Real-time 3D engine created in Excel

March 7, 2008 | 07:46

Tags: #3d #excel #hack #rendering

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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