Real-time 3D engine created in Excel

Real-time 3D engine created in Excel

The 3D engine developed by Peter Rakos can handle wireframe and filled polygon rendering in real-time.

So, you've seen what the CryENGINE2 can do, and been left underwhelmed. You've checked out the latest incarnation of the Unreal engine, and it's just not doing it for you. Perhaps you need real next-gen graphics technology – via Excel.


In what I can only assume was a caffeine-fuelled burst of genius-stroke-madness, Peter Rakos of Gamasutra has developed a kinda-sorta 3D engine using nothing but Microsoft's ubiquitous spreadsheet application.

While Peter's article is a trifle tongue-in-cheek, the accompanying videos show that real-time 3D rendering is completely possible within Excel providing you're willing to deal with some hairy formulae. Peter's even managed to get it working in both wireframe and filled-polygon modes.

Sadly, his work stops short of such delights as texture mapping and light sources.

Still, it shows that sometimes fun can be had with the most unlikely software, and might cause you to look twice at your humble office applications. While Excel has had 3D graphics before with the hidden flight simulator the developers added, Peter's work doesn't exploit any hidden code whatsoever – the feat was done using completely documented features installed as standard on a default Excel build.

Okay, so it's not going to make Epic panic about lagging behind in the 3D engine stakes, but it's pretty darn cool nevertheless.

What do you think: is Peter seriously skilled, seriously deranged, or does he just need to switch to decaf for a bit? Share your opinions over in the forums.


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DarkLord7854 7th March 2008, 07:54 Quote
Moar cowbell!
Agent_M 7th March 2008, 09:57 Quote
thats pretty cool:P my housemate started work on a 3d program simmilar to this on his spectrum, sadly he stopped due to uni work. it almost works though!
Bluephoenix 7th March 2008, 10:00 Quote
make a game system using it and then make casual games for it.

since it requires nothing but excel itself, it would be a big hit on locked workstations :)
naokaji 7th March 2008, 10:34 Quote
thats the innovative spirit the industry needs, sure, what he created there is utterly pointless, but he seems like the kind of guy that actually has the balls to think of something away from the beaten path and then take it past the concept stage.
DeXtmL 7th March 2008, 13:36 Quote
Generally, he has got a amazing idea in transforming cells in a table into "pixels". However, this is not a hard job for a veteran 3D developer. so i can't say he is of great skill.
The_Beast 7th March 2008, 22:21 Quote
^^^ it's still pretty cool ^^^
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