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[Caml-list] Caml productivity.
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Date: 2002-07-27 (05:53)
From: Chris Hecker <checker@d...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Caml productivity.

>There's already strong evidence that it's possible to use a higher
>level language to produce a successful console game: Naughty Dog's Scheme 
>dialect  (GOAL) on Jak & Daxter for the PS2.  They claim to have used it 
>for most  of the game.  One thing that isn't clear is how they avoided running
>out of memory from fragmentation.  Maybe Pal-Kristian Engstad can shed
>some light on this.

My understanding is that the ND stuff is for scripting.  I was talking 
about using caml for the main language, like I mentioned before.  I would 
doubt any of the renderer, animation, physics, core AI routines, core 
object management, control stuff, etc. were written in their language, but 
I would love to be wrong.  I would assume it fits the usual template (or 
maybe goes a bit farther because it's been used at ND for a long time, so 
they've got it very well integrated) for what a scripting language is used 
for in a game, which includes things like higher level AI decisions, traps 
and triggers, win conditions, cut scenes, weapons, UI, etc.  It may be that 
"most" of the code by LOC is in the scripting language, and that's fine 
(although I'd be somewhat surprised, especially if all the VU code is 
included in the count), but my guess is it isn't the "core language".

Having this conversation about the PS2 is kind of ludicrous anyway, since 
it's such a mess, it's hard to even say what language a game is written in.

>In contrast, a game company would take a big productivity hit in the short run

My point is that 3x is simply HUGE for a commercial programming 
effort.  It's easily big enough to overcome inertia and make people switch, 
even if they had a year of downtime...heck, you could make up that year in 
4 months, and then the rest of your ship cycle would happen at 3x the 
rate!  If people could consistently get anywhere close to 3x on most 
programs then everybody would switch quickly.

Anyway, it would be nice if there was more data on this.  I'd love it if 
caml made people 3x more productive on most problems (including, hopefully, 
myself :), I just find it very hard to believe.  Sadly, it's hard to get 
rigorous controlled experiments in this area.


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