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I know CM LOS mechanics is suspect...but this?


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Hi

I have long considered CM LOS mechanics to be an aspect of the game that requires the same kind of abstract thinking to reconcile as the abstract representation of infantry squad graphics in CMx1, to a point where LOS seems to be a bit of a lucky dip despite what you see represented graphically in game.

What I saw however in the recent turn of a PBEM I am playing (Wittmann the Crossroads) just made me stop playing and post here to get some answers before continuing. Is it just that something about the terrain at this spot on the map of this scenario is bugged?

Check out the video here:

CMBN_LOS.mp4

(the video should play in browser but it's not doing that for me. Right click to download and watch otherwise)

What the heck is going on here? :eek:

The stationary Sherman can draw LOS/targeting lines to each of the PzIVs moving towards it in the open under initially around 270m range (and vice versa it appears) at the start of the turn right through to the end of the turn but neither the Sherman or the PzIVs open up and fire the entire turn. I got no idea what to expect next turn. I have not bothered to give orders for the upcoming turn until I get this sorted out as it just seems whacked.

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Been there myself more than once :-)

I bet the problem came from the tree just in front of your Sherman. It must have blocked block LOS in one way or another. Some of the soldiers inside the tank had LOS to the incoming PIVs but the gunner could not.

You'll notice that at the end of the turn, when targeting the PIV you get a grey LOS meaning a partial LOS.

I wish that in this kind of situation IA would instruct the driver to move the tank a bit in order to clear the view of the gunner. I'm sure BF will find a way to do that in the future. Meanwhile we have to live with it...

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I think M Morneau is correct. It's the tree. Combined with your target order. I think that if you'd left the target selection up to the AI, it would have had a chance at a shot at the PzIV that broke to your right, but all the tanks plumb in front of you were blocked by the structural elements of the tree. It may even be that the foliage of the tree would have blocked all your shots. As jh says, all the targeting lines (before they're actually locked on) are grey, which probably means that your driver and bow gunner can see but the turret crew can't. That would be down to the foliage enveloping the top section of the tank. I'd anticipate that if you eyeball from the "root" of the main gun, you'll mostly see the inside of that tree's canopy.

Why it allows you to anchor targeting lines, I don't know. They're spotted targets, so the engine should be using the relevant eye-origins and object target points rather than the centre-AS approximate-heights of the LOS table which might not quite match the Sherman's geometry.

As to shifting the tank a metre or two to get a bead, I suspect that this may actually be a case where you'd curse the commander for doing such a thing and getting slaughtered by half a dozen 75/L48s

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That sort of decision should be up to the player. If you don't want the unit to find a way to engage the enemy, then do nothing.

However, there should be an order that enables the AI to move the unit a short distance so that it can fire at the target. The issue with MG's is most critical/irritating where the 3rd ammo carrier sees a target, but it is impossible to get the crew to move the MG a couple of inches so that it can fire at the target. If you give a fire order, that should automatically happen.

Similarly with ATG's and vehicles. However, I can see that would be more complicated if the ATG has to dissemble and set up again. Not sure if an ATG can be manhandled a few inches without that sort of time delay. I suppose it depends on size and weight.

However, enough people are commenting on this LOS/LOF issue that it should get on the TBD list at BF.

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Correct. You have no idea what a Pandora's Box that opens up. For every 1 time it did what you wanted, you'd perceive 99 times that it did the wrong thing. Even if it was the inverse.

So while I agree it is frustrating to see a specific instance of a specific unit not specifically doing what you want, remember that the reason you're frustrated is because you're focused on that one thing. Which means, by definition, you are satisfied with the thousands of other times you're not complaining about.

Under no circumstances, ever, would we make this behavior a specific Command. That's going down a different road we want no part of. Specifically having an endless list of highly specialized Commands for "corner cases". That would make the game unreasonably complicated and a huge turn off for nearly everybody.

Steve

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Lets assume that at least one of the crew in the Sherman has LOS to the five PzIVs out in front but actual LOF is blocked. That nevertheless shouldn't really prevent any one of the five PzIVs from spotting (which I believe they all have) and firing at (having LOF to) the Sherman. That Sherman really should be dead by now if the game LOS/LOF mechanics operated more realistically.

I bet the problem came from the tree just in front of your Sherman. It must have blocked block LOS in one way or another. Some of the soldiers inside the tank had LOS to the incoming PIVs but the gunner could not.

OK. If CMx2 actually models and at least attempts to graphically portray individual trees/tree trunks, then I can accept this in theory.

Looking carefully at the map, I can now see that there are two tree trunks graphically represented on the map in front of the Sherman which pretty much line up with the oncoming PzIVs.

18-02-2014%2018-54-45.jpg

I have never thought the actual graphical location of tree trunks you see on the map actually blocked LOS/LOF as they apparently do here. Can someone please confirm that the actual positions of tree trunks represented on a CMx2 map actually affects LOS/LOF? Even if they do, then it doesn't seem the graphical representation of the tree is an accurate representation of what the LOS/LOF mechanics "sees".

At the end of the turn, you can see that one of the PzIVs moves off to one side, in theory increasing the chances these abstract trees supposedly in front of the Sherman won't present themselves as obstructions to LOS/LOF.

Here is a short end of turn movie where you can see that the Sherman still has no LOF to this PzIV despite the LOF passing no where near the graphical representations of tree trunks. You can see that PzIV will still need to travel further to the Shermans right before the Sherman would get LOF to the PzIV.

CMBN_LOS2.mp4

Either way, based on the graphical representations of terrain alone, it just seems ridiculous that none of the five PzIVs can even target the Sherman at that close range an with what seems just two trees obstructing LOF. Tree trucks aren't that think, tehy certainly don;t graphically look like thick tree trucks. If my opponents PzIVs can in fact see my Sherman I am sure he wouldn't be impressed by what he is faced with. I am sure if the PzIV off to the right continues moving and enters the LOF of the Sherman, the Sherman will get first shot and probably kill the PzIV, despite the Sherman really be out numbered 5:1.

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OK. If CMx2 actually models and at least attempts to graphically portray individual trees/tree trunks, then I can accept this in theory.

I have never thought the actual graphical location of tree trunks you see on the map actually blocked LOS/LOF as they apparently do here.

They certainly do. I've recently had repeated problems in woodlands with HMG teams deploying their weapon directly behind the trunk of a tree, and the game before that, tanks insisted on lining up to fire through a hedgerow with their main gunsight blocked by the trees in the hedge. The problem seems to be worst when the tree is centred in the AS.

Even if they do, then it doesn't seem the graphical representation of the tree is an accurate representation of what the LOS/LOF mechanics "sees".

Partly that's because you've got trees off, so you only see the central trunk. If you look at your original video, you'll see the "skeleton" of the tree is much more bifurcated at the top. The other part is that the trunk of the tree is only part of the issue. Your tank has its "head" (the turret) in a "cloud" of leaves (the canopy foliage), and can't see out. Which explains:

...PzIVs moves off to one side...end of turn movie where you can see that the Sherman still has no LOF to this PzIV despite the LOF passing no where near the graphical representations of tree trunks.

Either way, based on the graphical representations of terrain alone, it just seems ridiculous that none of the five PzIVs can even target the Sherman at that close range an with what seems just two trees obstructing LOF.

Given that they're buttoned, and moving, it's just possible that the IVs haven't seen the Sherman yet. The foliage is hiding a good chunk of it. But I think that unlikely.

If my opponents PzIVs can in fact see my Sherman I am sure he wouldn't be impressed by what he is faced with. I am sure if the PzIV off to the right continues moving...

That panzer makes me think that when your opponent set his orders, your tank was unspotted. That and the fact that he didn't just halt the platoon entire to take you out. I think that if it's been spotted since (possibly by tanks with Hunt orders, given where they stop), and those tanks aren't under CA firing restrictions that don't reach your tank (which I also think is unlikely) that they simply can't see "enough" of the tank to have something to aim at. The top of the tank is unavailable, and the front of the tank probably has two tree trunks occluding the centreline quarter of vehicle's hull.

Yes, IRL, they probably should have seen you and taken the shots. Like they did the tank to its left, which even had better concealment, with those shrubs in front of it. But the game isn't perfect (no game or simulation ever is) and you've found an edge condition where it doesn't quite match up to reality. It's consistent though. The same thing will happen if you find the same conditions elsewhere.

...enters the LOF of the Sherman, the Sherman will get first shot and probably kill the PzIV, despite the Sherman really be out numbered 5:1.

The outnumberedness of the defender isn't really relevant. If you'd had the field of fire you thought you had, you'd still have gotten the first shot, and a probable kill, or even, if the targets are low quality crews and you got a lucky "instantly visible kill" with that first shot, two at that initial range, and died to the return fire. If your opponent has spotted you (which I think likely), he'd be a bit daft to keep running that tank laterally. It may well already be able to see enough of your hull to nail you from where it is. Or it might not have spotted you yet as it's not looking that way.

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To me that looks like the game has it right. You are running the semi transparent tree mod. That gives you a very false sense of what the foliage is doing. I suspect if you took that mod out and looked at what the PzIVs can see you would see very little of the Sherman. As @womble said the trees will be covering a lot of the turret. Two tree trunks in front and a hedge obscuring the tracks. Your Sherman might only have 10% of itself visible.

I would further guess that if you PzIVs started shooting those trees would stop or mess with the trajectory of a lot of their rounds.

I am sure if the PzIV off to the right continues moving and enters the LOF of the Sherman, the Sherman will get first shot and probably kill the PzIV, despite the Sherman really be out numbered 5:1.

Hee hee, reminds me of a story my Father used to tell about umpiring war games back in the 60s and 70s (I forget if he was an umpire or part of the fighting contingent). Basically a US tank force (I do not remember how big) tried to push along a road in rough terrain and they objected to the umpire's call of how many tanks they lost by basically saying "but we out number them more than five to one". But the umpire pointed out that even though the Brits were out numbered over all the US could only get one tank at at time into a firing position due to the terrain they choose to move trough. Each time they did it was the Brits that out gunned that tank five to one. And the umpire ruled the road blocked to boot.

It does not matter how may tanks or soldiers you have hanging around. It only matters how many you can get with sights on the target.

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The thing about what you see is what you get is not really true. One can usually see all the way down a road - esp in urban settings. But, nothing can fire down that road for no apparent reason.

Conversely, if a gun can see that there is foliage/trucks in the way, why does the AI keep firing valuable shells that detonate in said trees. You would think that the AI would be simulating the role of the gun commander or gunner who cannot see a clear target vs the "3rd ammo bearer" who can.

I can understand that it's impractical to fix this issue. And in the game, it's irritating, but one gets used to it. But, it's certainly not "realistic" if that is the ultimate goal.

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The thing about what you see is what you get is not really true. One can usually see all the way down a road - esp in urban settings. But, nothing can fire down that road for no apparent reason.

Well there is a reason as discussed here http://www.battlefront.com/community/showthread.php?t=112956 especially after post #36.

Conversely, if a gun can see that there is foliage/trucks in the way, why does the AI keep firing valuable shells that detonate in said trees.

Actually if a tank's shell does hit a tree the tank now does adjust slightly and try again. That was a change made along the way to make this situation better. Well better for the PzIVs once they start shooting :)

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The thing about what you see is what you get is not really true. One can usually see all the way down a road - esp in urban settings. But, nothing can fire down that road for no apparent reason.
Sounds like bug. Set up a test demonstrating it is consistent issue and what the conditions are and it might be fixable. Unless you are talking about not being able to area fire at visible facades of partially obscured buildings. That is discussed in detail in another thread.

Conversely, if a gun can see that there is foliage/trucks in the way, why does the AI keep firing valuable shells that detonate in said trees. You would think that the AI would be simulating the role of the gun commander or gunner who cannot see a clear target vs the "3rd ammo bearer" who can.

You are again demonstrating both a remarkable talent at copy-pasting the same statement over and over again as if that will produce a consensus of one and a lack of detailed knowledge of how the game works.

1. Code was added to allow the TacAI to adjust aim to avoid shooting multiple shells into a trunk if the target center of mass is covered by the trunk. However, dispersion means this will not always be successful. (It's always possible this is not working, but it would take some complicated tests to demonstrate that.)

2. Shooting through foliage at a visible target is not a waste as shells have a chance of making it through.

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TARGET BRIEFLY has certainly helped in this regard. But, I would say almost always, once the AI decides to fire through an obstruction at the start of a WEGO turn, it keeps firing and wasting ammo for the full 60 seconds.

Sometimes there is enuff HE to degrade the obstruction. But, in the majority of cases it's just a waste of ammo.

Again, I have become used to all of these sorts of phenomena, and it doesn't spoil my enjoyment too much any more. It is fine for an entertainment product. But, this and the other LOS issues raised are hardly "realistic" (if that is still the goal).

Re the urban road LOS issue. I read that if the player can see the target then so should the units involved. But, that is just not so - and most noticeable in long urban roads. I most recently noticed that in the Cambienne scenario.

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From the looks of it there's nothing wrong with Lt. Bull's situation.

Sherman is parked in Heavy Woods, which means a lot of ground cover and (obviously) trees. It is not moving, the crew is buttoned, the PzIVs are moving and are buttoned. The distance is also a factor, but I can't tell exactly how far away. Couple hundred meters I suppose.

Under these circumstances the PzIVs would have a difficult time spotting the Sherman until it did something. The Sherman, in this case, unfortunately can not fire because of the trees blocking it (as has been stated, trees are not abstract like they were in CMx1).

Erwin,

Re the urban road LOS issue. I read that if the player can see the target then so should the units involved. But, that is just not so - and most noticeable in long urban roads. I most recently noticed that in the Cambienne scenario.

This is not true. Overstatements and generalizations don't have anything positive to add to a discussion like this. There are, as is noted in the linked thread above, cases where AREA FIRE doesn't necessarily work as desired. Targeting between units isn't an issue.

But, this and the other LOS issues raised are hardly "realistic" (if that is still the goal).

Some of the issues raised are the result of player ignorance and are in fact working fine. Some raised are indeed true, but (as noted above) generally overstated by players. No system is perfect, and definitely player percceiption is not either.

Given the millions of virtual engagements that have happened since CMSF was first released, I'm pretty confident that there aren't any basic problems with the game mechanics OTHER than the extreme oblique angle problem, which itself is predictable and explainable even if undesirable. Fortunately it's also quite rare in the greater context, tough understandably frustrating when it's run into.

Steve

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It is worth taking a moment and reflecting on just what it is we are playing here. One of the problems CM faces is it replaces a good portion of what we used to have to imagine when playing counter games. No longer are the visuals of a squad dashing across a road as MG bullets spatter off the pavement and artillery crashes down on a house down the street something that plays only through our minds as we move flat pieces of cardboard around. Now we get to see it in all it's glory, mod the vehicles and units to look like we visualized them, mod the audio so it sounds like we think it should. We can alter the colors of the terrain and create battle maps that reflect what we envisioned. We get to see scenes play out that we had to create in our minds as being the result of a dice roll.

An exhausted 3 man landser team that has just driven off a Sherman tank with their sole rifle grenade gets confronted by a pair of Americans on the other side of their hedgerow. One member is shot down, while the team leader throws up his arms with cries of surrender. Meanwhile the 3rd member in a moment of panic tosses a pair of hand grenades eliminating the enemy. Instead of "Oh I rolled a 3, hmm I take casualties but eliminate your team... your turn." I got to watch that turn over and over and then post shots on this forum. How cool is that?

or something like this- for those who fret too much about CM and urban combat. I am loving it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OowNtVP0Mos

And more

Heading for the front door

TheFrontDoor_zpsf0a29fc7.jpg

Heading for the back door

TheBackdoor_zps3f8a3106.jpg

The problem is we are so used to this now, we forget that imagination still has a place here. CM is a computer game. It is the nature of the medium that it can only present things a certain way. The more branching decisions it has to make in that presentation, the slower it gets. That inherently means we need to fill in the gaps with our imagination. Maybe not so much as when we had cardboard, but it will be true for a long time to come. Maybe someday we'll have a holodeck in the den, but not now.

When your guy gets shot that you thought had cover think about the fact that your pixeltruppen only have one size. Maybe that guy was the 300 lb member of your team and trying to hide him behind that bush was laughable. Maybe your tank didn't see that other one right away because your crew didn't get a chance to clean the mud off the sight that got splashed up when you forded that stream.

Take this scene for instance. This is from a recent scenario run through. A Russian reloading his PPsH is about to get a mouthful of Panzerfaust. Sorry I can't provide the pic, but basically they are on opposite sides of a window and the Russian is reloading while the German is aiming a PF. Is that realistic to fire off the PF at pointblank range? Not particularly. But we know the interior of houses are fudged and there are only a few animations for the infantry so what you have here is a representation. The actual scene- it is a rainy night. This landser has just seen his buddy shot down by a guy in this building. All he saw was the muzzle flash from inside the room. In a moment of terror he decides f**k this and crouched under the window sill he holds up the PF and blindly lets loose into the room figuring at a minimum the guy in there isn't going to want to stick around. That is what I saw.

Yes there are some dynamics you can't quite talk way, but within the constraints of what BF is working with, what we have is phenomenal. Not that we shouldn't want more, but it would be worth doing so with an appreciation of what we have cause it is friggin awesome. And sometimes it is still okay to use your imagination.

I was reading a Vietnam history the other day. This unit is out in the bush, has an L ambush set up and can hear a VC unit approaching. One of the guys farts. The VC freeze. In the silence one guy starts snickering, then another and soon the ambush is blown, the VC slip away and every guy in the unit is doing his desperate best to not just fall over laughing. The unit leader is pissed but even he is chuckling. S**t happens in RL.

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It is worth taking a moment and reflecting on just what it is we are playing here. One of the problems CM faces is it replaces a good portion of what we used to have to imagine when playing counter games. No longer are the visuals of a squad dashing across a road as MG bullets spatter off the pavement and artillery crashes down on a house down the street something that plays only through our minds as we move flat pieces of cardboard around. Now we get to see it...

Excellent post.

And, no longer do we have arguments like:

Hey, you can't shoot at those guys, they're out of sight.

- no they're not, this unit can trace a line to them

They can't! Your ruler is not on the middle of the hex!

- is so, besides my guys are on the edge of the hex.

But I'm 3 hexes back on level 3 and you are a level 1 hill.

etcetera

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Yes there are some dynamics you can't quite talk way, but within the constraints of what BF is working with, what we have is phenomenal. Not that we shouldn't want more, but it would be worth doing so with an appreciation of what we have cause it is friggin awesome. And sometimes it is still okay to use your imagination.

So true well said. Having said that I still want more every now and then :)

I am reminded of my other hobby - photography. Recent digital SLRs have pushed high ISO to amazing places. But some how I still read people complaining that they want their camera to have less noise in low light situations. So, I break out some of the last pictures I took with film - my son's hockey team taken with ISO 1600 colour film. That is pretty much the fastest going and it look like crap compared to slower film. Now I can use my digital SLR at ISO 1600 without any concern and I can go way faster than that and get pictures that are better. And my camera is 6 year old technology the new ones can do even better than that.

We never had it so good in Photography or War gaming.

Excellent post.

Yep.

And, no longer do we have arguments like:

Hey, you can't shoot at those guys, they're out of sight.

- no they're not, this unit can trace a line to them

They can't! Your ruler is not on the middle of the hex!

- is so, besides my guys are on the edge of the hex.

But I'm 3 hexes back on level 3 and you are a level 1 hill.

LOL thank goodness for that.

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The outnumberedness of the defender isn't really relevant.

You fail to understand why I said outnumbered 5:1. There are five PzIV tanks that have potential LOS to the Sherman which itself has LOS to each one of the five PzIVs. If the Sherman has LOS to them, then all five PzIVs can also have potential LOS back to the Sherman, if they are able to spot the exposed part of the Sherman from amongst the trees at a range of about 175m, which realistically almost point blank.

I can understand that because the Sherman is so close to the cover it is behind (lets say the two trees), it can not rotate/elevate its gun to get actual LOF on any one of the five tanks. However, the PzIVs do not have any obstructions up close in their face obstructing their turret/gun movement. They could all in theory (if they spot ANY PART of the Sherman which in theory they should be able to because the Sherman can see them)) freely train/aim their gun at the part of the Sherman from which the Sherman's LOS extends from.

If the game however only considers the "centre of mass" of the tank as the ONLY targetable spot on a tank, then unrealistically the PzIVs will probably not have LOF on the Sherman because the centre of mass is probably out of LOS behind a tree truck.

I hope this is not the case.

I think I will try to test this theory in this very scenario/situation. I will ask my opponent to partake in an experiment. I will order my Sherman to just area fire some spot where it has LOF, effectively deliberately trying to give away it's concealed position. I will ask my opponent to stop his tanks and see if they are finally able to spot the Sherman and establish LOS. In theory, if they can do that, they should ALL realistically be able to establish LOF to it.

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If the game however only considers the "centre of mass" of the tank as the ONLY targetable spot on a tank, then unrealistically the PzIVs will probably not have LOF on the Sherman because the centre of mass is probably out of LOS behind a tree truck.

I hope this is not the case.

Fortunately, it is not. If it were, then hull down tanks would be un-targetable. What the game does is aim for the center of mass of the portion of the tank that is visible.

I think I will try to test this theory in this very scenario/situation. I will ask my opponent to partake in an experiment. I will order my Sherman to just area fire some spot where it has LOF, effectively deliberately trying to give away it's concealed position. I will ask my opponent to stop his tanks and see if they are finally able to spot the Sherman and establish LOS. In theory, if they can do that, they should ALL realistically be able to establish LOF to it.

You could also do it by yourself in hotseat mode.

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Fortunately, it is not. If it were, then hull down tanks would be un-targetable. What the game does is aim for the center of mass of the portion of the tank that is visible.

True re the hulldown case though I am not 100% on how CMx2 handles hulldown. Does the game apply a discrete "hulldown" status to a target (eg. is target "hulldown", if yes apply -X% to hit) or does the game just consider whatever portion of the target is visible and smoothly scale things accordingly that way, with "hulldown" just being a general term we use to describe cases were a vehicle typically just has it's turret exposed to the enemy.

What is more curious to consider are cases similar to the one I have illustrated. Can an in game object that blocks LOS, like a tree trunk, be positioned so that the object only blocks LOS to the middle of the target/vehicle, but leaves the the rest of the vehicle, on either side (left and right) of the blocking object, exposed? In this case to an observer spotting the vehicle, you could say that they could potentially aim at either the left or right portion of the target that is visible.

Can this happen in CMx2? Could it be happening in the Sherman vs five PzIV example?

You would expect this to happen more if say a tank/vehicle (typically 6m long) was side on to the observer and and next to a tree trunk (maybe 1m wide). The observer could potentially see 2.5m of the front of the tank and 2.5m of the rear of the tank.

If CMx2 doesn't handle LOS like that, how does it handle LOS in these cases?

You could also do it by yourself in hotseat mode.

It is not easy to set up. What you see with the Sherman vs five PzIVs is pretty much a fluke/extreme situation that would be very difficult to replicate I think, hence why I was so surprised when I saw it happen.

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