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Why use matrices

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Im a newbie when it comes to game development and therefore I spend a lot of time either asking questions in here or reading tutorials and parsing other peoples code, but there is one thing I can''t seem to grasp, why everybody it using matrices when the hardware does all that for us. Everywhere I look there are 4x4matrix manipulations, 3x3, 2x2 and so on. But why? Why apply matrices on every object either opengl or directx does all that for you? Please enlighten me Thanks in advance -Thomas Leggett

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