- OPTIMIZE YOUR ALGORITHM FIRST *before* you try these optimizations! That's usually where you get the biggest speed increases. e.g. BEFORE: ' a very slowly converging formula for pi ' This takes a minute or so on a fast Pentium III. r# = 0 s% = 1 FOR i& = 1 TO 90000000 STEP 2 r# = r# + s% * 1# / i& s% = -s% NEXT pi! = CSNG(r# * 4) PRINT pi! AFTER: ' a fast! constant time formula for pi ' This is faster than you can blink. PI!=ATN(1)*4 PRINT pi! Once you've optimized the algorithm all that you can, you can start looking at algebraic and loop optimizations. - The classic one is to use DEFINT A-Z. This forces you to use as many integer variables as possible. - Use integer variables to index FOR loops. This may require substitution and algebraic simplification. e.g. BEFORE: FOR i!=0 to 0.3 STEP 0.01 p!=i!*3 NEXT AFTER: FOR i%=0 to 30 p!=i%*0.03 NEXT - if your code has a lot of floating point calculations that need high accuracy, compile with QB 4.0. e.g. a raytracer - if your code has a lot of floating point calculations that don't need more than 8 bits of accuracy, then definitely convert it to fixed point. Even if it needs up to 16 bits of accuracy, it might be worth converting to fixed point, if it is being used in the main loop. e.g. a rotozoomer or voxel terrain. - don't use IFs (conditional branches). Some comparison results can be directly be used in a calculation. Note that in QB, a TRUE boolean expression equals -1, and a FALSE one equals 0. e.g. BEFORE: IF a>4 THEN b=5 ELSE b=0 ENDIF AFTER: b=-5*(a>4) actually, the above example is too simple for the AFTER: version to be faster. But for more complicated expressions involving multiplication and division, it can make a difference. - buffer your reads from a file. This is especially useful in a non-disk-cached environment like DOS 4.0. BEFORE: DIM c AS STRING*1 OPEN "file.bin" FOR BINARY AS #1 FOR i=0 TO 10*256 GET #1,,c NEXT CLOSE #1 AFTER: DIM buffer(0) AS STRING*256 OPEN "file.bin" FOR BINARY AS #1 FOR i=0 TO 10 GET #1,,buffer(0) NEXT CLOSE #1 - use an assembler keyboard handler or INP(&H60) plus keyboard buffer clearing routines instead of INKEY$. e.g. For a user controlled floormapper routine, this made a huge difference in rending fps. - for a straight QB multikey handler, don't bother to clear the keyboard buffer every vertical retrace. Instead, slow down the keyboard repeat rate, and check every few frames. e.g. This made a huge difference in QBMKEY.BAS - use integer division for integers BEFORE: x%=x%/y% AFTER: x%=x%\y% - make an integer division lookup table if there is a division slowing down the inner loop. - store the results of complicated expressions in look-up tables. e.g. BEFORE: pi=ATN(1)*4 DO FOR i=0 to 360 x!=100+COS(i*pi/180!) y!=100+SIN(i*pi/180!) PSET(x!,y!),c NEXT i LOOP until LEN(INKEY$) AFTER pi=ATN(1)*4 - if several complicated expressions in a loop has common subexpressions, move the common subexpressions out of the loop. BEFORE: FOR x=1 to 32767 FOR y=1 to 10 c=sin(x)*30+sqr(x)+y NEXT y NEXT x AFTER: FOR x=1 to 32767 xc=sin(x)*30+sqr(x) FOR y=1 to 10 c=xc+y NEXT NEXT - make constants CONST. Unfortunately, you can't use transcendental functions like ATN on the right side anymore. BEFORE: pi=ATN(1)*4 piover2=pi/2 AFTER: CONST pi=3.14159265358979# CONST piover2=pi/2 - unroll short loops BEFORE: FOR a=1 to 8 POKE(a,0),a NEXT AFTER: POKE 1,1 POKE 2,2 POKE 3,3 POKE 4,4 POKE 5,5 POKE 6,6 POKE 7,7 POKE 8,8 - partially unroll long loops BEFORE: FOR x=0 TO 319 POKE x,a NEXT AFTER: ' this is a silly example, you should be using ' MMX filling or REP STOSB at least. FOR x=0 TO 319 STEP 4 POKE x,a POKE x+1,a POKE x+2,a POKE x+3,a NEXT x - move junk outside of the inner loops (code movement) BEFORE: for y=0 to 199 for x=0 to 319 a=x*4+cos(t) b=y*3+sin(t) next next AFTER: for y=0 to 199 b=y*3+sin(t) for x=0 to 319 a=x*4+cos(t) next next - use cache sensitive programming. This means, try to access your arrays in a sequential manner if possible. If not, access them in small blocks that are adjacent to each other. For example, QB arrays are usually stored in a column major order, so dimension your arrays as vscreen(xmax,ymax) if you are doing scanline-based algorithms, and only change move in the x (scanline) direction in the inner loop. BEFORE: '$DYNAMIC xmax=319:ymax=199 DIM buf(xmax,ymax) FOR x=0 to xmax FOR y=0 to ymax buf(x,y)=INT(RND*256) NEXT NEXT DEF SEG AFTER: '$DYNAMIC xmax=319:ymax=199 DIM buf(xmax,ymax) FOR y=0 to ymax FOR x=0 to xmax buf(x,y)=INT(RND*256) NEXT NEXT DEF SEG - use a precalculated (canned) pseudo-random number sequence BEFORE: 'main loop FOR i=1 TO 1000 x=INT(RND*256) y=INT(RND*256) c=INT(RND*256) PSET(x,y),c NEXT i AFTER: 'precalculation DIM rand(8191) FOR i=0 TO 8191 rand(i)=INT(RND*256) NEXT i count=0 FOR i=1 TO 1000 x=rand(count) y=rand(count+1) c=rand(count+2) PSET(x,y),c count=(count+3) ' AND 8192 (needed in general) NEXT i - prefer array indexing over user defined TYPEs. (1) Warning: This makes code unreadable unless it is well commented. - cache often-used array elements in scalar variables. (2) - cache intermediate values into temporary variables (3) example of both optimizations being used. BEFORE: TYPE PtType x as INTEGER y as INTEGER z as INTEGER END TYPE TYPE TriType pt1 AS INTEGER 'index of first point in points array pt2 as INTEGER 'index of second point in points array pt3 AS INTEGER 'index of third point in points array END TYPE DIM points(numpoints, 1 TO 3) as PtType DIM tri(numtriangles) as TriType CONST screendist=200 CONST lightx=1,lighty=0,lightz=0 CALL loadobject(filename$,points()) FOR i=1 TO numtriangles V1x=points(tri(i).pt2).x - points(tri(i).pt1).x V2x=points(tri(i).pt3).x - points(tri(i).pt1).x V1y=points(tri(i).pt2).y - points(tri(i).pt1).y V2y=points(tri(i).pt3).y - points(tri(i).pt1).y V1z=points(tri(i).pt2).z - points(tri(i).pt1).z V2z=points(tri(i).pt3).z - points(tri(i).pt1).z length1=sqr(V1x*V1x+V1y*V1y+V1z+V1z) length2=sqr(V2x*V2x+V2y*V2y+V2z+V2z) vx = V1y * V2z - V2y * V1z vy = V2x * V1z - V1x * V2z vz = V1x * V2y - V2x * V1y CALL normalize(vx,vy,vz) brightness=vx*lightx + vy*lighty + vz*lightz xp1 = screendist*x1/z1 yp1 = screendist*y1/z1 xp2 = screendist*y1/z1 yp2 = screendist*y2/z2 '... and so on... NEXT is AFTER: ' index 1 = x coordinate of point ' index 2 = y coordinate of point ' index 3 = z coordinate of point DIM points(numpoints, 1 TO 3) DIM tri(numtriangles, 1 TO 3) CONST screendist=200 CONST lightx=1,lighty=0,lightz=0 CALL loadobject(filename$,points()) FOR i=1 TO numtriangles x1=points(tri(i,1),1) ' example of optimization 1 y1=points(tri(i,1),2) ' and optimization 2 z1=points(tri(i,1),3) x2=points(tri(i,2),1) y2=points(tri(i,2),2) z2=points(tri(i,2),3) x3=points(tri(i,2),1) y3=points(tri(i,2),2) z3=points(tri(i,2),3) V1x=(x2-x1):V2x=(x3-x1) V1y=(y2-y1):V2y=(y3-y1) V1z=(z2-z1):V2z=(z3-z1) length1=sqr(V1x*V1x+V1y*V1y+V1z+V1z) length2=sqr(V2x*V2x+V2y*V2y+V2z+V2z) vx = V1y * V2z - V2y * V1z vy = V2x * V1z - V1x * V2z vz = V1x * V2y - V2x * V1y CALL normalize(vx,vy,vz) brightness=vx*lightx + vy*lighty + vz*lightz xp1 = screendist*x1/z1 yp1 = screendist*y1/z1 xp2 = screendist*y1/z1 yp2 = screendist*y2/z2 '... and so on... NEXT i - use REDIM to clear a large array instead of using a FOR loop to set each element to zero. e.g. BEFORE: DIM x(32000) DO FOR i=0 TO 32000 x(i)=0 'clear array slowly NEXT i x(RND*32000) = 50 x(RND*32000) = 93 LOOP UNTIL LEN(INKEY$) AFTER: DIM x(32000) DO REDIM x(32000) 'clear array faster x(RND*32000) = 50 x(RND*32000) = 93 LOOP UNTIL LEN(INKEY$) - avoid multidimensional arrays Use array head lookup tables like in the POKE vs. PSET example for faster access of single dimension arrays as multidimensional ones. BEFORE: DIM x(63,63) AFTER: DIM x(4095) - don't waste an extra element. Unlike C arrays, the declaration of QB arrays specify the first and last element indicies rather than the size of the array. This matters when you want to make a 64KB array without using '$DYNAMIC. BEFORE: DIM x(256,256) 'allocate 66049 elements AFTER: DIM x(0 TO 255,0 TO 255) 'allocate 66536 elements or 'OPTION BASE 0 DIM x(255,255) - Use incremental calculation instead of evaluating the entire equation every loop. This usually means multiplies will be replaced by addition. It's very important that you do this in any linear interpolation function you use for Gouraud Shading, Texture Mapping, etc. Most line DDAs (digital difference analyzers) use this method. e.g. BEFORE: slope!=0.1 FOR x=0 TO max y!=slope!*x NEXT x AFTER: slope!=0.1 y!=0 FOR x=0 to max y!=y!+slope! NEXT x - Use POKE instead of PSET This is a simple way to get 2x performance in graphics intensive apps. e.g. BEFORE: CONST xmax=319,ymax=199,scansize&=320 FOR i=0 TO 255 PSET(i,0),i NEXT i FOR i=0 TO 255 PSET(i,10),i NEXT i AFTER: CONST xmax=319,ymax=199,scansize&=320 DIM ytab&(ymax) FOR y=0 to ymax ytab&(y)=y*scansize& NEXT y DEF SEG=&HA000 FOR i=0 to 255 POKE i, i NEXT i FOR i=0 to 255 POKE ytab&(10)+i, i NEXT i DEF SEG - Use INTEGER variables instead of LONGs for unsigned integers in the range 0 to 65535. This will only work when the program is compiled. - PEEKing from video memory is slower than PEEKing from system memory. Therefore, use double buffering when you need to do feedback effects. - Use DEF SEG sparingly. You don't need to DEF SEG back to the default segment when you are accessing arrays in the default segment. DEF SEG only applies to PEEK and POKE and SETMEM. - Don't use '$DYNAMIC QB arrays in the default segment are accessed at blazing speed, because there is no segment switching. However, '$DYNAMIC puts them in different segments, which need extra instructions to accessed, slowing them down. This makes a big difference in programs that use large lookup tables in their inner loop. It seems that huge arrays (allowed using the QB/AH command) are the slowest to access. e.g. BEFORE: '$DYNAMIC DIM hugetable(319,199) FOR y=0 TO 199 FOR x=0 TO 319 xo=(x-160)\2 yo=(y-100)\2 hugetable(x,y)=xo*xo+yo*yo NEXT:NEXT AFTER: '$STATIC DIM hugetable1(319,99) DIM hugetable2(319,99) FOR y=0 TO 99 FOR x=0 TO 319 xo=(x-160)\2 yo=(y-100)\2 hugetable(x,y)=xo*xo+yo*yo NEXT:NEXT FOR y=100 TO 199 FOR x=0 TO 319 xo=(x-160)\2 yo=(y-100)\2 hugetable(x,y-100)=xo*xo+yo*yo NEXT:NEXT - Use SELECT CASE instead of a bunch of ELSEIFs. The only exception is when one case executes much more often than the others. BEFORE: e.g. IF i=1 THEN CALL DrawSprite ELSEIF i=6 THEN CALL PlaySound ELSEIF i>9 AND i<16 THEN CALL Calculate(i) ELSE PRINT "." ENDIF AFTER: SELECT CASE i CASE 1 CALL DrawSprite CASE 6 CALL PlaySound CASE 10 TO 15 CALL Calculate(i) CASE ELSE PRINT "." END SELECT - use AND instead of MOD for MODing by a power of 2. BEFORE: a=b MOD 64 AFTER: a=b AND 63 - simplify compares against zero BEFORE IF a%<>0 THEN b%=b%-1 END IF AFTER: IF a% THEN 'note <>0 is gone b%=b%-1 END IF - use -x to find the negative of a number instead of -1*x. This is an obvious optimization if you know that the CPU has a NEG instruction, which is faster than IMUL. - don't put the main loop in the main code-- put it in a SUB. This makes a difference in the IDE, probably because the p-code interpreter has less variables to wade through when you are in a SUB. - use static storage for non-recursive SUB parameters. This makes very little improvement in speed, unless there are tons of variables passed to a SUB. BEFORE: SUB drawcircle(x%,y%,r%) 'routine to draw a circle END SUB AFTER: SUB drawcircle(x%,y%,r%) STATIC 'routine to draw a circle END SUB - pass dummy parameters to functions that take an odd number of arguments in order to improve data alignment. The dummy parameter is not used by the function, but is there to encourage burst memory writes. This only makes a minimal difference in speed. e.g. BEFORE: CALL drawcircle(x%,y%,r%) AFTER: CALL drawcircle(x%,y%,r%,dummy%) - don't initialize QB array elements to zero. Warning: this is a dangerous habit to get into, if you plan to use C or C++ later on. This is because C does not initialize variables by default. e.g. BEFORE: DIM div320(32767) FOR i=0 to 32767 div320(i)=i\320 NEXT AFTER: DIM div320(32767) FOR i=320 to 32767 div320(i)=i\320 NEXT - for floating point, multiply by the reciprocal of a number instead of dividing by a number. BEFORE: SUB normalize(x!,y!,z!) norm!=sqrt(x!*x! + y!*y! + z!*z!) x!=x!/norm! y!=y!/norm! z!=z!/norm! AFTER: SUB normalize(x!,y!,z!) recipnorm!=1/sqrt(x!*x! + y!*y! + z!*z!) x!=x!*recipnorm! y!=y!*recipnorm! z!=z!*recipnorm! END SUB - Simplify comparisons using simpler monotonic functions. Monotonic functions are functions that always grow upwards or always grow downwards. For example, x^2 is a monotonic function of x, so is 2*x. In the example, an expensive square root was removed by squaring both sides, since squaring is a monotonic function. BEFORE: dist=sqr( x*x+y*y) IF dist < radius THEN 'inside circle ENDIF AFTER: r2=radius*radius distsquared=x*x+y*y IF distsquared < r2 THEN 'inside circle ENDIFAdvanced optimizations for C++

Intel Optimization Best Practices - 1) system level tuning (disk I/O, network, memory bus overload) 2) application level tuning (data structures, APIs), 3) microarchitecture-level tuning

*Thanks for Qasir, entropy, Pasco, and Eclipzer for their critiques and suggestions.*