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How do games end up built like a house made out of glass

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By a house made out of glass, I mean the game will break very easily. For example, each time if you went to show a game built in this form, the system would break or crash. The program is completely unstable. 

 

Personally, I never ran into this problem teaching myself game programming for 5 months by using the gamedev member's feedback when I ran into a game logic problem.

 

I guess the more specific important question is would be why does a program break or crash leading to an unstable state of the problem? Is it necessarily a hardware compatibility issue? 

 

Another question I have is how much experience in game programming is considered beyond limited? I want to reach a point where my knowledge in game programming is sufficient. 

 

I am still updating my game for 5 months. I really wanted to focus on one project and keep adding new things as months go by rather than write a lot of unfinished games.

 

My game has a main menu, game controls, basic gameplay, basic ai, collision detection, game over and victory screen, animation in main menu and in sprites. 

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I think this is more an issue as project size increases. Testing every possible scenario at every possible point to make sure you don't have some math error or memory access issue isn't always possible. People make mistakes.

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By a house made out of glass, I mean the game will break very easily. For example, each time if you went to show a game built in this form, the system would break or crash. The program is completely unstable. 

 

Personally, I never ran into this problem teaching myself game programming for 5 months by using the gamedev member's feedback when I ran into a game logic problem.

 

I guess the more specific important question is would be why does a program break or crash leading to an unstable state of the problem? Is it necessarily a hardware compatibility issue? 

 

Another question I have is how much experience in game programming is considered beyond limited? I want to reach a point where my knowledge in game programming is sufficient. 

 

I am still updating my game for 5 months. I really wanted to focus on one project and keep adding new things as months go by rather than write a lot of unfinished games.

 

My game has a main menu, game controls, basic gameplay, basic ai, collision detection, game over and victory screen, animation in main menu and in sprites. 

 

From what i've seen crashes in AAA games are usually caused by multithreaded or low level code (custom memory allocators, DRM drivers, unsafe containers, etc), Things you are quite unlikely to deal with when you're starting out.

 

Its hard to say how much experience is considered beyond limited, personally i'd say your knowledge is sufficient when you can write the software you need/want to write.

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It all boils down to very complex code coupled with tight deadlines mostly, but some reasons why games can be more affected than other big software projects:

 

1) Games are pretty much just entertainment by general rule, not something for productivity. A game crashing is at worst annoying to the player, but it won't result in things like an user losing important data which could completely screw him/her over. This means there isn't that heavy of an incentive to make a game more robust, as long as it "just works" most of the time.

 

2) Games need real-time performance (good is not enough), so the code usually ends up doing less checks (which makes it easier for a mistake to result in a spectacular crash) and also may end up using APIs in a rather unusual way in some cases (which can make some systems go bonkers, specially if it involves something that talks directly to the drivers like Direct3D and OpenGL do).

 

EDIT: typo.

Edited by Sik_the_hedgehog

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If your game contains all of the things you listed then it sounds like you're doing just fine;

 

oh okay. I'm doing fine then. good to know. thanks jbadams biggrin.png

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Games need real-time performance (good is not enough), so the code usually ends up doing less checks

 

interesting. i hope to remember when I do a complex project in the future.

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Suggestion: unless you're in a place that is in real need for performance, I wouldn't remove checks. And even then, usually it's the overall algorithm the issue, not the checks. Of course being pressured by a tight deadline that directly affects the survival of the studio means many programmers will probably not even bother adding checks in the first place, which is where most of the issues happen.

 

If you want to avoid those issues in more complex projects the best options are to 1) try to reduce the chances for erroneous situations in the first place (easier said than done, and in many cases can't be avoided) and 2) use defensive programming, and maybe even consider trying to handle erroneous values gracefully rather than failing if suitable (e.g. null strings could be handled as empty strings, etc.), in an attempt to reduce the amount of checks needed in the code calling the functions.

Edited by Sik_the_hedgehog

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Suggestion: unless you're in a place that is in real need for performance, I wouldn't remove checks. And even then, usually it's the overall algorithm the issue, not the checks. Of course being pressured by a tight deadline that directly affects the survival of the studio means many programmers will probably not even bother adding checks in the first place, which is where most of the issues happen.

 

If you want to avoid those issues in more complex projects the best options are to 1) try to reduce the chances for erroneous situations in the first place (easier said than done, and in many cases can't be avoided) and 2) use defensive programming, and maybe even consider trying to handle erroneous values gracefully rather than failing if suitable (e.g. null strings could be handled as empty strings, etc.), in an attempt to reduce the amount of checks needed in the code calling the functions.

 

you can also replace many checks with assertions (Which tend to only be enabled in debug builds anyway)

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Don't underestimate the value of a "release with assertions enabled" build. Some bugs will only show up when optimizations are performed or when the special debug checks are removed.

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