The Stochastic Game

Ramblings of General Geekery

Posts tagged with programming

Effects of CPU Caches

I recently read this post by Nicolas Douillet about CPU caches and performance. I recommend it! Apart from being a nice, fairly easily digestable recap of how CPUs work when it comes to memory, it also taught me the existence of something I totally didn’t know about until now: the Translation Lookaside Buffer.

It’s used to cache recently used mappings between physical and virtual memory. I had no idea that this stuff was cached, and that it therefore could have some important effect on performance.

GDC 2018 Recap

So that happened – I went to my second GDC and this time I presented something. Look at how shiny my forehead is!

shiny forehead

Big thanks to the Toolsmiths guys (Geoff and David) for organizing a full day summit dedicated to tools programming – a topic that I always thought was lacking a proper worldwide community the same way, say, graphics rendering or animation have. Not only did I have the chance to present my talk as part of that “Tools Tutorial Day”, but I had the honours of being the inaugural talk!

The room was packed the whole day, so you can bet there will be more tools programming shenanigans next year.

Oh, and my talk is now available on the GDC Vault if you have access.

Here are some notable things that happened this year:

  1. These conferences are always a good opportunity to catch up with friends and acquaintances, but this year I got to meet a bunch of really cool new people through all the tools programming talks and roundtables. I’m hoping to run into them again in the future, which means I’m looking forward to next year!

  2. Speaking of roundtables, I went to more of them this year, instead of going to talks. I was just lurking for most of them, however, being somewhat paralyzed by social anxiety and the difficulty of talking about stuff that I didn’t directly work on myself. I’ll have to speak up more next year.

  3. Stephanie Hurlburt inspired a bunch of older devs like me to allocate some time to meet with newbies who might have questions or just want to get to know people in the games industry. I met with 5 people through that Twitter thread and I hope I had some interesting or useful things to say to them. I still have some follow-up to do with a few of them next week.

  4. When you’re a presenter, you’re invited to a lot more parties. I went to more parties in a week than I did in my entire high-school years. I’ll probably go to less parties next time, since I didn’t care for half of them… just like back in high-school, I guess.

  5. There’s always one last edit you can do to your presentation before the big day. I think I got off lucky to have mine on the very first day, on the very first time slot!

  6. I went to a couple events and talks about “black people in gaming”, but I kinda felt out of place – first, I’m only half-black, and second a lot of those things are really about being black in the United States, which is a whole different level from being black in Canada or in France (where the racism and xenophobia is primarily aimed at other groups). Still, I got a hug from Tanya so that was cool.

  7. I got to see Lord British and Blackthorne for real. Their Ultima Online post-mortem was brilliant.

  8. I also got to see a talk about interactive music in games which ended with the presenter picking up a guitar and harmonica to perform one of the songs from his game. I guess I’ll have to find some really awesome gimmick for my next talk.

  9. I went to a talk about the “depiction of war in games” which was pretty interesting. Rolling Stone later picked up one of the presenter’s quotes to make a clickbaity title that got some backlash on Twitter. You should still watch the talk if you can, though, since it made a couple good points about the role of media and entertainment in society.

  10. Speaking of depressing subjects, the amount of human misery you see around San Francisco is staggering. I live in Vancouver, though, where we have the Downtown Eastside which also has a pretty shocking amount of homeless people.

  11. Some people are calling for GDC to be hosted outside of the US, which I would really welcome.

  12. When walking around the conference, the social etiquette is to not make eye contact with someone that might be trying to read your name tag – they will catch you catching them, and then quickly run away, probably scarred for life.

  13. The dress code, however, is pretty convoluted – one thing is certain, however: if you want to spend some time near the indie gaming booths, you need some cool outfit and blue hair.

And that’s it! I took a few days around the long Easter week-end to rest from the trip…


I hope you’re all doing fine too!

I didn't feel like working on it

This blog has been quiet for the past 4 months. And not only that, but most of my open-source projects have been quiet too. I just didn’t feel like working on it.

This is something that Adam Stacoviak and Jerod Santo talk about occasionally on their Changelog podcast1, whose episodes generally involve interviewing people from the open-source community. I think they called it “project maintainer fatigue”, where an open-source project maintainer basically gets tired, at some point, with the work involved with managing their project.

I have very small projects, and I only dedicate a small amount of my free time to them, so I don’t get this a lot but it does happen every now and then. It usually doesn’t last this long though… I guess I’m getting old.

  1. Oh yeah during the hiatus I started listening to podcasts, among other things. 

Overtime at Frostbite Cinematics

These past couple days most of the video games development community was set on fire by some pretty bad article written by some pretty famous guy on some pretty high traffic website. I’m not going to comment on it – other people like Rami Ismail did that very well already. Interestingly enough, it revived the old debate about “passion” and “crunch”, and we’ve seen a fair number of interesting articles about it as a result. This is not one of those articles either.

Frostbite plaque

What this is is just a simple look at what’s going in my team, Frostbite Cinematics, which I think is interesting because Frostbite is in a fairly unique position in the industry, and that translates to a fairly different approach to overtime.

Spoiler alert: there’s pretty much none.


PHP is fucked up

You may be shocked by what I’m about to say but here it is: PHP is fucked up.

Well, duh

Oh, no. Wait. No you’re not shocked. You already knew it.

Today’s topic: namespaces.