std::deque 4K Bytes high memory cost on iOS, C++


My iOS build of my game Dragons High was using about 150MB of live memory.

I used the Allocations instrument to find out that I had more than 10,000 allocations of the size of 4K Bytes.

All those allocations were of the same class, std::deque<unsigned int>

In Dragons High there is a terrain of the world. The terrain has collision geometry data.

Basically I test the dragon or other moving characters against the triangles of the terrain geometry so they won’t go through it.

In order to not go over all the triangles I have a grid of lists(std::deque) with indices to the triangles, so if the character is inside a certain cell in the grid I just test against the triangles in that cell and not against all the triangles in the mesh.

std::deque Cost

It turns out that for every item in std::vector<std::deque<unsigned int>>, std::deque was allocating 4K Bytes even if it had less than 20 items.

For my grid I allocated 128×128 cells, so as a result I had more than 50MB usage just for this std::vector.

For every std::deque<unsigned int> in the std::vector in my iOS game I had 4K allocated even if there were very few elements in the std::deque.

My solution was to use my own custom Data Structure which used dynamically allocated unsigned int * pointer.

This way I was able to shave about 50MB of memory usage.


A better alternative to making your own custom class with a pointer is to use std::vector.

std::vector takes care of allocations for you, so it’s safer and it does not have a noticeable memory footprint(for a small amount of items).

4 thoughts on “std::deque 4K Bytes high memory cost on iOS, C++

  1. Interesting. Was it happening in debug or release builds? libc++ or libstdc++? Have you looked into the vector/deque internals to find out why there’s so much memory allocated?

    • Was the same at both(debug and release) IIRC. I definitely checked it on release or distribution since the instruments don’t run on debug by default?

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