Bottlenecks are critical issues in software development that can severely hamper an application's performance. A bottleneck is a point in software that limits the overall speed and efficiency. Ever had a section of code that slows everything down? Here, we explore bottlenecks, their impact on programs, and our experiences in developing a Rocket League video game plugin.
Consider a hose with varying diameters. The narrowest section dictates the flow rate, similar to how a single slow-running code segment can restrict an entire application's efficiency. In software development, identifying the most time and resource-intensive areas of code is key. This post addresses inefficiencies in code, as resource-based bottlenecks often need tailored solutions.
Detecting bottlenecks is essential but challenging. They're found by using profiling tools to track resource usage during testing, exposing the most inefficient areas. Ignoring them leads to poor application performance, impacting speed or resource usage, both detrimental to user experience.
In our Rocket League project, data initially stored on an AWS database created a big bottleneck, impacting network performance and causing lag. As the game went on, data would continuously build up in a queue; the AWS database couldn't keep up. Given enough time, the program would become unusable and crash. Identifying this led us to switch from AWS database storage to local file saving. This change significantly reduced network latency, boosting the system's performance and the application's efficiency.
However, solving one bottleneck may expose another. Since local storage is much faster than previous methods, the new challenge became balancing the polling rate for user data retrieval. We had to find a middle ground between frequent polling, which risks the quality of the plugin, and infrequent polling, which could miss important data. We also considered player input processing time and Rocket League's tick rate, minor bottlenecks that didn't impact performance.
Alleviating bottlenecks is vital for software optimization. By addressing these issues in the Rocket League plugin, we transformed a challenging application into a functional, efficient tool. The ongoing journey of identifying and resolving bottlenecks is crucial for any software project, ensuring applications meet their goals efficiently.
Tristin Young is an intern here at CANA.
You can reach Tristin at email@example.com.