Friday, October 10, 2014

Interesting Talks and Articles

What Your Culture Really Says
Talks on the Science Behind Motivation, or why bonuses don't work
Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation (transcript):

Kathy Sierra: "The Secrets of the Whisperers" (motivation and gamification)

For Best Results, Forget the Bonus

Why Bonus Systems Don't Work

Joel on Software

Whaddaya Mean, You Can't Find Programmers?

Alex St. John: OpenGL vs Direct3D

Alex St. John: "Recruiting Giants"

Paying Down Your Technical Debt

Your Most Important Skill: Empathy

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of C

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Moving back to Texas!

My five year, mostly sunless odyssey in the Seattle area is finally coming to an end. I'll be visiting occasionally, but I can't wait to move back to Dallas next month. Thanks to everyone at Valve for making the place such an amazing company to work at. Also, a huge thanks to the truly world class developers at Rad Game Tools for their key help during the Steam Linux launch and helping us kick start vogl's development. Without the devs at Rad a lot of the stuff we did over the past few years just would not have happened. (Umm Gabe, why don't you just buy these guys already and officialize the Valve "satellite office" in Kirkland?)

To the Linux and GL community, I feel bad about quitting Valve before completing vogl. (Not that something like vogl could ever really be completed!) In the couple months before I quit I did everything I could think of (wrote the wiki, got UE 4 compatibility, built the regression suite, wrote up a 6+ month itemized task roadmap, etc.) to ensure vogl's development would continue moving forward without me. From studying the changes made on vogl's github repo after I quit it certainly looks like the devs at Valve and LunarG have done a good job moving it forward.

I think it'll be 3 years or more before OpenGL-Next is usable and relevant to shipping products. So even though vogl's has little chance of scaling beyond GL v4.x, it should remain a useful tool for a long time. I may fork it one day if I have to do any hardcore GL development again.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

More apitest related links and notes

More apitest related links:

OpenGL Stop Breaking my Heart

apitest results on AMD comparing various OpenGL and D3D11 approaches

Some important things about apitest and the results worth pointing out:

1. apitest results should not be compared vendor vs. vendor.
The test was not originally designed to be used in this way. Accurate benchmarking is surprisingly hard, and it's possible apitest's results are flawed or misleading in some way when compared vendor vs. vendor.

2. In many cases AMD's GL driver is within the same ballpark, or faster, compared to their D3D11 driver.

3. The relative sorted order of techniques is approximately the same on both vendors. 
This is good, because apps tend to use the slowest techniques and the authors are encouraging developers to use the faster approaches.

4. We're taking possible performance gains of 15x-20x, on drivers from both vendors.
5x-10x would be fantastic, 15x+ is amazing. 

Now all that's needed are drivers from all vendors that not only support these techniques, but handle them reliably and with reasonably consistent performance.

Monday, June 16, 2014

State of GL 4.x revealed via "apitest" benchmark

This excellent GL 4.x micro-benchmark that has been making waves recently is really interesting. Now that it's on Phoronix it's about as mainstream as it's going to get: NVIDIA Slaughters AMD Catalyst On Linux In OpenGL 4.x Micro-Benchmarks

At first glance the results sound great for NV: "The AMD Catalyst driver gets absolutely annihilated for these GL4 micro-benchmarks". But unfortunately it's bad news for everyone working in GL because it clearly demonstrates just how fractured and inconsistent the GL driver landscape actually is when the rubber hits the road.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Article: "DirectX Creator Says Apple’s Metal Heralds the End of OpenGL"


Alex. St John: "Direct3D, OpenGL, Metal, Full Circle"
Time: "DirectX Creator Says Apple’s Metal Heralds the End of OpenGL"

According to St. John: "Nearly twenty years later OpenGL still sucks for games, OpenGL drivers are STILL consistently broken across devices, OpenGL is still driven by CAD applications".

BTW - I'm no longer at Valve or working on vogl. And no, I'm not being paid by, nor do I know anyone still at Apple, lol.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

How I learned to stop worrying and love OpenGL

Good summary of the OpenGL developer debate with links:

"This is quite technical, but I think this is very interesting considering what Valve is staking on OpenGL in regard to its future plans:

1. The debate started when Rich Geldreich from Valve (who is working on Vogl, Valve's OpenGL debugger) posted an entry on his blog called Things That Drive Me Nuts About OpenGL.  He also made a couple of Twitter posts here and here.

2. In response, Timothy Lottes, a senior rendering programmer at Epic who developed FXAA and TXAA while at Nvidia, posted this response on his personal blog.

3. Rick Geldreich the posted The Truth on OpenGL Driver Quality on his blog.  His Twitter post on this entry features quite a few responses.

4. Joshua Barczak, Firaxis's lead graphics engineer for the Civilization, agrees with Geldreich and posted this blog entry OpenGL Is Broken.

5. Epic's Timothy Lottes (as naturally expected) posted this response.

6. This caused AMD's OpenGL developer to post an angry tweet and another one from a former Nvidia developer who now works at Valve.

7.  Michael Marks, the tech director from Aspyr, shared his thoughts.  He also posted OpenGL Stop Breaking My Heart and The Impact of Apple's Limited OpenGL Support On Gaming.

8.  A Unity developer chimed in with Rant About Rants About OpenGL.

9.  Barczak posted a follow-up regarding OpenGL driver quality.

10.  Lastly, and somewhat unrelated, a Naughty Dog dev said LOL DX12 LOL."