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EXECUTION Taking Mobile Game Development Fastlane

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by eTox, Jan 13, 2017.

  1. eTox
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    eTox Toxic WASTE Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Introduction

    Hi guys,

    Most of you who seen me on the forum probably know that I've been dabbling in multiple things from the time I joined the forum mid last year (2016). I've originally came from mobile game dev for Android and lately ended up dropshipping from Aliexpress.

    Well, the reason why I initially stopped making games was because I did not see any profit coming from my work. Thank's god I left that for a while and after releasing my first good game in Nov 2015 it only started making money after 12 months (1 year, yeah!) during Oct/Nov 2016.

    The amount of profit generated is convincing enough for me that I can really take this into the fastlane by providing people with quality entertainment in certain game genres. I know that numbers don't lie, and the only way I can prove is by sharing actual results. Here is my breakdown, although I would like to keep my mouth shut regarding the actual game and the company name.

    A little about the game: it's a 2d side scrolling off-road racing game (yeah, a shit ton of shitty ones out there) with a new perspective to such games. Plus, it's really boring after a day or two and it's pushy on the monetization, hence high abandonment and uninstall rate.

    Financial Results From 2016

    Most of the revenue that came from the game is during Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec where the peak was during Oct & Nov.

    Net In-App Purchase Revenue (after Big Brother's 30% cut): CAD 3,609.87
    Advertisement Revenue:
    USD 3,123.11 ==> ~ CAD 3,965.73
    Total Revenue
    (approximately converted): CAD 7,575.60

    The application received 89,941 installs during 2016.
    There were 632 unique buyers and 1,310 orders.

    The game took 2 months to develop (code + create art) by myself. After I have upgraded my skills to Unity3d I was able to replicate 90% of the game within 2 days. Therefore I estimate it would take 1 month to code a complete, well thought-out game. I believe it should not take more than 1 month to prepare a thorough plan of action (complete game from scratch). Therefore a good game should take 2-3 months to build.

    If we take this into perspective I hypothesize that it is possible to publish 4 high-quality games. But more importantly, I believe that it's better to create one really good game (eventually) and support it really well.

    Conclusions

    I believe that the waiting period of 1 year gave me the desired results in terms of data and monetization. I also believe that dabbling for half a year in ecommerce allowed me to finally shift my mindset from a consumer (developer) to a producer because all I could think was how to make perfect code and, and the rest should follow (WRONG!).

    But most importantly, I would like to thank @MJ DeMarco for writing the right book that helped me, and many others on this forum liberate themselves from society imposed rat-race thinking. Thank you.

    I promise to this forum to take all and every action to prove that it is possible for anyone with the right mindset, will, and dedication to create a game development company from scratch. I am an Accounting student dropout, I taught myself to code in just 3 months for that game, I was shitty at art and still am, but still put together few pieces for the game.

    What will follow is my journey of taking this into the fastlane.
     
    Baku85, MR_T, GoodluckChuck and 14 others like this.
  2. JakeVW
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    JakeVW Contributor

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    Congratulations on your entrance to the Fast Lane! As an aspiring developer myself, I know how hard it can be to write code that isn't entirely perfect, since you know it could be better somehow. But sometimes you just need to do what gets the job done and nothing less. I look forward to following along with your progress on this thread!
     
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  3. Jan Edmark
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    Hey man awesome progress!

    If you don't mind me asking, do you know the game Phoenix Wright? I'm learning code right now and plan to make a game similar to that in terms of gameplay. Like "animation" is usually just dialogue and a still frame. It burns out fast and needs good writing to be engaging, but I haven't really seen many mobile games like that so I'm curious if there's a market.
     
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  4. beatgoezon
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    beatgoezon Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    For a Google Play game, those figures are actually pretty great, good work! Being in the mobile game biz myself as well, I know it can be excruciatingly painful at time.

    Keep it up mate!
     
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  5. eTox
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    eTox Toxic WASTE Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Hi, I'm personally not really into gaming at all. I just entered the market because I saw a need, not because I love playing games. I do they are fun, but only when I'm utterly bored and not more than couple time a month.

    With regards to the demand be careful because there probably is no market for that. Remember, people who use app stores have the same type of mindset like the people who use search engines like google. If google shows there are little to none search queries for your keyword then no one will install the game, hence you won't see any sales. If in turn there is a lot of competition, say amazing games, and then a shitload of crap that boggles down the market, then that's good. Good because there is high demand, good because there is an additional barrier to entry with that wall of crap that the game has to break through.

    In the end, it all comes down to demand and the quality of game. If you enter a niche where there is no demand, no one will download and find your game because they don't know it exists (unless you've got huge ad budgets).

    Also don't wet your dreams by thinking you can publish a so-so game and pull it off. That won't work. You have to publish at least great quality game, not saying exceptional, in terms of gameplay and graphics. It's because you are selling an experience to people and they are paying for the fun. Guess what's going to happen if you try to push crap full of ads?

    Hope this helps to some.
     
    Baku85, grindmode, Jan Edmark and 3 others like this.
  6. ArtRyumin
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    ArtRyumin Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Hey,

    Inspiring post man, i especially like the part when you shared that you waited a whole year before seeing some ROI. Me and my mate who was a work collegue left out day jobs as PMP's to get into the app game. We researched a few ideas at first and proceeded with a first development of a mobile game in a high volume niche market with a little twist which no other game had or has at the moment on the mobile platform. We don't have our in-app purchase garage atm and guessing that's why it's not making us much money at all. We also didn't want to get too invasive with the adds in the game but i think we need a bit more actually.

    The game is called "Drift Bike" and i'd love for this community if you're into game or just apps, to have a look and offer any fastlane advice ;) also happy to help any one out starting out in apps you can contact me on here or other social media.

    Are those profit figures monthly or is that over the 4 months you mentioned?
     
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  7. eTox
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    eTox Toxic WASTE Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    It looks like it would be interesting to someone so long that people are actually looking and could find your game. Yes those are over the last 4 months of the year, but the game has been published since Nov 2015 and basically didn't make any money for a year.

    As of now, it seems that the sales are slipping away, but that's irrelevant.
     
  8. eTox
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    eTox Toxic WASTE Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I would like to share an interesting post on reddit regarding to game dev:

    Quit my full time corporate job. Built an iOS game. It became #1 in the App Store. Here are revenue numbers and what I learned. • /r/startups

    I especially loved this comment:
     
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  9. Jan Edmark
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    Tnx for the honesty man! I only thought about doing that as it takes more effort writing than coding which I both love. But you're right. I don't wanna possibly waste my time on a market that probably doesn't exist. Thanks for the insight
     
    eTox likes this.
  10. rsj
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    rsj Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Hey how hard is it to move from regular development into wokring with unity? i was thinking about getting a course on Udemy for it but i didn't go through with it yet,
     
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  11. eTox
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    eTox Toxic WASTE Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    These thoughts don't leave me... What if I try a Direct Marketing approach to a mobile game, specifically the IOS version?

    IOS users seem to spend more
    It's at the same time simpler because it gives you a flexible system right off the bat to work on and hard because now you spend all your time actually developing the game and implementing all the features.

    Don't buy any courses and don't be lazy. Go on the Unity3D website and into their learning section. All I did was 1) watched all of their tutorials in depth 2) read all of their documentations and in a matter of 2 month I was able to reproduce my first game in 2 days whereas it took 3 months to make with android studio + libgdx.
     
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  12. ArtRyumin
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    ArtRyumin Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Depends on the personal definition of hard. do you mean bored or tedious? You have in your favour you're coming from regular development, would this be web dev? I'd say if you know why you want to do it, and who you are becoming in the process of learning, if both answers to those questions get you excited then no it won't be hard at all! Go for it and good luck consider that there's more phones devices than humans on the planet
     
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  13. eTox
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    eTox Toxic WASTE Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Creating games is not about coding, it is not about the creation of artwork. It's not about the sound effects and it's not about the visual effects. When creating games the worst thing you could do is romanticize it and fall for the "I am an indie game dev" because that traps you in the whining consumer wannabe-rich-quick mental state.

    You aren't an indie dev, you are a producer who's main goal is to monetize exceptional player experiences by providing value in the form entertainment.

    Before I was introduced to the Fastlane, I thought that games were an "easy way to riches" because you know, you put a crappy game together, throw it at the play market along with 500+ other games that day and hope I'll be a millionaire the next day with my game in top 10 new games chart and getting thousands of downloads a day... yeah right. silly idiot

    As it turns out creating games, has little to do with
    • Coding (software development)
    • Art (designers)
    • Sounds
    and has more to do with this:
    • Are people going to play this game? MARKET RESEARCH
    • Getting in front of players: MARKETING
    • Getting players to play for longer periods of time, instead of uninstalling after 1 attempt: GAME DESIGN
    • Getting players to monetize: MARKETING
    • Replying to people's comments and feature requests, bugs: CUSTOMER SUPPORT
    • Making sure your ends meet: ACCOUNTING
    Making games has little to do with actually creating a game, and more to do with business aspects.

    Any fool can slap a skin on yet another crappy bird, but it takes hard effort, persistence, and patience to get your game in front of people who will not only play and rave about your game, but will vouch for it with their wallets.

    Now that's the direction we're going.
     
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  14. eTox
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    eTox Toxic WASTE Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    While everyone is drooling for the #1 spot

    Everyone is screaming that the mobile game market is oversaturated, that unless you have mid $$$,$$$ figure budgets, get featured by Apple/Google and have really long funnels you won't make success. People are shouting that the competition is huge, thousands of indies working on their games for years and releasing, top studios are porting their AAA titles to mobile, and amongst that thousands of wantrepreneurial devs are seeking to hit bank with their latest crappy reskin or 'megahit'.

    ALL OF YOU ARE RIGHT

    But I believe I am righter.

    Why are you so optimistic e-Tox?

    I don't fall for everyone's bs because I've done my own research. I believe there is lot's of room for success. Let me break down what my goal is.

    I don't want $1M revenue each month.
    I don't want to get TENS of Millions of downloads.
    I don't want to be featured by Apple/Google

    I want to remove uncertainty and luck from app store success and remain in control
    I want 100K+ downloads from SEVERAL games and not 10M+ from few
    I want $1-10K revenue/month, not $1M/month because I am 1 and not a AAA team

    My goal is to learn the things that do work, from all of the experience that has been gathered over the past 5 years in game development from the top hits on app stores.
    • Learn how free-to-play games should be designed and how they actually work.
    • Learn the monetization strategies that do work.
    • Learn how to retain players and give value to them.
    • Apply correct marketing efforts that will bring results
    My goal is to earn $100K this year from applying the right knowledge to drive real results in order to later REINVEST the knowledge and the capital into creating better and more games while removing the need to actual develop and draw them by myself and focus on designing the game, the monetization, and focusing on marketing as well.

    I believe that this strategy can allow me to gather enough funds and prove that it's possible to stay low and feed well from the bottom.

    I am here not to dominate the top 100 chart, I am here to take the money that people are willing to offer HERE and RIGHT NOW by providing real value while everybody else either screams it's impossible, or is drooling over the next shinny thing (VR)
     
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  15. beatgoezon
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    beatgoezon Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Very well written, @eTox. I've had a similar strategy as well. I think once you let go of the goal of hitting the Top Charts or getting featured, you feel so much more liberated and realize you don't have to dominate the top charts to make a good income with games.

    What are your thoughts on ASO, though? Some of the veterans like Trey or Carter say that ASO is dead(I'm not sure what to think of that just yet).

    From my testing I've actually noticed although ASO isn't performing as well as it once, localization is still something most people haven't grasped and leaves good options for downloads.
     
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  16. eTox
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    eTox Toxic WASTE Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I've read quite a bit of information regarding ASO in the past week and started my own journey. I've got 2 games right now and I've done a little research as to how I could play with the rankings. As of right now I don't have any statistically reliable data as to whether my efforts are paying off or not. I will be able to tell in 1 week.

    But I believe that ASO for games in particular, is NOT DEAD and is REALLY UNDERESTIMATATED.

    With regards to localization I'm playing with this right now as well. Basically 1/3 of the downloads are comming from Russia and so I decided to translate the play store listing into Russian with keywords in mind, plus I've contacted a gam reviewer and he published my trailer on his channel (300K subs) and so far after a day it got 10K views, and I saw nice bump in the downloads.

    But then again, only a day passed, I will need at least a week to determine how the ASO and the featuring played through because I am tracking my positions with App Annie and I've also had the download link tagged to be trackable on the google play console.

    PM me, we can discuss things in more detail :)
     
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  17. beatgoezon
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    beatgoezon Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Sounds great man, PMing you:)
     
  18. eTox
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    eTox Toxic WASTE Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    With the emergence of free to play and it's subsequent market domination, f2p games are considered "games as a service" and the reason behind that is because retentions.

    Retentions? Yeah, it's a measurement of how long people stick with your game. It has multiple effects. Those people who stick with your game for much longer are the ones that have greater potential to monetize and it indicates to the app stores that the game has quality and is interesting thereby it improves the ranking of the game.

    Since the last post, I mention that I want to know as much as possible about f2p games from all of the information that was gather over the past several years. Now that I have looked into it and read a few articles and a book on monetization design for free to play games it has become much clearer that:
    • The reason why only 5% of games make 90% of the revenue is because the other 95% of games are designed to either provide fun game play or to squeeze money out of people, while the games that make all the money provide a fun game play and offer solutions for in game problems.
    • There is a clear formula for making money on the app store: create a blasting experience for gamers with pain points and offer solutions to in game problems.

    Yep, it's that awesome. Let me repeat, the key to creating a successful and monetizable game is to provide a fun gameplay and offer solutions for in-game problems. Doesn't it sound like every other business? Hint, hint: solve needs? Except with games, we create artificial paint points and provide solutions within the context of our own hand made world!

    Update:

    I started creating my 3d game yesterday. Let's see how long it will take to create a fun, polished game that has entertainment and monetization at it's core and see how it will later perform.
     
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  19. eTox
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    eTox Toxic WASTE Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I am not kidding. I just can't believe it.

    Right now, 2017, it's THE TIME to get into game development. It's just perfect. While everyone truly believes that you can't make money off of games, and the AAA game studios are still hesitating, or slowly taking action to get on board, the next 3-4 years are the golden times for smart entrepreneurs to solidify positions in niche markets and have 100% liquidation chance in several years by big fishes.

    There was never a better time to get in and go full force than now.

    Damn... I just can't believe it!

    UPDATE:

    When you start rocking any of the category's top charts, even in top 100, shit gets real!
     
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  20. toxicrain
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    If you look at the guy on reddit you mentioned, he made a boat load on 1 game, the rest of his work made shit... even with 1 successful hit he thought he can have a couple more, but it doesn't work that way. I don't think he had marketing done right.

    Sorry to break it to you but quality game + code + marketing will give you a 50/50 chance of success. You can't just focus on marketing a crap game, you have to make decent games with a new twist on an old idea.

    I've marketed shit games and good games, and there are ways to loose $$$ on both.
     
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  21. toxicrain
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    let me take a step back a bit. you mentioned you made 7,575.60 CAD on 90k downloads, that is about $0.06 USD per download <<< this number right here is not so great. when you start breaking this down by country, maybe you will identify some geo markets you could compete in but overall $0.06 per download is not going to make you SCALE.

    I am not trying to discourage you but maybe you need to check your numbers before you tell others about success.

    P.S. you need to do at least $0.30 RPD (revenue per download) if you want to be on any kind of radar.
     
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  22. Mainstream7
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    Mainstream7 Beauty is Truth

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    Hi eTox. Thanks for the thread and inspiration. I´ve graduated from Game Design studies, but lost track of that market.
    I still find it difficult to do proper game design.
    Most resources out there focus on technical skills, not game design.

    I´m looking to dive back into games. Can´t message you privately though. :)
     
  23. Baku85
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    Baku85 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Great thread!
    Thanks to everyone for replies, good information here.
    Few days ago Ive started learning unity 3d ( Im Software developer so doing coding is nothing new to me ;) ). But today I did mistake and started reading forums on gamedev, reddit etc. about making money..
    Then I went to FF to see this awesome thread!
    And yea its truth that many devs are doing some reskinning, many apps looks the same, even if game is great, there is no marketing at all. Points that 99% indie devs are missing, everybody is focusing on coding, code refactoring etc.
     
  24. Baku85
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    Baku85 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    @eTox how is your game dev going ? It is almost year since your last post.
    I am very interested how are you doing.
     
  25. eTox
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    eTox Toxic WASTE Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Hey @Baku85,

    As of Jan 2018:

    - Passed 1,000,000 total downloads across all games on Android only (Don't publish on iOS).
    - Earned roughly CAD $45,000 during 2017
    - Launched 2 more games during this time

    Lot's of findings this year, lots of interesting points to make. I need time to break it all down. Not sure if it's worth it at the moment.
    Key point: entering the mobile game market in 2018 as an indie developer without any prior background in game dev and knowledge of mobile gaming market and having $0 budget is absolutely 100% way to fail and fail painfully. The same thing was true 2 years ago.

    Your best case scenario is that you will get couple thousand downloads maybe ten thousand if you do properly ASO and if you get lucky with your game being very fun and pretty. It all depends on the type of game, but if you are pursuing small ad-supported games in the style of Ketchapp => good luck getting 500 downloads this year.

    Chances are you think your game is beautiful and fun, in reality, it's shit, plus there are 500 other games published every day that are like yours plus there are thousands of exceptionally quality games out there already and are released daily.

    From my viewpoint, to succeed in mobile games in 2018 you need to follow games as a service model, have a team of developers and artists and have a proven niche and that's only 20%. To really succeed and take out the guesswork, you need to have a solid marketing budget, of around $5,000 for start for your indie game (just to test if it's a good game). Plus sky is the limit depending on your growth. Think $100,000 dollars, but the amount of money you can make => millions.
     
    Mainstream7 likes this.

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