I used tootle to re-order the indices:

int result = TootleOptimizeVCache(pIndices, numTriIndices/3, m_listVertexArray[0]->GetNumVertices(), TOOTLE_DEFAULT_VCACHE_SIZE, pIndices, NULL, TOOTLE_VCACHE_LSTRIPS); if (result != TOOTLE_OK) cout << "could not optimise!" << endl;

It’s important to use TOOTLE_VCACHE_LSTRIPS, because the default ordering is designed for PC GPUs and won’t work well on the iPhone.

Also, you have to reorder the vertex data to match the order in the triangle index array. Tootle can be found here.

Unfortunately, Tootle crashes for certain meshes. If there was source code, I probably could have fixed that – but there isn’t :(.

]]>

I tried this out on my engine and actually found no measurable improvement for static meshs. For skinned meshes it actually goes **slower**! Why? Because if you are doing software skinning, you have to reset the vertex buffer ever frame. If the vertex data isn’t interleaved then you can do this using memset for the postion and normal data, however if it’s interleaved you can’t because you would overwrite the texture co-ordinates, so you have to use a loop instead.

]]>

Initially, it didn’t make any difference at all. This was because it was GPU bound. So, I reduced the scene to 8 skinned meshes – which would show up optimisation improvements better.

The assembler code still didn’t speed things that much. I ran the code analyzer tool and found the piece of code that was most of the time was the code that transforms the vertices with the current matrix of the joint:

for (n = 0; n < (int)m_listVertex.size(); n++) { weight = m_listWeight[n]; index = m_listVertex[n]*3; matrix.TransformPoint(&pOrigData[index],weight, &pCurrData[index]); } void Matrix::TransformPoint(const float* pInVertex, float weight, float* pOutVertex) const { pOutVertex[0] += weight*(pInVertex[0]*m[0] + pInVertex[1]*m[4] + pInVertex[2]*m[8] + m[12]); pOutVertex[1] += weight*(pInVertex[0]*m[1] + pInVertex[1]*m[5] + pInVertex[2]*m[9] + m[13]); pOutVertex[2] += weight*(pInVertex[0]*m[2] + pInVertex[1]*m[6] + pInVertex[2]*m[10] + m[14]); }

There was a function similiar to this in the vfpmathlibrary. So I modified it and this is the result:

// Sets length and stride to 0.

#define VFP_VECTOR_LENGTH_ZERO “fmrx r0, fpscr \n\t” \

“bic r0, r0, #0x00370000 \n\t” \

“fmxr fpscr, r0 \n\t”

// Set vector length. VEC_LENGTH has to be bitween 0 for length 1 and 3 for length 4.

#define VFP_VECTOR_LENGTH(VEC_LENGTH) “fmrx r0, fpscr \n\t” \

“bic r0, r0, #0x00370000 \n\t” \

“orr r0, r0, #0x000” #VEC_LENGTH “0000 \n\t” \

“fmxr fpscr, r0 \n\t”

void Matrix::TransformPoint(const float* pInVertex, float weight, float* pOutVertex) const

{

asm volatile (

// Load the whole matrix.

“fldmias %[matrix], {s8-s23} \n\t”

// Load vector to scalar bank.

“fldmias %[pInVertex], {s0-s2} \n\t”

// Load weight to scalar bank.

“fldmias %[weight], {s3} \n\t”

“fldmias %[pOutVertex], {s28-s30} \n\t”

VFP_VECTOR_LENGTH(2)

“fmuls s24, s8, s0 \n\t”

“fmacs s24, s12, s1 \n\t”

“fmacs s24, s16, s2 \n\t”

“fadds s24, s24, s20 \n\t”

“fmuls s24, s24, s3 \n\t”

“fadds s24, s24, s28 \n\t”

// Save vector.

“fstmias %[out], {s24-s26} \n\t”

VFP_VECTOR_LENGTH_ZERO

:

: [matrix] “r” (m),

[pInVertex] “r” (pInVertex),

[weight] “r” (&weight),

[out] “r” (pOutVertex)

: “r0”, “cc”,

“s0”, “s1”, “s2”, “s3”,

“s8”, “s9”, “s10”, “s11”, “s12”, “s13”, “s14”, “s15”,

“s16”, “s17”, “s18”, “s19”, “s20”, “s21”, “s22”, “s23”,

“s24”, “s25”, “s26”, “s28”, “s29”, “s30”

);

}

It took me quite a while to figure out the assembler, because you need to reference several very technical books to figure it out. I’d like to make this job easier for any interested programmers out there. So, just let me explain it line by line.

On the first line you have:** asm volatile**(…); .This instructs gcc that the stuff in the ( ) brackets is assembler code. **volatile **means, tells gcc not to try to “optimize” the code.

Then you have a number of strings each string is an arm vfp instruction.

The vfp has 4 banks of 8 single precision floating point registers:

The idea is that you can do up to 8 similar floating point operations at the same time. If you look at the formula that we’re trying to implement again:

pOutVertex[0] += weight*(pInVertex[0]*m[0] + pInVertex[1]*m[4] + pInVertex[2]*m[8] + m[12]);

pOutVertex[1] += weight*(pInVertex[0]*m[1] + pInVertex[1]*m[5] + pInVertex[2]*m[9] + m[13]);

pOutVertex[2] += weight*(pInVertex[0]*m[2] + pInVertex[1]*m[6] + pInVertex[2]*m[10] + m[14]);

You see that we could do *pInVertex**[0]*m[0], **pInVertex**[0]*m[1]* and *pInVertex**[0]*m[2]* all in one instruction. And the rest of the formula is done the same way – three operations all in the one go.

So, let’s go through the code line by line.

First you have: “fldmias %[matrix], {s8-s23} \n\t”

fldmais loads memory contents into several registers. Here, it’s loading the entire matrix (16 floats) into s8-s23. (It doesn’t actually use all the data in the matrix, but it’s easier to do it all in one instruction).

The “matrix” is an assember variable defined in the section at the bottom, but we’ll cover that later.

Notice, there is \n\t at the end of the line. Thats just to format the assember code. It’s just something that you have to add to each assembler line.

Next, we have: “fldmias %[pInVertex], {s0-s2} \n\t”

This loads the 3 vertex co-ords into s0-s2 – i.e. bank 0. Bank zero is different than the other banks, but I’ll go into that later.

Then, we load the weight and the output vertex co-ords into other registers:

“fldmias %[weight], {s3} \n\t”

“fldmias %[pOutVertex], {s28-s30} \n\t”

So, now we have everything loaded.

Next we have to tell the vpf how many ops we do at the same time. We have a macro:

VFP_VECTOR_LENGTH(2)

This sets the vector length setting to 3 (it’s actually one more than the specified parameter).

So, now it’s time to do the fun part: the math ops!

The first op is: “fmuls s24, s8, s0 \n\t”

This is equivalent to three single vector ops:

```
fmuls 24, s8, s0
fmuls 25, s9, s0
fmuls 26, s10, s0
```

s0 is in bank 0 and this bank has special function: the address never increments for a vector operation ( a so-called scalar vector). Now, if you remember we had the matrix data in s8-s23 and the vertex data in s0-s3. So this function does the following calculation:

s24 = pInValues[0]*m[0] s25 = pInValues[0]*m[1] s26 = pInValues[0]*m[2]

We are always dumping the results into s24-s26, which we use as temp registers.

The next instruction is:

“fmacs s24, s12, s1 \n\t”

fmacs multiplies, then adds. So this instruction is the equivilant to:

s24 += pInValues[1]*m[4] s25 += pInValues[1]*m[5] s26 += pInValues[1]*m[6]

Then

“fmacs s24, s16, s2 \n\t”

As you probably guess, this is the equivilant to:

```
s24 += pInValues[2]*m[8]
s25 += pInValues[2]*m[9]
s26 += pInValues[2]*m[10]
```

Then:

“fadds s24, s24, s20 \n\t”

As you might guess this is addition:

```
s24 += m[12]
s25 += m[13]
s26 += m[14]
```

Then multiply by the weight which is stored in s3:

“fmuls s24, s24, s3 \n\t”

s24 *= weight s25 *= weight s26 *= weight

Finally, add to the current vertex data (which we stored in s28-s30):

“fadds s24, s24, s28 \n\t”

s24 += pOutValues[0] s25 += pOutValues[1] s26 += pOutValues[2]

Then, we load the result back into the current vertex data:

“fstmias %[out], {s24-s26} \n\t”

And the VFP_VECTOR_LENGTH_ZERO macro restores the vector size back to the default value of 1 (otherwise all hell would break loose).

The stuff at the end tells gcc the inputs and output of the function. There always has to be three sections seperated by colons :

:// output parameters:[matrix] "r" (m), [pInVertex] "r" (pInVertex), [weight] "r" (&weight), [pOutVertex] "r" (pOutVertex) // input parameters:"r0", "cc", "s0", "s1", "s2", "s3", "s8", "s9", "s10", "s11", "s12", "s13", "s14", "s15", "s16", "s17", "s18", "s19", "s20", "s21", "s22", "s23", "s24", "s25", "s26", "s28", "s29", "s30" // clobber list

The first section is the output parameters, which is blank. This doesn’t make any sense, because really it should have pOutVertex, but apparently it just works that way – don’t ask me why.

The next section is the input parameters. First you have the variable name used in the assembler code surrounded by square brackets [], then you have a “r” then the variable name as used in the c++ part of the code in round brackets (). Note: this has to be an address, ***not*** a value, that’s why the *weight *has a & in front of it.

The next section is what is affectionately known as “**the clobber list**“. This tells gcc what registers we have used in the program. If you accidentally forget to include a register in the clobber list, it’ll crash, so this is important.

I found that the program could be speeded up even more by moving the VFP_VECTOR_LENGTH macros from TransformPoint to **outside **of the main loop:

SetVectorLen2();

for (n = 0; n < (int)m_listVertex.size(); n++)

{

weight = m_listWeight[n];

index = m_listVertex[n]*3;

matrix.TransformPoint(&pOrigData[index], weight, &pCurrData[index]);

}

SetVectorLen0();

All in all, the assembler code reduces the total render time from 34ms to 30.5ms (when rendering 8 skinned meshes), which is not bad.

If you try to run this code on a newer device, like a iPhone 3GS, you’re in store for a surprise as the 3GS has **no **VFP unit and it actually **reduces **the performance by a large amount :-D.

But don’t worry about this because the 3GS goes so fast it doesn’t really need assembler.

]]>

]]>

Reciently, did some performance comparisons of std::map versus boost::unordered_map.

These are the benchmarks that I tested:

fmap<int, int> mapTest; fmap<int, int>::iterator iter; int time1 = GetMilliSeconds(); int n; int randNum, rand2; rand2 = 0; for (n = 0; n < 100000; n++) { randNum = rand()%1000; iter = mapTest.find(randNum); if (iter != mapTest.end()) { rand2 = iter->second; } else { mapTest[randNum] = rand2; rand2 = n; } } int time2 = GetMilliSeconds(); int timeElapsed = abs(time2-time1); cout << "map test1 time:" << timeElapsed << "ms" << endl; time1 = time2; fmap<int, int> mapTest2; fmap<int, int>::iterator iterLowest; int f; for (n = 0; n < 10000; n++) { for (f = 0; f < 10; f++) { randNum = rand()%1000; iter = mapTest2.find(randNum); if (iter != mapTest2.end()) { rand2 = iter->second+1; } else { mapTest2[randNum] = rand2; rand2 = n; } } // find lowest iterLowest = mapTest2.begin(); for (iter = mapTest2.begin(); iter != mapTest2.end(); iter++) { if (iter->second > iterLowest->second) iterLowest = iter; } mapTest2.erase(iterLowest); } time2 = GetMilliSeconds(); timeElapsed = abs(time2-time1); cout << "map test2 time:" << timeElapsed << "ms" << endl;

(Unfortunately, this looks awful because stupid word press strips out my code indentation )

And these are the results running on 1st gen iPod touch:

**boost::unordered_map**

map test1 time:115ms

map test2 time:2251ms

**std::map**

map test1 time:200ms

map test2 time:3940ms

As you can see it’s nearly twice as slow.

std::map is an ordered map. In other words, when iterating the values are ordered according to the key. Normally, you don’t need this functionality, so using a hash map like boost::unordered_map is a no-brainer.

]]>

PNGs take several times longer to decode than compressed Targa. I think it’s around 5 times slower. (I once made some measurements on the iPhone, but I lost the figures <doh>). On the other hand, compressed Targa files are about 40% bigger, but disk space usually isn’t that critical. You can use the code here to decode targa files: http://dmr.ath.cx/gfx/targa/.

An interesting side effect of this optimization is that it also reduces development time. Everytime you start up the debugger it has to decode all those 1024×1024 textures, before you can begin.

Preferably, read the whole file in one go. This is how you do it with C code:

FILE* pFile; pFile = fopen(fileName.c_str(), "rb"); if (pFile == NULL) return; fseek(pFile, 0, 2 /* SEEK_END */); fileSize = (int)ftell(pFile); fseek(pFile, 0, 0 /* SEEK_SET */); pBuffer = new char[filesize]; int bytesRead = (int)fread(pBuffer, fileSize, 1, pFile); fclose(pFile);

]]>

Anyway, I was looking at the screenshots just now and I noticed that the exact same apps get on all the lists:

I thought that these lists were hand picked by Apple, but that seems only to be the case with the “New and Noteworthy” list. Once you are on that list you automatically get moved onto the other lists after a week.

Edit:

Just now I noticed my game stayed on the “What we’re playing” list for much longer than a week, but it seems that after a week it moved down the list, so the user has to press “see all” to see the game. Also, in some countries it stayed on the “what’s hot” list. In Australia for instance it’s still on the first page of that list. I assume that’s because the game got a higher star rating there than in other countries

]]>

The shape of a painting is what most affects the composition. If you get this right you can get a great dramatic effect, but you need to start out very abstract. So, what I do is just start drawing random abstract shapes, until I hit on one that I like:

Once you have a good shape you start adding details.

I had some tank models and city ruins done in Max, so I thought I would take advantage of that and made some test scenes in Max. This would also ensure that I got the lighting correct for the scene.

First, I had the turret facing to the right, which was ok, but everything was too dark because the light was positioned too low and far back.

So, I fixed the light and changed the turret and also have it almost facing camera.

Then I imported this into photoshop, added a background of an inferno (that I took from a photo) and started working on the barrel.

I started painting over the tank and buildings, making the turret structure more well defined. This picture had to recognisable at very small scale, so I made the outline distinct.

I added details on the tank and drew some burning ruins in the distance.

Those ruins weren’t that great, so added some burning skyscrapers instead.Then I added some smoke for the near foreground…

and then I rotated it – if you remember the original sketch was rotated as well, but that was somehow lost in the process. And that’s it!

]]>

For instance, this statement:

if (num = 10) { doSomething(); }

Generates a warning, but I cannot see any case where this would not be a bug. So I change this warning and some others to errors: like this:

#pragma warning (error: 4715)

#pragma warning (error: 4706)

#pragma warning (error: 4553) // '==' : operator has no effect; did you intend '='?

#pragma warning (error: 4150) // deletion of pointer to incomplete type

#pragma warning (error: 4390) // empty controlled statement found;

#pragma warning (disable: 4996) // openf is dangerous (not!)

Now, there’s no way you can ignore it. By the way, there is a bug in Visual Studio, sometimes it won’t flag warning mentioned above at all.

]]>

This leads to a very obvious optimisation, to cache your divide operations.

In other words if you have code like this:

float fl = 1.0007f;

for (i = 0; i < 16; i++)

matrix.Set(i, matrix[i]/fl);

you can increase performance by doing the divide outside the loop:

float fl = 1.0f/1.0007f;

for (i = 0; i < 16; i++)

matrix.Set(i, matrix[i]*fl);

I measured this and found that it does indeed make a big improvement.

Also, I thought it would be interesting to try out the old Quake inverse square root trick.

```
float InvSqrt(float x){
float xhalf = 0.5f * x;
int i = *(int*)&x; // store floating-point bits in integer
i = 0x5f3759d5 - (i >> 1); // initial guess for Newton's method
x = *(float*)&i; // convert new bits into float
x = x*(1.5f - xhalf*x*x); // One round of Newton's method
return x;
}
```

This code works on the iPhone, but the results are less accurate.

```
float fl = 2.0f;
result = 1.f / sqrt ( fl ); // gives 0.707106769
result = InvSqrt(fl); // gives 0.706930041
```

the actual value should be 0.70710678

I measured the performance and found that it’s a touch faster, but not much.

]]>