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Valve's Gabe Newell talks about multi-core game development Valve's Gabe Newell talks about multi-core game development
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Valve's Gabe Newell talks about multi-core game development
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Old 9th August 2005, 21:02   #1
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Default Valve's Gabe Newell talks about multi-core game development

This is a few weeks old, but I just happened to come across it today. We've had a few articles that have touched on the topic of multi-core software and game development. Many people that haven't done any programming don't see what the big deal is, but for a lot of companies and individuals it's going to be a cataclysmic event.

While you may or may not agree with the difficulty of SMP software development, many noteworthy people including Valve's Gabe Newell are of the opinion that more cores isn't as helpful as faster single-threaded performance. Here's why:

"Technologically, I think every game developer should be terrified of the next generation of processors. Your existing code, you can just throw it away. It's not going to be helpful in creating next generation game titles.

"Most of the problems of getting these systems running on these multicore processors are not solved. They are doctoral theses, not known implementation problems. So it's not even clear that over the lifespan of these next generation systems that they will be solved problems. The amount of time it takes to get a good multicore engine running, the Xbox 360 might not even be on the market any longer. That should scare the crap out of everybody."

Another highlight: "If writing in-order code [in terms of difficulty] is a one and writing out-of-order code is a four, then writing multicore code is a 10."

The article is a great read, and helps to give some insight into the difficulties of modern software development. Good programmers are like artists, albeit with a really technical slant. Just like some artists are impressionists and others are cubists, not all programmers can write all types of code equally well - in some cases, they might not be able to write multi-threaded code at all.
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