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FAQ by ASchultz

Version: 1.0.0 | Updated: 05/14/2002

Dig Dug(Atari 8-bit version) FAQ
version 1.0.0
by Andrew Schultz schultza@earthlink.net

Please do not redistribute this FAQ for profit without my consent. I 
write these documents for the memories and to help others to relive them 
as well(this one was the only requested Atari 8-bit FAQ,) and in 
addition Dig Dug is a pretty tough game on later levels. However, 
sending me an e-mail asking me for this game 1. by its name and 2. by my 
first name *should* get you a more favorable response, although I am 
very bad about responding to e-mails.

        **AD SPACE**

My home page:

http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Exhibit/2762

================================

  INTRODUCTION

  ATARI 8 BIT SPECIFIC QUIRKS/CONTROLS

  SCORING

  GENERAL STRATEGY

    DEALING WITH POOKA

    DEALING WITH FYGAR

    DROPPING ROCKS

    LEVEL SURVIVAL

    GETTING POINTS

  GENERAL LEVEL ATTRIBUTES

  MAPS/LEVEL SPECIFIC STRATEGY

    LEVEL 1

    LEVEL 2

    LEVEL 3

    LEVEL 4

    LEVEL 5

    LEVEL 6

    LEVEL 7

    LEVEL 8

    LEVEL 9

    LEVEL 10

    LEVEL 11

    LEVEL 12

    LEVEL 13

    LEVEL 14

    LEVEL 15

    LEVEL 16

    LEVEL 17

    LEVEL 18 AND ABOVE

  VERSIONS/CREDITS

================================

  INTRODUCTION

  Dig Dug is one of the most well known and well loved classic video 
games. It loses a bit of its shine when moved to the blockier game 
dimensions of the Atari 8 bit, but I remember enjoying this game quite a 
bit as a youngster, starting at the carrot level for a breezy long game 
or the pineapple level for a quick challenge.

  In the game itself every level starts out with you underground in a 
hunk of dirt. When you've excavated it all it is revealed to be a 13x9 
grid. However at the beginning there is only an upside down T where you 
have entered and some small compartments where the monsters are. There 
are also rocks you can go under and, when you move away, they drop. 
Rocks can drop on monsters or you, and the more monsters you nail the 
better. After you drop two rocks a vegetable appears where you started, 
and you have a certain time to get it. Your main weapon to kill monsters 
is a pump. Pumping a monster four times quickly blows it up and less 
than that may allow them to deflate but will always pause them with the 
first shot. So you can pump a monster and drop a rock on it.

  So what are the monsters? There is Pooka which just chases after you, 
and there is Fygar who chases after you and breathes fire horizontally. 
He's the more dangerous of the two. Either one is more likely to try to 
glide through the dirt as a mask to chase you(it can't reach you 
regularly) at the start.

  A level is complete when all monsters are cleared from the board 
although the last one can chicken out and flee.

  Although Dig Dug is still Dig Dug and fun to tinker with, hopefully my 
labelling the game's Atari 8-bit specific annoying points may be 
instructive and help people to understand what they would appreciate in 
a game that just 'feels smooth;' of course graphical fidelity was 
impossible but the game seems a bit too rough in retrospect.

  I'm not sure how this FAQ works with the original arcade version so be 
forewarned there.

  ATARI 8 BIT SPECIFIC QUIRKS/CONTROLS

  The scoring is more or less the same as in the arcade version. The 
premise and how many times you blow up the monsters before they explode 
are the same although I cannot vouch for the details of how far away you 
can safely leave a Fygar. But there are things to be aware of.

  First, there's a lot of annoying graphical overlap. You'll see that 
often, when you die, the monster will be on the other side of you as if 
it reaches back to say 'woops--forgot to pick up one of ol' Dig Dug's 
lives! Heh!' If you time things right you can walk through a monster as 
it turns from the dirt to a tunnel.

  However, the unpredictability of when a monster turns from a mask into 
its normal state usually works against you. It's a Murphy's law type of 
rule that it will never happen when you expect it. Since the masks 
bounce around this is especially tough to judge.

  You don't really have full control over your character; he can only go 
all four directions when he is at a gridpoint(i.e. the start.) If you 
try to turn ninety degrees and have just passed a gridpoint then your 
man will keep going forward until the next gridpoint. This has lethal 
results especially since it is not at all easy to tell when you are at a 
gridpoint.

  Remember that if you send a pump out and a monster walks into the 
middle of it, it will not be frozen. It will in fact probably kill you. 
Move away from masks that are about to appear as these are the most 
likely to catch you like this.

  Watch out for graphic pile-ups with three or more monsters in the same 
area, or rather, forget utterly trying to figure out what's going on. 
Just button bash and hope, there's no science involved.

  Fygar's fire range is slightly longer than that of your pump. He will 
stop just before you can get to him, but he takes time to breathe.

  It takes for-stinking-ever to enter your first level but then the 
monsters may converge on you right away without you getting a chance to 
look at the scene once you get past level ten.

  It takes a while for a score and often an extra guy to register. I'll 
often perform two scoring actions and have the first one register well 
after. Then due to the resolution instead of the monsters turning into 
point scores, it replaces stuff at the top of the screen. Very awkward--
it makes the game feel like it's lagging. But you can't lag--you need to 
move PRONTO. A second pause can put you in dire straits in level 14+. I 
recommend moving horizontally to start out(or vertically if you just 
want to chicken out and have a shootout above ground.)

  Given that you've already spent your cash on the cartridge(or you did 
back before emulation) the game doesn't mind such features as pauses or 
starting on the right levels. From Atari 8-bit to Windows the keys you 
need to be aware of are F2(option, selects level to start on) and F4(to 
start a game, can be used in the middle of a game.) F2 also aborts a 
game in progress so you need to beware of its touchiness.

  SCORING

  10 points for digging out a square. You seem to get credit towards 10 
points for each horizontal/vertical line between grid squares as well.
  After you drop your second rock you get a vegetable treat appearing in 
the center which disappears after a certain amount of time(10 sec?) Grab 
it and get points as listed below.
  1000 for nailing one monster with a falling rock, 2500 for two, 4000 
for three, and big bonuses for more--I'd have to consult a manual to see 
what exactly.
  Depending on the zone(the lower the better) you get 200/300/400/500 
points for blowing up a pooka or blowing up a fygar from above/below. If 
a monster is on the borderline, you get the deficit of the doubt.
  This total is doubled if you blow up a Fygar from the side, as Fygar 
is riskier to kill hand-to-hand, er, paw.
  You receive extra men at 10000, 40000 and then every 40000 thereafter.

  GENERAL STRATEGY

    DEALING WITH POOKA

  Pooka is pretty easy to deal with. I'll cover a lot of stuff here that 
also applies to Fygar so pay attention.

  If you wait around then bad guys are more likely to chase after you 
going through the dirt. This can be bad or good. You may want to wiggle 
around for a while. On the later levels there's a good way to trap 
Pookas into getting crushed by a rock. Wait under a rock that is below a 
compartment where two pookas are. When they are over the rock, run away 
from it. If they are touching the rock, it will sink them. Now obviously 
you need to watch out for other monsters coming at you. I might suggest 
standing just to the side and making sure that you have enough paths 
that other monsters will turn up, then moving under the rock at the last 
moment. Pookas can move diagonally to hone in on you while in the dirt 
although they are a good deal slower(this is also a good way to get rid 
of them.) In general you have a good deal of command over Pookas if they 
are in mask state as you can goad them where they want to be. Here's an 
example of how precise movement can net security and points, where X is 
a rock and : is your path, stretched to prove a point:

 GOOD    OK     OK
    ::  :::::      :
   ::   :          :
X ::   X:     X    :
:::    ::     ::::::

  In the first case the pookas will be goaded diagonally and continually 
under the rock. In the second case they go diagonally but may go into 
the path you've created and run after you. In the third they may stop 
going diagonally and run into the path you've created next to you 
instead of over the rock. Although it's a good idea to move immediately 
and continually, a little finesse can make the monsters do what you want 
them to.

  For extra points, blow up Pookas when you and they are under a 
rock(but be sure not to touch it first as you will have to move down, 
the rock will loosen, and take you with them.) Pookas only net 500 max 
with the pump but 1000+ under a rock.

  Pookas cannot walk directly through thin holes(for instance, 
compartments with a grid-line barrier between them) but can migrate as 
masks pretty quickly. They also seem to move away from rocks slower than 
fygars, get faster than you around level 6, and get much faster on level 
12. Keep in mind you also slow down a bit while digging--something to 
think of when you flee.

  Both Pooka and Fygar are obstructed by a vegetable when it appears. I 
believe this is a system specific quirk.

  Pooka and Fygar also never make right turns to go through thin 
horizontal/vertical gridlines. So if you have a winding path they will 
take a while going around it. They also seem to use a feel-every-
cranny(always turn right) algorithm to locate you if you are not clearly 
in their sights.

    DEALING WITH FYGAR

  Fygar can be nasty. In two compartments separated by a vertical 
gridline, he can breathe the horizontal fire that he breathes in normal 
tunnels. This gives him an advantage over you, as you can't. He also has 
a tendency to stop before rocks drop and to breathe. He'll catch you if 
you move only half-way vertically out of the way.

  However if a Fygar is the last one on the board you can ambush him as 
he goes off to the upper left and pump him from the side for a cheap 
extra 200 points.

  Fygar always pauses before he starts to breathe, so move forward if no 
monsters are near and pump him to death, or back up if you need space. 
To kill him in a pinch you can shoot vertically but because he is not so 
dangerous from that angle, he is treated like a pooka for point 
purposes.

  Fygar is as fast as Pooka but he is a frown/smile alternating mask 
instead of bobbing eyes when he moves through the dirt.

    DROPPING ROCKS

  Count one, two, three, and watch the rock drop. Generally whatever it 
even brushes, it kills. This usually works in your favor unless you 
involuntarily start it tipping and can't run away quickly enough. So 
don't run right up to a rock unless you want to drop it right away. Note 
also that if monsters are in too close pursuit they may make it past the 
falling rock following you as you move horizontally out of the way. So 
don't try to cut it too close; it's obvious what monsters do when they 
chase after you.

  Vertical corridors can be awkward if too many monsters pile up, but if 
you can slowly pump and goad them into a long one they can be lucrative. 
However the best bet is to knock a bad guy or two out quickly by either 
baiting a mask or two(see above) or taking advantage of the fact that 
many monsters move back and forth in compartments and a well timed rock 
will get them. For instance in the diagram below...

  X
.....
 +-+
 | |
 | |
 |F|
 +-+

  If there's a thin horizontal line separating the Fygar from your 
path(the dots) after you under the rock, it will drop on the Fygar who 
is helpless to run after you. It's safer and more lucrative than the 
pump!

Similarly you can time a rock drop into a horizontal compartment to get 
a bad guy.

 X
.....
+---+
| F |
+---+

  If there's a thin grid line separating your path(the dots) from 
Fygar's compartment, drop the rock at the right time and he can't help 
but get hit by it. You may need to move back and forth a bit to prevent 
a bad guy from turning into a mask but the timing is pretty easy to 
judge--let the rock drop when Fygar is under it.

    LEVEL SURVIVAL

  If you're a real wimp and want to just survive, then you can go to the 
top dirt level, plow out a path, and wait for the monsters to come up. 
Patrol the top level until you find a spot where the monsters won't 
converge at once and then pump them all up to survive. It's a sort of 
fun shootout but doesn't offer a lot of variety for the game. Also you 
wind up losing when you thing you should've survived a gunfight. It's 
more like flipping a coin and hoping it comes up heads than like real 
gaming.

    GETTING POINTS

  It's hard to get monsters lined up because it's so hard to see what's 
where in general. However you can, with luck, wait under a couple of 
rocks to knock out two enemies at once(2500 points) and pick up the 
pineapple on level 16+(7000) for a consistent 12000 points. Five other 
monsters at at least 200 each and 150 for the dirt make 13150. So you 
should get an extra guy every three levels. The key is to keep 
relatively close to the vegetable after dropping your rock or better yet 
to drop one rock, bring the monsters to the top, and ONLY PUMP THEM UP 
before dropping the second rock. If you are resourceful enough, you will 
have an easy path to the vegetable.

  On later levels vegetables are more valuable than anything else, and I 
think that once the vegetable is gone and you're running for your life, 
just go to the top and have a firefight.

  GENERAL LEVEL ATTRIBUTES

# |F|P|R|top-to-bottom color scheme|vegetable at center
---+-+-+----------------------------+---------------------
*1 |1|3|3|Tan/Orange/LtBrown/DkBrown|carrot, 400
*2 |2|3|3|Tan/Orange/LtBrown/DkBrown|turnip, 600
*3 |2|3|4|Tan/Orange/LtBrown/DkBrown|mushroom, 800
*4 |2|3|5|Tan/Orange/LtBrown/DkBrown|zucchini, 1000
 5 |3|3|5|LtBlu/Brown/Tan/Brown     |zucchini, 1000
*6 |3|2|4|LtBlu/Brown/Tan/Brown     |brown eggplant, 2000
 7 |3|3|4|LtBlu/Brown/Tan/Brown     |brown eggplant, 2000
*8 |3|3|4|LtBlu/Brown/Tan/Brown     |green pepper, 3000
 9 |4|4|5|White/Grey/LtGrn/Blue     |green pepper, 3000
*10|4|4|4|White/Grey/LtGrn/Blue     |purple eggplant, 4000
 11|4|3|4|White/Grey/LtGrn/Blue     |purple eggplant, 4000
*12|4|4|4|White/Grey/LtGrn/Blue     |weird dome, 5000
 13|4|4|4|Tan/Orange/LtBrown/DkBrown|weird dome, 5000
*14|4|4|4|Tan/Orange/LtBrown/DkBrown|watermelon, 6000
 15|4|4|4|Tan/Orange/LtBrown/DkBrown|watermelon, 6000
*16|4|3|4|Tan/Orange/LtBrown/DkBrown|not-a-pineapple, 7000
 17|4|4|4|LtBlu/Brown/Tan/Brown     |not-a-pineapple, 7000
 18|4|4|4|LtBlu/Brown/Tan/Brown     |not-a-pineapple, 7000
 19|4|4|4|LtBlu/Brown/Tan/Brown     |not-a-pineapple, 7000
 20|4|3|4|LtBlu/Brown/Tan/Brown     |not-a-pineapple, 7000

* = option to start this level

  Note there are pretty obvious repetitive traits. The first four levels 
each have different vegetables. Then you get a different vegetable every 
time until you get to what looks most like a pineapple. Its weird 
hallucinogenic earth toned color scheme changes with the scenery but 
it's still the same in terms of points. Every four levels the dirt motif 
changes between a choice of three.

  Each level has a big flower on top for its tens digit and small 
flowers to its left counting the ones digit in a level. I don't know 
what happens if you get to level 100.

  The level maps seem to start to repeat specifically on level 17(i.e. 
16 is the last original one,) coinciding with the lack of a new 
vegetable popping up as well. If you take into consideration the 
different backgrounds then level 25 would be the first that actually 
repeats(it copies 13 and has the same background.) Then levels loop with 
period 4 for layout and 12 for appearance.

  MAPS/LEVEL SPECIFIC STRATEGY

P=Pooka, F=Fygar, X=rock. You always start at the cross of the T. 
./,/:/; are the respective subterranean layers. Note that any two 
compartments that appear to be connected are not with these low 
resolution 9x13 maps(I plan to double their size if I ever revise this 
FAQ.)

  The general idea should be valid anywhere here but monsters behave 
randomly so if one is running straight for you, improvise and head for a 
rock or a long tunnel. Or the surface for a shootout until two monsters 
are left, after which you drop rocks to get the vegetable. I generally 
can't see more than the first two killed monsters ahead(...err...I mean 
I TRUST you've been able to follow my scintillating yet eminently 
comprehendable instructions...)

    LEVEL 1

...... ......
. .... .. P .
,P,,X, ,,,,,,
, ,,,, ,,,,,,
,,,,,   ,,,,,
::::::::: X::
::: F :::P:::
;;;X;;;;; ;;;
;;;;;;;;;;;;;

  Should be dopey, without any great chance for a bonus. You may want to 
try crushing all three bad guys as a challenge--be sure to have the 
third to the right of you if you want to try this or he will flee too 
easily. A good level to try to run through all squares for kicks if you 
run out of other fun things to try in Dig Dug.

    LEVEL 2

...... ......
..X... ......
,,,,,, ,,XF ,
,,P ,, ,,,,,,
,,,,,   ,,,,,
:P:::::::::X:
: ::::: P::::
;;;;X;;;;;;;;
;;;;;;;;;;F ;

  Left/up to above the Pooka's chamber/left to drop the rock on it. 
Circle around below to drop the rock and if you are adventurous go all 
the way up to try to get a few monsters with the rock. Given how little 
the vegetable is worth, it's nothing to sweat.

    LEVEL 3

...... ......
..X...  .. F.
,,,,,, P,,,,,
,,P ,, ,,,X,,
,,,,,   ,,,,,
:::::::::::::
:::X:P:::::X:
;;;;; ;;; F;;
;;;;;;;;;;;;;

  Again you can start as in level two although it's tough to plan what 
to do next. A double back to the lower left and right and up to the rock 
is as good a choice as any.

    LEVEL 4

...... ..X...
.... P  .....
,X,,,, P,,X,,
,,,,,, ,,,,,,
,,X,,   ,,F,,
:::::::::: ::
::: F::::::::
;;;;;;;;;;;X;
;;;;;;;; P;;;

  Right, one up, right to drop the rock on the helpless Fygar. You can 
run up to the rock to the left and wait a bit for monsters to come over 
and then grab the vegetable--which is now worth four digits.

    LEVEL 5

...... .X ...
.. P.  ..P.X.
,,,,,P ,,,F,,
,,,,,, ,,, ,,
,X,,,   ,,,,,
:::::::::::::
: F:::::::F :
;;;X;;;;;X;;;
;;;;;;;;;;;;;

 Nothing is immediately appealing but you can always sit under the rock 
to the left(or upper right) if you are feeling totally unoriginal.

    LEVEL 6

...... ......
.... P X.....
,, ,,, ,,,,,,
,,P,,, ,,,X,,
,,,,,   ,,,,,
::::::X::: F:
:: F:::::::::
;;X;;; F;;;;;
;;;;;;;;;;;;;

  Two easy defenseless Fygars(below and to the right) should get you the 
newer even more valuable vegetable if you time the rock drop right on 
them. You should be able to handle two monsters from there.

    LEVEL 7

...... ......
.....  ..X...
,,,,,P ,,,FP,
,X,,,, ,,,,,,
,,,,,   ,,,X,
:::::::::::::
:::FP:::::X::
;;;;;;;;F ;;;
;;;;;;;;;;;;;

  Although you can just run for the left rock and sit, it's also worth 
it to gamble on a detour by going down, left(below the fygar/pooka) and 
up to the rock and wait for the monsters to come. You'll have to sweep 
backwards a bit.

    LEVEL 8

...... ......
.. F.  ......
,,,,,P ,,P ,,
,,,X,, ,,,,X,
,,F,,   ,,,,,
:: ::X::: F::
:::::::X:::::
;;;;;P ;;;;;;
;;;;;;;;;;;;;

  Pooka below you is just begging to have a rock dropped on him, and 
then you can enter his compartment and go right. You can drop another 
rock on the masked Fygar to the upper right and you're in business.

    LEVEL 9

...... ......
....P. X.....
,,,, , ,,,,X,
,,,,,, ,,PP,P
,X,,,   ,X,, 
:::::::::::::
:::::: F:::::
;;FF;X;;;;;F 
;;;;;;;;;;;;;

  Short term you can hit the rock one square right and up, long term you 
can duck down, right and trek up and hope to nail a bunch of monsters at 
once, maybe blowing up the fygar originally below you(through the grid) 
first.

    LEVEL 10

...X.. ......
...... .FP.P.
,,, ,, ,,,,P,
,,,F,, ,,F,,,
,X,,,   , ,,,
:::::::::::X:
:::F ::::::::
;;;;;;;X;; P;
;;;;;;;;;;;;;

  Left/up/left should drop a rock on a helples Fygar, followed by a huge 
turn downwards. If you can get to the bottom and go left/up to the rock, 
you can knock out a few monsters with rocks.

    LEVEL 11

...... ..X...
..X.FP .F....
,,,,,, ,P,,,,
,,P ,, ,,,,F,
,,,,,   ,,, ,
::F::::::::::
:: ::X:::::::
;;;;;;;;;;X;;
;;;;;;;;;;;;;

  Watch the Fygar/Pooka if you don't get going right away; they may 
impede a left/up/left to knock off the pooka although you can go 
left/up/right to the same rock and get the fygar if you're willing to 
accept a bit of risk. Then you might want to tunnel to the bottom for a 
shootout(the rock at the bottom could aid your defense.) If you're very 
lucky the upper right rock can make a nice drop.

    LEVEL 12

...... .X....
...... .... .
,,FP,, ,PP,P,
,,,,,, ,,,,,,
,,,,,   ,X,,,
:::::::::::::
:::::::::FF::
;;;;; FX;;;;;
;;;;;;;;;;;;;

  A chance to get two Fygars quickly or a Pooka; down-right or up-right, 
depending. These two rocks should be good to unlock the new vegetable.

    LEVEL 13

...... ......
.X.... .X....
,,,P,, ,,,PP,
,,, ,, ,,,,,,
,,,,,   ,,,P,
::::::::::: :
::X:::FF:::::
;;;;;;;;;X;;;
;;;;;;;;;;;FF

  The background motif has gone retro but the skill level hasn't. Given 
that the lower rocks may force you to try to drop them on the nearby 
fygars( a bit tougher) I'd advise down 1/left/up and waiting for the 
Fygars to run over. Pump them up and drop the rock. If things go haywire 
you have the top of the screen for a shootout. An unlucky 13 of a level!

    LEVEL 14

...... ......
.X.F.. .PP...
,,,P,, ,,,XP,
,,,,,, ,,,, ,
,,X,,   ,,,,,
::::::::: F::
:::FF::::::::
;;;;;;;X;;;;;
;;;;;;;;;;;;;

  Nothing seems to be easy here, but go right until bordering on the 
pooka at the far right, Go up and drop the rock and hopefully get the 
Fygar. You may now have a freer path to get to the bottom. MAybe you can 
sucker the two Fygars to the left onder the rock at the bottom by going 
down and left and waiting under it.

    LEVEL 15

...... ......
.....P .... P
,X,,,P ,X,,,,
,,,,,, ,,, P,
,,FF,   ,,,,,
:::::::::::::
:::::F:F:X:::
;;;X; ; ;;;;;
;;;;;;;;;;;;;

  Get used to this level--it's an annoying one. An immediate left/right 
and down to get the rock pushed over is pretty much necessary here. Then 
you may have to double back and knock over the other rock. Note the up-
left rock can't be dropped on the Fygars. A good case for going straight 
to the top dirt layer, making a tunnel as a bunker against bad guys, and 
waiting for them to arrive before you duck back in to drop two rocks and 
get the vegetable.

    LEVEL 16

...... ......
...... .X....
,,,FP, ,,,,P,
,,,,,, ,P , ,
,,,,,   ,X,,,
:X:::::::::::
:::::::::FF::
;;;;;F X;;;;;
;;;;;;;;;;;;;

  This is not so bad. There is a choice of two ways to knock out a 
helpless monster via a rock, up/right and down/right. Try to get both if 
you can, but if not beeline off to the right to drop the rock over 
there. Loop around to get the vegetable and blast your way to the top.

    LEVEL 17

...... ......
.X.... .X....
,,,P,, ,,,PP,
,,, ,, ,,,,,,
,,,,,   ,,,P,
::::::::::: :
::X:::FF:::::
;;;;;;;;;X;;;
;;;;;;;;;;;FF

  The first of endless repeating levels. See level 13 for a more 
detailed analysis.

    LEVEL 18 AND ABOVE

  From here level 4x should refer to level 16's strategy.
  Level 4x+1<->level 17
  Level 4x+2<->level 14
  Level 4x+3<->level 15

End of FAQ proper

================================

  VERSIONS/CREDITS

5/14/2002 sent to GameFAQs.com, should be complete. Maps look icky but I 
will fix them later to be bigger. Guess you can't always be conservative 
with text maps and KB filler.

Thanks to the atari800win emulator people for their emulator and whoever 
suggested this game on GameFAQs. Always cool to write a game for a new 
system even if it is as yucky as Dig Dug.

Thanks to GameFAQs.com for giving me an outlet for all the writing I do 
to 'prepare for the real thing.' And for making the preparation so fun 
and even a bit lucrative.

View in:

Old school guide/map writer. Also the author of text adventures Ailihphilia, Shuffling Around/A Roiling Original (anagrams,) Very Vile Fairy File, Quite Queer Night Near, The Problems Compound, Threediopolis and Fourdiopolis.