Do you know that the fantastic character movements, crafty opponents, and the fun game mechanics in your favorite games are all created using math?  Without extensive understanding in numerous branches of math, it is almost impossible to develop any game professionally.1 

Math is the Foundation of Game Development

A video game can’t have rules without math, just as math doesn’t work unless you understand and use the rules. Video games are basically virtual worlds with tons of rules that keep everything running as intended. Math is the cornerstone of every game, and making a game that functions as the creator intended would not be possible without it. This doesn’t just apply to complex games; it also applies to smaller ones, and even the simplest games use math to determine how the characters move, how long it takes them to complete tasks, or even dictate the speed and movement of inanimate objects within the game.1 

Managing a gun or other weaponry, programming physics to react appropriately, implementing destructible environments, and programming dynamic weather systems that will change depending on the day of the week or month are examples of more complex game mechanics that use math extensively.2

Developers use a combination of programs and engines using math to code commands into their games, essentially building them from the ground up, to accomplish mechanics like procedurally generating levels, animating scenes and characters, scripting gameplay, programming AI to interact with the players, simulating realistic environmental effects, etc.2

What Kind of Math is Used in Game Development?

Majority of the time, a game design uses the same math that you learned in high school and college.1  However, nearly every aspect of game development involves an awareness of complex math concepts. In fact, math is so crucial to the creation of video games that there are course curriculums, books, and courses devoted solely to the subject.3

The math needed to program simpler games is not as complex as that needed to program more difficult and graphically impressive games. Only a combination of trigonometry and algebra is used to create smaller, less graphically demanding games.2

In general game development, the following math disciplines are frequently used:

  • Calculus
  • Linear Algebra
  • Discrete Math
  • Applied Math2

The following are some examples of the math that is used in more challenging games:

  • Unit and Scaling Vectors1
  • Matrices1
  • Scalar Manipulation1
  • Delta Time1
  • Domain and Range2
  • Dot and Cross Product1

Beyond these, a flair for good design decisions, along with critical thinking and mathematical prowess, are also crucial. Many professional experts believe that math and the creation of video games go hand in hand.2 Therefore, knowing the fundamentals of math is essential for successful game development because there would be no video games without math.3


  1. Math for Game Programming and Development. (n.d.). Retrieved June 22, 2022, from 
  2. How Do Video Game Designers Use Maths in Their Careers? (n.d.). Retrieved June 22, 2022, from 

Do You Need Math to Be a Game Developer? Essential Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved June 22, 2022, from