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Python vs LUA for a scripted game logic?

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Hi all! In the very near future I'm going to start integrating script support into my game engine, and I'm trying to decide between LUA and Python. I've tinkered around with LUA in the past. It looks pretty comprehensive for what I want to do (hooks into compiled C/C++ code very easily, and can pass datastructures back and forth relatively easily). Only recently have I poked around in Python, and it looks like it has greater support than LUA in the general programming world (LUA seems mostly isolated in game programming?) So my question is .. which would you guys recommend as a scripting language in a game engine? Strengths / weaknesses in both languages, and so on? Given a choice, would you rather do the scripted work in LUA or in Python?

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Lua is generally easier to use with C++ code. Although, Boost::Python probably simplifies integrating Python with C++ significantly so if using Boost isn't an issue this may not be a problem. Also, I believe Lua has a smaller runtime but Python has a larger standard library. As for you last question, I haven't used Lua enough to make that choice. I'd recommend you look at both before you decide.

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Look at the integration layer for both languages.

Can you find a source-level debugger you like, and that can run inside your game?

Can you find a language binding you like, that works with your compiled language?

Which one seems easier to work with for you?

Then pick that language. It doesn't matter which one you pick; they're both good, and they both will work within games. In fact, both are used within high-quality shipped games.

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My (somewhat biased) opinion is to use Python. There are more resources for it than you can shake a large branch at, and it's batteries-included library will do pretty much anything, with little effort, leading you to repeatidly ask the question "Why the hell am I using C++??!". It may also be easier to write and debug your Python code outside of your game by writing the appropriate scaffolding.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Zanthos
My (somewhat biased) opinion is to use Python. There are more resources for it than you can shake a large branch at, and it's batteries-included library will do pretty much anything, with little effort, leading you to repeatidly ask the question

"Why the hell am I using C++??!".

It may also be easier to write and debug your Python code outside of your game by writing the appropriate scaffolding.



Maybe because C++ runs 20+(?) times faster ??? And games will be adding more
complex behavior in the future and not less. Try doing A* in a script language and you would understand. AND as the games get more dependant on better AI the behavior budget increases by magnitudes....

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Personally I prefer Python with boost::python over Lua. I find it easier to debug and interoperate with C++. That, and Lua's stack interface really annoys me. Of course, with the right wrappers, that's not as much an issue.

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Original post by Anonymous Poster
Maybe because C++ runs 20+(?) times faster ??? And games will be adding more
complex behavior in the future and not less. Try doing A* in a script language and you would understand. AND as the games get more dependant on better AI the behavior budget increases by magnitudes....

You should probably take a look at Psyco and LuaJIT. As well as the profiling results of _any_ commercial game out there.

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Original post by Sneftel
Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Maybe because C++ runs 20+(?) times faster ??? And games will be adding more
complex behavior in the future and not less. Try doing A* in a script language and you would understand. AND as the games get more dependant on better AI the behavior budget increases by magnitudes....

You should probably take a look at Psyco and LuaJIT. As well as the profiling results of _any_ commercial game out there.


I've profiled python on a console, and it was a horrendously slow bottleneck. Lua was better. I didn't try to figure out raw numbers, but I wouldn't be surprised by that figure of 20x. For code that runs at most a few times per frame, that's not that big a deal. Path-finding is usually a bit more CPU intensive.

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Original post by Troll
I've profiled python on a console, and it was a horrendously slow bottleneck. Lua was better. I didn't try to figure out raw numbers, but I wouldn't be surprised by that figure of 20x. For code that runs at most a few times per frame, that's not that big a deal. Path-finding is usually a bit more CPU intensive.

Exactly. Hence, (a)Psyco, (b)LuaJIT, and (c)profiling. Games may spend most of their time pathfinding, but they don't spend most of their code pathfinding.

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