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2015-07-15   15 Metrics All Game Developers Should Know by Heart

2015-07-03   AngelScript 2.30.1

In this new version I had the fortune to get my hands on a MIPS Creator CI20 board, thanks to Alexandru Voica from Imagination Technologies, so I spent some time on adding support for native calling conventions for MIPS processors on Linux and Android.

Adding support for the native calling conventions on Linux was easy enough, since I had already done similar work with ARM, and AngelScript already had support for MIPS on PSP. The ABI used by Linux (MIPS O32) is different than what is used by PSP (MIPS N32) so I still had to do a fair bit of reverse engineering of the ABI by reading assembler code and figure out how values are passed in and out of functions, but the original implementation by Manu Evans for PSP back in 2006 still helped a lot.

The Android support took more time. Not because of the ABI itself, which turned out to be identical to Linux, but because I had never worked with Android myself before. But, I decided it was time to sit down and learn the tools, so I went ahead and installed Android Studio, and Android NDK. It took some time to figure out how it works, but I managed to get the regression test suite to compile and upload it to the CI20. I didn't manage to figure out how to debug the native code on Android, but luckily I didn't have to as the ABI worked perfectly so it was mostly a matter of figuring out how to setup the configurations in as_config.h.

It's been fun learning about Android. I'm still a newbie in this world, but perhaps sometime in the future I'll start writing apps for Android too.

Of course, support for native calling conventions on MIPS is not the only improvement with this version. I've made some optimizations, especially scripts that do a lot of array access operations should hopefully notice a boost in performance. Loading pre-compiled byte-code should also be a lot faster, especially on mobile devices that don't have so much raw computing power.

dkrusu contributed a small language enhancement: for-loops can now have multiple increment expressions separated by commas.

Other than that, there is the usual load of bug fixes and minor improvements throughout. Refer to the changelist for the details.

New developer references

2015-06-21   ICU - International Components for Unicode
2015-04-08   Game accessibility guidelines
2015-03-29   How to check that a player's PC meets your requirements

2015-02-22   AngelScript 2.30.0

It's been almost exactly 4 months since the last release. This is longest period I've gone without making a new release since this project started back in 2003. This does not mean that development has slowed down though, I merely restrained myself from releasing the code so I could fit more improvements into it. If you take a peek at the change log you'll see that this is by far the largest update too.

As always, when I change the middle version number there are some changes in the interface. The changes are not dramatic, but might require some minor code changes. The most dramatic change in the interface is the removal of the behaviours asBEHAVE_REF_CAST and asBEHAVE_VALUE_CAST (+implicit versions). These behaviours should now be registered as object methods with the names opCast and opConv, respectively. The implementation of the functions in the application doesn't change, just how they are registered with the engine.

I've improved the internal memory management so that less objects will be placed in the garbage collector. This translates into improved performance as less CPU will be required to clean up the dead objects in the GC. The change will perhaps not be too noticeable at runtime, but during recompilation of scripts and engine shutdown you should definitely see a significant improvement.

The script language has gotten some improvements too. The ternary condition operator can now be used as lvalue (as long as both options are lvalues of the same type). Script classes can implement the opCast and opConv operator overloads. Compound assignments can now be used with virtual properties too. Class members can be declared as protected, with the same meaning as in other languages.

There are of course enhancements in the add-ons too, but I'll leave the discovery of those to the reader.