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mhamlin

Linear Algebra

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Hello, I'm looking to teach myself some linear algebra. I have a university textbook, but am afraid that I may get lots of superfluous (for 3D graphics) information. Should I just continue with the textbook or look for a more specific source? Note: Edited for spelling error [edited by - MikeMJH on March 4, 2004 8:22:01 PM]

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Linear algebra would be good if you eventually want to pursue math or engineering, but it has a lot of aspects that go way beyond what is needed for 3D programming.

I''d try to find something that focuses more on matrix math operations. Also in linear algebra textbooks there is usually a secton on 2D and 3D transformations. I''d look for that.

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There is so much you''ll find in a linear algebra textbook that you don''t need to know for game programming (at least not off the top of your head). Dot and cross products, matrix multiplies, and vectors come up extensively in games and since these are all aspects of linear algebra, people say "Linear algebra is important," however you shouldn''t take this to mean "ALL linear algebra is important."

In fact, very little. All objects in a game world can be represented by their position and orientation, which can conveniently be stored in one 4x4 matrix -- where the upper left 3x3 matrix is the orientation and the right-most column is its position. Now, this has a lot of neat consequences but the main idea to take away is that almost all operations in game programming revolve around "take some action depending on where object A is located relative to object B". This implies transforming object A into object B''s coordinate system and then doing some logic. If you thorougly understand dot and cross product and transformation of coordinate systems, that''s virtually all the linear algebra you need to know.

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Try checking out "The Geometry Toolbox" here.
It''s a geometrically motivated look at basic linear algebra, and should cover most of the stuff you need while ignoring most of the stuff you don''t.

:habib

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Thanks for the replies. I''ve actually looked at your book, and if I had money to spend on books (sorry, unemployed student ) I would indeed buy yours.

Thanks for all the links, everyone.

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