GDC is five days long, but the first two days are full of tutorials and workshops rather than lectures. There isn’t really much difference, but the first two days are a lot quieter than the rest of the week.

On Monday morning I decided to follow the maths track. The first session was split between designing curves using splines and understanding matrices. I didn’t go to these because I thought I could learn much of the material, but it was a great opportunity to learn how to teach the material better. This session was really valuable to me, and I did learn a few things that I hadn’t realised previously. There were some great applications for splines that I hadn’t considered previously, such as using a quadratic spline to create dynamic paths between moving points for particle effects or tracked missiles, or using a very basic 1D bezier curve to make your power meter refill in a nice way. I especially liked the way that the presenter, Squirrel Eiserloh really emphasised that there was nothing particularly difficult in the maths. Basically it was just some adding, some multiplying and some algebra. 


The next session was a little more complex. It was on quarternions. Quarternions are a way to represent a rotation using an axis and a half angle using imaginary numbers. This was a little more challenging. At one point we were looking at a diagram of a 2D projection (on the screen) of a 3D projection (in your head) of a 4D space. That might sound really wierd, but trust me it made sense.


Both sessions we valuable in their own way. Particularly the first session which I hope will help me explain these concepts to students in the future. It was also reassuring to see Squirrel use some of the same techniques I already use to explain how matrices work.


Thanks to Squirrel Eiserloh and Jim Van Verth for two great sessions!