Journey Into Darkness

I’ve begun work on my new game Journey Into Darkness. In it, you play a Victorian adventurer who travels to the other side of the world in search of a fabled jewel.

“The theft of a number of rare artifacts sends shockwaves through Victorian England and leads you on a terrifying adventure to a land filled with wonders and horrors alike”

Currently it’s complete in another tool and I am porting it to Choicescript (with the kind and valued help of this forum’s technical whizzes in ask the forum). There are 6 chapters in the game, more if you count choices that do not lead to the end.

It has been written from my love of traditional choose your own adventure type books and as such some paths do lead to death. It is intended to be played as per these books, which I guess is another way of saying you will have to “learn the hard way”. I do understand it is not for everyone because of this (look, it’s been written for me when I was a kid!)

To play the demo, go here:
https://dashingdon.com/play/jonnysaxc/journey-into-darkness/mygame/

I am very interested in feedback in general, also feedback on where code could be improved, errors in grammar or inconsistencies, things that are not fun (if it’s the whole book then that may be hard for me to fix!)

I can only update every 4 weeks or so, I only do this at the weekend and if I hit a coding problem it Will take ages to fix I’m afraid as I find this aspect terribly difficult (although improving). I may also hit on unforseen issues as I get further into the coding.

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I really enjoyed this. It’s a bit short, but the setting of a Victorian Adventurers Club and the characters met so far have been interesting. Already there’s glimpses of the adventure ahead and the possible curse for the artifact thefts that awaits, and it looks like it’ll be a lot of fun. I really like that there’s an instant-win option as well as paths that lead to death, especially on an adventure like this.

One question: will it be possible to play as female?

Things I saw:
If you choose to reset stats and points, the options for skill/stamina/luck don’t reset as well.

It appears that if you can go over the 6 stat point limit when increasing your stats – so you can put 5 points in stamina and then 4 into skill, or 4 into luck and 6 into stamina, etc.

“I told you I would get you here on time Sir”.
“That you did driver, that you did. Here’s the sixpence I owe you”.
There were sections where it became difficult to read due to there being no space between paragraphs like these two lines.

I like the fighting system, although perhaps instead of it just showing the variable names and the dice roll results, we could get descriptions of the fight too. Also, it might make the roll results easier to read if they were more like this:
Dice Result: ${diceresult}
instead of just using the variable names as they are normally.

Also, I had to laugh when I used the gun against the thugs – it’s like that scene in Indiana Jones.

Looking forward to interacting more with Lady Jane and Sir Malcolm! :relaxed:

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Firstly, thank you so much indeed for your kind feedback. It is very valuable and also really exciting that someone somewhere is reading something I wrote!

I need to put my hand up that I haven’t set the game up to play as a female and feel I must explain why this is. When I wrote this game I was basing it on the fighting fantasy books I used to play when I was a kid (a Long time ago!). I found there was a tool called Inklewriter and so after writing the game on paper then scrivener I wrote it in Inklewriter, just as I had finished the tool got shut down(!) and that lead me to Choicescript. Once here it didn’t take me long to realise that choose your adventure games had transformed and had the scope to offer far more than I had envisaged or planned on. If people stick with the game I hope they will agree that Lady Jane aquits herself rather well!

The reset of stats and the limit are broken and I am yet to subject the forum to another plea for help :slightly_smiling_face:

I will make sure all the sections are properly spaced and paragraphed this weekend and resubmit

Your points on the fighting are excellent, thanks and I will fix

You must have been very lucky with the gun, that only happens if you roll a 6!

Thank you again for your help and kind words - the next part is coming soon and it has extra Monkey Madness ™!

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I have now updated the game with the next instalment!

stats now reset and the limit is working
paragraphs and characters speaking have been made clearer
the fighting is clearer, descriptions of fights to follow

I hope you enjoy the next part as you set sail for Cabinda and deal with a troublesome passenger

I am delighted to have any feedback, I have made a list already to fix the following:
fight descriptions
knuckle duster doesn’t add extra damage yet
provisions to replenish stamina not yet working

Cheers

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If you do decide later on to add an option for the MC to be female, using string variables or multireplace will make it easy to switch names and pronouns.

About the stats – the reset is working, but did you want there to be a limit for how much you can place in skill and luck since both start off as being able to place 1 - 4 AP? Because it seems you can add 4 to skill/luck and then choose the same one again and add the last AP left to surpass the original 4 AP limit.

“Jack Sinclair, Malcolm Penrose, pleased to meet you.”
I thought it was a little strange how Lady Jane knows who we are right away when otherwise we have to introduce ourselves to those who don’t work at the club (like the three gentlemen or the safari guy) – it looks like there’s a story reason as to how she knows us, but it seems like the MC would question how she knows.

Also, that line and the following lines on the page are a bit confusing as to who is speaking (due to the spaces between the dialogue and the rest of the paragraphs) and why the MC and Sir Malcolm are ready to suddenly board the ship with just what they’re carrying. It seemed like the MC was about to question what was going on and ask more about this Percy Thistlethwaite when the luggage is brought up, but then it jumps ahead to the MC heading to dinner.

I accidentally got into a fight with a monkey and then died in the lifeboat. :skull: The picture was a nice touch. I liked all the new characters and interactions on the ship, and how the engine room is closed off until you get the key.

Looking forward to dealing with that passenger! :relaxed:

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Thank you for your kind and excellent feedback.

I love how you bypassed the stat system, I am less in love with fixing it (again!) but it’s a brilliant point and I am going to fix it by removing the stat option after it has been chosen. This is now added to the todo list!

I totally agree with your point on who knows who and why, it isn’t clear and this needs a little bit of clarification . Will do! Also, the mad panic to board the ship is not written well either and I will do this too

I am sorry (for the monkey) :slight_smile: and I hope the lifeboat thing was not too annoying
I am glad you liked the picture, I did it as a print and then scanned it.

I am now adding the next little bit where you arrive at Cabinda port and set off down the Mjaa Nto river where the main adventure kicks off! , this will be added soon but as ever I need to sort out some coding (for example, how to make sure extra luck and so on cannot exceed a maximum stat and other issues already raised)

Cheers and Thanks!

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This is a small update on progress, I have not yet uploaded the following to dashingdon, will do that tomorrow

I have added fight descriptions
It is now possible to eat provisions after every fight to replensih stamina
The stats are definitely, definitely fixed now (fingers crossed!!)

I still need to add the knuckle duster option

I have added the following small part of story Exploring Cabinda port

Need to rewrite the transition from club to ship and going to dinner

Its another beautiful sunny day here in the UK today so I am going to leave this darkened room and the horrors on the river Mjaa Nto to sit in the sun, drink beer and eat burgers! :grinning:

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I have now uploaded these changes to Dashingdon: fight description, eat provisions, working stat selection and a tiny part of the story when you arrive at Cabinda and explore the port

Fans of punching things will be disappointed this week as the knuckle duster option is not done yet!

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Knuckle duster now available (only 5 gold coins!)

The inventory etc seems to be up and running now so I should be able to progress the story now this is in place

Read it, liked it, but felt the fight scenes were still a little confusing. It seamed like the Thugs always rolled higher numbers than me as I went down the page, but then it said I won.

suggestions

Would also recommend breaking the page between each roll. Plus, adding some options in fights such as: Punch, kick, grapple, distract would be awesome. Each would a different minimum roll score to succeed. And when I suggested breaking up the individual dice rolls I meant you would display the opponents roll at the same time obviously.

How I personally envision the fight scenes is,
You rolled (4) and successfully distracted thug. Thug rolled (3) and failed to kick you. successfully kicking requires a 4 or higher and deals +2 damage punches deal regular damage but require a lower minimum roll. Grappling would require high skill and would take whatever you roll out of what the thug rolls and use that against them, so if you roll a 2 and they roll a 6 and they’re punching you would deal 2 damage and they would deal 4 damage.

Page break choice: Punch, Kick, Grapple, Distract

Punch

Sir Malcolm rolled (5) and thug was distracted damage x2, Thug doesn’t roll.

Something that makes it like your fighting as a team.

I could try to write the script subfile for this style fighting and send it to you sometime if you want. It’s too hot to be outside where I’m at anyways. Anyway, that’s just my vision, of my suggestion, take as much or as little of it as you like.

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Many thanks for the feedback and sorry for the delay in replying
I love your suggestion for combat and it sounds perfect for the next idea I have, so thanks and I would really like to get back to you on your very kind suggestion
The combat is confusing, I have been trying to recreate a fighting fantasy style game and I think it is fair to say that this aspect of them really divides opinion! That is why I have created an instant win - to recreate the experience of cheating the system when the dice didn’t go your way!

I have updated the story today and the left part of the river is now explorable
Ahead and right are Not updated and currently go nowhere

Possible reader frustration will occur because this is one of the arbitary wrong paths in the book

It took ages , even though the amount of text is very modest. One of the pitfalls of having a fighting system and options around that.

Enjoy the Mjaa Nto river and dont have nightmares :slight_smile:

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I started down the river and had to fight a giant mosquito. No wonder you warned about nightmares. :laughing: I enjoyed the fights against the pirates and Sir Malcolm, although I guess that’s a bad ending route. It might be nice if, when we lose that fight, Sir Malcolm says one last thing to make this death a bit unique since he’s one of the main characters.

Also, I noticed that there are no options in Cabinda to gain skill, and that visiting the fortune teller causes you to lose luck despite seeing a vision of the journey ahead. I wasn’t sure why you lose luck points – does the fortune teller show us a false vision? – but it seemed like we could gain skill from this for the MC is now more mentally prepared for the dangers ahead.

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Thank you so much for the excellent feedback.

The left path

This path is bad whatever decisions are made, there is a way to get a bit further but it still results in failure later on. Sir Malcolm probably does deserve something a bit better! I will amend to reflect this. I will also be rewriting the earlier introduction and rush to get on the boat- I haven’t done this yet as I am separating the coding from the writing , my brain can only be in a technical mode or creative but not both!

The idea of losing luck points in Cabinda was to get things off to a bit of a downer. Having read your thoughts I think this was not a good idea and it isn’t as if the reader won’t get hammered later anyway! I will change this so skill is increased, that way each meeting in the Cabinda is balanced- one gives luck, one stamina and one skill. This does pose me a problem as earlier on the code sets a maximum skill when you choose your initial stats. However, luck does go higher so I am sure I can do the same with skill. I can’t let stamina go above the max though as then readers could eat 2 provisions and have far too high stamina

The vision - I will stay tight lipped on that for now :shushing_face, I won’t give clues as you are too astute I think!

I forgot to add the option to eat provisions to this new chapter so that is now on the list.

This weekend I hope to add the path that leads right, it takes hours to do this kind of thing doesn’t it! If, Else, goto arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

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I have now rewritten the end of the club scene where Jack meets Lady Jane and Sir Malcolm. There are 2 versions of this, one if the player has watched the boxing and one if not
I hope this provides a better introduction and makes more sense than the previous version which was very blunt and somewhat zero to one hundred miles an hour. All feedback gratefully received

Boxing version

Sir Malcolm makes an untidy pile of the unconscious thugs, dusts his hands off and then smiles at you broadly. He holds out his hand and you shake it warmly.

“Jack Sinclair, Malcolm Penrose, pleased to meet you.”

You both turn to Lady Jane Joseph and she bows politely. You notice her captivating eyes are a vivid green. You thank them both for their help and say:

“A most unusual turn of events - even for the adventurers club”

Lady Jane speaks: “No doubt hired by Percy Thistlethwaite. He would do anything to get his hands on that meteorite. The steamer to Angola leaves tonight and we have to be on it if we are to stand a chance of reaching it before he does”

“Wait a moment…we?”

“Now,now Jack we are all adventurers here!” says Lady Jane. “Straight after the lecture I ran into Sir Malcolm and it was clear we had the same thing in mind: beat Percy to the jewel. It didn’t take much detective work to see that you were also on the same track. The shenanigans in this alley just confirm that someone wishes you bad intent. No common or garden mug-hunter in a hundred mile radius of London would be stupid enough to try anything at the Adventurers Club!”

“I hadn’t planned on making this an expedition!” you say, but not with ill feeling “I only decided to go on this jaunt after the lecture!”

“I think the facts are pretty straightforward Jack” says Lady Jane “We are racing to the jewel. It is somewhere in Angola. The steamer leaves tonight. If we miss it then the next one is a week away, giving Percy a massive head start. We stand more chance of success if we work as a team. Oh, one more thing - we have the last tickets so unless you fancy a long swim or taking the trip as a stowaway then I suggest we get moving and discuss this further over dinner”

You catch Sir Malcolm smirking from the corner of your eye and know that you lost this argument before you even knew you were having it.

Lady Jane whistles for a carriage and you speak to Sir Malcolm

“Well now we have one thing in common” you say

“What’s that Old Boy?” replies Sir Malcolm

“We both know what it feels like to be knocked flat by Lady Jane!”

You shake hands again and a carriage arives.

Non boxing version

Sir Malcolm makes an untidy pile of the unconscious thugs, dusts his hands off and then smiles at you broadly. He holds out his hand and you shake it warmly.

“Jack Sinclair, Malcolm Penrose, pleased to meet you.”

You both turn to Lady Jane Joseph and she bows politely. You notice her captivating eyes are a vivid green. You thank them both for their help and say

“A most unusual turn of events - even for the adventurers club”

Lady Jane speaks

“No doubt hired by Percy Thistlethwaite. He would do anything to get his hands on that meteorite. The steamer to Angola leaves tonight and we have to be on it if we are to stand a chance of reaching it before he does”

“Wait a moment…we?”

“Now,now Jack we are all adventurers here!” says Lady Jane. “Straight after the lecture I ran into Sir Malcolm and it was clear we had the same thing in mind: beat Percy to the jewel. It didn’t take much detective work to see that you were also on the same track. The shenanigans in this alley just confirm that someone wishes you bad intent. No common or garden mug-hunter in a hundred mile radius of London would be stupid enough to try anything at the Adventurers Club!”

“I hadn’t planned on making this an expedition!” you say, but not with ill feeling “I only decided to go on this jaunt after the lecture!”

“I think the facts are pretty straightforward Jack” says Lady Jane “We are racing to the jewel. It is somewhere in Angola. The steamer leaves tonight. If we miss it then the next one is a week away, giving Percy a massive head start. We stand more chance of success if we work as a team. Oh, one more thing - we have the last tickets so unless you fancy a long swim or taking the trip as a stowaway then I suggest we get moving and discuss this further over dinner”

You look again at the tidy pile of thugs in the alley and weigh up the odds of success in going alone.

Sir Malcolm whistles for a carriage and Lady Jane speaks to you:

“Remember Jack, a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet”

“Try telling that to them” you reply, nodding at the comatose thugs.

A laughing Lady Jane replies “I guess that’s true. Well in that case, let me put it like this - don’t make me force you!”

With that Lady Jane raises her guard and drops into a fighting stance, all the while smiling winningly.

The carriage arrives and Sir Malcolm helps Lady Jane aboard. She turns to you

“Saved by the bell Jack… this time” she says

Nothing now would stop you from joining them.

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I have now added the right path
Possible reader frustration as this is also a non-winning path and it ends in death
I have beefed up the character introductions as per the above spoiler post

I have realised that the boat journey occurs in one day and this is totally bonkers so I will be rewriting a realistic timescale for the boat crossing

Still fo fix: adding skill in cabinda, better send offs for Sir Malcolm!

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I have now added the first of three options you have when You set off down the river and a storm hits

I have marked the other options as not written for now

The fortune teller in Cabinda now adds 1 skill rather than takes away luck

This was a part of the game that I found quite difficult to write, it kept spinning off and off and tying me in knots. Now some time has passed and I am looking at it again I have no idea why!

This part of the game is Spoiler a bit devious and annoying. It is a path that will ultimately lead to failure but I can see it being a path that readers return to often as it is a chance to be a big hero. I am starting to play with the theme here of interfering (prime directive?) and casually wiping a tribe off the face of the earth and riding into the sunset. The parallels to the magnificent seven are fun too!

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This time I tried the other two paths on the river. Perhaps if we open the box in the wheelhouse we can look further at the letters and photographs. Also, it might be nice if there are hints throughout the non-winning paths about what’s in the other paths/information the player can use in the correct path – not only would it make the player less discouraged from their failure, but I think it’d also encourage the player to try for failure and see all the paths written.

It seems there is a theme of loss of control on this river (whether due to hunger or the idol), which makes me curious about what else will be on the third path. I liked how we can use the translation book and how we can choose if we want to help the tribe or not. I decided to help them although it seems insects don’t like the MC – first it was those mosquitoes, now its ants. :laughing:

Looking forward to riding into the storm next! :relaxed:

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This is really well written, I love the attention you’ve put into describing all the scenes. (Even down to interesting descriptions of men’s moustache/beards.) Just a suggestion, maybe enable the save feature for beta testing. I died which means I’d have to go back to the start which makes it more time consuming to go through the game. Not sure how hard it would be (might be too hard) but an option at the start to be able to rewind sudden death choices or lost fights (like you’ve done with being able to skip fights) might save you some negative reviews in the stores when it’s released.

Typos and suggestions below :slight_smile:

Summary

Talk to man in safari suit
-Talk to the

Montague S Carruthers
-S.
John the Sasssquatch Stevens”
-missing full stop.

Lady Jannnnne Joseph”
-missing full stop.

Take a note of how much you bet
-missing full stop.

“Adventurers, please make your way to the auditorium as tonights lecture is about to commence”
-missing full stop.

StJohn Smyth-Fortesque”.
-St John? (There’s more than one of these. I’m not sure if the lack of a space is deliberate.)

meteorites could be the fabled colour from space and it would be placed somewhere around…here”
-missing full stop.

“Righto, time for a drink”
-missing full stop.

You spilled my drink you idiot! Watch where you are going you damned fool”
-missing full stop.

Test The gloomy narrow alley is a depressing contrast to the warm and bustling club. No sooner have you walked a few steps towards the main street than three figures emerge in front of you from the shadows. They advance towards you with caps pulled low. One is patting a sap into his palm. As you raise your arms to fight a deep man’s voice from behind says

  • Maybe have test on its own line and in bold?
    -Also I apologised here, but somehow I still ended up walking straight into the alley. Might need a bit of explanation as to why as it seems like a misdirect as it is to me.

You punch the thugs and send them reeling.

  • Might be good to have a couple (doesn’t have to be many, even just 3) variations on this sentence to mix it up a bit and seem less mechanical. Could either be random or reflect how much higher your stats were than theirs after the roll.
    -May also be good to have the player initiate each roll? Just to make them feel more part of the fight than an onlooker? (Ask others what they think though.)

most unusual turn of events - even for the adventurers club”
-missing full stop.

Now,now Jack we are all adventurers here!"
-Now, now

but not with ill feeling “I only decided to go on this jaunt after the lecture!”
-missing full stop.

stowaway then I suggest we get moving and discuss this further over dinner
-missing full stop.

“Well now we have one thing in common” you say
-missing full stop and comma.

What’s that Old Boy?" replies Sir Malcolm
-missing full stop.

“Already taken care of” says Lady Jane. “You aren’t the only one who has been busy!”

  • missing comma

Already taken care of” says Lady Jane. “You aren’t the only one who has been busy!”

she adds with a wry smile and you join the queue to board
-Maybe take out the first lady jane and put the sentence below after busy!" with Lady Jane adds with… (It just doesn’t look quite right to have a sentence starting with a lower case on the line below.)

banister and fine art adorns the walls. A steward in a smart white jacket takes you to your cabin on the port side of the ship.
It is lavishly decorated with red and gold wallpaper and the ornamented drinks cabinet is well stocked.
-Missing exta line to make it a new paragraph? (There’s a few of these. I’m not quite sure how they’ve happened.)

We wouldn’t want to be disturbed now would we”

says the figure with the sap before swinging at you.

  • Should be on the same line.

Jack it seems like there’s some kind of trouble” says Sir Malcolm. “The engines have stopped”

“And there is a lifeboat missing” adds Lady Jane.

“Oh yes, there’s a storm coming too” says Sir Malcolm

  • missing commas and full stops.
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Thank you greatly for your kind feedback, I am going to have a proper think about how to incorporate hints in the non-winning paths.
You are absolutely spot on with the loss of control, the two paths explored are actually very similar. The outcome is identical and both are damned if you do/ damned if you don’t!
They are also both really unfair, on one you are punished for helping a fellow adventurer and the other because Sir Malcolm does something you cannot control

I hope that you didn’t get eaten by the ants I only added that line about staying still so you won’t be seen yesterday because it made me laugh :stuck_out_tongue:

This weekend I have added the drop anchor path and am currently testing it before upload. This is only the second time I have not had quicktest/randomtest errors that I needed help with so I’m really pleased with that!

I’m really excited to get feedback, it’s so amazing to hear what other people are thinking, it is a real privilege and its making the story so much better. Particularly I am grateful because : each bit I am adding is a death or failure, it requires starting again each time and there is not much content for a perceptive reader to get into before it has ended again

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Thank you so much for your kind words, it was a great start to the day for me and really motivating to get this done!

I will have to look at the save option. I had read a thread about this recently and I think what I got from that thread was that it wasn’t an option, I don’t know why I thought that because in looking again today I see there is a save option and a technical description of how to do it. I 100% agree it is needed!

Here is a massive spoiler in regards to the game, dying and save options

The game is arbitary in that certain paths end in death or failure. This is not down to poor choices or wrong choices on the part of the player, it is because my experience of choose your own adventures was precisely this. I spent so many happy weekends as a kid replaying a book and remembering where to go next etc. Things have moved on now but I wrote all this before I had any idea of choicescript, the community here, expectations and possibilities etc. Apart from the annoyance of an instant death eg eaten by ants because you don’t jump in the river there are two other aspects that people may really dislike: one is that the wrong path can be quite fun and also allow you to get very far without working out it is a wrong path and also it is vital to leave the club at the very start with the right equipment and to also use it in the right place

I think this will certainly divide readers and what will possibly delight a certain % will seriously p*** off another certain %

I am thinking that a reader may have a go on their way to work on a train, get to a certain point and die and then try again the next day, maybe also sharing their experiences with other players and putting it together that way. But, an option that caters to all is by far the best - it is needed as there is no way to replicate the good old keeping your fingers on the last page method I used to use! (as well as cheating by winning all fights too!)

Your kind playthrough has highlighted a bit oin the alley that indeed makes little sense as it is, thank you and I will need to rewrite this. I must have made a note to do so in the past because it says Test

I see your point about the fights, originally there was actually no text at all and expectedoperator’s earlier playtest feedback made me realise how dull this was. I will look for a way around this, I have actually been wracking my brains to even think of text enough to cover one line! yes, initiaiting the roll would be more engaging, especially if the text was engaging too as per the suggestion to mix up phrases a bit.

Thank you for all your feedback on the grammar. I will correct asap, I have been reading it again as I re-enter into choicescript and as well as grammar errors that creep in I have noticed and corrected some phrases I have used repetitively. I think so far the biggest writing error has been the trip on the steamer that takes you halfway round the world in the time it takes to eat dinner!

It means a lot to me that you have taken time to feedback, I am so delighted with the feedback in this thread it is so helpful and supportive. The technical help thread is amazing too.

Cheers!

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