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What is Obfuscation?

ob·fus·cate Pronunciation Key (bf-skt, b-fskt)

tr.v. ob·fus·cat·ed, ob·fus·cat·ing, ob·fus·cates

To make so confused or opaque as to be difficult to perceive or understand: "A great effort was made... to obscure or obfuscate the truth" (Robert Conquest).

Good Examples of Obfuscation

DJPaul: This one's in Deus Ex. There is a class called "DeusExHUD?" – what you would guess it comes from? HUD (UT)? TournamentHUD?? Don't be so simple-minded; it comes from a Object-derived classed called "Window?".

Side note – Deus Ex doesn't even use the HUD (UT) class at all (unlike any other Unreal Engine game).

Mychaeel: So that class was misnamed in regard to Unreal conventions, but not misnamed as to its purpose. When I had a look into Deus Ex's class tree once I actually had the impression that it was very neatly organized – much neater than the original Unreal and Unreal Tournament class tree, especially as far as class naming conventions are concerned.

DJPaul: Strike two – look at the Augmentation classes object-orientatedness.

Mychaeel: Can't. I'd need an installation of Deus Ex for that... but the augmentation classes seemed at least to be organized nicely in a subclass structure, and named well according to that. (I never looked into their scripts.)

Birelli: Although unrelated to Unreal in any way, check out http://www.ioccc.org This site is home to The International Obfuscated C Code Contest. The contest challenges participants to produce the most confusing C program they can possibly come up with. The goals of the contest, pulled right off the North American page, is:

  • To write the most Obscure/Obfuscated C program under the rules below.
  • To show the importance of programming style, in an ironic way.
  • To stress C compilers with unusual code.
  • To illustrate some of the subtleties of the C language.
  • To provide a safe forum for poor C code. :-)

Birelli: I especially like the yearly award for "best abuse of the rules" :-)

Tarquin: interestingly, the author of this very Wiki script is a winner of the Obfuscated Perl contest... http://www.wikipedia.com/wiki/Clifford+Adams

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