Malanthyus wrote:Asking as someone with no familiarity with trigonometry, does that have anything to do with it?
Not particularly. They're still numbers, sure, but any other number would work well.
Trigonometry is, basically, cutting the whole world into little triangles, each of them with a right angle. You probably remember from school Pythagoras' Theorem: the hypotenuse squared is equal to the sum of the squares of both other sides. This means that if you know the lengths of two sides of a right triangle, you can compute the length of the third side. Also, you may as well remember that the sum of the angles of a triangle is always 180°, so again, if you know two of the angles, you can compute the third. Trigonometry is a set of formulas (sine, cosine, tangent, etc.) that deal with lengths and angles of right angles. Given that you can cut any polygon (including a non-right triangle) into a set of right triangles, you can apply trigonometry to anything.
But 180 is not a power of two; and when you take the square root of the sum of two squares, you rarely obtain a power of two. In fact, the only domain where you'd see powers of two and trigonometry side-by-side heavily is in computer science, for example in a video game. For convenience purposes the game world is typically divided into cells that have sides with a power-of-two length (might be 64, might be 128, might be 1024, might be a lot larger, depends on game) and the game relies on trigonometry to determine a character's movement according to its current speed and position. You've got a three-dimensional vector for the player's movement which is cut through trigonometry into a x, a y and a z component, and they're then added individually to the corresponding fields for the player's position, and there you go, the player has moved!