Why (most) High Level Languages are Slow

In the last month or two I’ve had basically the same conversation half a dozen times, both online and in real life, so I figured I’d just write up a blog post that I can refer to in the future. The reason most high level languages are slow is usually because of two reasons: They don’t play well with the cache. They have to do expensive garbage collections But really, both of these boil down to a single reason: the language heavily encourages too many allocations.

Implementation Inheritance Considered Harmful?

As the years go by and I see more and more painful bugs and convoluted architectures in OOP systems the more convinced I am that implementation inheritance is almost always the wrong answer, and that some kind of trait/mixin/delegation system is superior. Inheritance sucks partly because you’re expected to extend a class that you didn’t write (or that you at least ostensibly plan to modify independently), by patching into a few of the methods here and there and mucking around with the “protected” innards.

R-trees – adapting out-of-core techniques to modern memory architectures

It’s been a couple of months since GDC, and I’ve been meaning to do a blog post about the talk I gave there (and if you have membership to the GDC vault you can even see a video). An R-tree is a data structure for spatial indexing that’s optimized for out-of-core scenarios (basically databases). Spatial indexing is used for storing “stuff” in space. For example, a game might store all of the game objects in a spatial index so that we can efficiently query for things like “give me all objects that are within the view frustum”, or “give me all pairs of monsters and exploding barrels within 5m of each other”.