# Devil’s Canyon 4790k Benchmark

Happy New Year!

I’ve had the same desktop hardware for over 5~ years. I recently upgraded my motherboard and CPU, redid the whole build. Pictures will come soon once I tidy things up. But for now, lets see the 4790k benchmark and tests perform! Also, overclocking goodness.

Was it worth the \$350?

# Rubiks Cube AI Part 1 – Parity

Rubiks Cubes! I cant solve them to completetion for the life of me. But now I can just solve them using an AI.

But before jumping into heuristics, A* algorithms, and all kinds of solving. First, let us consider a random Rubiks Cube itself. Is the cube actually solveable in the first place? Can we go from the random state pictured above to a solved cube?

The answer is no. The Rubiks Cube parity has been altered!

# Recommended Viewing: Ubisoft CppCon 2014

Checkout these two great talks from Ubisoft @ CppCon 2014 featuring multicore C++11 development and how C++ is used to develop AAA games at Ubisoft. I briefly met Nicolas Fleury and learned many tips from blurbs he’s written about good C++ practices and such. He’s very talented.

# Programming a Boggle Algorithm

Recently had to figure out how to program a Boggle algorithm. Boggle is a simple board game I never had the pleasure of playing by itself, but have played plenty of related variations of. These kinds of algorithms are pretty interesting and I had a lot of fun programming different solutions. I’ll share 2 solutions.

Boggle is relatively simple. I never had the pleasure of playing by itself, but have played plenty of related variations of.

You have a square game board with dice of various letters that is n x n. The board gets shaken/randomized and a timer starts. The player scores points by finding valid words on the board that are longer than 3 characters, with longer words scoring more points. The rules are that letters have to be adjacent or diagonal to the last letter in the word to continue. And you can never repeat a letter you’ve already used, so while you can have multiple of the same letter, its the die itself you can’t return to.

I decided to tackle it in C++.

# Ubisoft Internship Post Mortem

For years I’ve been adamant about getting a job in the gaming industry for many reasons that can take up a whole essay on it’s own about why I find it so fascinating and important in media today. As a student, I became very acquainted with the recruitment process of being met with blank stares and non-responses when applying for internships at gaming companies or inquiring about them. Many for some reason are totally opposed to the idea, but others have intern systems even if they say they don’t.

From my high school senior year onward, I was on the hunt for an internship in games. As I approached my senior year of college, I felt my rope was getting really short because an internship would have been incredibly vital to my career decision in games. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a designer, programmer, IT technician or something else entirely. I wanted to use the internship opportunity to experience it first hand and base my decision off that. When all my efforts failed, I decided to go all-in on programming. It was a risk, believe it or not, for a Computer Science major like me because I still wasn’t decidedly convinced I wanted to be in this field.

After Ubisoft reached out to me, I finally got to experience some professional hands on programming with languages I truly enjoy and learn about the industry first hand. I’m not only sold on programming now, but more than ever before, games as a career too.

Prepare for a long blog. There’s over 8 months of experiences summed up.

# Today I Learned: Range Insertions Are Better

Happy fourth-of-July, my American brethren. Sorry Canada, I went home for the weekend!

During my flight home, I started musing some of my unread C++ ebook collection and decided to start with Effective STL by Scott Meyers, the same author as the awesome Effective C++ book I reviewed. One of the first Items covered is how range member functions are better than single elements! I find this extremely intriguing. I never heard of this and I sure wasn’t taught this amazingly simple and clearly superior concept in school.

# Recommended Reading: JURASSIC PARK: TRESPASSER CG SOURCE CODE REVIEW

Jurassic Park Trespasser, in 1998, had ridiculously awesome features being touted for its time. Fully detailed outdoor environments, hyper realistic physics, advanced graphic features like bump mapping. It was way ahead of its time. But it didn’t sell too great!.

This interesting article takes a look at the source code behind the project which, for its time, may have been “too complex” for C++ which has since evolved a ton. Interesting how no precompiled headers weren’t used so therefore hours of compile time were done. Good reading.

# Recommended Reading: RunTime C++ Scripting

Interesting bit came up at work with our bi-weekly “brown bag” lunches with our programming team – Scripting vs Native C++ code. A lot of game developers, and even in many other realms, some of the code base may be split into Lua or Python for easy, quick iteration. I know many studios, such as many of the Call of Duty studios, use primarily Lua for their gameplay scripts.

The argument is that is easy to write, iterate fast, and provide to employees who don’t have deep programming knowledge (like some gameplay designers and such). It’s perfectly legitimate too, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with the scripting languages augmenting a huge C++ code-base engine. However, there are caveats such as managing two different languages and creating wrappers for stuff. Also, Lua doesn’t have proper debugging tools many C++ programmers are used to, and when tied into that code-base, it can become a nightmare to debug.

Enter C++ code thats runtime-compiled and used as a scripting language.

Fantastic read, pretty classy too. Each script is a single cpp file that gets compiled into a dynamic library which recompiles everytime the file changes, even during gameplay. The scripts even get a nice little compression size reduction too. Good read.

# Book Review: Effective C++

Effective C++ by Scott Meyers has been around for awhile and it is pretty revered. With good reason. It is one of the books a lot of C++ programmers, both beginners and adept, read and then never look back after. After being recommended the book several times, I finally got around to picking it up.

Unlike a lot of other programming books, such as the ones I’ve previously reviewed, this isn’t a tutorial or “how-to” C++ book. So there is some technical requirement for the book and if you don’t have interest in C++, it probably won’t do much for you. But if you want to check it out, my review can be found after the break.

# Today I Learned: Struct Packing With A Microsoft Twist

Member declaration order for structs and classes are important. You want to order the smallest to the largest (or vice versa) in order to avoid what’s known as ‘padding’. Padding is basically what the compiler will use to keep the memory allocation of the struct/class aligned in memory. This padding tends to be wasted space unless some compiler specific enhancement is occurring.

What I learned today was that Microsoft’s C++ compiler actually has extra padding involved, by design. And the solution to avoid the extra previous memory being stolen from you? Quite elementary, how could you not know? Inheriting from an empty abstract class makes your objects smaller.