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How To Organize Your Steam Games with PlayOnLinux

Discussion in 'Linux Guides (Generic)' started by allenskd, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. allenskd

    allenskd Active Member

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    Are you tired of installing Steam multiple times using PlayOnLinux? Do you want to organize all your Steam games in one giant library (e.g Steam Library), then this guide is for you.

    Installing multiple Steam client always drove me crazy with PlayOnLinux, when you see the big picture (no pun intended) you realize that you have over 100+ steam games and that you need to create a new virtual for each, and it's not even rare. Why one virtual drive for each game? There's something called regression, sometimes games break in new WINE releases, so people have to use the WINE version that works for that game.

    Before we start:
    • By configuring it this way you will have to create the shortcuts for each single steam game.This might sound “bad”, but it's really easy.
    • We don't use the terminal as much in this guide, so rest at ease.
    • Please read through the notes and comments I leave. Skipping the registry steps could make Steam unstable.
    • (Optional) Users are required to have a very basic understanding of what is a WINEPREFIX, this helps a lot.
    • The guide may seem really long, but it isn't. Most of the time it's just me explaining stuff.


    The Idea
    The main idea or scope of this guide is to teach you how to have ONE steam installation and be able to manage multiple Steam Libraries in different drives.


    Side note

    Symlinks (Symbolic Links) plays a big role in this guide. PlayOnLinux as of 4.2.3 and older version has a bug that doesn't know how to handle symlinks. This is not important, WINE knows how to handle them just fine. If you create a drive_c symlink from a NFS mount, it will run the application just fine.



    Benefits
    1. By having only one Steam installation you can manage/download your Steam games in one central point
    2. You will also save space from all the tedious redundant Steam installations done by PoL
    3. Your credentials are saved in the main Steam installation, meaning that re-using it will keep you logged in for as long as is takes.
    4. Settings are never forgotten, this is a plus if you want specific games to have overlay.
    5. Easy management and updates.
    6. If you are a GamersOnLinux user, the Steam game installations will be done in a slight different way. I will do a follow up after this guide on how to know what to do, however, there's a high possibility that you'll know how to do it at the end of this guide.

    Drawbacks


    1. To make this work, you will have to create shortcuts manually in PoL folder for both Steam and games.
    2. Import registry for every new virtual drive.
    3. Not exactly a drawback, using the terminal is awesome but yea, you have to use the terminal to create the symlinks. I'm not going to do screenshot examples because everyone has different Desktop Environments.
    If you notice, they drawbacks are really.... silly, compared to what we will be gaining.

    Wait a moment, if I have all Steam games in one location, won't it mess up wine prefixes done by PlayOnLinux?

    Not at all. Remember that PoL is pretty much a wrapper around WINE. When you create a virtual drive, you do it for the purpose of making that game work. After you finish the guide, you will see the bigger picture.

    So why do I need to create a shortcut of Steam in every virtual drive?

    Steam games requires it to be running, if you are new to Steam don't let that take you by surprise, a lot of windows gamers are used to it. When you create the shortcut and launch it using that virtual drive, you are telling WINE “launch Steam, using version 1.7.8”, once Steam is running, within the same virtual drive you'll launch the Steam game you want.

    In a nutshell, you run Steam on the virtual drive (wine prefix), when you launch a steam game within the same virtual drive, the game will recognize that steam is running and steam will know that a steam game is launching.

    Alright, enough talk, let's get our hands dirty.

    Side Note

    I'm going to make this guide as uniform as possible. I'll be taking decisions for you, however, you can set up the folders HOWEVER you want.


    Step 1) Choose a main location for your Steam installation.

    I chose mine to be in /home/david/WINEApps/Steam

    Open up your terminal and write:

    Code:
    mkdir ~/WINEApps
    Step 2) Choose a main location for your Steam Library. Remember, I said Steam Library. I'm not going to explain what are Steam libraries, please search the web.

    I chose mine to be in /media/david/Usagi/Library/Games, however to keep this guide uniform. I will create it in your user directory.

    Code:
    mkdir ~/Library/Games
    Step 3)

    Side Note

    For the sake of getting a fresh install of Steam (one last time – Dream Theater), let's install Steam. If you are following this guide, by now you should know how to do this. Experienced users can skip to step 4


    Download the Steam Setup

    Open your PlayOnLinux, click Install


    [​IMG]


    Click on Install a non-listed program



    [​IMG]

    Create a virtual drive called Steam. (as shown in the screenshots)


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    Click on “Use another version of WINE” choose any from 1.7.8 and up. I used a 32 bits installation.

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    Then choose the Steam installer you downloaded.

    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    It will probably appear without these letters, but yea. close it.

    Let Steam finish installing then close it after the Steam login popup appears.

    If PlayOnLinux window thinks it's still installing Steam after you closed it, just press cancel, no harm done.

    Step 4)

    Awesome, you got a fresh Steam installation.

    First, Downloadthis registry file. You can look at it, it just has basic Steam registry. KEEP THIS FILE BECAUSE YOU WILL CONTINUE USING IT.


    Side Note
    In truth I don't know if the registry import is completely required. Do note that not choosing to import the registry could make Steam crash or become unstable.


    Open your terminal and type

    Code:
    cd ~/WINEApps
    mv ~/.PlayOnLinux/wineprefix/Steam/drive_c/Program\ Files/Steam ./
    Alright, we got the Steam installation in our WINEApps folder if no error message appeared. You can check by typing ls in the terminal, like this

    Code:
    ls
    david@david-mate:~/WINEApps > ls
    Steam
    Side Note: Why not leave the Steam installation there?

    Commodity, /home/david/WINEApps/Steam can be easily memorized and less error-prone than /home/david/.PlayOnLinux/wineprefix/Steam/drive_c/Program\ Files/Steam


    After you are done moving Steam, remove the virtual drive you created to download it.

    Step 5) Let's create a new virtual drive!

    Call it Steam4All (or whatever you want, just no spaces, and please remember the name you use, we'll keep using it)

    (32 bit WINE, 1.7.8 or above)


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    When it asks you to browse the file to install, press cancel.

    [​IMG]


    Step 6) Let's create a symbolic link now.


    Side Note - IMPORTANT
    For every virtual drive you create to run a Steam game, you have to create a symlink for each of them. In this case. We are going to do a symlink of our Steam folder in ~/WINEApps/Steam in the Steam4All virtual drive.


    For example: If you want to run Skyrim, then create the virtual drive for skyrim THEN create the symlink of the steam folder.

    Open your terminal:

    Code:
    ln -s ~/WINEApps/Steam ~/.PlayOnLinux/wineprefix/Steam4All/drive_c/Program\ Files/Steam
    
    Side Note – Complimenting my Skyrim comment –

    THIS IS JUST AN EXAMPLE. If it was a Skyrim installation, after the virtual drive creation, supposing it's called Skyrim.

    Code:
    ln -s ~/WINEApps/Steam ~/.PlayOnLinux/wineprefix/Steam4All/drive_c/Program\ Files/Steam
    
    Step 7) Let's create the shortcut manually

    I'm going to get visual so you get an idea of what I'm doing. Usually this is a PlayOnLinux shortcut:

    Let's go to ~/.PlayOnLinux/shortcuts folder here are some screenshots

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We are going to create a new file called “Steam4All” and paste this

    Code:
    #!/bin/bash
    [ "$PLAYONLINUX" = "" ] && exit 0
    source "$PLAYONLINUX/lib/sources"
    # Always remember to change the WINEPREFIX path
    export WINEPREFIX="/home/USERNAME/.PlayOnLinux//wineprefix/Steam4All"
    export WINEDEBUG="-all"
    # Important part
    cd "/home/USERNAME/WINEApps/Steam"
    POL_Wine Steam.exe "$@"
    
    REMEMBER TO REPLACE USERNAME WITH THE USER YOU ARE CURRENTLY USING.

    Side Note
    If you take a look at PlayOnLinux picked it up instantly. DO NOT RUN IT YET



    [​IMG]

    Step 8) Import the registry!

    If you haven't downloaded the file, click here. (If you wanted you could do Step 8 before 7, it doesn't matter, but never forget the registry)

    Press Configure in your POL.

    Go to the Wine tab and press Registry Editor


    [​IMG]

    Click on the Registry label in the menu bar.

    Click on Import Registry, find the registry you downloaded and load it. No messages will be given. Once you load it, close the registry editor.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    IMPORTANT NOTE
    You don't have to write -no-dwrite anymore. I disabled dwrite in the registry you loaded. Hurrah? HURRAH


    Step 9) Friends, mates, aliens. We are done. Let's run this. If you really need to know what to do .... just click on Steam4All and run it.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Step 10) Let's create a Steam Library.

    Go to View-> Settings

    [​IMG]

    Go to Downloads

    [​IMG]

    Click on Steam Library Folder

    [​IMG]

    Click on Add Steam Library

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Add the path we created, it should be in /home/USERNAME/Library/Games and you are done.

    This is it people, We finished configuring our main Steam installation. You can add as many steam libraries you want.

    COMPLEMENTARY GUIDE – How to install games with this setup

    Okay, I'm not going to walk you through a whole game installation guide. I will however explain how to compliment our new steam setup with your steam game installations. I'm going to install Skyrim.

    Here's what I will do, if you need help on installing Skyrim, read GamersOnLinux Skyrim Guide. However, you DON'T NEED TO install Steam. Also, please remember to choose the right Steam Library.

    With the new Steam installation, download Skyrim. (Please note that this is an example)

    [​IMG]

    Step 1) Once Skyrim finishes downloading go to PlayOnLinux and create a virtual drive for Skyrim. I'm using WINE 1.7.10-CSMT. Remember to use GamersOnLinux guide to know what libraries to install for your virtual drive (e.g .NET Framework, dxfullsetup, etc)

    Step 2) Once you create the virtual drive, we are going to create two shortcuts (three if you are using SKSE)

    Create these shortcuts in ~/.PlayOnLinux/shorcuts

    Create the file and call it: Steam (for Skyrim)
    (the letters in italic is the filename)

    Code:
    #!/bin/bash
    [ "$PLAYONLINUX" = "" ] && exit 0
    source "$PLAYONLINUX/lib/sources"
    # Always remember to change the WINEPREFIX path
    export WINEPREFIX="/home/USERNAME/.PlayOnLinux//wineprefix/Skyrim"
    export WINEDEBUG="-all"
    # Important part
    cd "/home/USERNAME/WINEApps/Steam"
    POL_Wine Steam.exe "$@"
    Create another file and call it Skyrim

    Code:
    #!/bin/bash
    [ "$PLAYONLINUX" = "" ] && exit 0
    source "$PLAYONLINUX/lib/sources"
    export WINEPREFIX="/home/USERNAME/.PlayOnLinux//wineprefix/Skyrim"
    export WINEDEBUG="-all"
    cd "/home/USERNAME/Library/Games/SteamApps/common/Skyrim"
    POL_Wine Skyrim.exe "$@"
    Create another file and call it Skyrim SKSE

    Code:
    #!/bin/bash
    [ "$PLAYONLINUX" = "" ] && exit 0
    source "$PLAYONLINUX/lib/sources"
    export WINEPREFIX="/home/USERNAME/.PlayOnLinux//wineprefix/Skyrim"
    export WINEDEBUG="-all"
    cd "/home/USERNAME/Library/Games/SteamApps/common/Skyrim"
    POL_Wine skse_loader.exe "$@"
    That's all. Go to your PlayOnLinux and launch the game. :)

    Side Note

    This is a RINSE AND REPEAT process. Now whenever you create new virtual drives, just change the path in WINEPREFIX and make sure the change directory path is pointed to the game folder.


    Later on I'll try to do a Borderlands 2 installation setup with this, you'll see how easy it is.

    Questions

    Q: If I change WINE versions, will the files in my Steam folder be affected?
    A:
    No. That WINE version will get updated, the registry will remain intact.

    Q: How does Steam works when the physical files are not in drive_c/Program Files?
    A:
    WINE knows how to distinguish a symlink, you could create a symlink of drive_c and store all the files in Dropbox if you wanted. (not recommended, don't get any weird ideas...)

    Q: What happens if I launch the games in my main Steam virtual drives?
    A:
    If you don't prepare a virtual drive for each game properly. The obvious scenario is that the game won't run. The libraries are not installed, the game will crash. It's important to always create a virtual drive for each game, regardless if this Steam installation is being used for all of them.

    Q:Can I organize all my previous Steam game installations?
    A:
    Yes, and please don't panic right away. Please read carefully.

    Go to your previous installations through PlayOnLinux's Virtual Drives

    All Steam games are installed in Steam/SteamApps/common

    You will see all games folder with their proper name.

    If you followed the guide, just drag and drop the folder to /home/USERNAME/Library/Games/SteamApps/common

    Open your Steam4All installation, the game won't be recognized on the fly. Proceed to install the game, Steam will say “Discovering Borderlands 2 files” then “Verifying files”. When it completes, you are done. You have successfully ported the game.

    Like this:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Please ask in the forums if you have doubts.
    vashin, liberavia, hynner and 3 others like this.
  2. allenskd

    allenskd Active Member

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    Enjoy, people. I refrained from posting to my blog... my god Blogger.com WYSIWYG is awful... I wish they allowed Markdown format :(

    Gotta find some cheap hosting :[
  3. Daerandin

    Daerandin Active Member

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    Thanks a lot for this, I will get started on setting up a few games this way later today.
  4. Daerandin

    Daerandin Active Member

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    There was one thing I was wondering about, what are the changes you've made in the registry?
  5. allenskd

    allenskd Active Member

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    Step 8

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/37705/steam.reg

    I just added one line to disable the dwrite automatically. Everything else is your standard steam installation registry file

    To see the changes applied just go to the registry editor -> Browse through HKEY_CURRENT_USER

    Software -> Valve


    There isn't much to explain about the registry file. It just tells steam where to look for things. Importing it is important, I noticed when I was looking to write this answer that steam did keep the registry up to date.

    Anyway, like I said before. I did a diff check on an empty virtual drive vs a virtual drive with steam just installed. The registry there is all you need to make a fresh steam work.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
    mrdeathjr28 likes this.
  6. Daerandin

    Daerandin Active Member

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    I gave this a try, set it up and had a game running. However, I personally found it a bit too much work to use this on a regular basis. However, this might be something PoL devs might be interested in so I would suggest you try to get in touch with some of the devs. This might be a good idea for implementing in a future version on PoL as a feature.

    I ran into one little issue during manual creation of PoL shortcut. I actually have no idea why I didn't work properly as the manually created shortcut looks exactly the same as the edited PoL shortcut I had to resort to.

    When I created a manual PoL shortcut for Steam, for some reason wine version was set to 'System'. I didn't notice this on my first attempt and it resulted in the prefix getting updated, and that prevented me from importing the registry. However, once I spotted that I managed to avoid it. Attempting to manually set the wine version in PoL config did not work either for the manually created shortcut. This actually stumped me quite and I have no idea why it would not work for me here.

    But like I said creating a shortcut with PoL, and then manually editing it worked as it should.
  7. allenskd

    allenskd Active Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. I think that... the biggest problem right now is that PlayOnLinux doesn't know how to handle symlinks which is really a tiny small fix to add, if it did the guide would have been so much shorter :(, but, once you establish the foundation of steam and a steam library, everything else just repeating the shortcut process.

    I updated my skyrim prefix from 1.7.10 to 1.7.8 and it worked. There's a possibility that that virtual drive had a process hanging, it happens a lot to me that sometimes I have to kill a bunch of WINE processes (I mostly do it through POL). If the process was hanging for that virtual drive, yes, you will have trouble. It has happened to me as well trying to test "garbage" games.


    The POL WINE version management is usually in the virtual drive folder, for future reference to anyone reading this.
    Open up /home/[USERNAME]/.PlayOnLinux/wineprefix/[YOUR VIRTUAL DRIVE]/playonlinux.cfg

    I'm quite comfortable with the method, of course not because I created the guide; that would be really silly. I do know that it could get tedious, especially with you guide writers doing installations on a weekly basis (depending on your schedule of course). But again, thanks for your thoughts and I'll try to hand them to POL devs. I just need to.. do another write up on the idea.

    Thanks again for the thoughts
  8. Daerandin

    Daerandin Active Member

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    Actually, if this method could be a bit more automated it would be awesome, which is why I suggested taking it up with PoL devs. Some kind of implementation, or at least support from PoL to do this, would make it very easy to quickly set up. I still think it's a great idea, just not so easily implemented currently.

    PoL is written in Python2, which to my knowledge is sufficiently different from Python3 for me to easily participate in such a process. If I didn't have the studies starting up in less than two weeks I'd probably be diving into the PoL code (and learning Python2 in the process) to look for ways to implement it.
  9. allenskd

    allenskd Active Member

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    PoL only uses Python for the GUI parts.This is a quote from a blog post I did on my blog while diving into PoL

    I.... kind of... have been refraining to submit patches to PoL. Now, I don't want to compromise when I say this. I've been thinking of coming up with a fresh system for WINE bottle (wineprefix) management like PlayOnLinux. I like the ideas I'm having right now that could lead to a feature-rich application and benefit a lot of WINE users (and I hoping developers).

    I know Python/Java/PHP/Javascript and basic C++ (no time :( ) so I can pull it off over time and research... but, the thing is how many will use it and how many are willing to back me up on the project. It's been a while since I was in the open source scene. My "motivation" stems from not being comfortable with what PoL provides, I haven't seen any.. indication that they are bringing anything new to the table. I think part of me, as a developer myself is being useful to WINE developers too; I don't know if you have seen in the past that it was frowned upon saying "oh I use PoL" when submitting WINE bugs, they would get removed, or get your comments removed in the AppDB area.
  10. Daerandin

    Daerandin Active Member

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    I think one main reason why they ignore PoL users is the simple fact that you may be using an older wine version. As for PoL, I am quite happy with it how it allows me to use different wine versions, and easily set up many different virtual drives using a GUI.

    If you are interested in looking into a different way of doing things, I might be interested in helping out. However, free time is a rare commodity for me. I work a full time job, and am starting studies now in web development. Additionally I am learning programming in my free time. I know Python3, and am in the process of learning C. I also have a book GTK+ development which is the next book I will devour after the current C book I am reading. I also have C++ on the list of languages I am going to learn, but it might take some time until I get there.

    My ability to help out might be limited, not to mention that I have very little experience in programming since it is only just over a years since I started learning. However, I'd still be interested in helping out in whatever way I can if you want to actually get started with something. But I honestly don't think you could create any sort of winewrapper that WINE devs would accept, because it is another project out of their hands making changes they are not aware of. This is common in all sorts of derived works. One could always try, but I don't think it would be easy to get approval of WINE devs.
  11. NobodyDoug

    NobodyDoug New Member

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    Thank allen, this tuto really help a lot.

    I only not understand why I have to create 2 shortcut? It is like the steam (game) shortcut alone can run the game very well, while running by the game shortcut I got a nice error. Excuse my noobiness but I don't take that.
  12. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    What is the error you are getting?
  13. allenskd

    allenskd Active Member

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    Ok, well, you need to create shortcuts pointing to your main steam installation in every new virtual drive you create. (plus import the registry) This is because you need to be running steam in each virtual drive so that the steam game runs. It sounds a bit confusing. If you try to launch a steam game and the virtual drive you created doesn't have the client installed, it will not launch.

    For every new virtual drive you create for each steam game you will create

    1) one for the main steam installation (Steam4All) we did
    2) One for the game

    If the game runs without the need of shortcuts then that's good, but some steam games requires steam to be running.

    Let me know if you understood :) or paste any errors you encountered
  14. Nobody

    Nobody New Member

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    Well, first the error was my fault, Linux is a complete alien OS for me, so you know. Anyway, now I am very happy by running Dark Souls and S.T.A.L.K.E.R serie in my Linux, thanks again :)

    PS: Has something wrong with my old account, is giving this message: "You do not have permission to view this page or perform this action.".
    I think I was banned :(
  15. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    I read through the entire guide... I'm going to try and summarize what you are doing to see if I understand it all.

    WineApps hosts the Steam installation
    Library/Games hosts the installed games

    Steam4All is the wineprefix we created with PlayOnLinux so we can use shortcuts (links) to a single Steam installation.
    In order to launch different games with unique wine/libraries you have to create shortcuts (using the provided script) to open the unique wineprefix that also links to the installed game at Library/Games

    Its kinda like linking twice. Link once to the wineprefix so you can use your preferred version of Wine and Libraries, then link again to the actual game files all hosted in the same place.

    So when you click the game in PlayOnLinux its actually launching the same Steam but a different wineprefix linked to the game files.

    Very interesting. Its a lot of work, but if you like to have all of your steam games installed at the same time, then its totally worth it!
  16. allenskd

    allenskd Active Member

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    Yep! I wouldn't call it a lot of work... to me all I do is cp SHORTCUT NEWGAMESHORTCUT

    nano NGSHORTCUT (edit wineprefix and cd path) put the exe.

    Only takes me like 1 minute at best. I could even write a little script to even make it faster, three clicks deal :) but... I'm already working on a new project... I don't mind contributing to PoL plus my script will only work with this tutorial...
  17. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    no problem... I'm just glad you took the time to figure it out.
    It took me a while to "wrap my head" around it and I'm still not totally sure how it works.

    I had problems with Unreal Tournament mod and spent a lot of time trying to use links so the game engine would load the mod. It ended up working, but man... it really requires patience.
    Thanks for your hard work.
  18. allenskd

    allenskd Active Member

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    Thanks, there are going to be delays now. I got hired as a IT Technician and it's a FT job.... so less time to play or even program. I will however slot some time for that. I got most of the API in pseudo code to keep simplicity intact and hopefully I'll start introducing unit testing.

    And yea.... a lot of things require patience with WINE.... especially running modded games haha
  19. booman

    booman Grand High Exalted Mystic Emperor of Linux Gaming Staff Member

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    Awesome! I work as IT also. Systems Administrator to be exact.
  20. allenskd

    allenskd Active Member

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    Haha, I got stuck with an awful sysadmin/director at the moment, making it really hard to work. But alas, thanks god once we are done with that building we just move to the next one.

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