cache misses

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So you want to play with a 3D modeler, or want to teach a class using one, but have zero budget. TrueSpace is now free. This is pretty darn wonderful; TrueSpace has been around approximately forever – I once wrote an exporter from the Trispectives modeler to its file format back in 1994 – and has grown in capabilities over the years.

The Torque game engine is now available for making games on the iPhone. The licensing terms are of the “email us and we’ll tell you” type, but the standard Torque engine is ridiculously affordable for indie game developers at $150, including all source, etc. If you spent all your spare money on an iPhone, oolong is a free engine for games on the iPhone/iPod, originated by Wolfgang Engel and Erwin Coumans, along with assets from PowerVR – it even has a physics engine.

There’s an interesting performance post on cache misses from Dave Moore. Dave Eberly told me a related tale recently: “I am the PS3 programmer.  I spent a lot of time trying to write code to avoid branching, to remove load-hit-stores, and to avoid cache misses. For example, our physics programmer decided that if one function in a class is virtual, then make them all virtual.  He did not realize that a look-up in the virtual function table invariably causes a cache miss.  Make a lot of function calls (like physics systems tend to do), and now you have a serious performance problem.  I removed all the unnecessary virtual modifiers and reduced frame time by 5 milliseconds.  When your goal is 30 fps (33 millisecond frame time), 5 ms is significant.”

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