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Mybowlcut

Games Programming Major

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Hey. I'm towards the end of my first year in a Bachelor of Computer Science. Up until now I've been wanting to do Games Programming as my major. This semester I took a class called Computer Graphics Programming and I've realised that I really am crap at maths. I stopped doing maths years ago in high school. When I look at a formula for something I just don't get excited... however, when I finish writing something in a 2D game and see it work I get REALLY excited. So my trouble is that I'm not interested in maths at ALL. I have a feeling I'm not going to enjoy the 3D game programming classes coming up as I'm stressed enough with simple things like lines, curves, polygon clipping, rotating, etc, etc. I'd say I'm interested in programming games but not the maths in games... What options do I have if this is what I feel? Does such a job exist in the industry or should I pack my bags and head over to GenericCompanyLtd to program the next Microsoft Word? Cheers.

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I'm in the same boat. My course touches a bit of vector and matrix maths but not a lot more.

Granted, I've been impressing myself with some cool 3D demos from some of the stuff we've done in the course, but I'll never be able to pick up a SIGGRAPH paper and implement a fresnel water technique, and it really gets me down.

I want to be able to read through one of these papers full of formulas for a fantastic new normal mapping technique and implement the code, without so much as touching Google or looking for example code.

What would people suggest?

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What I recommend is buying a good math book and have it as a reference. When you see something you dont understand you can look it up and see examples on how to do it. This way you should be able to implement the algorithm from a paper.

There are more to games programing then just graphics as well.

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Good to hear that I'm not alone.

What kind of maths book? I've ordered the textbook that we need but I'm still waiting for it.

What kinds of areas in game programming can you get into without needing high level math?

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3D Graphics doesn't require "high level math" anyway. You really only need the very basics of linear algebra. I bet if someone spent a couple hours explaining the stuff well to you, you would pick it up easily. A lot of times the teachers don't really have an intuitive grasp of the subject and then make it seem like it is impossible and hard (this happens in a lot of classes though).

I bet I could teach you what you needed to know over aim or something and you would pick it up quite easily.

aim: ibebrett86

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Quote:
Original post by Mybowlcut
I'd say I'm interested in programming games but not the maths in games... What options do I have if this is what I feel? Does such a job exist in the industry or should I pack my bags and head over to GenericCompanyLtd to program the next Microsoft Word?

Quite frankly? The latter. It's okay not to be the reincarnation of Hamilton, it's okay if you're a little fuzzy on what an eigenvalue is, but you need to be comfortable with the fundamentals of linear algebra.

Now, here's my personal story. I got the fundamentals of linear algebra for the first time in high school, and then again as an undergrad. And I thought it was boring, alternately trivial and opaque, and useless. Why? Because it was! Math teachers, it turns out (and I have never, ever met a college-level math teacher who led me to rethink this position) have no idea how to convey the importance and underlying intuition behind linear algebra.

Computer graphics and computer vision people, in contrast, sometimes can. (They all should, but not everyone's cut out to teach.) It's really fun and rewarding to guide someone to the point where they really, really get how a change of basis happens for the first time. But because of their preexisting "linear algebra was invented by people who are now dead, and should feel that way" bias, it sometimes takes a while to get them thinking with the geometric part of their brain rather than with their calculator. Adding to this problem, most people can't get a lot of this stuff within the first month or so of it being presented to them. It needs to percolate for awhile before they can really get on top of it.

So if you think that math is boring and makes you not like game programming, you're not necessarily doomed, because a lot of people feel this way before they understand the math. All you need is a good teacher and an open mind.

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Hmm... Thanks for the offer! Can I talk to you over Msn or do I have to get the AIM client?

Sneftel. I wish I had done maths and not left high school at the end of year 11 but I did... I really regret it now. I guess I should just study more and take help where I can?

Cheers for all your advice.

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Quote:
Original post by Mybowlcut
Sneftel. I wish I had done maths and not left high school at the end of year 11 but I did... I really regret it now. I guess I should just study more and take help where I can?

Where high-school-level math helps out is in improving your abstract thinking skills. Recent research suggests that this is the most important thing to come out of math classes at that level. It's not the end of the world if you didn't have the full benefit of that, though. There are other ways to train abstract thought, and it's never too late to learn.

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I found it easier to learn math when I was older for whatever reason. When I was in my teens I never understood it at all and now that im 26 its hard for me to believe that I had trouble with the stuff that I did.

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Maths suck when it is just maths. Stick with it and give it a shot before you give up. I fell asleep during math classes in college, and yet I find math highly exciting when doing programming.

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