Entries for tag "optimization", ordered from most recent. Entry count: 3.
# Experience with Game in Scheme
Last week I talked with a colleague about optimizing performance of his game project. It's written in Scheme (functional programming language, dialect of Lisp), using SDL and OpenGL. The bottleneck was GUI rendering.
When analyzing code, we found that the function for rendering text renders TTF font to a new surface with function
TTF_RenderUTF8_*, then creates another
SDL_Surface to convert format, then creates and fills OpenGL texture with
glTexImage2D. The texture is then used just once for rendering... to another freshly allocated
SDL_Surface, to perform clipping. All this happens for every GUI control, in every frame! Finally the objects are freed by Scheme garbage collector.
He then asked me whether we should find a way not to render the GUI part of the screen every frame, but only when something changes. He also cited the famous and often misused quote of Donald Knuth: "Premature optimization is the root of all evil".
I explained to him that modern GPU-s are able to render millions of triangles every frame and redrawing whole screen every frame is a standard practice. It's resource creation (allocation and filling of surfaces and textures) what should be avoided and not done every frame. If using SDL_ttf for text rendering, a final texture/surface should be prepared once and used to do just rendering in every frame, until the text changes. Additionally, calls like
glDisable(GL_DEPTH_TEST) also don't have to be made for every object in every frame.
When thinking about it now, the general rule of game optimization could be:
About functional programming and stuff like that, I think such high level concepts are good for software development as long as they are accompanied with understanding of what's under the hood. Some principles of functional programming, like avoiding side effects and just transforming one list of items to the other, are similar to the idea of DOD (Data-Oriented Design), used in game development for efficiency and scalability. But I don't agree that thinking about efficiency should be avoided until necessary or that optimization makes code complex and unreadable. Quite contrary - I believe simple code is both readable and efficient.
As I have little experience with functional programming, for me it was also fascinating to learn basics of Scheme. It's based on simple principles yet it is so powerful. I'm now thinking about how a language like this could be applied everywhere, from program configuration and as a description language, to game scripting and procedural media generation :)
# Writing Efficient C++ Code - my Article in ProgramistaMag
My article - "Writing Efficient C++ Code" - is about achieving best possible efficiency of native C++ code. It describes data-oriented design as an alternative to pure object-oriented philosophy and shows its advantages, mostly related to consciously designed layout of data in memory, which makes good use of CPU cache. It also mentions operations that should be avoided if code is to be efficient, shows some language tricks and Visual C++ project options that help with generating efficient code and mentions parallelization.
Besides, in each issue of the magazine you can find interesting articles about different programming languages, libraries and technologies, as well as interviews, book reviews and other articles related to software development. The magazine is available for subscription in electronic and paper form.
# IGK Conference - Our Slides
8th Polish Game Engineering Conference (VIII Ogólnopolska Konferencja Inżynierii Gier Komputerowych) IGK-8'2011 is over so now we can publish slides from our presentation:
It's in Polish. Here is abstract of the paper:
(Polish) Artykuł opisuje wady programowania obiektowego – zarówno od strony projektowej, jak i ze względu na wydajność kodu. Porusza problem opóźnienia w dostępie do pamięci RAM we współczesnych architekturach komputerowych. Przedstawia programowanie zorientowane na dane (ang. DOD – Data-Oriented Design) jako alternatywne podejście do projektowania i implementowania silnika gry kładące nacisk na optymalizację struktur danych pod kątem szybkości. Porusza także problem wydajności poszczególnych konstrukcji języka C++.
(English) Paper describes pitfalls of object-oriented programming – from the design perspective, as well as regarding code performance. It mentions problem of latency in accessing data in RAM memory on today computer architectures. It shows DOD (Data-Oriented Design) as an alternative approach to design and implementation of a game engine focused on optimizing data structures in terms of performance. It also describes efficiency of different C++ language constructs.