Mark Cerny Talks Cloud Computing

#1 Edited by Krakn3Dfx (2485 posts) -

Cerny Interview

IGN interview with Cerny covers a few things, and it's only Part One of 3, but he did mention cloud computing as far as what it can and can't do:

"It’s possible to do computing in the Cloud, PlayStation 4 can do computing in the Cloud. We do something today: Matchmaking is done in the Cloud and it works very well. If we think about things that don’t work well… Trying to boost the quality of the graphics, that won’t work well in the Cloud."

Not surprising, stuff that can be handled in the cloud like matchmaking and some some basic AI routine stuff. Good to see him mention matchmaking tho, which I've seen some people wondering about as far as whether the PS4 will have it.

#2 Posted by THRICE_604 (210 posts) -

Its interesting for him to flat out say boosting graphical quality in the cloud will not work very well. Its something Microsoft never attributed to their cloud network and is not on the same level with everything else they've said but people on message boards use this defense every time someone questions the importance of cloud computing.

And great for him to clarify about the cloud based matchmaking. It was one of the few things I was like ehh maybe Live does have this one feature. Thats awesome for both consoles. The current state of affairs on 360 and PS3 matchmaking sucks.

#3 Posted by GS_Dan (1402 posts) -

Cloud computing can't have any influence on the graphics pipeline, the latency is just too high.

Things like bots in multiplayer would work, though.

#4 Posted by LiquidPrince (15848 posts) -

This man always says what I'm thinking. Boosting graphics quality through the cloud is an immensely stupid idea.

#5 Edited by mikey87144 (1667 posts) -

Microsoft needs a guy like Cerny to get out there and talk about what's great about the XBO.

#6 Posted by tourgen (4427 posts) -

People start calling reconfigurable servers "cloud computing" and everyone loses their fucking minds. Welcome to computing tech from the 1970s.

#7 Posted by LiquidPrince (15848 posts) -

@tourgen said:

People start calling reconfigurable servers "cloud computing" and everyone loses their fucking minds. Welcome to computing tech from the 1970s.

Catchy naming is the future.

#8 Posted by Darji (5294 posts) -

Its interesting for him to flat out say boosting graphical quality in the cloud will not work very well. Its something Microsoft never attributed to their cloud network and is not on the same level with everything else they've said but people on message boards use this defense every time someone questions the importance of cloud computing.

And great for him to clarify about the cloud based matchmaking. It was one of the few things I was like ehh maybe Live does have this one feature. Thats awesome for both consoles. The current state of affairs on 360 and PS3 matchmaking sucks.

To be fair they said. With the Cloud the Xbox one will be 40 times more powerful than without the cloud. And This alone is just bullshit. I think Mattrick said that.

#9 Posted by Ehker (235 posts) -

@darji said:

@thrice_604 said:

Its interesting for him to flat out say boosting graphical quality in the cloud will not work very well. Its something Microsoft never attributed to their cloud network and is not on the same level with everything else they've said but people on message boards use this defense every time someone questions the importance of cloud computing.

And great for him to clarify about the cloud based matchmaking. It was one of the few things I was like ehh maybe Live does have this one feature. Thats awesome for both consoles. The current state of affairs on 360 and PS3 matchmaking sucks.

To be fair they said. With the Cloud the Xbox one will be 40 times more powerful than without the cloud. And This alone is just bullshit. I think Mattrick said that.

Microsoft totally claimed Cloud would be a big boost to lighting and volumetric fog. After the press conference they had Xbox One designers on stage spouting lighting and fog, which they repeated to the press.

Ars Technica Article

"Let’s say you’re looking at a forest scene and you need to calculate the light coming through the trees, or you’re going through a battlefield and have very dense volumetric fog that’s hugging the terrain," he said. "Those things often involve some complicated up-front calculations when you enter that world, but they don’t necessarily have to be updated every frame. Those are perfect candidates for the console to offload that to the cloud—the cloud can do the heavy lifting, because you’ve got the ability to throw multiple devices at the problem in the cloud."

#10 Posted by Korwin (2830 posts) -

@darji said:

@thrice_604 said:

Its interesting for him to flat out say boosting graphical quality in the cloud will not work very well. Its something Microsoft never attributed to their cloud network and is not on the same level with everything else they've said but people on message boards use this defense every time someone questions the importance of cloud computing.

And great for him to clarify about the cloud based matchmaking. It was one of the few things I was like ehh maybe Live does have this one feature. Thats awesome for both consoles. The current state of affairs on 360 and PS3 matchmaking sucks.

To be fair they said. With the Cloud the Xbox one will be 40 times more powerful than without the cloud. And This alone is just bullshit. I think Mattrick said that.

Little did you know that when you were using FTP to store a folder full of MP3's on a remote server in 2002 that you were on the bleeding edge of THE CLOUD.

#11 Posted by Ehker (235 posts) -

This forum is in the cloud. Mind blown.

Would be nice if MS referred to it as Azure since that's the name of the network, instead of cloud nonsense.

#12 Edited by Krakn3Dfx (2485 posts) -

@ehker said:

This forum is in the cloud. Mind blown.

Would be nice if MS referred to it as Azure since that's the name of the network, instead of cloud nonsense.

Yeah, but then they would have to admit that 98% of it is designed for businesses so they can compete with Amazon's EC2 infrastructure, and 2% is designed for dedicated servers for games like Titanfall.

They'd rather lead people to speculate that they have 300,000 servers, and they're all for XBO.

#13 Edited by Lego_My_Eggo (987 posts) -

Microsoft needs a guy like Cerny to get out there and talk about what's great about the XBO.

That would definitely help there PR, but they probably don't have someone who oversaw and knows basically everything, and Microsoft uses to much spin in there PR so they couldn't be as blunt and straightforward as Cerny has been.

#14 Edited by joshwent (2131 posts) -

It seems pretty reasonable to me that certain calculations like for fog effects could be done effectively in the cloud. Another computer figures out what to display, relays that data to your XBox, and it displays it. So it wouldn't directly improve the graphics because it's not rendering in the cloud, it's still all local. But by freeing the local processor a bit it may be able to just layer more effects and shaders at the same time.

Also, I'm not a games programmer and Cerny's been doing that for like 4 decades, but you'd be crazy to think that him dropping, "that won’t work well in the Cloud" is anything but a little dig at Microsoft. I love the guy, but his opinion is utterly biased.

#15 Posted by Turkalurch (198 posts) -

Does anyone else enjoy listening to Mark Cerny talk about video games and tech? He's just so easy to listen to. He's like a wizard!

#16 Posted by mikey87144 (1667 posts) -

@joshwent said:

It seems pretty reasonable to me that certain calculations like for fog effects could be done effectively in the cloud. Another computer figures out what to display, relays that data to your XBox, and it displays it. So it wouldn't directly improve the graphics because it's not rendering in the cloud, it's still all local. But by freeing the local processor a bit it may be able to just layer more effects and shaders at the same time.

Also, I'm not a games programmer and Cerny's been doing that for like 4 decades, but you'd be crazy to think that him dropping, "that won’t work well in the Cloud" is anything but a little dig at Microsoft. I love the guy, but his opinion is utterly biased.

Not saying the guy isn't biased but he's been pretty blunt about the features of the PS4 and the faults of the PS3. To be fair also a lot of people in the tech field have called bullshit on a lot of what Microsoft has been selling. Digital Foundry had an excellent breakdown on it and based on what developers have said since it isn't nearly the game changer that Microsoft has been selling.

#17 Edited by phantomzxro (1565 posts) -
@joshwent said:

It seems pretty reasonable to me that certain calculations like for fog effects could be done effectively in the cloud. Another computer figures out what to display, relays that data to your XBox, and it displays it. So it wouldn't directly improve the graphics because it's not rendering in the cloud, it's still all local. But by freeing the local processor a bit it may be able to just layer more effects and shaders at the same time.

Also, I'm not a games programmer and Cerny's been doing that for like 4 decades, but you'd be crazy to think that him dropping, "that won’t work well in the Cloud" is anything but a little dig at Microsoft. I love the guy, but his opinion is utterly biased.

Well i don't know because Sony could make the same claims if they wanted to also. They would even have the upper hand at BSing it by saying they can do everything Microsoft can do, and yeah we have gaikai. So i think it cool for Sony to have more of a level head on this.

I simply feel Microsoft wants to counter their box being more expensive while being less powerful with using vague terms like the "cloud" and "power of the cloud". Because it sounds nice and can be very open ended at what it actually does. Microsoft is assuming the mass market will not look too much into it, given that powerful does not equal sells and the drawback would be Sony's box is more of a bargain at this point. But if Microsoft can sell people on the idea of "the cloud" being worth it than that extra 100 bucks seems well spent.

#18 Posted by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@gs_dan said:

Cloud computing can't have any influence on the graphics pipeline, the latency is just too high.

Things like bots in multiplayer would work, though.

I could totally imagine that it's possible to offload far off geometry into the cloud. Who gives a shit if stuff that's 3+ miles away is lagging 200 ms behind. This could lead to a level of detail quality increase up close, whilst simultaniously vastly increasing viewing and drawing distances.

#19 Posted by EXTomar (4507 posts) -

Machines today can cull geometry that is "3+ miles away" without the power of the cloud.

#20 Edited by GS_Dan (1402 posts) -

@seppli said:

@gs_dan said:

Cloud computing can't have any influence on the graphics pipeline, the latency is just too high.

Things like bots in multiplayer would work, though.

I could totally imagine that it's possible to offload far off geometry into the cloud. Who gives a shit if stuff that's 3+ miles away is lagging 200 ms behind. This could lead to a level of detail quality increase up close, whilst simultaniously vastly increasing viewing and drawing distances.

The local GPU will still have to push that to the screen though, I think you'd only be able to do things like physics interactions for them (obviously non-essentials so the gameplay wouldn't fuck up from lag spikes). From what I understand the cloud can't allow the box to be able to graphically push out any more than the machine itself can chew.

Physics interactions and AI could be interesting though.

#21 Edited by Syed117 (387 posts) -

Matchmaking? As far as I know matchmaking has always been done in the "cloud." Even now. That's why when a games servers are shut down, they are really just shutting down matchmaking. They can't take the ability of the a player to host the game away.

Matchmaking and hosting are two different things. A lot of console games are player hosted, but the matchmaking still occurs on servers that the platform or developer provides. I'm pretty sure that's how it works for 360 and probably PS3 as well.

It's easy for Cerny to say that PS4 can use the cloud. Of course it can, why wouldn't it be able to? Anything can use the cloud. I think the thing to remember is where the tangible resources are. The whole reason Microsoft is throwing around so much stupid jargon is because they have the Azure platform to back it up. We don't know what it could be used for yet, but it's a real thing that exists. Sony does not have that infrastructure and they realistically never can. At least not anytime in the near future. They do not have a "cloud" in the way that Microsoft does. You can go get a piece of that cloud right now and do whatever you want with it. Sony will of course have data centers to power PSN like they do now, but that isn't something that directly compared to what Azure is.

Microsoft is basically giving developers easy and cheap access to the cloud that they already own and operate. It's will be significantly easier for a developer to make use of those servers compared to them trying to do it on their own. Respawn is a perfect example and they said exactly that in the interview.

I doubt graphics could ever come from the cloud, but there are things that easily could. Not everything has to be extremely latency dependent. We don't know where developers can take it. Like Brad said on the podcast, even if it just comes down to dedicated servers becoming the standard, that is a huge thing to celebrate.

#22 Posted by csl316 (8147 posts) -

Good interview. I'd like to piggy back onto here and link his Road to PS4 speech. This was really enlightening, as far as getting to where they are.

Online
#23 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@gs_dan said:

@seppli said:

@gs_dan said:

Cloud computing can't have any influence on the graphics pipeline, the latency is just too high.

Things like bots in multiplayer would work, though.

I could totally imagine that it's possible to offload far off geometry into the cloud. Who gives a shit if stuff that's 3+ miles away is lagging 200 ms behind. This could lead to a level of detail quality increase up close, whilst simultaniously vastly increasing viewing and drawing distances.

The local GPU will still have to push that to the screen though, I think you'd only be able to do things like physics interactions for them (obviously non-essentials so the gameplay wouldn't fuck up from lag spikes). From what I understand the cloud can't allow the box to be able to graphically push out any more than the machine itself can chew.

Physics interactions and AI could be interesting though.

I didn't mean to imply an expectation to see some such trickery anytime soon, I just meant to say I can imagine that such a method might one day exist.

#24 Posted by Lego_My_Eggo (987 posts) -

@gs_dan said:

Physics interactions and AI could be interesting though.

I don't know how much resources an AI uses and if it would be useful to offload it to a server, but i can see AI working because that would just be like a bot in a multiplayer game, but potentially used in a singleplayer game. But with physics you don't want to crash your car into a wall and have it take any longer then it has to, because you end up with situations where the game finally realize that you should be bouncing off that wall long after you hit it because everything is being bounced back and forth from the server and console.

Any physics that happen you couldn't really interact with in a believable way, so it might as well be per-rendered and scripted.

#25 Posted by Vertrucio (145 posts) -

Yep, any physics simulations that are big and non-interactive enough to warrant being put in the cloud is still much better off served being pre-calculated and baked into animation, something which games already do.

AI would benefit greatly, but only a lot of the more wider AI. Stuff like RTS AI will benefit from it, but even then it's nothing mystical, MMOs have been running AI on variable servers for a while now.

By the way, anyone know the proper name for this technology instead of cloud? Cloud is a catchy marketing name, and I'm fine with the use of it, but it's currently being bandied about as rainbow magic, but the reality is servers farms that can run things and be reconfigured on the software level real-time have been around for a long time now.

#26 Posted by Strife777 (1503 posts) -

Hopefully, from that quote, he's saying that there will be dedicated servers.

I'm seeing a lot of interviews and talks with Cerny recently. Quite an interesting guy, fun to listen to and read.

#27 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

Thank you Mr. Cerny for leaving out the hype.

#28 Posted by EXTomar (4507 posts) -

Another word for cloud? Distributed, self managed computing and storage platform. That is why "cloud" works better. :)

#29 Posted by Krakn3Dfx (2485 posts) -

Hopefully, from that quote, he's saying that there will be dedicated servers.

I'm seeing a lot of interviews and talks with Cerny recently. Quite an interesting guy, fun to listen to and read.

Of course there will be dedicated servers. There were on the PS3, there will be on the PS4. People give MS exclusive credit for stuff that they don't deserve, dedicated servers is one of those things.

#30 Edited by Syed117 (387 posts) -

@krakn3dfx said:

@strife777 said:

Hopefully, from that quote, he's saying that there will be dedicated servers.

I'm seeing a lot of interviews and talks with Cerny recently. Quite an interesting guy, fun to listen to and read.

Of course there will be dedicated servers. There were on the PS3, there will be on the PS4. People give MS exclusive credit for stuff that they don't deserve, dedicated servers is one of those things.

Wrong. Dedicated servers last generation were not provided by Microsoft or Sony. It was completely developer dependent. For example, Dice ran servers for Battlefield, while COD has always been played hosted.

Cerny is not saying that their will be dedicated servers. If he was, he would have just said that. He said matchmaking and that is something that has always been handled on the server end. It's Sony again regurgitated things that happen right now and people who don't know any better are assuming it's some great new feature.

As of right now, neither Microsoft nor Sony has said that dedicated servers will be some kind of platform standard for PS4 or Xbox One. The only thing that is confirmed is that Microsoft will use Azure to give developers an easy and relatively cheap option so they don't have to host servers on a per developer basis.

Will every developer take advantage of it? Will it be a platform standard? It should, but who knows. It's something that will be easier and more expected on xbox one because the servers already exist. Just depends on the barrier Microsoft puts up to developers.

People are giving Microsoft credit for having the infrastructure already built to support dedicated servers for every single multiplayer game. Sony does not have that and for them it's not feasible unless they themselves create giant server farms or pay for all hosting for all developers creating multiplayer games. Neither of those things are likely.

#31 Edited by Krakn3Dfx (2485 posts) -

@syed117 said:

@krakn3dfx said:

@strife777 said:

Hopefully, from that quote, he's saying that there will be dedicated servers.

I'm seeing a lot of interviews and talks with Cerny recently. Quite an interesting guy, fun to listen to and read.

Of course there will be dedicated servers. There were on the PS3, there will be on the PS4. People give MS exclusive credit for stuff that they don't deserve, dedicated servers is one of those things.

Wrong. Dedicated servers last generation were not provided by Microsoft or Sony. It was completely developer dependent. For example, Dice ran servers for Battlefield, while COD has always been played hosted.

It's Sony again regurgitated things that happen right now and people who don't know any better are assuming it's some great new feature.

Sony provided dedicated servers for Warhawk, the Resistance trilogy, KZ2 and 3, GT5, Starhawk, and most other 1st party games that had a MP component.

Microsoft did the same thing.

Azure is a system 98% designed to compete with Amazon's EC2 infrastructure, if you go to MS' own Azure site, it doesn't even mention the XBox.

Sony has Gaikai, and has said clearly that Gaikai can be used for other things than just streaming games.

I don't even know how to respond to Sony regurgitating anything. Cerny is talking about features the PS4 has that work well, nothing more. Get over yourself.

#32 Edited by EXTomar (4507 posts) -

The trick is that it is up to the ISV to use the technology not Microsoft. Some games do not need to use cloud platforms for anything more than the "high score board". Some game will need extensive use of cloud technology but how they do that is highly specific to that game and piece of hardware.

It is great Microsoft is ready to offer Azure to any game developer but it is ultimately up to the game developer. For all we know Bungie is using their own custom cloud system to support what they are doing in Destiny where Microsoft offers nothing.

#33 Posted by Syed117 (387 posts) -

@syed117 said:

@krakn3dfx said:

@strife777 said:

Hopefully, from that quote, he's saying that there will be dedicated servers.

I'm seeing a lot of interviews and talks with Cerny recently. Quite an interesting guy, fun to listen to and read.

Of course there will be dedicated servers. There were on the PS3, there will be on the PS4. People give MS exclusive credit for stuff that they don't deserve, dedicated servers is one of those things.

Wrong. Dedicated servers last generation were not provided by Microsoft or Sony. It was completely developer dependent. For example, Dice ran servers for Battlefield, while COD has always been played hosted.

Sony provided dedicated servers for Warhawk, the Resistance trilogy, KZ2 and 3, GT5, Starhawk, and most other 1st party games that had a MP component.

Microsoft did the same thing.

Right. So it was developer dependent and not a platform standard. Sony providing servers for their own 1st party games is not the same as sony providing servers across the board for all games on their platform. That's what is being discussed for the next generation.

Microsoft has a platform to provide servers to all developers. Whether they use them or not is apparently up to them, but there should be some kind of standard. That's what can set Live apart from PSN for the next generation. They need to come out and clarify if it will be forced or if it becomes a system level requirement that all multiplayer games have to conform to.

#34 Edited by Krakn3Dfx (2485 posts) -

Activision has already said Ghosts will be using P2P across all platforms again, so they're clearly not forcing any developer to use the system. Call of Duty has worked for 5+ years on consoles without dedicated server support, and if you asked 90% of console games what a dedicated server is, you would just get blank stares.

Not every online MP game needs or even should have dedicated servers. With a P2P setup, you don't need to worry about multiplayer becoming inoperable when the publisher decides to discontinue server support, like MAG will be in 1/2014 and all EA sports games are within 18 months of release these days. Hinging server functionality on a publisher's whim shouldn't be a selling point for any game.

#35 Posted by Korwin (2830 posts) -

Activision has already said Ghosts will be using P2P across all platforms again, so they're clearly not forcing any developer to use the system. Call of Duty has worked for 5+ years on consoles without dedicated server support, and if you asked 90% of console games what a dedicated server is, you would just get blank stares.

Not every online MP game needs or even should have dedicated servers. With a P2P setup, you don't need to worry about multiplayer becoming inoperable when the publisher decides to discontinue server support, like MAG will be in 1/2014 and all EA sports games are within 18 months of release these days. Hinging server functionality on a publisher's whim shouldn't be a selling point for any game.

This didn't use to be the case however, time was any old user could setup their own private dedicated server whenever the mood took them. Business killed the dedicated server model, then brought it back in a half living zombie form to be abused through paid service providers.

#36 Posted by Krakn3Dfx (2485 posts) -

@korwin said:


This didn't use to be the case however, time was any old user could setup their own private dedicated server whenever the mood took them. Business killed the dedicated server model, then brought it back in a half living zombie form to be abused through paid service providers.

Yeah, I posted a thread on another site asking why we're so quick to embrace the publisher/console maker driven dedicated server model when it just means the inevitable loss of multiplayer for games that support it. Short of releasing a PC executable that would allow gamers to run servers for console games, a strong P2P multiplayer architecture is the best thing to guarantee that multiplayer for a game will be around as long as anyone would/could want it, unless the console maker pulls the plug for online support completely for said console, like the original XBox for instance.

We're digging a deep hole for ourselves when it comes to what we as gamers are accepting when it comes to online games. We've asked for no real accountability from console makers when it comes to how the sunset years of a console will be handled and beyond. At some point, like with Halo and Halo 2 on the XBox, this will result in a rude awakening for people who still enjoy going back to play older systems years after they're been eclipsed by newer models.

#37 Edited by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

@krakn3dfx said:

Activision has already said Ghosts will be using P2P across all platforms again, so they're clearly not forcing any developer to use the system. Call of Duty has worked for 5+ years on consoles without dedicated server support, and if you asked 90% of console games what a dedicated server is, you would just get blank stares.

Not every online MP game needs or even should have dedicated servers. With a P2P setup, you don't need to worry about multiplayer becoming inoperable when the publisher decides to discontinue server support, like MAG will be in 1/2014 and all EA sports games are within 18 months of release these days. Hinging server functionality on a publisher's whim shouldn't be a selling point for any game.

I have never had issues with P2P servers. The only time its really FUCKED me was with Dark Souls and people flickering all over the world and when that happened I just turned off my system and let them rage in a message to me.

And of course the Sony guy will say the cloud stuff wont help the system. I doubt they will be streaming better graphics but maybe they can off load AI and dynamic stuff and have more room for the graphics on the system its self.

#38 Posted by mrfluke (5093 posts) -

give that man a podium and just let him just talk, about the industry, about ps4 tech, anything.

awesome person to listen to.

#39 Edited by Krakn3Dfx (2485 posts) -

@the_laughing_man: Nvidia showed off some indirect lighting that was being offloaded into the cloud. It's interesting tech, but it's still at least 3-4 years from being something most developers would depend on for games, given that internet latency and speeds are all over the place for a lot of gamers.

You also have to look at the potential for down the road when the servers that handle off things like AI or lighting wouldn't be financially viable to keep online because of a low player base. Then you're essentially killing the ability to play a game at all because of online requirements that would have better been handled by the console's resources in the first place.

I understand that people want to embrace the bulletpoint of "cloud based gaming computation", but from a standpoint of game preservation, it's a pretty awful idea IMO.

#40 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

@the_laughing_man: Nvidia showed off some indirect lighting that was being offloaded into the cloud. It's interesting tech, but it's still at least 3-4 years from being something most developers would depend on for games, given that internet latency and speeds are all over the place for a lot of gamers. Plus, it's

You also have to look at the potential for down the road when the servers that handle off things like AI or lighting wouldn't be financially viable to keep online because of a low player base. Then you're essentially killing the ability to play a game at all because of online requirements that would have better been handled by the console's resources in the first place.

I understand that people want to embrace the bulletpoint of "cloud based gaming computation", but from a standpoint of game preservation, it's a pretty awful idea IMO.

I do think the cloud will offer something but again MS is unable to explain it in decent terms so people understand.

#41 Edited by EXTomar (4507 posts) -

Parts of that are already "baseline features" necessary for MMOs so it isn't exactly "radical new tech". If your raid team is beating up a dragon, what system driving the "AI" behind the dragon moving around and attacking things? It isn't any of the dozen or so client machines but the cloud system the designers came up with. All of the clients machines are communicating with the cloud server. The cloud server is in turn telling all of the clients what the results are.

Cloud architecture is great at scaling and distributing with a reasonable degree of synchronization which is necessary for in any modern MMO. So right now we have the business case is already there and already proven to work. But as a cautionary tale, that "business case" has limitations and price and doesn't work for all games as many companies painfully found out.

#42 Posted by Vertrucio (145 posts) -

Indirect lighting for games as shown in NVidia's tech video is more along the lines of 10 years in the future if you look at the specs of the machines involved, the bandwidth required for every player using it, and the issues with latency. The key behind cloud architecture servers and the use of it is that it needs to be cheap as well as being reliable. Having an entire server farm equipped with Geforce titans, along with network centers with enough bandwidth to push out the final calculations is far off.

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