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August 16, 2005



Hmmm, I seems like you missed his points

1) At least for him, he claims it takes him 6 hours to task switch. So, in your examples, A stacked by B stacked by C (A->B->C->B->A) is 2 task switches more than (A->B->C) or if we were as good as (or as bad as) Joel that would be 12 hours lost to task switching.

2) In his other example of switching back and forth with zero task switching time ABABABABABABAB vs AAAAAAABBBBBBB, if we switch to people instead of CPUs in the second case A will get done nearly twice as fast as in the first case. That means the rest of the team waiting for A to get done can get started using A much quicker again saving more overall time than the first case with all the people waiting for A and all the people waiting for B have to wait nearly the full amount of time.

I know it's not always that easy in the real world. For example on my team we had quickly implemented 32bit RGBA textures just to get something on the screen with the low-priority of changing that to 4bit quantized paletted RGBA textures later when we had time (since 4bit paletted textures run a zillion time faster than 32bit RGBA textures). Well, a couple of weeks later the other people on the team started discussing massively convoluted solutions to the problem of using 32bit RGBA textures. I guess they forgot it was on the list just at a low priority so I had to move it to a high priorty before they fudged up the entire tool chain with their convoluted solution. That same type of thing happened at least 2 other times. I guess that probably suggests communication on the team sucks but it was listed as a priority issue originally.

Rohan Verghese

I think Joel is discussing things at a lower level than you are. His argument is that 'during the course of one day, you should not switch tasks', which makes sense.

After all, in your example, you finish Task C as soon as possible. You do not alternate between working on Task C and Task B.

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Jamie's Bragging Rights

  • Spider-Man 2
    The best superhero games of all time Game Informer
    Top five games of all time Yahtzee Croshaw
    Top five superhero games of all time MSNBC
    Top 100 PS2 games of all time Official Playstation 2 Magazine
    1001 Games You Must Play Before You Die Nomination for Excellence in Gameplay Engineering Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
  • Schizoid
    Penny Arcade PAX 10 Award
    Nominated for XBLA Best Original Game
    Nominated for XBLA Best Co-Op Game