The Math Forum

Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Math Forum » Discussions » Education » math-teach

Notice: We are no longer accepting new posts, but the forums will continue to be readable.

Topic: Math and commonly used games
Replies: 7   Last Post: Nov 27, 2012 4:54 PM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
kirby urner

Posts: 3,690
Registered: 11/29/05
Re: Math and commonly used games
Posted: Nov 26, 2012 12:26 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

On Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 12:53 AM, roberto03 <> wrote:
> Hello, I'd like to ask you if anyone is currently studying the possibility of using modern computer games (Call of Duty, World of Warcraft etc.) in some Math (Algebra and Geometry) lessons.
> Thank you very much.
> Roberto

Yes Roberto, the game engine approach to physics and mathematics is
well developed in some schools, especially in Japan.

Keith Devlin has received publicity for urging a similar approach
through Stanford but there's no sense in waiting.

A closed source game will be inspirational and is played
recreationally meaning there's no need to add motivation to play
games. (demonstrating a physics engine that
models the properties of materials) (another physics engine on display)
(closed source game engine in the news)

"With higher performance processors and tools to rapidly create the
volumetric tessellations, real-time finite element systems began to be
used in games, beginning with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed that used
Digital Molecular Matter for the deformation and destruction effects
of wood, steel, flesh and pants using an algorithm developed by Dr.
James O'Brien as a part of his PhD thesis." -- Wikipedia, Physics

The learning comes through when you reduce the physics to special case
instances that highlight specific principles and related math.

In the early grades, familiarity with coordinate systems is a focus,
with kinetics coming more in college (mechanics).

At a most primitive level, translation, scaling, rotation, and the
rules of perspective rendering have the floor (receive most

This is where the polyhedrons come in, as entities to be rendered,
translated, rotated, scaled -- and later to be textured and modeled in
avatars for game play.

Matrix algebra and quaternions fit here, as part of a single thread.
Here's an essay for gamers that helps pass on the lore:
(over 10 years old by now)
(this author is frustrated by the quaternion cult spawned by Hamilton
and prefers just staying with Gibbs-Heaviside vector algebra, not
saying I blame him)

Here's my own article on the subject, demoing quaternions for rotation in Java:

Portland's Saturday Academy moves in this direction, being Asian-influenced.

These local students could be going faster in their regular schools,
which would help with staffing the Silicon Forest.

Recruiting cream of the crop globally has been a sweet answer but the
competition is getting stiffer. Many prefer to enjoy similar
lifestyles (or innovate new ones) closer to home.

However, getting more North Americans into the Intel-type business is
a realistic proposition. The native smarts are in place, and the new
teaching / learning infrastructure is coming together.

ILM / Disney / Pixar... partially overlapping GPU / CPU business with
software layers added.

This recruiting drive extends to (is co-managed by) native Americans
who've been pushing themselves through more schooling on casino-fed

The same recruiting happens locally in other continents e.g. Intel has
facilities in Vietnam.

Graphic art is a part of the game / movie design world, lets remember,
not just maths. Many would not be attracted to the business if it
were just squiggles.

Let's recall that many school-oriented video games are tame and
didactic, and may simply involve driving trucks or tractors in
non-pathological scenarios.

This is another way in which games serve to provide some professional
training, by previewing career environments. (Farming Simulator 2013 --
high tech well equipped farm) (real world
open source application -- not a simulation, though CAD is being used)

Pathological variants of these games then have their recreational
value and are for use more outside of school, when blowing off steam.


Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2018. All Rights Reserved.