Deep Shadows talks multiprocessor optimisation

Deep Shadows talks multiprocessor optimisation

By Ed Fear

July 16th 2008 at 10:53AM

Boiling Point developer sings praises of Intel's Threaded Building Blocks runtime library

Ukranian developer Deep Shadows has spoken about the process of enhancing its Vital Engine to take advantage of multiple processors or processor cores.

The studio chose to use Intel's Threaded Building Blocks 2.0 to help the engine dynamically scale depending on the number of processors available in the target system, as well as take advantage of the three processors in the Xbox 360.

The Boiling Point: Road to Hell developer's engine now runs around 40 per cent faster than before, and background resource loading has been made 'totally transparent'.

“Any current top-quality game engine must use all available cores for handling game worlds smoothly and efficiently” said Roman Lut, technical director of Deep Shadows.

“We’ve researched the problem thoroughly and found out that Intel’s software libraries offer the most comprehensive and effective solution for performance scaling. Although we considered RapidMind and Jibu for our cross-platform multi-threading development we found that Intel TBB offered the easiest programming model, extensive support including active forums and good documentation, and an open source code base; all backed by Intel."

The open-source nature of the library meant that the studio was able to use the library on the Xbox 360 as well, even though it runs on non-Intel chips. "Because an open source version of TBB exists we were able to easily port it to Xbox 360 and achieve scalability without reprogramming to take advantage of it three-core architecture. Now our games will work equally well both on Xbox 360 and multi-core PCs with Intel multi-core technology enabled.”

James Reinders, director, Intel Software Development Products added: “TBB is the most effective solution for C++ developers targeting any multi-core processor platform including, thanks to Deep Shadows, game  optimized PCs and game consoles. Deep Shadows has the respect and thanks of the TBB community for their contributions.”