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Skillset required to *code* 3D Modelling software?

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Hi, I've always wanted to design not games per se but 3D modelling software. What skill sets do I need to getnto that type of programming? I need details of the specific math techniques, languages, etc. I think it may be the same for game programming but I wanted to make sure. Also what is the typical cycle time for a VERY stripped down Maya type program coding project and a simple 1 level game with inertia, gravity, but not much content? Thanks in advnace.

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I've always wanted to design not games per se but 3D modelling software. What skill sets do I need to getnto that type of programming?

On a basic level, the exact same knowledge as you'd need to write 3D games. Linear algebra, an understanding of the graphics pipeline, et cetera. Beyond that, high-powered modelling tools tend to provide more complex surface representations (subdivision, NURBs, implicit surfaces) that require math not directly used in most game development (calculus, curve and surface theory, more advanced linear algebra, et cetera). Often they provide ray tracing and other renderer methods that differ (not necessarily harder, but just different) from typical rasterization techniques used in games. Often they provide complex physics simulation engines to model deformations and physical interactions, et cetera. You'd also need to be familiar with other modelling tools so you can assess the advantages and disadvantages of their user interfaces when building your own.

It's a very complex, broad subject area (just like games), so it's impossible to give a complete list of things you'd need to know. Worry instead about things you want to implement in your modelling tool, then discover how other tools implement them, and then research the background techniques (most of which are available in, say, SIGGRAPH papers) and implement them.

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Also what is the typical cycle time for a VERY stripped down Maya type program coding project and a simple 1 level game with inertia, gravity, but not much content?

There is none, that depends entirely on the development team. Nobody can assess the time it will take you except for you. And if you cannot provide the estimate yourself, the answer is probably "a very long time."

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