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Wednesday, May 12, 2010
 

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Star Wars The Force Unleashed Developer's Diary Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The Game Agent NonBlog has posted a new developer diary focusing on Aspyr Media's Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition. Senior Software Developer Ken Cobb discussed the difficulties involved with porting the action game from its original console form to the Mac and PC versions.

Many times when we port a game to the PC or Mac, we have very limited contact with the original developer. Sometimes that’s even part of the contract — we get a small number of support calls we can make and that’s it. LucasArts, fortunately, works quite the opposite. I was able to fly out to their campus in San Francisco for a few days to talk to their engineers about Star Wars® The Force Unleashed™: Ultimate Sith Edition Mac and get up and running quickly on the development.

One of the main things we look at when bringing console titles to the PC/Mac is how threads are handled. Threads are pieces of code that run concurrently — at the same time — on multiple processors. On the consoles like Xbox 360 and PS3 you have a lot of processors (6-8) running at slightly slower speed, whereas on the PC/Mac you usually have fewer processors (2-4) running at faster speeds.
The cloth physics code, as originally written, was definitely designed for the consoles. It divided up the work into at least 5 threads and sent them off to the many waiting processors. But doing the same thing on a Core 2 Duo, for example, is counterproductive. You don’t have all those processors available, so you end up executing the threads mostly on a single processor. This negates a lot of the benefits of threading and can be slower than simply running non-threaded code.

Another thing to consider is that thread code designed for the console CPU’s can actually run too quickly on the faster PC/Mac processors. In general, you want threads to run quickly, but sometimes they can be so fast that the overhead associated with the thread becomes greater than thread time itself. So one of the changes we made was to consolidate the work of these threads into fewer, slightly longer threads, to work more efficiently on the faster PC/Mac CPU’s.
Visit the page below for more information.

The Game Agent NonBlog: Star Wars Dev Diary
Aspyr Media
Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition
Buy Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition


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Archives  News  Star Wars The Force Unleashed Developer's Diary Available