand that the DRM was included with boxed copies as well? The truly abusive thing about Steam to me is that you can't even play a backup without installing and updating Steam. Steam 'backups' are not backups because they are not playable. So I can't sell it, and I can't play it? What the heck did I pay for? Shelf space? Die, Valve, Die.

  • Good move (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thorizdin (456032) <thorizdin@l o t d.org> on Friday May 07, 2010 @06:44AM (#32124534) Homepage

    Good move, kudos to Sid and company for ignoring the idiotic knee jerk reactions seen on some message boards I won't mention. Requiring occasional (I have gone at least 2 weeks before) access back to Steam as opposed to having to keep track of some number of CD's _and_ being able to have the game installed on multiple PC's is a net positive IMNHO. The improved matchmaking sounds like icing on the cake.

  • by Paul Carver (4555) on Friday May 07, 2010 @06:49AM (#32124566)

    I still play Civilization Call to Power. It is my all time favorite addiction. I don't pull it out often because when I do I can easily play all night and not even realize that dawn has arrived. But I do pull it out occasionally and I'm glad I can play it without worrying about whether the company will still let me.

    I guess I'm bad for the games industry by enjoying a game that's so old, but I won't even contemplate buying a game with DRM because I just don't trust that I'd be able to play it long after it stops being the hit new thing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by kammat (114899)

      but I won't even contemplate buying a game with DRM because I just don't trust that I'd be able to play it long after it stops being the hit new thing.

      You do know [wikipedia.org] Valve has promised to patch around Steam authentication if the shit ever does hit the fan?

  • by wintermute000 (928348) <benderNO@SPAMplanetexpress.com.au> on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:54AM (#32125062)

    Seriously

    Everyone who is slagging off steam, try it before you complain.
    I have had ZERO problems with steam, before I was a sceptic and now I am a convert.
    The auto-patching auto-updating goodness is worth its weight in gold.
    Never had a problem playing offline or whatever.
    Rebuild a PC? no issue, unlimited re-downloads, much easier to kick off steam and walk away than dig out masses of discs, then go through hours or hunt and patch, etc.
    Games are CHEAP esp if you bag them on sale (GTA4 for 7 bucks USD, Op. Flashpoint Dragon Rising for 5 bucks etc.)

    Put it this way: its so good and convenient that I buy games (on sale of course lol) that I can pirate in front of me. I see the pirate bay / rapidshare / usenet link in front of me at the same time as a steam sale. Guess who wins 10/10.

    Steam: DRM done right - non intrusive, value added (auto patching, friends lists/voice/matchmaking etc., forget about juggling masses of CDs and cases), cheaper than boxed retail.

    If you want to sell a used game then OK you are SOTL but thats the bargain you are making.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      You missed the point.

      DRM only serves to remove your right. Right to resale, right to do what you want with the game. It also puts you in a position of assuming you are guilty of a crime until you prove otherwise. It also becomes a nightmare is someone gets into your account.

      Steam will ebcome standarde,and then there won't be the choice to not use it if you want to game.

      It's nice for people like you who are happy to be their bitch in exchange for convenience, but for people who actually want consumers to hav

    • Well, I HAVE used steam, but I haven't actually bashed steam here on slashdot.
      Until your post.
      Unlike you, I have had non-zero problems with steam. I had a pretty shitty connection at the time, and several times the damn steam client wouldn't let me play CS:Source offline. I'm really not sure why, I didn't troubleshoot it, that's not why I bought the game. But that was years ago, things may be better now. I wouldn't know, I've never gone back.

      It very well may be DRM "done right" or the best example of D

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