This Videogame Developer Used the STL and You'll Never Guess What Happened Next

By Mathieu Ropert

The STL is sometimes seen as a strange and dangerous beast, especially in the game development industry. There is talk about performance concerns, strange behaviours, interminable compilations and weird decisions by a mysterious "committee". Is there any truth to it? Is it all a misconception?

I have been using the STL in a production videogame that is mostly CPU bound and in this talk we will unveil the truth behind the rumours. We will start by a discussion about the most common criticism against the STL and its idioms made by the gamedev community. Then we will see a few practical examples through STL containers, explaining where they can do the job, where they might be lacking and what alternatives can be used. Finally we will conclude with some ideas on how we can improve both the STL for game developers and also how to foster better discussion on the topic in the future.

At the end of this talk, attendees should have a solid understanding of why the STL is sometimes frowned upon, when it makes sense to look for alternatives to the standard and most importantly when it does not.