ALIEN PINBALL - Game Over, Man, Game Over

(Topic ID: 106728)

ALIEN PINBALL - Game Over, Man, Game Over


By HeighwayPinball

3 years ago



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#21651 4 months ago

I recall being ridiculed last year when I reported issues with Alien after playing it at the Allentown show.

Ball launcher was lousy, loud, clanky and had trouble launching balls.

Xeno head, the main gimmick of the game, was 100% broken and non functional.

The ramps and other metal parts were of dubious quality and shitty cosmetic appearance for an $8000 game.

I was simply reporting on my experience with the game and the Alien fan boys didn't want to hear about it. Many chuckles were had at my thoughts of the game quality.

But I'm not the type to say, I told you so, to those fan boys.

13
#21652 4 months ago
Quoted from PoMC:

But I'm not the type to say, I told you so, to those fan boys.

#21653 4 months ago
Quoted from PoMC:

I recall being ridiculed last year when I reported issues with Alien after playing it at the Allentown show.
Ball launcher was lousy, loud, clanky and had trouble launching balls.
Xeno head, the main gimmick of the game, was 100% broken and non functional.
The ramps and other metal parts were of dubious quality and shitty cosmetic appearance for an $8000 game.
I was simply reporting on my experience with the game and the Alien fan boys didn't want to hear about it. Many chuckles were had at my thoughts of the game quality.
But I'm not the type to say, I told you so, to those fan boys.

You are a wise sage, one to be revered within the Pinball community for time to come. Well done.

#21654 4 months ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

You are a wise sage, one to be revered within the Pinball community for time to come. Well done.

Didn't say that. Simply pointed out I actually played the game and reported on the issues it had. No one wanted to hear about it. Just sayin'.

#21655 4 months ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

This is all of Andrew's making. Not the investors. They may have been foolish, as so many of us were, and lost a ridiculous amount of money on someone whose sole purpose was to bleed and leech others dry.
The main reason it was such a clusterfuck after they took over was cashflow. The picture Andrew painted, and their interpretation of it were nowhere even close to the truth.
The machine was a wreck that needed many months more revision and testing, to fix all the stuff that was wrong with it and test all the stuff that hadn't been. Overheads were higher. Financial encumberances and liabilities were much worse than presented.
Even if they they were prepared to plough millions into the business in the long run, they could not or would not either justify or afford to so quickly.
They've done the same thing as the others who lost - trusted a cretinous loser, with predictable consequences. Expecting them to continue making everything better for the others, or not to say enough is enough at some point is ridiculous.
ALL the old money was gone when they took over, most of it was the moment it went in, when ever it was deposited. Anyone they made good in part or in whole after their take over, that came directly out of their pockets.
It's my view that they should have let the company fail, and then acquired the company from liquidators, or sued Andrew to wrest control, and not taken over any of the liabilities. Even if they did want to make things good for others, they could have done so at their own speed and therefore not suffered a cash crunch. It also wouldn't have granted him an escape route. He'd have either had to face the consequences, or flee - and from what one heard, his bags were packed until the deal went through.
I think that was their plan originally. But I suspect Andrew managed to give them a better impression of the game than it warranted, and then took an over-my-dead-body approach if they wouldn't pay him, and pay him right now.
I think they're very unwise to continue. They're likely going to end up wasting more of their lives and money in chasing an embarrassing mistake, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Andrew gets a great kick out of that.

What I don't understand is shouldn't they have done their due diligence? Surely there would have been some red flags before buying the business.

#21656 4 months ago
Quoted from PinSinner:

What I don't understand is shouldn't they have done their due diligence? Surely there would have been some red flags before buying the business.

The new investors were the old investors.

#21657 4 months ago
Quoted from Marv:

Daves Go Fund Me:
https://www.gofundme.com/dave-sanders-fund
Hopefully it will go past the £1000 mark and a lot further..

I'm sad for everyone but I am especially devastated for Dave Sanders knowing what I now know. Thanks for setting up the Gofund.

Here is a Dollars to Pounds conversion tool for us here in the states. https://www.dollars2pounds.com/

#21658 4 months ago

I can personally guarantee that, opportunity willing, no game I work on again will adopt anything like the same approach as Alien, whoever such a project would be overseen by. That's not just a matter of principle; I get a hell of a lot more now about design and build hierarchy, that 'cheaper to build' doesn't necessarily equate to 'easier', and about not trying to push limits by ignoring Occam's Razor for the sake of 'cleverness'.

#21659 4 months ago
Quoted from PinSinner:

What I don't understand is shouldn't they have done their due diligence? Surely there would have been some red flags before buying the business.

Of course. So should everyone have; me included before I originally made a deposit. When they bought Andrew out, I guess they were still in denial or hoping for the best.

#21660 4 months ago
Quoted from jgentry:

They are the ones that got into bed with Andrew and they had to be either blind or stupid to not see many of the giant issues ahead of them. They also agreed to take over the company and get the games made. If they did not do a thorough enough review of things before moving forward with the purchase it is 100% their own fault. They also have a batch of games made that they seem to be using to fund their new company by selling to new buyers rather then fulfilling their obligation (which they knowingly took on) to the people that had already paid for their games. Andrew is a snake and the new management followed right in line behind him with lies and complete lack of communication and support.

I'm looking forward to when Pinball Brothers' financial statement 2017 becomes available (late may / early june ?). If Heighway Pinball was their only client, the loss / income statement should be quite telling regarding the flow of cash / assets between these two companies.

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/10822960/filing-history

#21661 4 months ago
Quoted from PoMC:

Didn't say that. Simply pointed out I actually played the game and reported on the issues it had. No one wanted to hear about it. Just sayin'.

So what's the reason for pointing it out now?

Sounds like bragging that you were right, I told you so, blah blah blah

#21662 4 months ago
Quoted from RTS:

So what's the reason for pointing it out now?
Sounds like bragging that you were right, I told you so, blah blah blah

Other people have commented about various warnings/concerns being posted and then shot down by people clamoring for their GRAIL game. My comment goes along with that discussion and is another example of someone being flamed for not knob-hobbing Andrew and the game. blah blah blah

#21663 4 months ago
Quoted from PoMC:

Other people have commented about various warnings/concerns being posted and then shot down by people clamoring for their GRAIL game. My comment goes along with that discussion and is another example of someone being flamed for not knob-hobbing Andrew and the game. blah blah blah

Screen Shot 2018-05-02 at 10.57.32 AM (resized).png

#21664 4 months ago

What champions.

#21665 4 months ago

The new/old investors had poor communication and some questionable tactics towards the end. Still, don't know if they deserve to be tarred and feathered.

Not sure if all the original buyers who wanted refunds got them, but certainly far more people got refunds or a game than if the new/old investors hadn't taken over and poured more money in.

Is there anyone who stayed in or jumped on board post Andrew without eyes wide open?

#21666 4 months ago

Yes there are

Quoted from Jvspin:

The new/old investors had poor communication and some questionable tactics towards the end. Still, don't know if they deserve to be tarred and feathered.
Not sure if all the original buyers who wanted refunds got them, but certainly far more people got refunds or a game than if the new/old investors hadn't taken over and poured more money in.
Is there anyone who stayed in or jumped on board post Andrew without eyes wide open?

17
#21667 4 months ago
Quoted from RTS:

So what's the reason for pointing it out now?
Sounds like bragging that you were right, I told you so, blah blah blah

It’s a good lesson for the future. If Chinese Lebowskis or Derproot games play like shit or are breaking in public & people mention it after hands on experience - maybe listen to them instead of dismissing them.

#21668 4 months ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

It’s a good lesson for the future. If Chinese Lebowskis or Derproot games play like shit or are breaking in public & people mention it after hands on experience - maybe listen to them instead of dismissing them.

Kind of sad you had to point out the obvious after all this Alien nonsense.

11
#21669 4 months ago
Quoted from Marv:

Daves Go Fund Me:
https://www.gofundme.com/dave-sanders-fund
Hopefully it will go past the £1000 mark and a lot further..

Link re-posted for new page. £2000 passed!

17
#21670 4 months ago
Quoted from frolic:

Link re-posted for new page. £2000 passed!

Be careful with all that money Dave, Andrew might approach you with an interesting investment opportunity.

#21671 4 months ago
Quoted from PoMC:

Kind of sad you had to point out the obvious after all this Alien nonsense.

I’ve been calling out Alien as a basket of lies and failures since Expo 2014. I knew Andrew’s lie about delivery in April 2015 was a lie, and was plenty vocal about it. It was clear they were in trouble when they said they’d make 3-4 titles a year & didn’t announce or release shit year after year of Alien delays. I knew they’d never get anything done when they kept fiddling with features and screen and trim options instead of just committing to something and manufacturing it. Every move was a transparent ploy to keep getting more pre-order money. Obvious from that 2014 Expo.

#21672 4 months ago

Sorry for your loss.

#21673 4 months ago
Quoted from EalaDubhSidhe:

I can personally guarantee that, opportunity willing, no game I work on again will adopt anything like the same approach as Alien...

Dave - Be loud and be proud about your pinball designs - FT & Alien rock, brother. Both play excellently and you’ve made a large contribution to the community, even impacting the evolution of pinball. I am in the minority who really likes the plug and play aspect of the concept. Imagine, being an Owner and not having to know how to solder to fix things - it's a great concept imo. The undoing of this proof of concept was in HP not having loads of spare parts and assemblies in inventory to send/sale. If they had, kit swaps/plug-n-play concept would have been received differently. Guess what I am saying is don't necessarily throw out the baby with the bath water. Happy to help support you and wish you a speedy return to your feet. And hopefully this means you still being in the pinball business. https://www.gofundme.com/dave-sanders-fund

However, ealadubhsidhe whenever I look at your screen name, all I see is Eastside W’s. Then I fondly imagine a Welsh gang of hooligans and pinball enthusiasts - who hang out late at night (past 9pm on a school night) in the bad end of town (near W street) - playing pinball, hoisting pints and talking smack.

#21674 4 months ago
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

However, ealadubhsidhe whenever I look at your screen name, all I see is Eastside W’s. Then I imagine a Welsh gang of hooligans and pinball enthusiasts - who hang out late at night (past 9pm on a school night) in the bad end of town (near W street) - playing pinball, hoisting pints and talking smack.

WHEN YOU'RE A TAFF
YOU'RE A TAFF ALL THE WAY
FROM THE FIRST PONTYPRIDD
TO THE LAST CARDIFF BAY

#21675 4 months ago
Quoted from SLAMT1LT:

Be careful with all that money Dave, Andrew might approach you with an interesting investment opportunity.

In what? The combustion business?

#21676 4 months ago

Dave, I think what Andrew did (& is continuing to do) is horrible. If you're ever visiting Niagara Falls Canada, look me up.

#21677 4 months ago
Quoted from Topher5000:

If you're ever visiting Niagara Falls Canada, look me up.

Here is an interesting place for investing in Hydrofoils...

#21678 4 months ago

Hopefully one of the GOOD pinball companies will consider picking Dave up given his proven track record.

Feel like moving to Chicago?

21
#21679 4 months ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

I’ve been calling out Alien as a basket of lies and failures since Expo 2014. I knew Andrew’s lie about delivery in April 2015 was a lie, and was plenty vocal about it. It was clear they were in trouble when they said they’d make 3-4 titles a year & didn’t announce or release shit year after year of Alien delays. I knew they’d never get anything done when they kept fiddling with features and screen and trim options instead of just committing to something and manufacturing it. Every move was a transparent ploy to keep getting more pre-order money. Obvious from that 2014 Expo.

Dennis Nordman's resignation from Heighway was a much bigger red flag to me than what most people seemed to believe it was. Nordman didn't give many details on why he left, but the one thing that he did say was that he could not agree with the unrealistic delivery date announced by Heighway.

#21680 4 months ago
Quoted from RobT:

Dennis Nordman's resignation from Heighway was a much bigger red flag to me than what most people seemed to believe it was. Nordman didn't give many details on why he left, but the one thing that he did say was that he could not agree with the unrealistic delivery date announced by Heighway.

Yeah, it was a 1-2 punch.

1. Alien announcement at Expo with ZERO development shown...I think they just had a toy and a sketch - and an unrealistic release date, but - TAKING MONEY!!!

2. Nordmann left soon after that.

That all made it abundantly clear....and if it didn't, the constant "two weeks" updates & production changes should have set off the red flags.

#21681 4 months ago
Quoted from Aurich:

Out of all of Andrew's stupid ideas I think this has to be the dumbest. It sounds neat for the first 10 seconds after you hear about it, and then logic starts to kick in and you realize just how fraught with issues the entire thing is. It was a huge stone around the neck of making games. I never liked it.

Aurich, did you have any other playfield art ideas that you can share now? Something you liked that Andrew or Fox didn’t go for? Just curious, after all that has come to light.

Speaking as someone with no stake - but a keen interest in the game - I thought the game had a lot going for it. Only played it once, at Allentown, and thought it was promising. I might have owned one someday.

Hats off to all the contributors. You deserve better.

#21682 4 months ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

It’s a good lesson for the future. If Chinese Lebowskis or Derproot games play like shit or are breaking in public & people mention it after hands on experience - maybe listen to them instead of dismissing them.

A good lesson for the future is not to preorder. It has nothing to do with how it plays.

51
#21683 4 months ago
Quoted from TheFamilyArcade:

Aurich, did you have any other playfield art ideas that you can share now? Something you liked that Andrew or Fox didn’t go for? Just curious, after all that has come to light.

Alright, story time, strap in.

By the time I was really doing the playfield seriously the freedom lockdown had already happened. I was told I could use the assets I was given, and that was it, and if I did something 'original' it would be rejected and create problems. So I basically squeezed blood from a stone and did the best I could with what I had.

I should note that this was my first playfield design, and I never saw an assembled white wood, because one didn't exist, not to mention I'm here in Southern California and the game development was in Wales. So it was pretty challenging, I was flying a bit blind. If I did another playfield design I'd definitely lean on my first experience, and hopefully be better at some things. But what that means is hard to say, keep in mind that aside from the Expo prototype I've still never stood in front of the machine, let alone played it and gotten a sense of what might have helped players. I don't think I've really finished learning even the first lessons, if that makes sense.

Well lesson one, don't do remote pinball development.

Anyways, I figured Fox would come back with comments, and that at least in the give and take I'd get some sense of things and could hopefully push some things in directions. I wanted to see some more biomechanical stuff, you can see where I was trying to experiment with the slingshot plastics. But I didn't think I could really draw my own and have it approved with the way Andrew was telling me things.

What happened instead was Fox sat on the design for 2 months (well it seemed they did, remember I wasn't allowed to talk to them, and can only count on what Andrew told me, and I don't trust him for shit anymore, so who knows). And then the word came back, approved, don't need to change a thing.

Blink blink.

Okay? So first thing I'm thinking is "shit, they don't want a single dinky change? What else could I have gotten away with?!" Like, I was bracing for a long ass back and forth, seems like that's what happened with all the Stern stories I'd heard. I know that was the story with GOT, Keith Elwin has talked about Maiden wanting all kinds of changes. It was weird.

It's funny, but I was almost disappointed they approved it, if that makes sense. I thought there'd be a process, and we could grow it during it. And then I finally did see the game at Expo, and I could see what was covered by ramps or whatever that I couldn't before. And I would have loved to have a stab at revising some things, nothing specific I can name, just take some pics, sit down with it all, see what I could push a little further. But Andrew said nope, we can't risk them throwing a wrench in things, it's approved, it's done.

So that was basically that. And look, I'm just gonna be blunt about this part, around this point in time a lot of bullshit was becoming clear. This was before Andrew stabbed me in the back by hiring that artist without telling me to do that weird off model comic book backglass, that was some final straw shit, but even before that our relationship was dissolving. It's clear now I was just getting more of the 'real Andrew', but I didn't realize at the time just how f$&^d things really were, just that I was unhappy and it was getting shitty.

Keep in mind I'm in this for a couple years worth of time now. Not just doing art, but on weekly calls, trying to help manage the US team, in our Slack channels every day doing what I could to help this game come along. It wasn't just a 'hired gun' thing, do a couple photoshoppy things and call it a day, I was really emotionally invested. And I hadn't been paid a dime. I was out my costs from buying reference models, I had a Big Chap bust, I had a box full of toys and shit (this is when I thought I would be allowed to do my own original work), I bought my own plane tickets and hotel rooms for Expo two years in a row when I was there talking in front of audiences as a Heighway rep, it was starting to feel like some bullshit. My contract says that stuff should have been paid for, but I think everyone knows how that went.

Anyways, the blunt part was I was done. F— all this, I'm tired, I'm burned out, I'm not seeing shit for this, I'm not even getting to do my own process, WTF was I doing? And I checked out. I did what I could to see the rest of the game through, at this point I was just in it to support the US team, love those guys. I was the one who created the airlock LCD concept, I hated the stupid Queen Coffee Can. After Expo I fought to kill it and won that battle. I did the LE backglass, that Andrew then tried to screw me on by having that guy basically redraw it. And then of course it all went stupid when the LE switched to having the big LCD by default and the full backglass art became useless.

People might remember that I just stopped posting in this thread for months. I drained the thread, I couldn't deal, I was just depressed by it all, and bound by an NDA that meant I couldn't even speak up. I give two shits about any of that now, if Andrew is reading this I wouldn't wipe my ass with the contract you never honored. But at the time I was trying to stay professional in a jacked up situation.

Anyways, that's probably enough typing. Here, I went back through my old photo shoots, I've got tons of stuff like this. This was that bust I bought for reference, with polyvinyl slime dripping off it, was going to use stuff like this to paint over in Photoshop. Only thing that ever survived from all of that is if you check the LE art carefully there's Kane in his spacesuit amongst the eggs, that's an action figure, heh.

xeno-slime.jpg

#21684 4 months ago

Maybe the only cool thing about heighway going down is getting some uncensored insider stories about how the sausage is made. Thanks aurich

3xF5u2l (resized).png

#21685 4 months ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

Looks great, also will all pins have this same level of detail in the xenomorph head (or was this just a preliminary one)?

Was Andrew lying in his response to my question?

#21686 4 months ago
Quoted from Aurich:

I should note that this was my first playfield design, and I never saw an assembled white wood, because one didn't exist, not to mention I'm here in Southern California and the game development was in Wales. So it was pretty challenging, I was flying a bit blind. If I did another playfield design I'd definitely lean on my first experience, and hopefully be better at some things. But what that means is hard to say, keep in mind that aside from the Expo prototype I've still never stood in front of the machine, let alone played it and gotten a sense of what might have helped players.

#21687 4 months ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

Was Andrew lying in his response to my question?

#21688 4 months ago

Heighway looks like a 100lb of shit in a 50lb sack.
He is pure scum,
Kevin k, jpop and Heighway,
The trifecta of scum

#21689 4 months ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

Was Andrew lying in his response to my question?

I don't think he was lying, but since I don't have a game I can't tell you exactly what the production Xeno looks like up close. They were all being made by a sculptor here in the US, was a friend or recommendation from Back Alley Matt. Matt did the eggs, he did the now-axed Queen (he's got his own bullshit stories about that to share, but my memory is he told me he was glad it didn't make the final machine, honestly it's getting hard to keep the details straight, so ask him about that). But he didn't want to tackle the Xeno too, he had a lot to do for JJP, so it went to a guy he told Andrew about. And as far as I know he delivered enough of them to build all the games that were done and they were identical to the one shown. Maybe a different paint job?

Andrew wanted to have the models done in China, but he didn't understand what that actually entailed in terms of cost and time. I know Matt kept trying to tell him and he didn't want to hear it. This will shock and surprise everyone I'm sure.

Edit: This reminds me actually, I mentioned once that without being able to talk to Fox I sometimes had internal doubts that the license was legit. One of the things that helped me believe it was real was the back and forth over the Queen model with Matt. They asked for a lot of changes, and I know he was pretty frustrated with it all by the end. I figured that had to mean it was real, because why go through all that if Fox wasn't really looking at stuff? It was oddly the only part of the art that seemed to have any friction at all. Maybe some Xeno head stuff too, I don't know the sculptor for that so we didn't really talk, Matt and I had a lot of conversations on the side. Good dude in my book.

#21690 4 months ago
Quoted from PoMC:

I recall being ridiculed last year when I reported issues with Alien after playing it at the Allentown show.
Ball launcher was lousy, loud, clanky and had trouble launching balls.
Xeno head, the main gimmick of the game, was 100% broken and non functional.
The ramps and other metal parts were of dubious quality and shitty cosmetic appearance for an $8000 game.
I was simply reporting on my experience with the game and the Alien fan boys didn't want to hear about it. Many chuckles were had at my thoughts of the game quality.
But I'm not the type to say, I told you so, to those fan boys.

I had the same feeling when I attempted to play it in buffalo last summer (every game it broke). The thing is a piece of Shit. Didn’t see any reason to make a case about it, if you couldn’t tell it was a piece of Shit on your own it wasn’t my job to convince you.

There are STILL people here who don’t think it’s a piece of shit. And it’s still not my job to convince them otherwise.

#21691 4 months ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

I had the same feeling when I attempted to play it in buffalo last summer (every game it broke). The thing is a piece of Shit. Didn’t see any reason to make a case about it, if you couldn’t tell it was a piece of Shit on your own it wasn’t my job to convince you.
There are STILL people here who don’t think it’s a piece of shit. And it’s still not my job to convince them otherwise.

I played it at York and immediately requested a refund because I hated the way it played, but it was too late.

#21692 4 months ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

I had the same feeling when I attempted to play it in buffalo last summer (every game it broke). The thing is a piece of Shit. Didn’t see any reason to make a case about it, if you couldn’t tell it was a piece of Shit on your own it wasn’t my job to convince you.
There are STILL people here who don’t think it’s a piece of shit. And it’s still not my job to convince them otherwise.

That example has gotten better over time as the major issues have been addressed and fixed (new motherboard and latest code for starters). The only nagging issue is the xeno head, but that could be easily fixed by somebody with a 3d printer and a properly made gear (with a set screw to attach it securely to the motor shaft).

I still play it and enjoy it more than anything Stern has put out in the last 5 years, other than Iron Maiden.

#21693 4 months ago
Quoted from PoMC:

Kind of sad you had to point out the obvious after all this Alien nonsense.

He floats back in to shove it up our arses like anybody cares what he thinks.

The real loser is whomever he sold that TBL too.

Yes Alien is POS. Onward and upward. Life goes on.

#21694 4 months ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

I’ve been calling out Alien as a basket of lies and failures since Expo 2014. I knew Andrew’s lie about delivery in April 2015 was a lie, and was plenty vocal about it. It was clear they were in trouble when they said they’d make 3-4 titles a year & didn’t announce or release shit year after year of Alien delays. I knew they’d never get anything done when they kept fiddling with features and screen and trim options instead of just committing to something and manufacturing it. Every move was a transparent ploy to keep getting more pre-order money. Obvious from that 2014 Expo.

Did you call out the Dutch A holes? So transparent.

#21695 4 months ago

It's not a game for everyone's play style or taste, I'll certainly concede that. It's definitely more of a player's game than a beginner's one; it's also not the kind of design I'd attempt anything like twice in a row, regardless of whether the initial seed is mine or not. 'Generic' isn't my thing, but expect the next design I do, should there be one, to be more conventional and easily accessible.

#21696 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Did you call out the Dutch A holes? So transparent.

yes he did

#21697 4 months ago

Yep, WAY after the fact. Years.

No need to preach to the choir Captain Obvious is what we ALL know.

He should re read the 24k post Jpop thread, either way, I don't give a F what he thinks now.

Has zip, zilch, nada in these games. Just stirring up a bunch of shit after going dark for months.

Just call the K and express it on the podcast

#21698 4 months ago
Quoted from EalaDubhSidhe:

It's not a game for everyone's play style or taste, I'll certainly concede that. It's definitely more of a player's game than a beginner's one;

Yup!
The guys calling it shit played a poor example, or just don't have good taste.

#21699 4 months ago

Now now.

#21700 4 months ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Yeah, it was a 1-2 punch.
1. Alien announcement at Expo with ZERO development shown...I think they just had a toy and a sketch - and an unrealistic release date, but - TAKING MONEY!!!

Ironic that AP had a full Houdini playfield on display at Expo and wasn't asking for money.

Pinside proceeded to crush them saying it would never happen.

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