SN Systems Tech Blog


Analyzing the size of the compiler executable

ARTICLE BY: Russell Gallop
POSTED: Jul 17, 2019
TAGS: Compiler, LLVM Developers Meeting, Toolchain

The title of this lighting talk is from a bug filed in the early days of the PS4 compiler. It noted that the LLVM-based PS4 compiler was more than 3 times larger than the PS3 compiler. Since then it has almost doubled to over 40MB. For a compiler which targets one system this seems excessive. Executable size can cost in worse cache performance and cost time if transferring for distributed builds.


Measuring the User Debug Experience

ARTICLE BY: Greg Bedwell
POSTED: Jul 11, 2019
TAGS: Compiler, Debugger, LLVM, Toolchain

For a game to hit 30 frames-per-second, all of the frame compute has to fit into ~33.3 ms, at 60 frames-per-second it has to fit into ~16.7 ms. Games are reliant on compiler optimizations to get near to these target frame times, without these optimizations the game may be unplayable. Unfortunately, compiler optimizations tend to interfere with the "debuggability" of the code. This can be for legitimate reasons, i.e. some optimizations fundamentally changing the structure of the code and it may no longer resemble the original source code. In other cases, it can be down to the compiler not preserving debug information that could have been preserved. Game developers often need to play the fully optimized game in order to trigger the required condition to reproduce a reported bug. Making it easier to debug fully optimized code is a request that we hear regularly from game developers.


Supporting A Clang Compiler Optimizer Crash

POSTED: Jul 05, 2019
TAGS: Clang, Developer Services, Toolchain

Split between Bristol (UK) and Campbell (USA), the SN Systems Developer Service Team support PlayStation® game developers globally. Due to the variety of tools SN Systems develop and support, the work of a Developer Support Engineer varies day to day. The work ranges from high level investigations into simple cosmetic UI issues, to low level investigations of the instructions generated by the CPU Toolchain and checking it for errors or performance issues.