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[DS] Docking Station (FREE GAME DOWNLOAD!) 
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The Nymph (Administrator)
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Post [DS] Docking Station (FREE GAME DOWNLOAD!)
What's Docking Station all about?
Q : What do you get when you download Docking Station?
A : You get a complete self-contained spaceship that contains all you need to raise happy and healthy Norns. There are many food sources, toys and equipment to help you teach your Norns. There's also medical scanning equipment that will help you care for your creatures should they become ill. In the Communications room, there are address books that will allow you to organise your friends. You can set up portals to your friend's worlds and let your creatures travel to and fro at will!

Q : Can I play Docking Station offline?
A : You need to be online to register a new world. This is so the Norns you make in it have their home world properly stored in their history. If you register a world online then you can save it and play it later without ever going online again. There are some third party instructions for making a new world without registering it online. This can cause confusing history for your Norns in the online database, and can crash the game, so we do not support it.

Q : What can you do with it?
A : As with all Creatures titles, your job is to raise and train Norns, cuddly virtual life creatures that live on the Capillata space ship. Because they have neural network brains, Norns can be taught right from wrong, but because they also have their own, individual personalities, they may not always do what you want (or even what you expect!). You should play with them and spend time teaching them about the world around them and when they're old enough, you can breed them. Norn babies inherit the digital DNA from their parents and this, along with some random mutations, makes them truly individual creatures.

But that's not the whole story. Creatures users around the world have been playing Creatures in a variety of ways. Its open-ended design offers multiple opportunities for fun and amusement! Many users love the cuddly little Norns in the game and spend most of their time interacting with them and breeding them. Docking Station makes this even more fun by essentially opening up the "gene pool" to lots of variation. By sending a creature through the Docking Station "warp" you are providing your Norns with lots of opportunities to breed with other Norns. You'll be able to buy new breeds from the Creatures Mall or download third party breeds.You can then choose to trade them with your friends and hopefully, between you, you can breed better-looking and more intelligent Norns.

Or try your hand at Genetic Engineering: Buy the Creature Labs Genetics Kit (or download freeware gen kits made by 3rd parties) and fiddle with your creatures' digital DNA to create new behaviour or better instincts. Or maybe you'd like to create a new breed from scratch? Get the Brain-in-a-Vat kit (free from the Creatures Developer Network) and work on developing new brain structures for Creatures. Finally, join in the fun of the Creatures Community. This sociable bunch loves to talk Creatures! There are tons of third party websites, chat forums and newsgroups devoted to Creatures. The Docking Station Central website also has forums where you can talk to other Docking Station users and find new friends.

Q : Are the Norns really alive?
A : Well, some say they are and some say they aren't. We've never been ones to say who's right or wrong about this issue and we're not going to start now!

We set out to create the most believable virtual creature that we could and Norns are the result of that. They have a biochemistry, brains, and digital DNA and fulfil most of the requirements for real life. We think they're the most believable and life-like virtual creatures ever created but you should find out for yourself!

Q : Why is it free?
A : One of the greatest things about Creatures has always been the people who have played and loved it over the years. They've been communicating online and making friends with other Creatures players and are always coming up with great new ways to play the game. We wanted to make an easy and fun way for Creatures fans to trade Norns online and we came up with Docking Station.

But then we thought it would possible to introduce lots of new people to Creatures and giving Docking Station away for free seemed like a great way to do this. We hope that these new players will love Creatures Docking Station so much, they'll want to buy the full Creatures 3 game.And because we ask you to fill in some survey and demographic questions, we can find out what our users - both new and old - are interested in so we can make better titles of all kinds.

Q : What do you get in Creatures 3 that's not in Docking Station?
A : If you have Creatures 3, you can do even more! Creatures 3 is a giant spaceship with 4 separate terrarium environments. You'll get 3 huge habitats - Forest, Jungle and Desert - each with their own environments and 2 Operations areas: Engineering and The Bridge.

The Shee spaceship didn't leave Albia without a few stowaways and you'll find two completely new species of creature and three more Norn breeds as well, including the popular Bengal Norns. Creatures 3 contains all new equipment including a Genetic Splicer, a Replicator, a Recycler and a Chemical Injection machine. There's also new food, plants, animals and toys and connecting gadgets - connect individual machines together to produce larger and better gadgets! There are a huge number of useful machines that you can connect together to help you take care of your Norns.


Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:01 pm
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The Nymph (Administrator)
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Post [DS] Docking Station Client - PC
Docking Station Client - PC
Docking Station is a free, downloadable version of Creatures which allows you to exchange Norns online in real time!

Need help getting started? Try the Quick Start or peruse the Docking Station manual.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Installation instructions
    Your display setting must be set to 16bit in order for Docking Station to run.
    Once downloaded to your computer, double-click dockingstation.exe and follow the instructions on-screen.
  1. When the Docking Station Installblast notification comes up asking you if you want to go online for updates, press Cancel.
  2. Launch the title by selecting it from your Start menu. Ignore the warning about automatic updates. Currently the installblast is not set to perform automatic updates.
  3. Select a name for your new world and click the green tick. When prompted, enter the usrname and password that were emailed to you when you registered.

Docking Station Client - PC: dockingstation_195.exe


Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:39 pm
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The Nymph (Administrator)
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Post [DS] Docking Station PC System Requirements
Docking Station PC System Requirements

PC CD-ROM
Windows 95/98/ME/NT and Win 2000 with administrator privileges
Pentium II processor or higher
32Mb RAM or higher
64Mb and higher if Docked with Creatures 3
200Mb hard drive space
DirectX compatible Sound Card
DirectX compatible Video Card
Internet connection

Internet Explorer 4.0 or greater (for improved Windows network functionality, use of the browser itself not required)
Please Note: Internet Explorer 4.0 (or greater) installs vital Windows Internet components that are required for the networking capabilities of Docking Station. No other browser does this. However, once these Windows Internet components are installed you are free to use whatever browser you prefer to access the Creature Data on the Docking Station Central site.

K6-2 processors: Some players may find that Docking Station runs very slowly on K6-2 equipped systems. This is due to the many floating point calculations needed to simulate Norn biochemistry and neural net. We're aware of this issue and have discussed it with AMD, unfortunately there is little that we can do to make the game run any faster. The recommended solution to this issue is a processor upgrade.

XP Compatibility: Docking Station was not made to work on the Windows XP operating system. Though similiar, this operating system is different from Windows 95/98/ME and thus it may be unstable or refuse to work at all. However, some users success installing and running Docking Station on XP as long as:

- The game is installed by a user with complete administrator privileges.
- The game is run only by a user with complete administrator privileges.

You must install (or reinstall if already installed) under a Windows XP user that has complete administrator privileges and the game can only run by a user with complete administrator privileges.

[url]Further XP Installation Instructions[/url]


Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:41 pm
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Post [DS] Docking Station Client - Linux
Docking Station Client - Linux
Docking Station is a free, standalone Creatures game and the first Creatures title ported to Linux.

Need help getting started? Try the Quick Start or peruse the Docking Station manual.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Downloading the Linux Tarball
This method lets you download the game as one file.
Start an X terminal window as an ordinary user
Download the installation tarball to your home directory
Type tar xvfj dockingstation_195_64.tar.bz2 to extract to a temporary folder.
Type cd dockingstation_195_64 and ./dstation-install to start installation (notice the period before the slash).

After initial installation, type dockingstation to check for updates and run the game.
You can now delete the temporary folder with rm dockingstation_195_64.tar.bz2 -fr

Docking Station Client - Linux - dockingstation_195_64.tar.bz2


Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:45 pm
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Post [DS] Docking Station Linux System Requirements
Linux System Requirements:
x86 or 100% compatible processor (Pentium, AMD) - must be at least Pentium 2 or equivalent x86
32Mb RAM (Docked with Creatures 3 will require 64Mb)
100Mb hard drive space (but only a 20Mb download)
Linux kernel 2.2
Glibc 2.1
Other common software: GTK (most versions), GNU text and file utilities (bash, md5sum etc.), wget or Lynx, bzip2
Internet connection

ldd output of the Docking Station executable indicating the libraries required:
lc2elib.so - (included with Docking Station)
libSDLStretch.so - (included with Docking Station)
libgtk-1.2.so.0
libgdk-1.2.so.0
libglib-1.2.so.0
libz.so.1
libSDL-1.2.so.0 - (included with Docking Station)
libpthread.so.0
libSDL_mixer-1.2.so.0 - (included with Docking Station)
libstdc++-libc6.1-2.so.3 - (included with Docking Station)
libm.so.6
libc.so.6
libgmodule-1.2.so.0
libdl.so.2
libXi.so.6
libXext.so.6
libX11.so.6


Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:47 pm
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Post [DS] Linux Technical Problems
Linux Technical Problems
Q : "I'm running SuSE 7.0 and the game freezes on startup!"
A : SuSE 7.0 ships broken versions of the Xfree86 3.3.6 libraries. You need to upgrade to XFree86 4.0.

Q : "Where can I find my saved worlds?"
A : In your home directory in the folder '.dockingstation/My Worlds'. You can move the folders in there to other places to backup the worlds or to give them to friends.

Q : "Where do I put .agents files that I've downloaded?"
A : The Linux version of Docking Station has the same agent and egg file format as the Windows version. To install the file, copy it to '.dockingstation/My Agents'. If you have multiple users on one machine, you can put the agent file in '/usr/local/games/dockingstation/My Agents' to give everyone access to it.

Q : "How do I install Docking Station in my home directory?"
A : If you don't have 'super user' access to your computer, you can install Docking Station to your home directory. Instead of typing './dstation-install', type the following: mkdir ~/bin INSTALL_DEST=~/DockingStation BIN_DEST=~/bin ./dstation-install After installation you can then run the game by typing '/bin/dockingstation', or you can add '~/bin' to your path.

Q : "How do I: change the language after installation, uninstall, check my installation is OK or launch the game without checking for updates?"
A : Type 'dockingstation --help' for information on how to do all these things.

Q: "I'm having weird trouble and I'm using kernel 2.x.y where x is an odd number, or y is small"
A : Any kernel where x is an odd number, or with 'pre' in its name is an experimental kernel, and may have bugs. Also, the 2.4.y kernel is rather "new" and still contains some bugs. The larger the y' number is, the more stable the kernel is. Please try again with the lastest 2.4.y kernel, or try a 2.2.y kernel. Kernel bugs are difficult to track down, and difficult for us to test. We don't have the resources to support Docking Station with non-stable or patched kernels. We suggest you look at your Linux distribution's web site for further details concerning kernels.

Q : Towards the end of installation I get the following error message:
Converting images for checksumming
Xlib: connection to ":0.0" refused by server
Xlib: Client is not authorized to connect to Server
Gtk-WARNING **: cannot open display: :0.0

A : On some distributions root does not have privileges to open a window on the X server. To solve this problem, type xhost + (that's one space between "xhost" and "+") before installation. You won't have to download everything again. Just rerun the installation, it will check the files then continue with the install.


Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:50 pm
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Post [DS] Docking Station Gameplay Hints and Tips
Docking Station Gameplay Hints and Tips
Q : How do I keep my Norns warm?
A : The Docking Station Capillata is always kept at a nice warm temperature. Any temperature variations in your Norns are most likely due to genetic mutations or illness. The effects of mutations could affect your Norn severely but illnesses can usually be fought if your Norn is kept well fed and happy. If you have a Norn with an illness you may want to keep it away from other Norns in case there is a cold going around.

Q : My Norns keep dying, what can I do?
A : You should use the Hover Doc to inspect your Norns for bacteria. If you find some bacteria on your Norn use the Kill bacteria button (on the Hover Doc) to release an antibacterial spray. You can also use the toxin control button to find out if your Norn has any toxins. The Hover Doc is the one stop shop for ill Norns in Docking Station. Even so, you need to remember that death and dying are part of the game. Without death you would find no new Norns as eggs won't hatch until there is space in the world for them.

Q : The Hover Doc is getting in the way - what can I do?
A : Click on the Hover Doc's body and the Creatures Care Kit window will be minimised. Click again to maximise the display window.

Q : There are too many warnings and/or life events displayed on the screen. A : Go to the Control Room and select Options. You will then be able to change the number of warnings and life events displayed.

Q : I'm having problems identifying which portal is which.
A : Try giving your portals descriptive names like incoming_any or outgoing_friends. Then when you move the hand over a portal, you'll easily be able to tell which portal is which.

Q : I've raised the limits on Norns and Breeding populations and now my PC runs very slowly. What can I do?
A : Both Docking Station and the Norns require a lot of processing power. To regain speed, lower the limits and export some Norns (they'll go into suspended animation on your hard drive). This will ease the load on your PC and speed will increase. With a bit of trial and error, you'll soon find a comfortable setting for your Norns.

Q : How do I go online?
A : You need to click the small green button which is near the Creature name panel, if you hold your mouse over it a tool tip will display, "Connect to Creature Labs."

Q : How do I dock the game?
A : When you create a new game you get the option of it being Capillata only, (which is Docking Station on it's own), or Docked (which is with Creatures 3 docked with the Capillata). The button is in between the confirm (tick) and cancel (cross) icons. It is a toggle button which allows you to select which type of game world you create.

Q : Some Norns I have sent are classed as still 'in warp' - why is this?
A : When you send a Norn to another player it is delivered the next time they come online. If they don't come online for a while then it is possible that your creature is waiting to be delivered. Once a creature is delivered though it is still possible for it to be classed as 'in warp' if there is no room in the new world for it. Within the Docking Station folder you will find a folder called 'User', open this and it contains a list of all the users who play DS on your machine. Within each users folder there is a folder called 'Warp In'. This folder will show you all the creatures who have been delivered to you, and are waiting for entry to your world. If you have a full world, and lots of creatures in your 'Warp In' folder then the only way you can get these new creatures into your world is to remove some existing creatures (send them to other players or export them) - or increase your creature limit.

Q : I've just started and lots of Norns have arrived in my containment chamber, it's too much too fast - how do I make it stop?
A : By default the containment chamber is set up to receive from any other player. If you don't want this you will need to configure the chamber to receive from specific people, or no-one at all. Alternatively, don't go online until you are ready to receive creatures.

Q : I downloaded Docking Station from the site, so I didn't buy anything at all. Does Muco the egg layer only lays Norns? Will he ever lay Grendels or Ettins? Or do I have to buy the other stuff first?
A : Muco will lay Norn eggs and nothing else if you do not have Creatures 3 or other Norn breeds installed on your computer. If you install Creatures 3, or any of the (soon to be released) Norn breeds, you can lay all the different Norn breeds through Muco the Egg layer. Ettins and Grendels will be handled in the same way as in Creatures 3. The game engine will lay Ettin eggs automatically to ensure that some of those creatures exist in the game world.

Q : I have a creature who looks very different in the 'photo album section of their history. They just look like a ChiChi in my world.
A : The appearance of a creature is dependent on the images you have on your machine. If you have purchased Creatures 3 (or extra breeds) then you will be able to create Norns of vastly different appearance, but if they travel to a player who doesn't have these images they will revert to an image set that they do have. The only way to see a creature in all its glory is if you have all the extra breeds!

Q : I was editing some text in a message and I pressed END expecting to go to the end of the line ... now I am somewhere else in the ship. What happened?
A : HOME, END, PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN all have particular uses in Docking Station that are not text editing functions! These keys all control the movement around the ship. The only keys you can use for editing text are the cursor keys, backspace, delete, cut and paste.

Q : How do I make my Norns have triplets or multiple births?
A : There is a chance that any Norn can have multiple pregnancies, you don't need to do anything, just get your Norns mating and hope for the best.

Q : My Norn is pregnant but she will not lay her egg.
A : If your game world is docked you can take your Norn to the medical bay and inject her with some Progesterone, this may help her to lay the egg. If the game is not docked you can try this bit of CAOS code and see if this helps. Drop down the CAOS command line by holding down Shift + Ctrl + C and type in the following:
targ Norn chem 48 1

Q : When I press Ctrl Shift E it brings up ICQ?
A : This is because ICQ maps those specific keys. You'll have to disable ICQ to use the Ctrl Shift E combination when playing Docking Station.

Q : I want to import a Docking Station Norn into Creatures 3 but I can't see the Creature to import into my game world.
A : This is due to the serialisation differences in Creatures 3 and Docking Station. Some required changes to the Docking Station (DS) engine means that a DS Norn export file would not be readable to Creatures 3. You can load Creatures 3 Norns into Docking Station though.

Q : I have had my eggs in there for guite a while and they still have not hatched! Is something wrong.
A : If you have reached your creature breeding limit (as set in your Options Menu) then you will find that eggs wont hatch until there is 'space' for them. Either increase the amount of Norns allowed in your game world or export some Norns to make way for the new eggs.

Q : Is there a way to take an object room to room without having to pick it up, take it to the door, drop it, open the door and try to pick it up before the room door closes. It gets very annoying!
A : Put it in your inventory! Alternatively scroll through the favourite places with the page up & page down keys, or your scroll wheel if you have one.

Q : Anybody got any hints or tips on how to get your generations up in the thousands? Is it done by simply waiting patiently in your game, or letting your creatures roam the warp?
A : If you get a creature of generation 1000 arriving through the warp from someone, and then it breeds with one of your (lower generation) creatures then the offspring will be generation 1001. Letting in some of the creatures in the warp can certainly help boost your personal genepool - colours, longevity and generation are just some of the 'boosts' you can get. Of course, there could be some particular genetic variations you *don't* want in your world, but that's where personal choice comes in.


Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:05 pm
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Post [DS] Docking Station Installation Troubleshooting
Installation Troubleshooting
If you're having trouble downloading or installing Docking Station, this page will help you with some common problems. Before reading this page, please make sure you follow the instructions in any message or error dialogs that you see.

Installing from the Zip File
Are you having problems installing from the standard Zip file? Cannot find certain files? The Docking Station Client should be 30.26Mb. If it is smaller than this, it did not download completely and you will need to try again.

Try closing all other running applications, including those on your task tray (next to the clock on the task bar).

Try installing immediately after a fresh reboot.

If you use AOL, try downloading from the Master screen name. The parental controls on other screen names can stop the download from working. Also, try upgrading to the latest version of AOL.

If you have a filtering proxy set in your browser, try disabling it.

Other Installation Problems
Check for updated device drivers for your hardware, especially your video and sound cards. Most card manufacturers offer updated device drivers for their cards. Check back occasionally to see if there is a more suitable device driver for your card.

Go to the Windows Update Site (http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com) to see if there are any updates for your operating system.

Download and install the most up-to-date version of Microsoft DirectX from the following site: http://outlook.microsoft.com/directx. Some PC Magazine cover disks include the most up to date version of DirectX, it may save you a long download.

Get the most up-to-date version of your Internet Browser, if this doesn't help, try using a different web browser.

Image Conversion Failure
After installation completes, the images in Docking Station and Creatures 3 (if you have it installed) are converted to a format appropriate for your graphics card. If you get an error during the conversion of the Creatures 3 images, then it is likely to be a corrupt third party image file in your Creatures 3 directory.

To solve this problem, uninstall Creatures 3, and make sure the Images and Backgrounds folders are completely removed. Then reinstall Creatures 3.

More detailed note: For example, this has been known to happen with the file "Mandy_vendall.C16.tmp.c16" from a third party agent. This file is corrupt and should be deleted, in this instance you would not need to reinstall Creatures 3.


Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:10 pm
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Post [DS] Docking Station Connection Troubleshooting
Connection Troubleshooting
Please check out the suggestions below for ways of resolving connection problems to Docking Station servers.

Q: When I try to log-in with Docking Station, it says the server is down or I'm not connected to the internet.
A: If you played Docking Station some time ago (before Gameware purchased the Creature Labs assets), but are now having trouble connecting, it is probably your game looking for the wrong server. Try the following:
Make sure Docking Station is NOT running
Browse to the Docking Station directory on your computer (usually C:\Program Files\DockingStation)
Delete the file named "server.cfg" (or simply rename it if you prefer)
Re-launch Docking Station by double-clicking "engine.exe"

Because Docking Station no longer uses the InstallBlast updater, you will now need to relink your shortcuts to use "engine.exe". You can do this by right-clicking the shortcut in your "Start" menu and selecting "Delete" from the drop-down menu. You can then right-click and drag "engine.exe" into its place.

Q: I tried all that and it didn't work!
A: Make sure you are connected to the Internet - seems obvious, but sometimes a connection to your ISP can be severed.

If you use AOL, try connecting from the Master screen name. The parental controls on other screen names may cause problems with AOL.

Try using a different ISP - This is not as drastic as it sounds. The Internet Connection Wizard should help you locate a different ISP in your area. Please note that you will still be able to use your current ISP even if you sign up for another. It is advisable to be registered with at least two ISP's because if one ISP is busy or goes off line and you need to use the Internet you can simply dial in to the other ISP. This is possibly the best suggestion as any suspected issue with a current ISP can quite quickly be confirmed or eliminated.

Please be aware that some ISP's are not free and you may be asked to submit credit card details before you can use the system. Check all the details before signing up.

If your Internet connection is going through a proxy server or firewall you need to make sure that it will allow access to the following IP address: 81.174.139.142 on Port number 49152.

If you are trying to access Docking Station from work, university or similar, you may need to ask the system administrator if s/he can make this amendment for you.

Get in touch with your ISP and ask them (nicely) if they are blocking access to the following IP address 81.174.139.142 on Port number 49152. Your ISP may have a Firewall or Proxy server which is stopping the connection, get in touch with them and ask them for their advice on the issue they may be able to help.


More Technical Help

For those of a technical nature there are some connection checks you can make to see if you can contact one of our servers.

Go to your Start Bar and click the Run menu item, you should see a dialogue box. Type in "Command" (without the speech marks) and click OK.

You should see an MSDOS screen, type in the following :

ping heart.creatures.net [RETURN]

This will send packets of data to our server and is used to see if the server responds. If the ping returns with 'dropped packets' or the request 'times out' then it is very likely that you have Internet connection problems (or our server is offline). Try 'pinging' another website local to your country or area (even your own ISP) to see what response you get. Please note that some websites may block 'ping' commands so try a number of websites.

Please include details of this data if you get in touch with Customer Support.

If the ping returns with data and is OK please try the following:

Open a browser window and type in the following address or click the link below:

http://heart.creatures.net:49152/

You should see a black page with yellow writing that says, "heart.creatures.net", it will also show your IP address. This is a check to make sure that you can access port number 49152. If you cannot see this page it is most likely due to an ISP, personal or corporate firewall which has blocked access to the specific port.

It could be that our server is down or your ISP is experiencing problems. If you ping (see above) the server and get request time outs try to connect later on.

Get the most up-to-date version of your Internet Browser, if this doesn't help, try using a different web browser.


Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:12 pm
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Post [DS] Docking Station System Files Runtime Updater
This download will allow you to update three important system files that Docking Station requires.Some of the sytem files for Docking Station may need to be updated in your machine. We have created an easy to use installer for these files. If you double click the Engine.exe file in the main Docking Station folder you may get an error message relating to one of these files. If so, please download this patch and install it. Simply download the Runtime Updater and double click it and it will update the following files: MSVCRT.DLL, MSVCIRT.DLL, and MSVCP60.DLL Or it will tell you that your system files are already up to date!


Attachments:
DS_RuntimeUpdater.exe [300.42 KiB]
Downloaded 172 times
Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:01 pm
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