Understanding Game Maker 1.2s LLVM

Yesterday YoYoGames CTO publicly released 2 APK files demonstrating the new LLVM compilation in game maker studio that should be coming in version 1.2.

But what does this actually mean for users of game maker? Lets first answer this question by defining what an LLVM is and why its better than a traditional Interpreter.

LLVM Stands for Low Level Virtual Machine and it can be thought about as a replacement for the traditional interpreter but why replace something that’s all ready working? An interpreter just like in real life stands between two platforms, the Source Speaker (GML) and the Destination Platform(PC, Mac, Linux) interpreting what the source is trying to say into actions the destination can perform.

A perfect example of this would be a Chinese man speaking to an interpreter to ask an English man to fetch him some coffee while this process works it is not an ideal situation.

In order for this to work the interpreter needs to speak fluent English and Chinese and in the same way the GML Interpreter needs to know every function of gml and be able to translate that into an appropriate function of any other platform this means the interpreter becomes heavy with knowledge and holds onto information about everything possible in gml even when its not required.

The LLVM solves this problem by eliminating the middle man directly compiling the language to common language “CL”  this common language is then compiled directly to the platform in question this gives us a huge performance gain over interpretive systems since we no longer have a middle man this also makes it significantly easier to take the language to different platforms since no longer do we need to port the interpreter to a new platform but instead simply add support for the common language which in many cases is already done.

The LLVM handles code optimization and generation at a low level this means no longer are functions compiled into your applications that your applications don’t use which allows for a smaller footprint since we no longer have the entire GML Interpreter built into the application but only a subset of whats being used.

You can quickly begin to see the benefits of an LLVM system over the traditional interpretive system and we should be expecting to see a realistic performance increase in application logic of over 2x and of course small footprints.

 

You can find the demo apk’s and the post by YOYO’s CTO Below

http://gmc.yoyogames.com/index.php?showtopic=545645&page=6#entry4269415

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vcxr1swsi4hrf5r/GDC_Stars-NoLLVM-1.0.0.apk

https://www.dropbox.com/s/88lj8oqjr4t2t76/GDC_Stars-LLVM-1.0.0.apk

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