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Captain Sierra

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  1. Casaba technically generates less heat but in practice both engines end up needing two of the large-size YF-8K deployable panels. As for the rest of the numbers, I slapped together an on-paper best case scenario for this. These values don't include electrical generation or battery storage, control cores or antennae, mission payload of any kind, or even structural frills to mount the radiators. This is engine, tank, radiator: the absolute best-case scenario. In real-game situations it can only get worse from here. Casaba Verne (1 tank) Verne (14 tanks) 101k dV 28k dV 101k dV 59 tons 55 tons 304 tons 0.73-1.76 TWR 0.97-1.31 TWR 0.13-0.51 TWR 984k funds 967k funds 3,587k funds So in that case, mission accomplished in all aspects except delta-V (which I suppose is to be expected). I also threw on enough tanks to get comparable delta-V, which involved fighting diminishing returns which get pretty nasty past 6-8 tanks and included those numbers. The moral of this is that the Verne is rather weak on the dV compared to most alternatives and once a relatively modest amount of antimatter is available, the Casaba just takes over in terms of performance (which is hardly surprising). Its TWR is more consistent but not stand-out in any way. That I think is the crux of its issue: it has nothing it can really do that something else can't do as well or better and without any huge trade-offs. Its not my balancing paradigm so I'm not 100% sure what it's niche should be here. My first thought was to cut the mass & the heat but I'm not sure where it needs to go and can't speculate on how to get it there. Also I agree, Asimov afterburning is really strong, to the point there's no reason to ever use the reaction products mode. Fresnel and Discovery I think kinda suffer from this same problem of one mode being better than the other but the issue is far less pronounced than it is with X-7. Three torches? Antimatter torch ... linear fusion torch ... which one am I missing as being classified as a torch? FFRE afterburning? EDIT: What about tech-bumping it down and maybe playing with the costs of both engine and the fission pellets? If it's doomed to being superseded by better fusion engines in a sandbox environment, perhaps its role as an early-availability endurance drive could be an option. Progression-wise we introduce the small magneto-inertial confinement fusion first which is barely better than electric plasma engines, then we introduce z-pinch as the first main long-haul drive, and then you start getting into the power of fusion tech.
  2. When you have hundreds of thousands of meters/second delta-V, you don't really do hohmann transfer orbits anymore. You set your target, position yourself in a higher kerbin orbit, and then burn towards target for 20k dV and fly brachistochrone to destination. Flip'n'burn welwala. As for how to get a full-length antimatter torch to orbit in 2.5x/JNSQ, the solution involves a 7.5 meter cryogenic booster core with 7 hydrolox-patched Rhinos, four Clydesdales, and a truly absurd fairing. full album here: https://imgur.com/a/Z7S4mCo EDIT: I have an exam in 10 minutes but I do see the rest of the balance conversation and will get back to it. EDIT 2: Read up on most of the balancing discussion. The one thing I agree with out of all of it is that the X-20 Verne is on the weak side. I had a soft spot for fission zeta-pinch in old-FFT but in new-FFT it just can't compete at all with afterburning FFREs or thermal fusion engines. For crying out loud, the Casaba has better thermal properties than it does! Back in old-FFT it was good because it was very cheap electrically (lowish charge-up, no active power draw), used a stable fuel, and had low heat output. Currently Casaba has better heat output, cheaper electrical needs, and only a small amount of fuel instability for a markedly better performance envelope. My balancing recommendations would be to either pull the mass down, or bring the thrust up (or both) to give it some kind of a niche (either that or the Casaba needs a nerf but I love that engine to so no plz). Now with regard to balance, I know Nertea's mods are generally balanced against stock game, as best as you can balance against stock which is sometimes nonsensical. But if there was ever a mod that should be balanced for rescale/JNSQ/RSS and not stock, this is it. These aren't engines I foresee people using to get to stock Eeloo. These are engines for flying out to the moons of Nero in GPP 3.2x. And regarding the whole orbital construction thing, there's EPL parts for SSPXr on Nertea's roadmap but they haven't been touched in three years (partly because IVAs are involved and I know how much he hates IVAs) and aren't exceptionally prioritized. This mod being the bringer of oversized drives, it would be nice if those came sometime soon but I'm not the one doing the work on it so they get done whenever they get done.
  3. Ah yes .... This is perhaps the one case where the old radial mounting style was actually more useful. But I love the insanity of it.
  4. I was actually doing some spreadsheet math & testing out various propulsion combinations a few days ago (before finals decided to shut down my free time) and yeah, the radiator paneling required versus old-FFT is actually pretty low. 3-4 of the static graphene panels were enough in most cases. Considering how surprisingly heavy those graphene panels are, I see nothing wrong with this. In terms of the engine heat output, it makes sense the magnetic confinement fusion engines need to lose. Those used to be very toasty in older versions and are surprisingly cold now for containing the power of a miniature sun! Unsure about the pulsed engines. I imagine they don't absorb much heat from the nuclear reaction and you're primarily cooling the lasers & capacitor arrays. I will eagerly await the new configs, and then proceed to comment excessively on them.
  5. It was showing up as 1kg in KER if I remember correctly so that's why I assumed massless, or at least effectively massless. Upping this to be 1:1 with the hydrogen its annihilating with would probably cut the TWR on that torchship down to under 1.5 starting and shave off about 200k dV (out of a current 1.7 million). It would be a nerf, but far from a huge one, and the Casaba needs so little antimatter it would see barely any losses from this. Even afterward, you could slash the thrust of that engine in half and it would still be absurd, which after all is kind of the point. It could probably do with some tuning back but I don't actually think its far away from a good spot right now. That is actually very cool. If the fusion z-pinch ever makes a return in the revamp will it employ a similar idea or no? Sure they look fine from a percentage standpoint, but remember that this is the bare minimum propulsion segment with no electrical support, no structural frills, and no payload mass, and configuration optimized for each mode rather than swapping on-the-fly on a real vessel. The differences here are going to be the largest you'll ever get because it's a beyond-best-case scenario. The best you can do is trade ~25% of your dV for ~45% thrust. 45% sounds like a lot but it actually only translates to an extra 1.6 m/s^2 acceleration, and that's going to go down pretty fast as you add payload mass. Sigh ... Antimatter torch at anything short of max length radiator truss (give or take 1-2 segments tops) requires a truly absurd amount of heat rejection. Assuming Fresnel is still what it was in old FFT (haven't tried it in new FFT yet) it will also be a very toasty boy. Most everything else really isn't that extreme in heat. Now we are using the graphene microchannel radiator panels here which are leagues better than anything else available. I can pretty confidently say that the JP-15 is running colder than I would expect. The JP-20A is a bit annoying in how much it needs in part because of aerodynamic considerations where anything deployable is a no-go. Casaba seems to be no worse in heat gen than it was in the old version of FFT, which may or may not be an issue considering it did get bigger and therefore get some power output improvements. Hammertong ICF is running WAY colder than I would expect. Coming from old FFT I was expecting that engine to need 4-5x the radiator power it currently does. EDIT: Sierra is now very confused because the NSWR seems to be not drawing enough electricity? It has plenty of charge in battery and the solar panels will kick in once I pitch over, but I'm getting "propellant requirement met:" dropping rapidly after take-off. Its bottoming out at around 65% before my vehicle stalls out and I have to revert or trigger abort. Doing some digging trying to diagnose but I might be stumped on this one. EDIT 2: Okay this issue appears to apply to any engine which consumes electric charge as a fuel, and it has something to do with persistent thrust. Gonna go pester the PT bug reports about that then I think.
  6. Okay so I've been screwing around in the VAB today because I needed a break studying from finals. Here's some fun bits I've discovered. JP-10 Impulse seems mundane on first glance but is secretly really good. Swapping an MPD engine out for it was actually pretty easy so its a nice tech progression. Both power and heat are actually easier to deal with than a VASIMR, and the delta-V is moderately better. Really good entry-level into fusion engines. I'm definitely going to get use out of this in progression saves. I completely understand & agree with the people who said the JP-15 Discovery's high thrust mode needs a buff. These are the stats between the two using a minimalist propulsion bus (e.g. no electrical components at all, no payload, just fuel & heat rejection). I used a single ST-4L3 tank for both of these and adjusted the amount of LH2 and radiator power available to bring fuel to ratio (with a little bit of fusion excess for power generation). K-80 Hammertong ICF thruster is either god-tier or trash-tier entirely depending on your tolerance for extremely long burns/presence of Persistent Thrust or similar. Getting genuinely absurd dV numbers is absolutely trivial, but you'll never have more than ~1m/s/s acceleration. All that said, isn't that exactly how this drive is supposed to be? It seems to be working exactly as intended. JR-20A Ouroboros is absolutely hilarious. If launching single stage to orbit on a pile of fissioning uranium hexaflouride plasma wasn't glorious enough, now we can launch to orbit riding atop a doughnut of pure stellar awesomeness. Whatever god protects the kerbals, may they have mercy upon my ground crews. A-134NG Casaba is as enjoyable as it always has been. There's nothing really to write home about with it but I've always had a soft spot for it. It feels pretty good in its current form and the engine FX are on point. Only remotely notable thing is that it currently uses a default engine sound that does not sync with the thrust pulse, but I assume this is known and sounds aren't priority or are unfinished. X-20 Verne feels a bit low thrust compared to its previous incarnation, but I haven't really played with it too much so it could grow on me. If fusion z-pinch ends up not coming back, its probably fine in its current form since it feels like a bit of a mix of the old z-pinch models. Its certainly very pretty now (not that it wasn't pretty before) And its pretty well known by everyone already the savage enjoyment I have with the A=834M Frisbee Blowtorch. There's engines here I haven't mentioned because I haven't messed with them enough. These are just preliminary thoughts and not really a detailed balance commentary. And since I've dumped a bunch of boring text on people, let me also share some delightful pictures. I thought some nostalgia back to the original would be nice to see how far we've all come in our craft design, and how far Nertea's art has come (and don't you dare say your old stuff looks horrible ).
  7. Two and a half of the largest cryotanks available worth of hydrogen, and an equal amount of antimatter. The engine-radiator assembly weighs in at 170 tons (the engine at full length is 84 of that). The antimatter tankage is only about 15 tons because antimatter is currently massless (of no consequence at small scale but hilariously broken here as it annihilates with over 76 tons of hydrogen). There's 31 tons of nuclear reactor powerplant, and 92 tons of hydrogen fuel & tankage. These are all approximations but total vessel mass is 370.4 tons. Starting TWR is 1.65 with 1714k dV. Given the target audience here probably overlaps with the same people who are using fusion drives ... I may load it up again on my install and give some thoughts on balancing against the NFT/FFT collection. My install is 2.5x rescaled with OPM on top, no SMURFF which I think ticks both of the boxes for large systems. It certainly makes surface to orbit about twice as hard. Mmmm, NSWR should actually be a significant improvement over the aerospike because of fuel density & engine mass, so its also a very effective first stage engine. You just have to be okay with your launch/landing site being showered with radioactive fallout. Kerbal Atomics already has some launch-optimized nuclear engines that are pretty glorious. I actually find them easier to use in a harder rescale because their performance envelope is that good. @Nertea I've noticed that the inertial confinement fusion engines opt for liquid droplet fusion charges rather than pellet charges this time to prevent the reinstatement of fusion pellets as a resource. Interesting choice. Its a little bit "muh realism!" but it definitely makes sense from a game design perspective. Fusion engines always use the same fuel. Trying to give those engines a whack today to see how they're performing. I harp on the torch drive too much so other things need love.
  8. I only loaded SystemHeat as it was a packaged dependency for FFT, so I'll probably unpack that. I haven't loaded any of these new plugins with their standalone components yet (Waterfall's Restock/+ configs are also on the // TODO list).
  9. So @Nertea I replicated the exploding tanks issue and I found out what's going on. None of the graphene radiators are rejecting the nuclear reactor's heat. It's overheating my hydrogen tanks (which are the most fragile things nearby in the part tree) and causing RUD. As for why none of the reactor heat is being rejected, I have no idea. Its as if having a heat loop on the vessel prevents legacy radiator parameters from working. Note that the radiators for the reactor I have assigned to the default loop 0 and the engine cooling is assigned to loop 1. Also note that this specific incident will go away if and when the NFE reactors are ported to SystemHeat, but the general problem may still apply in some instances. Now I've said before, this is NOT a good testing environment. There's a ton of other mods (including a custom compiled barely-compatible Kopernicus), Persistent Thrust and Better Time Warp are both present, this is version 1.9.1, etc. I can quickly put together a stripped-down environment sometime tomorrow and actually provide logs & craft files, etc. I can safely say that your craft design is severely underutilizing that engine then. My above testing vehicle is getting 1700 km/s dV with about 1.8 Gs TWR. Your dV numbers sound about right for not having a lot of fuel but I'm legitimately confused how you managed to drag the TWR so low with how hilariously strong this drive is.
  10. The exhaust products of proton-antiproton annihilation are, as I understand it, mostly photons (very high energy gamma ray photons) and neutrinos. A carefully controlled antimatter reaction would I believe be squelched in atmosphere so you couldn't light it on the pad ... which is good considering the gamma radiation that thing throws off could probably sterilize half the continent from low orbit!
  11. Those parts are kinda heavy (not unrealistic considering) and I often found myself only ever using them to solve problems relating to the stock heat system. Seeing as the radial coolant tanks & exchangers from System Heat are now a thing which serve the same purpose for that system, I don't think many people would be disappointed if those parts up and disappeared. On a related note, are you planning on having System Heat become a hard dependency for Heat Control, or otherwise entangling/amalgamating those two mods? I know there's plenty of external use cases for those parts retaining stock radiating attributes but if NFE reactors & NFP engines both get ported over, the only thing I can think of (that matters to my install at least) that still needs that stock heat rejection is the kerbal atomics NTRs. Badum tss. Puns aside, the performance envelope on this thing is innately going to be insane. Its more skeletal design means it wouldn't shock me if it were lighter mass than its previous incarnation, and the density of antimatter storage appears to be improved. Before, I was able to build a propulsion bus capable of a small loan of a million dV and up to 4 Gs of acceleration. With this iteration I can get up to 5 million dV easy (and more if I try) with almost 5 Gs of acceleration on empty, but fuel mass is mattering more now so I start off at a totally pedestrian 1.8 Gs. On the subject of antimatter, two things. I had a bug where when I kicked warp up high enough, my tanks exploded even though I had the power & heat rejection necessary. Fair note here, I was still under thrust (Persistent Thrust, which I know has an open github issue) and was using above-standard warp (Better Time Warp) so this isn't exactly a sanitized testing environment. Also, I still remember you decisively saying "antimatter is out of scope for new FFT" and then the ICAN-II AMCF made its triumphant return along with the gorgeous antiproton ring ... and you insisted the beam-core torch drive was never returning until it did. I am quite grateful for this, as are we all because torch drives are hilarious. And I do absolutely intend to MM patch the localization files to rename the thing to "Blowtorch" because why not. We already have a launch-optimized toroidal fusion aerospike. That's what far-future launch tech looks like. The EL parts on github haven't been touched in about 3 years according to the date stamps on the issues, so unfortunately I think those parts are lost to limbo for the foreseeable future. Its a little disappointing since there really aren't many part options for EL and IMO most of them (outside of PBS) look particularly nice, but I figure its easier on Nertea if that mod is considered stabilized & finished.
  12. For what purpose would you need such a genuinely excessive amount of fusion fuel? You alone remain your own worst critic, by a lot.
  13. I'm back with more eye candy/free advertising, this time with a more reasonable nuclear pulse freighter rather than an interstellar torchship. (album link) EDIT: I don't think I've said just how much I love the flare effects on these engines. Its such a beautiful touch.
  14. It makes me happy to once again have a 2-million dV propulsion bus that can fly brachistochrone to Jool and back in 60 days (on 2.5x scale). With its new size & plume, it has a visual absurdity that matches its performance envelope. Sierra Space Industries claims no responsibility for injury or death resulting directly or indirectly from ignition of torch drives in low orbit. Operator assumes all risks & liabilities.
  15. That is not where I would have expected to look for that, TY. My immediate concern with this is part bloat on torchships. You're going to very quickly run into both part count issues and structural rigidity issues if you're not using KJR (which if you're building at this scale, you should be). There's also a realism concern in that the truss length is also there to attenuate the massive gamma radiation, but we can eschew realism a bit for gameplay purposes if we need to.
  16. Seeing as the engine produces millions of delta-V with accelerations up to 4 Gs ... I have this burning desire to rename the frisbee to "Blowtorch". The fact it has this laser beam of a plume that stretches something around 150 meters is just gravy. Currently playtesting in my 1.9 rescaled install. I'll hack together a bare-minimum testing environment if I come across any weirdness. I must say these drives being 5 meter diameter now is going to see a LOT more use of the annular trusses, and I already liked them. EDIT: Quick note I found, the X-7 Asimov FFRE is asking for 'fission particles' for fuel and there seems to be no way to supply this. Was this supposed to be 'fission pellets' instead? Because those are readily available for other engines.
  17. The answer to that is that I'm not planning on fully reinventing RemoteTech, only about 60% reinvent it. RemoteTech goes too far down the realism rabbit-hole for my liking. Things like signal delay, orientation, and command center capability are expressly beyond my interests. The other reason is that this would be easily convertible into a full-on dependency for NFX if Nertea wants to go down that road (I imagine having a major plugin component is a lot less unattractive if he's not in charge of building it). It's also potentially a fun challenge (with a non-zero risk of becoming an infuriating challenge) that writing a compat piece just doesn't give. As for RemoteTech support, latest version already supports NFX, though if/how it handles reflectors is unclear.
  18. So following the discussion regarding antenna balance from earlier, @Nertea would it be too much of a bother to quickly slap together a list of all the NFX and stock antennas and what you think their respective intended roles should be? I want to dump this into a spreadsheet along with all the existing part parameters and take a stab at reworking them (and probably send a copy of this to @Streetwind if he doesn't already have a spreadsheet of his own). On the subject, let me also ask another more hypothetical question. If you did completely rewrite the antenna logic to be more customizable and a bit more advanced, what would that rewrite look like from the player end? Quick edits: Some immediate thoughts on that hypothetical advanced antenna rework came to mind. I'm too busy to attempt it myself right now but maybe when things settle down in several weeks time I might look into this as a project. persistent power consumption - gotta consume energy to maintain that connection, which gives probes another thing to think about. Probably would want this to have a hibernation logic like probe cores too for power management options. ditch the instantaneous Mit transmission - giving a duration over which the energy is consumed (no more chunking of Ec) opens some more tuning parameters with transmission rates hopefully (would have to explore this theory more).
  19. Ah yes ... delightful. And of course the changes to fairings no doubt broke things pretty heavily for Restock and people don't like having to wait to update. And was I seeing a launch-capable fusion aerospike earlier? Do you know how expensive it will be to fully radiation-shield the KSC from that? Really glad to see the AMCF coming back. I had a soft spot for that engine and it looks absolutely stunning. I do hope the beam-core comes back eventually. Yes it's obscenely overpowered, that's why we love it. I can literally have 1 million dV in a propulsion bus.
  20. @MrFancyPL I think that was the plan he had, but assuming @Nertea does not have some personal vendetta against the parts themselves (barring the plasma core's half-baked texture, the models don't need to be touched) then I do believe they could remain with most of their functionality intact by using the CryoTanks plugin as-is. That way the antimatter code logic can still get nuked from orbit for scope-reduction, and the parts remain in the mod. All their other code features (variable length, chargeable engine) are covered by other engines not being removed anyway so I would suggest doing it like this: Nuke antimatter factory and pad-loading mechanics (never liked them anyway) Set antimatter cost-per-unit to half a million funds or something similarly ridiculous (encourages ISRU, discourages bulk purchase) Set antimatter to have a very high boiloff rate and a significant EC cost to prevent it (optional) allow boiloff events to generate heat (replicating old explosive behavior) ... profit! @ssd21345 You are using a fusion torch. The amount of heat being generated is insane. You need a lot of radiator area for that engine, and I mean a LOT. I would suggest using 3-4 of the largest graphene deployable radiator panels. @Nertea I know the z-pinch drives are getting temporarily deprecated pending conceptual rework of inertial confinement, but I would definitely say you should not permanently remove them from scope. They are very awesome and they work perfectly fine as-is if you felt like leaving them in until their rework time comes.
  21. Wait, what the .... Nertea is working on FFT stuff again?! I thought you had pretty much consigned that mod to the graveyard with the KSP2 trailers to severely demotivating you regarding it's stuff. I had started looking into recompiling it myself. (I haven't actually tested it on 1.9 yet but it needing a recompile seemed an extremely likely prospect given it was last updated for 1.5.) I'm kinda shocked that might be coming back, very happy, but still kinda shocked.
  22. So I've completed all of my test crafts and tweaking everything for the latest version. That turned into tedium towards the end.... Now I can push all the data into a spreadsheet and properly analyze it. I intend to drop the sheet here along probably with a bundle of my test crafts (I'll list the necessary mods) so that others can analyze the same data. I also need to finish the control crafts which use NF propulsion and Kerbal Atomics engines to offer existing comparisons. @Nertea So far a lot of the balance changes you made are generally for the better. Antimatter consumption on a lot of the engines I regard as "antimatter-efficient" did go up considerably so they're slightly less AM-efficient now, but 50u of antimatter still only takes 33 days to generate at max level factory so my complaints in that regard are rather heavily undermined.
  23. As for those you haven't looked at ... The Dirac seems fine in high density mode. When you swap it to medium density though, it consumes so much antimatter that it seems basically worthless. At that point in time the Cochrane becomes a much better option. If you ignore the med density mode entirely it seems like a fine engine. Speaking of the Cochrane, it's actually pretty weak I've found in its 5 and 10 meter configuration. Often other engines will do the job better. However once it gets to 15 meter and larger it begins to come into its own and really become the inferno-spewing torch drive it's meant to be. As a disclaimer, my tests have been specifically building for 20,000 dV with 23.25 tons of payload mass. The small variants may not be suited to this specific task well. Heinlein definitely needs nerfing into the ground. Realism aside, the thing offers so much power for so little effort that - although other engines can technically offer more power - it's easily the best choice for almost every reasonable use case. Moving over to the engines you have addressed: The Microstar did not seem like it needed that efficiency buff. The thrust increase is definitely welcome but its efficiency felt fine. When you say full 3.75m tank do you mean the flat-pack or the spherical? I've automatically assumed all of these engines should be using an auxiliary reactor, even the Z-pinches. They also run a bit warm for having a lack of physical combustion chamber but I guess mini nuclear fireballs do that. Part of the Polaris' difficulty is how many pellet canisters you need. It may be worth an Isp buff too but worth further analysis with the updated build. Magnetic ICF still has crap TWR ... like really crap. Given the size of the engine and the mass of the ships that will usually be using it ... a thrust buff here may be worth it since its thrust is just so pitiful compared to ablative. That's actually a huge nerf to the Casaba antimatter consumption. Part of what made that engine attractive was how little antimatter it needed making it a really good entry level. Sure it means you're dragging a quarter-full tank around, but it was really nice. I'd consider adjusting that in the future, perhaps to 10u AM per large tank (which means one storage ring easily gets you 2 full usages of the engine) As for holding off on a comprehensive assessment ... I'll definitely do a rework pass on all my test crafts before I compile a spreadsheet & offer a statistical breakdown. Are you going to continue tweaking before you ship or do you intend to ship those balance tweaks soon?
  24. So to respond to @RedParadize about antimatter tanks ... I think we're okay because of the dual nature of antimatter consuming engines. They either eat tiny amounts of it needing no more than a couple of torus rings ... or they consume unfathomable quantities of the stuff needing bigger thanks than we already have (100k AM storage tank? Big, spherical? One more piece to the ISV Venture Star replicas? Plz?) Now to @Nertea about the ablative engines. I've been working on some VAB numbers testing for balance. Note that none of this is flight testing so I may be over or undershooting on the thermal control needs. However KER does provide some excellent info. I'll compile everything into a spreadsheet once I'm done with it (the multi-length engines I'm not even sure how I'll handle). Back on what I wanted to mention you for, the pellet counts for the ablative engines: The AMCF is actually pretty close and consumes about 3800 pellets or a bit more than one large tank. It also consumes only 6 or 7 units of antimatter. At those points the ablator is gone. The ablative ICF engine is a whole different beast. It actually consumes somewhere between 750 to 800 pellets, less than half of a small tank. That doesn't seem like much but for a ~23 ton mission payload its still getting 33 thousand delta V. Its thrust is also absolutely ridiculous in comparison to the nonablative ICF engine. It also needs less radiator mass and less energy charge and has the dV for most missions. The nonablative ICF engine struggles to compete against that for anything but the highest dV missions (my general balance assessment is that it's too weak compared it its direct competition).
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