I got my hand on an old edition of this book second edition, now the third is available), and it seemed to me a good place for game developers to start.
Mike McShaffry has a lot of experience from the game field, and his goal is to share it with the readers. In every chapter, there are some anecdots of his past, and it is a lot of fun to see studios falling in the same pitfalls than we do when we start coding.

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As I’ve said before, I’ve done several book reviews in the past. I will start with a small serie on design patterns books.

This book is one of the “must-have” in your library. If you write some code or if you manage some IT or Computer Science projects, you will have this book to lay down the basic software architecture.

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Profiling with Valgrind/Callgrind

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Profiling comes in three different flaviors. The first is emulation, where a processor behavior is emulated, the second is sampling, where at regular intervals, the profiler samples the status of a program, and fianlly instrulentation, where the profiler gets information when a subroutine is called and when it returns. As with the Heisenberg uncertainty, profiling changes the exact behavior of your program. This is something you have to remember when analyzing a profile.

Valgrind is an Open Source emulation profiler. It is freely available on standard Linux platforms. As it is an emulation, it is far slower than the actual program. This means that the I/O are underestimated. The advantage is that you can have every detail on the memory behavior (cache misses for instance). Valgrind does not emulate all processors, but you can tweak it to approach your own one.

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Some months ago, I had a TotalView tutorial, thanks to my job. Now, I’ve actually used it to debug one of my parallel applications and I would like to share my experience with fantastic tool.
First TotalView is not only a parallel debugger available on several Linux and Unix platforms. It also is a memory checker (MemoryScape and the TotalView plugin) as well as a reverse debugger, that is, you can roll back the execution of a program, even after it crashed (where it would be useless with a standard debugger like GDB).

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This is the question I asked myself recently. If you write a scientific code in Fortran, you can expect a huge performance boost compared to the same program in C or C++. Well, unless you use some compiler extensions, in which case you get the same performance, or better.
Let’s try this on a 3D propagation sample, with a 8-points stencil.

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