Memory Allocation: Potential Bottleneck?
I know it's bad practice to worry about trivial optimisation details too early, but this one affects the design of the architecture somewhat. I've been wondering about allocating and deallocating memory for objects within my game engine. I don't know whether I should go the easy route, not do anything fancy, and just use the standard C++ new and delete allocators for each object when they are required. Or whether I should keep "memory pools", allocated as a large block of multiple objects - thus only doing one allocate for many objects and keeping them in the pool to be reused on deletion.
Is this "memory pool" approach sensible, or am I going overboard on memory allocation techniques? What do you use in your applications?
Poll on Polls!
There's been several occasions where I want to ask a general "which of these do you prefer?" question in my journal. Often I don't mind if this question runs over the course of a fortnight but the question becomes buried once I post another entry. While I could probably hack something together within my own journal that would suffice for my needs, I was thinking that it would be really nifty if every GDNet journal could have its own poll. I think it would be both a useful and fun feature, whether the polls were used for making design decisions on a game or just asking people to vote for their favourite type of pie.
Of course I don't know how hard it would be to implement this, but what do you think?
What exactly is XNA?
These days I game both on my PC and my Gamecube (which I think complement each other quite well). For the next generation of consoles slowly coming into play I almost certainly will be buying a Wii (I'm a big fan of Nintendo's first party titles), however this time round I'm strongly considering getting another console as I slowly move away from the cutting edge of PC gaming (I am getting fed up with all the compatibility issues, the whole upgrade cycle, patching problems and asinine anti-piracy measures that hurt legit gamers more than pirates. These days I prefer my back catalog of PC games and smaller freeware or indie games.) My plan was to wait until the Xbox 360 and PS3 are firmly established to make an informed choice.
However this XNA Game Studio thing that I've been reading about in the forums has intrigued me. Deep down I'd love to make hobby games for a console in the future, as I really like their control setup and I'd adore the opportunity to aim for multiplayer games for a single machine. But I'm not sure exactly what this XNA Game Studio involves as I don't know much about console development. Is it in essence similar to standard PC development, except the system emulated an Xbox 360 on your PC? What background knowledge would you need to use it? And is it a viable platform for indie development, or just for hobbyists?
Sorry that this one is a bit vague, but I'm fairly clueless on what this is except for the brief snippets I've read here in the last couple of weeks. Either way, with Sony trying to do everything they can to dissuade me from buying the PS3 I'm now leaning towards the Xbox 360 as a potential second console.
C'mon, I know some of you can recommend a book or two to buy! There must be someething that you find indispensible. I'd like anything that might be useful for programming (not necessarily just games, although game specific books are great too), software engineering and design, art and drawing, or anything else you think is helpful or interesting.
That's it for now. I'll post some more once I build up another list.