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Thread: Thoughts on an optimizing service?

  1. #21
    Zombie Coder EvilKris's Avatar
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    If I asked you if you had a heart problem would you be willing to let someone kill you, cut your heart out of your chest, put someone elses heart in, and bring you back to life, would you say no because that seems SO HARD to do? No,
    lol...wherever do you get your examples from?

    Let's say it wasn't $20 but more like $200 minimum, and I'm just talking a quote price- the time it would take for an advanced do-it-all coder to look at someones code and make an estimation of how long it would take them to rewrite everything. One blot on the horizon I can see straight away is the spaghetti factor involved when it comes to games, in other words there is much more that goes into games than just code. As Squize has mentioned, a noobie coder might use oversized bitmaps images, vectors, animations that don't fit the framerate- who knows. There's that and a million other tweaks to get the gameplay just right. Maybe he wants you to optimise his code to AS3 when it's been written in AS1 (total overhaul).

    Game-coders are the unhailed neurosurgeons of the programming industry, you'll understand that once you investigate more carefully the scope of how much actually goes into a professional game. Most complete game coders who can do anything are guys who were programming when they were six. You would have to find a suitable payscale to match such experience.

    It's not such a crazy idea within a framework. I get dozens of mails about tutorials I've written and because- like Render said- the framework was already in place (I designed it) for me knowing what is wrong with their code and how to fix it quickly is relatively simple since I wrote the original code they have manipulated. So say you had a similar person employed as full-time staff and their daily job is fixing games that were built from his own template/s, ie a support for guys in different industries who build a game from your own with maybe a couple of small extras thrown in and unique graphics of their own THEN it might not be such a mad idea to facilitate.

    But...a free-for-all service where anyone can just pass along their game and have it completely revamped to a professional level? That's quite unrealistic at a cheap price. In most cases there's no difference between that and someone just coming along and asking you to design a game from scratch.

  2. #22
    Please, Call Me Bob trogdor458's Avatar
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    Honest answer to the founding question:

    I would not like this service because...

    1. I'm dirt poor, and have to do everything myself, be it math/art/anything
    (which as a bonus gives me a little skill in a lot of places )

    2. Yes it would be a valuable learning experience.
    Why pay for a service you can perform yourself whilst gaining valuable experience?
    It'd be like paying someone to do exercise for you, the only difference being we are exercising our minds here. =\
    (and strange examples seem to be popular right now)

    3. Most of the time when I code, my brain shuts off and I somehow do it automatically.
    I lose this advantage when foreign code is introduced.

    Good answer? Yes, no?

    By the way, why is people being so grumpy? -.0
    New persons only gain respect after they've hung around awhile; they just don't know how friendly us persons can be =)
    (yet)

  3. #23
    Pumpkin Carving 2008 ImprisonedPride's Avatar
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    I know not of this "friendly" word you speak of.

    I code for the love of coding. If I wanted to pay someone to do the work for me I can't even call the game my own anymore. I am the same as Fil; every single character of code must be my doing.
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  4. #24
    Funkalicious TOdorus's Avatar
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    So I could: be as lazy as can be and create a complete 3D shooter which runs at .0257 frames a second with bloated vectorgraphics, no depthsorting whatsoever and rendering everything including stuff that's offscreen. I could: send this engine over to someone, pay him 20 bucks (or some dirtcheap amount) and then get a Crysis clone running in Flash, which I can sell for a load of sponsorship...

    I don't know, I'm kind of leaning towards yes.

  5. #25
    Please, Call Me Bob trogdor458's Avatar
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    They promised to optimize it, they never promised it would run fast =)
    Bet if said miracle company could pull off said miracle feat, they'd ask for a cut of the profit though

    Oh, and being completely on topic (at least in general about optimization), I did once dream of a program that could optimize for you. The whole works even; in depth.
    It's technically possible if you gather enough time or processing power to accomplish the task.

    Let's say even with a 100,000 character limit, there's still a finite number of programs that could be written. It's humongous sure, but still finite. This means a computer can theoretically run through every possible scenario, and output the fastest running program that simulates yours within a certain tolerance (sometimes quality is compromised, afterall)

    This seems farfetched, unfortunately =\
    Unless someone optimized the program's ability to optimize
    Eh...

    EDIT: I'd say I feel the same way ImprisonedPride, even outside the coding world, I prefer the solution instead of the answer
    Those words aren't synonymous right?
    Last edited by trogdor458; 03-24-2009 at 10:01 PM.

  6. #26
    Senior Member hatu's Avatar
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    Also if you're experienced enough to optimize other peoples code, 90% of the time it's easier/faster/more effective to write the whole thing from scratch than crawling through someones nested movieclip as1 code hell
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  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by hatu View Post
    Also if you're experienced enough to optimize other peoples code, 90% of the time it's easier/faster/more effective to write the whole thing from scratch than crawling through someones nested movieclip as1 code hell

    NOW you're starting to hit on it. Optimizing code may be the wrong term to use here, more life making the game more efficient. That could be changing all the graphics to vectors and bitmaps as need be, to completely rewriting the code to do the same thing much simpler.

    This really is being aimed at beginner and hobbyist coders, not people who do flash games professionally or very technical, robust apps. I guess this is kind of the wrong place to be asking this, as most of the users here are of the more experienced variety, but this is the only flash message board that I know of that responds more than once a month.

    Again thanks for all the feedback, your answers really are helpful.

  8. #28
    Senior Member tonypa's Avatar
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    Perhaps you are simply using wrong term. Instead of "optimize" you could say something like "build a game based on my idea and some basic framework for 20$". Its not really optimizing if whole thing needs to be rewritten.

  9. #29
    Funkalicious TOdorus's Avatar
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    Since it isn't feasable to really optimize someone's engine for him, you can point out what can be optimized and how. More like technical feedback from an expert. I value that.

    Then again, there's always Flashkit

  10. #30
    Pumpkin Carving 2008 ImprisonedPride's Avatar
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    A better word might be "enhance."
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  11. #31
    Say hello to Bob Kakihara's Avatar
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    I think the problem is that you're asking people who's jobs it is to pick apart everything they see, so obviously you're proposal is being picked apart.

    On a simple level it would be good to have someone go through a game and improve its performance but when you delve deeper (as Squize has done) it just cant possibly work out. There are just too many issues.

    Take a simple example:

    Im making a game for BIGGAMESCOMPANY that has to be delivered at gold standard in two months. Now i go ahead and make the game with say two weeks to spare. But i have a problem, it lags like a *****. Now i can either spend that two weeks working out the issues myself and know im going to deliver the game on time because i know my code, or i can give my code to a third party to improve performance for me. The problem is that i and the third party have no idea whatsoever whether they can improve performance and have the game still ready for gold by my deadline. So in other words i would rather labour myself than give my game to someone else without knowing if they can do the same job i can within the timeframe.

    You could argue that i could give the game to the third party to look over and give me an estimate but that is going to involve me taking an age to explain potentially thousands of lines of code and how the structure works. Plus if just them looking it over takes a few days then they are going to want to be paid. So i may end up paying for nothing because they decide they cant do the job in the time allowed.

    Now you could also argue that if i knew what needed doing then i could give them a brief rundown and then they could decide how long it would take. BUT if i know what needs doing why dont i just do it myself?

    The main issue is that NOBODY knows exactly how long any project will take. Even something that seems like a simple change may have a massive knock on effect elsewhere in the engine and everything else needs rearranging.

    So in short its just not a possible solution without either or both parties getting burned. Its a massive risk for me because if the third party doesnt get the work done because hes encountered problems then im in huge trouble with the company im developing for. Even if the work does get done, optimizing isnt just a case of tweaking things. It may require an entire overhaul of massive sections of the engine and that often leads to other sections not working. So i may end up with a fully optimized game but upon checking with two days to go to deadline i realize that 50 bugs have popped up because of the changes made.

    Its a nice idea in theory but just not feasible in any way.
    If our body is a clock ticking away and if while we experience all that this world has to offer time has still continued to pass, are we living or just experiencing a slow death?

  12. #32
    Pumpkin Carving 2008 ImprisonedPride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kakihara View Post
    but when you delve deeper (as Squize has done) it just cant possibly work out. There are just too many issues.
    I wouldn't say "can't". The thing here is that it's just plainly not plausible to expect someone else to be able to understand your way of thinking when you coded line 7317, in the 3rd layer of some fourth level movieclip. Unless you take the tedious task of commenting and explaining theory as to why you code the way you do (but that's just pointless; everyone just accepts the fact that no two people code alike. I take it a step further and never code the same way twice.)

    Of course, I'm leading up to a contradiction to that statement from personal experience. I was invited as an add on for a project from Disney down the food chain and was given the grueling task of re-skinning one of the games. The problem was--as other members of that team can confirm--the code I was given was an absolute mess! There was something like 25 layers and each one had a few hundred lines of code on it. There was somewhere in the ballpark of 500 items in the library with no conventional naming system. Despite HOURS of b'tching about it to our team leader, I think we still managed to re-skin it in just over a month, and that was including 15 *extra* revisions they added every time it was submitted "complete".

    It's beginning to sound like an echo in this chat, but the idea just isn't solid. The people who would benefit from it most are those people who aren't the best coders but aren't looking to pay money to make money. Those who are willing to pay money are better off optimizing/enhancing/searching their own code.
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  13. #33
    Please, Call Me Bob trogdor458's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImprisonedPride View Post
    ...Unless you take the tedious task of commenting and explaining theory as to why you code the way you do...
    *cough*
    Comments?
    What are those?
    Some day I'll pay for it, but I almost never comment

    And indeed we do need some fresh material on this topic
    I think most everyone agrees that "yes" they would like someone to optimize for them, but doubt the feasibility of it

    If I were to try and churn a profit, I think I'd devise a program that could streamline the most common of code automatically

    Just an example:
    Let's say the program goes and finds every line of code that affects output directly (stuff that moves movieclips, drawing api stuff, etc)
    It then proceeds to find every variable that affects those lines of code, as they in turn will also affect output.
    THEN it finds every variable that affects the variables that affect the lines of code that affect output, etc, etc

    If you do that long enough you'll find every line of code that doesn't actually contribute to your program =\
    Delete those and your program's guaranteed to run slightly faster

    Time = minimal
    Effort = zero
    Profit = yes

    I'm sure there's a million other ways the process of improving your code can be automated, but I'm just not that creative

    Point is, if you lower your standards a little, it is possible
    Different question:
    Would a program, one that makes things a little less monotonous, appeal to you?

    I wouldn't mind it =\ about half the time I'm doing optimization of various math related coding

  14. #34
    Zombie Coder EvilKris's Avatar
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    Tell you what might be more feasible is a general support service. You would pay a one-off or monthly fee to have an online mentor;ie an advanced games programmer who will devote an hour a day or so to giving support to your project.

    Not doing it for you, but giving appropriate advice for case by case situations and getting you going in the right direction. That would be a godsend for full-time Flash coders with decent programming capabilities that have been given a project and a tight deadline by their company.

    Who knows how many times I got stuck and wished I had someone all-knowing like that on msn, there for me to question througout all the AS3 fumbling I had to go through while getting to grips with that language. If I could pay say- $40 and get an hour of solid support from an expert it would be well worth it at times of desperate need. Beats sitting around scratching your head for two days.

  15. #35
    Pumpkin Carving 2008 ImprisonedPride's Avatar
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    Don't say that Kris. If what you say is true, I owe Squize enough to retire on.
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  16. #36
    Say hello to Bob Kakihara's Avatar
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    Yeh i think a tuition service is a more feasible idea. I get what youre saying IP about people with less experience maybe benefiting from the performance service but for me those people would be doing themselves a massive disservice by having someone else fix their problems. You learn from your mistakes as they say.
    If our body is a clock ticking away and if while we experience all that this world has to offer time has still continued to pass, are we living or just experiencing a slow death?

  17. #37
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    I think what the main poster meant was more like "If you are a noob, and can only do simple games.... then WE can optimize it for you"...... otherwise this idea is not practical at all, like many has stated already.... and for just 20$?.. not even 200$ would be enough for the trouble to optimize a code made by most people, as we all usually have our own unique way of coding, and therefore VERY hard for someone else to understand the structure.

  18. #38
    Zombie Coder EvilKris's Avatar
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    Don't say that Kris. If what you say is true, I owe Squize enough to retire on.
    Hmmm...yeah ditto for Mr.Malee and Senocular heheeee..
    And imagine how mad rich TonyPa could get off that scheme, he always lends a hand..

  19. #39
    Pumpkin Carving 2008 ImprisonedPride's Avatar
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    I'm sure Tony would be fine without our contributions; the guy pumps out a new mochi-filled game like every other day. (Sadly MA is why I stopped playing his though.)
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