I finished up my 14th month of the Game Development course at Full Sail University.  My classes were optimization and machine architecture 2.
MAR2 was quite a fascinating course.  We learned about the ARM processor and did programming for a nintendo ds.

One of the things we had to do for MAR2 was work in a different compiler than I was used to.  Rather than visual studio we worked with a program that was specific to the gameboy.  Line by line debugging was slightly more difficult, and projects as a whole were a little more difficult to work with, but it had some specific things that visual studio did not which made it more appropriate for the job.

Working in a new workspace is frustrating at first however  once you’re accustomed to the environment, it’s still just code.  It was a good learning experience, though the lack of ability to debug was frustrating at times.

The biggest hurdle to get over when I began coding on the gameboy/ds was dealing with hardware specific memory locations.  Setting up how the program ran, everything from the sprites to the video mode had to be set by altering the data at a certain memory address. There is a lot of dealing with data and making sure it lines up with byte boundries and doesn’t overwrite other existing data.

Because of this class I’m now a lot more familiar /comfortable working with bitwise operations and bitmasking, as well as caring about data size, and data location in memory.

We had a 2nd class this month; optimization.  We became a little more familiar with threading as well as covering vtune for profiling your code and micro operations to increase your code speed.  Unfortunately it was the instructors last month at FS and the class was fairly loosly structured as a result.  We had several days of class canceled and were often out of class early.  The biggest asset from that class was the comfort level increase with threading and an introduction to optimizing your program.

I had a lovely visit with my mother over Thanksgiving vacation and am now diving into AI and Real Time Animation for the month of December. I’ve been dealing a little bit with work-overload and burnout, so the next 3 weeks can’t go fast enough. I’m really in need of the 2 week Christmas vacation.