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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:40 pm 
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dbenage-cx wrote:
ovarwa wrote:
Maybe have terraforming happen automatically, based on infrastructure

I'm leaning towards this for colonized planets, only basing on stability (as meter) instead of infrastructure.
Something like that could work as an expensive late game tech (as it would be a quite powerful thing). It makes sense as terraforming would still require too micromanagement once you got a bigger empire, having a possibility to do terraforming without having to build a building on each planet is practically mandatory. As that would also give a big advantage regarding terraforming costs (no need to invest PP anymore), we's also avoid the issue of having a tech solely for the purpose of reducing micromanagement (which is an absolute no-go according to our design philosophy).
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A new ship part type could work same as building type...
An interesting idea Geoff (I think) has already brought up in earlier discussions, and also something worth considering. As that too would be a very powerful thing, I'd make that a very expensive core slot part, and have terraforming speed be substantially lower than that of buildings on the planet.
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2)The issues with special case species like the Exobots, which don't have a good environment

I do not follow what the issue here is, the initial implementation follows the species preferred environment, regardless if that environment is Good or otherwise.
The problem is that Exobots have no good, but instead three adequate environments. Meaning, there is no one preferred environment, but three. Which one do you terraform towards?
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... or if we ever had species that don't adhere to the evironment.

Would have to see how such worked first, but I would expect if it is not affected by planet type then if the planet is terraformed or not is not of much concern.
If I misunderstand this part, could you elaborate?
Ups, sorry, typo, there's a word missing. That should actually read: "...species that don't adhere to the envorinment wheel". That too throws the current algorithm which assumes adherence to the environment wheel when determining the target planet type and which planet types to cycle through to get there.

All of which can be avoided by simply determining the target environment by the type of terraforming building.
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Regarding the effects of the Unstable Environment special: I wouldn't reduce industry and research, but max pop instead.

I tried some various approaches to this with an altered version of current implementation.
I found it difficult to determine a suitable range to adjust pop without causing a negative target pop and still present some malus.
I can see where that is going to be an issue. Especially if we want the terraforming approach to be an alternative to the make your species better adapted to other environments approach: your initial pop is going to be low, terraforming would always lead to them dying out.

Two solutions come to mind: 1) don't reduce max pop by a fixed value, but by a certain percentage, 2) make sure the terraforming pop penalty doesn't reduce the final max pop below a certain minimum (1, 0.5, 0.2, 0.1, whatever works best).
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When reworked, will use some pop adjustment, but will need to be mindful of cases like temporal anomaly or phototrophic species.
Give the terraforming pop effects latest priority of them all?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:46 pm 
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Dilvish wrote:
Here is a derivation from some of the above ideas that I think might be workable:

A new colony ship part, "Terraforming Outpost Pod" which has a population capacity of 0.02 ...
Dilvish wrote:
As a followup idea, which would be easier to implement and probably a bit more elegant-- instead of using special ship colonization parts, you'd have this generic Terraforming Outpost building which could be built at any outpost and which would have the above mentioned effects once the outpost gains a species. ...
Interesting ideas, but IMO overly complicated considering doing all that just to make having only one terraforming building work. Having a terraforming building for each planet type sounds simpler and more straightforward to me.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:58 pm 
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labgnome wrote:
Vezzra wrote:
Or do you plan to introduce separate terraforming buildings for each planet type in a later step?

I think this is actually the most concise solution. We already have a building for each type of species for them to colonize outposts without ships, so a building to remote terraform for each type of planet would also fit.
Exactly my thoughts. I mean, considering how many colony buildings we have (one for each species, which are so many that we actually need to maintain a special script for generating the FOCS scripts for those buildings!), I really don't see the issue with having a couple of terraforming buildings...?
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Do we want to restrict the player to having to terrafrom types for species they have the correct environmental preference for?
As others already said, I think that would make things too complicated, while not adding much to the game.
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Do we want to differentiate terraforming for colonies and outposts?
Interesting idea (Stellaris for example does this), but something I'd leave for later.
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If so, do we want to keep the old system for colonized planets?
Even if we're going to have separate ways of terraforming for colonies and outposts, I'd still keep the basic system the same for both. The differences I'd introduce would be to make one or the other gated by a higher-tier tech, make one more costly than the other, things like that.
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If so, which should come first in technology?
There are probably good reasons for both approaches (terraforming outposts first vs terraforming colonies first). Will depend on how we implement terraforming in the end, I guess.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:05 pm 
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labgnome wrote:
Oberlus wrote:
This last question makes me think about redesigning terraforming techs. What about dividing it into three techs (to allow for up to 1, 2 or 4 environment wheel steps away from original environment) in a growth tech tree more independent of the other growth techs that increases population, to make a more clear choice between improving the species to fit in hostile environments and improving the environments to fit for the species that have to live on it.
There has been a lot of talk about overhauling the tech tree. However I think this idea might be a bit over complex, for now anyways. I could see it as useful, but I don't think we would need it before rolling out the new terraforming to see how it works. It certainly is something to keep in mind for the future.
Well, I like the idea of having terraforming refinement techs which allow for increased distance to original type very much, and I don't think that would really add complexity of any significance. But leaving that for later might still be a good idea.

Another idea I had was that in order to keep a planet terraformed, the terraforming building needs to stay. If it gets scrapped or destroyed, the planet should slowly terraform back to the original planet type.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:12 pm 
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dbenage-cx wrote:
I would also prefer to have as few additions to producible items list as possible (I also do not like having a building for each planet type, but do not see a viable alternative without UI adjustments).
While I admit that having just one building instead of a couple would be preferable, is this really that much of an issue (especially considering our many colony buildings)? I mean, if there was a one building solution which was at least as simple and straightforward as the one terraforming building for each planet type solution, I'd be all for it, but looking at all the one building solutions presented so far, they seem to be too complicated for just having one instead of a couple of buildings to me.

The simplicity and straightforward-ness (not to mention easier and simpler for the player to understand) of the one building for each planet type approach clearly outweighs the minor disadvantage of having multiple buildings instead of only one...


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:40 pm 
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Vezzra wrote:
considering how many colony buildings we have (one for each species, which are so many that we actually need to maintain a special script for generating the FOCS scripts for those buildings!), I really don't see the issue with having a couple of terraforming buildings...?

The main difference I see is that the colony buildings are no longer buildable, i.e. no longer clutter up the BuildDesignatorWnd, once the planet has a species, but it seems to me that this multiplicity of terraforming options would perpetually take up a lot of space in the BuildDesignatorWnd. I think that is a nontrivial difference, and makes an extra building like the terraforming-outpost worthwhile in order to avoid that clutter.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:20 pm 
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Dilvish wrote:
...it seems to me that this multiplicity of terraforming options would perpetually take up a lot of space in the BuildDesignatorWnd. I think that is a nontrivial difference, and makes an extra building like the terraforming-outpost worthwhile in order to avoid that clutter.
Hm, I can see where that's probably a matter of personal preference - to me having 9 buildings instead of one doesn't feel like a big issue. And as a player I'd rather have the flexibility to choose which planet type I want to terraform to without having to decide on a species yet.

But that's just me.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:37 pm 
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Vezzra wrote:
Dilvish wrote:
...it seems to me that this multiplicity of terraforming options would perpetually take up a lot of space in the BuildDesignatorWnd. I think that is a nontrivial difference, and makes an extra building like the terraforming-outpost worthwhile in order to avoid that clutter.
Hm, I can see where that's probably a matter of personal preference - to me having 9 buildings instead of one doesn't feel like a big issue. And as a player I'd rather have the flexibility to choose which planet type I want to terraform to without having to decide on a species yet.

But that's just me.
I too. I have no problem at all hiding buildings unless I need to build something, and then there is already enough different buildings to force you browse in the list. So adding 9 new terraforming buildings will not be a problem for me.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:24 pm 
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Vezzra wrote:
dbenage-cx wrote:
ovarwa wrote:
Maybe have terraforming happen automatically, based on infrastructure

I'm leaning towards this for colonized planets, only basing on stability (as meter) instead of infrastructure.
Something like that could work as an expensive late game tech (as it would be a quite powerful thing). It makes sense as terraforming would still require too micromanagement once you got a bigger empire, having a possibility to do terraforming without having to build a building on each planet is practically mandatory. As that would also give a big advantage regarding terraforming costs (no need to invest PP anymore), we's also avoid the issue of having a tech solely for the purpose of reducing micromanagement (which is an absolute no-go according to our design philosophy).
I am a bit confused by the wording here. I know we are generally opposed to micromanagement, but is also functions for the sole-purpose of avoiding micromanagement and nothing else a no go?

Aside from that. I do think it would be an interesting idea, but I'd be more in favor of tying it to something like a "policy" once those become an option. I suppose the question I would have is exactly how should it be based on infrastructure? Should it consume infrastructure? Should it only happen at a certain infrastructure value? Should it's speed be based on infrastructure?
Vezzra wrote:
An interesting idea Geoff (I think) has already brought up in earlier discussions, and also something worth considering. As that too would be a very powerful thing, I'd make that a very expensive core slot part, and have terraforming speed be substantially lower than that of buildings on the planet.
I wouldn't want the tech nerfed too much, as I mentioned before, I think it could make an interesting flavor of "planet killer" type of weapon when used on enemies. Mind you it should still be an investment, but I like the idea of unleashing a tactical terraformer on enemy planets as a strategy option.
Vezzra wrote:
Ups, sorry, typo, there's a word missing. That should actually read: "...species that don't adhere to the envorinment wheel". That too throws the current algorithm which assumes adherence to the environment wheel when determining the target planet type and which planet types to cycle through to get there.

All of which can be avoided by simply determining the target environment by the type of terraforming building.
I am really interested in the possibility the separate buildings option opens up for species having unique environmental preferences.
Vezzra wrote:
I think this is actually the most concise solution. We already have a building for each type of species for them to colonize outposts without ships, so a building to remote terraform for each type of planet would also fit.
Exactly my thoughts. I mean, considering how many colony buildings we have (one for each species, which are so many that we actually need to maintain a special script for generating the FOCS scripts for those buildings!), I really don't see the issue with having a couple of terraforming buildings...?[/quote] Would the same sort of script generator make it easier to insert new planet types into the game?
Vezzra wrote:
There are probably good reasons for both approaches (terraforming outposts first vs terraforming colonies first). Will depend on how we implement terraforming in the end, I guess.
Well if we go with the unique buildings, and with a series of terraforming techs that represent an alternative strategy to adapting your population, I would say outpost terraforming should come before colony terraforming. Since colony terraforming would require you to be invested at least a little in the alternative strategy.
Vezzra wrote:
Well, I like the idea of having terraforming refinement techs which allow for increased distance to original type very much, and I don't think that would really add complexity of any significance. But leaving that for later might still be a good idea.
I'm not opposed, I just thought throwing the buildings into the game first and seeing how they effect things might be good as a "proof of concept", and then work on finer points later. Especially if this effects game balance and strategy. If we do bring in multiple techs for this, terraforming should probably be brought closer to the beginning of the tech tree though. Which given some of the issues that the tech tree has had could have other possible issues. Especially since this definitely means we have to ask "what about the AI". Which is more what I was thinking of.
Vezzra wrote:
Another idea I had was that in order to keep a planet terraformed, the terraforming building needs to stay. If it gets scrapped or destroyed, the planet should slowly terraform back to the original planet type.
Maybe. I don't know about this one though. I'm not even sure if we currently actually keep track of what type a planet used to be before it was terraformed.
Dilvish wrote:
The main difference I see is that the colony buildings are no longer buildable, i.e. no longer clutter up the BuildDesignatorWnd, once the planet has a species, but it seems to me that this multiplicity of terraforming options would perpetually take up a lot of space in the BuildDesignatorWnd. I think that is a nontrivial difference, and makes an extra building like the terraforming-outpost worthwhile in order to avoid that clutter.
This could be solved by either having the building restricted to outposts as well, or not available if there is a species that the environment is "good" for. However as others have said, it seems to be more of a preference than anything else. I don't know how I'd feel about always having the buildings there, but I think going that way is better than the other options if the worst issues is design window clutter.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:11 am 
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labgnome wrote:
Vezzra wrote:
As that would also give a big advantage regarding terraforming costs (no need to invest PP anymore), we's also avoid the issue of having a tech solely for the purpose of reducing micromanagement (which is an absolute no-go according to our design philosophy).
I am a bit confused by the wording here. I know we are generally opposed to micromanagement, but is also functions for the sole-purpose of avoiding micromanagement and nothing else a no go?
My statement specifically applies to techs you can research in-game. If we make a tech that does nothing but enabling a feature which helps the player to mitigate some micromanagement, then you create a situation where a player can save in-game resources (in this case RP) and invest them into something else if they are willing to put up with the micromanagement. Giving them an advantage over players who decide to invest the RP to be able to avoid the micromanagement.

Which goes against our design philosophy which states that a player willing to micromanage things shouldn't get an advantage.

Hence it's important that a tech which opens up a less micromanagement heavy way of terraforming offers other advantages than just reducing micromanagement.
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I suppose the question I would have is exactly how should it be based on infrastructure? Should it consume infrastructure? Should it only happen at a certain infrastructure value? Should it's speed be based on infrastructure?
All questions which need to be addressed once we get into the finer details of (re-)designing the terraforming mechanics. Personally I'd go with the latter two: require a certain minimum level of infrastructure and maybe also base the terraforming speed on it.
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I wouldn't want the tech nerfed too much, as I mentioned before, I think it could make an interesting flavor of "planet killer" type of weapon when used on enemies. Mind you it should still be an investment, but I like the idea of unleashing a tactical terraformer on enemy planets as a strategy option.
Sure. It just needs to be priced accordingly. If it's too cheap, everyone will go with the ship part, and not bother with the buildings. And you can't make the buildings too cheap, otherwise the whole terraforming thing will become to cheap (and thereby unbalanced).

Of course we have to be careful not to make it too expensive, otherwise no one will ever bother with the ship part. And being able to "weaponize" a terraformer should be a viable option.
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Would the same sort of script generator make it easier to insert new planet types into the game?
No, the planet types are hardcoded, not defined in the content scripts. The "script generator" I've been talking about is nothing else but a simple python script which produces the content script files for the colony buildings. Just a convenience thing, as maintaining all those colony building scripts manually would be very tedious and error prone.
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Well if we go with the unique buildings, and with a series of terraforming techs that represent an alternative strategy to adapting your population, I would say outpost terraforming should come before colony terraforming. Since colony terraforming would require you to be invested at least a little in the alternative strategy.
That's an angle that certainly makes sense.
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I just thought throwing the buildings into the game first and seeing how they effect things might be good as a "proof of concept", and then work on finer points later.
Agreed, for the reasons you cited.
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I'm not even sure if we currently actually keep track of what type a planet used to be before it was terraformed.
We do, otherwise the Reverse Terraforming building couldn't work.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:42 am 
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Vezzra wrote:
My statement specifically applies to techs you can research in-game. If we make a tech that does nothing but enabling a feature which helps the player to mitigate some micromanagement, then you create a situation where a player can save in-game resources (in this case RP) and invest them into something else if they are willing to put up with the micromanagement. Giving them an advantage over players who decide to invest the RP to be able to avoid the micromanagement.

Which goes against our design philosophy which states that a player willing to micromanage things shouldn't get an advantage.

Hence it's important that a tech which opens up a less micromanagement heavy way of terraforming offers other advantages than just reducing micromanagement.
Okay that makes sense.
Vezzra wrote:
No, the planet types are hardcoded, not defined in the content scripts. The "script generator" I've been talking about is nothing else but a simple python script which produces the content script files for the colony buildings. Just a convenience thing, as maintaining all those colony building scripts manually would be very tedious and error prone.
I mean I knew it was to get rid of tedium. But I wasn't sure how the planet types were coded, and weather or not adding or removing planet types through scripting like with species was, or ever would be feasible. I'm guessing probably not.
Vezzra wrote:
We do, otherwise the Reverse Terraforming building couldn't work.
Okay, I had looked at the script for the building as wasn't sure if at actually reversed the terraforming process, or just terraformed "away" from the current planet type.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:12 am 
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Vezzra wrote:
the planet types are hardcoded, not defined in the content scripts [like I Vezzra propose we do].

Hmm, that's a very interesting proposal you have there, defining the planet types in the scripts :D

It seems to me it could be possible to just have the C++ enumeration as generic types: PLANET_TYPE_0, PLANET_TYPE_1, ... PLANET_TYPE_N and then specify their characteristics via scripting-- for which, after thinking a bit and checking the code, all it seems would really be needed is a reference name (PT_TERRAN, etc) to use in other scripts and for UserString lookups, their environmental/terraforming relationships, and what icon set to use for their display. The parser would probably need some work to handle the planet type scripting names being specified themselves via script like that, but I don't think it would be unduly difficult. And given that the AI currently doesn't even do terraforming, I expect it would need just fairly modest work to handle such a change.

edit: p.s. labgnome, reading the thread a bit more, I notice that it looks like Vezzra really should have credited you with the idea rather than claiming it for himself. Sorry, but what can I do? Sometimes he's just like that.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:06 pm 
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Disclaimer: Sorry wasnt reading all of the thread. Just some ideas around terraforming, maybe useless maybe helpful maybe redundant.
  • if terraforming for large empires is too micromanagy, balance/target it for midgame by making it cheaper and add a late game tech which "obsoletes" the terraforming bonus by giving an empire-wide better bonus which is not cumulative with the terraforming (e.g. followup techs for terraforming - one makes all adequate environments good, autoterraforming...)
  • or give incentive for terraforming by giving good environments possibly bigger boosts (few-well-developed-planets vs lots-of-badly-developed-planets); or rather nerf the other environments

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:41 pm 
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Dilvish wrote:
Hmm, that's a very interesting proposal you have there, defining the planet types in the scripts :D
It would open up a whole lot of possibilities. Namely my chief proposal for balancing potential gas planet species, native or playable: introduce multiple types of gas planets. That way even with a preference for a type of gas planet they still wouldn't get every gas plant as "good".

Dilvish wrote:
It seems to me it could be possible to just have the C++ enumeration as generic types: PLANET_TYPE_0, PLANET_TYPE_1, ... PLANET_TYPE_N and then specify their characteristics via scripting-- for which, after thinking a bit and checking the code, all it seems would really be needed is a reference name (PT_TERRAN, etc) to use in other scripts and for UserString lookups, their environmental/terraforming relationships, and what icon set to use for their display. The parser would probably need some work to handle the planet type scripting names being specified themselves via script like that, but I don't think it would be unduly difficult. And given that the AI currently doesn't even do terraforming, I expect it would need just fairly modest work to handle such a change.
So another crazy question, actually related to one of my very first posts here: could we also do the same for stars? Since I'm guessing their types are probably also hard-coded.

Fair Warning: I am a big astronomy nerd, so this totally comes with an agenda, or several.

Dilvish wrote:
edit: p.s. labgnome, reading the thread a bit more, I notice that it looks like Vezzra really should have credited you with the idea rather than claiming it for himself. Sorry, but what can I do? Sometimes he's just like that.
I'm not too upset, I mean I like the idea, so I'm more interested in seeing that people who can actually do programing are interested in it. Plus, I wouldn't be surprised if both of us had be mulling the possibility for just as long.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:20 am 
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Been keeping tabs on the discussion, just not much opportunity to form replies.

I tried some approaches to Geoffs stability/instability meter and think influencing a planet to terraform has a lot of potential (e.g. hostile ships, fields, species traits).
This approach would definitely take a post 0.4.8 milestone though due to the play feedback needed.

So definitely looking at first focusing towards a building per planet type with outpost support, but saving ship parts and others for the above.

Dilvish wrote:
It seems to me it could be possible to just have the C++ enumeration as generic types

I feel the real functionality desired here is the ability to define (a variable number of) planet types at runtime. (e.g. BuildingType, PartType).

labgnome wrote:
could we also do the same for stars?

Not fully looked into either yet, but likely so (neither seems a particularly small change unless they retain a fixed count).
I'm hoping both can be feature requests.

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