November 10, 2003
Jak II

jak 2 screenshots

Rainer Joswig posts about Naughty Dog's game Jak II. From the Jak II website:

Of the 1.2 million lines of code, roughly 900,000 lines are written in GOAL. GOAL is a programming language based on LISP or rather Scheme (which is a dialect of LISP). Very few studios in the video game industry will write their own compiler to produce a game, which is a feat in its own right. However, when we began developing for the Playstation 2, the choice was made to create new technology that would squeeze every ounce of performance out of the hardware. GOAL produces some of the most optimized code for the Playstation 2 platform to date.

This is not support for the hypothetical statement “people can write high performance games in lisp” (at least not for the most probable intended meaning of such a statement), but it may be evidence that if you need to create your own language, a lisp variant can be a good option.

Posted by jjwiseman at November 10, 2003 09:26 AM

This turns up a page expressing some dissatisfaction with GOAL:

It requires gamasutra membership, though I was able to read it via the Google cache (made slightly tricky by the javascript on the crawled page).

Posted by: est on November 14, 2003 03:38 PM

But the page right below it brings up one with "GOAL rules"

Posted by: ms on November 14, 2003 09:28 PM

The gamasutra article described naughty dog's experiences using GOAL for Jak and Dexter. Jak II is newer.

Now they have used GOAL for Jak II, again. ;-) What they write on their webpage about the usage of GOAL in Jak II sounds like they really like it.

I was wondering by the way: for the Crash Bandicoot games on the original PlayStation they used Lisp in the production process. These games now have been published for other consoles, too. I wonder how the games got ported?

Posted by: Rainer Joswig on November 15, 2003 01:01 AM

I couldn't read the page with google cache, but with lynx, which doesn't process redirects the way modern graphical browsers do, it's easy enough. At any rate, there are indeed two pages on the gamasutra page, which together form the same article that's on the conceptics page without any annoying JavaScript. One of the two has a GOAL rules section, the other a GOAL sucks section.

Mostly, what they're saying is: GOAL is much better in principle, but it was hard to find people who would work with it or to use existent tools, and it was a major pain to have to work using a half-finished compiler. Apart from the half-finished compiler part, this seems to be so typical...

Posted by: Jaap Weel on November 15, 2003 06:17 PM
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