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What about a CONTEST for the Sansar Avatars?


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Imagine LL chose the Sansar default avatar with a contest. While looking something up today on the marketplace, I was a little in ah of some of the nice new mesh female bodies on sale. Some of them are pretty outstanding. I've rigged a couple for some creators just starting out with mesh bodies, and those were good too. Some of them, they go crazy with the options.

I would think, that no matter what the cost, in terms of prize money, it would be well worth it. See, the thing is tho, I really don't think it is going to be cheap. You have to consider what some of these mesh body creators make on these bodies, and the time and effort to make them, with all those options. I don't know, it might go as high as $5000. Heck, you might need to go $10,000, to get a good amount of people to take the risk and spend their time on it. To me tho, that isn't that much. I mean, yeah, I animate more than model, but even I would be iffy if I was just offered that much outright, just because of all the work involved. Even so, I would think, that is a small price to pay for a mesh that is this important. If I were running the contest for my own game, I'd want the prize to be around $15,000 to $20,000, just to make sure it got people's attention. Heck, a part of this is pure marketing, and showing off this gorgeous new Sansar model. Remember, you need 2 of them, male and female. So, it could be $40k. Again tho, to me, it's money well spent.

This would be just for the mesh tho, and all the options, like texture options. Everything related to the mesh, even the alpha layers, if needed. The rig is a whole other can of worms. Even if we did something like this for the whole rig set up, it would be better to wait until the meshes are picked.

Oh, and to any creators thinking, "The defaults going to be so good, no1 will buy mine". With a new world comes new ways. We don't quite know how everything is going to work. Let me just give you 1 possibility. This might not be possible in the end, but it might be, and I think many people would like this. In Dazstudio, they developed the Genesis character. I personally have easily 500 morphs for that Genesis character, because in Daz, you buy morphs for it, or make them yourself. These morphs can turn the Genesis character into any character possible. So, imagine, if any creator could take that default mesh, and create and sell morphs for the default. In 1 sense, this is good for LL, as it keeps most of the people in Sansar using a mesh with good efficient topology. Now, my technical knowledge falls off from here, but I've heard that morphs, or blend shapes would add a significant amount of data that would need to be shared amongst everyone. Who knows, there might be a good way to handle that. All I'm saying is, that there are many new and different ways that default avatar could work.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

Now, my technical knowledge falls off from here, but I've heard that morphs, or blend shapes would add a significant amount of data that would need to be shared amongst everyone. Who knows, there might be a good way to handle that. All I'm saying is, that there are many new and different ways that default avatar could work.


I wouldn't know how the coding looks behind the process, but morphs are a bit like prims. Instead of having to send the exact position of each vertex (like in a mesh) or each vertex weight (like in a rig) you share a number of very tiny things over the network. "This is a box", "x is a certain size", "twist is this much". The box itself is stored locally with the installation of SL. Same with a morph: "this is morph long nose", "value is 10". The morph has to be stored locally. If the morphs were handled server side, the network load would rise enormously, since there wouldn't be a shared morph or a shared default avatar shape, but a unique avatar shape for every little change and for every new avatar that comes into view. So sharing user created morphs would obviously not work, morphing server side sounds difficult but might be possible. I'd expect a huge performance hit though.

I think for 40k you can easily hire an artist you can work with. With a contest, you'd probably spend a multifold of that just to look at all the entries, let alone finding the best one (You'd need to hire professional artists to judge/test the models btw, not programmers). I think it might work with a pre-selection, where the contenders are chosen in advance. That's not uncommon.

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I'm guessing you are talking USD not $L. Personally, i don't see any of the big names entering this contest. Yes, the winner would get their name out there, but at what cost? You are giving each new user the best work you can do, for free. Why would they buy a body from you after that? They already have your best work.

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What sort of a contest are you envisaging? A modern pentathlon, perhaps, with avatars assessed for their grace, style, accuracy and speed, as well as their ability to ride a horse. Or perhaps something simple like tossing the caber?

Alec - to make practical recommendations, especially on a Friday

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I think LL needs to make their own and make sure it is better than any of the current mesh avatars out there. It needs to have a lot of adjustments to create a wide range of body shapes without getting all jagged looking. Maybe one for male sand one for females. Definitely made with fitmesh in mind so that clothing designers can focus and support one body model. 

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Kwakkelde Kwak wrote:


Medhue Simoni wrote:

Now, my technical knowledge falls off from here, but I've heard that morphs, or blend shapes would add a significant amount of data that would need to be shared amongst everyone. Who knows, there might be a good way to handle that. All I'm saying is, that there are many new and different ways that default avatar could work.


I wouldn't know how the coding looks behind the process, but morphs are a bit like prims. Instead of having to send the exact position of each vertex (like in a mesh) or each vertex weight (like in a rig) you share a number of very tiny things over the network. "This is a box", "x is a certain size", "twist is this much". The box itself is stored locally with the installation of SL. Same with a morph: "this is morph long nose", "value is 10". The morph has to be stored locally. If the morphs were handled server side, the network load would rise enormously, since there wouldn't be a shared morph or a shared default avatar shape, but a unique avatar shape for every little change and for every new avatar that comes into view. So sharing user created morphs would obviously not work, morphing server side sounds difficult but might be possible. I'd expect a huge performance hit though.

Just a thought, but what if, the morphs were stored locally within each person's viewer. So, a person sees a morph that they like, and they buy it from the marketplace. It gets stored locally, so that when you go to edit your avatar, all your morphs are there. You adjust your avatar, and when you are done, you BAKE it. The baking process would essentially create a brand new mesh, that get's traded amongst the veiwers. I personally would really like it if we could have 2 baked meshes, so that people could actually morph into things, like a werewolf.

 


Kwakkelde Kwak wrote:


I think for 40k you can easily hire an artist you can work
with
. With a contest, you'd probably spend a multifold of that just to
look
at all the entries, let alone finding the best one (You'd need to hire professional artists to judge/test the models btw, not programmers). I think it might work with a pre-selection, where the contenders are chosen in advance. That's not uncommon.

Yeah, but if you just hired someone, then you just get whatever you get, with some adjustments. With a contest, you get a range of options to choose from. I would not have some secret LL group pick the winner, but let the SL community pick the winner. Creators like you and I could also critique the meshes, for good topology and all that, which would have some influence on everyone else, when picking their winners.

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Drake1 Nightfire wrote:

I'm guessing you are talking USD not $L. Personally, i don't see any of the big names entering this contest. Yes, the winner would get their name out there, but at what cost? You are giving each new user the best work you can do, for free. Why would they buy a body from you after that? They already have your best work.

Of course USD!

The whole point of having a default avatar is so that everyone, creators and shoppers, are building off of 1 avatar. Not hundreds. The only reason shoppers today are buying mesh human avatars, is because the new mesh avatar have more geometry, and other advantages over the default. Most people don't want to deviate from the default, cause you lose so many options. Even in Sansar, it won't be much different, because it would be crazy to try and integrate all options into every mesh avatar uploaded.

As far as, "Why would they buy a body from you after that? They already have your best work." . I don't know about you, but I'm on version 5 of my Lycan AO and avatar, and it would not suprise me at all if this didn't reach version 10. In my mind, perfection is hardly attainable. Even if LL release super high quality animations with the Sansar avatar, people would still buy animation from me. So, I don't really see the problem. Not everyone has the same tastes.

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AlecDeBoeuil wrote:

What sort of a contest are you envisaging? A modern pentathlon, perhaps, with avatars assessed for their grace, style, accuracy and speed, as well as their ability to ride a horse. Or perhaps something simple like tossing the caber?

Alec - to make practical recommendations, especially on a Friday

You are thinking about much more than the avatar mesh. I'm just talking about the mesh.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

Just a thought, but what if, the morphs were stored locally within each person's viewer. So, a person sees a morph that they like, and they buy it from the marketplace. It gets stored locally, so that when you go to edit your avatar, all your morphs are there. You adjust your avatar, and when you are done, you BAKE it. The baking process would essentially create a brand new mesh, that get's traded amongst the veiwers. I personally would really like it if we could have 2 baked meshes, so that people could actually morph into things, like a werewolf.

The problem with that, as I said earlier, is that a "baked" avatar is unique. So instead of the very small amount of data with the morph tags, you'd have to send a complete avatar to the server and the server would have to send it to all viewers. This would be the case for all avatars that aren't exactly the same.

If you want to see how big the difference approximately is, create a DAE file for all of the LoDs of the default avatar, including eyes etc. Then compare its size to a text file that has a number for all avatar sliders. Apart from compression and other "tricks" that might be possible, that's what you're dealing with.


Medhue Simoni wrote:

Yeah, but if you just hired someone, then you just get whatever you get, with some adjustments. With a contest, you get a range of options to choose from. I would not have some secret LL group pick the winner, but let the SL community pick the winner. Creators like you and I could also critique the meshes, for good topology and all that, which would have some influence on everyone else, when picking their winners.

Letting the SL community pick the winner sounds like the worst idea ever. Only LL knows what the consequences are for their platform. I'm pretty sure I'd pick a totally different avatar than the majority of the population. I'm convinced the avatar with the most polygons and the best scalable "front and back" would win.

Of course LL could set some rules/limits, that would help.

I'd rather see a brainstorm session for the community where they can voice their preferences, then have a (hired) professional take over, hand in hand with the LL techs.

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Bree Giffen wrote:

I think LL needs to make their own and make sure it is better than any of the current mesh avatars out there. It needs to have a lot of adjustments to create a wide range of body shapes without getting all jagged looking. Maybe one for male sand one for females. Definitely made with fitmesh in mind so that clothing designers can focus and support one body model. 

I really don't think it is possible for LL to make, or commission a mesh that will be better than anything the good SL creators can do. Morphs, like the sliders we have in SL to change the character, get added to the avatar mesh after the winner is chosen. Morphing a character like the SL default, is not a very difficult thing to do. Plus, if you throw in my idea of creators selling their own morphs for the default, then you really have unlimited possibilities.

Fitted Mesh is really an abomination of the processes of fitting clothing to avatars, and really only applies to SL, because of the limitations of SL. If we could import meshes with blend shapes(morphs), than fitting clothing to avatars would not be a problem at all. Even if Sansar didn't allow for blend shapes, then LL could still develop the avatar using a multi-bone system, with all the morphing controlled by bones. In this case, the clothing creator just needs to rig the clothing properly to the bones, and it will morph perfectly with the avatar. In Unity3D, someone created a default avatar for games, called UMA, that does this exact same thing. I've created dozens of different products for this avatar for different clients, including specialized clothing to fit the client's game.

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Kwakkelde Kwak wrote:


Medhue Simoni wrote:

Just a thought, but what if, the morphs were stored locally within each person's viewer. So, a person sees a morph that they like, and they buy it from the marketplace. It gets stored locally, so that when you go to edit your avatar, all your morphs are there. You adjust your avatar, and when you are done, you BAKE it. The baking process would essentially create a brand new mesh, that get's traded amongst the veiwers. I personally would really like it if we could have 2 baked meshes, so that people could actually morph into things, like a werewolf.

The problem with that, as I said earlier, is that a "baked" avatar is unique. So instead of the very small amount of data with the morph tags, you'd have to send a complete avatar to the server and the server would have to send it to
all
viewers. This would be the case for all avatars that aren't
exactly
the same.

If you want to see how big the difference approximately is, create a DAE file for all of the LoDs of the default avatar, including eyes etc. Then compare its size to a text file that has a number for all avatar sliders. Apart from compression and other "tricks" that might be possible, that's what you're dealing with.

What I'm suggesting is no different than everyone wearing a unique mesh. So, I don't see the problem with that. Yeah, it's not the ideal thing for a game, but it's going to happen like this anyways in a virtual world like we are talking about. If you don't think this is good, then you should also be against making dragon avatars for this world, or a bear, or a centaur. At least with this technique, most avatar meshes would have the same topology, and UV mapping.

 

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Medhue Simoni wrote:


AlecDeBoeuil wrote:

What sort of a contest are you envisaging? A modern pentathlon, perhaps, with avatars assessed for their grace, style, accuracy and speed, as well as their ability to ride a horse. Or perhaps something simple like tossing the caber?

Alec - to make practical recommendations, especially on a Friday

You are thinking about much more than the avatar mesh. I'm just talking about the mesh.

No, I am making a serious point in my usual flippant way.

When was the last time an SL contest was won by the best entrant, rather than by a popularity vote contributed to by a bunch of biased alts? Come to think of it, when was the last time time an SL contest had transparency of rules and judging?

Alec - to see the naive trust shown by people in this forum in those who do not deserve it

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AlecDeBoeuil wrote:


Medhue Simoni wrote:



You are thinking about much more than the avatar mesh. I'm just talking about the mesh.

No, I am making a serious point in my usual flippant way.

When was the last time an SL contest was won by the best entrant, rather than by a popularity vote contributed to by a bunch of biased alts? Come to think of it, when was the last time time an SL contest had transparency of rules and judging?

In SL, we don't only have shoppers, but we also have many creators, who can all voice their opinions about the avatars. LL could also reject meshes that were poorly designed, before they ever get into the contest. If LL wanted, they could also have SL users vote, but the voting is simply symbolic, and gives LL an idea of what people like. LL could also not look at the topology at all, and let people just pick the best shape. LL could then have the mesh retopped for better UV mapping and topology.

 


AlecDeBoeuil wrote:


Alec - to see the naive trust shown by people in this forum in those who do not deserve it

Nobody is asking anybody to trust anyone. Plus, who is the decider of who deserves what? I'd say the market is the decider.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

What I'm suggesting is no different than everyone wearing a unique mesh. So, I don't see the problem with that. Yeah, it's not the ideal thing for a game, but it's going to happen like this anyways in a virtual world like we are talking about. If you don't think this is good, then you should also be against making dragon avatars for this world, or a bear, or a centaur. At least with this technique, most avatar meshes would have the same topology, and UV mapping.


I think I clearly explained what the downsides of unique meshes are. If you want a new world that will be plagued from the start by lag like SL is, unique avatars for everyone fit right in. Since LL is hinting at millions of potential users, I don't see that as very sensible, lag is one of the biggest complaints by new users as far as I can tell. I think LL is moving towards far more control over their platform, including performance, why else would they ban 3rd party viewers, which often pulled the wagon, both in positive and negative ways? I'm sure they learned from SL, so a lot of mistakes or flaws will be handled.

I'm not against alternative avatars, I simply see and voiced some potential problems with everyone having their own unique mesh. I have no idea how Sansar or however it will be called will work, so some concerns might be unjustified, and probably more I can't even think of (yet).

Morphing a humanoid into a dragon for example isn't exactly easy either, if possible at all. Imagine all the extra verts you'd need for long horns, spikes or whiskers, which wouldn't be used by 99.99% of the avatars. You'd still need attachments.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

we also have many creators,
2)
who can all voice their opinions about the avatars. LL
1)
could also reject meshes that were poorly designed, before they ever get into the contest. If LL wanted, they could also have SL users vote,
3)
but the voting is simply symbolic, and gives LL an idea of what people like. LL could also
4)
not look at the topology at all, and let people just pick the best shape.

And this is a contest in what way?

You are redescribing my comments about 1) LL's continuing lack of transparency, 2) their repeated ignoring of user opinion, 3) the irrelevance of voting and 4) their probable refusal to consider any submissions.

Alec - to see those with a personal agenda attempt to justify themselves

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Kwakkelde Kwak wrote:



I think I clearly explained what the downsides of unique meshes are. If you want a new world that will be plagued from the start by lag like SL is, unique avatars for everyone fit right in. Since LL is hinting at millions of potential users, I don't see that as very sensible, lag is one of the biggest complaints by new users as far as I can tell. I think LL is moving towards far more control over their platform, including performance, why else would they ban 3rd party viewers, which often pulled the wagon, both in positive and negative ways? I'm sure they learned from SL, so a lot of mistakes or flaws will be handled.

I'm not against alternative avatars, I simply see and voiced some potential problems with everyone having their own unique mesh. I have no idea how Sansar or however it will be called will work, so some concerns might be unjustified, and probably more I can't even think of (yet).

Morphing a humanoid into a dragon for example isn't exactly easy either, if possible at all. Imagine all the extra verts you'd need for long horns, spikes or whiskers, which wouldn't be used by 99.99% of the avatars. You'd still need attachments.

I didn't mean that someone would morphs a human into a dragon. I meant that people are going to make dragon avatars, and other avatars, and those are all unique meshes, no different than what I proposed.

I think your concerns are very valid, as I made a similar concern in the OP. I'm just playing devil's advocate with you.

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AlecDeBoeuil wrote:


Alec - to see those with a personal agenda attempt to justify themselves

What personal agenda would that be? I don't make human avatars. I'm primarily an animator. Yes, I can make human avatars, but I do know that many people are much better at it than I am. I guarantee you, that if LL did have this contest, I would not be submitting anything. Now, if a creator came to me and asked me to retop their mesh to have better topology, I would take that job, for the right price.

You know, many times, when people make such allegations, it is usually a projection of their own failings, not the failings of the people they are attacking.

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AlecDeBoeuil wrote:


Medhue Simoni wrote:
 who is the decider of who deserves what?


LL

Alec - the easy questions

That's really not actually true. In a free market, it is always the consumers that are the final deciders. LL can make all the decisions they want, but if the consumers don't like it, then their decision only mean wasted time and money, with likely failure of their project.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:


Drake1 Nightfire wrote:

I'm guessing you are talking USD not $L. Personally, i don't see any of the big names entering this contest. Yes, the winner would get their name out there, but at what cost? You are giving each new user the best work you can do, for free. Why would they buy a body from you after that? They already have your best work.

Of course USD!

Just clarifying as you didn't specify.

The whole point of having a default avatar is so that everyone, creators and shoppers, are building off of 1 avatar. Not hundreds. The only reason shoppers today are buying mesh human avatars, is because the new mesh avatar have more geometry, and other advantages over the default. Most people don't want to deviate from the default, cause you lose so many options. Even in Sansar, it won't be much different, because it would be crazy to try and integrate all options into every mesh avatar uploaded.

You are contradicting yourself here... First you say people are being mesh bodies because they have more advantages over the default then you say they don't want to deviate from the default.. People hate the default avs. You can't do anything with them, no skin changes, no alphas, nothing.

As far as, "Why would they buy a body from you after that? They already have your best work." . I don't know about you, but I'm on version 5 of my Lycan AO and avatar, and it would not suprise me at all if this didn't reach version 10. In my mind, perfection is hardly attainable. Even if LL release super high quality animations with the Sansar avatar, people would still buy animation from me. So, I don't really see the problem. Not everyone has the same tastes.

We are talking about mesh bodies here, not animations. If they gave a mesh starter body made by the best creator in SL, why would anyone buy a different one? If it didn't have updates people would be pissed. So, why bother with the contest unless it will satisfy the masses?

 

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Drake1 Nightfire wrote:


You are contradicting yourself here... First you say people are being mesh bodies because they have more advantages over the default then you say they don't want to deviate from the default.. People hate the default avs. You can't do anything with them, no skin changes, no alphas, nothing.

We are talking about mesh bodies here, not animations. If they gave a mesh starter body made by the best creator in SL, why would anyone buy a different one? If it didn't have updates people would be pissed. So, why bother with the contest unless it will satisfy the masses?

 
Allow me to clarify. The default avatars have their own advantages, which is why so many still use it. Mesh avatars have their own advantages. The consumers has to choose between these 2 sets of advantages. The goal of the Sansar defaults, should be to eliminate this devide, and make things easier and better for the consumer. Mesh avatars could still be made, but they would have similar problems as in SL.

As I said, people have different tastes, so reguardless of what LL supplies in the defaults, the market, and the creators will find their niches and markets to sell in.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

I didn't mean that someone would morphs a human into a dragon. I meant that people are going to make dragon avatars, and other avatars, and those are all unique meshes, no different than what I proposed.

And we have mesh clothing, mesh hats, mesh whatever.

They are the exception though and usually not as polygon heavy as an avatar. While completely different avatars would likely be more polygon heavy than small attachments, they would still be an exception. Not in any way the same as a unique avatar for everyone. Even with the current mesh avatars it's not that big an issue (apart from the horrible way they are set up for texturing and the sometimes stupid amount of complexity), since there are only so many around. Load one onto your computer and you have them all. This doesn't impact network load.

A bigger concern I have is graphical load. LL will have to come up with a good base avatar so it won't be tempting to create alternative humanoids. Also, they need a good system that guarantees having plenty of creative tools, while putting a cap on things like total amount of wearable polygons, pixels, scripts etc.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:


AlecDeBoeuil wrote:


Medhue Simoni wrote:
 who is the decider of who deserves what?


LL

Alec - the easy questions

That's really not actually true. In a free market, it is always the consumers that are the final deciders. LL can make all the decisions they want, but if the consumers don't like it, then their decision only mean wasted time and money, with likely failure of their project.


Nonsense. You amateur economists always miss the important bits out. It's only in a perfect market with perfect information that consumers make the final decisions. Such a market doesn't exist except in the heads of us professional economists, and your beliefs are doomed to disappointment, along with the rest of the part-time re-inventers of capitalism.

Alec - it when belief and theory get in the way of reality

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Medhue Simoni wrote:


Drake1 Nightfire wrote:


You are contradicting yourself here... First you say people are being mesh bodies because they have more advantages over the default then you say they don't want to deviate from the default.. People hate the default avs. You can't do anything with them, no skin changes, no alphas, nothing.

We are talking about mesh bodies here, not animations. If they gave a mesh starter body made by the best creator in SL, why would anyone buy a different one? If it didn't have updates people would be pissed. So, why bother with the contest unless it will satisfy the masses?

 
Allow me to clarify. The default avatars have their own advantages, which is why so many still use it. Mesh avatars have their own advantages. The consumers has to choose between these 2 sets of advantages. The goal of the Sansar defaults, should be to eliminate this devide, and make things easier and better for the consumer. Mesh avatars could still be made, but they would have similar problems as in SL.

As I said, people have different tastes, so reguardless of what LL supplies in the defaults, the market, and the creators will find their niches and markets to sell in.


It's been a while since you made an av.. The only avatars are mesh ones now. Made by LL. And they suck. The default avs suck. You can do nothing with them. Try it, make an alt. See how bad they are. Newbs are constantly asking in various groups how to change clothing, take off the undies, do anything with the default mesh avs.. The advice is usually, ditch the default, get a system skin or buy a mesh av.

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Kwakkelde Kwak wrote:


Medhue Simoni wrote:

I didn't mean that someone would morphs a human into a dragon. I meant that people are going to make dragon avatars, and other avatars, and those are all unique meshes, no different than what I proposed.

And we have mesh clothing, mesh hats, mesh whatever.

They are the exception though and usually not as polygon heavy as an avatar. While completely different avatars would likely be more polygon heavy than small attachments, they would still be an exception. Not in any way the same as a unique avatar for everyone. Even with the current mesh avatars it's not that big an issue (apart from the horrible way they are set up for texturing and the sometimes stupid amount of complexity), since there are only so many around. Load one onto your computer and you have them all. This doesn't impact network load.

A bigger concern I have is graphical load. LL will have to come up with a good base avatar so it won't be tempting to create alternative humanoids. Also, they need a good system that guarantees having plenty of creative tools, while putting a cap on things like total amount of wearable polygons, pixels, scripts etc.

Well, the good thing is that LL has mentioned that Sansar will have some restrictions to help lower the avatar load. We don't know what those will be, but I'm sure both you and I are all for it.

As I'm sure you know, there really is no need to have avatars with tens of thousands of verts, and anyone doing that is simply wasting resources. I've been making some animal avatars lately, and it's pretty crazy how efficient the meshes can be and still be highly detailed. I think my bat was less than 2000 verts, and he is pretty realistic, especially with bump mapping. What would be nice to have, is a fur and hair system, if that is possible. People would love that tho.

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