Sunday, March 15, 2009

C# and Ants

Since it's been a little while I thought I'd tell you what I've been up to lately at home and work. I've been playing with ANT4.0 which is a profiling tool for C# (and .NET in general). The last one was pretty good but had some issues, while the new one is excellent. Profilers can always get better but the leap from the last version is pretty huge. For a start profiling is almost realtime which is very impressive, normally apps crawl when they're being profiled. You can also play with results while the application is running, which is damn impressive!

I bought ANTS3.0 last year and its pretty expensive but I thought that since I do lots of C# at home I would get the use out of it... trouble is, the stuff I do at home simply doesn't need profiled! Not that V4.0 is here I dont really want to spend huge sums of cash on it again, bnut its such a nice app I'm a little torn... Oh well.

Anyway, I've been profiling some of my work and doing some optimisation at home. It's actually been years since I've done any serious optimising and I'm having a bit of fun with it. C# is pretty cool in that you can do real managed code, or unsafe C++ style code if you really want to. When you're optimising you tend to fall back to unmanaged code as its still quicker.

We've also been getting some little shocks at work as some of the C# collections just aren't as quick or optimal as we were expecting, this has meant we've been starting to write our own set just to make sure its doing what we think it should be doing. Games programmers are funny like that, we hate slow code and will happily sacrifce readability for speed (within reason of course). Anyhooo.. I'm having a blast playing with peep-hole optimising, although its hard to say how this will affect the app overall just now, but I'm pretty happy with the main loop now as its very tight.

It reminds me that optimising is great fun, and thats why I got into games in the first place!!

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