Excel-ent 3D Engines

You may have guessed by the relatively few posts in the latter part of the week, half of RPS have been off having adventures. So I’m playing a little catch up, before sodding off again (Romania!). While if I had any sense I’d say something about the Sims 3’s announcement, something in Gamasutra’s latest has charmed me, so I’ll do that instead. Insane Hungarian coder Peter Rakos as got a 3D engine working in Excel. That is, literally, a 3D engine. Watch!

He spends five pages of Gamasutra explaining how he did it, which I haven’t read. He said something about sub-pixel grids and a sub-pixel grid once crashed into my house and killed my family, so it brought back bad memories. I hate you, sub-pixel grids.


  1. CthulhuRlyeh says:

    But.. Why?

  2. Seniath says:

    I think the real question is; why not? If the internets have taught me one thing, it is that people will try anything regardless of need, taste or reason.

    I toyed with the idea of reading this, having a basic understanding of OpenGL, but my brain quickly melted.

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  3. Jujo says:

    This seems like the grown-up version of the games we used to have on our graphing calculators

  4. Lunaran says:

    I bet you could make a game out of an excel spreadsheet. 3D rendering aside, just craft some network of expressions that manipulate values from other cells, and give the player an end goal (like flip all the cells to red).

    I’m not going to do it, though.

  5. RichPowers says:

    My physics professor used Excel to create demo videos of magnetic fields, distortion of spacetime by massive objects, nuclear reactions, etc.

    He was a terrible teacher, but his talent with Excel was amazing.

    But I always wondered why Excel instead of another rendering program…

  6. Nick says:

    “I bet you could make a game out of an excel spreadsheet”

    You can, it’s called Football Manager.


  7. Sucram says:

    There’s actually an MSDN article titled Animating Objects in Excel 2007 Using the 3-D Animation Engine

    And there are many excel games , Pacman in Excel is particularly impressive.

  8. Stew says:

    I’d thought of doing the same when I was a bank’s VBA wonk.

    But when describing mine, I wouldn’t stoop to propagating the worthless and foolish lie about DVORAK keyboards. Elitists wouldn’t be so bad if their preferences had any basis in fact rather than rumour and ancedote.

  9. Ian says:

    All I know is that this looks like the sort of thing some genius in Finance comes up with one afternoon, and three years later I’m the poor sod from Development that has to go and fix it, lest the company goes down the pan.

    Bloody Excel. Grumble.

  10. Masked Dave says:

    Using Excel for game engines is apparently not a new idea by any means.

  11. Tak says:

    I feel your pain. Only in my case it’d be the sales reps. And they would have promised the customer we could make it do anything and everything they want in Excel, and give us two weeks to deliver.

    *kicks non-IT people making decisions for IT*

  12. Lu-Tze says:

    I did pretty much the same thing 5 years ago, including using sheet swapping to emulate back buffer drawing.

  13. StolenName says:

    Watcha doing in Romania?

    Checking out the new Tom Clancy game?

    Let us know how it goes!