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Vector Calculus, how important is it?


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If you want to program/script games yourself, vector calculus is a must.


As a minimum you should eventually know what these terms mean and how you can calculate them. Note that the Leadwerks API does most of this for you but it can't hurt to know what is behind them.

  • Normal vector
  • Normalized vector
  • Dot product
  • Cross product
  • Vector magnitude

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Actually, I'm very comfortable with vectors and vector operations like the ones you mentioned: Normals, Dot and Cross Product. I'm good with trig. I need work on my matrices but have had several classes using them though - I'm just rusty is all. It's the Del operator and gradients, vector fields like those in Maxwell's equations, that I'm studying now. Tough stuff too. Just curious how often that actually comes up, if at all, in game development because that's my major. Seems to be more sciency than game dev stuff.


I would actually like to purchase the source someday so I could take this knowledge and work on improving the engine not only for my own games I may develop with it but for the community at large. Just curious how often it pops up or how useful it would be.


IN class, there isn't much specific application for games. It's very standard and dry stuff.


my biggest problem is taking the math I know and converting it to useful code. I need to learn C/C++

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I don't think you need a lot of vector *calculus* in game programming, only if you do a lot of physics stuff (and even then maybe only if you write your own physics engine.


Mostly you'll be dealing with plain vector algebra. Maxwell's equations, gradient/Laplace operator... we're talking about higher-order differential equations here, which are too costly to solve most of the time anyway.

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I can recommend some great books but not so much in the way of videos. One guy I like is PatrickJMT on Yotube. There is always Kahn Academy, but I think he can lead you astray bcause I really don't fel he is a good teacher. Nothing specializing in Games though; although, there are some great places online that give good tips and tricks and misc. tutorials. Google "Game Dev sites and blogs".


Now, back to books. I know a lot of great books. One in front of me right now is 3D Math primer for graphics and Game Development, and it is good too. It sticks with C and OpenGL and is heavy on the general math used to manipulate objects in game, which I prefer. Another is Essential Mathematics for Games and Interactive Applications - another great book which is a little heavier on the different technologies out there, and a little less focused on the Math in general and more on how Math applies to computers and logic and different tchniques. Both of these books are very advanced - very - but fantastic books.


Any Book by David Eberly is good but again, kinda advanced. An easier book that touches on the math is Beginning Game Development with Python and Pygame. It was one of the first books I read and I was able to make a lot of cute little games very quickly. I highly recommend it for the beginner that wants or even needs some encouragement in getting started because it produces results so fast. That said, you wont get far with it. You aren't going to make a AAA title with pygame. It does have som OpenGL though, but mostly Pygame oriented which is like SDL for making sprites and basic stuff. That brings me to Programming Linux Games: A great book on SDL and a good introduction to all the packages that go into a game.


If you don't know computers, a great book is Code: a great precurser to the books I mentioned toward the beginning. It teaches you the basics of computer logic, how math is done from an electronic circuit perspective. I used that book to make my Minecraft computer you can find on my Youtube page - see my profile - It's a great book and will give you what you need to continue on to the harder books like the Math Primer for Games and Math Essential for Games which are the cream of the crop. Code - get it. great book.


What else? I guess, in the end, they are all great books and you'll learn a lot, but more than anything, you just gotta get in there, get into the app you want to learn, and just freakin' do it. But the books are a good option to broaden your horizons. Good luck.


My computer from reading Code


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