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Why video games are made of tiny triangles

Triangles make video games look beautiful. But you never see them.

Cleo Abram/Vox

Inside your favorite games — Red Dead Redemption 2, Fortnite, PUBG, Rocket League — you’ll find millions of tiny triangles.

Games today are meticulously detailed. They’re mysterious and heartwarming, and colorful and stylized. And that makes them a technical challenge: Though computing power has skyrocketed, game makers keep competing to add more detail to their games, pushing the limits of what even the newest technology can compute. Game technology needs to constantly keep up with game makers’ creative ambitions.

Triangles are a key part of how these gorgeous, detailed games appear on your screen — the hidden heroes we should all thank as we play. This simple shape helps keep the number of computations needed for each detail as low as possible, allowing the player’s computer to process these elaborate games.

Watch the video above to find out how triangles make room for creators to build the beautiful games that exist today.

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