Optimizing the LifeCanvas Class in Java

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7.14.1 Optimizing the LifeCanvas Class
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We start our case study by repeating a lesson: optimization is platformdependent. The main responsibility of the LifeCanvas class is to render the game to the screen when a new generation has been constructed. The design goal is to ensure fast rendering at all zooms, with rendering independent of screen size (though accepting that rendering could slow down with the number of live cells to be displayed), fast pan and zoom, and fast redraw after editing. An unsuitable approach is to go through each cell on the screen, check if it is empty or alive, and paint it in accordingly. However, out of interest I recently tried this approach to see how bad it would be. On the Wireless Toolkit using the default color phone emulator it took 109 s to calculate the rst 150 generations of the r Pentonimo evolution. This compares to about 48 s using our default rendering.
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Version 1 LifeTime was originally developed on the Nokia 9210 using an early implementation of the Wireless Toolkit. Rendering was clearly a bottleneck. As a consequence a great deal of effort went into ensuring that paintCanvas() only updated what had changed; so, for instance, if a cell was alive in both the old generation and the new generation, that location was not updated.
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Each call to the painting method carries out the following steps: 1. Fill the whole screen with the background color if we need to repaint the whole screen (e.g. after displaying a dialog or when just started), or if there is no grid (that is, if the zoom is 0 or 1). 2. Paint in the grid lines if we need to repaint the whole screen and the zoom is 2 or 3. 3. Work out the offset of the screen in relation to our origin (the visible area can be panned around the virtual game eld). 4. If we did not ll the whole screen with the background color in step 1, then enumerate through the old GenerationMap: for each cell, if it is in the visible area and it does not exist in the new GenerationMap, paint it out with the background color (in fact, because painting was such a bottleneck, it was slightly faster to paint in a prepared image of the empty cell using Graphics.drawImage()). 5. Enumerate through the new GenerationMap; for each cell, if it is in the visible area and it did not exist in the old GenerationMap, paint in the live cell image. 6. The cursor may have moved between generations, so paint out the cursor at the old position and paint it in at the new position. The cursor cell is green if there is a live cell at that location and red if the cell is empty.
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Version 2 However, on the newer Wireless Toolkit emulator (WTK 2.1) and on Symbian OS phones running the CLDC HI VM, a more straightforward implementation of paint() ran just as fast on small screens, and only slightly slower on larger screens. On each call to our painting method, it carries out the following steps:
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1. Fill the whole screen with the background color. 2. Paint in the grid lines if the zoom is 2 or 3. 3. Work out the offset of the screen in relation to the origin (the visible area can be panned around the virtual game eld). 4. Enumerate through the new GenerationMap; for each cell, if it is in the visible area, call Graphics.fillRect() to paint in the live cell. 5. The cursor may have moved between generations, so paint out the cursor at the old position and paint it in at the new position. The cursor cell is green if there is a live cell at that location and red if the cell is empty.
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