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Comment Data vs Hand-waving (Score 5, Insightful) 106

Crawford brought in lots of data on real-world performance. (e.g.

Almog's rebuttal has a lot of claims with no actual evidence. Nothing is measured; everything he says is based on how he thinks things should in theory work. But the "sufficiently smart GC" is as big a joke as the "sufficiently smart compiler", and he even says "while some of these allocation patterns were discussed by teams when I was at Sun I don't know if these were actually implemented".


(in fact game programmers NEVER allocate during game level execution)....This isn't really hard, you just make sure that while you are performing an animation or within a game level you don't make any allocations.

I'm a professional game programmer, and I'm laughing at this. If you're making Space Invaders, and there's a fixed board and a fixed number of invaders, that statement is true. If you're making a game for this decade, with meaningful AI, an open world that's continuously streamed in and out of memory, and dynamic, emergent, or player-driven events, that's just silly. For Mr. Almog to even say that shows how much he doesn't know about the subject.

Comment Re:square peg, round hole (Score 2, Insightful) 102

It's *users* who want it, not developers. Getting a potential customer to download and install a thick client is a big hurdle compared to just providing the experience directly from the web page. It's not just the extra work required from the user in the first place, although the number of clicks required to become a customer is a huge factor in conversions. It's also, from the user's perspective, all the potential problems adware, malware, bundled toolbars, DLL conflicts, and applications that don't uninstall correctly or permanently make themselves a part of your taskbar consuming resources.

Role Playing (Games)

Dragon Age 2 Announced 183

Today BioWare announced a sequel to Dragon Age: Origins, titled Dragon Age 2. They've opened an official site for the game, which shares some vague details and concept art, and promises a trailer in mid-August. The story will apparently span an entire decade and involve a new hero, but it will be located in the same world as the original game. The site says there will be "dynamic new combat mechanics," though the same three basic classes will be available. More information should be forthcoming in this month's issue of Game Informer.

Comment Re:I have the first review (Score 1) 84

I know, Bloodlines technically was developed by Troika. Still, mostly the same crew.

Not really. A few people from Troika went to Obsidian initially, but not many stayed long. At this point the biggest concentration is probably at Carbine Studios under Tim Cain, followed by Turtle Rock where experience with the Source Engine paid off in the making of Left 4 Dead. If you take a look at a recent L4D blog post you can definitely see how much the early screen shots looked like Vampire -- not surprising considering some of the same lighting/level/texture people did them. (I was lead programmer on Vampire. You can ultimately blame most of the bugs on one very bad decision, by me, very early in the project. I chose an architecture for the scripting system that gave us more flexibility than we needed at the price of easy testing and validation. That's another story, though.)

Comment Re:DC area has lots of gaming companies (Score 1) 225

Epic's down in the research triangle of North Carolina, pretty far away. Firaxis (Sid Meier's company) is up around Baltimore, along with Day1 Studios. That's kinda-sorta within a contiguous metro area, but not something you'd ever want as your daily commute. Baltimore's also home to Zenimax Online, an MMO studio spun off from the same parent company as Bethesda. EA-Mythic is in Fairfax, VA, but I'm not sure how many people are still there or what their future is.

Comment Re:Two articles on slashdot about game dev treatme (Score 1) 225

There's an oversupply of people who want to work in the game industry, but certainly not an oversupply of talent. Building a big-budget game has all the complexities of a large-scale development (my last project had over a million lines of code and 300+ GB of assets), with all the limitations of small-scale low-level embedded systems development (got to fit that all into your console). People who can handle that are rare. I've been involved in hiring at my last few jobs, and we'd routinely turn away piles of applicants who thought programming was just about shuffling information back and forth between a data store and a front end, while crying that we were behind schedule because of unfilled positions.

There are long hours, but it's often self-inflicted. For a lot of us, we want to make something awesome, and working on a cool game and bringing a vision to life is what we enjoy doing for 10+ hours of our day. I've done it at my own startup and I've done it at EA. It's not for most people, but neither are most specialties.

Comment Re:Pass by reference (Score 1) 612

There's no real protection, because ultimately references just come down to syntactic sugar. In a large enough project, where foo(), bar(), and baz() below are implemented in different files by different teams, it's entirely possible to end up with something like this:

struct A { int value; };

void foo( A & ref ) { ref.value = 17; }

void bar( A * ptr ) { foo( *ptr ); }

void baz() { bar( NULL ); }

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