I was fresh out of college, still wet behind the ears, and about to enter the beta phase of my first professional game project — a late-90s PC title. It had been an exciting rollercoaster ride, as projects often are. All the content was in and the game was looking good. There was one problem though: We were way over our memory budget.
Since most memory was taken up by models and textures, we worked with the artists to reduce the memory footprint of the game as much as possible. We scaled down images, decimated models, and compressed textures. Sometimes we did this with the support of the artists, and sometimes over their dead bodies.
We cut megabyte after megabyte, and after a few days of frantic activity, we reached a point where we felt there was nothing else we could do. Unless we cut some major content, there was no way we could free up any more memory. Exhausted, we evaluated our current memory usage. We were still 1.5 MB over the memory limit!
At this point one of the most experienced programmers in the team, one who had survived many years of development in the “good old days,” decided to take matters into his own hands. He called me into his office, and we set out upon what I imagined would be another exhausting session of freeing up memory.
You’ll have to scroll to the bottom of the article to read The Programming Antihero, but it’s totally worth it (as are all the other reads)!
Just. Plain. Awesome.
I sure as hell don’t think I’ll ever be in such a situation, but if I am – far out, that’d be an awesome way to do it.
Like whichever person I follow on Twitter who posted this, I could read these sorts of things forever.