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A real-time hierarchical profiler

Project README

hprof, a real-time hierarchical profiler

Travis Crates.io


hprof is suitable only for getting rough measurements of "systems", rather than fine-tuned profiling data. Consider using perf, SystemTap, DTrace, VTune, etc for more detailed profiling.

What is hierarchical profiling?

Hierarchical profiling is based on the observation that games are typically organized into a "tree" of behavior. You have an AI system that does path planning, making tactical decisions, etc. You have a physics system that does collision detection, rigid body dynamics, etc. A tree might look like:

  • Physics
    • Collision detection
      • Broad phase
      • Narrow phase
    • Fluid simulation
    • Rigid body simulation
      • Collision resolution
      • Update positions
  • AI
    • Path planning
    • Combat tactics
    • Build queue maintenance
  • Render
    • Frustum culling
    • Draw call sorting
    • Draw call submission
    • GPU wait

A hierarchical profiler will annotate this tree with how much time each step took. This is an extension of timer-based profiling, where a timer is used to measure how long a block of code takes to execute. Rather than coding up a one-time timer, you merely call Profiler::enter("description of thing") and a new entry will be made in the profile tree.

The idea came from a 2002 article in Game Programming Gems 3, "Real-Time Hierarchical Profiling" by Greg Hjelstrom and Byon Garrabrant from Westwood Studios. They report having thousands of profile nodes active at a time.


This software is licensed under the Boost Software License. In short, you are free to use, modify, and redistribute in any form without attribution.

Example Output

Timing information for main loop:
  setup - 1133523ns (6.725068%)
  physics - 2258292ns (13.3982%)
    collision - 1140731ns (50.512998%)
    update positions - 1108782ns (49.098257%)
  render - 13446767ns (79.778204%)
    cull - 1134725ns (8.438646%)
    gpu submit - 2197346ns (16.341073%)
    gpu wait - 10088879ns (75.028287%)
Open Source Agenda is not affiliated with "Hprof" Project. README Source: emberian/hprof
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