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Author Topic: Different game world questions  (Read 855 times)

Offline Yan

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Different game world questions
« on: May 13, 2015, 07:20:00 AM »
Hello,

I participated in two game worlds on Airwaysim, one long term ranging from 1960 to 2030, and recently the other  centered on the regional sector, and at each time I found that the duration of life of my company did not exceed 4 or 5 years :(... I have carefully read the manual of the game, but in practice, there are still some questions, some anomalies I could meet :-\ ... I hope you can help me understand some of the mechanisms simulation I may escape through these questions:

1) What factors determine the starting capital of a company? In what way is the airport HQ in connection with this capital? Is this captal  present  in the form of loan?

2) During the creation of our company, must we choose a specialization in the areas of short, medium or long-haul? Does this affect the maximum passenger demand we can have throughout the activity of our company, or a company starting in the Regional Area can it develop into having medium and long-haul aircrafts with First and business class?
Conversely, can a company choosing to specialize in long haul, encompass the short and medium-haul?

3) Regarding pricing

a) The indicated prices before the opening of a line are they those suggested by our sales department? Is there no average price of competition on a line that we want to open, and against which we can adjust our prices with more visibility?

b) At what point can we, with no risk to drop the load factor of our aircrafts, began to increase tariffs? Should we wait at least 2 years after the start of our business and a good overall stabilization of load factors to practice increases of 5 to 10%? What is the maximum rate of increase we can practice over months or years for each of the classes Y, C or F?

c) For short-haul aircraft with only economy class, is there a tolerance for higher prices, or the slightest change can it be fatal?

4) Regarding passenger demand

a) What makes it varies from day to day?There is actions to stabilize it, and if so which, for example?

b) What factors make grow daily global demand of a line, that is strengthens competition?

c) When we see on a shorter or longer period (with one month survey flights on a line) that there are hours or days where passenger demand is higher than others, is it relevant to limit the coverage of this line at these hours or days?

d) Competition from companies based on destination airports of our aircrafts does affect passenger demand on return flights? What strategy to adopt in this case?

5) Regarding the slots / turn around time

a) How is it that from the launch of a long game world, some airports are closed, all their slots allocated , such as London Heathrow airport  :o ?!...Does it improves over time or remains there frozen throughout the game ??? ?

b) When we decide to buy one or more slots for a line and, following a subsequent decline in demand on it, it is necessary to reduce hours or days of service, can we collect repayments on abandoned battlements and if so how?

c) The fact to position our plane in the same time slot of our competitor can it affect the load factor of our aircraft? The fact to leave a quarter of  or half an hour between two of our aircraft on the same line, does it unbalance the load factor of one of them?

d) What explains that despite a turn around time defined with a very low probability of delays, we still faced with departures deferrals or cancellations of flights at peak time on our operational base or destination airports? What strategy to improve punctuality in such circumstances?

I have many more questions, but I will avoid saturating you, and wait your kind answers for those of today :) ... !!

Offline schro

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Re: Different game world questions
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2015, 02:26:28 PM »
Answers:

1. A base lump sum is determined by the overlord at the start of the game, which is then adjusted for inflation and increased to over time to help new entrants. The lump sum also depends a bit on the size of the base that you're starting in as well.

2. No

3a. The suggested/"standard" price should be the fare that a passenger is willing to pay assuming that all other variables are in good shape (i.e. CI, RI, plane seating condition, etc). That standard price also coorelates to the demand of the route, which is stated at that price. If you go lower in price, you can attract more demand, and higher in price, obviously less.

3b. Global demand of routes ignore actions by players and increase (and decreases) are based upon the global and/or country specific growth rates in the world.

3c. Tolerance for higher prices will depend on the route flown and competition. Also, assume you've already grown RI to 100 with the following: if you're significantly underserving a route and have no competition, you can continue to fill planes as high as about 40% over suggested pricing. If you're closer to meeting demand, you'll likely have about 10-15% of an increase that you can do before you start dropping passengers in droves. If competition is heavy, it becomes an interesting challenge to balance obtaining passengers vs obtaining maximum profitability.

4a. The variation is to simulate that there are peak vs non-peak days for travel during the course of the week. You can't do anything about it.

4b. See 3b.

4c. Demand is a constant, your ability to attract passengers do not. In general, passengers prefer to takeoff and land between 0600 and 2300, and really hate take offs and landings between 0000 and 0500. You've also got to consider the spacing between flights, check to see if your frequency is too high, etc. I'm not sure what you mean by limit your coverage at those hours though.

4d. Other companies only impact your sales when they compete with you. There are various competition strategies depending on your goal (i.e. make life hard for the other airline, make your airline the most money, etc).

5a. Airports open and close based upon the real life times and moves from their prior airports will happen (i.e. those at DAL get moved to DFW, HOU to IAH, etc). All airports start with a much lower slot count and they are released over the course of the first 3-5 game years until they reach the normal levels. After that, slots grow on a linear basis through the end of the game - most airports that means 1 new full set every year or two. Slots at slot constrained airports (such as LHR) are difficult to come by because everyone wants them. If you watch carefully, you may be able to snag some, but honestly, as a beginner player, i'd suggest avoiding that and focusing on building a sustainable airline instead.

5b. In general, demand does not decline during the game (excepting for special events, 9/11 and asia bird flu). Thus, if you're dropping a route or a frequency, it should be for another reason. If you lose the slots, then you get nothing. You can close a route, keep the slots, and then re use them if you'd like.

5c. Your schedule vs your competitors schedule does not impact how many seats will be sold. The only thing your schedule cares about is if your flights are appropriately spaced, are too frequent and are at the right times.

5d. I tend to aim for ~8-10% chance of delay most of the times, and that's about as good as you can hope for. Sure, you can go down to 1%, but if that's at the expense of doing more flying, then you're not optimally using your planes. You can't control the other operational variables, so you're more or less wasting time worrying about it. Once you get to what I like to call the "small regional airline" level of size (you know, 500+ planes), the delays average out and don't really impact you.

Offline gazzz0x2z

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Re: Different game world questions
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2015, 03:04:51 PM »
2. No

Excellent answer, but IMHO it can require additional information. No, because you can perfectly fly different kind of planes for different purposes. But be careful. Having many differnet fleet types is nearly harmless when you're at 80-100 planes. It can be deadly when you're smaller, or bigger. When you're smaller, you don't have enough planes to offset the huge communality cost of the first of each type. When you're bigger, the penalty grows, grows, grows.....

so I'd assume the "no" of master Schro as a relative no. You cannot do everything, 777s to australia, Fairchilds to St-Mary's, ERJs to Keflavik, 737 to the canarys, 767 to India, and IL-96M to Sao Paulo. You can probably do 3 of them, maybe more with clever fleet choices(some groups as F70/100/120 or CRJ really offer an impressive choice, the 767 is not bad either in its category). But you cannot do everything. It's not clever. Your starting base will limit yourself anyways. Using Fairchilds at Heathrow or IL96 at St-Marys does not make sense.

I usually play with medium-sized airports, and I've got fleet that go with them. I'm currently playing 737, Ejets, ERJs from Edinburgh, London City, Hamburg, Fuerteventura. They cover most of the potential of those airports. One mistake I've made is to cover too small lines with 737, especially Edinburgh-Belfast. I need to downgrade to ERJ, 'cause I"ve got 25%LF there.

I often "attack" players who fly bigger planes. One guy was happy with 5 daily A320 flights between Tenerife & Fuerteventura(with 750 demand). I dropped 10 daily ERJ flights there, and they are more than 80% full. He probably has lost a big source of income. That' what happened to me in Belfast. Proper dimensioning of planes is a delicate art. Too big, and you're screwed by competition. Too small, and your costs are not worth the investment(in previous GW3, I flew 70 seaters A148E on 2200NM route, with limited success - it's not a very good idea, in fact).

EDIT : when you play an airport as Tahiti, you'll bypass medium range : the juice is short range(whole polynesia) and long range(USA & France, mainly). Be sure to have a good grasp of the spirit of your starting base. You don't play the same game in Glasgow than in Edinburgh(which has les long-haul). Take the time to have a complete overview of what is possible there, and make a fleet decision only after. Going 777 because you've got the potential for 3 flights to australia(and nothing else) from Glasgow is a risky move(I made it only when stuffed with money, and results, though positive, were not impressive, and probably not worth the 3B$+ investment).
« Last Edit: May 13, 2015, 03:18:29 PM by gazzz0x2z »

Offline schro

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Re: Different game world questions
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2015, 04:48:17 PM »
Excellent answer, but IMHO it can require additional information.

True. I only read the first couple parts of the question before answering and moving on. You filled in a good bit of the rest of it.

So, to clarify, "No" was aimed at needing to chose a specialization and whether that specialization impacted demand.

What I did not address was that you can fly whatever the routes you want as long as demand in your HQ and bases support it. Thus, as gazzz0x2z mentioned, you're not going to be doing any medium haul stuff in Tahiti (and I'd even say that's a poor locational choice for someone still learning the basics).

Offline Yan

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Re: Different game world questions
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2015, 02:22:57 PM »
Hello guys,

Thank you for your very detailed answers to my questions, which have brought some more tracks to my understanding of the game  ;)!! ... I will stain to comment on your answers point by point "SHRO" and "gazzz0x2z":

1) I have perhaps a somewhat chauvinistic side, I live in France and I like to start my game on airports that are well known such Orly  in game worlds starting in 1960 or even more early: but I noticed that initially there is almost no demand for the classes C and F, only to the class Y  :-\!! ... Is this normal for all game worlds of this same type ???  :-\? Does that explain why I have a small startup capital based on this airport?
In southern France, the airports demand seems more important than Orly:do you think  the best strategy  would be to start on one of them, and then after relocate my base in Orly? Can I then do of my old airport a secondary seat, and the new operational my new airport base ? How can I do in this case?

2) gazzz0x2z, since you have been kind enough to answer this question, because of our limited resources to begin with, we are confined to the regional flights sector, and I am aware I am compelled to have my fleet based of leased aircrafts, and in this case my strategy is to choose only aircrafts with a maximum of 15 years, and an overall technical condition of at least 90%. And of course, I would never use the A320 / A318 or even B737-800 / B737-600 for short flights of an hour, I would choose if demand is enough high, to offer several flight frequencies with smaller aircrafts . Nevertheless, I learned to my game in the regional airlines that we should not keep the planes up check D (which is actually the great technical visit) because is not only the ruinous level price to pay for the visit, but in addition it has a fixed asset of more weeks with an ATR72 aircraft type for example, and therefore deadweight losses on the many flights that are conducted :-\ ... So I resolved that a year before maturity of check D, I stop renting this aircraft for another of the same type, if possible. Is fleet commonality required when leases aircrafts, or only when we buy them  ??? ? I read that there was the possibility to define a rental period of less than one year, but I can not find it when I try on the current game worlds :-\: is this a feature that was deleted ??? ?
How does we manage maintenance visits D check with rental aircraft purchased? For new aircraft, is check D only occurs at least 5 years after the date of purchase? Downtime and costs are they increase with the size of the plane, it seems that it's for a month for a turbo-propeller, but how much is for ERJ 170 or even worse an A320 or B747? Are the costs of a D-check  vary by manufacturers?

3) On the pricing strategy in a global way, my regional company suffered from the non revaluation of prices, while my fleet was growing and my charges and taxes followed the same path. So, what is the best strategy in this regard when we just started, and our RI capped at 40%  :-\? I do advertising for certain lines where attendance stagnated at very low levels, and I could not make up my LF, however could it be from, and do you think it would have been suicidal in these conditions to increase tariffs :-\?

4) In terms of the daily variation in demand, I finally found that it's quite realistic and that we can't have a constant demand by day to day. And it is true that for medium-haul or long-haul, over-morning time slots or late evening are not at all appreciated, but I did not observe any negative effect on my regional aircrafts that by the week were complete at 10pm !! ... However, would you advise me to keep an interval starting with my competitors in a line from my airport base, and if so how many minutes in general?

5) With regard to my participation in the Game world 1, with a view to develop my network on European medium-haul flights, I wanted to target capitals such as London, Madrid, Berlin etc ... but every time I was disappointed, I felt almost bullied, because these airports were closed to me by lack of slots available at reasonable times :( ... It's why I wondered if after a few years it was possible to get more slots and include in our destinations minimal significant airports, otherwise the game is not worth the candle :-\? !! ...And I would be interested to know the method for keeping slot by closing lines !! ... How to  do that ??? ? !! ...

6) Now, with regard to the automatic management of the company's employees, it seemed that there was an excess recruitment of pilots and hostesses: for an ATR-72 for example, the crew consists of two pilots and one stewardess when I've seen the triple or quadruple, and with 10 aircrafts of the same type, I found myself with hundreds of employees aircrew  ::) :o!! ... It may be admitted to the limit there been two crews for each aircraft of regional and medium-haul, but no more ... Is it risky to reduce aircrew, can this affect the operation of the company, or some flexibility  is it possible in terms of aircrafts of short and medium-haul?

Thanks in advance for your kind answers ;)!!

Offline gazzz0x2z

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Re: Different game world questions
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2015, 09:11:22 PM »
I never played in the 60, so my advice is limited in interest. Yet, even in the 2020s, flying to heathrow is a matter of luck : "oh! there is one free slot in EGLL tuesday & wednesday at 21h25. Do I have a hole in my schedules to send planes at this time?"

In the 2000s, you can make strange flights as Hamburg-Tirana or Beauvais-Reus & fill them. I guess in 1960 it's not so impressive, and there is less place to sneak in.  But still. Try to find smaller lines, to airports without based opponent. attacking head-on an established business is not easy.

Fleet communality is decided by the number of fleet types flying. I had 737-300 replaced them by 737-700. When I deactivated the lines, Communality did fall before even I terminated the lease. But in both cases, D-checks are killers. Usually, when beginning a game, I'm aiming for old steel for lease, and I limit the leasing period to before the D-Check. It can kill a growing company.

Buying planes allow you to be more profitable, but considerably slows down your growth. Leasing leaves smaller margin, but you can grow very fast. The usual advice is to grow as long as there is some place at your airports, and then only to consolidate. But, of course, there is always the risk of making stupid moves to grow too fast(like using IL62 in 1995, or flying a 50-seater in a 40-potential, 4 opponents line).

I personally do not advertise on small lines, the ROI is not worth it. You can be at 100% maybe 2-3 months earlier than without advertising, and for a 50-seaters, I find the price prohibitive. Of course, if there is potential for 5 flights, it's different... And never forget to put at least 60 minutes between all of your flights(and, even better, between your flight & your opponent's).

Offline Yan

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Re: Different game world questions
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2015, 03:18:17 PM »
Dear gazzz0x2z,

I could not come back earlier because I was busy with my work, but I thank you for your always informative advice, even if you do not play in the World Games starting in the 60s ;)... Is it to say it would be easier to play in World Games starting in 90's/2000s ??? ?! ... Another thing, do I understand that I could never have as destination London Heathrow, unless to have an unexpected chance :-\ ? !! ... I should always be content of secondary airports in the UK :-\? !! ... It's really sad :( ...

You did not answer my last question on the automated employees recruitment. I ask you again:

As for the automatic management of Human Ressource department, it seemed that there was an excessive pilot and hostesses  recruitment: for an ATR-72, for example, the crew consists of 2 pilots and one hostess, and I have seen the triple or quadruple, and with 10 aircrafts of the same type, I found myself with hundreds of employees aircrew  :o!! ... We can admit at the extrem limit we need 2 crews for each aircraft on regional and medium-haul, but no more ??? ... Is it risky to reduce aircrew, can this affect the operation of the company, or a margin of can it be possible maneuver in terms of  short and medium-haul aircrafts ??? ?

I have another question: do you think it's more difficult to base and develop in a large country like the US than in a European country? The fact of being in a country of 50 states does not give more development opportunities than a continent like Europe?

In terms of my development logic, if I understand what you advise me, it's first to serve well each regional lines I create, and consolidate it  when passenger demand grows on it, before moving to the next ??? ? Let alone to start thinking conquer the market of medium and long-haul? Do I wait to have a LF of over 80% in a month, for example, to consider that I can open another new line in peace?
Can this easily take a decade in the game to develop a viable regional network, providing a good base recipe, before starting the development of medium-haul routes to Europe and possibly around this region of the globe ? Similarly to advance from the medium-haul to long-haul?

Thanks for your answers, and if there are another readers of my message, don't hesitate to answer please, and bring me your experience ;)!!...

Offline Teadaze

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Re: Different game world questions
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2015, 04:02:44 PM »
I could not come back earlier because I was busy with my work, but I thank you for your always informative advice, even if you do not play in the World Games starting in the 60s ;)... Is it to say it would be easier to play in World Games starting in 90's/2000s ??? ?! ... Another thing, do I understand that I could never have as destination London Heathrow, unless to have an unexpected chance :-\ ? !! ... I should always be content of secondary airports in the UK :-\? !! ... It's really sad :( ...   

I think it goes both ways, usually 90/00 game world is more competitive due to more player like to play only in those era. the 60's challenge is low demand and somewhat boring game if you are not in a top tier airport(until 80's), not to mention you have to switch fleet multiple time, for some player it feels like a chore and really cuts the motivation. Having Heathrow as a destination depends how good the game setting and how good is the Heathrow player is in that game. In current GW1 everyone is welcome to fly into Heathrow for almost 10 years straight due to a major airline bankrupt, and the game setting has more slot then normal.


Quote
As for the automatic management of Human Ressource department, it seemed that there was an excessive pilot and hostesses  recruitment: for an ATR-72, for example, the crew consists of 2 pilots and one hostess, and I have seen the triple or quadruple, and with 10 aircrafts of the same type, I found myself with hundreds of employees aircrew  :o!! ... We can admit at the extrem limit we need 2 crews for each aircraft on regional and medium-haul, but no more ??? ... Is it risky to reduce aircrew, can this affect the operation of the company, or a margin of can it be possible maneuver in terms of  short and medium-haul aircrafts ??? ?

it is a set system, if you have 100% in crew(in personnel page) you are OK, if you have lower you increase the risk of delay, cancellation or even strike due to low morale. So to answer you yes it is risky and not nonnegotiable. AFAIK you do need more then 2 set of crew to run a single aircraft, assume if the aircraft is fully utilized. This is not a job you can go 12/12 hour shift for 365 days straight.

Quote
I have another question: do you think it's more difficult to base and develop in a large country like the US than in a European country? The fact of being in a country of 50 states does not give more development opportunities than a continent like Europe?

In terms of my development logic, if I understand what you advise me, it's first to serve well each regional lines I create, and consolidate it  when passenger demand grows on it, before moving to the next ??? ? Let alone to start thinking conquer the market of medium and long-haul? Do I wait to have a LF of over 80% in a month, for example, to consider that I can open another new line in peace?
Can this easily take a decade in the game to develop a viable regional network, providing a good base recipe, before starting the development of medium-haul routes to Europe and possibly around this region of the globe ? Similarly to advance from the medium-haul to long-haul?

I would say it is easier to run a regional aircraft in europe then USA, but you may run into a very boring situation for a game that runs over 12 months and more. let's take 60's for example. You run a regional airline in UK/Germany. Only airline that is in those country can open a base and really compete with you. However once you exaust those demand you got nothing to do as you will have a much harder time to expand into gatwick because they are most likely established by larger airline. You will need to wait til the 90's when you can open base in other european countries.

In the case of the states, slot are abundant, there are so many airport to choose, but once again as a regional airline you will have very limited demand(assuming you are not starting in DFW/ATL). Anyone in the states who thinks your airport is a money pot can without warning open a base and compete with you. It will be quite hard to achieve monopoly. Another issue is the longer the game progress, unless an airline bankrupt it is much harder to expand into a major base, unless your airline is really cash rich and able to take some hard core competition.

bottom line, I think this game is all about your competition. There is no cookie cutter strategy or right or wrong in this game. You may get very lucky and end up with a isolated country with virtually no competition and build a very large airline without much effort. Or 7 other experienced players decided they want a party in your little base. This game also requires certain level of endurance as it is a very long game.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2015, 04:11:48 PM by Aoitsuki »

Offline schro

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Re: Different game world questions
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2015, 05:34:34 PM »

it is a set system, if you have 100% in crew(in personnel page) you are OK, if you have lower you increase the risk of delay, cancellation or even strike due to low morale. So to answer you yes it is risky and not nonnegotiable. AFAIK you do need more then 2 set of crew to run a single aircraft, assume if the aircraft is fully utilized. This is not a job you can go 12/12 hour shift for 365 days straight.

To add to this, the staff required tries to simulate (through a rough approximation) the amount of crew you'd need to run a full schedule for that sort of aircraft. Things like pilot hours limits per week/month/year are a factor in the real world, thus, that's simulated in the numbers you see as well.

Offline gazzz0x2z

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Re: Different game world questions
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2015, 11:51:30 AM »
(.../...)bottom line, I think this game is all about your competition. There is no cookie cutter strategy or right or wrong in this game. You may get very lucky and end up with a isolated country with virtually no competition and build a very large airline without much effort. Or 7 other experienced players decided they want a party in your little base. This game also requires certain level of endurance as it is a very long game.

Yeah, it sums up everything. In current GW3, we did start in 1995, we're in 2000, and I already killed 2 opponents in London City & 2 others in Hamburg. Others are making my life hard in Edinburgh(and I don't think I can hope to kill them), my home base, my opponent in Faro is in great danger(even without my action), and I'm currently unopposed in Fuerteventura(but it might change, and in my favor. It's not an airport with that much of a potential, anyways).

There is a matter of luck. The interest of the game is to react those events, both positive & negative. I stalled my growth in Edinburgh when I understood others would make my life impossible there(despite grand initial plans), and did look for more air elsewhere. I was lucky in Hamburg, with opponents that made enough mistakes to allow me a decisive victory(until someone else decides he wants fun there and nowhere else). I was strong in London City, where I have 2/3 of the traffic, and opposition there never could breathe. I'm rather new in Fuerteventura & Faro, time will tell how well I do there, and wether my opponent in Faro can bounce back to annoy me - or die.

There is also a lot of dynamics in plane choices. In previous GW3, I went for the CRJ family(in addition to 737). But prices were going up, and I made a bold move, that paid fully : in the early 2010s, I switched to A148s. It paid because other players did buy CRJs(but also ejets & MRJs) en masse, and noone bothered buying A148s. Of course the A148 is costlier to fly, but it was so cheap to buy (13M$ the A148A versus 35M$ the CRJ700 or 45M$ the E170 or MRJ), that exploitation costs did not matter : I've expanded very quickly, and taken a strong market place, despite a crappy 1995-2010 period(hey, it was my first game, after all). I didn't lease any, I could buy more than Antonov could deliver.....

If many other players had taken the same A148 path, it would not have been such a wise move, OTOH. The opposition decides a great part of your strategy. Fly where others are not. Unlike you're amongst the best, but you're not yet. Neither am I.

Offline Ligo

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Re: Different game world questions
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2015, 06:09:50 AM »
I will add my short question to this thread:
When my route image achieved 100, should I continue route marketing company on it and what for?

Offline schro

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Re: Different game world questions
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2015, 12:19:17 PM »
I will add my short question to this thread:
When my route image achieved 100, should I continue route marketing company on it and what for?

Continuing route marketing when ri=100 is much like flushing cash down the commode or perhaps using it as a fuel source for a bon fire.

 

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