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BitMan

What types of math are used a lot when developing games?

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BitMan    115

Hello! I will be starting college in a few weeks and I am majoring in Computer Science. I know that in order to complete my degree I will have to learn all sorts of math, but I was wondering what types of math are use a lot when developing games.

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concept3d    163

Knowledge in vectors and matrices is a must. You may get away without a broad knowledge in matrices though. But more advanced features will need more mathematics. Linear algebra in general and calculus to some extent are very common.

Edited by concept3d

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Ravyne    14300

The moderators don't generally frown on duplicated content unless the topic is seriously over-served. Besides, The linked thread specifies 3D games, while this one doesn't specify -- there's a lot of overlap but the differences are not vanishingly small.

 

But I do agree that the linked thread has a lot of good discussion. Its worth reading.

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frob    44920
As others pointed out, linear algebra is used daily. Linear algebra is the math that covers 3D manipulation. It includes matrix manipulations, vectors and their manipulation, and most simple spatial manipulations. Large portions of linear algebra is extension of the 2D manipulation of trigonometry, so you need to know trig as a prerequisite. Of course this also includes lesser math like algebra in order to actually do the math, so all of that is incorporated by reference.

Statistics has probably been my second most frequently used math. Coming up with permutations is common, as is ensuring things happen according to adjustable frequencies. Usually this isn't too hard, simple multiplication or data set manipulation, but you do need to understand the basics.

Calculus is used infrequently unless you are working on physics engines. Most people aren't working on physics engines, so you probably won't NEED it.. It is nice to have on occasion, but if you have the above skills you can usually get by without it.

Discrete mathematics is useful if you take it. All computing is discrete mathematics, there is no infinite precision inside the box.

Number theory can be useful to understand, but isn't really necessary.

There are college courses on fluid dynamics that some people might find useful.

Topology coursework might be useful to you, since most 3D models are representations of surfaces and topologies.

Business mathematics can be useful if you want to go into the business side of games. There are many business-oriented math topics, such as business calculus and business statistics, both focusing more on how to apply the math in a business environment.


From all of that, I recommend college algebra, a year of college calculus, college stats, and a year of college linear algebra. More if you have time in your schedule and if you have an interest in any topic.


I have heard many people complain about not having enough math background. I have never heard anyone seriously complain about knowing too much math. (I heard a few people joke about it because people were always coming to them to help with math problems in their code.) Computer science in many ways is applied mathematics. It is difficult to have too much knowledge.

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