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julienX

Physics for Game Programming?

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julienX    122
Ok I''ve heard that physics is important in programming games, but just how important? I''m currently still in high school and are choosing subjects for next year (grade 11). Since I''m interested in game programming, I am planning on choosing physics. I asked my science teacher about physics and he says that it''s very hard and doesn''t really apply to many professions, but he did mention engineering. Ok you guys know that physics is important for games, and I agree. Well my actual questions are: 1: How important is Physics for game programming? 2: Would Chemistry be a good choice aswell, and does it apply to games at all? 3: Would you recommend studying physics at university, do I need that much knowledge of physics? Thanks for your precious time (maybe this sould have been posted in the physics section, oh well)

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Alan Kemp    772
[nb: I''m british, so I am assuming that "grade 11" is equivilient to our a-levels?]

I would (and indeed did) take physics. I also took maths (and would have taken advanced maths if my college had offered it).

As for chemistry, I would say taking any analytical science course can only make you a better coder. They teach you to work through a process, break thing down into discreet steps, and generally think before you dive in and start work on a problem.

If you want to get into games programming I would not take a physics degree (unless you just want to focus on game physics, which in itself is becoming a big business). Try something like software engineering (not computer science).

Alan

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Osc    122
For game programming, you''re better off with an advanced maths course. Games typically use only a subset of physics (kinematics and dynamics) which are adequately covered by most applied mathematics courses.

You should take physics and chemistry anyway, because sciene is cool.

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Don''t listen to these guys

At worst, you will get some logical reasoning skills from your courses in Physics. If you are mathematically minded, physics will be a walkin the park (especially high school physics).

The true benefit in physics is once you have an understanding of Calculus and Newtonian physics. Geometry and Trig are also your friends. It''s not necessarily what you learn, but how you think about what you learn.

--Vic--

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Qa303asmGuru    163
MATH, MATH, MATH, AND MORE MATH.

I''m in my 3rd year of college and I''ve taken all the math and physics I''d ever need for games (with the exception of matricies).

Bottom line, physics is just math applied to the "real world". I''ve found that algebra, trig, and calc to be the basis for everything else. Take as many of those courses as you can if they are available.

And like Osc said, take physics and chem because science is very cool (at least until you get to college level )

-Q

[500x1]

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Waverider    169
For me, physics was important when it came to the application of simple billiard style collisions, and gravity. Other concepts like air resistance and friction are covered.

Calculating the actual point of impact and the collision detection itself is more an application of geometry and linear algebra.

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Hoser    122
Physics doesn''t apply to many professions? Your teacher is a little naive...

I did my undergraduate degree in physics and I am currently in the process of completing my PhD. If you have any questions...feel free to ask.

Back to the point...the physics taught in an undergraduate physics program goes well beyond any requirements for computer game programming. However, it does teach you a certain way to "look" at the world. In the end, you''ll be a much better programmer. Some post-secondary schools offer joint physics/computer science degrees. Maybe you should look into that if your interest lies in both areas.

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nelson_am    122
Hi,

Sorry but my english is not good!

I''m not an expert but I think that understand physics (Dynamics, kinetics) is very important for game programming. The games today offer a realism based in a Newton laws.

The second Newton law F=ma, for linear movement and torque = Inertia * angular aceleration, for rotations, and integrate the equations using euler or Runge-Kutta for obtain the position and orientation etc.., are examples of topics to study.

Math... more Math, Vector, Matrix, quaternions and others.
Understand Basic Calculus: Integrate, Derivate.
Numerical methods for integrate movement equations is a key.

A degree in physics is not necesary for understand this.
Remember:
Realism = (Good Physics) + (Excelent Graphics) + good history.

Good luck!

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f97ao    122
Yes basic physics will aid you in almost everything serious you do, math as well.

The main advantage of physics and math is that you get "smarter" and more analytical, which will help you a great deal in everything you do.
I''ve studied (collegue) for almost 6 years, in most areas. And physics and mathe are some of the most usefull courses I''ve read, even though I rarely use them. Sounds strange? Well the main reason is that most other things are easier than advanced math and physics (programming is not easy either).
Good luck.

/Andreas

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Shannon Barber    1681
Physics is essential for all hard sciences and part of university core curriculum. You should take it if you intend to pursue a college degree.

I cannot seriously believe that a teacher, a science teacher none-the-less, would tell it''s very hard and not applicable to many professions.

Perhaps if you aspire to work for a quick-lube (where they change the oil in your car) you wouldn’t need to know any physics, no wait that actually involves torquing bolts and the oil filter… damn that’s physics.

Anyway, if you’re in high school and writing code, you’re bound for a job that will require some knowledge of physics.

It’s import for some games. Very important for flight simulators, very important for auto-racing simulation games., etc... Simple physics is needed on simple games like Super Mario Brothers.

Chemistry is a bit less applicable to video games, but some knowledge is important for many other jobs as well. An ability to tell the stuff that will melt your lungs from the stuff that won''t may be beneficial to your health.

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d000hg    1199
The physics applicable to games is basically classical mechanics. This includes Newtonian mechanics (solid body interactions), Fluid mechanics (modelling fluid behaviour) and deformable kinematics (squashing stuff). However, all these are covered in much more detail in maths than in physics. When I did A-levels, the maths ones let you choose modules in mechanics which were ideal. Physics generally doesn''t spend much time on classical mechanics as there is all of electronics, special/general relativity & quantum physics to get through too!
As someone mentioned, matrix/vector mathematics and basic trigonometry is pretty much essential for 3D games but these should be covered in standard maths courses. Special relativity uses 4-vectors which are similar in some ways to quaternions but it''s a bit of overkill doing it just for that!
So do mechanics or applied mathematics if you want it just for games. Physics generally isn''t really interesting till uni level, but then it gets extremely mathematical. I''ve not seen a game using relativity/quantum effects (!) but electronics could be useful for doing more realistic simulators or maybe some effects or something.
Fluid mechanics is cool but quite advanced, you probably won''t meet it for a while yet!

So on the whole a maths degree with emphasis on applied maths is your best bet, but you could minor in CompSci too!



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