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I don't ''get'' Sansar

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12 hours ago, Luna Bliss said:

But I get a sense it will more be used for companies wanting a VR presence eventually.

That's exactly the same mistake LL were making with SL from 2007-2008.

Nobody will specially download the Sansar client then spend 20 minutes extra to download a coke ad. It's just not going to happen.

Sansar will be - at most - the geocities of VR. A place for people to make their personal VR-Fan-Site complete with the VR equivalent of Marquee and Blink tags.

Leonardo-Di-Caprio-GeoCities.thumb.jpg.01550b3dfb36df82e5ce29e5623482ad.jpguc.png.ca9c5e67cad3ca2dbc3ef29033b601e6.png

 

Edited by Callum Meriman
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4 hours ago, Callum Meriman said:
17 hours ago, Luna Bliss said:

But I get a sense it will more be used for companies wanting a VR presence eventually.

That's exactly the same mistake LL were making with SL from 2007-2008.

Nobody will specially download the Sansar client then spend 20 minutes extra to download a coke ad. It's just not going to happen.

Sansar will be - at most - the geocities of VR.....

The world will be much more ready for the virtual in coming years than it was in 2007, evidenced by the increasing use of the virtual by companies since then -- teaching uses, display purposes, & medical uses just to name a few -- so they can be far more than just 'ads' as you say. I suggest googling 'companies use VR' to see the explosion in VR going on now.
But taking a Sansar example, the Experience of the museum in Sansar was fun and compelling -- I will never visit that museum in RL but I could get a taste of it through that Experience. So while it functions as an 'ad' in some ways it also functions as an interesting venue people like to visit.

Regarding download time, there are of course many advantages conferred by not updating in real time as SL does, and someone with a good computer and connection does not have to wait more than a minute or two at Sansar, although I imagine wait time will increase as the complexity of Experiences increases. But at Steam or Oculus even with a good computer/connection sometimes one has to wait quite awhile before the game/experience downloads.
And despite having to wait to download games & experiences and actually PAY for them (sometimes quite a lot of $ at Oculus or Steam) LOTS of people download them -- it really is only us spoiled SL people with real time updating that think having to download a game is wrong.
Of course Sansar's games & experiences are not yet at the level of those at Steam or Oculus, but as Sansar's capabilities increase I have faith they will be every bit as complex and fun as those encountered at Steam & Oculus.

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2 hours ago, Luna Bliss said:

Regarding download time, there are of course many advantages conferred by not updating in real time as SL does, and someone with a good computer and connection does not have to wait more than a minute or two at Sansar, although I imagine wait time will increase as the complexity of Experiences increases.

There are two important points there. Yes, somebody with a "good" computer and - even more important - a high spec broadband connection, may achieve better load times but then the question is, who is Sansar for? Is it supposed to be the new virtual reality for everybody or is it only for the few "power users"? Linden Lab has never been clear about that and right now the whole thing seems to fall between two chairs. More specifically: how interesting is it for Big Real Life Business Inc. to invest time and money on a medium 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of their potential customers will never have access to?

The other important point is directly about load time. Somebody posted a link to this article:

https://www.quora.com/How-long-will-the-average-user-wait-for-a-webpage-to-load-before-they-abandon

on this forum long ago and I think it could do with a repost.

This one is perhaps even more telling:

https://www.soasta.com/blog/google-mobile-web-performance-study/

I know you can't expect the same load times from a virtual reality as from a web page but that doesn't change the fact that people's minds do start wander after just a few seconds. Ten seconds of idle waiting and there's bound to be something else that has their attention.

This may not be a problem for a single Sansar experience because then it's the same as when you launch a computer game. You start it, go get yourself a cup of coffee or something while you wait, then you return to spend an hour or two of quality time in a single environment. But for Atlas hopping or other "casual browsing" a minute load time for each experience is way too long. Ten seconds would be pushing the limits.

Edited by ChinRey
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For me, the load times are the biggest turn-off followed by nothing to do, horrible looking avatars, lack of immersive animations and LL's fear of using UI/HUD space.

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Sansar is a "go in, have experience, leave" system. Second Life is a "live there" system. It's the difference between Angry Birds and Everquest.

The business case for Sansar is that there's a big market for casual entertainment. The downside is that you're competing with all other forms of casual entertainment, many of which are better. The business problem with SL is that it appeals mostly to people with a lot of free time, hence the limited market.

Headset-type virtual reality may turn out to be the next 3D TV. The Oculus Rift has been out in some form for five years now, and there's still no "killer app". For the first ten minutes, VR is really cool. Now spend four hours in there. A lot of those things end up in closets or on eBay. Some fraction of the population gets simulator sickness from VR, and if you wear a VR headset while standing and the graphics glitch, there's a big chance of falling. That's not good for a mass market product.

Augmented reality, where you can still see the real world but graphics are projected on it,  still has potential. If you get a chance to try a Microsoft Hololens, take it.

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On 1/9/2018 at 1:57 PM, Luna Bliss said:

SL simply can't be improved as much as we'd like, as it was built a certain way years ago and this causes limitations. Sometimes it's easier to start from scratch, especially when changing things too much could break our content.

Visual quality in SL could be improved a lot. If you run SL today with the client hardware recommended for Sansar (a $500 or up graphics board), and turn the quality settings all the way up, it can look better than Sansar. Many SL avatars look better than Sansar avatars.

What's Sansar got technically that SL doesn't have?

  • Bigger texture maps - 2Kx2K vs 512x512. SL could do that. They'd just have to pay for more RAM.
  • More server to client bandwidth. SL is throttled down to 1.5Mb/s or lower. Sansar is throttled to 10Mb/s. 
  • 64-bit servers. Are SL servers 64-bit yet? The migration to Amazon's cloud eliminates any old 32-bit hardware. If the code isn't 64-bit yet, it should be. Then you can have more RAM per server.
  • Bigger regions. Region crossing in SL is a headache, but as I pointed out in another topic, it's a combination of about four bugs, one of which I've fixed, one someone else has worked around, one in road construction that can be fixed in-world, and a tough one involving crossings at 4-sim intersections. All those could be overcome.
  • Voice that works better. SL doesn't use voice by default, and most regions have it turned off.  That's a policy issue. Voice also fails a lot, because the voice system doesn't try hard enough to reconnect when bandwidth is limited.
  • Facial expression recognition and animations that match it. Sansar has that, and a SL viewer could have that as an option. You don't need a VR headset, just a webcam.
  • Better level of detail handling. Biggest visual problem in SL. SL level of detail is per-prim. There's no way that a large number of prims, like a house, get aggregated into one big distant texture. SL needs that. Drawing nothing beyond the view distance sucks. SL needs something like a "LOD box". You'd put a LOD box around your building, it's rendered into a texture for each face, and that's what's shown when the camera is far away. Prims inside a LOD box are on standby until someone gets close. As an incentive, you should get a bigger prim allowance for prims inside a LOD box. LL themselves could implement automatic sim-sized LOD boxes, so that the faraway world always has a visual representation.

As I've mentioned before, Sansar is way below the Unreal 4 game engine in visual quality. Sansar is roughly 2005 game technology.

Now, to really juice up SL, do all the above, and add SpeedTree procedural vegetation. Give all LL-owned grass and trees SpeedTree equivalents. Natural areas suddenly look far better. Much of Sansar's better look is better vegetation. It's certainly not the avatars or the motion.

Edited by animats
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16 minutes ago, animats said:

Visual quality in SL could be improved a lot. If you run SL today with the client hardware recommended for Sansar (a $500 or up graphics board), and turn the quality settings all the way up, it can look better than Sansar. Many SL avatars look better than Sansar avatars.

What's Sansar got technically that SL doesn't have?

  • Bigger texture maps - 2Kx2K vs 512x512. SL could do that. They'd just have to pay for more RAM.

 

Would larger texture maps improve on lagging (FPS) in SL?

I've seen if I am near a building that offers multiple  texture options, surrounded by multiple texture foliage, my FPS drops like a rock (7-14 FPS). If I am in a clear area, a building area for instance, it improves greatly (35-41 FPS).

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8 minutes ago, Jerilynn Lemon said:

Would larger texture maps improve on lagging (FPS) in SL?

I've seen if I am near a building that offers multiple  texture options, surrounded by multiple texture foliage, my FPS drops like a rock (7-14 FPS). If I am in a clear area, a building area for instance, it improves greatly (35-41 FPS).

It would only help if you had a graphics card with a lot of texture memory. Those are still a few hundred dollars. Sansar requires one.

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Just now, animats said:

It would only help if you had a graphics card with a lot of texture memory. Those are still a few hundred dollars. Sansar requires one.

Sansar needs that high end graphics card to run VR goggles. Without the goggles you can get by with a lesser PC.

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43 minutes ago, Parhelion Palou said:

Sansar needs that high end graphics card to run VR goggles. Without the goggles you can get by with a lesser PC.

The original poster was concerned about frame rate. You need a high end card to get full frame rate with complex scenes and high rendering options, goggles or no goggles. Goggles with frame rate problems is hell, while flatscreens with VR problems are only heck.

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8 minutes ago, animats said:

The original poster was concerned about frame rate. You need a high end card to get full frame rate with complex scenes and high rendering options, goggles or no goggles. Goggles with frame rate problems is hell, while flatscreens with VR problems are only heck.

I didn't see anything from the OP that mentioned frame rate. And you can still get by with a lesser PC if you're not trying to run VR goggles at 90 fps.

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7 hours ago, animats said:

 

  • Bigger texture maps - 2Kx2K vs 512x512. SL could do that. They'd just have to pay for more RAM.

There are 2kx2k textures in SL. Linden Lab did increase the max pixel count to 2048x2048 briefly and some of the old textures from that time period are still around. Take my word for it: you do not want to go anywhere near any of those.

 

7 hours ago, animats said:
  • Bigger regions. Region crossing in SL is a headache, but as I pointed out in another topic, it's a combination of about four bugs, one of which I've fixed, one someone else has worked around, one in road construction that can be fixed in-world, and a tough one involving crossings at 4-sim intersections. All those could be overcome.

I think LL has some plans along that line actually. We'll see. Aurora introduced sims up to 8x8 km and that was later added to the main branch of the  Opensim software. Whitecore, the follow up to Aurora, seems to handle sim crossing far better than both Opensim and Second Life. All those applications are based on the old open source parts of the SL server software so anything they can do, SL should be able to do too.

 

7 hours ago, animats said:
  • Voice that works better. SL doesn't use voice by default, and most regions have it turned off.  That's a policy issue.

It is indeed a policy issue. Apart from any hardware and software issues, the requirements for an effective voice based virtual reality are:

  • Everybody need to be able to speak and understand not only the same language but also reasonably compatible dialects
  • Everybody need to be able to log on from RL environments without too much background noise
  • Everybody need to know the basics of microphone handling.

Sansar or no Sansar, I can't any of that happening very soon.

Of course an other - and far more realistic - option would be extensive use of typed test to voice converters.

 

7 hours ago, animats said:
  • Facial expression recognition and animations that match it. Sansar has that, and a SL viewer could have that as an option. You don't need a VR headset, just a webcam.

What's the point in facial expressions when the camera position is so far off you can't actually see people's faces? :P

 

7 hours ago, animats said:
  • Better level of detail handling. Biggest visual problem in SL. SL level of detail is per-prim. There's no way that a large number of prims, like a house, get aggregated into one big distant texture. SL needs that.

Oh yes. Those aggregated textures are called impostors btw and SL already has a crude version for avatars. Adding it as an optional alternative to LoD models for other items to would be a huge improvement.

That being said, it is perfectly possible to make content with good LoD, low lag and low land impact within the current SL framework. It requires a little bit of basic building skills and takes a little bit of extra time but it's not that difficult. Unfortunately, most SL content creators lack those basic building skills and with the low price and volume levels in SL the few that know how to, can't always justify spending the time needed if they want a reasonable return from the time they invest in their builds.

 

Now, unlike somebody else on this forum, I did not make a new year's resolution to be less rude here so...

One of the big problems I see with Sansar, is that its content creator community is dominated by SL old-timers who are stuck in their outdated perception of SL. They have already shown themselves unable to adapt to the more current quality requirements of SL and they are proving to be even less able to adapt to the different requirements of a new environment. That is a big problem for Sansar since what they bring to the table is exactly the kind of things Sansar does not need. (On the bright side, Sansar do keep those guys away from Second Life. ;))

Oh, and in case there's any misunderstanding, I'm sure the majority of Sansar creators are either talented SL creators with the potential to rise to the challenge or seasoned professionals who already know how to do it. But, sadly for Sansar, most of the ones who speak the loudest and tend to get the most attention, do fit my description too well.

Edited by ChinRey
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I agree with most of that.

  • 2K textures may not be that useful, but Sansar does have them. Unreal Engine has 4K textures, but they usually don't push them across a network.
  • Bigger regions - 64-bit machines and more RAM help a lot. Good region crossings mean you can have big continents. Whether there's a market for big continents is a real issue. SL has them because that's what virtual worlds were like in science fiction. Sansar seems to be single-region islands, although it's supposed to be possible to have multi-region ones. Anyone seen one in action? Fir SL region crossing, with the current architecture, some delay is inevitable, but the things that go badly wrong seem to be fixable bugs.
  • Voice. In Sansar demo videos, there's usually someone talking. Usually the guy in charge. That may be the way this goes. Masters talk. Peons type.
  • Facial expressions. The real question is first person vs third person, a classic video game issue. In first person, you don't have enough field of view unless you have a VR headset or wraparound screens. In third person, you're one step removed from the action, but can see what's going on. This has classically been a first-person shooter issue, but avatars with facial expressions mean it has to be addressed again. I dunno.
  • Level of detail. That needs to be automated as much as possible. Yes, good 3D artists can get good results with inadequate tools. But they have better things to do with their time. In general, creating needs to be made easy for creators. Nobody here has AAA title budgets. For example, if meshes are cheaper to render than the equivalent collection of prims, they should be created automatically when a collection of prims is saved. Keep the prims around for later editing; archive them on some asset server until needed. One of the great strengths of SL is in-world editing. Face it, Blender is a pain and has a terrible UI, even after several rounds of improvement.

There's so much that could be done here. I wish I'd been here when SL was on the way up, rather than getting in on the way down.

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1 hour ago, animats said:

 

  • 2K textures may not be that useful, but Sansar does have them. Unreal Engine has 4K textures, but they usually don't push them across a network.

More importantly, they don't use nearly as many textures in a single scene. (At least skilled UE4 developers don't. There are reckless people who don't understand the principles of or the need for optimization building on the UE platform too.) It's the total number of texture pixels in the scene that matters, not how many each texture has on it own. This is a good example why I'm so concerned about the Sansar content creator community being dominated by outdated SL builders. They are trying to build in their old Second Life style with their poor understanding of optimization in an environment with much looser control mechanisms. It is a recipe for disaster.

 

1 hour ago, animats said:

 

  • Bigger regions - 64-bit machines and more RAM help a lot. Good region crossings mean you can have big continents. Whether there's a market for big continents is a real issue. SL has them because that's what virtual worlds were like in science fiction.

Big continents rather than isolated single sims mean people will live closer to each other and have to relate to each other in a much closer way. Second Life was originally created by people with no understanding of social mechanisms whatsoever so they didn't take that into account. I'm not sure if it's possible to create a well working unified virtual reality but the fate of the SL continents doesn't give any relevant answer there - they were doomed by poor planning right from the start.

 

1 hour ago, animats said:

 

  • Voice. In Sansar demo videos, there's usually someone talking. Usually the guy in charge. That may be the way this goes. Masters talk. Peons type.

 

Yes, you may be right there. Count me out then.

 

1 hour ago, animats said:
  • Facial expressions. The real question is first person vs third person, a classic video game issue. In first person, you don't have enough field of view unless you have a VR headset or wraparound screens. In third person, you're one step removed from the action, but can see what's going on. This has classically been a first-person shooter issue, but avatars with facial expressions mean it has to be addressed again. I dunno.

Well, there's a difference between third person and SL style birdseye view too, remember. :P

I do actually believe it's possible to make a virtual reality with onscreen first person view as the default option and VR headset and third person view as easy-to-switch-to alternatives. You can't convert Second Life to it though since it would make practically all existing content redunant and as for Sansar, LL has already chozen to go for different options.

 

1 hour ago, animats said:
  • Level of detail. That needs to be automated as much as possible.

Second Life is actually supposed to have automatically created LoD models for mesh. But it's based on a rather dodgy implementation of a rather dodgy algorithm named GLOD (Geometric Level Of Detail - apparently no connection to a certain Terry Pratchett character by that name although the description fits quite well). GLOD is a very techie/theoretical simplification algorithm that gives very little consideration to the visual and "artistic" aspects. It is also hopelessly outdated today - it probably was even back in 2011. There are a few things it can do reasonably well but not many. Generally it produces LoD models with a very poor optimization ratio and a very large quality loss.

It is fortunate that we do have the manual LoD model alternative at all. If we didn't, Second Life would have had serious problems.

Edited by ChinRey

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7 hours ago, ChinRey said:

There are 2kx2k textures in SL. Linden Lab did increase the max pixel count to 2048x2048 briefly and some of the old textures from that time period are still around. Take my word for it: you do not want to go anywhere near any of those.

Even worse, there's 4096x4096 textures still kicking about from the old days.
Those oversized textures can cause some nasty bugs & crashes.

eg) BUG-20125 - Viewer sometimes crashes when opening oversized textures - SecondLifeViewer.exe!LLViewerFetchedTexture::updateFetch() [llviewertexture.cpp : 1983 + 0x0]

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8 hours ago, ChinRey said:

Big continents rather than isolated single sims mean people will live closer to each other and have to relate to each other in a much closer way. Second Life was originally created by people with no understanding of social mechanisms whatsoever so they didn't take that into account. I'm not sure if it's possible to create a well working unified virtual reality but the fate of the SL continents doesn't give any relevant answer there - they were doomed by poor planning right from the start.

SL wasn't created with social anything in mind, except for collaborative building. Other than local chat and IMs there's not much in the way of tools to support it. Groups were created as a land tool, not for general communication. Everything was aimed toward building things. As for continents ... most people don't want them. Dreamland ACS had a fairly large continent in 2006. It was broken up some time in the next year or so because customers wanted to live on island regions. Now estate parcels are often set by default so people in a parcel can't see or talk with people in other parcels, because that's what customers want. Mainland is similar -- many people set their parcel for privacy and put screens around it to hide the neighbors (assuming there are any).

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2 minutes ago, Parhelion Palou said:

SL wasn't created with social anything in mind, except for collaborative building.

To quote wikipedia's article about Philip Rosedale:

Quote

Rosedale had stated that his goal with Second Life was to demonstrate a viable model for a virtual economy or virtual society. In his own words: "We don't see this as a game. We see it as a platform that is, in many ways, better than the real world" (Google TechTalks, March 2006)

 

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Just now, ChinRey said:

To quote wikipedia's article about Philip Rosedale:

 

I've looked for other places where that was stated but haven't had any luck. What I found when I was digging into the subject for another thread was that after LL had to give up The Rig (the hardware device they were building), they showed their board Linden World (which they'd built to test The Rig) for possible use as a game. During the meeting two LL employees were building something together. The board saw that and liked it. Nobody else had that capability at the time. All the other 3D worlds were pre-built and users moved around in them but couldn't create their own things. Of course, now we're going back to that model with Sansar and Sinespace. Someone creates it, everyone else gets to experience it. Rosedale may have considered SL as an experiment to see if a virtual society would develop, but that's not what sold the board on Linden World, and LL certainly didn't add tools to aid in developing a society.

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20 minutes ago, Parhelion Palou said:

Rosedale may have considered SL as an experiment to see if a virtual society would develop, but that's not what sold the board on Linden World, and LL certainly didn't add tools to aid in developing a society.

They certainly didn't and that was my real point of course: as a social medium/platform, Second Life has some serious limitations because that aspect was never really built into it from the start.

To be honest, beyond that, yes, I too believe the talk about "social experiment" and such was just hype. And so was the talk about "virtual economy" (did LL even have an economy at first?) and about it being a medium for creative building. Basically I suspect it was all just excuses they made up as they went along to get people to pay them for playing with this cool new toy they had come up with. ;)

Lookign at High Fidelity today, I think it's exactly the same story there.

Edited by ChinRey
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8 minutes ago, Parhelion Palou said:

As for continents ... most people don't want them.

You may be right. The social layout of the world is a huge issue. Sansar and SL are very far apart here. This matters for the future of virtual worlds.

Running a big space with lots of people in it is hard. I've been involved in major real-world planning disputes. Stanford University wanted, and still wants, to expand their campus into the foothills. After much public pressure, that was pushed back, and so Stanford moved about 2600 administrators to a urban site ten miles away in Redwood City. I went to about fifty meetings on that. That level of effort is too high for a virtual world.

SL ended up with feudalism. Eight land barons own about 40% of SL's land. Most disputes are between landlords, who have all the power, and tenants. Linden Labs doesn't have a dispute resolution mechanism for neighbor problems.  (There are abuse complaints, but they're not too helpful.) Feudalism gets Linden Labs out of dealing with city councils. Earlier in SL's history, governance was taken more seriously, but that seems to have ended.

There are a few successful large areas run by groups. New Babbage (11 sims) is probably the most visually coherent. They have building inspection. Some of the big urban roleplay areas hold together well. They're all strong-leader operations, enforced through land ownership. If there's a democracy left in SL, I don't know of it.

If your virtual world isn't a world, just a collection of unconnected 3D web sites, who needs Linden Labs? Just use WebGL, which is quite powerful and in everyone's browser. There are impressive WebGL demos, and few real uses. Or put up your world as a game on Steam.

But then Linden Labs doesn't become a really big company.

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13 hours ago, ChinRey said:

There are 2kx2k textures in SL. Linden Lab did increase the max pixel count to 2048x2048 briefly and some of the old textures from that time period are still around. Take my word for it: you do not want to go anywhere near any of those.

I think those textures are being used for gem faces now :(

 

10 hours ago, animats said:

I wish I'd been here when SL was on the way up, rather than getting in on the way down.

SL has had one foot in the grave with no hope of surviving another year since 2006.  I think the ride down is actually your best long term option.

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7 minutes ago, Rhonda Huntress said:

SL has had one foot in the grave with no hope of surviving another year since 2006.  I think the ride down is actually your best long term option.

“Bring our your dead!”

”I’m not dead yet!”

- Monty Python

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33 minutes ago, Rhonda Huntress said:

SL has had one foot in the grave with no hope of surviving another year since 2006.  I think the ride down is actually your best long term option.

Things aren't the way they never were anymore.

Edited by ChinRey
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20 minutes ago, Love Zhaoying said:

“Bring our your dead!”

”I’m not dead yet!”

The doctor says you are and he knows better than you!

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