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111: Sideshow Showdown - Vic Rattlehead/cstutor89
Forum Index - Events - Super Mario World Central Production 2 - World 6 - 111: Sideshow Showdown - Vic Rattlehead/cstutor89
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Owner: Vic Rattlehead/cstutor89

World: 6
Exits: 1
Theme: Red Switch Palace
Music: Switch Palace
Additional ExGFX Recommendation(s): ExGFX 113 (Switch Palace w/ Slopes) [BG2]

Briefing: This is the final switch palace in the hack. Aim to create a relatively challenging but fair puzzle level. Taking up this level will require some creativity, so be sure you're ready for it.

Special Note: Because the Switch Palace is aiming to be a level too, players may wish to replay the level. This means that there must be a way to end the level if the switch has already been pressed.
Originally planned as a world 5 sideshow attraction level, its location has seen quite a bit of elevation! I've been working on and off for the past few days making up some rather gimmicky micro-levels to be used as carnival games, where the grand prize would of course be a big bright switch to press. Most of that won't change, but the theme has gone from carnival to clouds, so I'll work something out for that front!

You'll need 15 points to get access to the switch. Winning an individual minigame in first place will be worth 5 points, second place worth 3, and third place worth 2. Fourth place ain't worth jack, buddy, so just don't lose that badly! If it becomes impossible to win, you'll be given the consolation prize, which would be a gigantic stuffed Deedle Ball Thwomp which would have a very unfortunate side effect of landing on and killing Mario!

Planned events include:

200m dash (you'd ride a cloud and mash the right directional key to pick up speeds to win a race.)
500m dash (same as the last one, but more of an endurance test!)
Mathletics (solve some simple math problems correctly and quickly, and you'll do well!)
Scavenger hunt (find some trinkets laying around a map. Grabbing them all and heading to the goal is all ya gotta do!)

And finally, I'm contemplating whether to go with Dodgeball, Hurdles, or a general Obstacle Course for the fifth game. I'd probably ditch the 200m dash if I wanted more than one of these in, but honestly, the dashes take literally a couple of seconds to be over with, so I don't think they'd overstay their welcome if there was a short and long one at once. I'll probably make a patch for the dashes done soon, as those are mostly done, but they lack polishing (no placement, no foul for starting early, etc).

What do y'all think of the premise here?
-The premise sounds really good to me. I was hoping that SMCP2 would have some interesting minigames, so I'm happy that you implemented them into your level.

-Anyway, with the dashes, I think that you should be careful. When it comes to button mashing, the difficulty needs to be just right. If its too easy, the minigame seems pointless. It its too hard, it will DRIVE PEOPLE INSANE.

-As for the activities, I would cut out the short dash and have dodge-ball and the obstacle course as the last two. In fact, I'd put hurdles in the long dash, so instead of just button mashing the player would also have to stop mashing and jump.

-I think the player should be able to do the activities in any order. I'm assuming that that's what you meant, but I don't know.

-These are just my suggestions, it ultimately is up to you how you do this.
Oh yes, of course! I wouldn't dare force a certain order of events on the player. I was thinking along the lines of just having one hub room that connects all the entrances to the events, which are entered in any order.

I'm aware of the potential of button mashing being either way too easy or way too hard, but I think what I have right now works out fine, since there's a pretty large gap between the fastest and slowest NPC. Though, just running right is still too slow to even place in third, so there is definitely a requirement for some directional tapping. Actually, my biggest concern would have been the short dash event, since it's significantly harder to place first in that one due to a shorter opportunity to catch up, but since I've been considering dumping it, and you seem keen on that too, I'll probably just do that! I don't think hurdles would work too well, however, since jumping while running at high speeds in SMW tends to either a) not work at all, or b) launch Mario out of the atmosphere. I could probably do something where you would tap the up button to get a small, consistent upward boost, however. We'll see!

I'll think of more details later; right now I am in the middle of trying to get the mathematics event working.
-Well, I'm glad that you have such a distinct idea of what you're doing, because I've noticed that the designers who knew what they were doing right off the bat were the ones that got their levels approved the quickest, and it would be a shame if such a cool sounding level didn't get accepted.

-Out of curiosity, will this level take place within a switch palace or out in the clouds? For some reason, I imagined the actual "events" taking place outside, and the switch palace being very small one that the player can enter after clearing all of them. Just a thought.

-Also, I saw a thread mentioning something about hiding chess pieces in the switch palaces, so maybe the player has to get first place in all events to get it?

-On a completely unrelated note, I noticed that a musical note appeared in front of your and my name, and that most people don't have them. What does it mean? Sorry for being a n00b.

Edit: Um... never mind. I think that it has something to do with me listening to the radio. Sorry for the unrelated question.
So here I am, currently up to the part where I have to code the ability to answer the questions asked for the mathletics. Seems to be going smooth so far! Once I have that worked out, I'll probably put up a sample for feedback on various things.

Yeah, the events would mostly be outside of some place, where the switch is kept. You get the key to the room as the prize, maybe?

Anyway, I had a couple more ideas on how to tackle the issue of a chess piece. I was thinking either, like eXcavator was saying, acing all of the events, or perhaps just doing exceptionally well at one of the events and thus getting a prize for "setting the world record" or something (e.g., get every single mathletics question right, beat the 500m dash in under XX seconds, something like that).



I was thinking, while coding the math questions, to possibly do a throwback to the Megadmin of SMWCP 1, where even though most of the math questions are easy to answer (basic addition and subtraction, maybe even multiplication and division if they end up being way too easy to answer in the allotted time), there would be a curveball waiting for you in the form of a complex looking problem. I'd probably request a math problem directly from Smalls himself, seeing as his part of the Megadmin is the inspiration, it'd just feel right to get it from the man himself! Obviously, this would be incredibly cruel to do if the chess piece were related to the math part, so if I go through with this idea, it'd definitely not require this.

I think that an unexpected question like that would be hilarious, though I wonder how others would feel!

Also for a level name, I was thinking along the lines of Cumulus Challenge, Nimble Nimbus, or maybe Main Event Mayhem. Thoughts or suggestions?!?
-If you want to make a SMWCP1 reference, you could always have Megadmin (or Smallhacker) actually host the Mathletics. I think that that would be kind of a cool reference.

-Out of curiosity, where do you intend for this level to take place? Will the events actually be in the palace itself, or outside?

-I'm not sure that having 1 ultra-hard question would be good, but maybe one that looks hard like 1 to the 1739th power but really is simple?

-I'd wait until the level is mostly done before naming it, because where it takes place could effect the name.
All righty then! I have the math part working just as intended, though nothing happens for correct/wrong answers yet, aside from a sound. I still haven't polished up the footrace, but I don't care right at this moment; I'll get around to it after the framework for everything else is set up.

I thought you guys might like to see my progress so far, so I'll bless you with the fruits of my divine abilities right now, nya hah! Actually, what I'll be doing is probably more like polluting your harddrive with the spew I call ASM, but it's playable all the same, so whatever you want to call it, you may!

The patch in question

For the race (Yoshi's Island 2), just tap the right directional button repeatedly to gain massive speed. Alternatively, run left then double tap to get a big boost (though this is just the side effect of a bug I didn't feel like fixing at the time!). Try to be the first to the goaltape!

For the math (Yoshi's Island 3 - just after the race), enter your answer like ya would on a calculator, and then jump at the bottom right skull block to submit your answer. The upper right skull block is to reset your current input. There are only 5 questions coded so far, so don't go wondering why the first question pops up every time after that, and none of the answers work!

Things I'm mostly looking for feedback on:

Is the race too hard to place first? Too long? Too short? Too boring? Too heart-attack-inducingly-exciting?

Are the math questions easy enough to solve within the time limit you're given? Are the extraneous 0's obtrusive? Is the level layout easy enough to maneuver?

Thanks!

EDIT: Forgot that one of the math questions busted when I moved some stuff around. Whoops! 134-9 doesn't work properly because I forgot to adjust the answer value.
Originally posted by Vic Rattlehead
questions about the race


I actually found it pretty fair, but then again, I can pound the right button pretty quickly. As for being boring .. certainly not. I don't feel it's long enough to get to the state of monotony - it seems just right. I'm assuming those markers on the ground will be the distance you've traveled (10, 20, 30, etc)?

Originally posted by Vic Rattlehead
questions about the math


These also feel fine. The level layout is good, and the questions are easy enough to solve. I noticed that entering 48 for 8 x 6 didn't work, and neither did entering 13 for 6 + 7 when it popped up a second time (and of course, the 134 - 9 that you mentioned). Other than that though, it was fine.

As a whole, it's shaping up just like I expected it to, which is great. I definitely want to see you throw in some personality to this level as well via message boxes and/or a host. eXcavator had a great idea by bringing back Megadmin as the leader of the palace (or really, any kind of host could work - perhaps the Blimp Duck, the world's boss, could make an appearance here)?

Keep it up!
Yeap, those are markers placed every 100 tiles. I figured putting them there would help get some idea of how far you've gone, even if they don't have numbers yet. The thing that makes it hard for me to judge the difficulty is that I also can tap a little over 10 times per second, so I can't always tell when something is too much!

The 8x6 on mathletics was just a derp on my part; I, for some reason, entered 6 as the third digit, according to the answers table. Hahahahaha, me are so good the maths. I didn't test it before taking off, so I didn't catch it. Ah well! I think about 10~15 questions should be about quick and fair, so I'll get to work on more of those, and then setting it to teleport when all the questions are up. Also, ya think I should do random questions, or keep them in a given order, as they are now?

Next up, I think I'll work on the scavenger hunt. Not totally sure how I'll do this, but I could do another throwback to SMWCP and make it so you have to collect about a dozen P-Switches scattered about (they would be a collectible block, rather than something to lug around, however!). Whether their locations are slightly randomized, I don't know if I should do, since that kind of leaves things too up to chance for something that's about knowing where to go quickly.

Actually, that gives me an awesome idea for a megadmin boss, where he has a cannon that shoots out p-switches, springboards, and blue berries. He could also fire midway points, but only as he's down to one hit left so it hardly matters anyway.

I'll figure somethin' out, and start actually working with the base ROM soon enough, now that levelasm is included!
- I liked the race, but one guy always seemed to jump ahead of me right before the finish line. I'm pretty sure that that is because I play on a keyboard, and my right arrow key isn't in a convenient spot to mash. Also, I couldn't get that boost that you were talking about.

- The math was great (except for the questions that don't work, and that was pointed out already. One quick suggestion, I think that it would have been better if all the buttons were lined up on one row, and were right next to each other. However, that is just my opinion.

- I've been thinking about the theme of this level, and I have an idea. You mentioned that if the player does too poorly in an event, they get killed. That sounds pretty evil, so what if the event was sponsored by Norveg Industries? My idea is that it could be a floating version of the Colosseum, where prisoners would be forced to compete for their lives. Maybe Megadmin could be the "boss" of the arena, and if you met the requirements you set for the chess piece, you would have to fight him in some kind of event/boss battle to get it? I personally think that as the last switch palace, it would be OK for there to be some kind of "miniboss" to get the chess piece. I'm not certain how the switch would figure into this, but I'm sure that you could think of something.

- For the other contestants in the race, maybe they could be generic Mario enemies with graphical edits to make them look like athletes, and a Chargin' Chuck could be the fastest guy.

- Finally, for the scavenger hunt, maybe Mario could have to find 5 Dragon Coins as a reference to the original SMW (since this hack uses SMWC coins instead).

Anyway, this is just me throwing out suggestions because I am very interested in how this level turns out. I hope you find my input relatively useful.
Originally posted by eXcavator
I've been thinking about the theme of this level, and I have an idea. You mentioned that if the player does too poorly in an event, they get killed. That sounds pretty evil, so what if the event was sponsored by Norveg Industries? My idea is that it could be a floating version of the Colosseum, where prisoners would be forced to compete for their lives. Maybe Megadmin could be the "boss" of the arena, and if you met the requirements you set for the chess piece, you would have to fight him in some kind of event/boss battle to get it? I personally think that as the last switch palace, it would be OK for there to be some kind of "miniboss" to get the chess piece. I'm not certain how the switch would figure into this, but I'm sure that you could think of something.


I think I am in love with your feedback right now! See, I interpreted the whole "do badly and die" thing as an adverse side-effect of getting a consolation prize. As in, Mario is given the giant Thwomp toy as a gift just for showing up and trying (though failing), but it ends up being way too big to carry, and thus inadvertently ends up as deadly. What I see here, with the sponsorship from Norveg Industries, is that you are thinking more along the lines of that the events are hosted by an absolute maniac that has a lot of fun being as insane/cruel as he is (Megadmin actually fills that role quite well as-is, conveniently!). Now, rather than just being a straight up sporting thing, it's more like a sadistic game that folks come to spectate upon for the maniacal happenings. Now I'm thinking of putting a competitor sprite in the math area (which by the way, lining all the blocks up in a single row does seem to work much better, so thanks!), which it will get a question wrong and subsequently be bombarded to death with Bob-Ombs as punishment. Something silly and unexpected like that could fit here, I think, and it does seem like it would add a lot of 'personality' to the level.

Dragon Coins seem like a suitable collectible for scavenging, and I might just go with that. If I can't figure out how to make a custom block that works as 16x32 though, I'll figure somethin' else out. I', not even sure how to tackle the SMWC coins yet, actually. The level type here doesn't really allow for such clever setups. Might just toss 'em in the scav hunt as well!



Say, that reminds me; how concerned should I be about the resources I use? I doubt I'll need too many more sprites (up to 2 so far, though NPCs would be a nice touch for the hub area), but blocks might be another story. I'm currently up to 12 blocks just from the math portion (and sadly, 9 of those are just a single digit edit of the first one!), and I expect there will be quite a number more to come. Though, perhaps I can get away with some clever levelASM usage to lighten up on stuff. We'll see!
Just thought I'd let you all know that I think I'll ragequit on making a 16x32 collectible for the scavenger thingamawhatsit, because I couldn't quite figure out how to make one block affect another adjacent one! Therefore, I'm looking more towards something simpler to make, like perhaps a 16x16 golden mushroom/goomba/something. I don't think it's a big deal anyhow.

In other news, I'm trying to figure out how I should go about the whole dodgeball thing. I was originally thinking of reskinning some throw blocks or shells and using those, but now I'm looking towards a slightly more "out there" approach of giving Mario a hand cannon to launch the projectiles directly, gravity-defyingly forward, or perhaps using an object that behaves more like a key (in that it actually stops without the aid of being stomped on by borderline obese plumbers). Don't know which way to go!

Other'n that, I've been working on a layout for the main hub area. Not coming along as easily as I hoped, because there seems to be a lack of a good cloudy foreground with well-established map16. There might be one somewhere in the ROM, but I haven't found it either way.

Just because I want to prove I'm not a totally lazy rube, I'll put up the latest edition of my stuff that has been ported over to the base ROM for you to play around with. It's pretty much the same as last time, but all the questions (16 of them, one of which is just a joke and doesn't really make any sense at all) have been added in, and the Megadmin has been given a little makeover. I want to know if he should keep his new duds or return to baring it all in all his bold, flamboyant, big-nosed glory. The graphics are pretty placeholder, obviously!

117117117117117117117117

Next update I plan to have the scavenger hunt working and available to explore, and maybe have the race actually have placement.
Still chippin' away at stuff, though just about all of it is behind the scenes work - how boring (and not a ton of fun to work on)! I do have something to show, however! It's the room I'll be using as the scavenger hunt (which has now more or less turned into a collect-a-thon more than a scavvy hunt after some consideration).

dadfdfgdfADSf

Blue coins are placeholders! (speaking of those, I haven't exactly thought it through on how to deal with the SMWC coins. What a predicament! Though if I do end up making a boss for the level, they'll probably be obtainable during that.)

Things just didn't seem to be working out as well with 5 of an item to go to the nooks and crannies for, and making it a 9 out of 10 deal seemed to feel just as blah. So, I decided to amp it up to more like a 90/100-or-so run-n-grab! No enemies, as the clock is pretty much your foe in this situation.

Even though progress has mostly been pretty slow (boring, also!), I'm still pushin' forward bit by bit daily, fixing what's already made. Once that's all good to go, I'll probably start work on the dodgeball sprites.

So, yep.
OK! I haven't commented on this level for a while, so I thought that I should do so now, since its still summer vacation and I don't feel like doing something productive that would feed my mind, body, and soul.

-I tried the race again in your latest IPS update, and I still can't get first place, no matter how hard I try. It seems that when I tap my right arrow key at full speed, Mario actually stops moving. I tried slowing down my tapping a little, and Mario went at full speed for a while, but then started to slow down again. I think that I'm supposed to tap steadily at a certain speed, but I can't seem to keep the right speed going for the whole race. However, I think that the problem is with me, not the level. As I mentioned before, I play on my keyboard, and I really should buy a controller. I'm just curious if there is a special "trick" to the race, or if I just need to get better at it.

-The math game seems to be pretty much perfect to me, other than the place-holder graphics, obviously. I'm just curious as to why there is a second row on top of the first one. I think you mentioned something about having another contender up there, but IDK.

-The general layout of the scavenger hunt area seems to be very nice, but I think that even without a time limit, having no sort of enemies or dangers there could get a little boring. Maybe instead of putting normal enemies into the maze, you could a special bullet generator in effect to add some danger.

-I really don't think that you need to replace the coins in the scavenger hunt with something else, but why not change their palette a tiny bit to make them purple coins? That way, they could a reference to the Super Mario Galaxy games.

-I noticed that the graphics that you are using for the foreground and background are a little... bland. They are fitting for a sky level, but it seems a little unusual for an athletic challenge level to take place in a generic cloud area. If you remember, I suggested a floating colosseum as a good place for the events, or some other thing. I'm assuming that those graphics are placeholder, but I'd just like to make sure. Either way, you probably shouldn't worry about the graphics until you complete the design and the ASM. If you need someone to draw graphics for you, I'm not the guy to ask, but there are many people who are more than willing to draw some nice graphics for you if you put in a request. That's one of the nice things about a collab hack.

-As for the SMWC coins... I really can't think of where to put them, other than having you earn them by making "special accomplishments" in the challanges. For example: getting all 100 coins in the scavenger hunt, getting first place in the race, getting all of the math problems correct, not getting hit by a single dodgeball... that kind of thing. For the mini-boss, maybe beating him could get you the chess piece? I'm not sure how you'd unlock him, however.

Also, other people really need to start giving feedback here. For a level like this, you need many opinions to get the difficulty of the mini-games correctly, particularly the race, as I'm wondering if anyone else had trouble with it.
I've made the race significantly more equalized towards the start. You now get a bit of a boost at the gun, as well as an audio cue once it's running time. Makes it a lot more fair! I don't have trouble getting to first place by about the 200 mark now, whereas it took around the 250ish area to comfortably take the lead before. The scoring seems to be working just fine too, though I'm having issues actually applying that information (more on that in a bit!). About all that's left for this part is to fix up the graphics routine for the runner sprite and make them remember that they can stop running after crossing the finish line. I'll also have to do something about the cape and all the hilarious trouble it can cause in this environment.

Anyway, 'nuff with the fine-tuning details! I've made little progress the last couple of days, because I can't figure out why some stuff won't work for me. I've spent most of my development time trying to troubleshoot, but to no avail. The death sentence for missing out on too many points works, but only if I use a cheat code to set the proper variables. I think the issue lies in the RAM I'm using resetting between rooms, and thus you would have to get to -10 points all in one game (rather than cumulatively) in order to qualify to die. I've tried numerous free addresses, but they all seem to have the same pitfall. I'd use an address more out in the boondocks, but I need one that will re-initialize on world map load, and not level start (otherwise the points would still get cleared out). I'll probably swallow that shriveled up withering convolution that is my pride, and just throw up a request to someone who probably has a better method of doing stuff than I! Though, I'll feel admittedly guilty about making a level with minimal level design all the while seeking ASM assistance!

Graphics are, yeap, just a solution to make wandering around the area a little less ugly for me (that is, clouds vs generic unappealing map16 tiles). I was also thinking along the lines of Roman-looking pillars on other cloud formations in the background, supporting the other cloud formations that need help staying in the air. I'll probably be requesting these too, with some concept art to spark some interest. Seems to work well usually, anyway.

And I'm not too worried about receiving feedback from everyone - the level I completed earlier on in the project saw opinions from 2-3 users before it had a release, and, far as I can tell, it was well-received. No feedback usually means you're not doing anything too wrong, especially when there are as many folks as there are, licking their lips in anticipation, waiting to savagely tear your creation apart in any way they can! Well, except they're probably not as weird as I make them sound, but oh, they are out there, and they are waiting!

And that's my heap of text for the now.
Just thought I should let y'all know, hurricane Irene is most likely gonna be paying my area a visit either some time later tomorrow, or Saturday! Kinda seems like it's gonna be just slightly on the serious side, considering my proximity to the coastline. If I suddenly disappear for a while, chances are it has something to do with my home being a little bit filled with water. The notice is a bit early in advance, but, ya know, just in case.

Better grab my umbrella!

In light of the impending storm shaped doom, I've made some more progress on the scavenger hunt, and it seems to be working fine. Just had to take a second to think about why what I was doing was moronic! Though, it lacks a timer to let you know how well you did right now. I'm not too worried about that, as imamelia seems to have the request under control.

I might as well put up a new patch and get some input on how long it takes for someone to collect enough coins (90+ out of 113) and enter the door. Personally, knowing the layout really well, it takes me almost exactly 1 minute to comfortably nab every coin and reach the door. I'm not sure that's quite fair for a first-place time, so if any testers could be so kind as to time a few runs (the first 1-2 runs are the most important, so I have an idea of what the minimum qualifying time should be around). Also, do you think I should bump up the required coins to 100? I'm starting to think I should.

Grab the coins like your hair was on fire!

I plan to later add a counter for the purple coins in specific, but for now you'll have to use the somewhat loopy regular coin counter for now. It still skips 7s and 9s, so remember that!

Thanks for your continued patronage!
Getting 90 coins (or just about, the SMWCP2 coin counter pisses me off), took me about 1 minute and 25 seconds. Therefore, not too much more then you did. Also, I know that I originally suggested that you should add some enemies or a bullet generator, but now I think that you're right, the challenge is better the way it is.

As for the hurricane, I was going to enter the weekend mystery hacking contest, but now I'm not too sure. The way it looks now, we'll be taking a nasty hit here in NJ, and my dad is taking us to my grandparents' house.
Well, I ain't dead, at least! Though there were some really really big trees that timbered nearby, and more than a few fences and sheds got peeled out of the ground of neighboring yards, I'm still in one piece! And more importantly, my hacking stuff remains in tact! Hooray!

However, the past couple days have been pretty trying, and there's a lot of cleanup left to do, which doesn't exactly leave me in much of a coding mood, to be blunt. I'll probably resume bugfixing and other progress soon enough, though, now that I got myself back up to speed on recent events around here.

So, yep, sorry about the lack of anything to show!
The main thing keepin' me from being as busy a bee as I should be(e) right now is that I really can't make up my mind as to how I could go about making the dodgeball event be something awesome! I've been thinking for the past few days about how it could play out and how to make some magic happen, but it always seems like it would either come out a) nothing like dodgeball, or worse, b) a totally boring, mindless Big Boo-esque block chuckfest.

So! I'm now thinking of doing something more like a skeet shoot, with Mario at the bottom middle area of the screen, and targets that pop out of certain pieces of scenery to launch some stuff at (a Goomba launcher sounds pretty awesome if you ask me). Either that, or always aiming vertically, and having to run around the bottom area to maneuver, which would probably be a lot simpler to make, as I have no idea how to do those arced shots as seen in some sprites (like the Blowhard). I'll probably just go with that now, 'cause unless something really clicks with dodgeball, I'm just not seeing how I could get it to work in a fun way right now.

Another idea I had just now for another minigame is along the lines of Samurai Kirby, where you and an enemy would wait for a cue to press a button, and the first one to strike is the winner, with number of rounds won to determine your placement. I'm pretty sure I've seen this in another SMW hack at some point, but I can't remember where... If it isn't that, I'll probably throw an obstacle course together, though I am trying to make this level totally enemy-free, so there isn't that risk of goofing once on one of the events to lose it all. It could be another timed event though, with hazards that just deduct time rather than inflict injuries.

Which brings me to another point that I should probably consider! Do you think the player should be allowed to sacrifice a 1-up to retry the stage early? That way they wouldn't have to wait around losin' a round or two for a clean slate if they so desire. I figure some people might like to have this option if they do incredibly poorly on the first game and don't feel like they can make up lost ground. I say sacrificing a 1-up as opposed to regular side-exit, because otherwise there would be quite literally no threat to the player's (admittedly already rather trivial) supply of lives in the level.

I'm probably going to make up some concept graphics too, because I'm kind of sick of looking at those dreadfully plain backgrounds!
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