All posts tagged with "programming"

Game Development Snake Oil

I am actually sick with lung flu, which means I have some time to write angry rants, inspired by things on my Twitter feed, and then post them to the company blog.
(Actually, this is just shameless bait for sites like Y Combinator, who love to hear Angry Young People railing about the world at large. I… I should give up now.)

That said, we have been falling short on technical commentary here, and I did get linked to two Twitter posts this morning that are worth discussing in some detail. So let’s have at ’em.

The first item is from id Software’s John Carmack, who does things like writing an entire photon mapper in a day and then tells people that he did it – and, it’s not a big deal, you know? His contribution to the discussion:

“Floating point trick: If ( a != a ) a is a NaN”

I took a few minutes to puzzle out how this could possibly work. It turns out that in C++ – and in fact, according to IEEE floating point standards – NaNs (or not-a-numbers) will cause ANY expression to return true if they are used in an inequality comparison. Clever!

The second item that caught my attention was an advertisement for a course with a “Certified ScrumMaster for Agile Game Development”, to be held two days before GDC. This course promises that we will, with the ScrumMaster’s help and guidance, learn such things as:

“The essentials of getting a project off on the right foot”,
“How to successfully scale Scrum methods to hundreds of participants”,
“How to help both new, and experienced teams, be more successful,”

and so on and so forth. In just two days, you too can sip at the mystical elixir of Scrum, which is guaranteed to make your game ship on time, your Metacritic scores improve, and as an added bonus it’ll make all your hair grow back and your girlfriend will stop complaining about all the overtime you put in at the office. The cost of this affair? $1500 for a two day seminar, although you get $250 off if you register early. As a bonus, after you take this course (and fill in some kind of online quiz), you too can call yourself a Certified Scrum Master!


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