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June 20, 2021, 01:12:26 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsA Door to the Mists--[DEMO updated!]--traversal, exploration, puzzles and combat
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Author Topic: A Door to the Mists--[DEMO updated!]--traversal, exploration, puzzles and combat  (Read 49800 times)
Alain
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« Reply #600 on: April 13, 2021, 11:27:37 PM »

I like the the blue light when you look up from the tomb to the outside. It reminds me of the feeling I have when finally finishing a dungeon in Legend of Grimrock Wink Good luck with the publisher pitching!
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« Reply #601 on: April 14, 2021, 07:56:05 AM »

Thank you very much, on both counts! ^_^

And indeed, I was quite happy when I spotted that blue light in the entrance-way--I hadn't intentionally planned that it be that way, but I'm glad that it did so work out! ^_^
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« Reply #602 on: April 19, 2021, 03:24:32 AM »

Blog post (19th of April, 2021)
A King's Rest


Summary: In which a tomb gains a corpse; said corpse is given a crown; some level-logic is implemented for interactions connected to that crown; a new collectible is added; a rock-cleft is near-finished; certain interior elements are polished a bit; the extents of a level-exterior are worked on; exits are updated; and more publisher-pitching is done.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows the corpse of a king, entombed and preserved, to be found in level eight:



The week just past once again focussed on level-building, with just a few other things done besides:

As shown above, the tomb found in level eight now has an "occupant": in the week just past I modelled and emplaced the body of the king whose tomb it is.

This modelling wasn't done from scratch, however--indeed, it makes use of a number of previously-made elements: The base model was that of the adventurer-enemy, edited, posed and then modified further; parts of the textures likewise are modified from that adventurer; and the robe uses in part a previously-made "cloth" normal-map.




With the king done, I moved on to an accessory found with them: a dark half-crown, balanced on the forehead of the corpse. This model isn't yet quite done, but is largely so, I think.

Why is this modelled separately? Because it's an item that can be taken.

However, in the week just past I also began implementing some logic that is run upon taking and returning said crown, and with engaging a certain trigger while carrying it... Wink

(And on a related note, I've added one new entry into the list of collectibles. Wink )

The tombs themselves saw some updates in the week just past, too. Perhaps most notably, I worked further on the cleft that joins the two interiors--it's largely done now, I think, barring one or two minor issues. Less-notably, I also made a minor update to the UV-maps of the "ribs" on the ceilings, hopefully rendering them a little less uniform.





Moving to the exterior of the level, I did some work on its distant extremities. At one end the gorge now narrows greatly, almost closing; at the other, it narrows only a little, and a hill is just visible beyond its gap.



I also updated the exits that bound the playable part of this exterior: I made them initially "locked", and gave the one that leads in the wrong direction a separate text-ID so that it can provide a different response to the other.

And finally, in the week just past I enacted the last of my second wave of publisher-pitching! All pitches should be out now, I think; all that's left, I believe, is to wait... o_o

That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #603 on: April 19, 2021, 11:14:37 PM »

Wait, is this the first screenshot of a character we see here? I have not been here since the beginning, so I was wondering. I really like the design, his face has similarities to Boris Karloff in The Mummy.
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« Reply #604 on: April 20, 2021, 09:23:08 AM »

Wait, is this the first screenshot of a character we see here? I have not been here since the beginning, so I was wondering.

Not quite! There had been at least one other, as I recall--and that's if you don't count the mummies from the barrow-tomb level, who, while bellicose, were sentient.

That said, this is a somewhat desolate adventure!

Ironically, this arguably isn't a character: there will be no talking with this king, I'm afraid.

I really like the design, his face has similarities to Boris Karloff in The Mummy.

Thank you very much! ^_^

I do feel that my skills with humans--while hopefully improving--are not my best. So I'm glad to have a good report on one of them! ^_^
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« Reply #605 on: April 20, 2021, 10:26:07 PM »

That said, this is a somewhat desolate adventure!

This is also what I took from the mood so far and it is a good choice in my eyes!
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« Reply #606 on: April 21, 2021, 07:26:41 AM »

Thank you! I'm very much glad that it is enjoyed. ^_^
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« Reply #607 on: April 26, 2021, 02:05:52 AM »

Blog post (26th of April, 2021)
A Crown for the Dead


Summary: In which level-geometry sees touch-ups and fixes; a superfluous tomb-chamber is sealed off; a crown is worked on; logic for taking and replacing said crown is implemented; a mural is begun; some text-strings are written; one more pitch is made; and an engine-tutorial is updated.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows the half-crown that rests with the king entombed in level eight.



The week just past was perhaps a bit of a short one, in part likely due to both a personal issue and some disruption from minor changes being made to the building in which I live. Still, some things did get done!

To start with, a few changes were made to the geometry of level eight.

On the perhaps-less-notable side, I enacted some touch-ups to the cleft between the tombs, including some improvements to its shadow-casting via hidden "interior walls".

I also performed some minor cleanup of various bits of geometry-parentage and drawing-order, and deleted some superfluously-duplicated objects.

On the perhaps-more-significant side, I sealed off the second king's chamber, the one that would theoretically be found in the second tomb. While this blockage is not canonical to the story, so blocking allows me to omit a figure that's not really relevant to the level, and avoid the potential issue of having a second crown be available.



Returning to the first tomb, and as shown in the main screenshot above, in the week just past I polished off the model for the king's half-crown, or at least this draft of it. This includes the addition of a pair of inscriptions on its inside face.



Now, said crown is interactive--it can be taken by the player. Furthermore, it can be put back, and taken again, and so on.

There is, however, no built-in logic for the purpose of having the player put down an object; for the most part objects in A Door to the Mists are picked up, possibly used, and then disappear when done with. What's more, objects that can be taken are destroyed on being picked up, with only their inventory counterparts remaining.

Enabling the taking-and-replacing of the crown thus called for some implementation.

Specifically, and after some thought, what I ended up doing was this:

I created a "stand-in" object that had the crown's model and in-level position, and that had the "take" action-icon specified for it--but that wasn't actually collectible.

Instead, "taking" the object just called a script-method. That script-method constructed an inventory object and gave it to the player, then shifted the "stand-in" object downwards, out of sight below the floor of the level.

Said new inventory object was set to be single-use, thus causing it to disappear on a successful interaction.

Finally, when the king is interacted with another script-method is called. This method was altered to check whether the inventory-object was used in the interaction, and if so, to move the "stand-in" object back up into place.

The effect, then, is the appearance of taking the crown, having it, then using it on the king to put it back in place--potentially to be taken again.

Remaining in the first tomb, in the week just past I started in on a major element that should, I hope, add some character to this level--and in this specific case, provide a major plot-point.

That element is the first of a set of murals found within the kings' tombs, depicting actions of those kings.

This is by no means done, however! There's work to be done on the form, I daresay, but also on the colour and the shininess of it at the least, I think.



Moving to writing, in the week just past I set down various strings for level eight, or a first draft of them, at least.

On the "business" side of things, I mentioned in last week's blog-post, I believe, that I had finished my second wave of publisher-pitches. However, in the week just past Apogee returned as an indie publisher! I thus made one more pitch, to Apogee!

And finally, some issues with my Panda3D "Beginner's Tutorial" had come or been brought to my attention, and in the week just past I attended to those.

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #608 on: May 03, 2021, 02:34:46 AM »

Blog post (3rd of May, 2021)
Matters of Statuary


Summary: In which a mural is worked on; a shader is extended to support that work; a depth-offsetting issue is addressed; a buffer-bug is fixed; a statue is made more efficient; physics and logic for a character is improved; footsteps and death-sounds are made; and miscellaneous improvements are implemented.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows progress on a mural found in level eight:



The week just past was one of progress on a variety of elements, both technical and artistic, I do believe!

Starting on the artistic side, and as shown above, in the week just past work continued on the mural that was shown last week. Specifically, I believe that I applied the appropriate colouring, and extended the player-light mural shaders to provide a few features that had been missing.

This is still very much a work-in-progress, but I do feel that it begins to look the part.

Sticking with shaders, the player-light "decal" shader saw a minor change in the week just past, in response to a troublesome issue.

I had discovered, you see, that in one particular part of the second tomb, the edge of a particular decal could be seen through the nearby wall; it made a flickering dark line as one approached.

After experimentation and discussion on the Panda3D forum, a likely culprit was uncovered: the engine's handling of depth-offsets applied its single given value to both a basic offset and a slope-bias. As a result, at very shallow angles--as was the case in my scene--the total offset could become high enough that it resulted in the affected geometry rendering through intervening geometry, even with a noticeable separation between.

An entry has been filed for this issue in the engine's issue-tracker.

For my immediate purposes, however, a forum-user pointed me to a workaround: remove the offset and apply my own in my decal-shader. I tried this, and I'm glad to say that it seems to have worked!

If I recall correctly, it was in my investigation of the above issue that I came to look again at how I was handling the main off-screen buffer in the game.

You see, I had previously discovered an issue in which the game didn't immediately update the buffer-size after resizing the window. For example, if one started with a very small window, then switched in-game to a large one, the view would become awfully pixellated due to the buffer remaining at the smaller size.

I had filed this under "important, but to be attended to later". In the week just past, spurred as I recall by the thought that my buffer-handling might be related to the flickering line on the tomb-wall, I decided to address it.

And I'm glad to say that I believe that I have it fixed, and that it proved not all that difficult to sort out! The solution is perhaps not ideally efficient--the buffer now likely gets remade more often than is called for--but it doesn't seem too bad, and the issue seems to be fixed! ^_^

Now, in past blog-posts I've been a bit coy about certain slightly-spoilery matters. Alas, sharing these next updates would seem to somewhat call for either being very vague indeed, or spoiling a bit.

So, beware! There are some spoilers ahead!

That said, you may recall the stone statues that I previously showed as being present in level eight.

In the week just past I made some changes to them, aiming to make their geometry more efficient. Most particularly, I replaced the rather-indulgent use of vertex-modelling for the depiction of hatching on their clubs, instead making use of a normal-map.



This was done because, alas, I discovered that when these statues walked, or when the player moved while they were "active", the frame-rate dropped significantly.

Investigating, this seemed to be incurred by CPU-based animation-skinning--hence the replacement of that excessive vertex-modelling: the fewer vertices there are, the less work there is for the CPU in animating them.

The result was a small improvement, but an improvement nonetheless, I believe--from around seventy frames-per-second to around eighty, I think that it was.

I also made some improvements to their interactions: On the physical side, they now collide with each other, meaning that they no longer greatly intersect when they move close together. On the logic side, they now stop briefly when another of their kind blocks their way, meaning that they no longer keep fruitlessly walking under such circumstances.

On the audio side, I made a new set of echoing footsteps for them--and an unpleasant whoosh-and-thwack-and-crunch sound for their killing of the player with the aforementioned clubs.

While I was at said audio-work, I discovered the the sound that I was using for the player's death by falling wasn't as good as I would have liked. I thus reworked it, and am rather happier with the new version, I believe!

Turning to 3D modelling, in the week just past I made a large jar or pot, based on an extant model. Perhaps most notably, this jar is designed to break apart. The reason for that, however, I think I'll leave unsaid for now! Wink

(The screenshot below was taken in Blender, as I don't think that I've yet exported at least this version into the game's format.)


And finally, I made a variety of additions, touch-ups, and fixes that don't seem worth detailing here!

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #609 on: May 10, 2021, 02:30:34 AM »

Blog post (10th of May, 2021)
Breakages


Summary: In which the breaking of a pot is enacted; menu-scaling is removed; said removal incurs further minor fixes; an issue in mouse-handling is addressed; and a testing-change is removed.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows some pots, now in place in level eight:



The week just past was a bit of a slow one, I'm afraid: between personal matters and my coming down with something near the end of the week, only a limited amount was done. Still, some things were done nevertheless:

In last week's blog post, I believe that I showed the model for the above pots in the process of being animated. I continued that work in the week just past, in particular creating an animation of said model breaking.

However, I then discovered a problem: as it turned out, Panda3D was automatically merging vertices that were in more or less the same place--such as those of neighbouring shards. This resulted in the shards in some places "smearing" across the space between them and their neighbours.

So, I split the model into two separate files: a static pot, and an animated version that started off with the shards already slightly separated. That separation allowed me to get around the issue of co-locational vertices.

But when I implemented these models into the game, I discovered a new problem: The pots could be stacked, or placed in arbitrary locations--but of course, a pre-made animation doesn't account for any of that!

So in the end I discarded the animation entirely. Instead, I now have a small particle effect of sorts, spawning shards at roughly the right location. They simply fall through the floor and disappear, but I think that the effect works sufficiently well, at the least!

And with that done, I set to work making audio for this breaking. Doing so proved tricky, and I'm not entirely happy with the result that I achieved, but I think that what I have works, at the least!

Moving away from the level, in the week just past I attended to an issue in the display of my menus. Specifically, I removed some code that had been intended to scale menus to account for varying window-resolutions, but that seemed to have been causing problems.

(Indeed, I think that I had one case in which this code scaled a menu down to near-invisibility!)

This is done and the menus are still working, I do believe.

It did incur further fixes, as I recall, being various adjustments to elements that had been affected by the former scaling. There are some minor differences in the layouts of various elements, but nothing serious, I feel.

I also discovered in the week just past that mouse-handling had become somewhat broken in certain screens! Specifically, an earlier change to how I read mouse-input seems to have resulted in mouse-coordinates that no longer fell into the ranges expected by various screens.

Thankfully, as I recall this proved fairly easy to fix!

And finally, amongst the translation puzzles I reverted a change that was made for testing purposes, and that I'd forgotten to undo.

That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #610 on: May 10, 2021, 05:53:08 AM »

However, I then discovered a problem: as it turned out, Panda3D was automatically merging vertices that were in more or less the same place--such as those of neighbouring shards. This resulted in the shards in some places "smearing" across the space between them and their neighbours.

Automatic vertex welding that you have no control over sounds like a terrible feature :D


So in the end I discarded the animation entirely. Instead, I now have a small particle effect of sorts, spawning shards at roughly the right location. They simply fall through the floor and disappear, but I think that the effect works sufficiently well, at the least!

Sounds like a good solution! Now I want to see it. Your post is like Waiting for Godot... you promised us a breaking pot! Mock Anger
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« Reply #611 on: May 13, 2021, 03:32:28 AM »

Automatic vertex welding that you have no control over sounds like a terrible feature :D

I gather that it's something that would be quite tricky to work around, and that doesn't cause problems in most cases. Hence I can see why it might not have been addressed!

Sounds like a good solution!

Thank you! ^_^

Now I want to see it. Your post is like Waiting for Godot... you promised us a breaking pot! Mock Anger

Hahah, you'll likely get to see it in the next post, I intend! ^_^

You almost got to see it in this one, but I think that I had a few things that I wanted to set in place before doing so.
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« Reply #612 on: May 17, 2021, 02:46:54 AM »

Blog post (17th of May, 2021)
Half and Half


Summary: In which murals are made or polished; examination objects and logic are put in place for said murals, and for a piece of graffiti; text is written for those examinations and the conclusions drawn from them; a minor footstep-sound issue is fixed; breakable pots gain placement sounds; the actions of a set of guardians are given likely-final timings; and response is begun to the possibility of no publication being gained.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows a new image of a mural; others are scattered through the body of the post!



The week just past was again a bit slow--in part for a new reason, and one that I intend to go into below. However, some things did get done!

As shown above, murals were a part of the work of the week just past.

I've previously shown one mural, I believe; that mural itself saw some polish:



Further--and as shown in the main screenshot above--other murals were begun, and indeed finished I believe, in the week just past. Two, to be precise: the one above, and one more:



Each of these murals shows some achievement of the king who lies interred in the tomb that bears them. And indeed, the player can now examine the various sections of those murals in order to learn about them. Further, a conclusion now follows the examination of all sections of a given mural.

Specifically, in the week just past I added examinable colliders to the level at those sections, put in place logic to handle the drawing of the conclusions, and wrote text-strings for all.

There was, once, a fourth mural. Only part of it remains now, the rest seemingly destroyed; there's little to glean here, save that someone seems to have disapproved on something that this king did:



This fourth mural likewise has its examinable collider and text-string.

And indeed, furthering that thought of some disapproval against the king is a bit of graffiti found below said mural; a slur against the king. That, however, has only logic elements and text-strings in place, and thus is not ready to show!

Remaining with level-geometry, I also fixed a minor issue with the footstep-sounds assigned to one region of the level.

I believe that in last week's blog post I mentioned some breakable pots. In the week just past, then, I added a sound for the placement of said pots (as they're carriable).

To what end are these pots included in the level? Well, that touches on some spoilers, so beware!

You see, as I believe was mentioned beyond a spoiler-warning in a previous blog-post, the statues found in this level are not entirely inanimate.

Indeed, one condition under which they wake, at least, is should someone steal from the tomb. Steal something like, say, the death-crown perched on the dead king's forehead...

They're undefeatable by the player, and quick enough that there's little chance of evading them in the tight spaces of the tomb. So how might one get out with the prize?

The answer is to slow them down!

Here below, then, is a video of these things--albeit a video of how not to do it, and the consequences of running afoul of these redoubtable guardians:





A part of the work of the week just past went into those guardians, too: specifically, I put in place some likely-final values for their interactions with the pots.

So, I mentioned above that there was a new reason for this week having been a bit slow.

With continued declinations or silence from publishers, I'm starting to look to the possibility that A Door to the Mists may not come to be published. And at the current rate of progress, I fear that, lacking funding and additional level-builders, it will take rather longer to complete than seems wise. As a result, should I not find publisher support, I will likely cancel the project.

For one, this prospect has, I think, dispirited me a little. I haven't given up, but my motivation has ebbed somewhat.

However, perhaps more saliently, I'm looking ahead: I'm preparing for the possibility of pivoting.

Specifically, I've picked up once again a project that I had previously set aside, one that I think might be quicker to make overall, and a little more marketable.

(And also one that I'm excited about--it's a project that I'd wanted to return to in some capacity anyway, as I recall!)

To this end, the work-day has been split in two: the first period is given to A Door to the Mists, and the second to this other game.

I don't want to say too much just yet of this nascent game, and this blog is for A Door to the Mists after all. However, in short, it's a fantasy take on a particular form of the top-down space-explorer-and-shooter.

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #613 on: May 17, 2021, 11:38:41 PM »

Thanks for the progress update, I like the murals!


With continued declinations or silence from publishers, I'm starting to look to the possibility that A Door to the Mists may not come to be published. And at the current rate of progress, I fear that, lacking funding and additional level-builders, it will take rather longer to complete than seems wise. As a result, should I not find publisher support, I will likely cancel the project.

That's a bummer. I love your project and dedication, but I would also consider it not the easiest to be marketed and pitched to publishers. It is a project coming from your heart and has a lot of character, I would hate to see you not being able to finish it Sad
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« Reply #614 on: May 18, 2021, 07:32:08 AM »

Thanks for the progress update, I like the murals!

Thank you! ^_^

That's a bummer. I love your project and dedication, but I would also consider it not the easiest to be marketed and pitched to publishers. It is a project coming from your heart and has a lot of character, I would hate to see you not being able to finish it Sad

Thank you again! I am sad at the prospect of not getting to complete A Door to the Mists--it is indeed a project that I love.

However, it's also a possibility that I've been aware of for a while, so I am perhaps--somewhat at least--prepared for it.

At the least the demo is up for people to play, so even if the game is cancelled, some part of it gets to have an audience.
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« Reply #615 on: May 18, 2021, 10:21:04 PM »

I totally missed out on the demo, can you maybe repost the link?
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« Reply #616 on: May 20, 2021, 09:23:29 AM »

Oh! Sure!

You can get it from itch.io:
https://thaumaturge-art.itch.io/a-door-to-the-mists-demo

Or from IndieDB:
https://www.indiedb.com/games/a-door-to-the-mists/downloads
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« Reply #617 on: May 20, 2021, 10:50:49 PM »

Great, thanks! I hope to get a look over the weekend Smiley
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« Reply #618 on: May 21, 2021, 07:20:09 AM »

And thank you for that in turn! I hope that you have fun with it! ^_^
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« Reply #619 on: May 24, 2021, 01:22:31 AM »

Blog post (24th of May, 2021)
Entryway Signage


Summary: In which a texturing error is fixed; a line of graffiti is added; broken statuary is made and placed; identifying signs are set above tomb entrances; and goal -logic and -text is added.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows a sign above a door--it helps to know whose tomb one is breaking into! Wink



The week just past was again slow, but things were done:

In the video that I showed last week, the view never gave a particularly good look at the very end of the passageway--the area with the fallen rocks. I'm glad of this, as I had discovered at the time, as I recall, that something had gone wrong with the texturing there: both the rockfall and the nearby cleft had somehow ended up looking rather poor, and rather incorrect!

In the week just past, then, I investigated this issue.

As it turns out, it would seem that I had a mistake in my handling of the level's materials: a material was inadvisably (and likely accidentally) shared between objects. This resulted in a change to the normal-map for one object then also changing the normal-map used for the others--those being the affected rockfall and cleft.

Thankfully, it was easy to fix, and the elements in question are returned to their former selves, I believe!

Remaining within the tombs, in the week just past I added a few more details to the second of them.

For one, you may recall from last week's blog-post that I mentioned some graffiti located beneath the damaged mural. The graffiti itself wasn't in place at the time, I believe, and in the week just past I rectified that.



And in the same tomb, I added to the side-chamber the remains of at least one statue-guardian.



Moving to the outdoors section of the level, and as shown in the first screenshot above, I set about adding logograms above each of the nearby tomb entrances, identifying the kings who lie within.

Now, I didn't give fully-detailed logograms to every tomb within sight. Instead, only the accessible tombs are to have full logograms. Beyond the bounds of the level, as the tombs recede out of view, the logograms first become broad, non-specific sketches, then simple dark blobs, then vanish entirely.




While this is largely done, it's not quite there yet: one tomb within the level-bounds has yet to gain its logogram.

Moving away from level geometry, I added both logic for the updating of the level's goals and the text-strings for said goals.

And finally, work on the pivot-project continues. Said project is still in a nascent state, but I think that it's coming along.

That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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