Tuesday, May 09, 2006

64-bit tactics module in Cross-platform Free Pascal

I decided to keep MoyoGo written in Pascal by splitting development: Legacy MoyoGo will be in 32-bit Delphi, new code will be in 32/64-bit Free Pascal.

GoTools is written in Pascal as well - I tried to buy a sourcecode licence but Anders Kierulf from SmartGo has bought the sole rights for it for an incredibly huge sum. Thomans Wolf alluded to - sit down - half a million USD. Anders certainly can afford it - being a long-time Microsoftie, he is a multi-millionaire. I was disappointed of course (I offered to make GoTools much better if I got a source licence) but after having talked a lot with Thomas, I now think that it's better to write my own because Thomas never took optimization issues into account. He said "I am a computer scientist, not a software engineer".

This is good news, it means I will have a huge advantage over SmartGo's tactical module for a very long time, because modifying other people's ancient, ported code to have a radically different, 64-bit based design is just about impossible.

I am designing the Tactics module to take advantage of the fact that 64-bit registers manipulate data twice as fast as 32-bit registers. Using a 64-bit compiler will therefore result in a much faster TsumeGo module, also because 64-bit CPU's have double the number of registers and because they are able to do realtime pipeline rescheduling.

Free Pascal supported 64-bit targets before gcc did, and it can target just about anything, from mobile devices to supercomputers.