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  1. #1
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    DevBlog Entries

    In this thread we will repost all DevBlog Entries regarding King Arthur II and the whole development process originally posted on the NeocoreGames DevBlog.

    Feel free to leave your comments here or at the DevBlog directly.

  2. #2
    Neocore Dev Neocore_Kate's Avatar
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    Remixing Mythology, part 1: Choosing the right King Arthur for the right purposes

    Author: Viktor Juhász, Lead Writer and Content Designer (or World Designer, if you like)


    Welcome to the new series of developer blog posts, dedicated to shedding some light on the world-building process behind King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame, King Arthur II and all the supplementary material enjoyed by the game’s fans.



    These games are set in the same world, share the same timeline and even some recurring characters, so we’ll be talking about the mythology of the King Arthur games as a whole. We’ll be discussing some of the first King Arthur game, just to cover the basics and show how everything got started. Indeed, much that happens in King Arthur II has its roots in the past.



    But when we are talking about the underlying ideas that formed King Arthur, we are discussing the ideas behind the whole series.But first, allow me to introduce myself! My name is Viktor Juhász, and I’m a content designer (or world designer, if you like) and also a writer at NeocoreGames.

    Let’s start the discussion with the legendary King Arthur himself, who has been associated with very powerful imagery for quite a long time. Misty England, glinting swords, heroic duels and the noble knights of the Round Table. Perhaps alongside this people think of witches (Morgana le Fay), wizards (the great Merlin), Excalibur and Camelot – and of course, epic battles, bold adventures and damsels in distress.

    We are talking about a character who has been around for hundreds of years. King Arthur (or at least a similar figure with a name resembling “Arthur”) was known to pop up in medieval chronicles as early as in the 12th century, and thereafter he and his knights made frequent appearances in the medieval romances. Arthur reached a new level of popularity in the 19th century, thanks to numerous Victorian retellings, and later, some time during the 20th century he made his way into popular culture. King Arthur himself, or at least the chevalier-king he represents, is nowadays a familiar trope of fantasy novels, role-playing games, movies and TV series.

    There have been countless theories on the origin of King Arthur (even his name brings up some interesting questions), and there are many interpretations of the Arthurian mythology itself. Such interpretations range from the strict-to-fact historical versions (imagining Arthur as a real-historical person) through the stories set in low- or high-fantasy settings (Excalibur or Merlin) to the outright funny (Monthy Python and the Holy Grail).



    However, in the very early stages of development we decided that we didn’t want to inherit a given Arthurian mythology. Rather, we wanted to create our own version – and wanted the players to participate in the process! We wanted our players to shape their own mythology, where Arthur could be a tyrant, a believer of the Old Faith, a true knight, a Christian zealot, or anything between. From this, we set out to create an fantasy world based on some historical facts, but also a great deal of myth and folklore. There was no need to invent giants and wizards, faerie folk and the like: these are all present in the old stories, just as they were in the culture. But we did want to enhance the fantasy aspect, to play with the well-known elements from Arthurian lore.

    So King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame – and later King Arthur II as well – became a remix of Arthurian mythology, in a certain sense, where you, playing the role of King Arthur, really could rule your destiny.

    Read the Article on the NeocoreGames DevBlog: http://devblog.neocoregames.com/blog...ology-origins/
    Visit the DevBlog: http://devblog.neocoregames.com/
    See the gallery: http://devblog.neocoregames.com/gallery/

    King Arthur Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KingArthurGame
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    King Arthur Webpage: http://www.kingarthurthewargame.com/

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    Last edited by Neocore_Kate; 03-06-2011 at 15:30.

  3. #3
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    Birth of an Enchantress

    Author: Anikó Salamon, Lead Artist


    In this post I'll tell you about the story behind the painting of Morgana le Fay and how exactly a promotional art is created here at NeocoreGames. It’s about the development phases it goes through and the importance of coincidence. The secret ingredient is naturally: magic, long working hours and patience.

    You might find the picture familiar, as I borrowed from one of our old paintings that you might have seen previously on the official NeocoreGames website.

    That version was created in 2006 for a good old steampunk/alternative-history game that we planned to make earlier – it was called the SAS project or “Stars & Stripes” if you like. I worked on it together with Laci (László Vida, who scratches out the concepts around here). At that time he used to make pencil sketches on paper, outlining the basic composition and the characters, without going into too much detail, concentrating on the atmosphere and the visual style of the game we wanted to make.

    The gestures and the posture of the character are quite simple, but very lively and suggestive at the same time.



    She’s an enchantress from the 17th century, pictured in the middle of casting a spell.

    To speed up the work we shot some reference photos of models wearing contemporary clothing (although we couldn’t find anyone who could cast spells). I remember the relaxed atmosphere of the shoot, and the point when we started fooling about, when we all (and not only the girls!) decided to try on these superb clothing accessories. It was a lot of fun :-) Strangely enough, these photos simply disappeared (or at least nobody seems to find them now… just when they should be going public!). And there is a strong (although not a 100%) resemblance between the final version of the enchantress’s face and myself (and yes, it still baffles me how this could have happened…).

    Finally we worked from scratch, selecting the best elements of all the photos we took. We also experimented with a range of colour settings. Unfortunately we don’t have all of the pieces from these intermediate phases. Only a few remained:



    Unfortunately “Stars & Stripes” has never progressed beyond the planning stages, and we have taken on new projects.

    This year, however, we were in need of a Morgana le Fay, a proud and powerful enchantress, and in a flash it became clear that our Morgana has a lot in common with our nameless 17th century sorceress. I started to search for it – as I knew it was hiding somewhere in a long-forgotten, well-hidden archive folder. Finally I found the original painting, and immediately began to work on the art once more, updating her look for King Arthur II.

    We knew that Morgana had to have a darker personality, and she was going to be more like an RPG character with a complex story and a past, so I started working on her appearance with this in mind. But first I was only thinking about the basics: replacing the silk clothing with dark leather and steel, changing her hair from golden to black, her neatness to a jumble with ragged clothes. The whole composition became beautifully gloomy and foreboding.

    You can see some of the phases that the concept passed through:



    This image was drawn for King Arthur II. I used these shoulder plates for the Morgana art.



    We modified the shoulder plates a few times until they reached their final form.

    The lady with light-coloured clothes was now finally dressed up in a new style. Here’s the half-finished moment between the original piece and the final version:



    When her clothing changed colour and became darker, the whole composition changed with it, so we decided to show her whole figure, with the tattered hem swirling in a magical wind.



    The material of the clothing has also changed: the skirt is now old, raw leather, her bosom is covered by studded leather, and her belt is some sort of mystical accessory made of enchanted steel.

    This was also the point where we finalized the colour palette of the painting.



    Obviously, her face has also been replaced, although I wanted her to maintain the proud and superior attitude. Rather than shooting photos of professional models, this time I based Morgana’s features on my daughter’ face. She is still proudly using this painting as her profile picture on Facebook.



    Of course I had to make a few necessary alterations, so that the great and powerful Morgana le Fay wouldn’t look like an 11-year-old.



    Download the final painting in poster size here:

    http://img84.imageshack.us/img84/829...tpostersiz.jpg

    (right-click and Save as…)



    Read the Article on the NeocoreGames DevBlog: http://devblog.neocoregames.com/blog...n-enchantress/
    Visit the DevBlog: http://devblog.neocoregames.com/
    See the gallery: http://devblog.neocoregames.com/gallery/

    King Arthur Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KingArthurGame
    King Arthur Twitter: http://twitter.com/KingArthurGame
    King Arthur Webpage: http://www.kingarthurthewargame.com/

    NeocoreGames Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NeocoreGames
    NeocoreGames Twitter: http://twitter.com/NeocoreGames
    NeocoreGames Webpage: http://www.neocoregames.com/
    Last edited by Neocore_Kate; 03-06-2011 at 15:31.

  4. #4
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    impressive, great to see all the iterations you're going through for one single gorgeous art , definitely looking forward to see more
    "Obscuratus est sol. Obscuratur est aer. Salva me ab ore dragonis"

  5. #5
    Major GuileMike's Avatar
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    bad ass art!
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  6. #6
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    The dark gothic art in KingArthur is awesome.

  7. #7
    Neocore Dev Neocore_Kate's Avatar
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    Creating Battlegrounds for King Arthur II

    Our Level Artist, Ágnes Áment creating a new battlefield for King Arthur II. She adds, removes and replaces trees and forests on the battlefield right now.


  8. #8
    Neocore Dev Neocore_Kate's Avatar
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    Sneak peek at a new monster from King Arthur II! Our Lead Artist, Anikó Salamon (aka Coreoca), texturing a new Dragon model – a white dragon.



    Find closer images of the new dragon and read more here: http://devblog.neocoregames.com/blog...ing-arthur-ii/

  9. #9
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    Beautiful! Simply beautiful!

    The dragon is cool looking too, by the way.

  10. #10
    The artwork in both games is superb, far beyond anything I would expect to see in a contemporary videogame.

    It's hard to take a played-out genre like fantasy and not only have an original spin but also artwork that is unique and talented enough to be able to be called impressive. There are so many 'lithe elves' and 'tough guy with giant epaulets' its ridiculous!

    Whatever happens here you should be quite justifiably proud of the creations around KA thus far, especially the art.

  11. #11
    Thanks, we are really proud of “our child”, including the art works, of course!

  12. #12
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    Very very nice indeed. I wish there were more developer studios like yours out there.
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  13. #13
    That white dragon is awesome! Looks great guys. Keep it coming!

  14. #14
    Neocore Dev Neocore_Kate's Avatar
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    Remixing Mythology, part 2: The Once and Future King Reborn

    Author: Viktor Juhász, Lead Writer and Content Designer (or World Designer, if you like)

    Previously we discussed the underlying idea behind the creation of our own protagonist in King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame: partly the King Arthur as we know him from folklore and medieval myth, but also something that each player can shape as desired, be this the true knight, the Christian zealot, believer of the Old Faith, or the dark tyrant – or anything in between. This meant that we would have to tweak the turn of events that led to his rise in power (which itself was a lot of fun, I must admit).

    King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame takes place in Britannia, which is fairly similar to the early-medieval England of historical record, though with some significant differences. This Britannia is a wild place with a highly magical past, and therefore it boasts plenty of features you won’t find in the history books. In fact, you might say it’s an a-historical setting, in the sense that it’s not set in any particular historical period (so we don’t get into chronological dates); rather, it’s a place out of time.



    The story begins with certain standard events from the mythology (the easily-recognizable stuff, if you are familiar with the popular interpretations, anyway). Before Arthur, there was a great king, Uther Pendragon. He visited the wife of his arch-enemy in a magical disguise, which resulted in the birth of young Arthur. And then, he died. There followed a dark age; the realm was in chaos, and all the lords of the provinces were very busy fighting with each other over who would be the next king. Then there came the mysterious and ageless wizard, Merlin, with a magical sword that only the young Arthur, foster child of Sir Ector, was able to pull from the stone. Unknown to him, Arthur was the true son and the rightful heir to Uther Pendragon, and the one fated to be the next ruler of Britain: The Once and Future King.



    Fairly familiar so far, but beyond this point, King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame strays from the beaten path. In most versions of the story, young Arthur pulls the sword from the stone, gathers an army, defeats his enemies, and summons the Knights of the Round Table (who will later swarm over the world seeking adventure, damsels to rescue, and even the Holy Grail itself); meanwhile, Arthur builds Camelot, marries Guinevere (who has her own romance with Sir Lancelot), while the whole realm falls apart once more by the hands of Mordred. Then in a final, epic battle, Arthur is victorious but pays a terrible price.

    In our version this all happened a bit, well… differently. The act of pulling the sword from the stone unwove whatever magic that had been holding the world together for the past ages. It changed Britannia forever, and the new Age of Wonders began. In the wilderness, monsters awoke from their sleep, the slumbering flames of magic burned bright again, and sealed gates which led to some nasty, otherworldly places opened wide once more.



    Thus began our tale of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table… although some of these distinguished knights hardly even resemble mortals any more. In the next post of the series we will discuss them in detail!

    This series of posts presents the world-building behind King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame and King Arthur II and the intervening supplements. This is the second installment. You can read the first part here.

    Read the Article on the NeocoreGames DevBlog: http://devblog.neocoregames.com/blog...e-king-reborn/
    Visit the DevBlog: http://devblog.neocoregames.com/
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    King Arthur Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KingArthurGame
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    King Arthur Webpage: http://www.kingarthurthewargame.com/

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    Last edited by Neocore_Kate; 01-12-2011 at 16:14.

  15. #15
    I think this is the only fantasy game I will buy.

  16. #16
    Knights of the Round Table (who will later swarm over the world seeking adventure...
    Still Knights do the same in any version. When I should control all 12 of them I understand that I'm not King Arthur. *sigh*

  17. #17
    Neocore Dev Neocore_Kate's Avatar
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    Remixing Mythology, part 3: Your Knights, your Round Table

    Author: Viktor Juhász, Lead Writer and Content Designer (or World Designer, if you like)

    In King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame knights seem like giants, wearing black steel and strange weapons. They are powerful and nearly invincible warriors. As they gain experience they become the stuff of legends, and learn to command the forces of magic.

    King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame is set in a Britannia, where you’ll find some of the familiar towns and provinces (London, Kent, Norfolk, Gloucester to name a few), but the setting is essentially a fantasy world, where medieval mythology is slowly becoming real. It is a place where the forests are darker and more dangerous, where the enemies are deadlier, where magic is alive and wizards weave deadly spells. In a similar vein, the Knights of the Round Table are more than just knights with swords and shields. They are not merely medieval warriors, but rather in our interpretation magic has transformed them into true heroes, and given them extraordinary skills.



    The Knights of the Round Table enter the stage early in each King Arthur game. You can expect to meet plenty of these heroes, some of whom you will train, while others may be dread adversaries. Generally speaking they are not entirely different from the knights depicted in Malory’s Morte d’Arthur, one of the major inspirations. In his version of the mythology, the Knights of the Round Table are fearless and larger-than-life heroes, just like the heroes of Sir Thomay Malory, who are capable of impossible deeds. They fight tirelessly for days, single-handedly defeat whole armies and terrible monsters, and they live in a strange world of wonder.



    If you take a look at the list of the heroes in King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame, you’ll see many heroes who are popularly associated with the mythology. There is Lancelot, the powerful and invincible hero, the evil Sir Mordred, the virtuous Galahad and the young Percivale, hunting for the Holy Grail – and plenty more. They are somewhat different from their literary (or cinematic) counterparts, but still quite recognizable. However, each follow a different code of morality, which means that you cannot gather all of them around your Round Table, but only the ones who share the same views as your own personal version of King Arthur.

    This series of posts presents the world-building behind King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame and King Arthur II and the intervening supplements. This is the third installment. You can read the first part here and the second part here.

    Read the Article on the NeocoreGames DevBlog: http://devblog.neocoregames.com/blog...r-round-table/
    Visit the DevBlog: http://devblog.neocoregames.com/
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    King Arthur Webpage: http://www.kingarthurthewargame.com/

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  18. #18
    Sergeant

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  19. #19
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    Remixing Mythology, part 4: The Sidhe

    Author: Viktor Juhász, Lead Writer and Content Designer (or World Designer, if you like)

    The fantastic world of King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame is an amalgamation of medieval legend, Arthurian lore, real-historical places and fantastic battlegrounds. It boasts knights, wizards and monsters… plenty of monsters, naturally – but we also needed a whole legion of powerful, alien and fearsome antagonists to face King Arthur. So we turned to Celtic legend and called forth the ancient race of the Sidhe from their realm of twilight and thorns.



    In Irish mythology, the Sidhe are the people of the fairy mounds, who live underground and possess great power. In King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame they are a bit different (again, we are still remixing the mythology), but not by much. In this world, the mystical race of the Sidhe is as old as Britannia itself. They lived here when the land was young and filled with wonders. They walked among the first mortal tribes but were revered, feared, or despised by the mortal children of the new age. As humankind grew stronger, the Sidhe withdrew to the realm of Tir na nÓg, the land beyond mortal understanding. They still existed in legend as the Fair Folk, faeries, spirits, or even gods.
    But the creatures of the Sidhe are not the tiny, winged pixies from the movies. Neither are they beautiful elven princesses that knights dream of rescuing, nor leprechauns with bags of gold. The mightiest warriors of the Sidhe are powerful soldiers, kings, wizards, and enchantresses, and their names still haunt the old fables: Cuchullain, Brán, or the Fianna warriors. The Sidhe had their own gods, which the mortals of Britannia now call the gods of the Old Faith – Dana, Lugh, Nuada and many others.

    In Tir na nÓg, time flows at a different pace, and for a very long time it was simply beyond mortal reach. The gates leading to Tir na nÓg were once rare, and hidden where the barriers between the two worlds were thin, in ancient stone circles or the darkest glades, and only opened on certain occasions.

    However, when King Arthur pulled the magic sword from the stone, the fate and the face of Britannia was changed forever, and these gates began to open wide, slowly but inevitably. The Sidhe warriors, and their lords and ladies returned, and they could now come and go between the worlds as they please.



    They are cruel and terrifying, and do not resemble anything that Arthur’s subjects had ever heard of. They kidnap children, lure knights into the night, and place cruel spells on helpless damsels. They love riddles and charms. They step from the deep woods and weave webs of mist around villages. They wear crystal armor because they cannot bear the touch of cold iron. They have two courts, the Seelie and the Unseelie, which are constantly bickering, but which unite against any external threats.
    They are the Sidhe and they have plans for Britannia!

    This series of posts presents the world-building behind King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame and King Arthur II and the intervening supplements. This is the fourth installment. You can read the first part here, the second part here, and the third part here.

    Read the Article on the NeocoreGames DevBlog: http://devblog.neocoregames.com/blog...rt-4the-sidhe/
    Visit the DevBlog: http://devblog.neocoregames.com/
    See the gallery: http://devblog.neocoregames.com/gallery/

    King Arthur Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KingArthurGame
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    King Arthur Webpage: http://www.kingarthurthewargame.com/

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    NeocoreGames Webpage: http://www.neocoregames.com/

  20. #20
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    King Arthur II - Behind the Scenes: Soldier pathfinding

    Behind the Scenes: Soldier pathfinding in King Arthur II

    Author: György Flórea, Senior Programmer at NeocoreGames

    During the development of King Arthur II my most important task was – apart from small things like coding the quest editor, participating in the basic code, solving the problems that came up during pathfinding, etc. – to create the battle system and the pathfinding for the soldiers and the “control” of the animations as well.

    Fortunately our bosses here at NeocoreGames granted me even more freedom then they normally do. Check out the instructions I’ve got:

    • the soldiers mustn’t walk through each other
    • each soldier should avoid smaller obstacles
    • the soldiers should be able to fight among obstacles
    • units have to act like groups (they must keep the formation until they can and don’t wander away etc.)
    • the engine must handle more soldiers than the previous one (which is about 4,000 soldiers)
    • and yeah the whole thing has to look fabulous! =)

    Not too strict, right? =) Later when I spent a lot of time with this job and we began to see what the new engine can do, the designers had lots of ideas and suggestions and yes, expectations too, but they trusted me with the details and let me work so I could cross out the items from the list with good results (okay, the last one is very subjective…) So it was like a dream come true for a game programmer: you have a creative job and no one’s bugging you with all those impossible ideas! =)

    The biggest problem was the huge number of soldiers on the field. I knew that we can’t do individual pathfinding on such scale. But this messed up my plans! (See the first 3 conditions on the list?). The solution? Two words: mass simulation! The algorithms for mass simulations are not used for following strict orders or battles or soldiers working together as a unit, so I had to come up with some ideas on my own. But it was a start. Finally I chose to program the units to “forcefield following” (aka "flow field following") behaviour, which means that the soldiers follow a pre-determined path to avoid the obstacles.

    The idea felt good, because it always looks nice when the individual soldiers move smoothly among the obstacles, and (it’s the most important part) it doesn’t require that much computing power. But it wasn’t so easy. The soldiers shouldn’t walk in a single line, they shouldn’t rush over each other and they shouldn’t push the others away. And while they are following the path they should be able to obey new orders, move to new destinations and of course fight when they are attacked. So this forced path is only a guideline for the soldiers and they have to interpret the changes in the given circumstances as quickly as possible. It doesn’t sound too difficult but it was tough, because I had to design scenarios that covered all the possible situations. Only to mention a few:

    • When the soldiers follow the forcefield, when and how hard can they push each other?
    • Should the individual soldier follow the direction of the forcefield only when he’s moving forward or can he move backwards too?
    • Does the path have an effect on the actual speed and direction of the soldier and if so, to what extent?
    • When could the individual soldier ignore the forcefield following?
    • What shall we do with the soldiers who bump into obstacles even if they are on the determined path?
    • (And so much more!)

    Okay, finally I solved all these problems, but there was still one left because I had to pre-generate these forcefields. We couldn’t just draw these fixed pathways by hand around the obstacles on each battlemap (not to mention that there are obstacles that appear and disappear during the battles). And the requirements of the forcefield generation were:

    • The path shouldn’t lead the soldiers into dead ends or too tight passages.
    • The path should be smooth, without sharp turns.

    In order to do this, I made a quick excursion into another field of programming and I used various image processing methods.

    It sounds nice and easy, but it took more than a couple of days. And I wasn’t even close to get near the battle system, but that’s a story for another day… Until then you all take care, try to avoid drinking crazy stuff like Whiskey Coke, only drink whiskey mixed with apple juice 'cause Coke is bad for your teeth, and Ryan Giggs is the king of kings, right? =)


    Check out the pictures about the forcefield and the soldier pathfinding:












    Read the Article on the NeocoreGames DevBlog: http://devblog.neocoregames.com/blog...ing-arthur-ii/
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    Last edited by Neocore_Kate; 29-12-2011 at 14:13.

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