[PD] Spore [was: TR909 emulation]

Damian Stewart damian at frey.co.nz
Wed Jun 11 16:34:19 CEST 2008

Andy Farnell wrote:

>> On Monday 09 June 2008 21:47:04 Andy Farnell wrote
>>> I know from talks with EA guys that EAPd ran into some problems and its
>>> performance was not spotless. But not for the reasons you state.
>> Well, those reasons are the ones they gave me (or, if you prefer, what I 
>> understood from their answer) when I asked them at GDC. 
> Sure, fair enough. I'm saying that 'efficiency reasons' is succinct
> but incomplete. Like when politicians say 'security reasons'. It hides
> a whole nest of complex problems. They almost certainly misused the
> word 'predictable' when they meant to say 'limited'.
> Respectfully,
> Andy


i've worked with Pd on a CPU limited platform (PDA), and i've also worked 
in the games industry.

in the games industry, you can say to your sound department, 'you can have 
four channels of digital audio', and know exactly how many CPU cycles this 
is going to take. if you then go off and create sound is not to the Powers 
That Be's liking, it's an easy enough thing to drop in new samples, without 
effecting CPU usage.

with dynamically-generated audio, on the other hand, if the Powers That Be 
don't like the sound, changing it /will/ change the CPU usage, unless you 
can guarantee the same number of oscillators and DSP calculations - which 
would be unlikely for anything but trivial changes, or for changes late in 
the piece when the basic structure of the sound has already been laid out, 
where it's probably too late to ask for more CPU anyway.

so they're correct in saying that CPU usage for dynamic sound is not 
predictable, certainly not in the way that sample playback is. the trick, 
of course, is to get sound people who also know how to keep their CPU usage 
very low (consoles have absurdly small CPU power - the games they run look 
amazing because of very tight optimisations and clever coding), and the 
number of people with that level of skill is vanishingly small.

just my 2c.

damian stewart | +31 6 5902 5782 |  damian at frey.co.nz
frey | live art with machines | http://www.frey.co.nz

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