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Thread: PS2 vs Dreamcast Graphics

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    The PS2 has a video memory cache size issue that has to be worked around through clever memory management. It also doesnít have built in hardware features like AA, so it has to be worked out through rather primitive techniques like full screen AA with software. The AF is of lower quality which causes that shimmering effect the console is well known for.
    Last edited by gamevet; 01-20-2021 at 06:08 PM.
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



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    Quote Originally Posted by gamevet View Post
    The PS2 has a video memory cache size issue that has to be worked around through clever memory management. It also doesnít have built in hardware features like AA, so it has to be worked out through rather primitive techniques like full screen AA with software. The AF is of lower quality which causes that shimmering effect the console is well known for.
    your knowledge about the ps2 comes down to prejudices only? if you don't want to go deeper just read my posts

    The ps2 has a 4MB cache, gamecube has 3MB but people don't say it's too small, I know the compression yeh, know the ps2 can also compress through software up to 4: 1 and can change quickly the textures due to the high speed of the bus. , to sum up see https://youtu.be/3rTeUTV-xD0?t=615 in this game Dreamcast used its 8MB and as if it was little it still compressed in VQ to at the end present an inferior look in the textures.
    this would continue to happen if Dreamcast continued its cycle, it was already happening in games like 4x4 evolution, nfl2k2 and 18 wheeler, unreal tournament most textures are the same, one or other isolated texture is superior in Dreamcast, those later ports like crazy taxi, virtua tennis are just an attempt to make easy money like homebrew super mario 64 ported to ps2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SegaAMD View Post
    There is a theory accepted as truth but it is a lie.

    that the PS2 only got better graphics in some games because it became the reference for developers and because of that both GameCube and Dreamcast were unable to show their potential in multiplatform games like PS2 did.

    Where is the flaw in this reasoning? Simple, it does not take into account hardware differences and engine directions.

    The Sega Saturn was a console that could have had a better result but if it leads its generation, it would still continue to offer those dotted shadows and worse effects than the PS1 and later the N64, because this is a hardware situation and it would not be supplanted only because console selling more.

    the PS2 has more power under the hood, racing games and PC ports would show the difference in performance between the machines, so gradually the ps2 would override these consoles in the visual field and the story would align with what we saw .



    I always find threads like this interesting but ultimately I'm not sure what is being proved. Obviously polygon numbers help us to see the capability of a piece of hardware to an extent but equally as has been mentioned in previous entries in this thread there are lots of other factors that affect both whether a game is visually pleasing and also how hard it pushes the hardware including things like art style, scope of the game, developer skill, origin of the game (i.e. port or built from ground up) and budget etc.

    For example I believe comparing the characters on Mortal Kombat 4 on N64 and Mortal Kombat Gold on DC shows the DC characters are massively upgraded in terms of polygon numbers - something like 600-700 on N64 through to 3000 on DC however they look very broadly comparable. So clearly an effort was made to make use of the hardware but the returns on this effort were minimal.


    The point made above about multiplatform games strikes me as both half right and half wrong.

    Right in that the hardware flaws or quirks will always come through in the end. Saturn famously struggling to meaningful use transparencies without an impact or clever coding for example. So of course the inherent design of the hardware will impact the end result.

    This is why the best games for many platforms are designed and built around the strengths of the system.

    In a series of massive generalisations:
    SNES - strength: lots of colours & ability to show transparencies weakness: comparatively slow processor. Combine this with it's popularity in Japan = lots of RPG's with detailed graphics, orchestral sounds, transparency on magic, no need for lots of fast moving sprites.

    Megadrive - strength: flexible and comparatively fast processor weakness: Relatively lacking in on-screen colours/transparency. Combine this with its popularity in Europe & USA = lots of fast paced games with lots of sprites and lots of sports game support

    The point about multi-platform games being impacted by the hardware I suspect this is to do with designing to the lowest common denominator to make it easy to port. So in the above example if you were designing an original game to be made for simultaneous release on Megadrive and SNES you might limit the colours (to make it easier to port to Megadrive) while limiting the number of sprites and pace of scrolling (to make it easier to port to SNES). Obviously if budget and team resource is no issue then you develop both platforms as separate projects to make the best use of each platform and in fact due to the popularity of both systems this is exactly what happened - either two teams at the same developer or two entirely different developers.

    The issue for other hardware platforms was that due to the overwhelming popularity of the PS1 and PS2 within their generations they were nearly ALWAYS the lead platform for multiplatform games (which makes sense from a business point of view) So they were primaily designed around the strengths and quirks of these platforms - making ports to other systems either:

    a) difficult because the target platform perhaps didn't have the same strengths as the Lead Platform - e.g. having to convert PS1 models to quads for Saturn which obviously takes time and money to do so much easier to just use a single processor and make it "good enough"
    b) a straight port without utilising the strengths of the target platform. This was ore common with PS2 to XBOX which no additional polygons or shader effects or frame rate boosts.......until later in the XBOX life cycle where it became the lead platform for a number of multi-platform games.

    That immense popularity also informs how much time and effort is invested by developers in learning to exploit the hardware.

    To take the DC and PS2 comparison - to make it easy to release the same game on both machines you'd make it two player only with no online play (I know the P2 had a multitap and eventually an online element but this is to run on stock machines) and reduce the polygons to DC levels. In reality - you make the PS2 your lead platform and port to the others. This means you fail to exploit the 4 player out of the box capabilities of the other machines (plus limit the shader effects you could add on XBOX later in the generation). Obviously some developers were better than others and some would add additional content or an online element or whatever but the fact remains that it is a no brainer to make the PS2 your lead platform.

    It also informs game design. You can pretty much guarantee that if the number of units of hardware sold were reversed between Saturn in a distant 3rd, N64 in 2nd and PS1 way out in front so that the Saturn sold over 100m and the PS1 barely hit 10m that game design would be far more focussed on 2D game design with gorgeous sprites, animation and background layer effects and on 3D fighters with plane floors and scaling backdrops etc.

    However the market (and marketing) spoke so the PlayStation style of game design became the de facto approach.

    PS2 had that insane fill rate and the whole fast bus shuttling data around the system. Due to the popularity of the machine (and no real competition - DC seen as a snack between main courses, GameCube still a way off and being the first move to optical disk by Nintendo and Microsoft's entry being a complete unknown as to what they were bringing) developers absolutely learned how to fully exploit the PS2 quirks and all. The PS2 is a fantastic machine with some incredible flexibility but it also had shortcomings and a number of quirks.


    You can see how this was reversed in the 360 & PS3 era. The 360 was for the majority of the generation the better selling console (although PS3 beat it out in the end and was demonstrably ore powerful) however the ease of development on 360 vs PS3 plus the 360 being the lead platform for many of the multiplatform games of that era meant that the 360 generally had the better version. It was the games designed from the ground up for PS3 that really showed what the system could do.

    So every game is always a balance between the hardware capability, the developers skill in being able to exploit that capability, the game design and scope, the ease of development plus most importantly the budget and time frame for any given project. They are always balancing resources.

    So taking Rayman 2 for Dreamcast it was mentioned earlier that it was disappointing that the N64 geometry hadn't been significantly upgraded. The fact of the matter is that it just wouldn't have financially been worth their while to completely rebuild the game from the ground up. New character models for the main characters, some new textures, higher resolution - job done. Same with a lot of the lazy PS1 ports to Dreamcast - 60Hz mode, higher resolution, maybe make a new model for the main character. Very few people would build the game from the ground up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SegaAMD View Post
    your knowledge about the ps2 comes down to prejudices only? if you don't want to go deeper just read my posts

    The ps2 has a 4MB cache, gamecube has 3MB but people don't say it's too small, I know the compression yeh, know the ps2 can also compress through software up to 4: 1 and can change quickly the textures due to the high speed of the bus. , to sum up see https://youtu.be/3rTeUTV-xD0?t=615 in this game Dreamcast used its 8MB and as if it was little it still compressed in VQ to at the end present an inferior look in the textures.
    this would continue to happen if Dreamcast continued its cycle, it was already happening in games like 4x4 evolution, nfl2k2 and 18 wheeler, unreal tournament most textures are the same, one or other isolated texture is superior in Dreamcast, those later ports like crazy taxi, virtua tennis are just an attempt to make easy money like homebrew super mario 64 ported to ps2.
    Prejudice means a preconceived opinion, not based on reason or actual experience. So, saying that is absolutely wrong on your part.

    I have owned (and still own) all 4 consoles from that generation. Iím absolutely sure that when it comes to pushing polygons and using particle effects that the PS2 is two-fold the power of the Dreamcast. What Iím not so sure about is if it can do better texture mapping or texture filtering in comparison to the DC.

    The GameCube and Xboxís abilities at texture mapping, texture filtering, antialiasing and texture layers absolutely curb stomps the PS2. Itís not even questionable, unless youíre viewing it all with a biased mind, that chooses 3rd party games that were designed to make the best use of the PS2 hardware. Thereís no way the PS2 could recreate a game like Panzer Dragoon Orta, F-Zero GX, Rogue Squadron 2, or Metroid Prime, without making huge graphical sacrifices to do so. While given the time, the best game on PS2 could be recreated in full on a GC or Xbox. The Dreamcast would struggle to even make a 80% reproduction of the best on PS2, because it just doesnít have the power to draw that many polygons.
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



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    Quote Originally Posted by gamevet View Post
    Itís not even questionable, unless youíre viewing it all with a biased mind, that chooses 3rd party games that were designed to make the best use of the PS2 hardware. Thereís no way the PS2 could recreate a game like Panzer Dragoon Orta, F-Zero GX, Rogue Squadron 2, or Metroid Prime, without making huge graphical sacrifices to do so. While given the time, the best game on PS2 could be recreated in full on a GC or Xbox.
    I see that you don't like the ps2, it's blinding you, see how you contradict yourself in your thesis,
    if the console cannot recreate a multi like Driver 3, Max payne (word from the developers) how can it recreate an exclusive game on dvd9? will use 7 mini dvd media ?
    if you want to talk about the ps2's ability to recreate Gamecube exclusives, quote me there on the thread. But if it is to be biased, I think it is better not to interact with me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SegaAMD View Post
    I see that you don't like the ps2, it's blinding you, see how you contradict yourself in your thesis,
    if the console cannot recreate a multi like Driver 3, Max payne (word from the developers) how can it recreate an exclusive game on dvd9? will use 7 mini dvd media ?
    if you want to talk about the ps2's ability to recreate Gamecube exclusives, quote me there on the thread. But if it is to be biased, I think it is better not to interact with me.
    Iím not contradicting myself. Iím stating facts. The mighty Gran Turismo 4 doesnít event use antialiasing. The road signs, banners and other advertising in the game is a pixelated mess. Even the Bleemcast version of Gran Turismo 2, with proper AA looks miles better than the blocky mess on the PS2. That isnít bias dude, itís fact! If anyone is showing pure bias, it is you. I am hardware agnostic, while your name clearly shows that you are not. I when I get home Iíll post you a comparison picture between the two. You best get your salt shaker, in preparation for eating crow.

    I donít hate the PS2, I just think that the hardware isnít all that impressive compared to what the other companies had to offer. The Dreamcast certainly shouldnít have better, more consistent AA than the PS2. Given that itís nearly 2 years older.
    Last edited by gamevet; 01-21-2021 at 02:41 PM.
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



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    Quote Originally Posted by GreyFox View Post
    The point made above about multiplatform games strikes me as both half right and half wrong.

    Right in that the hardware flaws or quirks will always come through in the end. Saturn famously struggling to meaningful use transparencies without an impact or clever coding for example. So of course the inherent design of the hardware will impact the end result.

    This is why the best games for many platforms are designed and built around the strengths of the system.

    The point about multi-platform games being impacted by the hardware I suspect this is to do with designing to the lowest common denominator to make it easy to port.

    The issue for other hardware platforms was that due to the overwhelming popularity of the PS1 and PS2 within their generations they were nearly ALWAYS the lead platform for multiplatform games (which makes sense from a business point of view) So they were primaily designed around the strengths and quirks of these platforms - making ports to other systems either:

    a) difficult because the target platform perhaps didn't have the same strengths as the Lead Platform - e.g. having to convert PS1 models to quads for Saturn which obviously takes time and money to do so much easier to just use a single processor and make it "good enough"
    b) a straight port without utilising the strengths of the target platform. This was ore common with PS2 to XBOX which no additional polygons or shader effects or frame rate boosts.......until later in the XBOX life cycle where it became the lead platform for a number of multi-platform games.

    That immense popularity also informs how much time and effort is invested by developers in learning to exploit the hardware.

    It also informs game design. You can pretty much guarantee that if the number of units of hardware sold were reversed between Saturn in a distant 3rd, N64 in 2nd and PS1 way out in front so that the Saturn sold over 100m and the PS1 barely hit 10m that game design would be far more focussed on 2D game design with gorgeous sprites, animation and background layer effects and on 3D fighters with plane floors and scaling backdrops etc.

    However the market (and marketing) spoke so the PlayStation style of game design became the de facto approach.

    PS2 had that insane fill rate and the whole fast bus shuttling data around the system. Due to the popularity of the machine (and no real competition - DC seen as a snack between main courses, GameCube still a way off and being the first move to optical disk by Nintendo and Microsoft's entry being a complete unknown as to what they were bringing) developers absolutely learned how to fully exploit the PS2 quirks and all. The PS2 is a fantastic machine with some incredible flexibility but it also had shortcomings and a number of quirks.

    .
    your post was perfect, I understood the reasoning despite not agreeing with everything, I say that I agree with most.

    the conclusion I get from your post is that the weakest machine holds the strongest machine.

    And this I disagree, power needs appear and always appear, supposing that Dreamcast was the leading platform, your games had models with 2k poly and nice textures, the ps2 could make this same model with 4k polygons, but that would leave the discrepant versions, so this strength of the ps2 would be held ok, but the power need to appear and it would eventually appear in the form of lighting or frame rate or shadows or blur and in the end the ps2 version would be considered superior, textures a bit worse, this would gradually lead games to fall into the same situations they fell into, unless there were profound changes and distinct exclusive games like snes and genesis gen, the same would happen with PS1 if N64 dominated its gen, there were more games in 3d and many games as we know it would change FF7 and RE2 would be otherwise, but it would not change the desire of devs to use the cd for better audio or fmv nor the texture cache, in other words it makes no difference if a game is N64 and reduced to ps1 or if it is from ps1 improved to N64. It's the same thing.

    there are 4 situations:

    first: if a game emerges from the ground as multi, it will seek the lowest common denominator.
    second: if a game was exclusive and then it became multi like Grandia, RE4 or Head Hunter.
    third: if the game comes from the PC (my favorite situation, whoever runs a pc game more convincingly will be more powerful).
    fourth: if a game is multiplat but the versions are modified to make use of the strengths of each device, we see this in Doa2 and I think this type of port is very positive.

    all of this influences gen so the ps2 or ps1 theory was the basis and that is why they run most multiplats in better quality is not due to this but to their respective hadware, a need for speed the way it is always it would be as it was, in an alternative situation there should be a need for speed that was not a need for speed, in the end it is the idea of ​​the scope of the game the real reason for a hardware to take more advantage or less advantage in a multiplatform.

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    Lets look at Bleemcast running Gran Turismo 2 on the Dreamcast.

    Here's a replay, where it's pretty clear that those are GT2 car models. Look at the fence though. The links aren't meshing together and the signs are fairly visible. Let's not forget that the Dreamcast is taking a PlayStation resolution of around 320 x 240 (no need to be anal about it) and upscaling it to 640 x 480.




    Here we can see the signs fairly well, along with the grass and pavement that are smoothed out by AA.



    Here's another image of the starting line, with a direct shot of your car, along with the fence and signs. It's all smoothed out by AA.



    And here's a final shot with the banner overhead and it's fairly recognizable letters. Again, pavement and grass have been smoothed out. It's not pixelated.

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by gamevet; 01-21-2021 at 10:32 PM.
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



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    waiting for the GT4 image now in similar positions, to be able to evaluate.

    it will be interesting this comparison between GT2 with '' AA '' vs GT4 ''no AA'' I guarantee that GT4 will have a better image even with less jaggies than the AA of GT2. I will cut and enlarge.

    Edit: I saw here, you just proved that GT4 has more details and fine details, it also appears to be clearer when looking at the model of the cars or the advertisements or even the white barricade, in the GT2 there are more teeth in the barricades and in the vehicles, which it is normal as it operates in lower resolution. perhaps one criticism comes down to the way the GS renders games.
    Last edited by SegaAMD; 01-21-2021 at 11:05 PM.

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    Now on to Gran Turismo 4 on the PS2. It's running at 480p on a Sony KV-32HS420 display. It's the same display that the Dreamcast was running GT2 on.


    Shimmer me timbers. All of the surroundings are a shimmer mess, because there is no AA. The sign is fairly visible, but it too has some shimmer near the edge of the letters. This is Sony's flagship PS2 racer here.



    Here's the banner a little farther away. It's now a little harder to read, because of the boxy letter edges and slight shimmer. The same effect is seen on the farther away signs on the barricades.




    This area will drive your eyes batty. You don't even want to get stuck on that gravel, because it will look like one giant mound of pixels.



    The alias monster rears its ugly head here. Everything is a jaggy mess, including the white barricade wall that had been reduced to a mash of jagged lines.

    Attached Images Attached Images
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



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    Quote Originally Posted by SegaAMD View Post
    waiting for the GT4 image now in similar positions, to be able to evaluate.

    it will be interesting this comparison between GT2 with '' AA '' vs GT4 ''no AA'' I guarantee that GT4 will have a better image even with less jaggies than the AA of GT2. I will cut and enlarge.
    You definitely don't want to see how GT2 looks on a PS2. And even with my 60 GB PS3 having the ability to smooth out GT4, it's still a horrible mess.
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



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    Quote Originally Posted by SegaAMD View Post
    waiting for the GT4 image now in similar positions, to be able to evaluate.

    it will be interesting this comparison between GT2 with '' AA '' vs GT4 ''no AA'' I guarantee that GT4 will have a better image even with less jaggies than the AA of GT2. I will cut and enlarge.

    Edit: I saw here, you just proved that GT4 has more details and fine details, it also appears to be clearer when looking at the model of the cars or the advertisements or even the white barricade, in the GT2 there are more teeth in the barricades and in the vehicles, which it is normal as it operates in lower resolution. perhaps one criticism comes down to the way the GS renders games.
    GT 4 is an amazing looking game and an awesome technical achievement but the PS2 poor display hurts it, much like how the N64 poor display hurt so many of its games no matter their technical achievements. For me, though I always look to something like Silent Hill 3 has a game displaying some of the best gfx on the PS2. I'm also always impressed with the effects seen in Ghosthunter and on one of the 1st bosses in Zone of the Enders II, which feature some of the most amazing gfx on any system from that gen. It gets no credit but Demon Chaos is super impressive too. But like so many PS2 games its hurt by the poor display

    DC might not have the power or the Polygons, but that Power VR chip didn't half output a beautiful clean colourful image, but for me the OG XBox was the true king for that gen for the best display and GFX.
    Panzer Dragoon Zwei is
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    Quote Originally Posted by gamevet View Post
    because there is no AA
    My understanding is that DC did not do a lot of AA either, the problem lies in the setup of PS2's framebuffer. Here is what Naughty Dog said at the time.

    The PS2 gives you a raw frame buffer. It does not blend past frames with the current frame to create the blurry effect the Dreamcast gets. For a bad TV, the Dreamcast method is great. But on a good monitor, or with an RGB cable, the Dreamcast method is limiting because it tends to take away from your ability to get small details.
    The texture capabilities of the PS2 are very complicated. We have spent over two months simply looking at our options in regards to texture usage, and have found a good solution to the mip-mapping and filtering issues of the system.
    The early PS2 games did not have time to do this. That is why these games flicker horribly. With time, and effort, you can overcome the flickering issues to a great extent.
    I think that you see this with MGS2. There were not as many issues in this game as there were in the early release titles. Time will improve them all.
    Quite honestly, I don't know if this is right. It doesn't sound right, because some DC games specifically did not use AA (Shenmue), and to my eye they looked very similar to most PS2 Jag City games.

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    Itís not just AA. The texture filtering is just not good on the PS2, while the DC has built in bilinear and trilinear filtering to smooth out the textures. Itís very obvious with those Bleemcast images of GT2.


    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trilinear_filtering
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



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    Mipmap is the key, there are confusion IQ and graphics, filters and sharpness, aa and resolution, textures and colors ect.

    things are not simple, I believe that the biggest mistake we make on threads like this is to take a resource that a console supports and deduce that it will support all situations. for example Bump Mapping, the Gamecube hardware supports but great games like Metroid Pirme doesn't use it.

    Despite GC, PS2 and DC all have the support for FSAA it's possible counting on the fingers of one hand what games have used this in each system . The xbox is the only console with real anti aliasing support but only used msaa in almost zero games.What people mistakenly call ''AA'' is actually a ''flicker filter'' that gives the blurry look (but stable) that we see in games like Tekken Tag and most GC games.
    what people call ''jaggies'' is caused mainly by the lack of MipMap. Devs avoided using this on PS2 as it blurry the image in addition to consuming a precious memory. Unreal Tournament uses mipmap on ps2, mipmap is absent in shenmue 2. PS2 criticisms are valid and true but it is necessary to balance not every ps2 game has jaggies or flicker, each game needs to be analyzed individually, many ps2 triple A games suffer from jaggies, as well as many sholverware, it is only important to note that it is not absolute.
    Last edited by SegaAMD; 01-23-2021 at 05:20 PM.

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