Peter Rakos warns that using Microsoft Excel as a game engine is "only for determined experts." Nonetheless, it can be done, he says, and in this Gamasutra feature, he explains how. For one thing, he says, few people know that Excel has not one, but two embedded rendering subsystems.
"The development environment of Excel not only allows the programmers to edit a plain or syntax-highlighted source code, but it also provides all of its well-known formatting functions for the engine developers: several fonts can be used simultaneously (with different types and sizes), the cells and texts colored, pop-up notes added, and -- sit down! -- sounds or even entire movies inserted if required.
Some people, he says, see data entry fields when they look at an Excel screen. Not so, says Rakos -- they're actually re-sizable pixels:
"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."
For an intriguing advanced tutorial on using Excel as a game engine, you can now read the full feature
(no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).