Make it run faster

The word for this week for me has been optimization. Most of my time so far this week has been spent digging through Lua files trying to find where we can safely move things into code, restructure things to be faster, or things we can outright remove because we don't use them anymore.. The biggest example (from my plate) so far has been unit damage. The old unit damage stuff was calculated in Lua and made several calls into code to get the information it needed to make the calculations. Now, we call a function in Lua (where we can hook callbacks, or modders can override it) which checks if the unit can be damaged and then goes back into code to do all the calculations. Much faster.

After seeing the system requirements for the game I was curious just how accurate they are. So, I built a retail build on my machine to try it out. It ran at +10 sim speed from start to finish, but I have a Core i7 machine with 6 GB of ram, so it wasn't really a accurate test and Gordon called me on it. So, he took his FA dev machine, synced up to the latest build, and ran a 1v1 on Seton's Clutch. As expected, the performance was awful. So, we synced up SC2 (which does not have his or my optimization changes yet) and ran a 1v1 on a similar map. Smooth as glass. We even turned the graphics up to high, which did cause some graphics lag because of his old video card, but sim speed was full on the whole time.

Having the Digipen people (and there are more of them showing up now) around has been awesome. It is like having a mini beta test in the office and I think their presence has been a great thing for this game. The XBox 360 version has been very popular, which comes as a surprise to me. I am a PC gamer myself, so maybe I just don't get it.

Gordon's FA dev PC specs:
Windows XP
Pentium D 3.2 GHz
ATI X1900

Workin' weeekends

It has been a very busy week so far. Sunday we had some people from Digipen ( in our office to test out the game. Apparently they liked it because they came back Monday and Tuesday to play more. Monday and Tuesday we had press in the office conducting interviews and checking out the game. Hopefully this means there will be a lot more information available about the game here soon. I can't wait to read the previews.

We have had a multiplayer area set up in the office since Sunday and there have been some epic matches. I even got to see Chris lose to the AI. It was awesome. The game is really coming together. Bug counts are dropping quickly as most of us get to the smaller bugs on our lists. Some of these bugs really make you wonder how in the world someone managed to find them.

I am getting really excited to this this game completed. I spent two and a half years trying to get this job and soon I will have my name on my first shipped game. I can hardly believe it.

Back to work

Well, I am back to work this week. I had a nice vacation. It was the longest vacation I have had in the last 5 years.

I am still on gameplay bug fixing duty and will continue to be probably until the end of the project. Our overall bug count is going down quickly. I have high hopes of having a nicely polished game at release. Let's hope I am right.

I made it past the 4 month mark. The amount of progress that has been made over the last 4 months is amazing. 4 months ago the skirmish AI didn't really exist yet. Now, the game has a skirmish AI to play against.

I have also learned what it is like to have something you worked on for a while cut from the game. If you have been following this blog for a while you may remember when I mentioned that I created a cool weapon for a unit and even influenced the effects for it. Well, it got cut and replaced a while back. I was not happy about it, but it happens. I have added other, cooler in my opinion, things to the game.