When I look on the forums where students ask questions I’m always shocked at how many questions pertaining to writing computer games always seem to be with the student asking if they need to know math to have a career writing computer games. And it seems from the number of questions that I see that writing computer games is high on students list of careers they’d like to pursue. The short answer to their question is YES. As I wrote in one of my previous posts, even computer artists who create animations can benefit from the use of prime numbers.
Okay that question has been answered, but would that convince a student? Maybe it would for some of them, but for the ones looking for real life examples maybe not. So out of curiosity I looked at one of the math games I had written for www.mathnook.com to get an actual count of how many math operations were used in the program. No good because even though the math part of the program is fairly small compared to the rest of the math used in the program it is still a math program. I figured someone looking at the statistics would just figure that of course a math program would have a lot of math in it. So I looked at another game that was not math related. It is called Space Traffic and can been played on www.mathangle.com.
Below are the statistics showing the number of occurrences of some of the math operations in Space Traffic:
• 94 Comparison statements ( >, <, =, >=, <= ) • 4 equations using PI • 4 equations using cosine • 4 equations using sine • 2 boolean operations • 75 variables defined with values • 39 boolean variables defined • 2 negative integers used • 22 equations using addition • 3 equations using subtraction • 15 equations using multiplication • 4 equations using division • 4 arrays defined • 47 statements using arrays If you haven’t seen Space Traffic, it consists of cars passing through a 4 way intersection. The object is to keep the cars from crashing by clicking on a car to speed it up. It only has one level and is considered by today’s standard to be a fairly simple game.