Nerd For Tech
Published in

Nerd For Tech

How to Accelerate Development for C++ Games

In the past few decades, the game market has grown with the development of personal computers from an interest of a few to a market worth billions. As the years have passed, the drive for games has increased and the demand for high-quality games is at an all-time high. Even if the playable game feels fast and pleasing, the process that leads to it has become tiresome.

With the increase in the scope of the game, the time it takes to build a project has also increased, which in turn slows down the development process. So, how do we solve it

Photo

What Accelerates Development?

In any game studio, the number of CPUs can count from just a few to hundreds and, at any given time, the number of idle CPUs is also greater. All these idle CPUs amount to hundreds if not thousands of unused cores that can be used otherwise with the help of Incredibuild, which remotely utilizes all the cores in the idle CPUs without affecting their work. This process massively reduces game build time by distributing the workload.

This in return helps maximize limited expert human resources, meet hysterical release deadlines, find and fix bugs faster, and enable cost-effective cloud adoption.

What Gets Faster?

Compilation

By distributing the workload throughout different idle CPUs, the usage of existing hardware is maximized and build time and game compilation is shortened by up to 90% without any hardware upgrade.

Shader Compilation

The time it can take for shader compilation can range from a minor inconvenience for high-end CPUs to hours of wait time for low-end CPUs. Incredibuild is tightly integrated with Unreal IDE’s shader compilation to help boost shader compilation performance.

Asset Creation

The game asset includes all aspects of the game from characters, environments, and logos to background music, special effects, and sound effects, which need a variety of rendering and editing applications. Incredibuild helps cut game cook-time in half.

Data Manipulation

Most current game studios use data manipulation to develop descriptive and predictable models for evaluating and visualizing service performance and user conversion data to find ways to improve user engagement and user retention. This needs working with a lot of data. Incredibuild slashes data and format conversions, compression, encoding, and packaging times from hours to minutes.

Texture Processing

With the increase in the scope of the game, the amount of texture data that needs to be processed has also increased significantly. For big terrain in-game levels, the texture processing may take hours to complete. Incredibuild can cut image processing and compression time for detailed and photo-realistic terrain textures by more than 90% helping massively in the time management of game studios.

Lightmap Baking

Source

The cost of hardware is very expensive when you use dynamic lighting to light your scene and. Incredibuild slashes lightmap baking from 1 hour to 10 minutes including lighting middleware precompute tasks, and full C++ source code builds.

Cross-platform Development and Porting

Cross-platform development is generally more complex. Incredibuild reduces the build time of a game for all platforms by eliminating the complexity of platform-dedicated solutions. Incredibuild dramatically accelerates cross-platform code builds 8 times faster.

So, How do We Accelerate Development?

Before the project starts, there are a lot of things that need to be considered such as game story, genre, theme, etc. A well-established studio with commercial games in profile already has its development cycle, but what about a new studio?

Here is a list of general tips to design your game efficiently and accelerate the game development process:

Get the Best Tools

Some IDEs focus on prototyping while others on designs and so on. Each is better than the other in different aspects. Depending on the project, you should choose the best tools that match your needs. Always keep yourself up to date on new tools in the market to see if they can improve your performance.

A free tool I’ve found that helps me pretty often is Incredibuild. It speeds up the compilation, tests, and tons of other computer-intensive workloads by distributing the processes within a local network or a cloud of idle CPUs remotely without affecting the processes of that local computer. This process allows the user to work with hundreds of cores depending on the number of computers in the local network that are idle.

With Incredibuild, there’s no need to change your tools, processes, or the way you work to use Incredibuild. It will simply charge your workloads with additional computing power.

Moreover, different flavors of OS can work together. In the same way that you don’t need to install anything on the remote machines, if a remote machine has Visual Studio 2015 installed, it can seamlessly be used to accelerate a local host’s Visual Studio 2019 compilations.

Another tool that you can use for a faster development process is VS Code. It is a lightweight and powerful source code editor for your every day development.

It works a lot faster than your traditional IDE such as Visual Studio and with its ability to work with various game engines like Unity, Unreal, Godot, etc. makes it an ideal choice for efficient game development. It can also be made more efficient as per need with the help of extensions available readily on editor. Installation guide for Unity, Unreal

Prototype

When you are starting a project, you cannot accurately assess the quality of a game concept to get a concrete sense of what the game could be. So it is best practice to first start prototyping the game rather than jumping directly into game development.

Lean Document

It is often a hassle to read through large documents more so when the project is larger. So, it is better to focus on conveying key information to each teammate. It is also best practice to use pictures along with text because images are more descriptive than a long paras and they make the document more understandable.

Run Tests

Often, there are different ways to do things each with their advantages and disadvantages. So, it is better to prototype all available solutions to show and discuss with teammates/clients visually rather than discussing them over a document. It helps visually represent the result to clients, especially if they are not from the game industry, and reduces useless chatter.

Research

It is often best practice to do research at the start of the day so that you have a set of plans for the day. This allows you to focus on the task.

Learn to Code

If you are working on a team project without the need to code then it is better to learn to code even if you don’t need it. It allows you to better communicate with your developers and test your ideas by yourself, which removes the need for developers to translate the document and iterate based on your input.

Tackle Smaller Iterations

There are always a set of features in a game that needs to be done in iterations but it is better to divide those iterations into smaller ones. This way, you can finish each iteration faster and get reviews from your peers to make sure you are going in the right direction.

Analytics

It is better to use analytics early in the project to get the data on player behavior to properly balance the game from the start. And, it also stays relevant throughout the project and after the game is published as well.

Use Placeholders

Throughout the development of the game, the design changes and so does the prototype. So it is better to use placeholders early in the development cycle so that the time is not wasted waiting for the whole content.

Conclusion

To accelerate the development of C++ games, it is necessary to follow a proper development cycle. This and tools like Incredibuild help you get faster dev cycles and greater iteration frequency, raising product quality, time-to-market, and customer satisfaction, while lowering costs dramatically.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store