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Looking for some Guidance

  1. Jul 30, 2009 #1
    Hello, all:

    I've just discovered this forum while on a quest to find some assistance with a development project I'm working on.

    To start with, this is currently very much just a labor of love and a hobby, though I do have hopes that it might attract serious attention (i.e. make money).

    I am developing a non-realtime, web-based, sci-fi, multiplayer game. The scope is rather immense, meaning that I hope to be able to provide a very comprehensive framework that then allows gameplay to be rich, realistic, and highly diverse. To do that I need a certain level of "actual math" in the inner workings of the system... and unfortunately math is NOT my strong suit. I know that I could find what I'm looking for with patient and diligent searching on this forum and others, but frankly I don't know enough about how to even describe what I want in meaningful terms to get much of anywhere. So, rather than pepper this board (and others) with tons of questions that have probably already been answered, I am hoping to find someone who has a little time to help me translate my problems into meaningful questions, from which we can derive actual mathematical and physics calculations that I can then code into the system.

    The basics are spatial geometry (3D grid vs. polar coordinate systems), 3D vector math (including acceleration) and from there will probably move on to "nearest point" calculations and intersections of 3d geometry.

    I appreciate any guidance, and thank you for your time!

    -Doug Bischoff
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 30, 2009 #2
    Hi bischofftep, welcome to PF.

    I've been programming for game design since the age of 8, I teach computer science and computer graphics, and my research is in computer vision. I have many hobby game projects.

    First, this is the wrong forum -- there is a much better community for this sort of thing at gamedev.net. There is also an associated irc channel for gamedev on afternet where you can chat and ask questions to other interested amateurs in real time.

    Computer games essentially attempt to simulate the real world, both physically and visually. Thus, the math that you need primarily relates to physics simulations (eg, collisions, cloth simulation, water simulation, soft body simulation, kinematics), graphics (mostly linear algebra relating to projection, matrix transformations, 3D vector operations, light transport simulation and tone mapping, etc), and image processing (eg bilateral filtering, Gaussian blurring).

    The amount of mathematics that you may need to accurately simulate a virtual universe can be as deep as you want to push it. If you want to create a virtual planet, do you just want to create a sphere and displacement map it, or do you want to simulate plate tectonics, water erosion, weather patterns, then grow virtual plants? It can go as far as you push it. You will never stop learning.

    There are a number of books specifically targeted at teaching various math necessary for game development. If you search Amazon, you will find some, although I haven't read any. Do you really want to know what math is used in game development? The answer is ALL of it, except for perhaps abstract algebra and cryptography..but then again you need even this for copy protection and security.

    You should get a graphics textbook (eg, Peter Shirley), a linear algebra book (eg, Johnson, Riess, Arnold), a Calculus textbook (eg, Stewart), and physics textbook (eg, Physics for scientists and engineers). It goes without saying that you need to be an excellent programmer, with knowledge of Data Structures & Algorithms and Algorithm Design.

    Start reading articles from GPU Gems and SIGGRAPH to find out about the latest and greatest techniques.

    The majority of game/graphics programming is done using C++ with Direct3D or OpenGL API's, or C# using Direct3D or XNA.
  4. Jul 30, 2009 #3
    Thank you very much!

    I will certainly take a look over there (interestingly, I am already on that list but as a game score composer and audio guy. Small world!)

    Since my application is non-realtime I wasn't planning on using any of the major compiled languages: this is to run on the server side and not on the client side. I may discover that it bogs down too much after a few hundred objects get into the world, but I'll burn that bridge when I come to it!

    Thanks again,

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