I'm average at maths. Maybe a tad below average. If I was going into a normal career I'd be fine. But I want to create video games. Is a career in video game development still on the cards for me?

I want to be a creative director, but I don't just want to write screenplays, create 3D models and draw concept art (areas I excel at.). I want to actually touch the code. I've been learning web development now for 8 months, and I understand pretty in depth concepts such as serverside fragment caching, and it would damn depressing to throw all those skills away and just hire some programmers when I move into video games. I want to develop alongside them. Is developing video games (with a team) similar to web development, in that it's all OOP and logic but with relatively little arithmetic? I'm not on about creating a 3D engine, I'm sure that's filled with physics and theorems of momentum, I'm on about simply using a ready made 3D engine.

Do you need to be a substantially better at maths than most to develop video games?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I learned the mathematics useful for game development before I took my first algebra class in high school. You don't need to be good at math before hand because you're going to learn a lot of concepts and ideas through your development career. Still it's always helpful to know a bit before hand. \$\endgroup\$
    – user39686
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 14:49
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Laconic answer: As much as the developer likes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Anko
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 14:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are lots of roles in game development. Some require math, others don't. Since there's no quantifiable "how good at math" someone is and likewise no "how good at math" a job requires, answers to this question will be primarily opinion based. \$\endgroup\$
    – House
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 15:20
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The answer is no. But math will let you do more. Many good games require very little math. And lots of libraries will let you get by with just OK math skills. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 1:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PlasticSturgeon Could you possible elaborate on 'more'? \$\endgroup\$
    – Starkers
    Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 14:08

3 Answers 3


As Almo said, 3D game development requires some basic algebra, and so does 2D, but most of the actual development is just writing algoritms and loops. If you use an engine, depending on the engine, usually most of the physics will be taken care of, especially if you use a physics-based engine like Box2D.

AI in game development is often made of behavior trees, or logical paths that are chosen between based on previous choices, with some slight randomness.

To answer your main question: most game developers are slightly better than most at math, since they use it more than in some careers, but it should not be a problem for you if you manage to pass all of your high school and college math courses. Especially if you use an engine, you will not have to deal with most of the math. Also, there may be some modules (like the math module in Python) that will take care of things like rounding algorithms for you.


If you get into 3D game development, you had better know the basics of Linear Algebra so you can deal with vectors and matrices well.

Knowing basic calculus will help, as you'll want to know what derivatives are and how they relate to position, velocity, and acceleration.

Very strong knowledge of algebra will help, as you'll need to construct formulas for things.


Substantially better? Unless you're trying to create a 3D engine, no.

Since you do know programming and databases, you already have most of the necessary tech knowledge to make a game.

When you face a problem that needs math to solve, stop for a while, look for the already known solutions, test them and start learning from the basics so you can get there. I only actually learned geometry, radians, sin and cos when I had to make characters move in an angle. Before that, I had little idea what these things were.

Your school experience doesn't tell much about how good you are at math. I sucked at math back in school. Learning it when you have the code to mess with and test different values is a lot easier than learning some abstract equation in a classroom.

Also, beware of the left-right brain side myth. Your brain can learn as much math as anyone else's.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .