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Which was the first (3rd person) game that used the right stick for camera control?

Elysion

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This is something I‘ve wanted to know for a while, but I never found a conclusive answer. As many probably remember, in early 3d games on console you usually used the shoulder buttons to move the camera (or sometimes the c-buttons on N64), since the original PS1 and Saturn controllers had no joysticks at all, and the N64 only had one. It was only with the first DualShock controller released by Sony in 1997 that dual-stick controls became possible, though for the rest of that generation games typically still used the shoulder buttons for the camera, while the left stick could be (optionally) used for character movement (while the right stick usually didn’t do anything).

So which game first used the dual-stick control scheme we‘re so familiar with today? I‘m especially talking about 3rd person games here, since I know that the first fps with standard dual-stick controls was the 2000 game Alien Resurrection on PS1 (unless you count the optional dual-controller set-up for Goldeneye on N64). I know that by the time the OG XBox came around, right stick camera control had started to become somewhat commonplace, but surely there was a 3rd person game with that control scheme that came out before that, either on PS2 or PS1? Such a game would‘ve most likely been released sometime between 1997 and 2001, but I don‘t know what it was (if it even existed).
 
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AV

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Tomb Raider 3 in November 1998 let you look around with the right stick while still in third person, although it's more of a "look mode" than full camera control.

Also for first person, I think Quake 2 on PS1 actually let you use the right stick a year earlier than Alien Resurrection.
 
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thesplitsubject

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If you count the Cbuttons of the N64 then I would say Mario64 was probably the first to trace it back to. Of course it didn’t always work in the game, it was certainly rough around the edges (by today’s standards) but it was a launch title and it did revolutionize 3D gaming.
They even had the character who floated on the cloud and controlled the camera to start to educate gamers that this is what camera controls meant.
 

Rodolink

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The C buttons on Mario 64 led to realize a camera stick could be mapped to do that I would say.
but which game we need to have back to the first controller to have double sticks, by the time the Dualshock came out the game cube specifically had the c stick for this purpose. Although there might be Ps2 games that implemented it before.
 
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01011001

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I too would say that Mario 64 would count as the c-buttons were meant to be like a right stick.

but if we go strictly with analog stick, it was obviously some PS1 game. a game that I know off that allows it is MegaMan Legends 2. which has basically modern 3rd person shooter controls


ps.: Alien Resurrection was NOT the first game to use modern dual stick fps controls. Rainbow Six, which released a year prior, also had these. I don't know if any other game had it before Rainbow Six but I wouldn't be surprised.

GoldenEye and many N64 shooters also had the option to move with the D-Pad and aim with the stick. which is basically the same idea as dual stick controls.
 
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Antwix

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I too would say that Mario 64 would count as the c-buttons were meant to be like a right stick.

but if we go strictly with analog stick, it was obviously some PS1 game. a game that I know off that allows it is MegaMan Legends 2. which has basically modern 3rd person shooter controls


ps.: Alien Resurrection was NOT the first game to use modern dual stick fps controls. Rainbow Six, which released a year prior, also had these. I don't know if any other game had it before Rainbow Six but I wouldn't be surprised.

GoldenEye and many N64 shooters also had the option to move with the D-Pad and aim with the stick. which is basically the same idea as dual stick controls.
Yeah Mario64 came to mind first. Goldeneye actually has a control scheme (2.x?) where you can play with 2 N64 controllers, each in one hand, to use like 2 analog sticks.
 
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Kuranghi

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This is something I‘ve wanted to know for a while, but I never found a conclusive answer. As many probably remember, in early 3d games on console you usually used the shoulder buttons to move the camera (or sometimes the c-buttons on N64), since the original PS1 and Saturn controllers had no joysticks at all, and the N64 only had one. It was only with the first DualShock controller released by Sony in 1997 that dual-stick controls became possible, though for the rest of that generation games typically still used the shoulder buttons for the camera, while the left stick could be (optionally) used for character movement (while the right stick usually didn’t do anything).

So which game first used the dual-stick control scheme we‘re so familiar with today? I‘m especially talking about 3rd person games here, since I know that the first fps with standard dual-stick controls was the 2000 game Alien Resurrection on PS1 (unless you count the optional dual-controller set-up for Goldeneye on N64). I know that by the time the OG XBox came around, right stick camera control had started to become somewhat commonplace, but surely there was a 3rd person game with that control scheme that came out before that, either on PS2 or PS1? Such a game would‘ve most likely been released sometime between 1997 and 2001, but I don‘t know what it was (if it even existed).

Can you explain this more? I think I get it but I feel like you'd not have enough buttons accessable for all the other functions than shooting and aiming if you are holding the central post on each controller.
 

Elysion

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If you count the Cbuttons of the N64 then I would say Mario64 was probably the first to trace it back to. Of course it didn’t always work in the game, it was certainly rough around the edges (by today’s standards) but it was a launch title and it did revolutionize 3D gaming.
They even had the character who floated on the cloud and controlled the camera to start to educate gamers that this is what camera controls meant.

Yeah, the c-buttons definitely served as inspiration for later right stick camera controls. But even after the DualShock came out, 3d games on PS1 still used the shoulder buttons for the camera. Even on PS2, many games (especially early on) still used the shoulder buttons. But at some point during the 6th gen, dual-stick controls took over. The weird thing is that I can‘t even remember when the switch took place; I can‘t recall any moment where I played a particular game and was like „Oh, I have to use the right stick to move the camera? That‘s weird.“ It just… happened, lol.

I assume with dual-stick controls it is similar to cover mechanics, where you had an obscure game that inspired later games. I just wonder what game that is, exactly.

but if we go strictly with analog stick, it was obviously some PS1 game. a game that I know off that allows it is MegaMan Legends 2. which has basically modern 3rd person shooter controls

Hmm, I never played it, but if Megaman Legends 2, which came out in 2000, has dual-stick controls, then it might actually be a good candidate for being the first (3rd person) game to use this control scheme.

Can you explain this more? I think I get it but I feel like you'd not have enough buttons accessable for all the other functions than shooting and aiming if you are holding the central post on each controller.

I never played Goldeneye, but from what I know (from researching the topic of dual-stick controls) it has an optional mode where you can control it with two controllers – one in each hand, where the stick on the left controller is used to move around, while the stick on the right one controls the camera/aiming. I have no idea how it worked in practice though. I assume the two Z-buttons are sufficient to perform all necessary actions.
 

Antwix

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Can you explain this more? I think I get it but I feel like you'd not have enough buttons accessable for all the other functions than shooting and aiming if you are holding the central post on each controller.


It's extremely awkward to use.
 
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Elysion

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Legacy of kain..

Do you mean Soul Reaver? I don‘t actually remember if it had right stick camera controls. But if it did, then this might well be the answer. It came out in 1999, so even before Megaman Legends 2.
 
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the welsh one

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Yeah.
Do you mean Soul Reaver? I don‘t actually remember if it had right stick camera controls. But if it did, then this might well be the answer. It came out in 1999, so even before Megaman Legends 2
Yeah. I remember struggling to nail some of the jumps because you had to manually turn the camera.
 
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01011001

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Do you mean Soul Reaver? I don‘t actually remember if it had right stick camera controls. But if it did, then this might well be the answer. It came out in 1999, so even before Megaman Legends 2.

soul reaver is a no. there you control the camera with L2 and R2. but it has analog support for movement. the right stick does nothing in the game
 
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01011001

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Yeah Mario64 came to mind first. Goldeneye actually has a control scheme (2.x?) where you can play with 2 N64 controllers, each in one hand, to use like 2 analog sticks.

yeah the more sensible setting was the one where you use the Dpad for movement tho.
 
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CamHostage

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Yeah, the c-buttons definitely served as inspiration for later right stick camera controls. But even after the DualShock came out, 3d games on PS1 still used the shoulder buttons for the camera.
And I agree, Mario 64 is almost the thing and yet also different from the thing when it came to camera-stick controls.

It was based on lock-points, and I believe the Up/Down buttons did different things than a stick camera would do if you pointed in those directions. (Also, if you double-tapped the Up/Down, didn't they zoom or something like that? You don't get that two dimensions of camera control all the time, aside from like ironsights or other things that let you click the stick, the up/down is either in/out or top/bottom, and you usually don't have a control for the other axis that isn't assigned.) There was also a totally separate camera toggle on the R bumper.

Mario 64 was about guiding the camera, telling it which of the specific angles the camera offered that you wanted to play in. When Camera Stick came along, it became about controlling the camera and being the camera, about getting exactly the view you want at any given second (but also often futzing with the camera constantly) because it is part of the play mechanics instead of being an assistance. In Mario 64, the camera was a separate character; in Camera Stick games, the camera is somehow your character, with a third eye in the sky.



Mario 64 still had some thought put in about what would be the best angles for most playable and also most attractive ways to experience the game, whereas (aside from some camera auto-adjustment AI and some speed/deadzone tuning,) the camera in a Camera Stick game has no intended artistry to it, it's just a means of letting you see what you're playing.

Also, Mario had the camera and play buttons right next to each other, and the control layout was meant to be fast and accessible and not a lot of reaching, but also single-action-at-a-time. Now with Camera Stick, you're actively manipulating the camera as part of the action; the camera is point-and-shoot, literally.

In some ways, Mario 64 was a better camera system than Camera Stick in a lot of games we play now. (...Although sure, it was never, ever perfect.) Many games would be better if the player wasn't always thinking about the camera and could trust that we can see what we're playing without having to think about an artificial camera device letting us see.
 
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Mistershine.

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Duke Nukem on the saturn has the "Jevons" control method, using the ABC+Y buttons for movement and the analogue thumbstick controls the camera.
 
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Bankai

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For me, it was Halo on original Xbox. I only had 1 stick gamepads before that; Megadrive, Dreamcast (and PC).
 

CamHostage

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It is funny to look back 20 years and realize game journos have always been so pathetic. Literally afraid of the future.

I guess that's one takeaway, but you had to be in that time period to understand it. For one thing, of course, we weren't used to it yet, and it seems weird that dual-analog wasn't always second-nature when you pick up a controller, but it did take some getting used to (partly because it was inverse of flight controls, which was what some gamers would be familiar with at the time from home flight games and arcades.) And then it didn't match Goldeneye, which is the other game that people were mostly familiar with (and that a lot of other FPSes ripped off.) Goldeneye and PD had a whole variety of control set-ups, so the fact that nobody could agree on what was best confused the issue more. Console shooters also sometimes uncoupled the reticule from the player view, to help with fluidity and player orientation and a bit of sea-sickness. (Again, all things we got used to.)



And then, just the games themselves, they were blocky and limited in AI/mobility and just designed differently. Strafing was often more useful a battle technique than "aiming". These were run-and-gun FPSes, the decedents of Doom still learning how to be Quake. Some of them were great games (Goldeneye is an all-timer,) but they were still designed around corridors and ramps and guys/demons/dinosaurs/bugs being on the same level as you are when you come around a corner.

(Side note: I'm not sure how many of you actually played Alien Resurrection, but for all of its technical brilliance, it's also a pain in the ass to play. It's "analog control" is real chunky and stiff, with harsh deadzones and lots of overmoving without aim-assist, and although the layout matches the way you play shooters these days to make it a dual-stick shooter, the accuracy didn't to me feel like it was properly evolved from its button-aiming cousins. I would much prefer the floating-reticule system of Goldeneye to this, it feels weird today since no game is like Goldeneye but at least aiming doesn't live or die on the framerate holding up.)

Medal of Honor PS1 (1999)?

MoH 1 had Dual Analog, but I think it wasn't quite what we would consider "Camera Stick" control yet. You could move and look independently, but right stick was Strafe (but then Up/Down look.)


You'd think this would have been recognized as "wrong" by game #2, but even MoH Frontline on PS2 had "classic MoH" control options (maybe even by default?)
 
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If you count the Cbuttons of the N64 then I would say Mario64 was probably the first to trace it back to. Of course it didn’t always work in the game, it was certainly rough around the edges (by today’s standards) but it was a launch title and it did revolutionize 3D gaming.


Console gaming. This is always a thing when these games up, ocarina, mario 64 or metal gear solid. People say mgs showed "cinematic gaming". It didnt. Half Life did and HL was the one copied to this day in the vein of being cinematic. And before that, you had 2 decades of adventure and fmv games on PC with mature, complex storylines. mario and ocarina were big for console 3d games. They were solving problems that consoles with their inputs had. They never existed on PC, nor were they copied for pc games. We controlled 3rd person games like that on PC before mario and after mario. The influence and impact of these console games is always lower and more constrained than many people realize.
 

mango drank

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I skimmed the thread, didn't see this, but: on the PSX, maybe devs were held back by having to use controller mappings that were backwards-compatible with the original (non-analog) PSX controller. So for a given game, devs couldn't rely on using the analog sticks for camera control, if that camera control was critical to playing and finishing the game. Yeah, they could've built in alternate control schemes for players using the OG controller, but ... you would've needed four dedicated buttons for it. So it would've meant remapping camera control to the shoulder buttons, or using a temporary mode switch where you held a shoulder button down and then you could use the d-pad or the four action buttons to control the camera. Both of those are super clunky solutions. (Did any games actually do this?)

 
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CamHostage

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Console gaming. This is always a thing when these games up, ocarina, mario 64 or metal gear solid. People say mgs showed "cinematic gaming". It didnt. Half Life did and HL was the one copied to this day in the vein of being cinematic. And before that, you had 2 decades of adventure and fmv games on PC with mature, complex storylines. mario and ocarina were big for console 3d games. They were solving problems that consoles with their inputs had. They never existed on PC, nor were they copied for pc games. We controlled 3rd person games like that on PC before mario and after mario. The influence and impact of these console games is always lower and more constrained than many people realize.

If you can find a PC game that answers the question, "Which was the first (3rd person) game that used the right stick for camera control?", please contribute it.

A mouse is not a stick, of course, (though it'd be interesting to get a few of those titles into this conversation,) but even allowing a mouse to count, mouse-look in third-person games was always a rough way to go about it. (Even now, it's not ideal, although that may be because most of the big 3rd-person are designed for or to end up on console instead of tuned primarily for a mouse.) Mouse-look in 3rd-person went through its experimental phases too (weren't there games with drag-the-environment instead of mouse-to-look in the early days?) I can't think of anything 3rd Person that controlled a 3D camera very well before Mario, and I don't have the history fully in front of me, but I woudn't say that PC had 3D cameras worked out in 1996 any more than consoles did.

Also, I don't know who has you worked up about Half-Life not getting enough credit in the world because MGS exists, but Half-Life gets credit. It's truly a milestone game. Its accomplishments are different from MGS, though. I would say it was striving to define "immersive" rather than "cinematic", with its unbroken opening sequence and "cutscenes" that play to the player in realtime; MGS was about the language of cinema being exploited, with camera angles and storytelling techniques and production values copying blockbuster movies. Both were revolutionary in their vision and accomplished a lot. One does not make conversation of the other obsolete, they are both important and vastly different products.

G-Police?

Valid contribution, but maybe flight-action games are a different thing than what's being asked? They're not really controlling the "camera", they're controlling the pitch and yaw and direction of the vehicle, from the perspective of the vehicle. You're controlling the direction not so that you can see what's around you, but so that you can go there.

If we are counting it, though, no surprise that a Psygnosis game was ahead of the curve...

Flight games have always been so complicated in controls that we didn't even realize for a while when dual-analog came along that "flight controls" would also be good for more general 3D games once we boiled them down and got used to them... and inverted the Y.
 
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01011001

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I skimmed the thread, didn't see this, but: on the PSX, maybe devs were held back by having to use controller mappings that were backwards-compatible with the original (non-analog) PSX controller. So for a given game, devs couldn't rely on using the analog sticks for camera control, if that camera control was critical to playing and finishing the game. Yeah, they could've built in alternate control schemes for players using the OG controller, but ... you would've needed four dedicated buttons for it. So it would've meant remapping camera control to the shoulder buttons, or using a temporary mode switch where you held a shoulder button down and then you could use the d-pad or the four action buttons to control the camera. Both of those are super clunky solutions. (Did any games actually do this?)


there were many games that had camera controls on the shoulder buttons on PS1. these could have been remapped to the stick, but often they weren't sadly.

the thing is... no one, not even Sony developers, had any idea how to use that right analog stick at first. even first party games didn't use the right stick much until the very end of its lifecycle.

BUT there was at least 1 game that required an analog controller, and that was Ape Escape. not sure if there were more than that tho. but that game didn't use it for camera but for the movement of the net.
 
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mango drank

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there were many games that had camera controls on the shoulder buttons on PS1. these could have been remapped to the stick, but often they weren't sadly.
Wasn't this usually just rotating the camera left and right, though? Did any games use all four shoulder buttons to rotate up / down / left / right? That's what I meant.
 

01011001

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Wasn't this usually just rotating the camera left and right, though? Did any games use all four shoulder buttons to rotate up / down / left / right? That's what I meant.

due to the nature of them being mapped to the shoulder buttons yes, sadly only left and right. but later games that actually used the right stick for the camera also usually only had left and right + zoom in and zoom out, similar to Mario 64

MegaMan Legends 2 is the only one that comes to mind that had somewhat full camera controls in 3rd person.

for first person shooters it is way easier to find games funnily enough. even tho Alien Resurrection is often cited as the first game to use the stick for aiming, that's not even remotely true. there were a bunch of N64 games with that control scheme as well, even though the movement controls where then of course mapped to the Dpad not a second stick.
games that I know had that option are GoldenEye, Perfect Dark and Duke Nukem Zero Hour. there could be more of course, but these are the ones I know for sure of.

on PS1 we have Rainbow Six and of course Alien Resurrection. maybe more?
 
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Elysion

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the thing is, noone, not even Sony developers had any idea how to use that right analog stick at first. even first party games didn't use the right stick much until the very end of its lifecycle.

Makes me wonder why Sony even decided to put a second stick on their controller if they didn‘t use it. Even the Dreamcast controller, which came after the N64 and the Dualshock, only had one stick. Today it‘s hard to imagine playing games with only one stick, but back then a single stick seemed more than adequate.
 

01011001

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Makes me wonder why Sony even decided to put a second stick on their controller if they didn‘t use it. Even the Dreamcast controller, which came after the N64 and the Dualshock, only had one stick. Today it‘s hard to imagine playing games with only one stick, but back then a single stick seemed more than adequate.

I just think they looked at their controller... and thought, "if we put a stick there, the controller looks weird and out of balance... let's just add a second one? maybe it will be useful later?" or maybe they wanted to maybe use to for left handed support? hard to know.
 
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CamHostage

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for first person shooters it is way easier to find games funnily enough. even tho Alien Resurrection is often cited as the first game to use the stick for aiming, that's not even remotely true. there were a bunch of N64 games with that control scheme as well, even though the movement controls where then of course mapped to the Dpad not a second stick.

Right, go back and play those old PS1 FPSes and, even the games that have Dual-Analog control and so should feel "normal", they often don't feel right. (I've even remapped controls in some old game not too long ago to put strafe instead of look on the right because it felt more natural, though I don't remember if I was using a Vita or a PSP, if it was PSP then of course that wasn't "dual analog" at all.)

It really took Halo, with a solid framerate and a clear design emphasis on use of space and controls tuned for movement speed and ease-out drift and just a bit of lock-on for console games to all say at once, This is the way.

Makes me wonder why Sony even decided to put a second stick on their controller if they didn‘t use it.

Flight games and stuff like that, maybe? Back then, those types of products were viable and available on console (though sadly few have stuck to survive the test of time.) Plus you had a lot of peripherals and some arcade games which were pushing input limits (plus games like Smash TV and whatnot from years before that were designed for 2 sticks; some games also experimented with the second analog as the gas or shifting in racing) and I'm sure Sony thought that they'd reach a limit with just one stick. Whether it was worth the price paid for putting two on, probably that was a question asked by the product department, but it was +1 stick over the competition, and then also it was symmetrical and pretty, both aspects being sales points for Sony at the time as well.

I feel like DualShock was just a winning idea right off the bat, even though it took almost until PS2 for most developers to really embrace its possibilities.
 
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01011001

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Flight games and stuff like that, maybe?

having flight stick like controls could have been one of the reasons yes. the Dual Analog controller (the predecessor to the DualShock) even had a specific flight stick mode. if you pressed the Analog mode button it would cycle through RED (analog mode), green (flight stick mode) and off (digital mode)




it specifically emulated the sticks on the Sony Analog Joystick which also had 2 analog sticks for flight sims.



so yeah, in the end, this could literally be the one reason Sony went with 2 analog sticks, in order to have this thing's functionality emulated on a compact controller.
 
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