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United States Patent Application 20070021200
Kind Code A1
Fox; David ;   et al. January 25, 2007

Computer implemented character creation for an interactive user experience

Abstract

A variety of methods and systems are disclosed that facilitate character creation. One embodiment of the present invention teaches receiving a first virtual character set and operating a logical algorithm on the first virtual character set to generate a second virtual character set. Another embodiment teaches a method for playing an interactive game by generating actions, behaviors and/or decisions for a virtual character. Additional embodiments teach a system for character creation.


Inventors: Fox; David; (San Francisco, CA) ; Fox; Kelli; (San Francisco, CA) ; White; Sean; (New York, NY)
Correspondence Address:
    PERKINS COIE LLP
    P.O. BOX 2168
    MENLO PARK
    CA
    94026
    US
Serial No.: 281263
Series Code: 11
Filed: November 16, 2005

Current U.S. Class: 463/30
Class at Publication: 463/030
International Class: A63F 9/24 20060101 A63F009/24


Claims



1. A computer implemented method for creating a virtual character, the computer implemented method comprising: receiving a first virtual character set of one or more personal characteristics of said virtual character, wherein personal characteristics include date of birth and one or more of the following: time of birth, place of birth, gender, eye color, body type, favorite color, preferred weapon, preferred armor, height, education level, name, or psychometric data; and operating a logical algorithm on said first virtual character set to generate a second virtual character set, wherein said logical algorithm operates such that said second virtual character set includes one or more personal characteristics suitable for operating on to govern behavior of said virtual character.

2. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 1, wherein said virtual character is a virtual companion such as boyfriend, girlfriend, friend, parent, colleague, coach, role model, client, customer, employee, family member or relative, acquaintance.

3. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 1, wherein said virtual character is an opponent or partner in a computer inplemented game or simulation.

4. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 1 wherein said virtual character is an avatar.

5. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 1 wherein at least one of said first virtual character set is provided by a user.

6. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 1 wherein at least one of said first virtual character set is a default value.

7. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 1 wherein at least one of said first virtual character set is provided by a user and at least one of said second virtual character set is a pseudorandom characteristic chosen by operation on said first virtual character set.

8. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 1 wherein at least one personal characteristic of said first virtual character set is provided by a user and said logical algorithm utilizes a profiling algorithm to generate at least one of said second virtual character set.

9. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 8 wherein said profiling algorithm is based at least in part on a Meyers-Briggs or other psychometric test or analysis.

10. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 8 wherein said profiling algorithm is based at least in part on a religious model.

11. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 8 wherein said profiling algorithm is based at least in part on a model that utilizes astronomical data.

12. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 1, wherein said character creation is done in furtherance of a computer game.

13. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 1, wherein multiple virtual characters are created.

14. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 12, wherein multiple users are playing said computer game.

15. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 1, wherein said second virtual character set is utilized to define a class of virtual characters.

16. A computer implemented method for playing an interactive game with virtual characters, said method comprising: generating one or more virtual characters according to the method of claim 1; and generating actions, behaviors, and/or decisions of said one or more virtual characters throughout said one or more virtual characters' existence that may or may not change over time.

17. A computer implemented method for playing an interactive game with virtual characters, said method comprising: generating one or more virtual characters according to the method of claim 1; and generating narrative content for said one or more virtual characters so that a game player may dialog with said one or more virtual characters.

18. A computer implemented method for creating a virtual character, the computer implemented method comprising: receiving a first virtual character set of one or more personal characteristics of said virtual character, wherein personal characteristics include date of birth and one or more of the following: time of birth, place of birth, gender, eye color, body type, favorite color, preferred weapon, preferred armor, height, education level, name and psychometric data; operating a logical algorithm on said first virtual character set to generate a second virtual character set, wherein said logical algorithm operates such that said second virtual character set includes one or more personal characteristics suitable for operating to govern behavior of said virtual character; and generating narrative content for said virtual character so that a game player may dialog with said virtual character; wherein said virtual character acts out a romantic relationship with said game player.

19. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 4, wherein said second virtual character set is utilized to market to a real life person.

20. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 4, wherein said second virtual character set is utilized to weight a success or a failure for an action of said virtual character.

21. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 2, wherein said second virtual character set is utilized to weight a success or a failure for an action of said virtual character.

22. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 3, wherein said second virtual character set is utilized to weight a success or a failure for an action of said virtual character.

23. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 4, wherein said second virtual character set is utilized for social networking purposes in relation to other real life persons.

24. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 23, wherein said virtual social networking purposes include dating.

25. A computer implemented method as recited in claim 23, wherein said virtual social networking purposes include job hunting.

26. A system for character generation comprising: a set of character traits; an AI engine; and a set of behavioral outputs.

27. A system for character generation as recited in claim 26, wherein the AI engine is a logical rule set.

28. A system for character generation as recited in claim 27, wherein the logical rule set provides statistically accurate behavior.

29. A system for character generation as recited in claim 26, wherein the set of character traits was derived from a template.

30. A system for character generation as recited in claim 29, wherein the template is a boyfriend template.

31. A system for character generation as recited in claim 29, wherein the template is a girlfriend template.

32. A system for character generation as recited in claim 29, wherein the template is a business associate template.

33. A system for character generation as recited in claim 29, wherein the template is an astrologer template.

34. A system for character generation as recited in claim 29, wherein the template is a celebrity template.

35. A virtual character created in accordance with a user's desire as demonstrated by the user interacting through a computer interface.

36. Wherein the virtual character of claim 35 is for use in a game and the context involves well-defined principles of astrology.

37. Wherein the virtual character of claim 35 is further limited in that the computer interface makes use of context analysis.

38. Wherein the virtual character of claim 35 is derived from a template and data for other characters is random, specific; for actual people or for virtual characters.

39. A data set of characters, wherein the improvement is that at least one of the data set of characters behaves according to a behavioral model that relies, at least in part, on astrology and further in accordance with a predefined context that is well define and superimposed over the user's desires and controlling behavior of the virtual character, the computer interface and data entered by the use also being reflective of the predefined context.
Description



PRIORITY CLAIM TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application claims priority to Fox et al.'s Provisional Patent Application No. 60/702,020 for Computer Implemented Character Creation for An Interactive User Experience filed on Jul. 22, 2005.

FIELD OF INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to character creation. Character creation of the present invention may include a graphical user interface (GUI) based operation performed on a set of character traits. The GUI based operation may be implemented, at least in part, by an artificial intelligence (AI) engine.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Customized characters allow a player to enjoy a unique gaming experience. Typically, the player becomes more involved in the game because the characters are distinctive and representative of the player's tastes. Thus far, however, the gaming experience has been limited because a player does not have complete control over all aspects of the character's creation.

[0004] Character creation commonly involves a user selecting from a set of predetermined elements. Once the player selects from the list of features, a character is created accordingly. Generally, the elements relate to the appearance of the character. For example, the set of predetermined elements can be a list of colors from which the user selects to change the color of the character's hair. In another example, the set of predetermined elements can be a list of outfits from which the user selects to change the character's clothes. Although controlling appearance can be entertaining, the character behavior is predetermined and cannot be altered.

[0005] Slightly more sophisticated games allow a player to customize additional elements of the character. The degree of customization normally depends on the type of game. For example, in a role playing game, a player may be able to customize a character's strengths or weaknesses in addition to appearance. However, the player is still limited to a finite list of features.

[0006] Interactive computer and video games typically employ more advanced character creation. Interactive games, in general, have animated characters in a virtual environment in which the user controls the movements and actions of the characters. Through the user, the character can interact with other characters. The other characters can be controlled by other users or can be generated and controlled by the computer.

[0007] In some interactive computer and video games, the user can employ various input devices to create the characters. Typically, a user will select from a variety of character traits that the user wishes the virtual character to have. The game will then generate a character according to the user's selections. The character is generally created using an artificial intelligence engine (AIE).

[0008] Although character creation has been exemplified above with reference to gamming, character creation affects many industries and applications. For example, character creation can be used in movies, cartoons, computer simulations, and video simulations, among others. All of these industries and applications would benefit from improved character creation.

[0009] What is needed is a system that allows the user to completely control the creation of a character. Further, what is need is a technique that easily creates completely customized characters.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] The present invention teaches a method for creating customized characters. Further, the present invention teaches an artificial intelligence engine for generating customized characters. In certain embodiments, this can be accomplished by providing a graphical user interface (GUI) to a game player.

[0011] In one embodiment of the present invention, a computer implemented method for creating a virtual character comprises receiving a first virtual character set. The character set contains one or more personal characteristics of the virtual character including a date of birth. The character set can also include time of birth, place of birth, gender, eye color, body type, favorite color, preferred weapon, preferred armor, height, education level, name, psychometric data, among other parameters. The method further comprises operating a logical algorithm on the first virtual character set. By operating an algorithm on the first virtual character set, a second virtual character set is generated. The second virtual character set operates to govern the behavior of the virtual character.

[0012] In alternate embodiments, the virtual character can have a number of different representations. For example, the virtual character can be a virtual companion, including but not limited to, a boyfriend, girlfriend, friend, parent colleague, coach, role model, client, customer, employee, employer, family member or relative, or an acquaintance. Further, in additional embodiments, the virtual character can be an opponent or a partner in a computer implemented game or simulation. In other embodiments, the virtual character can be an avatar, a representation of the player, or another real life person.

[0013] In further embodiments, the second virtual character set can be used to market to a real life person or can be used for social networking purposes in relation to other real life persons. The social networking purposes can include dating, job hunting, people searching, event planning, among others. Moreover, the second virtual character set can be used to weigh the success and failure of the actions of the virtual character or the people the character represents.

[0014] In additional embodiments of the present invention, the user provides at least one of the personal characteristics in the first virtual character set. In alternate embodiments, at least one of the personal characteristics in the first virtual character set is a default value. Moreover, in another embodiment, at least one of the personal characteristics in the first virtual character set is provided by a user and at least one of the second virtual character sets is a pseudorandom characteristic chosen by operation on the first virtual character set.

[0015] In further embodiments, the user provides at least one of the personal characteristics in the first virtual character set and a logical algorithm uses a profiling algorithm to generate at least one of the personal characteristics of the second virtual character set. In alternate embodiments, the profiling algorithm can be based, for example, on a Meyers-Briggs or other psychometric test. The profiling algorithm, in additional embodiments, can also be based on a religious model or a model that utilizes astronomical data.

[0016] The character creation, in additional embodiments, can also be done in furtherance of a computer game, including games which have a single or multiple players. In another embodiment, the method can be used to produce multiple virtual characters. In further embodiments, the second set of personal characteristics can be used to define a class of virtual characters.

[0017] The present invention also teaches a computer implemented method for playing an interactive video game. In one embodiment of the present invention, a first virtual character set is received that includes one or more personal characteristics. A logical algorithm operates on the first virtual character set to generate a second virtual character set. The second virtual character set can govern the actions, behaviors, and/or decisions of a virtual character. The actions, behaviors, and/or decisions may or may not change over time.

[0018] In additional embodiments, narrative content can be generated for one or more of the virtual characters. The narrative content can allow the game player to dialog with the virtual characters. In further embodiments, the player can act out a romantic or plutonic relationship with one or more of the virtual characters.

[0019] The present invention also teaches a system for character generation. The system is comprised of a system of character traits, an AI engine, and a set of behavioral outputs. In alternate embodiments, the AI can be a logical rule set. Further, the logical rule set can provide statistically accurate behavior. Additionally, the set of character traits can be derived from a template. For example, in additional embodiments, the character traits can be derived from a boyfriend, girlfriend, business associate, astrologer, or a Kelli Fox template.

[0020] A computer interface to create a character is also taught by the present invention. In one embodiment, a user's desires as to the characteristics of a virtual character are provided to a computer interface. In alternate embodiments, the user interface can make use of astrology or Freudian analysis. Further, in additional embodiments, the virtual character can be derived from a template. In other embodiments, other characters can be created and the data used for creation can be random, specific, based on actual people, or based on other virtual characters.

[0021] The invention also teaches a data set of characters. In the data set, at least one of the data set of characters behaves according to a behavior model. The behavior model can be rely, at least in part, on astrology.

[0022] As described above, and in alternate embodiments that would be apparent to one skilled in the art, a user has complete control over character creation. Further, as described above, the present invention allows a user to easily create customized characters.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0023] These and other objects, features and characteristics of the present invention will become more apparent to those skilled in the art from a study of the following detailed description in conjunction with the appended claims and drawings, all of which form a part of this specification. In the drawings:

[0024] FIG. 1 illustrates a block diagram of character creation.

[0025] FIG. 2 illustrates another embodiment of a block diagram of character creation.

[0026] FIG. 3 illustrates another embodiment of a block diagram of character creation.

[0027] FIG. 4 illustrates a data structure, parameter scope, and underlying operation for obtaining a set of character traits.

[0028] FIG. 5 illustrates a flow chart of a method for providing character creation.

[0029] FIG. 6 illustrates another embodiment of a flow chart for providing character creation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0030] The present invention teaches a variety of devices, methods, and other subject matter described herein or apparent to one skilled in the art in light of the present teaching. The present invention further teaches a variety of embodiments, aspects and the like, all distinctive in their own right.

[0031] As described above, current character creation techniques do not allow for complete character customization. The present invention teaches devices and methods that allow a character to be created based on any number of different attributes. For example, a character can be created based on personal characteristics such as birthdate(s), time of birth, gender, etc. The present invention also teaches an AI engine for generating a set of behavioral outputs based on a set of character traits. Further, the present invention teaches a GUI for generating customized characters.

[0032] FIG. 1 illustrates a block diagram of an AI based character creation system 5 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. Those skilled in the art will be familiar with the nature and the benefits of using an AI based character creation system for character creation. Of course, the present invention contemplates a host of character creations systems patentable in nature. The character creation system 5 of FIG. 1 includes a set of character traits 10, an AI engine 15, and a set of character behavior outputs 30.

[0033] In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the set of character traits 10 includes a birthdate and specifics to other parameters such as birth place, time of birth, family makeup, height, weight, personal habits, and any other parameter typically thought of as correlating to character behavior. The only limitations to the character trait parameters are those inherent in the design of an interface. In alternate embodiments, the interface can be a graphical user interface (GUI), a virtual reality space, or any other interface suitable for character creation. In further embodiments, the character trait parameters can vary and any desired subset can be used, as well as other parameters that are not yet divined, in order to provide an extremely satisfying gaming experience.

[0034] In certain embodiments, the set of character traits 10 can be derived from a template rather than from a user. In other embodiments, the user can define some of the character traits in the set and the rest can be derived from a template. A more sophisticated game player may not need to rely on a template to create a desired character and can rather utilize their own creative skills. Further, in alternate embodiments, a number of templates can be used to create the set of character traits 10 including, but not limited to, a boyfriend, girlfriend, business associate, astrologer, or celebrity template.

[0035] The AI engine 15 can provide a set of learnable rules enabling a game player to have complete control over character creation. In additional embodiments, character creation can be governed by statistics causing unseen and unpredictable events to happen. However, in alternate embodiments, the statistical behavior can be removed or altered thereby allowing the game player to generate a character with specifically desired character behavior.

[0036] Character behavior can be governed, at least in part, by the set of character behavior outputs 30 that are generated from the input of character trait parameters 10 into the AI engine 15. The set of character behavior outputs 30 can be executable in conjunction with a GUI or any other interface suitable for character creation.

[0037] FIG. 2 illustrates a block diagram of an AI based character creation system 6 from yet another perspective of the present invention. The embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2 shows logical and learnable AI engine 15. The character creation system 6 of FIG. 2 includes a set of character traits 10, an AI engine 15, and a set of character behavior outputs 30.

[0038] The embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2 is similar to the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1 in that the set of character traits 10 includes a birthdate and specifics to other parameters such as birth place, time of birth, family makeup, height, weight, personal habits, and any other parameter typically thought of as correlating to character behavior. The only limitations to the character trait parameters are those inherent in the design of an interface. In alternate embodiments, the interface can be a graphical user interface (GUI), a virtual reality space, or any other interface suitable for character creation. In further embodiments, the character trait parameters can vary and any desired subset can be used, as well as other parameters that are not yet divined, in order to provide an extremely satisfying gaming experience.

[0039] In certain embodiments, the set of character traits 10 can be derived from a template rather than from a user. In other embodiments, the user can defme some of the character traits in the set and the rest can be derived from a template. Typically, a more sophisticated game player does not need to rely on a template to create a desired character and can rather utilize their own creative skills. Further, in alternate embodiments, a number of templates can be used to create a set of character traits 10 including, but not limited to, a boyfriend, girlfriend, business associate, astrologer, or Kelli Fox template.

[0040] The AI engine 15 in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2 includes a random and/or a pseudorandom component. The AI engine 15 can provide a set of substantially learnable rules enabling a game player to have complete control over character creation. In additional embodiments, the character creation can be governed by statistics causing unseen and unpredictable events to happen. However, in alternate embodiments, the statistical behavior can be removed or altered thereby allowing the game player to generate a character with specifically desired character behavior.

[0041] Character behavior can be governed, at least in part, by the set of character behavior outputs 30 that are generated from the input of character trait parameters 10 into the AI engine 15. The set of character behavior outputs 30 can be executable in conjunction with a GUI or any other interface suitable for character creation.

[0042] FIG. 3 illustrates a block diagram of an AI based character creation system 7 from yet another perspective of the present invention. In FIG. 3 we see an Astrological AI engine 15. The Astrological AI engine 15 can be logical engine. In further embodiments, the Astrological AI engine can be based on a set of learnable rules. The character creation system 7 of FIG. 3 includes a set of character traits 10, an AI engine 15, and a set of character behavior outputs 30.

[0043] The embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3 is similar to the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 in that the set of character traits 10 can include specifics to parameters such as birthdate(s), birth place, time of birth, family makeup, height, weight, personal habits, and any other parameter typically thought of as correlating to character behavior. The only limitations to the character trait parameters are those inherent in the design of an interface. In alternate embodiments, the interface can be a graphical user interface (GUI), a virtual reality space, or any other interface suitable for character creation. In further embodiments, the character trait parameters can vary and any desired subset can be used, as well as other parameters that are not yet divined, in order to provide an extremely satisfying gaming experience.

[0044] In certain embodiments, the set of character traits 10 can be derived from a template rather than from a user. In other embodiments, the user can define some of the character traits in the set and the rest can be derived from a template. Typically, a more sophisticated the game player does not need to rely on a template to create a desired character and can rather utilize their own creative skills. Further, in alternate embodiments, a number of templates can be used to create a set of character traits 10 including, but not limited to, a boyfriend, girlfriend, business associate, astrologer, or Kelli Fox template.

[0045] The AI engine 15 in the embodiment illustrate in FIG. 3 can include a random and/or a pseudorandom component. The AI engine 15 can provide a set of substantially learnable rules enabling the game player to have complete control over character creation. In additional embodiments, the character creation can be governed by statistics causing unseen and unpredictable events to happen. However, in alternate embodiments, the statistical behavior can be removed or altered thereby allowing the game player to generate a character with specifically desired character behavior.

[0046] Character behavior can be governed, at least in part, by the set of character behavior outputs 30 that are generated from the input of character trait parameters 10 into the AI engine 15. The set of character behavior outputs 30 can be executable in conjunction with a GUI or any other interface suitable for character creation.

[0047] FIG. 4 illustrates a computer implemented character trait generation function 56. The character trait generation function 56 is a function of data typically used in the field of astrology. A data structure 52 contains data useful to generate character behavior.

[0048] As shown in the embodiment illustrated, a first personal characteristic 53 entered into the data structure 52 is a birthdate. A second personal characteristic 54 entered into the data structure 52 can be a variety of parameters including another birthday, time of birth, place of birth, gender, name, favorite movie, etc. In additional embodiments any number of personal characteristics can be entered into the data structure 52 to generate a character trait 50.

[0049] To generate a character trait 50, a logical operation can be performed on the data structure 52. In certain embodiments, the logical operation can be random and/or pseudorandom, a profiling algorithm which can be based on a psychometric test, astronomical data or a religious model, or defined by the user. The result of the character trait generation 50 is a set of character behavior outputs 55. The character behavior outputs 55 can be narrative content for one or more virtual characters. Further, in alternate embodiments, the character behavior outputs 55 can be actions, behaviors and/or decisions. In additional embodiments, the character behavior outputs 55 can be any generated content that can be used to govern the behavior of a virtual character. Moreover, the virtual character can assume a role such as a boyfriend, girlfriend, business partner, and can be a player character or a non-player character.

[0050] For example, a player character can be created by a user based on a selection of certain traits and skills along with some heuristic or pseudorandom number generation to provide diversity in the characteristics (basic example--"I roll dice to see how much strength I get and add 5 points because I choose to be a fighter.") Non-player characters can be created either for a particular purpose ("I need a giant to guard this door and occasionally give advice" or "This cave is filled with floating purple pandas that like to hug.") or to populate and add spice to a virtual world or game ("Let's throw some people into the SIMS pool that will create random/unpredictable behavior"). Purpose driven non-players characters can have specific characteristics (like size, intelligence, strength, charisma) designed for the game play and scripts or AI that provide behavior. Generic non-player characters can be created based on heuristics or pseudorandom generation and also have scripts or AI that provide behavior.

[0051] FIG. 5 illustrates a flow chart of a method 100 for providing character creation. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5, a step 112 performs an initialization. Once initialized, a step 102 starts character creation. The character creation begins with a step 104 in which one or more personal characteristics from a first virtual character set is received. The personal characteristics can include a date of birth and a time of birth, place of birth, gender, eye color, body type, favorite color, preferred weapon, preferred armor, height, education level, name, psychometric data, among other parameters. In alternate embodiments, the personal characteristics can be chosen by a user or be default values.

[0052] Following the receiving step 104, a step 106 operates on the personal characteristic to generate content. The operation can be done using a logical algorithm. Further, in additional embodiments, the operation can be done using a logical algorithm that utilizes a profiling algorithm. In additional embodiments, a profiling algorithm can be based on Meyers-Briggs, another psychometric test, a religious model, or a model that utilizes astronomical data.

[0053] In one embodiment, the generated content can be a second virtual character set which can be used to operate and govern the behavior of a virtual character. In another embodiment, a second virtual character set can contain pseudorandom characteristics chosen by operation on the first character set.

[0054] After the content is generated, a step 108 asks for a user's feedback. A step 10 updates the operation function to reflect the user's feedback. The above steps can repeated as necessary or desired in order to create a character to the user's liking. For example, the user can create a character that is a virtual companion. Examples of virtual companions include, but are not limited to, boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, parents, colleagues, coaches, role models, clients, customers, employees, employers, family members, relatives, or acquaintances. Additionally, the virtual character, for example, can be an opponent or partner in a computer implemented game or simulation. Further, the virtual character, for example, can be an avatar, a representation of the user, or another real life person.

[0055] FIG. 6 illustrates a flow chart of a method 103 to receive one or more personal characteristics. A step 104 provides a GUI to a game player. In alternate embodiments, step 104 can provide a user with any interface suitable for character creation. Once the GUI is provided, a step 120 queries the game player to engage in a training narrative. A step 122 receives the users input in response to the training narrative. Once the user input is received, the method is done.

[0056] In addition, the order of the steps can vary in additional embodiments. Further, in alternate embodiments, steps can be added, eliminated or combined as would be apparent to one skilled in the art. For example, an update operation function to reflect the user's feedback is not necessary, therefore step 110 can be eliminated.

[0057] In addition to the above mentioned examples, various other modifications and alterations of the invention may be made without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the above disclosure is not to be considered as limiting and the appended claims are to be interpreted as encompassing the true spirit and the entire scope of the invention.

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