Monday, July 22, 2013

Space Lawyer

Hey folks, sorry for the long break in posts. I wrote a sci-fi novel and a short story collection in all the downtime. Amazon link to Space Lawyer and another link for Gerry and the Gin Factory and Other Short Stories. Kindle version of Space Lawyer should be out soon.

I've also moved operations to my new tumblr page. Over the years I've spent so much time on facebook posting links and pictures that it seemed time to start tapping into the habit. I'm also on Goodreads now as Kirk Battle, where I post a decent book review or two. Most of my critical energy goes into writing fiction for now, I'm working on new short stories and planning out the sequel to Space Lawyer these days.

Take care and hope to hear from you!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Some Final Thoughts on Rule Theory in Video Games

Between the Law & Gamification series, MMO Judiciary, Kill Screen postings, the GWJ posts, and System Narrative posts I think I've gone through this topic pretty thoroughly. After seeing the modelling article flopped on reddit I decided maybe it was time to take a step back and reflect a bit. When it comes to rule theory and video games, I think games are a lot more useful to rule theory than vice-versa.

I base this just on the common assertion that what I'm writing about is usually obvious to people or that I'm taking simple ideas and dressing them up in fancy words. This is true in some ways, if rule modelling (for example) is something you only know from the perspective of game design then these concepts are pretty simple. In computer software, all rules are automatically enforced. Approaching the rule from a binary perspective is the most efficient method and the idea of choice or costs is not really an issue. A choice in a video game is really just a question of whether or not the person does it. Issues like who, why, what if they don't like it, how do we change it, or by whose authority are irrelevant in single-player games. Or in an MMO's case, minimal problems for the developer.

This is formalism. Pure formalism really, so much so that it is probably better labelled as 'game' or some other concept legal philosophy has yet to really address. Normally when you say formalism you're talking about a rule system where the rules are taken literally and this is true in video games. Yet the idea of a perfect formal system, one where all choices are expected and accounted for, is really a fantasy. A world where there are no hard cases or if there is one, the entire system breaks down. As a lawyer, I take for granted that there will always be messy, complex perspective and people involved in any system.

When I first started digging into this topic about a year ago, it began with the question of why this subject wasn't really addressed more in-depth. Legal philosophy has always acknowledged games for their capacity to illustrate complex ideas in rules. Two people fighting over what's correct in chess. What's the difference between writing down the rules for reference and treating that written text as the source of authority? What makes that tactic unfair and that one acceptable if they are still obeying the rules? I can capture this notion through the example of a game fairly quickly, as opposed to delving into banking law or something equally byzantine.

Games, by their nature, deify complexity. They selectively arrange the portions of complexity that are gratifying to master and hail the player for their capacity to overcome it. The players are taught everything they need to know and conversely, the rulemaker knows everything that could happen in their system. In such a space, there is no reason to be afraid of rules. Which is really the emotion that makes my job possible.

I'd like to close on an anecdote about the development of the tort law to illustrate my point. This is the legal mechanism by which if you get injured and someone else is responsible, you can sue them for damages. This did not exist until the Industrial Revolution. Prior to that point, most injuries were generally considered to be your own damn fault. The very rare scenarios where someone else was responsible could be handled by squeezing the lawsuit into some other area, criminal assault or nuisance for example.

What changed was that machines have a bad habit of blowing up. Railroads, steamboats, and factories maimed and killed people in large quantities. You can't really tell someone that it's their fault the steamboat they were riding to New Orleans exploded. So tort law was invented. What was once simple and taken for granted suddenly got a lot more complicated.

So it is with video games at the moment. While everyone awaits their Citizen Kane or Art Gallery or...whatever the hell it is people are going on about now, the lawyer is more interested in something else entirely. I am waiting for them to get more complicated.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Wire and Breaking Bad

This post is a part of a larger series about the kinds of stories video games tell. It is not the only kind they tell, but it is one the medium is uniquely good at because of the nature of games.

Oh, and spoilers.

Throughout this systems narrative project I have said The Wire is a prime example of a popular system narrative. There have been precursors to its form, like the police procedural or a complex spy thriller, but there are few stories focused so strongly on system rather than character. I figured it was time I went into that a little bit more.

The best way to highlight the ins and outs of the show’s style and system is by comparing it to another show, Breaking Bad, which deals with similar subject matter in a very different way. This isn’t an argument over which is better, just a way to talk about how system narratives work. I’ve watched every season of The Wire twice. I’ve watched the first three seasons of Breaking Bad once.

The biggest characteristic of a system narrative is that the characters don’t really change personally, they move around the system into different positions and relationships with one another. McNulty in The Wire is roughly the same person in Season 1 as he is in Season 5. When he’s outside of Homicide or not working a detail, he’s calmer and sober. When he gets placed in that environment, he gets angry and drunk. That compulsion hasn’t really been resolved at the end of the show, he’s just more aware of it. McNulty has chosen to take himself out of that position for his own well-being. This observation applies for the majority of characters, even Bubbles and his recovery from addiction. Bubbles is affected by the events of his life to change, he’s not different in the sense that he is a different person.

In stark contrast is Walter White. At the beginning of Season 1 in Breaking Bad he retains his sympathies and conflicts. At the end of the pilot he is so paranoid and apologetic that he is contemplating suicide for his actions. By the end of Season 3 he has killed either directly or inadvertently 5 people and distributed pounds of meth throughout the Southwest. He has become addicted to the danger and empowerment of being a drug dealer. This is very clearly a character arc.

What McNulty or Bubbles undergo acts like a character arc. It’s not that system narratives don’t have arcs, it’s that characters moving around a system is depicted differently than focusing on an individual. In Season 3, after the detail has failed to bust Stringer Bell or Proposition Joe for almost a year, the detail is switched to an easier target. McNulty, being the asshole that he is, ignores orders and continues to pursue Stringer Bell. We see him try to flip D’s girlfriend Donnette by telling her D was probably murdered. We see String getting angry with Donette a while later, we see D’s mother Brianne hearing the news, eventually confronting McNulty, and then realizing the truth when she confronts String. The act of one individual reverberates out into the others. There are so many examples of this happening in The Wire that on a fundamental level it’s what the show is about.

Compare this to Breaking Bad. Each episode has an individual crisis, whether it’s finding a new supplier, finding a place to safely cook meth, or getting stuck out in the desert because the lab camper broke down. At the center of these crises is Walter White himself. We see him hiding things from his wife, reacting to Jessie, figuring out some kind of chemistry solution, or reacting to the struggle of dealing with meth. Most of this information is conveyed in that episode, he is on to a new set of issues an episode later. There are exceptions to this, like Walt’s decision to expand their territory playing out across multiple episodes when their friend dies. But it’s still at best two or three reverberations playing out as the catalyst for another series of moments where Walt is the central focus. In The Wire, McNulty is only present for two or three scenes of the 7 or 8 his initial actions stir up.

These two approaches to telling a story are adept at conveying different sorts of information. The intricacies of actually being a drug dealer are never really discussed in Breaking Bad. Walt is handed sacks of cash for pure meth, it’s never explained that people are cutting it and making far more money than what they’re paying. Meth cooking montages are stylish music videos. During Season 2’s brief portrayal of dealing meth we see one robbery, one arrest, and one murder by a rival gang. None of these characters are particularly significant and most have only a handful of scenes. You get the drama of dealing drugs but you don’t really have any idea of how it actually works. Instead you see how it impacts a small group of people’s lives.

Contrast that to The Wire where by the end of show you have an intricate understanding of all the issues that go into selling drugs, along with how bureaucracies work, the shipping industry, etc. None of the characters dealing with these issues are anonymous. People at every level of the drug game are depicted in numerous scenes. The same goes for Police, whether it’s beat cops or homicide. Season 3 introduces how the bureaucracy affects the Police and Season 4 shows how the urban environments often puts people in impossible situations. It’s for this reason The Wire does not really have an individual main character as its protagonist. McNulty hardly makes up the bulk of the show and he’s absent for the majority of Season 4. The diverse cast and the time dedicated to showing the impact of various actions means that The Wire is ultimately about the system of relationships between these people.

The biggest thing The Wire can’t do is depict silent evidence. In systems this is just the idea of unknown elements, the multitude of absences or possible outcomes that did not happen for whatever reason. An example would be something like assuming Harry Potter is the best fantasy book about wizards. There are so many variables in play like books that never got much attention, books that have never been written, or old books we’ve forgotten. What if someone else had been in J.K. Rowling’s position? Silent evidence is just a way of saying unknowable variables because there’s no solid answer to that question.

In a show about numerous relationships that works by showing the impact of people’s actions, The Wire has no way of talking about things it can’t depict. This is most prominent in Season 5. David Simon has said that his ultimate message was to show how the media ends up ignoring what’s important. They go with a bullshit, made-up story about a serial killer rather than talk about Clay Davis’s corruption. This presumably leads to Clay Davis being able to fool a group of jurors into thinking he is innocent. The issue is we’re never shown this. We just have to assume that’s what would happen. Because the show is so busy showing so many other connections and reverberations in the system, all of the newspaper’s actions seem meaningless. This is because they ultimately are in a systems narrative, if your character is affecting no change in others, then they aren’t really a part of the system.

Silent evidence also gives the show trouble in its basic characterizations. I know how all of these characters work and interact together, but I don’t really know a lot about them as individuals. To borrow the Red Letter Media Test, without using their job, appearance, or clothing, how easy is it to describe a character from The Wire? More importantly, how much does that description do them any justice? In Breaking Bad you can describe Season 2 Walt as a guy frustrated with his life who has become hooked on being the best at something. That’s not all of it, but it covers a lot of ground. It’s easy for me to describe McNulty as an asshole or that the FBI profile of him is hilariously accurate. But that doesn’t really describe why he’s important or admirable in the show. For example, I didn’t realize what a jerk McNulty was to his co-workers, particularly in Season 3, until I rewatched the show and caught the details.

Breaking Bad, with its devotion to Walter White, has no problem depicting silent evidence. Long shots of Skyler wondering where Walt is, him missing the birth of his daughter, or the tiny domestic moments that show his marriage falling apart all make you aware of what he’s doing. With so much time devoted to his character we are much more acutely aware of what his actions, in isolation, are doing to others. The question of “but for Walt’s meth dealing, his marriage would be intact” is not really open to debate even though it is never shown. In The Wire, we don’t really know if Clay Davis would have gotten off the hook if the newspaper had been talking about him. The show doesn’t really have a way to talk about this because it’s about things that didn’t happen. In many ways the absence IS a character, like a person in the room sucking the life out of Skyler and driving her away.

The difference can best be summarized by the plane crash at the end of Season 2. His family is in ruins, Walt is responsible for 3 people’s deaths, he has helped produce a lethal drug to thousands, and all he has to show for it is money and an empty house. Rather than show all this by depicting and developing all the characters necessary to show the systemic damage, a tragic airplane accident occurs. It’s a metaphor, a way to represent all the damage that has occurred succinctly and in one episode. The Wire, on the other hand, just shows all this happening episode by episode with its large cast.

David Simon described his approach to writing The Wire as trying to appeal to the people actually involved in this world. The average reader, as an outsider, is encouraged to actually engage with the realities rather than just a brief visit. He compares it to spending a month in Paris as opposed to riding around on a tour bus. Simon even made this point literally in Treme when a tour bus stopped and stared at a local funeral dance. Breaking Bad, as a character driven story, is a tour bus of the meth world with an excellent tour guide.

Early in Season 3, Lester asks McNulty how he thinks it will all end. If he really believes everyone will think he was right and congratulate him when he finally catches Stringer. Lester warns him that he won’t find any satisfaction if that is all he has in his life. In Breaking Bad, we all know that there will be a distinct ending. It will be sharp and well-written, but the story of these individual characters must come to an end eventually. As the ending montage of The Wire plainly shows, in system narratives that never really happens.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Money Saving System

My New Years Resolution was to write out a systemic process for saving money. I am, by nature, a tight fisted bastard. This covers everything from avoiding going out to dinner with large groups so I don’t get stiffed on the check to leaving my cards at home when I go out to a bar. I’m also a single guy with no attachments living in a very cheap apartment, so this method will not work for everyone. 

The system doesn’t really require specific values to work, so I’ve tried to keep it value neutral so that people across different pay ranges may use it. The main idea is to take your paycheck and divide it up into different portions and then apply different standards for saving that money. Some portions are placed under lock and key, never to be touched again. Others may be spent BUT there are rewards to not spending. There are two separate graphs, one for the mid-month paycheck and one for the end of the month paycheck.

This is the mid-month check. You need to decide on a set amount you can spend each weekend on your social life, be it 25 to 100. Be reasonable here, saving money is like dieting. If you try to starve yourself you’ll just collapse and go back to spending inefficiently. Any money you don’t spend should go into a lock box or under your bed mattress. This is for special occasions or needs.

The way I pay for groceries and gas is via a credit card where I get a 2% return in the company’s monopoly money. I’ve never used the stuff, maybe I’ll get a plane ticket someday with it. I pay this debt down entirely each month. It has always bitten me in the ass when I didn’t and suddenly I’m stuck paying off debt for months. Whatever is left goes into loan payments and savings. I leave about 100 in my checking account in case some charge goes onto it that I forgot about. You can also make some life necessity purchases with this money like shoes or clothes before it goes into savings. This should be rare though.

The strategy is to have multiple reward layers to encourage me to not spend money. I found in the past when I only had the distant, fuzzy goal of ‘Saving Money is Good and Stuff’ that I forgot about it. Particularly when I was out at a bar or trying to impress someone. Now when I go out for a weekend in the back of my head I’m thinking, “If I don’t spend this money now, I can get something even better down the road.” The result has been that I find myself spending significantly less when I go out. I’m also engaging in activities that don’t cost money such as bike riding or joining clubs.

The second check is similar to the first, although there is usually less put into savings if anything at all. It’s very important you keep setting aside this play money though. These are the funds that are susceptible to your vanities, marketing, impulse buys, and all the other things we dicker with everyday. You create a wall between the money you’re actually saving and the portion you’re still fooling with.

There are countless other tricks but they are particular to one’s lifestyle. I ride my bike to work. I practice perimeter shopping in the grocery store. I live near my family and we often have group meals where everyone contributes. I rarely buy anything but discounted games. I keep a gigantic change jar that is half-full at this point. No cable and I rarely air condition or heat my apartment. I also take advantage of several tax write-offs for business expenses like my cell phone bill, internet bill, and HSA funds. It takes a little reading and you might want to ask an accountant, but it pays out in the long run.

So far I am pleased with the system. I have been tinkering with it for months and this is the latest model. Some weekends all the social funds are spent and I even dip into the reserve to get by. But for many I make a point of not going out so that my reserve funds get built back up. I suppose there is a bit of gamification to it all and one of the lessons I learned from game design. When it comes to goals, there is the long game and the short game. And the less you try to worry about the long game, the better. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fallout: New Vegas and Bastion

This post is part of a larger series on system narrative and uses several ideas from it. A version was posted January 5th that, after doing some edits with the GWJ forums and arguing on reddit, has been revised heavily. The revised version can also be found over on their excellent website.

Sometimes with game narrative it’s a simple question of where do you want to put the story in relation to the game mechanics. The method of delivery and its relationship with the game mechanics ultimately is going to define the overall meaning of the game. If the player has to process content to engage and understand what’s going on, you risk content degradation as their mind grinds away at the meaning, turning it into a system of mechanics. You might instead sneak the information into the background, maybe as a loading screen or audiobook to play while you go. But then it might be ignored or totally missed. Amongst these different formulas, Bastion represents a creative new technique: What if you shifted the majority of the narrative to a context-sensitive narrator?

It often illuminates a lot about how a system works by comparing one to another one. For the purposes of this essay I’m going to be comparingBastion to Fallout: New Vegas as an example of a game whose content is an intermediary for the system, but I could swap New Vegas for Mass Effect, Deus Ex, Bioshock, etc. All of these games have a basic NPC narrative system: You talk to people, get information or quests, and then fight or stat-check for dialog options. None of those games tell their stories using any one technique 100% of the time. The departure from this setup is what makes Bastion such an interesting game.

The issue with intermediary content is that, over time, you just stop giving a sh*t about what all these people are saying. The NPC might be telling the most tragic story in the world, but the player’s motivation is still disrupted because they’re likely more focused on trying to resolve a quest. You click through the dialog, follow the compass, kill whatever is there, and report back for your reward. The dialog also falls flat because most of the time is spent explaining things. Walk up to an NPC and they have to identify themselves, tell you their motivations, and eventually ask you to do something for them. Almost all of the dialog is explaining the system, whether it’s how this New California Republic base is doing or who this important figure is in the quest. What’s missing here is character development — the moments where the person talks about their past and beliefs.

Bastion’s narrative takes the backseat. It’s completely possible to understand everything going on and plow through the game without hearing a word of the story. You could play the entire game with the sound off. In many ways, it reverses the formula of systems narrative by having the design slowly come to represent the content. I perform an action, the narrator elaborates. For the first few hours of play I tuned the narrator out. I didn’t recognize the weird lingo and nothing seemed to be going on except smashing things. By the end, I was more engaged with the story than I was the design.

What enables the transition is both the lack of repetition in the design and Rucks as an unreliable narrator. Every level contains a constant drip of new items and materials to work with. By the end of the game I was exclusively using guns instead of melee weapons, but it’s possible to go in any number of directions. The game design heavily restrains grinding: you cannot replay old levels and upgrade resources are limited. There is little to no repetition unless you initiate a New Game Plus.

In terms of story, the moment Zulf turns on Rucks you begin to question the information you're receiving. What started as kind of background mirror begins to become more intriguing as it distorts and ceases to reflect the player’s motivations. Rucks reminds us repeatedly of the importance of rebuilding the Bastion and collecting the various shards. The creepiness begins to set in as he explains how the various creatures are just setting up their own homes, but that it won’t matter because the Bastion will help everyone. By the half-way point, Ruck’s commentary begins to diverge from the player’s perspective. He is telling us things about ourselves based on our actions, but they do not necessarily represent how the player feels.

As a storytelling device, there seem to be pros and cons to placing most of your narrative in the background. The con strikes me as duration; I’m not sure the game could be much longer than the 6 hours it took for me to beat it. I could not have handled Rucks rambling much more and the game’s barrage of new weapons was turning into feature creep. I may be critical ofNew Vegas’s NPC system, but the game is certainly designed to last for hours. There are numerous forms of story-telling happening both spatially, in the background, and during NPC exchanges. You might learn about a quest involving Vault 34’s radiation leak through talking to NPCs, exploring the East Pump Station, or just stumbling upon the Vault itself. Wandering the wastes is a viable way to play. By the time I hit the 60-hour marker, I may be burned out on the quest format but I can just start exploring the unique sites at that stage.

The pro in Bastion's method is its ability to communicate background information. Take Zia’s backstory, for example, who was orphaned by the Caeldonians and lived as a social outcast. How much do you have to get across in order for me to feel empathy for her? I need to know what the ethnic conflict is between the Uras and the Caeldonians. I need to know how that impacted her life. I need to know at least a few specific cruelties she experienced that I can empathize with. And ultimately all of this has to make sense on an abstract level for me to project into it. The game explains all of this during an optional grinding level while the narrator drones out her past. It struck me as a vast improvement on Fallout: New Vegas’s method of having every single person explain the NCR/Legion conflict over and over.

Similar to Bastion’s narrator, the radio in New Vegas comments on our actions via Mr. New Vegas’s radio show. It’s not as frequent or immediate, instead serving as a random reminder of something we’ve done in the game. Often this will feature interviews with the people we’ve affected or met, reinforcing the characterization of the NPC and the impact of our actions. It shifts the focus away from the player, unlike Bastion’s constant litany of explaining your actions. The background feedback in New Vegas can never disconnect from the player’s fantasy, because it’s never about you. Bastion’s feedback almost inevitably must disconnect; you couldn’t ever draft enough dialog to cover every single player action. Instead, as in the story, Rucks ceases to be an accurate narrator as he reveals his own prejudices and biases.

Clint Hocking coined the term "ludonarrative dissonance" to describe when what you’re doing in the game doesn’t really reflect what the story says is going on. Over the years, this has proved to be a bit of an impossible standard. Inevitably, game mechanics assert themselves, and the game’s story becomes less important as a motivator compared to gaining a level or grabbing that next powerful item. Fallout: New Vegas doesn’t so much solve this problem as it doesn’t really care. There is so much to do and see in the game that numerous players are accommodated. Bastion, as the smaller game, has a different solution. It lets the narrator completely diverge from the player and makes its points with that dissonance.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Telling Tales in Gabriel Knight 2

I decided to post this one over at Gamers with Jobs. It's a fun website that I've lurked on for years with typically more mature commenters. The offer to post something came up and I thought I'd give it a spin. I like running a personal blog and all but this kind of thing isn't very fun without a community to share it with. That's what Google+ does for me these days but it's important to keep branching out.

As far as my conclusions about systems narrative that I got out of playing the game, I'm adding that the main characters of a game inherently have no character development. They are always reacting, nothing is unveiled about them because we are the ones guiding their actions. It is the other characters in the game that we learn about. Which has been on the table for some time, I just now have a justification dating all the way back to a 1994 adventure game.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On-Line Dating Advice for Strange People

All of these lessons were learned the hard way.

#1 Always hug your date at the end and get their phone number if you were interested.
This happened because during the date we both agreed to meet at a friend’s party the following weekend. When I said, “Let’s meet up at the party next Friday”, I should have said, “Let’s meet up at the party next Friday. As this is our first date and I don’t really know you that seems like a safe place for a second date after our delightful brunch.” I did lean in for a hug but it hit that awkward chasm where neither of us were quite close enough and I bailed at the last second. I zapped her a friendly facebook message wishing her a good week a few days later. She refused to speak to me.

#2 When meeting new dates at parties, make sure she isn’t best friends with the woman you didn’t call.
I realized my horrible mistake a few days after swapping phone numbers and friending her on facebook. A quick perusal of her photos and not only did I realize she was friends with the first date, they were into besties territory. I’m a quick learner so I made sure to hug and call often, but that seemed to make things worse. After the second date ended with the woman who taught me lesson #1 joining us for drinks, I decided to match their awkward social situation with an extensive explanation of spatial story telling in Bethesda Games. Never heard back from either after that.

#3 People don’t actually mean they like hiking when they say they like hiking.
I love the outdoors. Mountain biking, camping, or hiking are all things I love doing when the weather permits. The problem is that most dating websites will frame this question in terms of, “Do you leave the house occasionally? “ or “Does sunlight hurt you?” Nobody wants to click that they don’t like hiking and it seems like a fun thing to say. Right up until you’re pulling out a map and explaining a 15 mile vertical climb that is a 4 hour drive away.

#4 It’s usually a bad sign if they cancel a date four days in advance because they’re too tired.
One of the trickier problems that crops up is dating people who are too nice to be dating online. An overly nice person doesn’t really want to do the rejecting or hurt anyone’s feelings. So if you’re really into them and they want out, prepare yourself for a long and awkward period of never-returned calls and cancelled dates. If they stand you up once, shame on them. If they stand you up twice? Shame on you.

#5 Watch or read something the average person can relate to.
On one date we were chatting about media and I realized I had been on a bad obscurity bender again. Between my job, rewatching old sitcoms on Netflix,, and reading bizarre academic papers I did not have a single thing to say that the date would have any interest in. After a bit of pestering I finally just started talking about my latest crackpot theory about rules and video games. She was quiet when I finished and asked me how I related to people if that was what I did for fun. I told her, “I don’t really, I go on internet dates.”

#6 Joking that you’re going to get a dog if doesn’t work out can be easily misinterpreted.
It doesn’t make it any better if you say you’re kidding and that you really like cats instead.

#7 When dating multiple women with the same first name, organize them by their last name.
G-chat, cell phones, facebook, all of it. Apologizing will not undo this one.

#8 Don’t do dinner on the first date. Just meet for drinks of some sort.
There isn’t actually any story behind this one, just pure statistics. Every girl I took out to dinner on the first date ended badly eventually. Drinks, be it beer or coffee, ended the best and we’re still friends. Well, I don’t wish something bad would happen to them. Lunch always ended up somewhere in the middle.

#9 If two dogs are fucking in a truck next to your outdoor table on the first date, just let it go.
After realizing the giant Labrador had enough in him to last all day, I just ordered a beer and asked her if she was familiar with The Wire. She said no and talked about herself for the rest of the date. The dogs stared at me the entire time.

#10 It’s okay to ask them out more than once.
I base this on the fact that most of the messages women receive on dating websites are incoherent, creepy, and often just asking for sex. If you’re writing a grammatically correct, polite message that comments on several things you have in common and invites them out for coffee somewhere, that’s okay. You don’t need to send it every single day, or even every week, but people are busy and things change fast with internet dating.