• Announcements

    • khawk

      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.
  • entries
    625
  • comments
    1446
  • views
    1006398

Epoch Plans for the Future

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
ApochPiQ

1263 views

Release 14 of the Epoch programming language is now live!

That brings us to the pertinent and slightly bothersome question: what will be worked on for Release 15?


There are a number of features I'm interested in improving and/or implementing, ranging from object lifetime semantics to parallelism functionality. Strictly speaking, any and all of these features could be done in the existing compiler/runtime framework in a relatively straightforward manner.

However, given the recent success of my aggressive push to destroy the Epoch VM, I'm rather in the mood to continue decreasing the amount of C++ code I have to support in the project going forward. The next obvious candidate for removal from the C++ pool is the compiler itself. I want to rewrite the compiler in Epoch and use that as the foundation for future feature work.

In other words, it's finally time to start working on self-hosting Epoch.


I'm pondering which direction to attack this from. On the one hand, I could start by writing a basic parser, parsing simple Epoch files, and then build out the back end and slowly re-add functionality. However, I've done multiple compiler rewrites in this fashion, and every time I do one, I lose fragments of functionality for a long time.

In the interests of avoiding this sort of regression, I'm seriously considering a new tactic. Instead of starting with a new compiler front-end, I'm thinking about starting with the back-end instead. The parser already interops with Epoch nicely (I use it for syntax highlighting in the Era IDE prototype) so I could potentially leave the parsing in C++ for a while and build a new code generation layer in Epoch.

Here's roughly how that would work:

  • Replace the bytecode emitter with an Epoch program
  • Replace the code generation layer with an IR traversal that shells out to an Epoch program which in turn uses the new bytecode emitter
  • Replace the AST->IR conversion with Epoch code
  • Replace the parser->AST generation layer with Epoch code
  • Finally, replace the parser itself

    The advantages to this are twofold. First and most importantly, I never lose any existing Epoch features. Second and almost as interesting, I can release at any time once one of these steps is finished. This gives me a perfect opportunity to ensure the language doesn't move backwards in terms of features, while simultaneously moving it forwards toward the eventual goal of self-hosting.

    Another perk of this approach is that if I do decide to add language features to help make self-hosting more practical, I can do so during any phase with minimal disruption to whatever code currently exists. I can also progressively delete code from the C++ codebase as I finish various steps instead of having to retain two independent "forks" of development.


    All in all, I think this approach makes the most sense, and I'm already excited about the possibilities.


    Once Epoch is self-hosting, the next step is to start on development tools. Era will be an interesting project for sure, given that my goal is to more or less invent a new IDE paradigm in the process of creating it. It's tempting to work on a debugger and other facilities prior to self-hosting, but the advantage of waiting is that I can prove that the entire tool-chain is self-contained end to end, rather than a hideous Frankenstein blend of Epoch and C++ components.

    In some ways, I feel like self-hosting and creating a decent IDE for Epoch are the last two steps to having a project that is ready for serious prime-time usage. There's an almost infinite amount of refinement and feature work that can go into any language, obviously, but a language that can compile itself and offers robust tools for creating new software is hard to argue with.

    It'll be fun to see if the rest of the programming world decides this language is as fun as I think it is :-)

8
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0


5 Comments


Fascinating as usual.

I must say I've been very much looking forward to the parallelism features, but you present very good argument to take your current route.

0

Share this comment


Link to comment

Edited your opening, since this entry has more substance worth featuring :P

0

Share this comment


Link to comment

This is wonderful stuff, Epoch!

 

I would like to see you go this route:

 

In the interests of avoiding this sort of regression, I'm seriously considering a new tactic. Instead of starting with a new compiler front-end, I'm thinking about starting with the back-end instead. The parser already interops with Epoch nicely (I use it for syntax highlighting in the Era IDE prototype) so I could potentially leave the parsing in C++ for a while and build a new code generation layer in Epoch.

Here's roughly how that would work:

  • Replace the bytecode emitter with an Epoch program
  • Replace the code generation layer with an IR traversal that shells out to an Epoch program which in turn uses the new bytecode emitter
  • Replace the AST->IR conversion with Epoch code
  • Replace the parser->AST generation layer with Epoch code
  • Finally, replace the parser itself

 

Clinton

0

Share this comment


Link to comment

Apoch: do you mean writing a complete compiler (code -> machine instructions) for Epoch? Wouldn't that be a major undertaking? (and discarding decades of development in compiler design and optimization) Or do you mean just the bytecode for LLVM to work with?

0

Share this comment


Link to comment
There's already a complete compiler for Epoch which builds to an abstract machine. That bytecode is then translated to LLVM bitcode and JITted to native code on program start.

The idea here is to rewrite the existing compiler (which is done in C++) in Epoch.
0

Share this comment


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now