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Knowledge pooling

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Amnesty started an interesting thread today and in my reply I feel as if I hit on something that's needed in the indie scene today. Many of us are making engines without knowing what options there are for the various components. Every tutorial or book you read presents exactly one solution, usually one preferred by the author - where's the objective discussion? Where's the comparisons of various techniques?

I can't help feel as if many decisions we're making are made 'in the dark', we see others doing something and try and imitate it - perhaps with our personal improvements. However, how many of us have really evaluated the various options using the context of our needs? Most of the articles on GDNet will present some code and a discussion about how to achieve a goal within a given context; just because Carmack uses a technique in Quake, it doesn't mean it's best suited to our space shooter. Even something as simple as whether to go with a messaging system or a signal-slot event system is a pretty huge decision when it comes to how the final product works.

I'd really like to start seeing some objective discussions with some real-world game projects as context. I'd like to see more collaboration and openess in the indie scene. Imagine if we all started to open up our source code and discuss it with the world, saying why we made certain decisions and talking about how they turned out. We'd supply our contexts and our decisions, we'd all begin to see why people failed with their games/engines or why people succeeded at a particular task. I think that collecting this sort of information and starting a real dialogue with each other will help people make more informed decisions; whether it's about how to code their engine or use a third party solution.

Marathon Training

In other news, I'm still training for my personal running goals. I have a 2 mile run in a month that should be fairly easy. In June I've signed up for a 5 mile run, hopefully after that will be a few 10Ks and a half-marathon. The final aim is for me to run a full 26 mile marathon, but I'm not expecting to do that any time soon. It feels pretty good to set myself some personal goals like this and really strive to achieve them.
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Good luck with that marathon. I was thinking about running one myself...but I dont do so well with the pacing. Though, I did run 10 6 minute miles a little while ago, with 1 minute break intervals, which felt pretty good. My lacrosse coach told me that if I could consistently run 70 miles a week, a marathon would be no problem.

I just dont have that kind of time.

Which one were you planning on running? Boston?

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I'm planning on doing the first one that comes along when I'm ready. It does take dedication and I'm starting to get into the right mindset. I really do think that the mental battle starts early on... but it's enjoyable training and feeling those limits break, don't you think?

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What's this?! Marathon - WEb Designer - Computer nerd?!? My eyes! [grin] Best of luck! I need to get back into shape... I think I will start tonight!

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I hope that my list of free libraries. If nothing else, anyone who goes there should at least be struck by the quantity of code that is available should they need it.

I think it's difficult to judge techniques though. Even very simple things can be tough... like comparing insert and delete performance between lists and vectors in C++. If your objects are small, then the vector almost always wins, unless you have way too many objects, and if they're big, then the list almost always wins, except perhaps when the copying cost is small, or when you can swap elements to the middle from the end to reduce vector shuffling, etc. You need a pretty holistic knowledge of the system to be able to write good code first time.

Such a discussion could work well, providing you had some sort of supervision to ensure it wasn't just a cover for people promoting their chosen method over others, just because it's theirs. I think the Game Programming Gems books are good examples of lots of authors proposing different solutions to similar problems and it being fairly easy to compare and contrast them. Sadly not everybody can afford to own all the Gems books so something similar here would be great.

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