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what is a good math book for game programmers

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I guess my suggestions would depend on what aspect of game programming you''re interested in. For example, if you''re interested in AI then I would suggest very very different math books than if you''re interested in graphics and physics. Since you''re not asking the question in the AI forum, I will assume you''re interested in the graphics and physics!

There are a couple of good books on linear algebra that would easily fit into a game programmer''s bookshelf. I strongly recommend these:

Steven Leon: "Linear Algebra with Applications"
Gene Golub and Charles van Loan: "Matrix Computations"

The first book was my undergraduate linear algebra text in college, and I use the second book as a general reference now.

The first book is a slower-paced book, good for less math-savvy programmers, while the second book is more advanced and faster-paced. Unfortunately, the first book is not cheap (US$95 at Barnes and Noble). The Golub and van Loan book is cheaper, around US$30.

In game programming, graphics and physics, you need an understanding of the pure math as it relates to geometry. And those books don''t really give you much insight into the relationship between linear algebra and geometry. I won''t recommend a math book to tie things together. Instead I''ll recommend graphics books!

Foley, van Dam, Feiner, Hughes: "Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice, Second Edition".


Moller and Haines: "Real-Time Rendering".

The first of these two is now a classic, with a thorough discussion of 3D transformation matrix construction, parallel and perspective projection, etc. The second book is rather new, but also covers transformations and the graphics pipeline. Alan Watt and Fabio Policarpo''s newish book "3D Games: Real-Time Rendering and Software Technology, Vol. 1" is another that I feel is a good reference for general game math. It also covers other topics beyond graphics, including a small bit of physics.

There is a book called "Physics for Game Developers" by David Bourg coming out from O''Reilly & Associates in mid-October. Who knows if it will be any good. Here is a link:

That should get you started. No doubt others will recommend other things instead of what I suggest. There are numerous, numerous web resources of course, but those are sometimes hard to sort out.

Graham Rhodes
Senior Scientist
Applied Research Associates, Inc.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Hmm, interesting. Thanks for the infos !

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Bronstein and Semendyayev - Handbook of Mathematics
Generally known among Physicists as just "The Bronstein", this book contains pretty much every formula for algebraic, analytical and geometric computations you will ever stumble across in an average life. It also holds large tables of precalcualted values, nonelementar integrals and derivatives.
The issue I found on is ISBN 0442211716 . But screw BN because they misspelled it "Bronshtein" and so I didn''t find it. They also only have the 3rd edition English, while there is already a 23rd edition German issue (odd!).
This book is an absolute MUST HAVE. It does not explain the maths behind everything, but it gives you the formulae for every conceivable problem one could ever run into.
I can only advise you to get a good book on Linear Algebra and Analysis (Fischer has a great LA book, , and Königsberger has pretty much written the reference when it comes to Analysis).
You are better off with these books to learn the backgrounds, but you can work better with the Bronstein. You can also snoop into Dieudonné''s Foundations of Modern Analysis, but alas, it appears to me that the US don''t have any of the really useful books (sorry, but I am pissed to see that Amazon and Barnes & Noble don''t have them, only their 3rd-party-contractors).

Also, don''t be afraid to buy a book from the 60s, actually, if you read books by Newton, Leibnitz, Weierstrass, Bolzano, or Cardano, you will find that even these 17th to 18th century books cover your maths needs PERFECTLY and truthfully (these guys actually invented allt he stuff that is in the new books).

Sorry if I am not of much help apart from mentioning hte Bronstein, but I''m from germany and we have a larger selection of quality maths books than the US, apparently (there is more german maths books on the shelf in the bookstore around the corner than there are english ones listed on Amazon

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Hmmm.. I''m surprised that you haven''t had zillions of replies
with everyone''s favourite reference material. Here''s a few of
my good ol'' favourite texts...

Harris & Stocker... Handbook of Mathematics and Computational Science ( Lots of useful formulae ).

Kolman ... Elementary Linear Algebra

Bowyer & Woodwark .... A programmer''s geometry

The Bowyer & Woodwark is quite old (70''s) but is full of very basic but extremely useful formulae about planes, lines and so on which can be read by someone with only high school maths.

Personally I find that although Foley,Van Dam (Principles and
Practice... ) seems to be on every undergraduate reading list
there are for more concise, broader and intelligible volumes
out there (personal opinion) which are also more up to date.

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