who basically has no idea what programming entails. I have been considering going back to school for game design/development and getting trained in computer programming (I have heard C++ is often used for games). My only worry is programming is often defined as a logical or mathematical process; almost every description I have read cant seem to avoid the words 'mathematical' or 'formula'. And I cannot stress enough how inherently awful I am at mathematics, geometry, and the like. Although the "Hello World" introduction struck me as more of a bizarre and rigid language than a series of formulas and calculations.

So, exactly how mathematically oriented is computer programming? Would this profession simply be an eternal struggle and borderline hell for the math idiot?

Thanks in advance.

So, exactly how mathematically oriented is computer programming? Would this profession simply be an eternal struggle and borderline hell for the math idiot?

Thanks in advance.

Maths is ubiquitous with games programming.

Other programming maybe less so, but it still somewhat linked, at least in an algebraic sense.

My advice; if you really want to be a games programmer then study maths first. Maths, like programming, is a logical process that can be learned. Plus, any games programming course worth it's salt will have a entry level maths exam.

If you want avoid maths then you could go into a games design course. However, since the prerequisites are lower, the class population is usually higher and the number of student that go into the industry is likely to be lower than those of a programming degree.

Other programming maybe less so, but it still somewhat linked, at least in an algebraic sense.

My advice; if you really want to be a games programmer then study maths first. Maths, like programming, is a logical process that can be learned. Plus, any games programming course worth it's salt will have a entry level maths exam.

If you want avoid maths then you could go into a games design course. However, since the prerequisites are lower, the class population is usually higher and the number of student that go into the industry is likely to be lower than those of a programming degree.

Depends what you wish to do. If you wish to do programming as a hobby and stick to the basics; you don’t need a whole lot of math. However, for anything more serious; yes, programming is very math intensive, filled with algorithms and problem solving. Lots of Algebra, Lambda calculus, trigonometry (for almost anything graphical) and so forth.

If you have a hard time with math, but like it, then stick to it and learn it. But if you hate math and problem solving… it’s going to be real rough.

If you have a hard time with math, but like it, then stick to it and learn it. But if you hate math and problem solving… it’s going to be real rough.

Programming is about explaining to a computer how things are done. This inevitably entails some math. Usually very basic math that has been done by a billion people already. Most often you'll be implementing solutions other people came up with. You might even do that without understanding them well. But of course, that would hurt your productivity...

People very often say that programming needs a lot of math, but that's an exaggeration. If you can do something like find the intersection of two lines, I think you'll manage the math part. Programming does require logical thinking though. As an exercise, see if you can get an understanding of A* algorithm. Note, it might be hard if you haven't had any programming experience, but if you can grasp it, I'm sure you'll be good to go.

People very often say that programming needs a lot of math, but that's an exaggeration. If you can do something like find the intersection of two lines, I think you'll manage the math part. Programming does require logical thinking though. As an exercise, see if you can get an understanding of A* algorithm. Note, it might be hard if you haven't had any programming experience, but if you can grasp it, I'm sure you'll be good to go.

For 3D games, the intensity of math that you'll be working with is variable. A lot of (read: nearly all) of the graphical effects you see in 3D games today (even walking around) requires an intense amount of math. However, as hamsterman has mentioned, a lot of this math has already been done. At the same time, you'll still be expected to know how these techniques work. If you're programming in 3D games, you'll be expected to have a working understanding of linear algebra and basic trigonometry. Calculus can be handy, but isn't necessarily required. You won't be working with it all the time, but they will be necessary for implementing basic features or developing effects.

2D games are much easier, along the lines of what hamsterman said as "find the intersection of two lines" being the gist of it. But the mathematics requirements between 2D and 3D tend to be worlds apart.

2D games are much easier, along the lines of what hamsterman said as "find the intersection of two lines" being the gist of it. But the mathematics requirements between 2D and 3D tend to be worlds apart.

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2D games do still require a very good understanding of math, yes when you're working with the graphical end of it it is much simpler then 3D games. But you still have to consider all the extra features involved. For example almost every game has physics, and for the physics portion you need to have a good understanding of basic and advanced math even if your working with a set of tools which does all the heavy work for you.

So even 2D games require a very good understanding of math and you will be working with it in every aspect of the game not just the graphical portion.

So even 2D games require a very good understanding of math and you will be working with it in every aspect of the game not just the graphical portion.

I see few 2D games with any "physics" to be mentioned other than being able to jump and not walk through walls. That's the sort of simple math that 2D normally requires. If you're referring to games like Angry Birds then yes, 2D can be more mathematically complex. But I don't see very many of these games around. "Almost every game" is a stretch. In general, 3D games tend to be magnitudes more complex than a 2D game mathematically and mechanically.

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I don't argue that 3D games are magnitudes harder and more complex then 2D games but I don't think 2D games are simple or anything along those lines. And quite a few 2D games implement physics, like the oldschool asteroids, all vertical and side scrolling shooters, games like Worms, even puzzle games have physics. Now granted they are not advanced physics or even remotely compare to 3D games but it still is a challenge to get the correct velocity, angle, momentum, ect. I'm currently working on a 2D vertical space shooter and getting the collision detection and the bullets and everything else to work like they should is a pain in the ass.

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Well if you go to DeVry University you get stuck learning Algebra, Physics, Calc and Trig, Discreet math, then do math for game programmers across two courses which entails linear algebra, matrix transformations, etc. Unless they changed it.

I agree with Zereo - 2D games still require a fair amount of mathematics.

Given that the OP has shown distaste towards all mathematics, to imply that 2D games has a lack of it could be a bit misleading.

Even the most basic 2D games has to involve some form of geometry in order to display sprites on the screen. On top of that, and as Zereo mentioned, you're going to have at least some basic physics for movement, such as vectors for velocity, acceleration etc. If it's a side-scroller, you may have jump velocities and gravitational constants.

They're all things that might sound trivial to someone who has had a fair amount of exposure to maths or games programming, but for a complete novice I'd wager that they'd be pretty daunting.

Given that the OP has shown distaste towards all mathematics, to imply that 2D games has a lack of it could be a bit misleading.

Even the most basic 2D games has to involve some form of geometry in order to display sprites on the screen. On top of that, and as Zereo mentioned, you're going to have at least some basic physics for movement, such as vectors for velocity, acceleration etc. If it's a side-scroller, you may have jump velocities and gravitational constants.

They're all things that might sound trivial to someone who has had a fair amount of exposure to maths or games programming, but for a complete novice I'd wager that they'd be pretty daunting.

but for a complete novice I'd wager that they'd be pretty daunting. |

Meh, 2D games really boil down to Trig and Vectors (along with the basic algebra that all programming requires), which most people do in high school at some point. As for physics, a lot of the math-intensiveness in basic mechanics (probably the only kind of physics you're going to be using in a 2D game) comes from deriving the equations: the equations themselves are pretty straightforward.

I'd be shocked if you ever needed to solve a differential equation in a 2D game, so Calculus isn't really a requirement (it's worth learning, however). You need Algebra II, Trig, and basic Geometry in the 2D world. I wouldn't be worried, Argle.

I'd be shocked if you ever needed to solve a differential equation in a 2D game, so Calculus isn't really a requirement (it's worth learning, however). You need Algebra II, Trig, and basic Geometry in the 2D world. I wouldn't be worried, Argle.

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