News Team Current issue History Online Support Download Forum @Pouet

01 - 02 - SE - 03 - 04 - 05 - 06 - 07 - 08 - 09 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14

Alive 12
Coders Survival Guide
          Are you fed up with other members of your crew? Are you bored 
          with musicians delivering music that exceeds the available CPU 
          time and cause you to recode your FX again and again with each 
          new version of the zik? Are you thinking about hiring a killer 
          to get rid of your chief graphics artist because he always uses 
          one colour or one pixel too much or perhaps even to less? Is 
          your chief designer driving you crazy with his extravagant ideas 
          and wishes? Then it's time to fight back, don't let them ruin 
          your work or even your day. Make them suffer... How, well I am 
          about to tell you...
Audible Disaster
          Imagine you have just finished your screen and it runs nicely 
          just below the 50 Hz border, you have also left a bit of cpu for 
          the not yet finished tune and then the worst possible thing 
          happens. Your composer delivers you another one of those 200 Hz 
          tunes. ARGHHH! What can you do to strike back? One idea would be 
          to replay the tune with just 50 Hz, which is hardly noticeable 
          anyway to tone deaf people ;). Keep telling you don't hear any 
          difference until the composer finally gives up and delivers you 
          50 Hz tune.
          If the tune still consumes too much CPU just kill the timers, 
          this is either possible inside the tracker or you just mask them 
          after the main music routine has been called. Make sure to hide 
          the code in a preassembled incbin, so nothing looks suspicious 
          if someone dares to review the code. Sometimes it helps to 
          delete a whole channel from the file; this will teach the 
          composer to use the remaining channels wisely. To underline the 
          result you should always use as many timers as possible. For 
          example set the palette with a TiB even if it is possible within 
          the VBI.
          If you get caught disabling the timers be a bit more cautious 
          and try to disable the timers only after each vbl it consumes 
          too much CPU. You can compensate that with additional screen-
          buffers to average the VBLs. In addition it's important that you 
          never wait for the VBL to occur but start rendering the next 
          frame immediately.
          You asked your pixel-butcher to stick to a specific size for a 
          sprite or logo and he just exceeds this size and all your 
          prepared routines need to changed and optimized again? No way! 
          Just cut off the parts you don't need. If your pixel pusher 
          complains, just resize the graphics but make sure to use the 
          worst possible method for it so graphical artefacts will be 
          guaranteed. Never use a proper tool for that, because otherwise 
          your colour mangler might not notice the difference and will not 
          learn from it.
          If your pixel-man or -woman uses too many colours, just reduce 
          the colours, most gfx programs have special functions to remap 
          the palette, missing colours will be assigned to the closest 
          matching colour. The result will cause a big hello when you show 
          your latest preview, that's for sure.
          If possible use multiple tools, especially converting the 
          picture to a PC format and back helps to mess it up in non 
          explainable ways. Again if the artist complains tell him you 
          can't see any difference.
Doomed Design
          Your so called chief designer comes up with impossible ideas and 
          always wants you to implement the most complicated effects, even 
          if nobody will ever see the difference to a simple fake FX. 
          Don't give up yet, just give him the task to do the research on 
          the mathematical background to give you more precise information 
          about the desired effect. Claim you can't understand what he 
          means until he delivers you a mathematical formula. If he 
          delivers a formula, claim that it doesn't work and use all kinds 
          of acronyms and mathematical laws you remember from school to 
          make your point more believable.
          If you don't like the colours your designer wants to use, use 
          hidden (perhaps preassembled) routines that automatically reset 
          the colours to your own choice. Claim it being impossible to 
          make that change at the current state of development. You might 
          also demonstrate that changing the palette in the source doesn't 
          lead to the desired results. Say it's all hard-coded and you 
          would need at least 6 month to rework the code.
Satanic Sources
          Other members of your crew ask for sources all the time? Well no 
          problem, give them a lot of sources. Just make sure you include 
          every publicly available demo source into your main program and 
          don't forget to load all kinds of libraries. Besides that make 
          sure to use cryptic filenames like "X879126.S" or "BNJAFGU.S" 
          never use a name which is easy to understand. The same belongs 
          for your variable- and constant-names. If possible also use DC.W 
          to enter your code directly in HEX this will scare off most 
          musicians and pixel pushers and even more certainly your 
          To cover your tracks also make sure you use macros and includes 
          as much if possible. Also hide your macro definitions in 
          includes and make sure you use multiple levels of includes which 
          might finally lead to preassembled incbins that contain 
          encrypted self-decrypting code. This way you make sure nobody 
          understands your source or tries to change it. 
          Last not least always forget a few important files. If someone 
          asks for them tell him you cannot find that file anymore...
dCoda / Atari Bombsquad for Alive, 2005-12-15
Alive 12