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Game Development and Custom 3D Solutions

Venomite Studios is a game development company based in Tallinn, Estonia. We have been making games with Unity Game Engine since 2014 and have taken up some pretty big game projects.

We are now expanding our expertise to a more areas, because our skills enable us to create custom solutions to a wide variety of platforms – ranging from websites, mobile devices, tablets, computers and gaming consoles.

We create our own games and products, but also work with clients who need help with custom 3D solutions or outsourced game development help.

Latest blog posts
August 2, 2019The journey / ThoughtsFrom recently failing my biggest project so far, I learned 4 things that I happened to do right. These 4 tips got me much closer to my objective of raising funds and eventually coming to market with my product. The following list might look unusual compared to other top tips lists on a similar topic floating around the web. That’s because I don’t like giving advice that hasn’t proven to work with me or things I haven’t tried out myself. That’s why I’m limiting this list to things I happened to do right. #1: Plan, Estimate, Analyze and Compare – Write Everything Out! If you have an idea for a business, it literally doesn’t take any skill or prior knowledge to write it out. Just open Google Docs and start writing! After a short while you realize, this was the most important step. The document you create will describe the idea, what makes it special, how it will make money, and more. It will fully have to describe your product or service, and the market around it. While writing, you will realize you need to research some parts that aren’t clear for you. As a result, you will fully formalize the idea and be able to present it to anyone later in just a couple of sentences. And on top of that, you will automatically notice flaws in your plan and have a chance to think of solutions to solve them. While writing you need to keep in mind who might eventually be reading it and how much patience they may have. There is a chance that the person reading it doesn’t have the same prior knowledge on the subject as you. So you have to make it easy to understand to anyone. And if the person reading wishes to grasp the idea in a short time, the document should allow that as well. Don’t be discouraged to come back to this document every few days and rethink, rewrite and reorganize your material. It can, and it should be a ‘living document‘. This is very common in the game development industry and it’s called a Game Design Document. Through working on this document, you prepare yourself for future pitches, small talks, and long-lasting conversations on this topic. You may also soon realize that it’s better to split the document up into different files (text documents, presentations, etc) depending on the target audience and the situation that it’s needed in. That is good practice! Product Design Document This version of the document will be aimed towards your colleagues who know the area better and are familiar with the relevant terms. These can be your designers, engineers, developers, marketers, etc. It’s good to dive deeper and get specific for them. They will need to know exactly what is in your head. Describe all the details, find similar projects as reference examples, sketch together some drawings. Unfortunately, mind reading hasn’t been invented yet, so you have to work extra. Do anything to get what is in your head out into this document. Financial Plan Document There are people who might want to financially help out your project because they believe in it and see that it can make them more money. So you need a way to lay out your plans to them and explain how you’re gonna make it happen. This is why you’ll need a separate specialized document just for this. You will probably be presenting this to interested investors or using it to put together pitches for them. Figure out which monetization model you want to go with. Are you going to simply sell your product, rent it out, or give it for free and earn money through ads? Do you have an alternative monetization model instead? Read about other similar products or services in the field and compare yours to them. Decide what would be best. When you have picked a monetization model move over to Excel, Google Sheets or something similar. Here is where we start playing around with numbers and start figuring out if and how the business will be profitable. You don’t need to be an accountant or a mathematician at this step. You will only need to have basic knowledge of how to use the software you picked – so watch a few tutorials if you haven’t already. Expect this step to take some time. You will need to parallelly do A LOT of market research (Googling) and then input your findings into the table calculations program. Some of this info might be hard to find and might take some logic based guessing, but keep at it. Also, don’t always believe the first numbers you find, go in-depth. Find out the following numbers and add them to your calculations: The average price you could ask (or average revenue you could generate) from your client; The number of clients you might get; How much taxes you need to pay; The average cut that the intermediary businesses will take;How much you will have to pay your employees (and/or the cost of production);How big the unexpected costs might be (you will have them, you can’t plan for everything);The total cost of all the licenses you will need;How much the legal fees will be for the whole process It is normal to be a bit optimistic with your profit estimations, but definitely, don’t be unrealistic! It is highly unlikely you will start competing with the biggest fish in the market any time soon – unless you have a very-very strong upper hand and you can prove it. Hint: You most likely don’t. #2: Create a Prototype and Let People Test It Having a prototype puts you significantly closer to making your plan a reality! Not only do you prove to everyone that you can make the end product happen. You also get to observe how your end users are using it already. You have to have a prototype! Every person in the world has ideas, very few act on them, and even less make it a reality. When you have a prototype that can primitively display the features of the end product, you have set yourself apart from most of your competition. Couple that with the research and preparations you did in tip #1 and you will have some serious investment negotiations with investors. Another great benefit to having a prototype is the chance to study the way that your end users are interacting with it. That is always extremely fascinating for me. Just give them the product and say what it is. For example, I say “Here. This is a video game I made.” Pointing at a laptop sitting on a desk. When they sit down and start trying it out, they shouldn’t need any more instructions from you to get started. Keep in mind, you can’t be in every client’s home, holding their hand through the learning process. So every instruction you need to give them is feedback to you to improve the design. Of course, some design flaws are inevitable in the beginning. Especially if the product is at a very early prototype stage and you haven’t put much effort into design yet. But you can still observe how the core features are used. You probably have a vision of how and what for your product is being used. There is a high chance that the user is not using it necessarily how it was intended to be used. Take note of that and analyze it later – you might want to rethink the user experience or even the whole purpose of your product. #3: Tell Anyone Who Is Willing to Listen and Take Feedback I am willing to bet you are not the smartest person in the world. You are also not the most connected person in the world. So don’t act like one. Tell people what your plan is and ask for their opinion. Of course, it is great and extremely necessary to have a clear plan and vision, but don’t be too stuck to something you came up with at the very beginning. You learn on your journey, and you should use your new knowledge to perfect your plans. Discussing with people your ambitions doesn’t only allow you to look at it from a different perspective, it also opens an opportunity for that person to connect you to someone that might help you out. Remember how in middle school when you found out about a great song that no one in your class knew about. And after you told them about it eventually everyone was listening to it and jamming along. At least that’s how it happened in my class. 😛 For the person introducing the new song, it created this great feeling of pride, even though he didn’t compose the melody, nor wrote a single word of the song himself. He just created value by introducing it to people, and that’s why he was special. The concept hasn’t changed now that we are older. We still want to feel special and thus most people still tell their friends about things that might be valuable for them. So let people know about what you are doing so that they can start talking about you and make it possible for the right people to find you. #4: Be Organized and Make Every Hour Count If you are like most entrepreneurs you don’t have unlimited hours to spend on making your dream come true. You have to be organized and make every hour count. That’s why you should try this extremely simple time management exercise! Start every morning with a list of things you want to get done during the day. Plan your day out with time-boxes. Give yourself a schedule of how much time every task you plan to complete that day should take. Factor in everyday activities like lunch breaks, food store visits, etc. Throughout your day, keep an eye on your schedule! You will miss your deadlines a lot in the beginning and might not get as much done as you first thought you would. But don’t be scared to be wrong. Learn from it and the next morning make a more realistic list for the new day. This exercise works like magic. It doesn’t take a lot of time from you and it doesn’t make you overwork. It just gives you an overview of your workday and keeps you focused on things you need to do. Try it, you’ll be surprised! My hope is that these 4 tips will help you along with your next startup creation. I’ve learned that these 4 are absolutely crucial, and without following them I would have never gotten as far as I did. If you haven’t already, be sure to also read the article 6 Mistakes That Will Make Your Startup Fail where I go over the major mistakes I made with my last project. You’ll find more tips there on creating a successful startup and hopefully, it helps you avoid the same blunders I made. Join the Newsletter! You have read and agreed to our Privacy PolicyGet notified when I publish a new blog post!NameEmail* [...]
July 1, 2019The journey / ThoughtsI recently shut down a project I spent 1,5 years working on, and I decided to point out the 6 mistakes I made that made my startup fail. I was trying to build a video game called Mechanical Difficulties. A game that combined the first-person shooter genre with the real-time strategy genre. The plan was to find financial support from several investors while building the game. If you haven’t been following this blog so far, the result of a 1,5-year long work was: Pretty cool looking multiplayer prototypeMany game development update videos on YouTubeMany blog posts about the project0 € raised through investmentBurnt out CEOA lot of learned lessonsA big pile of unused IP Now I’m writing this article in hopes that it will allow me to learn more from my mistakes and help you avoid making the same mistakes I did. #1: Putting Too Much Effort into Online Marketing Online presence was a big part of Venomite Studios while we were building Mechanical Difficulties. I had the belief that through regular public content creation we would have no trouble in achieving our goals. I believed that it will grow an active audience around the game and eventually attract the required investors to make it all possible. Don’t get me wrong, making blog posts and youtube videos did have an extremely positive effect on the project, and above all, I loved creating them. But for the project to stay alive we needed funding, and putting so much effort into creating content didn’t help us reach that goal. In addition to that, behind the scenes, I spent loads of time trying to reach possible investors and publishers through online channels. I must have sent hundreds of personal emails and messages trying to reach people. But as a result, about 1% of them replied and none of them were eventually interested. My bet is that it’s because they all get bombarded with hundreds of digital messages every day, and they just can’t handle them all. So instead of putting so much time into online marketing, what I should have done was – travel abroad to investor networking events and (game) conferences, and find business partners there. #2: Pitching to the Wrong People For me, raising money and pitching to investors was a totally new world. So a big part of the time I was just feeling my way around the dark. There was crowdfunding, investors, publishers, accelerators, and mixes between all of those above. Know your audience! I spent a lot of effort pitching in Estonia. A big mistake, because I was trying to raise a big sum of money. Unfortunately, the Estonian investors usually don’t have that much money to invest and have very little knowledge of the game development industry. In Estonia, game development is a rather new topic in general. And there aren’t many success stories because most game dev companies there are very young. So make sure you pitch to the people who could actually give you the money you are trying to raise. Otherwise, you are wasting a lot of your energy on work that will not get you closer to your goal. When planning to raise money – first do your homework, and then put all your efforts into pitching for the correct one. #3: Trying to Raise Too Large Amounts in the Beginning This must have been one of the biggest mistakes I made! I had calculated the approximate sum of money that was needed to complete about 80% of the game. And I was trying to raise it all at once in the first investment round. I had a bunch of impressive work and results to show that spoke in my favor, but I was trying to raise a few hundred thousand euros. And that scared many investors away. Instead, I should have done it in baby steps. I should have raised just 10,000 € and used that money to show what we could achieve with funding. Then go out and raise even more to make the game even better. And then more to completely finish the game. Baby steps! #4: Doing Everything Alone For the investors, it is a big red flag if there isn’t a well-functioning team in place. And for that reason, I must have failed to raise funds on more than one occasion. That must have also been the biggest reason to eventually drive me to burn out altogether. For the majority of the time, in our project, there was only me who was making everything happen. I was doing development, art, marketing, and business development. This resulted in me working inhumane hours and eventually getting burned out. You should be in a position where you can insert confidence in the investor. You should be able to show that the current team can work well together and can already produce something good. So in case, something happens to one team member, the others can keep the project going. What I should have done was delegate lots of the responsibilities and focus mainly on my strengths. #5: Being Too Jealous to Share Profits One of the reasons I struggled in finding an investor and in putting together a team – I was too jealous. I wanted to be the hero who built something so amazing and thus be rewarded for it accordingly. If you want to be successful you should learn to manage your ego. People will help you make great things happen if you let them. But then they are also those to thank for, and they deserve recognition and a fair share of the profits. #6: Taking on a Too Big Project I am not the type of person that usually believes that some project can be “too big”. I’ve always believed that it just takes more focus and work to stay motivated on a bigger project. I also don’t believe in the “fail-fast” mentality, because I don’t see the point in having 20 failed games. Especially when they have pretty much the same mechanics and none of them really did any better than the previous one. True, I’ve only had two failed projects to learn from during the past 4 years, but I’m pretty sure I learned more than I would have if I failed with 20 small projects doing the same thing over and over again. Recently I came across a video by Matt D’Avella that talked about Burnout. In there he mentioned that every project should have a sprint mindset. Whether it is defined by a deadline or the amount of cash you have to spend – there is always a limited runway. That sparked a thought in my head. A project’s runway can also be limited by the amount of passion you have for it. If you spend that passion in an unhealthy way it can run out before the project becomes self-sustaining. The fact that I kept grinding through the Mechanical Difficulties project with way too long hours and without delegating any of the tasks, made the project too big for me. I just burned through the passion too fast, before I could make something out of it. So if you are to take on an enormous project, make sure you have a team to help you carry the weight. And keep in mind to sustain healthy work hours that keep your passion fresh. Closing thoughts Like I mentioned in my previous post about failure, I believe that failing can be a good thing. So hopefully this blog post was a chance for you to learn from my mistakes. Not everything I did with Mechanical Difficulties was a mistake though. I did several things right too. So I will most likely create another blog post soon that will talk about the things I feel I did right with Mechanical Difficulties. Until next time, Cheers! Join the Newsletter! You have read and agreed to our Privacy PolicyGet notified when I publish a new blog post!NameEmail* [...]
May 30, 2019The journey / ThoughtsI never thought I would feel depressed. For some reason, I thought people would have to have psychological precondition to experience deep depression. And I just didn’t think I was one of them. I thought if I hit a low point in life, I would just feel really down. And that I would feel emotional pain for a little while, feel unmotivated and would need to just pick myself up and piece myself back together. I thought that way until a few months ago when it hit me. And it hit me hard! With the ending of the Mechanical Difficulties project and some other struggles in my life, I fell into a black hole deeper than I have ever been in my life. Deeper than I thought possible. The level at which I had rated my emotional strength before was shattered. The feeling of hope and ambition – gone. The idea that emotional pain can’t be comparable to physical was flipped upside down – I physically felt emotional pain and it was terrible. I even found myself thinking “I totally understand how some people see suicide as a solution in a place like this.” I was very hesitant whether or not I should write this post at all. This is by no means a cry for attention or promotion for self-hurting. I decided to write this because I want to reach someone who might be going through difficulties. My hope is that if I put this article up someone will find it as a source of support – because I know I needed some. I’m putting myself out here publicly and honestly pouring out the truth. I too was hopelessly down, but there is no shame in falling, and it DOES get better. It truly does! As cliche as this sounds, it does. Even if 99% of the time it doesn’t feel like it, eventually color starts returning to your life. Things that feel cold and unhappy will return to their naturally warm and joyful state. You are worth fighting for! Getting out of depression is not easy, but you can do it! It doesn’t happen overnight and no one is going to do it for you. You are going to have to be your own best friend and pull yourself out. Start with baby steps – it is alright, you are just starting. A baby doesn’t start running around the maternity unit a few minutes after being born. So take it slow, a tiny step every day will get you far. Even if it’s as small as going outside for a breath of fresh air. The next day you can go for a walk around the park. The day after that you can go to the zoo. Rely largely on your thinking brain to make decisions for you. Make it a mission to pull yourself out. Keep treating yourself to new experiences and things you like. Start bettering yourself by trying new hobbies, learning new things, reading about subjects you are passionate about, joining a gym, etc. But don’t forget, it is work, and you will stumble along the way. You will fall and feel that you put so much effort into this, and it is still not getting better. I felt that several times, but you know what? You get back up and keep building yourself up, keep loving yourself, and before you know it you feel better. I had a moment not too long ago where I discovered “Wow! Holy Sh*t! I am happy!”. I know it sounds totally cliche, but that’s really how it goes. You do get better! You just have to hang in there and work on it like a soldier. But instead of fighting for a country… you are fighting for the most important thing in your life – Yourself. Friends and family Of course, you should also surround yourself with family and friends who care. And keep telling them how you are feeling and how life is difficult for you. Even if they are not asking – you take care of yourself, so you tell them. That’s what they are for. But also keep a steady rotation in the people who you tell about your hardships – occasionally give them room to breathe, then they can be there for you again. That being said, I still believe there is no better friend for you than yourself! Keep pulling yourself out, pushing yourself up, and loving yourself, even talk and listen to yourself. You will make it, and you deserve to! You are your own best friend! It gets better By better, I don’t only mean better than when you hit rock bottom. It actually gets better than the best you’ve been so far in your life! Yes, there is no way you believe me now. I heard it from some people when I was depressed and I thought there was no way that could be possible. But it is possible and it is true. After you work on yourself so much you will discover an incredible strength within you. Something that so many people don’t have, yet you built for yourself. No one can take that strength from you, they can only challenge it and add to it. It is incredible, you will feel like the Iron Man. Failing is good Now that I’ve gone through something so tough in my life and have gained so much from it, I feel great! Failing made me stronger – and thus I now welcome it again. When I do fall down again into the deep darkness, I will rise even stronger. It’s like a superpower! Life got so much better through failure that I hope there is more coming so that I can grow even more and the bar of maximum happiness can be raised even higher. Thank you for reading! Even though it took me just a couple of hours to put this article together, I feel it was a product of months of work I had to do with myself. I also hope someone finds this article supporting. It’s not really the usual type of content I create here on this blog, but that might be changing. We’ll see. I invite you to stick around and read about my future failures that I will also be posting about. 🙂 If you ever feel like you need someone to talk to, you are welcome to reach out! Cheers! Join the Newsletter! You have read and agreed to our Privacy PolicyGet notified when I publish a new blog post!NameEmail* [...]
March 23, 2019Game Dev Updates / The journeyWhen I started this project 1,5 years ago, I didn’t think it would end this way. But today, I’m shutting down the development of Mechanical Difficulties. Looking back, the project started in October 2017 when I had just quit my job as a software developer. I remember being SO driven, on fire even! Nothing could stop me. I was going to create The Next Indie Phenomenon! So I just jumped right in, having no clue of all the mountains I had to climb in order to achieve my dream. My whole plan was simple: Create a prototype in 6 monthsPresent it at the Game Dev Days conferenceGet fundedPut together a teamFinish the project with the teamCreate more cool stuff with Venomite Studios That was the plan of the ignorant and inexperienced me. As it turned out, it didn’t go as planned and presented me with incredible challanges along the way. I learned a lot! Way more than I had anticipated! And that makes me so grateful for this experience. There were so many aspects of game development and starting a business that I had no clue existed before, and I’m coming out of this as a much-improved version of myself. Shutting Down Mechanical Difficulties As the CEO, you have to have the passion to drive forward and set an example to all the team members and project followers. You have to believe in and want the result with every inch of your body. And work super long hours to achieve it. I did, but the past few months I’ve slowly felt my inner compass start tilting towards other objectives in life. I still believe this project can be achieved, but I don’t think it would have a reliable foundation with me not wanting it with every inch of my body. So I’m moving on. Mechanical Difficulties will now be, figuratively, put on a shelf without clear future plans. I admit, it was a difficult decision. I was tempted to keep working on it because I had already invested so much time and energy into it. But I don’t think you should keep investing more time into something just because you’ve already invested so much time into it. You should live by your inner calling. Thank You! You were a big part of this journey, and I want to thank you for it. It means the world to me to have had you support this endeavour and follow along. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You! Join the Newsletter! You have read and agreed to our Privacy PolicyGet notified when I publish a new blog post!NameEmail* [...]
March 1, 2019UncategorizedAfter the last blog post I’ve been unusually quiet. You haven’t seen any updates on any of our mediums. Not on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook nor Discord. Some people have even reached out wondering if the project had been shut down. To be completely honest, there recently have been a few thoughts on whether or not I should do that. I have hit some rough patches both in my personal life and with Mechanical Difficulties. But somehow my mind just generates solutions out of thin air. Even in situations where regular people would usually give up. Recognizing the flaw When I took some time off in December I started wondering… I had seen other game dev projects with way less potential than ours, having publishers or investors on board. And we didn’t have either yet. There had to be something we were doing wrong. And then it hit me – Our current team didn’t fit the picture. I was struggling on four fronts (business development, programming, art, and marketing), trying to raise some funds. And my programmers were waiting for me to get the money so that I could hire them full time. While I was doing so many things, I was doing none perfectly. The company was moving forward but in a painfully slow pace. And overall, this kind of setup wasn’t sustainable in the long run. The right thing for me to do would have been to focus on one or two areas that could help the company most. And then delegate every other role to other team members. There is no way one person can do everything in a company well. So that’s what I decided to do. But of course, that transition was going to take time… Rebuilding the team I can’t say anything bad about the programmers I had until then. They are amazing guys who I’d love to have on the team eventually. But we mutually agreed that it wasn’t the right time right now. Venomite needed professionals who had previous game development experience and had the time to put into the project. People who can elevate Mechanical Difficulties into the next level and keep being troopers for future projects too. So I dove into the digital depths, looking for some amazing talent that would fit the project right now. I shared my vision personally with close to 100 people, sent countless emails and had Skype interviews with more than 40 candidates. After all this hard work, I can say that we are on the last stretch. The new team will be fully assembled in about 2-3 weeks. Finally! What happens now? With this new team in place, you will start seeing multitudes of new and better updates. Way better gameplay features and much-much higher quality art in the game! We will introduce the new team when we’ve all settled in and give you a clearer overview of what’s to come. Stay posted, you don’t want to miss out! Join the Newsletter! You have read and agreed to our Privacy PolicyGet notified when I publish a new blog post!NameEmail* [...]
December 31, 2018The journey / ThoughtsWhen I started this blog I promised myself to not only share the good but also tell you when things get tough. A little more than a week ago our project hit the biggest setback yet. Looking back, there was some build-up to it all, so let me start from the beginning… Overworking Since April I had been juggling between several roles on the company. I was the business guy, the developer, the artist, the marketer – I did pretty much everything. It took a lot of effort switching between these roles, so it didn’t come as much of a surprise when the development started slowing down because of it. The business side was very new for me and it took me a while to figure it out. It turned out to be a lot of work that needed to be done, for Venomite Studios to succeed. As this evolved, it looked obvious that I needed more help to make this work.I totally lucked out while putting together a team. Two of my friends (who are total geniuses at programming) wanted to join the team. I was over the moon! Both of the new team members were working full time at their daily jobs, so they could only contribute to MD on weekends when they had free time. As time progressed, it became clear there wasn’t so much free time on their hands after all. So the development still mostly weighed on me. This could only change if I got the funding for our development, so I could hire them full time. So there I was – grinding to keep bringing you constant updates on the project while finding the funding for the development. The crash Two weeks ago I felt exhausted. I had been ripping myself into pieces, trying to grab at every straw. I knew I needed to take some time off, or else I would just burn myself out and it wouldn’t end well. Right after thinking that, I was knocked off my feet by the flu. I thought to myself: “No wonder my body gave out. I had been pushing it to the limits for a while.“ So now I was kinda forced to take it slow and recharge myself. The news A few days later, drinking tea, and feeling slightly human-ish again, I found myself at my computer. I wasn’t planning to do any work, I was just browsing the web. I noticed that Unity (the game engine that our game is being built in) had released a new version. I had heard whispers about the upcoming version for months – it was going to be EPIC! And now it was available! Newest Unity version 2018.3 Along with the new version, Unity released an FPS Sample Project that was a free-to-use multiplayer first-person shooter project. That was GREAT NEWS! I was sure to find loads of examples on how to make our Mechanical Difficulties better in every possible way! So there I was, watching videos of the new Unity version. I was in complete awe! Until… … in one of the videos, a person said: “…and because UNET is going to be deprecated…“. “WAIT! WHAT?“, I thought to myself, “The networking system I’ve been using to build Mechanical Difficulties for over a year will be discontinued?“ Surely enough. When I opened Mechanical Difficulties up now, this is what I saw on my network components… All UNET components had deprecation warnings on them On further research, I found out that it had already been announced in August this year, but the news somehow hadn’t reached me before. On top of that, Unity still hasn’t come out with an alternative networking solution that will eventually be replacing UNET. I… was… devastated. 🙁 Why it is such a big deal Obviously, we can’t keep building Mechanical Difficulties in UNET – the networking framework that will soon be deprecated. We will have to pick another framework and refactor A LOT of the current code to restore the functionality we had in Mechanical Difficulties. This is such a big and unexpected change that it affects the current budget, development timeline and overall plans. Taking some time off Now as all of these things piled up and came crashing down on me, I fell into something I would call a “slight depression”.  I feel the need to take some time off to recharge my batteries, get healthy and attain a new perspective on this whole thing. I have been and will spend some more time with family and friends, enjoying the holidays. I hope you are too! Have a nice New Year’s Eve! Join the Newsletter! You have read and agreed to our Privacy PolicyGet notified when I publish a new blog post!NameEmail* [...]

Download Mechanical Difficulties

Our latest project called Mechanical Difficulties combines the first-person shooter and the real-time strategy genre in a goofy multiplayer setting. You can gather resources, build a base, create an army and go to battle with that army. The project has been shut down for now, but we have a free to download version of our game available in the link below. Go ahead and try it out!

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