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#1 NiveouS   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 07:24 AM

Hello, I've been reading a good few forums, posts, websites, etc. about this, and still can't decide. So, going to post here, and see what happens. ;) So, currently I'm going to University in Canada for first years Computer Science. My final goal was, and still is to enter the gaming industry, initially as a programmer, but now I'm uncertain. I am not enjoying Computer Science at all. I thought I would, and was completely sure it was my degree of choice, but this is no longer the case. Programming does not seem to interest me. This could be due to my lack of preparation in mathematics in high-school, or simply because I'm not understanding the subject. I'm dropping out for the rest of the year, to either change my degree direction, or to simply strengthen my Calculus (which was a huge struggle thanks to never taking any classes in high school) and to iron out my programming. And then restart taking Computer Science courses again. I always thought logic and maths was one of my strengths, now it feels like quite the weakness. Anyways, so I'm thinking about changing direction, but am quite unsure how to proceed, as programming/Computer Science seemed like my only option. Game Design has always been something that has interested me, and that I discussed with friends. Coming up with the concepts and gameplay ideas for a mock game (with the hopes we would eventually create once we learned how) was always enjoyable. Though it is almost impossible to find an entry-level position. The other option is 3D modeling/animation. Wouldn't say I'm much of an artist, though would say I am creative. Can't draw to save my life... but always enjoyed playing with Maya and 3Ds Studios when I had the chance. Not so easy to know what exactly is my passion, but Game Design I would somewhat safely say is one, though it could change so easily with experience. I would see it as my goal to work towards (as I know its not an easy job to land, specially with no experience), but if it is a goal I want, it will happen eventually. Just need to follow the right path to make it happen. Yeah, I'm still quite clearly don't know exactly the direction I want to go. I thought it was programming, but it seems like it is not for me. Thus design seems like an option as it is interesting, enjoyable from what I've done, and something that as always intrigued me. Though without any real-world experience, it is impossible to really decide my direction. I guess I really need to try more and all the options. Got a good few months to decide, though as it stands, I'm leaning towards Design as an eventual goal. Anyways, sorry for the list of everything, should probably get to the point. There is a University here that offers a program called Game Design and Entrepreneurship, it is offered by the faculty of Business and IT. It includes multiple aspects of Game Design, with an emphasis on business and being an Entrepreneur. Now this course sounds amazing to me, as its extremely broad and seems really interesting, including the business side of it. I would most likely Minor in e-commerce or marketing in the process. The final degree is a Bachelors of Information Technology though, after 4 years of study. It covers almost every area, from audio, animation, modeling, programming, etc. Which makes me fear it is not specific enough to land me a job. How would this degree fair in finding a job within the industry, eventually working towards entering a design position? I hear a lot of stories, that anything with Game Design within a degree is almost worthless, and ignored, and unsure about the IT part also. It sounds like I'd enjoy this program, though not sure of its worth. Or should I just somehow try stick with the CS and see if it improves, even though currently I'm hating it. (strong word I know). Thanks, much appreciated, NiveouS [Edited by - NiveouS on January 15, 2010 1:43:42 PM]

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#2 Rycross   Members   -  Reputation: 576

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 08:24 AM

So, besides discussing game ideas and playing games, what does interest you? That's probably the most important starting question.

To be frank, just because you like playing games and discussing game-play ideas doesn't mean you'll actually like game design, which, despite the name, is actually work. Pretty much every gamer likes discussing game ideas, but I doubt many of them enjoy writing 40-page game design documents.

Now, I'm not saying you wouldn't enjoy game design, or that you'd be bad at it. What I am saying is that you need to set aside that assumption and critically think about where your passions are, keeping in mind that Game Designer typically isn't an entry-level position.

Edit:
Also, in case you hadn't already seen this, here's a link to Tom Sloper's site about this sort of thing.

#3 NiveouS   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 10:01 AM

Yeah, I've looked at that site, and understand fully what you're saying. Thought about that for quite a bit before.

One thing I enjoyed a lot, was working with the NwN Editor, and currently the Dragon Age toolset. Though I never took the step to work on a large project. I know that's not really Game Design, it is Design none the less.

Well, obviously I love playing games. Would be quite absurd wanting to enter the industry whilst disliking games. But, I don't think it stops there for me. I believe I would enjoy it as profession, though I can't predict that.

But basically, for now, I need to decide what degree to work towards. I don't see myself continuing with Computer Science, programming is not enjoyable. Though following what it says on Sloperama: "You should major in computer science if you are a budding programmer - if your family and friends are always commenting about your constant devotion to your computer, if you are always trying to figure out how stuff works, and if you are always fiddling with some new language or routine. EARTH TO ASTRONAUT: You should not major in art if you are a budding programmer."
I am almost exactly that, besides the new language/programming part.

I've almost never taken any art classes since I can't/never learned to draw. Though I did do often desktop publications during High-school and for parents. Using Photoshop to make signs/menus/logos/graphics for their businesses, etc. Though that is Graphics Design, but yeah, that is as far as art has gone for me. So, not sure about an art direction, though I've always enjoyed design, as it is something I never end up doing/trying, and any direction towards animation/modeling will need drawing beyond any doubt. Guess I could learn if its my direction, but it is a thought.

How does a Bachelors of Information Technology fair in getting a design/creation position within a the industry, preferably not exactly in IT though. The contents taught in an IT degree program seems to lean towards my interest. Being more hands on/not as extremely theoretical as programming/CS. But, I'm assuming a self taught programmer with Bachelors of IT compared to a CS graduate would have no chance when compared, all things equal. I know I need some form of degree, I require myself to get one.

Anyways, thanks for the reply :) So difficult to decide without any real experience.

#4 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 15699

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 10:26 AM

Off the top of my head, I'd say you should pursue a graphic arts degree. You may be pleasantly surprised how far those skills go when it comes time to do things like UI design. There's also a (sadly often neglected) part of game development that includes stuff like manuals and boxes, where somebody has to actually put together the materials. I doubt that would be a full-time position anywhere except maybe with a large distributor, but if nothing else it'll give you some solid contract work to fall back on - and provide a nice shoe in the door of the rest of the game industry. More than anything, though, it'll carry you far in the "real world" too, and is twice as beneficial seeing as you enjoy doing it [wink]

#5 NiveouS   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 10:52 AM

hmm, that is an idea. Was tempted to go Graphic Design before, kind of forgot about it. Thanks for the suggestion. =)

Decided not though since I can't draw/paint at all.

#6 Rycross   Members   -  Reputation: 576

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 11:23 AM

To throw another idea out here, assuming you have a bit of leeway on how fast you work your way through college, you may want to think about taking electives/entry-level classes in some of these other areas to see if you like them.

#7 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 15699

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 12:02 PM

Quote:
Original post by NiveouS
hmm, that is an idea. Was tempted to go Graphic Design before, kind of forgot about it. Thanks for the suggestion. =)

Decided not though since I can't draw/paint at all.



What little bit of drawing skills you need for graphic design will be taught to you in any decent school, and it's really pretty easy stuff to pick up. As Rycross suggests, finding some entry level and/or elective courses that touch on the subject would probably help a lot.

#8 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9869

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 12:17 PM

Quote:
Original post by NiveouS
1. I've been reading a good few ... websites, etc... and still can't decide.
... Yeah, I'm still quite clearly don't know exactly the direction I want to go.
... So difficult to decide
2. ...It sounds like I'd enjoy this program, though not sure of its worth.


1. I wrote about how to make a big decision HERE.
2. I wrote about "is it worth it" HERE.
3. And of course there's THIS.
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#9 NiveouS   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 01:29 PM

Going to rethink the graphics design option for now. Sadly they don't seem offer anything similar at my current university, but can always move.

Tom Sloper - I read the majority of what you wrote a while back. It really is a great resource, and I want to thank you. =)
As for my usage of the word worth, let me rephrase that sentence and rather say, I'm not sure about my job options would be with such a degree. An IT degree focused on Game Design and Entrepreneurship. It is quite an interesting combination, but is so general and broad. This IT degree doesn't seem to cover much networking, database management, administration, etc. that the majority of IT courses usually offer. Though I do love the Entrepreneur part.

I guess my main problem is that I don't know exactly what is my passion. And I can't really tell what it is. Will have to think/experiment/decide. Beyond any doubt, I want to pursue this passion. Doing a job I dislike is not an option for me, not unless it has high prospect of moving up to something I want.

#10 Ilarion   Members   -  Reputation: 123

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 02:01 PM

Having a job you like can be very hard to find. You may say that game creation is your life long passion, but I've known people that have been game developers for years and have become burnt from it. Game development can be quite stressful in crunch times and you need to be willing to spending long hours/days finishing up the product before it goes on the shelf.

If you hate CS already, then I wouldn't suggest continuing it. It's one of those things that if you don't have a passion for instantly then you'll most-likely never enjoy it. Same with being an artist. If you have to force yourself to like doing something, you'll regret it 5 years later when you realize you're not having fun at your job.

If anything, you could always get a business degree and make a start-up game company :). From what I've heard business majors make tons of money. And when your in control you get to design as well.



#11 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9869

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 03:04 PM

Quote:
Original post by NiveouS
1. I'm not sure about my job options would be with such a degree.
2. It is quite an interesting combination, but is so general and broad.
3. I guess my main problem is that I don't know exactly what is my passion... Will have to think/experiment/decide.
4. Doing a job I dislike is not an option for me

1. ANY degree can open up MANY job options for you. NO particular degree will shackle you to a particular set of job options (exception: medical degree, and even then you have non-medical options). Stop thinking that a particular degree will limit your options! Whoever told you that was a stinking liar. You can tell him I said so (even if it was you who told you that).
2. "Interesting" is GREAT!!! So WHAT if it's "general and broad"???
3. YES. Try doing stuff. Take a "general and broad" education to discover where your passions lie. Believe me -- I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life either when I was your age. I just chose a school based on "interests" since I didn't know my "passions."
4. Stop wasting your time and our time fretting over what you DON'T want. Huge waste of time. Just stop it!!

-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#12 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 11:36 PM

NiveouS, is it possible to transfer to a course that is more practical than theoretical? For example, here in the UK you can often transfer from Computer Science to Software Engineering.

#13 NiveouS   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 03:58 PM

Thanks for the replies,

Tom: I guess for programming a Computer Science degree is required by a good few companies, but for other position it looks fairy open. I guess I assumed or heard based on the fact a lot of companies require a CS degree it applied to most positions.

Kylotan: Well, I will see. Was thinking that, but at my current university, this would not be an option. Don't think they offer a SE degrees, they just offer CS with a specialization in SE. I will be looking at other Universitys though, and in the UK. Though I think UCAS deadline is either passed or just about to, don't think there will be enough time to decide/apply.

[Edited by - NiveouS on January 19, 2010 9:58:17 AM]

#14 NiveouS   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:56 PM

All right, so one more question. :)

So, I did some research, and thinking about doing Animation/3D Modeling. Now, there is a program through the SAE Institute (http://www.sae.edu/) offering Animation. They have a campus at my home country (South Africa), and offer a "National Certificate in Animation." Now apparently, this certificate is worth 50% of a Bachelors degree at one of their campuses who offer degrees. So basically, after the year, I can transfer to another campus in Europe or Australia, and complete a Bachelors degree. They offer degrees in association with Middlesex University apparently. Slightly doubting accreditation there.

Now my real major incentive in switching towards this program, is how cheep it is. As it stands, as going to a University as an international student in Canada, I'm paying upwards of $34 000 CAD / year. And every program is 4 years. In South Africa I would be paying almost nothing in comparison, as a resident. And of course I've also always been interested in 3D Animation Design, good way to get an introduction and see if I really want to pursue it. There are no Universities there that I really want to attend either, thats why I chose Canada.

So, what I want to ask if anybody knows about SAE Institute? And, if I wanted to do this, would this be a good idea? This does involve switching out of the traditional university, but saves me so much money.

Also, they give a "Bachelors of Interactive Entertainment (Major in Animation)" - I have never heard of such a Bachelor degree, so also doubting its credibility. The degree is earned in 2 years, accelerated. But, really unsure. Looks almost to perfect to be true, if you know what I mean.

They start in May, which is even better, don't need to wait 8 months until I start University again.

Thanks,

[Edited by - NiveouS on January 24, 2010 11:56:08 PM]




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