Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Game 40: Future Wars - Introduction


I'm hopeful that this might be the first French game on the list that's actually half decent!

We’re up to game 40 on the playlist, and it’s once again one that I’m pretty interested in. If you’d mentioned the title to me a few years back I would have said that I’d never heard of it, but looking at the screenshots strikes a nostalgic chord that suggests I must have at least started the game on my Amiga as a kid. Speaking of the title, the game goes by many different names around the world, so let’s clarify what we’re talking about here. In North America it was called Future Wars: Adventures in Time, in Europe it was Future Wars: Time Travellers, and in France it was Time Travelers: The Menace. Whichever title was splashed across the cover, the game was the same, and it was released by the French developer Delphine Software International. I’ve had some trouble finding an exact release date, but it does appear that the game was released on the Amiga and Atari ST in 1989, before getting a DOS release in 1990. The DOS version I’ve found has files created as late as the 29th of May 1990, so that’s where I slotted it into the playlist. While we’re talking about versions, a CD-ROM version was released for DOS in 1992. This version had an enhanced soundtrack, but I won’t be playing it for comparative fairness reasons.


Thank you Moby Games as usual. I don't know what I'd do without you!

Since this is the first game on the list from Delphine, it’s worth briefly looking into who they are and why we should care. If you played games during the 90s even half as much as I did, you probably played at least one game by this legendary French company. They produced three adventure games that utilized their proprietary interface called Cinematique. The first of these was Future Wars and the latter two were Operation Stealth (aka James Bond: The Stealth Affair) and Cruise for a Corpse. Delphine were also behind three cinematic platformers (initially inspired by the ground-breaking Prince of Persia). The three games were Out of This World (aka Another World), Flashback and Fade to Black. These platformers were huge for me, with Out of This World absolutely blowing my mind as a young teenager. The first of all these games was Future Worlds though, and it was created by a small team consisting of Paul Cuisset (story and programming), Eric Chahi (graphics), Jean Baudlot (music) and Marc Minier / Antoine O’Heix (sound). The Cinematique interpreter, which allows the player to select from a verb menu by right clicking on items, was created by Cuisset. None of these guys had created an adventure game prior to Future Wars, but to give you an idea how talented they were, Chahi would go on to create Out of This World almost entirely on his own just a few months later!


Out of This World: So awesome it's ridiculous!

I’ve avoided reading too much about the plot of the game, but the following blurb probably tells me all I need to know. “What an unlikely hero! You are a window cleaner. A common, little window cleaner. Yet you discover, more due to your notorious curiosity than by mistake, a time machine in your chiefs back office. Strange? Absolutely. Your adventure in the past and the future is about to begin. The quest? Four words: Evil aliens. Beautiful girl.” Future Wars was supposed to be the first of a series of games involving time travel, but the others were never made. As mentioned earlier, I’ve downloaded a copy of the game, since I can’t find one that’s commercially available. I’ve also downloaded a manual (for the Amiga but I don’t suppose it differs) and a quick reference card from Replacement Docs. The manual is quite cool, with some really neat illustrations throughout. I've also found the copy protection image that originally came with the manual, but isn't on mine for some reason. The game displays an image in black and white and asks the player to name what colour certain sections are in (this was obviously to stop people photocopying it). I'll finish this post by informing anyone that wants to play along of a little technical issue I faced when trying to start the game. I noticed the graphics in both the intro and the game proper were flashing badly, and sprites were appearing in front of objects they shouldn't. Some Googling revealed that I needed to run the Install file and set the graphics adaptor to MCGA before running the main application file. Everything looks fine now, so there should be no excuse for any of you not travel through time with me!


This is me. Seem familiar don't I!

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There's a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no CAPs will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. As this is an introduction post, it's an opportunity for readers to bet 10 CAPs (only if they already have them) that I won't be able to solve a puzzle without putting in an official Request for Assistance (see below for an example bet). If you get it right I will reward you with 50 CAPs in return. It's also your chance to predict what the final rating will be for the game. Voters can predict whatever score they want, regardless of whether someone else has already chosen it. All correct (or nearest) votes will go into a draw.

Example Bet:
Ubj qb lbh qb, zl anzr vf oynpx
V unir fbzr wrjryf urer va zl fnpx
Abg gur barf ur jnagf gb gnxr
N sbby bs uvz V’yy fheryl znxr

Jub nz V sbe 20 PNCf?

Extra Note: Once again, Lars-Erik will gift the next readily available game on the list to the reader that correctly predicts what score I will give this game. So, if you predict the right score (or are closest), you will get 10 CAPs and a copy of the King's Quest Collection from Steam (which includes Roberta Williams' King's Quest I: Quest for the Crown). How good is that!? Good luck!


73 comments:

  1. Oh, man... I remember playing this on my Amiga while listening to Vivaldi's Four seasons on my first CD player... I'll predict 58, because while I think it is good, there are some parts you might find frustrating

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  2. I'm going to guess 45. I played this some time ago and wasn't very impressed with it apart from the graphics.

    You should also check out this Let's Play by Yahtzee, I thought it's really funny and they point out a lot of the flaws in the game.

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    Replies
    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gj087mlxIsY

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    2. I was going to post that! Quite an enjoyable LP, and they also covered James Bond: Operation Stealth or whatever it's called.

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  3. Also, I'm making a bet: Gevpxfgre jvyy zvff gur tnf pncfhyr va gur zbanfgrel ynobengbel naq trg fghpx yngre jura ur arrqf vg.

    Of course, I'll be (re)playing along in case my bet fails.

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    Replies
    1. I didn't miss the gas capsule, so that's -10 CAPs for Laukku.

      Delete
  4. To help you or any of your readers with compatibility issues, I believe this game is also supported by SCUMMVM now.

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  5. Because of nostalgia I'm betting high. 59!

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  6. This sounds solid, so I'm going with 57.

    I'll give 4 CAPS to the first person who can tell me the name of a science fiction text adventure where you played a janitor, and that had a (really, really bad) novelization.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would you be referring to Planetfall?

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    2. Yes, yes I would be. Trickster, if you could make the transfer? Did you have to google that, or did you know?

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    3. The only text adventures with janitors I remembered were this and Stationfall, then I just looked if either had a novel made of it.

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  7. You know, at one point in time someone gave me a percentage of there CAPS. Did we keep track of that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was probably me, but I fail to remember the exact terms of our agreement. I think it was supposed to be until the end of the year 1989 (or 1988), but the percentage evades me.

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    2. Huh, google isn't working very well since I don't have a term to search for, and we both comment a ton.

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    3. I found it! It's in the Year Ahead 1989 post.

      "You’ll add the Eternam to the Wikipedia list and I’ll give you a cut on all the CAPs I earn starting from this date until Trickster reaches the end of the 1989 gaming year – say, you’ll get a third of the points I earn during that period."

      Now to figure out what that really means...

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    4. In the year ahead 1989 post we spoke about third of everything in the year 1989. I think at some point I already transferred part of the deal. Do you want to go back and track the exact sums or would you settle for some convenient amount? I think I had something like 200 at the beginning of 1989 and at the end I had something like 600, so there's something like 400 additional, and a third of that would be around 133.

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    5. OK, I've gone through all the Final Rating posts since the bet was made, up to the end of 1989. Here are the CAPs that Ilmari earned during that period.

      Larry 2 - 5
      Manhunter 1 - 10
      Police Quest 2 - 25
      Zak McKracken - 5
      Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess - 35
      Codename: ICEMAN - 36
      Hero's Quest - 18
      Emmanuelle - 60
      Indiana Jones - 5
      Larry III - 70
      Manhunter 2 - 10
      Mean Streets - 45
      Neuromancer - 80
      Space Quest III - 20
      The Colonel's Bequest - 40

      That's a total of 464 CAPs, which means 155 CAPs (rounded up) are to be transferred from Ilmari to Canageek. That's a lot of CAPs for a small amount of effort! A deal is a deal though...

      Delete
    6. To be clear on how trades and bets work, the CAPs are removed from the traders spendable total, which is the number in brackets. The total earned will remain the same for the trader. The tradee have both their total and spendable totals increased.

      So I've removed 155 CAPs from Ilmari's spendable CAP total, but not his total, and added 155 CAPs to both Canageek's spendable and total. I hope that makes sense.

      Delete
    7. Trick, I need to transfer 5 CAPs to Lars-Erik, Ilmari and Laukku (they all got my Uncle Scrooge reference in the Olav post). Can you do that for me?

      Delete
    8. I don't particularly want to point out a flaw in how trades and bets work, but...

      If I and someone else have, say, 200(200) CAPs, I can trade all of my CAPs, leaving me with 200(0) and my friend with 400(200).

      He then trades 200 CAPs to me leaving him with 400(200) and me with 400(200).

      We keep doing that indefinitely until we both have infinity(200) CAPs. Despite still only having 200 tradable CAPs each, we both top the leaderboard and live like kings.

      Of course, ome time before we reach infinity CAPs, you will likely realise CAPs are in demand quicker than you can print them and stop CAP trading until you can sort out the problem.

      This artificially created scarcity will cause a run on the CAPs, with everyone pointing out references, playing adventure games, doing anything in a mad scramble for the last remaining CAPs.

      People will kill for CAPs, wars will be fought. For causing the problem The Trickster will be first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

      Eventually nuclear bombs will be detonated and all people will remember are that caps are the most precious resource available and in the post-nuclear wasteland people will be using caps to trade goods and services.

      When we're all sitting in our vaults hiding from a pack of feral ghouls let me be the first to say "I told you so"!

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    9. I understand your concern TBD, and I did think about this (maybe I didn't follow it through as far as you did though). The one major thing you haven't considered though is that I control the trading. People can't just trade CAPs to each other for no reason. There has to be a reason for the trade and a result that is tangible.

      I could make it so that only spendable CAPs are added and subtracted during a trade, but at the time of making the rules I felt that might not encourage the kind of creative economy I hoped to see. If I feel things are getting out of hand, then I can always revert to that system.

      So this is what it feels like to be a dictator! ;)

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    10. Is this blog some kinda front for a Banana Republic?

      'Cos if it is, I'm gonna get myself a hammock and lie back with a Cuban cigar.

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    11. War... war never changes..

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    12. @Trickster: Thanks!

      @TBD: maybe I'm too sleepy, but I'm not following your math... wouldn't both you and your friend be left with 400(0) CAPs after doing both trades? Sorry if I'm missing something obvious, but we can't leave anything to chance if we are to avert the CAPocalypse.

      Delete
    13. Jarikith: That sounds like a Fallout reference... I know I've heard it before in any case.

      Delete
    14. I don’t think TBD quite got the maths right, but he’s highlighted something that is possible. If person A and person B both had 200 (200), then person A could trade 200 to person B. Person A would now have 200 (0) while person B would have 400 (400). If person B then traded 400 to person A, person A would have 600 (400), while person B would have 400 (0). Person A could then trade the 400 back to person B, leaving person A with 600 (0) and person B with 800 (400).

      There would be no increase in spendable CAPs (there are 400 throughout the process), but both parties could infinitely increase their leaderboard CAPs. I wouldn’t let him happen, but I could resolve the problem easily enough if it started to occur.

      Delete
    15. You're all right about my maths being wrong. Trickster's got it right.

      Let me try again. Person A and person B both start with A: 200(200) and B: 200(200)

      After person B trades 200 CAPs the result would be A: 400(400) and B: 200(0)

      Then person A trades 200 CAPS and the new result would be A: 400(200) and B: 400(200)

      And now, Trickster's already intervened and said he's going to stop the free trading of CAPs. IT'S BEGUN!!!!

      Beware he who foretells dire things. By taking action to avoid them, you may just be fulfilling the prophecy yourself.

      So now I'm going to give 20 of my (now more scarce) CAPs to the first person who can (without using a search engine) get the two references in my original ridiculous and mathematically challenged post. One is bloody easy and Jarikith already got it, the other is a little more difficult.

      Delete
    16. I'm watching you TBD! If the winner of your competition then finds a reason to trade the prize CAPs back to you... ;)

      Delete
    17. Ah, I see where I got it wrong. I didn't realize that any increase in leaderboard CAPs (lCAPs) automatically spawns spendable CAPs (sCAPs).

      I think one way to avoid this is having sCAPs be generated only by direct (non-trade) assignment of lCAPs. Users' ability of creating fictitious sCAPs through trade is thus effectively neutralized. That would lead to my scenario where both parties in TBD example end up with 400 (0). In this case, trading acts as a means to redistributing already existing wealth.

      Delete
    18. That is a lot Trickster, but I did rewrite the entire Adventure Games Wiki page, which other people have since upgraded heavily based on my template. Now you can sort it by any column on the table, and adding games is trivial. I also did write and monitor a Wikipedia article. All told it was a fair number of hours of work. Less then a blog post or playing along, sure, but work.

      Also I now am forever listed as the author of the Emanuelle Wikipedia article, so call them shame caps.

      Delete
    19. Thanks Trick for doing the math for us! But actually you have to deduct 10 points from the amount transferred. In the "year ahead 1989"-post we had the following dialogue with Canageek:

      I: Let's say that I'll first pay 5 CAPs as a security, but if and when I start to get new points, you'll get a third of them (minus the 5 points I've already given) until Trickster reaches the end of year 1989.
      C: That works for me.
      C: Better make that 10 CAP, this turns out to be a *lot* more work then I thought.
      I: @Canageek: No, I don't mind. It's not like I am going to get rich with this ;)
      @Trickster: When you return to Australia, be sure to move 10 CAPs from my account to Canageek's. And the agreement above stands, so after I've earned another 30 CAPs, start to give a third of my earnings to Canageek (until you reach the end of year 1989).

      And then in the final post for LSL 2, I talked with Trickster:
      I: On a more serious note, don't forget to move 10 points from me to Canageek! (see the comments in the post for the 1989 games for full and detailed contract we finally made)
      T: I've moved 10 points from you to Canageek. Just to remove any confusion, if someone bets 10 points and gets it wrong, I'm removing the points from the potential spend total and not their all time earnt total. Likewise, if someone trades points, they're trading their potential spend points and not points from their overall earned companion points.

      Delete
    20. I've de-traded (untraded?) 10 CAPs.

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    21. Welp, that is my last bid to catch up, I wonder now how long before I hit 4th?

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    22. http://static3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120521020561/battlefield/images/9/93/Shut_up_and_take_my_bottlecaps.png

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    23. Falloutorama? That's more awesome than it has any right to be.

      Delete
  8. Well I can post from my phone again. Woohoo! I'm saying 48, as these guys will probably bomb in the puzzles and solvability queue. (I think that games which have been translated have a nasty habit of this.)

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  9. It's been a while since I played this, so I might as well try it again also. I have no idea what score it will get, so I'll just randomly guess 52.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I am dropping my bet to 46. I tried the game and the controls are killing me.

      Delete
  10. I'll do 47. Is the score the only difference between the floppy and 1992 CD version? If so I'm going with the 92 version on CD since I'm not going to rate it myself. It sounds good!

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  11. A random guess of 60 takes the lead.

    I was considering joining in for this one, but I really should focus on Circuit's Edge for now. If I find the story line again and the ending, I may join in for this before you wrap it up.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Since we don't have a ton to say about this one, has anyone seen Dhoom 3? I hear it is the first Bollywood movie to break the top 10 in the US, and is quite good, but I've never watched a Bollywood movie before, and would rather not try a 3 hour movie in theatres...

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    Replies
    1. I've heard of it but since I've never really saw a good one other than Lagaan and Slumdog Millionaire (is THIS even Bollywood anymore?!), I'm skipping it to avoid all those sudden breakouts of songs and dance.

      Delete
    2. They may have been made in Bollywood, but I'm not sure they fall into the Bollywood genre. That said, I've not seen any of them.

      Delete
    3. I highly recommend Slumdog Millionaire.

      It's Danny Boyle's magnum opus.

      Delete
  13. I'm going for a low-ish 52. Graphically it looks rather good, but otherwise I think it's not quite great.

    As for the example bet: Znypbyz, sebz Gur Yrtraq Bs Xlenaqvn? Vg unf trzf naq n wbxre va vg...

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    Replies
    1. Nope, and I'll say straight up, I think this is the hardest one I've produced so far. You guys are too good at this, so I'm raising the stakes. ;)

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    2. That's incorrect (although it did fit pretty well).

      Delete
  14. This one frustrated me to no end back in the day. I'll go with a conservative 49.

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  15. I'm gonna rock it with a 54. I remember watching Yahtzees playthrough a while back and it seemed pretty good for the time. I didn't actually realize it was this early.

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  16. I'll go with 44. Graphics is cool and sound is crisp but gameplay and plot are both amateurish and clumsy.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm going with... 51, I have no basis for this guess, it hasn't been picked yet.. that is all.

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  18. Don't think 52 is taken. I'll try and keep up with this one as I fell way behind on Earthrise and have only just caught up.

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  19. New Steam game that is also on sale: Guise Of The Wolf, 30% off: The game is a first person Gothic action adventure game set in the medieval kingdom of Uhorsko. You play Dominik, a young alchemist summoned to protect the kingdom from a ravenous beast. Dominik's goals soon change as he discovers he has been bitten, and cursed to become the very thing he has set out to stop.

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/259640/

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    Replies
    1. Speaking of werewolves, it seems that this theme is spawning a lot of great games in different genres.
      Adventure; being listed by you.
      Strategy: Sang-Froid (http://store.steampowered.com/app/227220/)
      Action Platformer: Blood of the Werewolf (http://steamcommunity.com/app/260250/reviews/)

      Werewolves just can't go wrong, I guess.

      Delete
    2. Eeeepppp. It turns out that might not be true. Cynical Brit reviewed Guise of the Wolf and found it so buggy and unplayable that he rates it as "Avoid like the plague" and posted his 2 hours of trying to play through it so you can see all the bugs.

      Dear Gygax, you can walk through trees, the sound design is terrible, you can clip into rocks, etc. Now, some of his points are dumb "They froze the water here so they don't have to render it" Um, it is winter and there is snow outside. That is what most bodies of water do. But still.

      Enjoy: WTF Is Guise of the Wolf: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZB8YRafUfCY
      Let's Not Play Guise of the Wolf (Swearing) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ask3Dn1ocIQ

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    3. OH DEAR GYGAX. It needs loading time for the jump scares! THEN when the wolf bites you....
      http://mess.troutcave.net/comic.php?date=2012-02-27

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    4. Errr, nevermind that. Just a webcomic I'm reading. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZB8YRafUfCY#t=1097 is the timecode link.

      Delete
  20. Nordic Nights Promo sale on GoG, 60% off: http://www.gog.com/promo/nordic_games_weekend_promo_240114
    Book of Unwritten Tales
    Book of Unwritten Tales: The Critter Chronicles
    The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief
    Dark Fall: The Journal
    Dark Fall 2: Lights Out
    Jack Keane 2: The Fire Within
    Neighbours From Hell Compilation

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  21. No-one has solved my riddle yet, so let's up the stakes!

    How do you do, my name is black
    I have some jewels here in my sack
    Not the ones he wants to take
    A fool of him I’ll surely make

    With base I must communicate
    On useful gadgets rests my fate
    The tower I must infiltrate
    I simply cannot be too late

    Who am I for 30 CAPs?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Still no-one has solved my riddle, so let's up the stakes again!

    How do you do, my name is black
    I have some jewels here in my sack
    Not the ones he wants to take
    A fool of him I’ll surely make

    With base I must communicate
    On useful gadgets rests my fate
    The tower I must infiltrate
    I simply cannot be too late

    This game it hasn't made the list
    Ilmari could be somewhat pissed
    As while his answer wasn't right
    The variation's only slight

    Who am I for 40 CAPs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the answer is Raven from Traitor's Gate Ilmari should get half of the caps, as I'd feel bad for using his answer to find the solution.

      Delete
    2. It looks as though it fits, but there again, with the exception of the jewel changeover bit, Corvo actually did pretty well (as apparently, Corvo means 'raven' in Portuguese) so I was stuck on it. The fact that I'd never heard of 'Traitors Gate' before now may have been the issue with finding the answer, though. *laughs* Congrats though, Trick. I'd say this one actually baffled.

      Delete
    3. Definitely sounds right after reading about it at mobygames.

      Apparently it was strangely popular in Spain!

      http://www.mobygames.com/game/traitors-gate/trivia

      Delete
    4. Good grief, Traitor's Gate. I knew it was this game, but couldn't for the life of me remember the name. I kept coming back to Safecracker, which seems to be a prequel of sorts.

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    5. Yep, it's Raven from Traitor's Gate. I wasn't sure how to respond when Ilmari got so close. I didn't want to give it away entirely, and yet just saying "no" might have put other people off the trace. You got there in the end! :)

      Lars-Erik has decided that Ilmari should get half, so who am I to argue?

      20 CAPs to Lars-Erik and 20 CAPs to Ilmari.

      Delete
    6. Thanks Lars-Erik, always the gentleman!

      Delete