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Should I Take Calculus?

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Should I take calculus in collage to help with the mathematics of game programming? Or should trigonometry be sufficient? And what about physics? ---------------------- [italic]Hail to the king, baby.[/italic]

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Learn from my mistakes. I didn''t go to college, but in high school I didn''t bother taking any advanced math, I have regretted it. It''s alot harder to come back later and get back in the groove of learning math.

Take calculus, take physics. It can''t hurt you and I''m sure it will come in handy

Richard D Shank

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Thanks. It wont hurt to take it anyways.

----------------------

[italic]Hail to the king, baby.[/italic]

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i''ve taken calculus 1, trig and physics so far in high school, and i really havent done much programming unfortunately (havent had time cause i spent my time studying , but i feel that it''s going to help a hell of a lot.. everything makes a lot more sense and i have an ideas how to program things. now i''m taking algebra and its seems to explain a lot too.. so i a few words.. taking maths are very helpful.

Scott

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Calculas might help a little, however for game programming the most inportant math class you could probably take would be linear algebra, for all those pesky matrices you deal with in 3d graphics. As for trig, it will most likely be required and will help with some understanding, but anything 3d will have lots of matrices, which trig won''t help with. Only take physics if you want to, if you wish to make games that model real world behavior and interaction it might help.

Dusto

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I''m taking Calculus and Physics in HS now, and they''re some of the easiest courses I''ve taken. More likely than not, the reason I know way too much about math is because of my constant programming hobby. So, I''d assume the opposite relation would be as well .

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calculus is beautiful, but can be kinda hard...but i dont imagine itd help too much in game programming. physics is friggen awesome and it would definitely come in handy if you were doing 3d game programmind

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I''m a strong proponent of taking Discrete Math, too, if it''s available. Discrete math usually is highly applicable to programming. Even if you don''t see a need for the kind of graph-theoretic algorithms they have you spend a lot of time with, you might find later that a particular problem you are working with can be interpreted as a graph-theoretic problem. That would allow you to use the algorithms you studied in the course.

Discrete math usually also covers things like recursion and loops from a formal point of view, which can be a lot of help. Even if it doesn''t help you to understand the concepts any more, it gives you terminology that allows you to discuss the issues concisely, which is important when trying to communicate with other programmers.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Null and Void,

Your physics teacher must not be challanging you too much then because physics at my school (esp. AP) is one of the hardest classes you can take (if you get a certain teacher that is). While in hindsight most of the stuff wasn''t that hard, it could be quite danting at first glance. (Esp. when he pulls out crazy mathematics and first order approximations).


Desert Fox

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Null and Void,

Your physics teacher must not be challanging you too much then because physics at my school (esp. AP) is one of the hardest classes you can take (if you get a certain teacher that is). While in hindsight most of the stuff wasn''t that hard, it could be quite danting at first glance. (Esp. when he pulls out crazy mathematics and first order approximations).


BTW,
Basic Calc is easy, it''s the algebra in simplifying calc expressions that''s hard...


Desert Fox

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If they''ll let you I''d definately suggest skipping calculus and just taking linear algebra and maybe some discrete math. Now this is just my personal opinion but calculus was a waste of time. Unfortunately, taking three years of calc I just wanted to get math out of the way because it was quite boring and easy so I didn''t pay much attention when I finally got to linear algebra. Now that I''m finally working with 3d stuff I realize how useful that linear algebra stuff could have been.

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Taking Calculus proves surprisingly useful. One thing you might learn in calculus (likely in a higher level course) is Fourier Transformations. They are used in things like .jpg compression and file compression (good for save games). Also in calculus you learn "differential equations" that are used in simulations to model events. So if you make a simulation-type game then differential equations can be used to model the relationships between objects in your game. Yes, take math, it''s good.

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just so you know....
if you are going to take Computer Science in College then you will need Calculus I, II, and III and Physics I, and II....at least we do here at NC State. Right now I am in Calculus III. It is pretty important to 3D stuff. Especially if you plan on doing your own software 3D engine. It is all about Vectors, transformations, Dot Product, Cross Product, Differential Equations, etc......
and physics is very helpful if you plan on adding physics to your game.


"Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time"
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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You should definately take calculus through calc 3. You should also take linear algebra and discrete math. You will be glad you did.

Calc shows up everywhere all the time. The above courses will give you most of the tools you need to understand nearly all the math you will ever want. I have yet to meet someone in computer graphics that thought they took too much math.


Mike

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I don''t think they should let anyone get ANY degree without calculus I, it is part of being a literate person. No seriously, calc1 applies to everything, it is everywhere. You know how people should know fractions? calculus is kind of like fractions.

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In many universities today, they make English & History majors take Calc 1 (they call it Mathematical Analysis) - If you''re persusing a degree in computer science and/or software engineering, you''d best plan on taking Calc 1,2,3,&4.

It''s frustrating to work at the edge of you''re knowledge, so make sure you take enough math to push you beyond what you need to work with

Magmai Kai Holmlor
- The disgruntled & disillusioned

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Desert Fox, there are two reasons that might be responsible for me finding Physics easy. One, my school is full of idiots, and teaching anything slightly hard makes half of the parents of those idiots yell at the school .

The other reason is that I''ve been teaching myself RL physics for a couple years in my spare time. I decided I should know real physics in order to make game physics (and because quantum physics are cool , wish I had more books on them).



http://www.gdarchive.net/druidgames/

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Maths is good. Take more maths.

Seriously, there is no aspect of maths that wont apply (even in some obscure way) to a game, or a simulation. As somebody mentioned before, differential equations can be used to model some situations, and if your simulation models somthing intrinsically complex, such as high powered physics engine, you will find that maths pops up all over the place. And not just calculus, but all types of maths. So Squeejee, if you are planning to take compsci or something of that ilk, mug up all the maths you can.
r.

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i too would recommend doing as much maths as you can -its called math if you''re from the US & don''t understand english

all those animation things using acceleration & velocity - thats calculus & damn useful it is too :D

alistair

btw, i''m biased cos i did physics at uni

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Wtf, why is it maths?? Do you end everything with an "s"? Maybe I should go brush up on my chemistries, or my histories, or perhaps my biologies. Well, you have a point though, if we call the maths math, why dont we call physics physic? It''s all a mystery.

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The key is probably physics. But the hard physics (the good stuff) requires integrals and derivatives. So you''re gonna need calculus. Of course, there''s a lot of linear algebra in the 3D equations, so you better not skip that.

Basic trig is important, but not all the fancy stuff. You''ve gotta know angles in both degrees and radians -- especially radians.

Summary: Take solid-body physics (not the electricity or quantum mechanics stuff), one or two calculus courses (1-dimensional integration is probably enough), and at least one linear algebra course.




John
Fifty1 Software

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One more thing. Whatever you take, make sure you understand it well enough to know what''s important and what isn''t. You can''t make a perfect model in a game. The real skill is making a FAST physics model that LOOKS like a real physics model.



John
Fifty1 Software

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster

Wtf, why is it maths?? Do you end everything with an "s"? Maybe I should go brush up on my chemistries, or my histories, or perhaps my biologies. Well, you have a point though, if we call the maths math, why dont we call physics physic? It''s all a mystery.


I wish you used a name so I can refer to you personally, but since you''re complaining {blatant generalisation} you''re probably American and therefore clinically stupid {/blatant generalisation} And dont tell me that ''generalisation'' is spelt with a z.

Maths is a perfectly acceptable contraction of mathematics, as is math. However to be fair, it is the American version which is etymologically and therefore grammatically incorrect. Mathematics is a science, and as such is a body of things (ideas/knowledge/etc) - i.e. a collective noun. It''s plural.
It has an ''s'' on the end. Your example of chemistries or histories are particularly flawed, since they describe an abstract idea of a type of knowledge, and *not* a collection of knowledge, and are as such singular.

And like you pointed out, physics is another example where the noun is plural, yet you still persist in calling it physics. Whenever I question an American on the nature of their version of English, I get one of two answers:

1. The language mutated because it was being taught to very many uneducated people all from different backgrounds at the same time. (This is a historical reason and is reasonable explanation).

2. To rectify the idiocy of traditional English. (This is patriotic bullshit).

Fine, spell ''colour'' like ''color''. Even write your APIs like that to force us Englanders to change typing habits. Use a ''z'' instead of an ''s'' where it sounds like it should be. But dont tell me that math is a logical contraction of mathematics, and it''s we who are wrong.

PS: I realise you didn''t actually try to tell me that anonymous dude. But the number of people who try to tell me it''s correcting a problem in traditional English makes me rather irate, especially as I am a self-professed linguaphile .

At least I hope it cleared the mystery .

r.

"The mere thought hadn''t even begun to speculate about the slightest possibility of traversing the eternal wasteland that is my mind..."

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To Fresh:

I''m American. Are you calling me stupid?

-----------------------
Hail to the king, baby.

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I''ve had a bad day - code failing all over the place .
I wasn''t calling you stupid, merely those people who pupport things such as I mentioned above, which happen to be a large proportion of your average joe americans. But to answer your question - just take the maths course

(I think I did put a disclaimer at the bottom of that last reply
r.

"The mere thought hadn''t even begun to speculate about the slightest possibility of traversing the eternal wasteland that is my mind..."

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