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Game Status - Reality and Myth

 
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Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/8/2007 2:29:08 AM   
geozero


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Game Status – Reality and Myth

The following are solely my opinions and conjectures based on my (albeit limited) knowledge of the game as it stands.

I’ve started this thread because I think that there are a lot of people with misconceptions of the status and of the process of making a game. Some of this is due to disinformation fed into these threads or simple the lack of understanding. I was one of the latter (ignorance is bliss) prior to coming into the scenario design/testing team a few years back. Now I have a better understanding, and so hope that by sharing this you will have a better appreciation of the game.

For starters, the development of this game falls under what I consider 5 phases: 1) Initial conception and preliminary programming by the developer, 2) Matrix joins the efforts, and thus is able to bring very talented and seasoned designers (Trey Marshall, Daniel McBride, etc). These people become the core or initial group that shapes the direction of the game’s development, 3) more testers and designers are brought into the mix. I joined around this time as a tester (read a note below about this), 4) the game gets major re-work based upon the testers and designers input. Here is where the long “wish” lists get implemented. 5) (not yet done…) the game goes through another phase of testers, existing designers making final tweaks and balances to the scenarios. Game is then released.

We’re somewhere between Phase 4 and 5 in my opinion. And let me add that because of the great work that the designers and testers have done, this game had a lot of major improvements implemented. The flip side is that sometimes (as is the case with all programming) when you add or fix something, it can cause something else to fail.

Could the game be playable today? Well yes and no. We have “played” it and tested it, but there were some major improvements that needed to be taken care of. This included the AI. I’m not going to get into a discussion of the AI, because quite frankly it’s not something I know a great deal about. BUT, You may want to note here (before you feel like ranting) that the scope of this game’s engine is huge. It’s not just a new system in terms of how turns are played out, but much more than this. You will be able to re-create any battle, whether in the frozen artic mountains of Norway, to the deserts of Africa, the beaches of Normandy, the steppes of Russia or the jungle islands of the Pacific. IT’S ALL THERE FOLKS!!!

Which is why it is taking so long. Take movement for example. There are numerous movement styles, and movement over a plain terrain or a steppe is different than an amphibious landing in a jungle island or a para-drop in Crete. THESE THINGS TAKE AN ENORMOUSE AMOUNT OF TIME to test and to fix. Hexes are divided into 6 “sectors” each having their own set of “rules”. IT’S MASSIVE!!!

Releasing the game pre-maturely would be plain dumb. I personally would have liked to see this game released already. I’ve spent thousands of hours testing and designing and researching, not to mention hundreds of dollars out of pocket to get databases, maps, books, etc. So yeah, I guess you could say I have a vested interest.

The fact is that the game cannot be released until all the many ideas, features, and tweaks are worked out to a level that meets the developer and the distributor’s satisfaction. That’s a business decision as much as an artistic one.

Now I’m going to once more go out on a limb here… (flame away if you want, BTW – I own all TOAW incarnations)…

THIS IS NOT TOAW!

Never was. Never will be. It’s also not V4V (though much more similar).

People keep making these comparisons but you really got to separate the two. TOAW had (or has depending on your view) its strengths and weaknesses. So does ANY game. With this new gaming system, You will need to find new strategies when playing even same battles from those other systems.

So now the million-dollar question: WHEN IS THE GAME COMING OUT?

Sorry, I really don’t have that answer for you. For Matrix or anyone to say again would be dumb, because when the final phase of testers comes onboard there may be a lot more tweaking. I know they are dying to tell you a date, as much as you’re dying to hear about one. For now we have to keep waiting. Yeah, it sucks. Get over it.

What is certain is that the game is rock hard steady. I’ve had no CTD’s. The editor is fully functional, as is nearly all features. A lot of work has been done on PBEM because the DEVs want to insure that the games turns are protected so there’s no exploitation.

The other certain thing is that Erik, Ludo and others have NEVER said anything to the contrary as to the completion and release of this game. And it is my belief that when you finally play it you will have a whole new appreciation for all the hard work that went into it.

That’s all I got to say. I don’t claim to be a fanboy or anything else. All I want is what YOU want. That the game comes out, that it is a success, and that future versions become a reality.

So rant or send kudos… it’s not my party. I’m just on the VIP list.

********************************************
NOTE: My experience as tester turned designer:

I came into the game as a tester, and nothing more. But to really learn the game we had to test things like the editor. So I started making a scenario. Other testers did the same. Soon we found ourselves being testers AND designers. Perhaps not always the best combination. But it was a necessary evil to fully test the game. As the game has developed there have been an introduction of so many features, that most of those early scenarios need to be overhauled. I still have to go back and tweak out many scenarios I did. But the end result…VERY FABULOUS…



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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/8/2007 3:20:18 AM   
Joe 98


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Tweaking a scenario for balance is very difficult.

If you play against the AI, you could unltimately create a challenging and balanced scenario. 

The problem is that balanced scenario is not balanced against a human player!   And you cannot play against yourself to tweak because you know your own moves!
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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/8/2007 4:25:37 AM   
06 Maestro


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quote:

ORIGINAL: geozero

The other certain thing is that Erik, Ludo and others have NEVER said anything to the contrary as to the completion and release of this game. And it is my belief that when you finally play it you will have a whole new appreciation for all the hard work that went into it.




Not to long ago, Ludo said he thought it would be ready by the end of the year; sort of putting his neck on the chopping block. I sincerily hope this is true, as I am certain I will enjoy this game.
If January comes without a release, there will likely be heavy flak zeroing in on this forum.


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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/8/2007 4:41:08 AM   
Deathtreader


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Geozero,

Thanks for the update......... and the candor. It's hard to be patient sometimes........


Rob.

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/8/2007 5:24:40 AM   
geozero


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deathtreader

Geozero,

Thanks for the update......... and the candor. It's hard to be patient sometimes........


Rob.


Thank you.

Gents, it's a double edge sword. On the one hand the game was announced in development several years back. While some may view this as negative, and we get the "why is this taking so long" type of feedback, the view SHOULD be "wow, I'm glad I found this gem in its development stages". C'mon folks "the glass is half full NOT half empty.

I don't want to go off on a tangent...but...It's easy to be negative, it's much harder to be positive. This applies to everything in life.

Think about it. Everyone of the readers on this thread stands a chance to make a difference on this game by your enthusiasm, suggestions, questions, etc.


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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/8/2007 5:28:21 AM   
geozero


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quote:

ORIGINAL: 06 Maestro


quote:

ORIGINAL: geozero

The other certain thing is that Erik, Ludo and others have NEVER said anything to the contrary as to the completion and release of this game. And it is my belief that when you finally play it you will have a whole new appreciation for all the hard work that went into it.




Not to long ago, Ludo said he thought it would be ready by the end of the year; sort of putting his neck on the chopping block. I sincerily hope this is true, as I am certain I will enjoy this game.
If January comes without a release, there will likely be heavy flak zeroing in on this forum.





Quite true...he said that. But no one has a crystal ball. (Well actually I have on eon my desk as a paper weight). There could be unforeseen events. As for me, I'm still optimistic that it will be sooner than later...then again, I'm that way about everything.

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/8/2007 6:09:47 AM   
Arinvald


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I have very high hopes for this game and would hate to see it released before it is ready. I have wasted much money in the last several years on games that were rushed onto the market. I simply hope that it is ready for release within a year and lives up to my lofty expectations.

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/8/2007 6:32:08 AM   
geozero


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arinvald

I have very high hopes for this game and would hate to see it released before it is ready. I have wasted much money in the last several years on games that were rushed onto the market. I simply hope that it is ready for release within a year and lives up to my lofty expectations.



At the end of the day it all comes down to making the right business decisions. Releasing a game too early or delaying it in order to make it better has it's advantages and disadvantages. Either way, you will PO some people. That's the delicate balance...

Now, this type of game genre is not a fad, like say PokeMon. So waiting a bit longer is not going to lose its novelty value or target audience IMO.

I think the game will not only meet your expectations, but actually exceed them.

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/8/2007 6:59:22 AM   
06 Maestro


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Geozero

Just because I happened to mention necks on a chopping block does not mean I'm being negative. In fact, sometimes a neck on a chopping block can be a good thing, but that's another story. I am in fact quite pleased to see that this great looking operational game is making progress.

Thanks for the update-much appreciated.

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/8/2007 9:51:44 AM   
Nemo69


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Thanks for the heads-up and for sharing your views on the matter.

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/8/2007 9:57:59 AM   
geozero


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quote:

ORIGINAL: 06 Maestro

Geozero

Just because I happened to mention necks on a chopping block does not mean I'm being negative. In fact, sometimes a neck on a chopping block can be a good thing, but that's another story. I am in fact quite pleased to see that this great looking operational game is making progress.

Thanks for the update-much appreciated.



I did not take as you being negative... on the contrary. I am not privy to any matters concerning game release, etc. So if the lead programmer says it will be this year, then I too will hold that as being the truth... setting deadlines or goals is a good thing. Achieving them is the challenge.

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/8/2007 10:26:28 AM   
norvandave


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I thank you for the update. I think that is what most of us were really looking for. Periodic updates would be great. Shannon at WiF gives an amazing update every month. Perhaps something not that detailed, but some word on a monthly basis would be a good idea to keep people interested.

The game looks great.

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/8/2007 10:40:00 AM   
geozero


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quote:

ORIGINAL: norvandave

I thank you for the update. I think that is what most of us were really looking for. Periodic updates would be great. Shannon at WiF gives an amazing update every month. Perhaps something not that detailed, but some word on a monthly basis would be a good idea to keep people interested.

The game looks great.



Agreed.

But since the last year or so has been mostly AI work there is not much to report, as Ludo has stated in the past. Still if Ludo or Erik would do a monthly update (at least stop by and say something). We designers/testers have been on ice until the AI is done, so we have done nothing. No point in designing something that will have to be re-done again. So we wait for the latest (hopefully final) AI so we can again move forward, tweak the scenarios, and test.

Erik? Ludo? If you're reading this, stop by and say hello.

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/8/2007 1:40:54 PM   
Howard7x


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Thankyou for the update, the game is looking sweet. Any chance of some screenshots of a latest build? That might keep our hunger at bay for a while longer. The maps and couters look really nice. I cant wait!

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/8/2007 2:52:57 PM   
Ludovic Coval

 

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Gents,

George has pretty well summarized project status. Thanks to him

LC




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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/9/2007 1:28:14 AM   
geozero


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You want Editor Screenies???

Let's examine a few.

Here's a simple area. Explanations to follow.






Attachment (1)

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/9/2007 1:30:41 AM   
geozero


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You will first notice that the wooded areas cover parts of the six "hex sectors". This is important as the game calculates different attack/defense/movement/supply based on these sectors (not just the total hex). This has NEVER been done before in a game. It becomes crucial when you start considering your positions, movement and combat.

So this next screenie indicates the SIX sectors.




Attachment (1)

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/9/2007 1:32:26 AM   
geozero


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You want elevation?

Hills can be designated up to 7 "levels" So with the plain level that's a total of 8 different elevation points.

Here are some hills.

You will notice that I only put a few level 1 hills, but at the south there is a level 2 hill. Because the elevation difference is greater it makes cliff sides automatically. Pretty tough defensive position. And bunker to boot. I'll show that in another screenie.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by geozero -- 6/9/2007 1:33:51 AM >


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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/9/2007 1:36:44 AM   
geozero


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Populated areas... several flavors come with the editor. Village, town, city and industrial areas.

You can layer these or combine a hex so that one sector is town, another sector is industrial, etc. Not only will it make map making prettier and more accurate, it affects the way the hex is played out. Different defense bonuses, movement, etc.




Attachment (1)

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/9/2007 1:37:32 AM   
geozero


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And last some additional terrain features...

We have defensive bunkers and trenches, farm lands, orchards, a river (this is just a plain river and the game has several such as major river and even canals), a foot bridge (nothing better than restricting vehicle and tank movement...you'll have to send in engineers!!!).


This map was made in under 5 minutes. I haven't even began to tap into the various editor terrains available. You will be able to make ANY map you want to.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by geozero -- 6/9/2007 1:40:40 AM >


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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/9/2007 5:29:37 AM   
Arinvald


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Good Lord, I think I have somehow underestimated the game. This is the first time I have heard about a single hex having differing effects depending on sectors. This just makes the wait even more intolerable. Thanks; thanks alot geozero. I have changed my mind; get this damn thing done now!

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/9/2007 5:39:01 AM   
benpark


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Excellent demonstration. The sector-ized hexes make a great deal of sense. I hope the devs get the time to finish this one up, as it's looking like a revolutionary title.

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/9/2007 6:37:53 AM   
geozero


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Here's more...

This screenie shows a portion of the Operation Epsom scenario (designed by John Looby and me). I've added a shaded line which is the approximate frontlines (removing the units from view so you can see the map).

This portion covers the Fontenay to Norrey-en Bessin area, which has a river, several bridges, an AT ditch and a dry river bed. The Germans are poised behind this seemingly impenetrable series of barriers. They would be smart to blow the bridges early on to slow down the British advance.

Behind this are about 2-5 clicks are a series of Level 2 hills, great for Arty positions or mobile reinforcements. There are a few dirt roads that vehicles can use, but mostly orchards and farmland.

The blue numbered boxes are VP's with St. Manvieu being the prize in this sector.

Note: At the foot bridge there is also a railroad crossing (bridge) which can also be blown.

Attacking a hex from certain directions will yield benefits of the hex sectors.





Attachment (1)

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/9/2007 8:26:56 AM   
Joe 98


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I presume in the editor, you can turn each hex to face any of the 6 directions?

-

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/9/2007 8:51:29 AM   
geozero


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Joe 98

I presume in the editor, you can turn each hex to face any of the 6 directions?

-



Not sure what you mean. The map hexes can not be "turned". But the hex's "sector" can have different terrain.

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/9/2007 3:03:27 PM   
Ludovic Coval

 

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Arinvald,

quote:

This is the first time I have heard about a single hex having differing effects depending on sectors.


This may need some clarification. Code make distinction between hex (woods etc...) and hexside (rivers etc...) features. Impact of sector depends of feature considered :

Hex : Sector is not an isolated property. Hex's combat modifiers does not consider a specific sector but combinations of all sectors. Thus an hex with 3 sectors of woods will have differents modifiers than another hex with 4 wood sectors. The rationale are that attacking unit try to occupy the hex, hence figth occur in others sectors than the attacking one. I considered to add a ponderation but variation was, in most of case, minimal and caused a problem to player since we would have to display 12 modifiers (one for each sector and for Infantry/Armor). Using composite modifiers is then a matter of trade-off between 'realism' and playability/data size.

Hexside : There sector property is the king. Pathfinding and combat will always consider them. (For example fortifications modifiers will be lowered if attacker has combat engineer going trough a fortified sector).

Joe 98,

quote:

If you play against the AI, you could unltimately create a challenging and balanced scenario.


Yes and no. Since most of you are familiar with TOAW let's compare the two games and some effects about Formations and PO:

TOAW : Defined by designer.

* Pro : Easy AI work, allow designer to model real units involvement by setting cross-attachement (for example). Simplify scenario testing since AI will most of time always act
in same manner.

* Con : Put part of AI design on designer thus making sometimes need to make two versions of scenarios. Decrease scenario variability.

CA : Created by AI.

* Pro : Allow designer to use historical organization. Free designer time for scenario creation since he dont have to work on AI at all. Increase variability (With Peleliu 1944 for
example I've seen AI using different approach to take the island as US player.)

* Con : Increase AI work. Variability may increase time needed for scenario tweaking. Deprive designer of influence over AI.

Please note than I'm not stating that a system is better but that they are different and, for most situations, have as Pro the Con of other system. (The same can be said of equipment database vs designer setting units values).

In case of CA, two elements tend to reduce the Con part :

* AI dont cheat (but for dummy). If a designer test in HTH or againts AI, attack result will fall in same range of result.
* Game has been designed for e-mail multi-player in mind (There is a CIC system and force repartition that prohibit a player to order units out of his command) thus lowering a little bit the need for an AI.

quote:

I presume in the editor, you can turn each hex to face any of the 6 directions?


If I understand well your question the answer is no. I did not used editor as much than George and John but I never had any need for such feature.

LC



< Message edited by Ludovic Coval -- 6/9/2007 3:08:56 PM >

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/9/2007 4:12:14 PM   
Joe 98


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quote:

ORIGINAL: geozero


quote:

ORIGINAL: Joe 98

I presume in the editor, you can turn each hex to face any of the 6 directions?

-



Not sure what you mean. The map hexes can not be "turned". But the hex's "sector" can have different terrain.



There are 6 sectors. From your screenies above: In scenarios "A" I want sector 1 to face left but in scenrio "B" I want sector 1 to face right.
-



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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/9/2007 4:16:29 PM   
Ludovic Coval

 

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Sector number is scenario independant since its a map's property. Sector 0 is always the top one and number increase clockwise.

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/9/2007 5:35:06 PM   
Arinvald


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Thanks for the clarification Ludovic; I now better understand the sector effects. It seems that the engine will really model combat to a depth never seen in a computer wargame. I have always been impressed with the V4V/WaW series, but I am confident that CA will be the new reigning champion once released.

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RE: Game Status - Reality and Myth - 6/10/2007 2:34:13 AM   
Deathtreader


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deathtreader

Geozero,

Thanks for the update......... and the candor. It's hard to be patient sometimes........


Rob.


Great stuff!! Thanks for the info (I think)... Now it's going to be even HARDER to be patient....

I agree with previous posters though that a polished, comprehensive and stable product is vastly preferable to one that was boosted out the door, so take as long as needed and do it right.

Rob.


_____________________________

So we're at war with the Russkies eh?? I suppose we really ought to invade or something. (Lonnnng pause while studying the map)
Hmmmm... big place ain't it??
- Sir Harry Flashman (1854)

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