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Greg Rice

Episode 17: A Deadline for Tim

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I'm assuming, by the progression of the video, that Act 2's puzzles were not cut.

Yeah, the complexity, et al of Act 2's puzzles was not cut. We've since figured out good fixes for pretty much every single problem in that playthru meeting you watched. Of course the documentary captured us being worried about them, because that's exciting and emotional, but it will likely not capture us fixing them, because.. well..

We have playthru meetings a couple of times a month, and we end up finding what seem like serious problems every time -- and then we go back to our desks and fix them. Sometimes we fix them and it's just kinda.. you know, a boring Perforce checkin, it's anticlimactic. Sometimes it's a problem that gets worked out spontaneously before a camera can ever get there -- Tim will walk over to my desk, briefly ask about some details and then we'll get an email about new writing that addresses it. 2 Player Productions often captures stuff like this, but it's not even interesting a lot of the time.

The satisfaction of fixing a rough section of the game is often subdued. You play through the scenes/puzzles over and over, make changes, and then it just suddenly seems good or polished. After a myriad of serious problems are addressed, it just comes together "on its own". All you feel is relief, not even a sense of satisfaction for fixing any one particular thing; you forget the details, because there were too many. That relief is so good, though. It's that moment where a joke you've been hearing over and over again is funny once more, the puzzle feels satisfying. You can finally take in the beauty of the art, the animation, the audio, every aspect. Suddenly, everything comes to life, if only in this one little part of the game. But, it's usually a personal moment. Sometimes someone will send an email when they see something cool, but that's about it.

Seeing this episode actually reminded me of about a billion things that worried me that are now thankfully fixed. As I write this, I have an Excel doc open that DF Victor has been populating with bugs he and others find for the milestone tonight (wish I could show you, but it's all major spoilers). How exciting would it be to watch me look at an Excel spreadsheet and then at some code? Maybe a little exciting for some, but there is not much human drama there or even clarity for what I'm doing.

I think that's just what game dev is like and the documentary captures it well -- we only really see all the broken things that we all worry about. All this anxiety that unfortunately gets passed on to you, the viewer. There doesn't seem much time to stop and appreciate all the crazy problems that we fix, all the subtle features that make it into the game that gradually make it better.

Reading your reactions made me realize that maybe we should sometimes take a moment to be grateful for things like that and not get too stressed out when a part of the game doesn't seem to be coming together, because if you really care and have the time to spend on it, it usually does in the end.

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Well said Anna. I have to keep in mind the point of view that people get from the documentary. By nature it is dramatic, but in real life, excitement can be few and far between. It would not be that exciting watching me design the sound of a footstep, listening over and over again to get it right, or setting up dialog paths or parameters in Fmod. But that is the majority of audio game dev.

I am just lucky I love the boring parts as well as the exciting parts hahaha! :)

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Wow, Anna, that was a really interesting post! I really enjoy the documentary, but it makes sense that there are some inherent biases there due to the nature of the medium.

Camden, I actually LOVE the sound portions of the documentary, however boring they probably seem to you. You guys could easily star in your own spinoff... Turning everybody into robots for Autonomous and doing Dear Leader's news radio chatter, both AF bits, were such cool segments.

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It would be really interesting for 2PP to release an episode that doesn't really have any dialog other than a half hour of cuts of people staring at tough problems, then going. Oh, and fixing it. Sort of an anti-episode, for a lark.

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Wow, Anna, that was a really interesting post! I really enjoy the documentary, but it makes sense that there are some inherent biases there due to the nature of the medium.

Camden, I actually LOVE the sound portions of the documentary, however boring they probably seem to you. You guys could easily star in your own spinoff... Turning everybody into robots for Autonomous and doing Dear Leader's news radio chatter, both AF bits, were such cool segments.

Thanks suejak! I am hoping to do an audio post very soon around Act 2 ambient sound. As for the documentary, I love working with 2pp so I hope to be in there again at some point. I really appreciate the support.

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Reading your reactions made me realize that maybe we should sometimes take a moment to be grateful for things like that and not get too stressed out when a part of the game doesn't seem to be coming together, because if you really care and have the time to spend on it, it usually does in the end.

I think that's a very good philosophy. Very buddhist. Things have a way of naturally working themselves out one way or another, and how they work out is often a result of a great many factors beyond your control, so don't give over too much of your mind to worrying about forces beyond your control. Give your mind instead to the things around you that you can control and that can be appreciated right this moment--there is always something nearby to appreciate, no matter what.

Keep putting love in, and you'll keep getting love out.

My love to both Anna and Camden! Keep on keepin' on, you two.

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I've been re-watching all of the episodes and all of the side-quests while drawing my own things. Personally, it feels a bit lonely working by myself sometimes, and just having the documentary running in the background makes it so much better. You can just feel this enormous passion everyone have for what they do and it's so inspiring. And apparently it also makes me incredibly sappy.

Just randomly wanted to reinstate my utter support for the Reds team!

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Haven't watched the documentary, read any info (except general news about anything I backed at DF, including forum posts) and played Act 1 for the longest time because I'm very anal about spoilers (wait, so should I be posting here then? I will, just to get my point across).

The delays put me off. The first ones were okay. Then when it seemed like funding became an issue, and further delays were announced, I became slightly peeved. I'm not one to go screaming on the forums (nor am I the kind to ask for refunds), so I just bit my tongue and carried on going about my life silently. DF9 did not help, but I'll stop at that.

Today, I got my Massive Chalice Steam code. I know it's a beta. Yes, still off topic from the thread. I realise that. However, I also realised that it's pretty damn close to the initial projected date. I'm taking this as a sign that lessons have been learned from the setbacks, and will back at least one or two more projects after this one (if DF should choose to go this way again). I hope this can be the start of rebuilding bridges between those who became jaded like I did, and DF.

Okay, off to the Massive section to issue my congratulations, then it's more dodging of info on Reds so I can play it all in one shot when it comes out next year! Thanks for bearing with my boring-ness!

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Then when it seemed like funding became an issue, and further delays were announced, I became slightly peeved.

I am still confused when people say this. Even if funding was an issue, it is still a bigger/better game than the original pitch you paid for. It's like if the original plan was a fund drive to give each backer 1 pound of candy, but then so much money was raised that they decided to give each backer 5 pounds of candy, but then it turned out that might be harder than they thought, and some people were disappointed they might only get 3 pounds of candy. Why? You paid for 1 pound of candy.

People's expectations about Reds have been weirdly all over the place. Most likely that's due to the fact that it was a really odd sort of pitch that didn't have any design or concept work or anything done yet, so there was a lot of room for interpretation (and as we learned: misinterpretation). Compare that to Massive Chalice where the concept and direction were already hammered out. The DFA kickstarter was essentially for "a video game". The Massive Chalice kickstarter was for Massive Chalice.

DF9 did not help, but I'll stop at that.

At this I will bite my own tongue.

Today, I got my Massive Chalice Steam code. I know it's a beta. Yes, still off topic from the thread. I realise that. However, I also realised that it's pretty damn close to the initial projected date. I'm taking this as a sign that lessons have been learned from the setbacks

Other things to consider:

1. DFA had no design or concept work done for the pitch. Massive Chalice already had some concepting work done.

2. The Massive Chalice team didn't need to build an engine first.

3. Point And Clicks have a fundamentally different structure than a tactical RPG. With a tactical RPG style of game, you can re-use a lot of assets. It's sort of like mexican food: you have a few basic ingredients that you can just arrange differently to create a bunch of different scenarios. But with a point-and-click game, you create everything one time, to be used one time, in a context that only occurs one time. Seems like comparing apples to oranges to me.

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It's sort of like mexican food: you have a few basic ingredients that you can just arrange differently to create a bunch of different scenarios.

I think you meant Tex-Mex here; legit Mexican food may have only a few core components, but there's quite a variety of other ingredients in the cuisine overall.

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THIS IS THE FIRST AND LAST TIME I'M RESPONDING TO THIS.

It's like if the original plan was a fund drive to give each backer 1 pound of candy, but then so much money was raised that they decided to give each backer 5 pounds of candy, but then it turned out that might be harder than they thought, and some people were disappointed they might only get 3 pounds of candy. Why? You paid for 1 pound of candy.

It's like the original was to give each backer 1 pound of apple candy within a week. Then they decided to add another pound of apple candy and delay the giving of candy by another week. After that, they said,"Hey, we can't deliver. If you wait two more months, we'll throw in 3 more pounds of orange candy!"

People's expectations about Reds have been weirdly all over the place.

Not in my case. I paid for 1 pound of apple candy. I expected 1 pound of apple candy. Expected delivery time? 1 week. Oh my, how all over the place I must have been to expect what I paid for at the promised time. There were delays. I accepted that. There were more delays. Did you see me come here like a raving lunatic? I still accepted it, albeit unhappily.

You say you're confused by people like me. I'm confused by people like you. I come here to offer an olive branch to DF and say "Hey, maybe we'll work again in the future, now that I think you can work within budget and in a more timely manner." I got peeved because of facts: They were over budget, and they did not deliver on time. Ask DF if they think I'm wrong about this. Yes or no, without all the excuses. You don't want to deal with the suits, you become the suits. When you have the suits between us, I get mad at the suits.

I know Massive Chalice is fundamentally different from Reds. I'm using it as an excuse to continue my relationship with DF. I want to. Then someone like you comes along,"Consider reasons!" I did. The biggest reason is that this is something that all of us adventure fans banded together for. I don't want it to turn into something ugly. That's why I'm here with the olive branch and whatnot. But this does not change the fact that lessons have to be learned. Not misinterpretation from me, just over-promising from them.

If DF had said they'll need five years from the get-go. I would've just waited for five years, and you would not have heard a peep out of me. Except for the occasional peep of encouragement, maybe. There. Feel free to prove how wrong I am, or attack me, if you wish. No more responses about this matter on my end.

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THIS IS THE FIRST AND LAST TIME I'M RESPONDING TO THIS.
It's like if the original plan was a fund drive to give each backer 1 pound of candy, but then so much money was raised that they decided to give each backer 5 pounds of candy, but then it turned out that might be harder than they thought, and some people were disappointed they might only get 3 pounds of candy. Why? You paid for 1 pound of candy.

It's like the original was to give each backer 1 pound of apple candy within a week. Then they decided to add another pound of apple candy and delay the giving of candy by another week. After that, they said,"Hey, we can't deliver. If you wait two more months, we'll throw in 3 more pounds of orange candy!"

People's expectations about Reds have been weirdly all over the place.

Not in my case. I paid for 1 pound of apple candy. I expected 1 pound of apple candy. Expected delivery time? 1 week. Oh my, how all over the place I must have been to expect what I paid for at the promised time. There were delays. I accepted that. There were more delays. Did you see me come here like a raving lunatic? I still accepted it, albeit unhappily.

You say you're confused by people like me. I'm confused by people like you. I come here to offer an olive branch to DF and say "Hey, maybe we'll work again in the future, now that I think you can work within budget and in a more timely manner." I got peeved because of facts: They were over budget, and they did not deliver on time. Ask DF if they think I'm wrong about this. Yes or no, without all the excuses. You don't want to deal with the suits, you become the suits. When you have the suits between us, I get mad at the suits.

I know Massive Chalice is fundamentally different from Reds. I'm using it as an excuse to continue my relationship with DF. I want to. Then someone like you comes along,"Consider reasons!" I did. The biggest reason is that this is something that all of us adventure fans banded together for. I don't want it to turn into something ugly. That's why I'm here with the olive branch and whatnot. But this does not change the fact that lessons have to be learned. Not misinterpretation from me, just over-promising from them.

If DF had said they'll need five years from the get-go. I would've just waited for five years, and you would not have heard a peep out of me. Except for the occasional peep of encouragement, maybe. There. Feel free to prove how wrong I am, or attack me, if you wish. No more responses about this matter on my end.

I think the biggest difference between "people like you" and "people like me" is that when I gave the kickstarter my money, I realized that I might not ever get anything in return. I realized that I might not ever see that money again, and that there was a possibility of the project being a failure, just as the original campaign suggested. Therefore, the fact that I got anything at all on any kind of schedule is to me a success.

Some people weren't donating, though. They were "buying" or "investing". They wanted a definite product at a specific level of quality or better by a specific time. Every time they felt like they have not received that, they have become more disappointed.

"Donation" types are therefore growing weary with "purchase" types complaining that they didn't get what they paid for, or it wasn't quality enough, or it wasn't on time. From our point of view, you should be happy you got something when by rights you could have just as well got nothing at all or something very bad, and that still would been one of the potential and therefore expected (if hoped against) results. And we feel you should have been able to know that and factor it into your expectations before dropping your money, and therefore your complaining frustrates me / us. It sounds kinda unfair and gimme gimme.

But I can see how "purchase/invest" types, who wanted a product of a specific quality within a certain range of time, would be annoyed with me, too. They understood the deal the way they understood it, and naturally they want it to go the way they understood. And for me or people like me to tell you quit being a crybaby probably makes you want to kick me / us down the stairs.

And so it is.

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I think most people are in the middle-ground. They put in their money based on what game and items they want and reasonably expect the promises to be delivered. But they also understand that there could be delays or other problems which can't be helped.

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I think most people are in the middle-ground. They put in their money based on what game and items they want and reasonably expect the promises to be delivered. But they also understand that there could be delays or other problems which can't be helped.

This. When I back a game (Rarely, but I've backed several), I do expect to get something out of it--that's how these Kickstarters are generally positioned. If it's from a studio I know and trust (Double Fine), I will spend upwards of $100 just to let them do their thing; and, even if it's not, like Gears for Breakfast with A Hat in Time, if the game looks sufficiently good already and I like where they're going, I may do the same.

In the case with DFA, DF wanted to make an adventure game--something special--and I wanted to see it happen, regardless of what it ultimately ended up being. As much as I want to play Act 2, the delays don't bother me; not just because I have a bunch of other games I'm trying to get through in the meantime, but because I trust DF to do their thing--to craft a fun, memorable experience--and release it when they deem it ready.

Coming at any large, new software project with a mindset that "Oh, this will absolutely, 100% be complete and out the door by this date months into the future" is a recipe for disaster. Unforeseen circumstances could occur two weeks into the project, and if you demanded that the product be shipped exactly on it's originally proposed ship date (Who can really guarantee ship dates before design even begins?), the software would be shipped in a comparatively unfinished state, leaving you pissed off anyway.

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Haven't watched the documentary, read any info (except general news about anything I backed at DF, including forum posts) and played Act 1 for the longest time because I'm very anal about spoilers (wait, so should I be posting here then? I will, just to get my point across).

The early episodes of the documentary (that is, 1-10 and perhaps even past that) are very careful about spoilers and focus much more on the development process itself. Maybe others can comment on this: did any of you get much of the game spoiled when you were watching?

Believe it or not, making the development process less of a mystery is a lot of what this project is about and why we turned to Kickstarter for funding in the first place -- all our other projects were publisher-funded, and we knew the publishers wouldn't be thrilled about airing the dirty laundry of game development on their projects.

I can certainly understand your frustration on the development time-frame changing when you haven't gotten much context for it. Do try watching the documentary if you get a chance, I think you won't be disappointed.

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Haven't watched the documentary, read any info (except general news about anything I backed at DF, including forum posts) and played Act 1 for the longest time because I'm very anal about spoilers (wait, so should I be posting here then? I will, just to get my point across).

The early episodes of the documentary (that is, 1-10 and perhaps even past that) are very careful about spoilers and focus much more on the development process itself. Maybe others can comment on this: did any of you get much of the game spoiled when you were watching?

Believe it or not, making the development process less of a mystery is a lot of what this project is about and why we turned to Kickstarter for funding in the first place -- all our other projects were publisher-funded, and we knew the publishers wouldn't be thrilled about airing the dirty laundry of game development on their projects.

I can certainly understand your frustration on the development time-frame changing when you haven't gotten much context for it. Do try watching the documentary if you get a chance, I think you won't be disappointed.

I'd say that there's no story spoilers, but if you wanted to keep the art and music a surprise then you should avoid the documentary, since I knew almost all of the locations before I started playing. (If anything though, playing through those locations after watching them be developed enriched the experience, rather than detracted from it). The puzzles aren't spoiled either. :)

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Buying is the wrong analogy. You did not buy a product, you backed a kickstarter. It's not a store, you're supporting an idea, patron of the arts. They give rewards for giving them an amount, but it's very clear your are in their hands and it's their project to execute as they see fit.

Remember, kickstarter isn't a store, it isn't an investment. It's quite literally 'shut up and take my money'. If their project doesn't go the way you imagined, you're right to complain, but you can't say you wern't given what you bought, you didn't buy anything. you backed. Enjoy whatever comes of it.

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I try to tell myself that this is probably the first exposure most people have to the software development "process" (where even in much more predictable industries like finance people say to double your estimates of how long it will take, double them again, and even then you're probably going to run out of time). I hope that these people can try to understand that Doublefine is not some uniquely dysfunctional company flailing around and hemorrhaging money but actually, from all appearances in the documentary, pretty well run! You should see what happens in other companies!

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To bengdoublefine, regarding spoilers:

Haven't watched the documentary, read any info (except general news about anything I backed at DF, including forum posts) and played Act 1 for the longest time because I'm very anal about spoilers (wait, so should I be posting here then? I will, just to get my point across).

The early episodes of the documentary (that is, 1-10 and perhaps even past that) are very careful about spoilers and focus much more on the development process itself. Maybe others can comment on this: did any of you get much of the game spoiled when you were watching?.

I'd say that there's no story spoilers, but if you wanted to keep the art and music a surprise then you should avoid the documentary, since I knew almost all of the locations before I started playing. (If anything though, playing through those locations after watching them be developed enriched the experience, rather than detracted from it). The puzzles aren't spoiled either. :)

Yes, I agree on the "no story or puzzle spoilers" part. But aside from that, it really does depend on your mindset, on what you consider spoilers. For me, I'm somewhat opposite of Bidiot Bales. I didn't watch beyond the first 3 or 4 episodes, once they started showing a lot more concept art and such, until after I had finished Act 1 because I also didn't want to know too much about everything before the game came out. Because my mindset is that I want to discover as much of the world as possible on my own. And then, after I finished the game, it was really cool to go back and watch the documentary to see the world taking shape, see the effort and thought and planning that went into it, and doing it that way enriched the experience for me. I don't know how I would've felt about the game if I had seen the eps before playing, but again that's just me.

Do I also understand you to mean that you haven't played Act 1 yet? If not, you really should. As Tim (or someone else?) said or wrote somewhere, it's an entire game in itself. Sure, you'll see the same places and faces again in Act 2, but that's to be expected, and to me I wouldn't consider those "game spoilers." Kind of like a book-based movie that's been cut into 2 parts because there's so much the book covered. ;)

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Kind of like a book-based movie that's been cut into 2 parts because there's so much the book covered. ;)

The first The NeverEnding Story movie was a huge disappointment to me because it ended at the point where the good part of the book started. I'm sure some could feel the same about this game. Just saying... :-)

(Hopefully the delay between the parts will not be 6 years in this case. )

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The first The NeverEnding Story movie was a huge disappointment to me because it ended at the point where the good part of the book started. I'm sure some could feel the same about this game. Just saying... :-)

LOL...Very true, very true. Totally understandable. I will admit that when I reached the end of Act 1, I was already screaming for Act 2. :)

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@DF Anna/Bidiot Bales/schala: Thank you for addressing my concerns regarding spoilers. I think I will watch episodes 1~10 of the documentary and play Act 1 when I get the chance.

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@DF

keep up the good work! almost holiday season so just a bit longer. *crunch crunch* (from eating chips and not working)

@Greg, appreciated you're honest responses in the thread. keep up the good work!

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@DF Anna/Bidiot Bales/schala: Thank you for addressing my concerns regarding spoilers. I think I will watch episodes 1~10 of the documentary and play Act 1 when I get the chance.

I'm extremely envious of you for not having seen the documentary yet! I've watched it crazy many times.

It is my humble opinion, however, that if you've carefully avoided both the doc and the game so far, you will *probably* discover more about the game in the documentaries than you want to. Impossible for me to say for sure, of course, but with Act 2 probably only a couple of months away, you're so close to completing the journey...why not wait for the finish line?

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Haven't watched the documentary, read any info (except general news about anything I backed at DF, including forum posts) and played Act 1 for the longest time because I'm very anal about spoilers (wait, so should I be posting here then? I will, just to get my point across).

The early episodes of the documentary (that is, 1-10 and perhaps even past that) are very careful about spoilers and focus much more on the development process itself. Maybe others can comment on this: did any of you get much of the game spoiled when you were watching?

Believe it or not, making the development process less of a mystery is a lot of what this project is about and why we turned to Kickstarter for funding in the first place -- all our other projects were publisher-funded, and we knew the publishers wouldn't be thrilled about airing the dirty laundry of game development on their projects.

I can certainly understand your frustration on the development time-frame changing when you haven't gotten much context for it. Do try watching the documentary if you get a chance, I think you won't be disappointed.

I was just thinking just that from exatly that scentence on: If you, bengdoublefine, didn't watched any episode, update, nothing, not even played part one, i do understand kinda your frustration for the delay. but i personally am so totally satisfied and happy about the whole documentary-expirience, i had so many good and happy hours watching the documentation, reading art and any other updates and watching the sidequests ... ironically there was so much more time of fun than time i even played ( and by today i played it 3 times fully, and 2 times more the beginning of act one with friends and my niece.

Even for having played part one and this whole huge bunch of documentary-content i am feeling like: jap, delivered. even if there wasn't are part two, i allready got more than enough for what i backed. that there is gonne be a part 2 is even more delicious (+ still documentary updates ^^)

I may have been a little bit emotional about easy adventure games ^^ but in fact i love playing part one for its jokes alone. (yes, and its animation and style of course ^^ and beeing prettymuch emotional involved even into it ... but i woul have loved it anyway ;) ... machinarium was short also ... wasn't less beautiful either)

So, if you hadn't said allready yourself you will rewatch 1 - 10, from the first post on you wrote i would have said (if i had read it earlier): If you haven't watched anything, you should!

i believe it will solve your problem with this project. watching the episodes didn't hardly ruin anything for me. the oposite is the case. Well, i and many others was more like: oh we are so impatient for the next episode! so, without any documentaty watched i understand your feelings. but, they got all the first bunch of candy lying there under your nose allready ;) so you kinda allready got your one candy, maybe just didn't realiced that ^^ (i hope you like the documentary as much as i did ^^ haha otherwise now i would't had a point ^^ but ... i am boldly say they are hard not to like ^^ )

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Why are the videos all privacy blocked for me now? I used to be able to watch them, now can't even get the old ones.

Anyone know how to make it work?

Thanks.

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