AI...I thought that stood for ArtificalINTELLIGENCE

By on May 30, 2009 4:01:01 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

TobyB

Join Date 05/2009
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This is the one reason I HATE playing AI's.  They have NO intelligence.  All they have is just more. More health, more money, more levels, more minions, more damage, more....

This game does not need a tutorial because playing the AI is the TUTORIAL.  After a few weeks....boring!   And with online connective problems...frustrating!  Boring and frustrating are not two qualities I look for in a game. 

 

Other than NO CAMPAGIN and NO DEPTH in the manual on skills, spell, minions, etc.....this is a nice twist on RTS/Strat games.

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May 30, 2009 5:00:11 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

...Its artificial.  So far as I know you can't replicate a skilled player unless you're talking the robot that billy fischer was playing in chess, but this isnt chess. 

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May 30, 2009 5:04:38 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting ,
waaagh....waaaagh...waaaagh...no tutorial...waaaagh....waaagh....no campaign....waaagh...waaagh...waaagh....boring...waaagh

Poor poor little kid, have a cookie

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May 30, 2009 5:15:53 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

The AI will never be as good as a humans when it comes to tactics and strategy, so it needs to cheat to keep up. Most games do this.

Also, grats, you're the first person in the world to make the "joke" in the title. Well done.

\/\/ quoted for a quite large amount of typos you mean fixed now \/\/

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May 30, 2009 5:22:13 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

of corse an AI will never replace a real player, but i think that u all have to admit, that this AI is kinda more retarded than it is necessary

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May 30, 2009 5:46:32 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting rhymfaxe,
The AI will never bee as good as a human on tactics and stratey, so it needs to cheat to keep up. Most games do this.

 

Quoted for truth.

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May 31, 2009 7:22:24 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Ok... The AI could cheat.

 

BUT WHY THE FUCK SHOULD IT CHEAT IN WAYS LIKE GETTING MORE GOLD/MOVE SPEED/XP?

 

It just pisses me off! Can't it cheat by calculating some extra stuff, like knowing when exactly will it die from certain dps?

 

 

Look at unreal tournament! A game where the AI can actualy be better than humans. What's the prob? The game isn't unlimited you know. All the AI needs to know is what to buy and where to go ffs.

 

/endrage

 

Oh, and YES! The AI in Demigod DOES SUCK HARD!

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May 31, 2009 7:36:37 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

AI stands for 'Always Inept'. The DemiGod AI plays worse than a n00b...

Look at unreal tournament! A game where the AI can actualy be better than humans.

Yes, it's quite tough on Godlike, but it does teach you to sharpen your game. I'm not really getting anything from the DemiGod AI.

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May 31, 2009 7:48:58 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Somaz,
Ok... The AI could cheat.

 

BUT WHY THE FUCK SHOULD IT CHEAT IN WAYS LIKE GETTING MORE GOLD/MOVE SPEED/XP?

 

It just pisses me off! Can't it cheat by calculating some extra stuff, like knowing when exactly will it die from certain dps?

 

 

Look at unreal tournament! A game where the AI can actualy be better than humans. What's the prob? The game isn't unlimited you know. All the AI needs to know is what to buy and where to go ffs.

 

/endrage

 

Oh, and YES! The AI in Demigod DOES SUCK HARD!

 

LOL you compare Demigod to UT ...

I think it's alot easier to make a bot running and jumping all around and at the same time being
an aimbot. There is no tactics here.

To make an AI being tactically and atrategic is a lot harder.

" (UT) A game where the AI can actualy be better than humans " LOL - it's true only
if you're not a veteran fps player which is harder to be than a game like Demigod (against AI ofcourse)
unless you didn't play ever action-rpg/strategy games.

Maybe try playing skirmishes with easy AI's against nightmare AI's.

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May 31, 2009 10:00:37 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

There are some players who are worse than AI (ie you find a game getting more difficult after that guy leaves)........

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May 31, 2009 10:17:29 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

 UT is about movement and aiming, nothing about real strategic. Do some Capture the Flag and the Bots will suck too, cuz they have no strategy. Only thing they do is being an aimbot. 

 

UT bots = boosted aiming skills

Demigod = boosted money/xp...

 

I think that's quite the same.

 

Even if AI would play much better... once you have won 1 single game against AI, you would win EVERY game against them, just by doing the same....

 

sry 4 bad english... (i think i should had choose this for my Nickname)

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May 31, 2009 10:52:22 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I don't think that people understand just how hard it is to program a good AI, especially for a game such as this. Saying stuff like "They shouldn't suicide!", or "They should use their skills better" is way too open ended as AI 'goals'.

 

I personally think the AI is pretty reasonable (potentially reasonable in some sitations). It creeps well, has fantastic pathing control (capping flags), and is decent enough in combat. The only issues are failing to retreat when needed, which is a modification as opposed to a total AI rewrite, and questionable citadel upgrades, like getting the first level of every upgrade at the expense of personal items.

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May 31, 2009 2:25:01 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

On this game AI seems to stand for Artificial Idiots .

 

Thats not blame on GPG or Stardock, but man the AI online in this game is dumb.

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May 31, 2009 3:06:58 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Look at unreal tournament! A game where the AI can actualy be better than humans

AIs in FPS games are easy to make good.  If you show up in their sphere of vision, they point at you and shoot you.  They have to be toned down to artificially inject inaccuracy in their firing pattern or they'd gun you down as soon as they could see you, every time, unfailingly.  You'd say they cheat.  It wouldn't be any fun at all.

AIs in strategy games have problems - they need to actually use strategy.  Strategy is hard for AIs, and easy for humans.  So you get AIs that don't act like humans and are easy to beat.  In other RTS games the AI has an advantage at least in battles because they can outmicro you (they control everything at once) or they can see what you're doing even though you can't see them (they see your base, your troops, your resources, they're the computer after all).

In Demigod there isn't anything the AI can *know* about you that gives it an advantage.  So they just jack up its stats.  A poor solution.

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May 31, 2009 3:19:23 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

In the case of UT the bots have all the moves and are darned fast and agile with it. They have the ability to attack, or camp, and grab items too. Ultimately what lets them down is poor bot pathing in some maps.

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June 1, 2009 1:42:19 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Stardock's Impulse store recently started to offer a new game called A.I. War.

On the indie-developer's website (www.arcengames.com), in a forum post, the game's principal dev recently posted his general A.I.-design philosophy (http://arcengames.com/forums/index.php?topic=24.0) :

 

« I'm going to be writing a full article on this topic in the next couple of weeks, but here's a quick rundown.  First, the way that AI systems in most games work is via giant decision trees (IF A, then C, IF B, then D, etc, etc).  This can make for human-like behavior up to a point, but it requires a lot of development and ultimately winds up with exploitable flaws.  My favorite example from pretty much every RTS game since 1998 is how they pathfind around walls; if you leave a small gap in your wall, the AI will almost always try to go through that hole, which lets human players mass their units at these choke points since they are "tricking" the AI into using a hole in the wall that is actually a trap.  The AI thus sends wave after wave through the hole, dying every time.

Not only does that rules-based decision tree approach take forever to program, but it's also so exploitable in many ways beyond just the above.  However, to emulate how a human player might play, that sort of approach is generally needed.  I started out using a decision tree, but pretty soon realized that this was kind of boring even at the basic conceptual level --if I wanted to play against humans, I could just play against another human.  I wanted an AI that acted in a new way, different from what another human could do, like playing against Skynet or the Buggers from Ender's Game, or something like that.  An AI that felt fresh and intelligent, but that played with scary differences from how a human ever could, since our brains have different strengths and weaknesses compared to a CPU.

The approach that I settled on, and which gave surprisingly quick results early in the development of the game, was simulating intelligence in each of the individual units, rather than simulating a single overall controlling intelligence.  If you have ever read Prey, by Michael Crichton, it works vaguely like the swarms of nanobots in that book.  The primary difference is that my individual units are a lot more intelligent than each of his nanobots, and thus an average swarm in my game might be 30 to 2000 ships, rather than millions or billions of nanobots.  But this also means that my units are at zero risk of ever reaching true sentience.  But I can get much more intelligent results with much less code and fewer agents.

There are really three levels of thinking to the AI in AI War: strategic, sub-commander, and individual-unit.  So this isn't even a true swarm intelligence, because it combines swarm intelligence (at the individual-unit level) with more global rules and behaviors.  How the AI decides which planets to reinforce, or which planets to send waves against, is all based on the strategic level of logic -- the global commander, if you will.  The method by which an AI determines how to use its ships in attacking or defending an individual planet is based on a combination of the sub-commander and individual-ship logic.

Here's the cool thing:  the sub-commander logic is completely emergent.  Based on how the individual-unit logic is coded, the units do what is best for themselves, but also take into account what the rest of the group is doing.  It's kind of the idea of flocking behavior, but applied to tactics and target selection instead of movement.  So when you see the AI send its ships into your planet, break them into two or three groups, and hit a variety of targets on your planet all at once, that's actually emergent sub-commander behavior that was never explicitly programmed.  There's nothing remotely like that in the game code, but the AI is always doing stuff like that.  The AI does some surprisingly intelligent things that way, things I never thought of, and it never does the really moronic stuff that rules-based AIs occasionally do.

And the best part is that it is fairly un-trickable.  Not to say that the system is perfect, but if a player finds a way to trick the AI, all they have to do is tell me and I can usually put a counter into the code pretty quickly.  There haven't been any ways to trick the AI since the alpha releases that I'm aware of, though.  The AI runs on a separate thread on the host computer only, so that lets it do some really heavy data crunching (using LINQ, actually -- my background is in database programming and ERP / financial tracking / revenue forecasting applications in TSQL, a lot of which came across to the AI here).  Taking lots of variables into effect means that it can make highly intelligent decisions without causing any lag whatsoever on your average dual-core host.

Fuzzy logic / randomization is also another key component that I forgot to mention earlier.  A big part of making an unpredictable AI system is making it so that it always make a good choice, but not necessarily the 100% best one (since, with repetition, the "best" choice becomes increasingly non-ideal through its predictability).  If an AI player only ever made perfect decisions, to counter them you only need to figure out yourself what the best decision is (or create a false weakness in your forces, such as with the hole in the wall example), and then you can predict what the AI will do with a high degree of accuracy -- approaching 100% in certain cases in a lot of other RTS games.  With fuzzy logic in place, I'd say that you have no better than a 50% chance of ever predicting what the AI in AI War is going to do... and usually it's way less predictable than even that.

Bear in mind that the lower difficulty levels make some intentionally-stupid decisions that a novice human might make (such as going for the best target despite whatever is guarding it).  That makes the lower-level AIs still feel like a real opponent, but a much less fearsome one.  Figuring out ways in which to tone down the AI for the lower difficulties was one of the big challenges for me, actually.

Lastly, the AI in AI War follows wholly different economic rules than the human players (but all of the tactical and most strategic rules are the same).  For instance, the AI starts with 20,000+ ships in most games, whereas you start with 4 ships per player.  If it just overwhelmed you with everything, it would crush you immediately.  Same as if all the bad guys in every level of a Mario Bros game attacked you at once, you'd die immediately (there would be nowhere to jump to).  Or if all the enemies in any given level of an FPS game just ran directly at you and shot with perfect accuracy, you'd have no hope.  Think about your average FPS that simulates your involvement in military operations -- all of the enemies are not always aware of what you and your allies are doing, so even if the enemies have overwhelming odds against you, you can still win by doing limited engagements and striking key targets, etc.  I think the same is true in real wars in many cases, but that's not something that you see in the skirmish modes of other RTS games.

In AI War, to offer procedural campaigns that give a certain David vs Goliath feel (where the human players are always David to some degree), I made a separate rules system for parts of the AI versus what the humans do.  The AI's economy works based on internal reinforcement points, wave countdowns, and an overall AI Progress number that gets increased or decreased based on player actions.  This lets the players somewhat set the pace of game advancement, which adds another layer of strategy that you would normally only encounter in turn-based games.  It's a very asymmetrical sort of system that you totally couldn't have in a pvp-style of skirmish game with AI acting as human standins, but it works beautifully in a co-op-style game where the AI is always the enemy.

Hopefully this answers most of what you wanted to know, although this is kind of a surface-level overview despite how long it turned out to be.  I'll do a more structured, in-depth article in the next few weeks, like I said.  But if you have any other specific questions about how the AI works, don't hesitate to ask!  I'm not shy about talking about the inner workings of the AI system here, since this is something I'd really like to see other developers do in their games. I play lots of games other than my own, just like anyone else, and I'd like to see stronger AI across the board. »

EDIT > On 2 June, the author (x4000) has posted a more extensive version of this text. I have included the link in my reply #29, on the next page of this thread.

I wonder what Mr Brad Wardell, of Stardock, would think of such matters, since he is a legendary A.I. designer & programmer. I also wonder if the upcoming Elemental game could benefit from that type of A.I.-design philosophy. 

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June 1, 2009 1:46:45 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

suprisgnly ive played with people who are dumber than the AI

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June 1, 2009 1:55:53 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

The problem with AI, is to make a truely good ai, with real decision making and learning, and then sync it across all the computer, would take bandiwth and processor power that most gamers cannot spare.

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June 1, 2009 2:50:08 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting themadmanazn,
The problem with AI, is to make a truely good ai, with real decision making and learning, and then sync it across all the computer, would take bandiwth and processor power that most gamers cannot spare.

 

Correct.

Some people forget that the "comps" or "bots" most often execute coded instructions programmed by Humans : there is not (yet) true Artificial "Intelligence". When we regularly beat comp players with certain strategies & tactics, we are in reality defeating the human programmer's code, which we have "cracked" (so to speak). 

Why then do human players get around to so easily defeat human programmers ? Two principal reasons, I suppose :

1. The one you mention. The programmers must tailor their code's complexity to make the game run without lag on the computers owned by a significant majority of their customers ;

2. Time + Money. The game has to be released by a certain date so that revenues & profits can pour in. The vast majority of game developers & producers don't have the financial resources to invest in too many person-hours of A.I. coding & testing. Budgeting targets & limits are set, and the A.I. programmers must (usually) work during a (too) limited number of paid hours. 

It's not really that human players are smarter than the A.I. (since A.I. = human coding). It's just a question of $$$ :

The cash investment required to pay salaries before the game has brought in any revenue + the cash required to own a supercomputer to run an extremely complex code without lag.

Without resorting to a science-fiction scenario (à la SkyNet), where true A.I. would exist, I believe it's just a question of time : human consumers will get easier access to very powerful machines, and human programmers will design radically new approaches (such as the one outlined in the reply #15 quote ?) to optimize the complexity they have to manage (to effectively compete against other Humans at a "pro" level). 

There is no real A.I. in the Game yet ...

 

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June 1, 2009 3:42:13 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Sorceresss,

Without resorting to a science-fiction scenario (à la SkyNet), where true A.I. would exist, I believe it's just a question of time : human consumers will get easier access to very powerful machines, and human programmers will design radically new approaches (such as the one outlined in the reply #15 quote ?) to optimize the complexity they have to manage (to effectively compete against other Humans at a "pro" level). 

There is no real A.I. in the Game yet ...

You are definitely correct there, Sorceresss.  Since I'm the indie developer you quoted above (A.I.-design philosophy (http://arcengames.com/forums/index.php?topic=24.0), I can attest to a lot of that first-hand. The chief problem with coding AI at this point is that underlying mechanics of a CPU and a human brain are massively different.  So if we try to simulate a human brain, we can't even come close -- researchers recently simulated a rabbit brain, and it took several supercomputers (3, if I recall correctly).

So, essentially AI then becomes a way to fool the player into thinking they are playing against a real opponent, since the opponent can never have true human-like intelligence.  Probably not in our lifetimes, anyway.  The chief irritation that most players (myself included) have with AI in most games is that it can be tricked so easily, or that it does moronic things that no human would ever do.  If an AI is to make a mistake, it should be a human-like mistake, not something that exposes it for the machine logic that it really is.

I think that my new approach to AI does a good job of that, but at the same time some of the other complaints -- that the AI doesn't play like a human (ie, it gets more units or resources or whatever) are still valid.  The AI in my design does not function like a human would, gathering resources and building units in the same manner.  That would have taken too long to program, and I fear the result would not be as human-like as players (myself included) would demand.  My alternate approach was thus to just strip out all of that sort of economic logic, give the AI a totally different set of rules, and then balance it so that the scenarios were winnable.  The AI uses real strategy and tactics with what units it has, but how it gets units is a system utterly divorced from how the humans get resources.  My realization was this:  it doesn't matter so much what the AI players do when the human players can't even see, what matters is what the AI seems to do when the human players are watching, and by extension what sort of challenges the AI makes for the human players.

That system wouldn't work, at least not as I've implemented it, in a game like Demigod.  Maybe in a game like Elemental, if they aren't already doing something radically different on their own, but for Demigod I know that the awesome devs at Stardock are already working on making it ever-smarter and better.  Main thing to remember is that AI in any game is a simulation, nothing more -- it's not sentient, and couldn't be even if you had one of today's supercomputers.  There are all sorts of ways of simulating sentience, and a lot of new things are being tried in recent years, as well as the older methods being polished up.  So don't despair!

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June 2, 2009 12:44:06 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

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Well x4000 I am highly, very highly intrigued by what you have said and have programmed.  Once I give Demigod a good thrashing…if the connective issues resolve, I’ll check out AI: Wars and am looking forward to a “smart” computer AI.  I don’t think any of us wanted a SkyNet like challenger, as it would BE unbeatable, but one that provided more challenge and did occasionally make “smart” mistakes. Cheers.

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June 2, 2009 1:53:22 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Totally off topic, but how much is AI war going to go for?

 

As for the OP's post... Have you ever designed AI? I mean, seriously? Try that and see if it doesn't make you frustrated after a few hours, then come back and tell me that you can do better than what Demigod's done already. And as people have already said, first person shooter AI hardly counts, and in fact has to be toned down so that it doesn't destroy human opponents. Think, basic run script + aimbot = win.

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June 2, 2009 2:13:50 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I programmed a few AI's with Warcraft 3's editor for community competitions and maps, and just from those rather small and insignificant experiences, I can safely say that AI coding is far from easy.

You can't completely account for every action that might happen in a game and end up dealing in generality and reaction.  And the AI will never be or play smarter than you are, so a lot of your of knowledge and experience within a game system directly impacts the performance of the AI.

Frogboy mentioned players might possibly be given a crack at AI in the future and having the best of the best AI's "blessed" and maybe used in DemiGod. All I can say is, that would fucking awesome.

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June 2, 2009 3:08:05 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting x4000,
You are definitely correct there, Sorceresss.  Since I'm the indie developer you quoted above (A.I.-design philosophy (http://arcengames.com/forums/index.php?topic=24.0), I can attest to a lot of that first-hand. The chief problem with coding AI at this point is that underlying mechanics of a CPU and a human brain are massively different.  So if we try to simulate a human brain, we can't even come close -- researchers recently simulated a rabbit brain, and it took several supercomputers (3, if I recall correctly).

So, essentially AI then becomes a way to fool the player into thinking they are playing against a real opponent, since the opponent can never have true human-like intelligence.  Probably not in our lifetimes, anyway. 

 

Slightly offtopic, but still relevant:

 

They calculated that computers will be able to simulate the human brain as far as raw computing power is concerned by about 2045. About 150 years from now - since a single pc will be as 'smart' as a human - they have the computing power of the entire human race. Now, two problems with that. First off, as you mentioned, a computer doesn't work like a human brain. All a computer does is add ones and zeroes. It does it super-duper-fast though. Why is the human brain so fast? Pattern recognition, mostly. And our brain works with relations, instead of absolute numbers. That is why in total darkness you cannot say how large an object is (if that object were illuminated by itself). You know an object's size by relating it to other objects in the vicinity (spelling?). So, in order to simulate human like intelligence you have to 'hack' that intelligence with raw processing power. It takes a huge amount. But thankfully we will probably be able to see that in our lifetime. But that does not mean we can make AI that is equally smart. Processing power does not equal intelligence! You'd still have to program the computer to do smart things, which is essentially what the 'intelligence' part in AI means. And you could have a million supercomputers at your disposal, if you can't program them to be intelligent you won't get far. I'm sure x4000 knows most of this already.

 

The second thing is: by the time we have computers that can sort of match human smartness, we'd still want photorealistic graphics, and effectively we still don't have the processing power for AI. Because we wanna use it all for better looking games. AI is sort of a lost child in computer games, as audio is too. Graphics and gameplay probably take about 80% of dev resources, because it's what all the gamers want. So, in effect, even when we have those jawdroppingly fast computers in 50 years, we still have relatively dumb AI as we don't want to spend cpu cycles on it.

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June 2, 2009 3:22:03 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Off topic, but is your name Toby Banks?  From HB studios?

 

Shoot... should have PM'd that..

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June 2, 2009 9:26:28 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting pseudomelon,
Totally off topic, but how much is AI war going to go for?

As for the OP's post... Have you ever designed AI? I mean, seriously? Try that and see if it doesn't make you frustrated after a few hours, then come back and tell me that you can do better than what Demigod's done already. And as people have already said, first person shooter AI hardly counts, and in fact has to be toned down so that it doesn't destroy human opponents. Think, basic run script + aimbot = win.

AI War is $20, from our website or Impulse.  And you are right, coding AI is no easy feat.  The guys working on Demigod are doing right by their customers, as far as I am concerned.

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