Game developer salaries revisited

One of the most popular articles I’ve posted on the blog was the one on salaries in the games industry from back in 2008. What made the article extra interesting was that I mined the public H1-B visa database for games companies. Unlike salary surveys, where people can claim arbitrary wages (and the submitted salaries are never posted), the H1-B data contains actual wages! In other words, it is a rare opportunity to get some objective data points on industry salaries.

Since some time has passed since I posted the article I thought it would be interesting to repeat the process, which I did, and here are the results. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stopping WordPress spammer registrations

I used to get 10+ spam user registrations every day on this blog. Not a total flood, but very annoying nonetheless. Today I get none! All thanks to a few lines of code I hacked into wp-login.php. Wanna know how? Read on. Read the rest of this entry »

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Optimizing a sphere-triangle intersection test

It’s been quite a while since I posted on the blog (a) at all, and (b) about a topic remotely related to the name of my domain and subsequently my book. Thanks to a gentle nudge from my friend and colleague Pål-Kristian Engstad I’ll try to rectify the situation with this post about how one could go about optimizing a sphere-triangle intersection test, suitable for a SIMD-implementation (such as on the PS3 SPUs). Read the rest of this entry »

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ACM commits more evil – please act!

The previous episode of the ACM saga had a powerful organization bully a young impressionable PhD student into deleting his fully legal web pages under an implied threat of legal action if he did not comply.

This weeks episode has ACM fighting against a US government initiative for open access to research papers supported by government funding! This is a highly important initiative. ACM is trying to kill it so they, and other greedy scientific publishers, can continue to make money on those papers that you paid for with your tax money.

Read all about it in US Gov Requests Feedback on Open Access – ACM Gets it Wrong (Again). Then please lend your voice — in favor of the US government initiative and against the ACM — in the manner suggested by Naty in the blog post.

And spread the word, before it is too late!

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ACM censors linking!

OK, WTF, this got me so annoyed that I had to get out of blog posting dormancy. I just went to Ke-Sen Huang’s brilliant page of conference papers on the web. Except, this time, all ACM pages (such as SIGGRAPH 2009, I3D 2009, etc) have been taken down, with the comment “This page has been removed at the request of the ACM Publications Board.”

What the fuck!?

ACM has no rights to request require(*) someone to remove links to pages on the net, and it’s unfortunate that their request was complied with.

According to this page the ACM Publications Board is run by the following nasty little censoring asses:

Ronald F Boisvert (chair) –
Holly E Rushmeier (co-chair) –
Tamer M. Ozsu (vice-chair) –

I strongly urge you to email them, with a cc to the ACM president Wendy Hall (, to tell them what you really feel about ACM practicing censorship on Ke-Sen Huang’s pages (or anywhere)!

And if you have anything to do with ACM and SIGGRAPH, as people in the games industry tend to do, then I implore you to immediately stop your involvement and furthermore that you boycott their conferences (SIGGRAPH in particular) until they straighten their shit out.

Do not let their censoring of free information stand!

(*) Changed the wording here, because some dip-shit on Reddit can’t understand the message otherwise.

Update 11/23/09 16:04

The latest news is that, while Ke-Sen’s pages have not yet been restored, ACM has rescinded their censoring (through bogus copyright claims) as per the following email:

From: Pat Ryan
Date: 2009/11/24
Subject: Web pages with SIGGRAPH Proceedings
To: ""
Cc: "" , "Rushmeier, Holly" , Bernard Rous , "M. Tamer Özsu" , John White , Prof Wendy Hall

Dear Ke-Sen,

As you are aware, the computer graphics community has expressed dismay and concern about the removal of your web pages. ACM wants to make it possible for you to continue this service that the community clearly values very highly. By this message ACM grants permission for you to repost the pages, with the addition of links to the authoritative versions of the papers in the ACM Digital Library. The author's home page links may also be included, but should not be links directly to the author's version of the paper. Please post on the site that the information is being provided with the permission of the ACM. This is the solution you proposed earlier, and it is clear from the community's comments that it is the right thing to do.

As you know, the concern about your pages was ACM copyright policy with regard to links. As a result of the community discussion, ACM will institute a formal review of this portion of its copyright policy.

Please contact us with any concerns or questions.


Patricia Ryan
ACM Chief Operating Officer

They are still implying Ke-Sen’s pages were infringing on ACM copyright, which is still a legally suspect claim as (1) Ke-Sen’s pages are first and foremost factual listings which are not subjected to copyright infringements, (2) as Ke-Sen’s pages were sufficiently different from ACM’s so as not to be a derivative copy, and (3) even if they were outright copies of ACM’s table of contents, “fair use” of TOCs have apparently not been tested in a court of law, so ACM has no legal leg to stand on in this issue (and in fact, a ruling against all libraries in the US seems logistically implausible):

It will be interesting to see how this truly plays out over the next several weeks, but it seems a battle has been won, though the war is likely to continue for quite some time.

Thanks to everyone who read my post and voiced your concern to the ACM Publication Board. An organization is its members, and there is no stronger means of controlling an organization than through the vote of your voice and your purse!

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Step and pulse functions (for alpha channels)

Artists get a lot of mileage out of animating the alpha reference value for the alpha test. Lets call the alpha reference value t. Then, for example, by having alpha come from a 0..1 alpha “contour” or “depth” map, artists can make things gradually appear or disappear by animating t. Read the rest of this entry »


CEDEC 2008 (2009?) archives

GDC — as you (should) know — is the premiere conference for game developers in the world. That said, the conference is not without flaws. In fact, you can criticize GDC for a lot of things, but one thing they’ve been reasonably good at is posting slides from the talks (as long as the speakers have bothered to submit them, that is). You can find the GDC proceedings archives here. Read the rest of this entry »


Catching up (part 2)

My previous post contained some of the links I’ve gathered in the last 6 months. Here’s another post to try to clear out the backlog. This time covering gameplay and graphics. Read the rest of this entry »

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Catching up

As many have probably noted, I haven’t had much time or energy for updating this blog in quite a while. To rectify this I thought I’d make an effort to at least share the many interesting links that I’ve gathered since I last posted. In fact, there are so many links that I probably have to do this in parts. Let’s start with those relating to tools, process, and software. Read the rest of this entry »

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Optimizing the rendering of a particle system

There are many things that can kill the frame rate in a modern game, and particles are up near the top of the list of causes. A key contributing factor is that particles are subject to a lot of overdraw that is not present in your opaque geometry. Read the rest of this entry »

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