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# So. That Calculus Thing.

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So here I am, starting to make games in 2D to learn the ropes. However, I feel like I'm kind of stuck because whenever I buy a book / try to learn something like OpenGL I'm always greeted with a lovely equation that is completely alien to me.

Now I know that math is pretty much essential to program in 3D and even 2D, but like, HOW essential? Would you guys recommend that I just go head on into math at the same time as programming? I mean, I'm at basic algebra level right now and it aint cutting it.

Thoughts? Edited by GKANG

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From my experience, a thorough understanding of Calculus goes a long way to simplify most other subjects, especially physics. It's probably easier to work with than Algebra.

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From my experience, a thorough understanding of Calculus goes a long way to simplify most other subjects, especially physics. It's probably easier to work with than Algebra.

Calculus uses algebra, so how can it be easier.

I would recomend a discrete aproach to physics and drawing calculations. Since most online math tutorials are all geard toward the continuous aspect, you may have a very hard time bridging these two worlds. What you need to do is spend 2 years mastering the clasical continuous approach to calculus, then branch over into discrete math and start translating what you had learned into the way computers process data.

The way you solve an integration problem is not how a computer will do it, keep that in mind.

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[quote name='boogyman19946' timestamp='1348262655' post='4982511']
From my experience, a thorough understanding of Calculus goes a long way to simplify most other subjects, especially physics. It's probably easier to work with than Algebra.

Calculus uses algebra, so how can it be easier.
[/quote]

It somehow escaped my mind that some problems need algebraic manipulation to actually be solvable. After a while of working with it, you start to forget it was once hard.

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Calculus is useful, but not used (in my experience) nearly as much as linear algebra. It's ok to be lost in the math if you're just starting out. It comes with time, and with taking relevant math classes.

How much you need math depends on what you're programming.

+1 I agree completely, when I first saw the rendering equation I was like "what the hell is this?", but then eventually I found helpful papers and blog posts, and now it makes complete sense. Hang in there, video game math is pretty intuitive once you get the hang of it. If possible, do maths at the same time, it will help you fathom the equations you see. Do not limit yourself to books if at all possible, there's a lot of good stuff on the net, in particular people who once were in the same situation as you, and wrote blog posts specifically designed to be accessible to newcomers.

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My main problem is that I'm not sure specifically what I should be learning. I don't want to spend months wasting my time learning "useless math" that I won't really need specifically when programming. I'll definitely check out that link that came early on in this thread though, sounds good.

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Part of knowing what an equation means is recognising the notation and knowing what each of the symbols stands for. You don't necessarily have to be a calculus wizard to read and then implement an equation. The part where it gets difficult (and requires formal maths knowledge) is proper understanding of the equation and then taking that knowledge and extending it or adapting it for another purpose.

Also, I'm surprised no one has mentioned trigonometry. Even in 2D its used an awful lot.

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Take a course on linear algebra, should be almost all you need for game development.

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