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      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
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Random numbers are the devil!

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So, as my last post mentioned I had integrated some random number generators into my particle system and the results were very pleasing; once I had the code I could fade particles out with random 'group of four' life times and all was good.

So, I decided to test for speed the other night and hit a slight problem; trying to spawn 1,000,000 particles introduced a 10 second pause in the test app o.O

So, I fired up the beta of Intel's Thread Profiler and set it to work to find out where I was hitting a hotspot. Turned out all this time was being spent in either the forces generator or the ages generator.

As the code was pretty simple, apart from the random number generator, I played a hunch and removed those calls. BAM! Suddenly 1 million particles took pratically no time to spawn.

The solution to this problem; a good old lookup table.
Currently I'm generating two tables of 1,000,000 values each, which is good enough for the testing process at least, but I need a better solution if I plan to use this in other cases.

Chances are 1,000,000 numbers will do me, I just need to think about how to cycle through them when being queried from multiple threads.

Either way, right now 1,000,000 particles takes ~1second to spawn and thrashes the frame rate; I suspect the latter is down to me trying to send 22meg of data PER FRAME across the PCIe bus to the card to render [grin]

I'm going to ponder on a better solution to this problem while also pondering on possible D3DCompute solutions as well. To be honest, really what I want to do this is a new Fusion processor, but those aren't due out for another year [sad] then I probably could throw 1,000,000 around with no problem [grin]

I also need to put proper timing in so I can see how long each segment is taking under different loads, and fix this update problem I have where if you spawn particles after the first trigger it seems they die quicker, but only until all previous particles are dead [oh]

(As I'm now on gardening leave I've got plenty of time to work on this, yay!)

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