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Video Game Design and the Kind of Math Problem Solving it Requires

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Wanna Make a Game? Gotta Do the Math

Video game development isn’t all fun and games, so to speak. Ever since the nation caught the “Fortnite fever,” students of all ages tuned into the video game craze, engaged in a more common pastime these days (we’ve come a long way from tag and duck-duck-goose). But what a lot of younger video game enthusiasts and gaming teenagers don’t realize is the sophisticated design that goes into such modern marvels of digital engineering like video games actually takes a lot of difficult math problem solving.

More to Video Games than Meets the Eye

The truth is that students that practice hard math problems consistently are more apt and able to develop in-game systems that make games entertaining. Areteem had the wonderful pleasure of sitting down with a game developer to discuss the intricacies of game design and how math is often times the strongest underlying element to game design. We spoke with a systems designer that regularly tweaks in-game items for proper balance.

“Depending on your discipline, all types of [math] have merit,” said the designer who asked to remain anonymous. “Artists are constantly working with limitations based on geometry, programmers with physics, and designers with algebra, calculus, and statistics.”

Behind all the flashy, cartoon-like graphics, there’s a whole host of numbers being calculated on the fly that we can’t see.”Want a projectile like an arrow? You need to plot out gravity and “weight” of the object to calculate maximum travel distances, fall rate, and viability,” added the designer. “Want close range combat? You need to know average human reaction timings, compared to arcs and reach of the type you want to accomplish.”

It takes a strong level of math problem solving to not only get these math-based systems working correctly behind the scenes, but to produce an entertaining experience that is balanced properly. “Make no mistake. The ‘fun’ of a game beings and ends with developers plotting points on a graph, creating formulae, and debating whether the visible surface area of an enemy is too small or too large and doing it within limitations imposed since the beginning, with everything coming together into, hopefully, something that can be considered fun.”

Well, there you have it! There’s fun behind the numbers, and if game design is where your sights lie, then we suggest practicing those hard math problems so you’re able to carry that experience forward to develop the next biggest video game on the market. We’d love to see what ideas you have in store for a new game. Put your mind to it today.

And thank you to the systems developer who spoke with Areteem!

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