Month: April, 2010

XNA/C# – Thread.CurrentThread is slow on Xbox 360

30 April, 2010 at 9:01am | XNA / C#

ThreadStatic XNA

I’ve still a few more XNA articles I’ve been planning to write. The next one was to involve some threading code, and in the process of creating the article I hit upon something that I found concerning.

The title of this article pretty much gives it away before I can casually introduce it; the property method Thread.CurrentThread is slow on the Xbox. Specifically it’s slow compared to running the same code on a Windows PC. I’d imagine the same applies to the other Compact Framework platforms too; the Zune and Windows 7 Phones. But I can’t say for sure.
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XNA/C# – A garbage-free StringBuilder Format() method

5 April, 2010 at 8:42am | XNA / C#

So, another entry in this StringBuilder and garbage series… This time I’m exploring the Format() method, and implementing a new alternative that does not generate any garbage. The existing AppendFormat() method on StringBuilder generates a significant amount of garbage.

So in what way does the .NET one generate garbage? Well, the parameter type is ‘object’, so you’ll get boxing and unboxing of value types. Since integers and floats are pretty oft-used with Format(), that’s not good news. With CLRProfiler I also see temporary allocations made in ‘String::ToCharArray()’, and ‘String::CtorCharArrayStartLength()’. There’s also more garbage if you use more than three arguments; for that it requires a temporary array to be created.

All in all, it’s not a pretty picture if you want to avoid garbage collections in your game.

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XNA/C# – Avoiding garbage when working with StringBuilder

1 April, 2010 at 7:23am | XNA / C#

Garbage

In my previous coding post, I spoke about some issues with converting a mutable StringBuilder string back to a regular ‘string’ object without generating garbage. Well, specifically without requiring an unnecessary heap allocation. One thing I hinted at was that StringBuilder has a number of other methods which generate garbage too. In fact, there are a lot of important fundamental methods which do, which are difficult to live without.

As I’ve mentioned before, worrying about this sort of thing may not be necessary for the game you’re working on. It’s much more of a concern on Xbox 360 than PC, due to the poorly performing garbage collector on 360. If your game isn’t something that’s going to remotely push the hardware, or be impacted by dropped frames, then you really don’t need to worry. This article is just for those who may see this as an issue, and want to explore ways to eliminate this particular method of generating garbage.
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