What math skills are used to make video games?

Making video games requires several key skills, all of which require some knowledge of math. Occupations in the video game field are divided into several professions. One of these skills or professions is a game programmer/programming. The following is an example of the Programming Language used in Microsoft.XNA.*:

double angle = MathHelper.TwoPi / points;

pointList = new VertexPositionNormalTexture[points + 1];

pointList[0] = new VertexPositionNormalTexture(

Vector3.Zero, Vector3.Forward, Vector2.One);

for (int i = 1; i <= points; i++)


pointList[i] = new VertexPositionNormalTexture(

new Vector3(

(float)Math.Round(Math.Sin(angle * i), 4),

(float)Math.Round(Math.Cos(angle * i), 4),



This function is used in Microsofts XNA dev kit to render a 3d primitive in 3d space. You will see subsets and templating here but it is very HELPFUL to know what these functions do.

So with Math.Round obviously rounds, Math.Sin and Math.Cos are Trig./Geometry functions that times the angle of a triangle with the integer length of a side between angles, which will give you 3d coordinates so the computer/console knows where and how to render the object relative to the rendering window(what appears on screen/FOV).

If you want to make games it is true that you do not need to be a rocket scientist or an English major, however, knowing math and having a strong ability with it is pretty much necessary.

I recommend:

Physics (Whats a game with no real life laws?)

Linear Algebra

Algebra 1 & 2 (minimum)


With the above skills in hand you could build your own game engine. Now if you are going to buy middleware to handle all math functions you would more and likely be able to make it with Alg. 1 and 2.

Talk with your advisor as they will know more just never accept an answer that says you don't need to know math to develop games or any software as these are false in an industry that is BOUND by math.

Oh and further, take a look at RAYCASTING and you will clearly see why understanding math is important.

Anything in italics is for clarification or edited by Leartes. All other material is by original author.