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Microsoft Excel: Revolutionary 3D Game Engine?

March 6, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 5 Next

The best example of this exceptional resizeability is Excel's default setting, where the pixels are so distorted and rectangle-shaped that it is very easy to confuse them with a data entry field.

Most users do not even realize these are pixels, and see only data entry fields!

Figure 5: Rendering without grid lines

Figure 6: Rendering with grid lines
  • Sub-pixel size grid lines can be used if needed. It is a very useful feature if rows and columns have different sizes. You can check the grid lines function shown in Figure 5 and 6.
  • Color of the pixels can be set by 24 bits.
  • 255x65535 screen resolution which results the uniquely high 16.7 megapixel resolution not found in other 3D engines.
  • Astounding 1:256 aspect ratio, which can be set by the Hide/Unhide functions to 4:4, 16:9 or other arbitrary ratios.
  • 255 screens in an application, so not only the usual 2 but more screen buffers can be used together.
  • Built-in zoom function to enlarge or diminish the pixels at will.

It can be said that the Excel-native Cell Graphics surpasses its time and contains a lot of unique and unmatched features which are not accessible in other 3D engines: resizeable pixels, arbitrarily variable aspect ratio, 16.7 megapixel resolution, switchable sub-pixel size grid lines.

On the figure below (Figure 7) the engine can be seen in action (with rendered gridlines). You can start the demo by grabbing our example Excel engine files (enable the macros when Excel asks), pressing the ALT+F8 keys and running the ECG_Demo.

Figure 7: Engine in action (with the ECG rendering subsystem)

The drawback of the ECG is the speed and the absence of some common graphical functions (e.g. line drawing, texture mapping, etc) that must be implemented by the developers.

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 5 Next

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