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Looking for Colleges... Having a hard time!


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#1 Madman340   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 12:58 PM

Alright, I live in Florida, so a university or college (public or private) in state would be the best choice, although after a few days of research, I've turned up pretty meager results... It doesn't seem like a school exists here that offers programs in Game Art/Game Design/Game Development at a reasonable tuition cost. I'm sure the first suggestion by a passerby would be Full Sail, but I've read up on them a lot, and they seem to be waaaay too greedy to care about their students. It also costs 75k to go there, and that is another limitation stopping me. I am trying to find a college or university that does not cost more than 30k purely in tuition. I am willing to go out-of-state as well, as long as the money and subject guidelines are met! So please suggest any and all possible candidates. Out of art, design, and development, I would be most happy with one that teaches design, but with aspects in both art(animation, textures, level design) and development(programming languages). Of course I'd also like the game design program to cover general game design areas as well; such as audience perception, planning, etc. I'm hoping to go through all three aspects of game design to figure out what I truly want to do, and will enjoy doing the most. Thank you, Madman340

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#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10157

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 01:31 PM

Quote:
Original post by Madman340
It doesn't seem like a school exists here that offers programs in Game Art/Game Design/Game Development at a reasonable tuition cost.

Three choices, then:
a. Go to a regular college instead.
b. Go out of state (but it'll probably still be expensive).
c. Go to community college for the first 2 years, then go to another school for your degree (that'll mitigate the expense).

[Edited by - Tom Sloper on January 24, 2010 10:31:52 PM]
-- 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.

#3 Madman340   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:59 PM

I was hoping to just jump right into the classes I want.

Also, what do you mean by:
Go to a regular college instead.

I don't think I've even come across a state/public college that offers this.

#4 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10157

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 05:32 PM

Quote:
Original post by Madman340
1. I was hoping to just jump right into the classes I want.
2. Also, what do you mean by:
Go to a regular college instead.
I don't think I've even come across a state/public college that offers this.

1. The fourth dimension doesn't seem to be compatible with the wish for instant gratification a whole lot.
2. I mean "go to a regular college" and "take regular classes that are somewhat close to what you want to study." For example:
- If you wanted to be a game artist, take art classes.
- If you wanted to be a game programmer, take Computer Science classes.
- If you wanted to be a game designer, read FAQ 3 on my website (it's listed in this forum's FAQs, click "View Forum FAQ" above).

-- 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.

#5 KulSeran   Members   -  Reputation: 2582

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 05:39 PM

I think what Tom was suggesting was that you go to a regular college for a standard CS degree. There is some debate as to what is better in the eyes of an employer. Some like the Game degree stuff, but a lot prefer the CS degrees.
Don't discount in state for this, colleges like to hike the costs for people who would be moving from another state to attend.

Also, good grades and a bit of hunting for scholarships at a regular college can greatly reduce your costs (i manged to only need to pay for food/housing, with everything else covered).
You likely want to get a job or better yet, and internship somewhere during school, and that will reduce your overall payments.
Even then, what is a few years of debt for getting to work a job you enjoy for the rest of your life? If "debt" is holding you back, you aren't driven enough and may want to consider what you are getting into.

If you pick a reasonable college, you'll get a usable education. School isn't going to teach you everything anyway. Many of the game's degree people didn't take any of the OS, databases, compilers, parallel processing, or digital electronics classes that teach you how everything works. Many of the CS people didn't take any of the fancy graphics courses, design courses, or even build working game demos in class. If you go either route, you're going to have to take initiative on your own to figure out all the missing peaces to fill out your own portfolio.


#6 StephenTC   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 07:12 PM

I went to Full Sail for my undergraduate and am attending a public University for my masters so I think I'll chip in here.

Quote:
I'm sure the first suggestion by a passerby would be Full Sail, but I've read up on them a lot, and they seem to be waaaay too greedy to care about their students.


Ahhh, they are private and it's fair to say they are a business. However, I'm attending a public university (Clemson University) and while there are a lot more student friendly components (assistantships, continued professor-student interaction), the reality is that regular schools are businesses too.

Also, there were a lot of supportive people at Full Sail. Even though the career team won't get you a job, if you keep on top of things they can get you an opportunity you wouldn't otherwise have. In the end, I got my first job on my own footwork.

I also learned a lot more there in a short amount of time than I know I could have elsewhere.

Quote:
I was hoping to just jump right into the classes I want.


I completely understand what you mean there. High-school drudgery really demotivated me towards general education. Ironically, it was my desire for more general education that drove me back towards a Master degree. So, take from that what you will.

Quote:
I'm hoping to go through all three aspects of game design to figure out what I truly want to do


Well there is Digipen which is long term and more traditional (It's 4 years).

The biggest downside on technically specific schools like Full Sail and Digipen are the limitations you put on yourself. They will help you get a game job but transferring fields later takes an extra bit of work.

A traditional computer science degree offers you time to do what you want and enjoy time with friends. I'd only use community college as a very short term solution. BTW, I think UCF offers some programs similar to what you want. Look into them.

ALL THAT SAID:

I would never take my time at Full Sail back. It was a unique experience and has helped me. I've found that it's more about the person though. At Full Sail there were people who slacked and people who were superstars. At Clemson University it's the same way.

In the end your choice will be more affected by your own dedication.

#7 Madman340   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 07:54 PM

Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
Quote:
Original post by Madman340
1. I was hoping to just jump right into the classes I want.
2. Also, what do you mean by:
Go to a regular college instead.
I don't think I've even come across a state/public college that offers this.

1. The fourth dimension doesn't seem to be compatible with the wish for instant gratification a whole lot.
2. I mean "go to a regular college" and "take regular classes that are somewhat close to what you want to study." For example:
- If you wanted to be a game artist, take art classes.
- If you wanted to be a game programmer, take Computer Science classes.
- If you wanted to be a game designer, read FAQ 3 on my website (it's listed in this forum's FAQs, click "View Forum FAQ" above).


1. I'm not looking for instant gratification, I just don't want to waste my time with information that is not necessary, and in the end will only put me further away from my goal. I had a feeling I'd get a saleck-esque remark for that statement lol.

2. As I said previously, I want to dip into the education for all three cornerstones of game design, not just one.



Quote:
Original post by KulSeran
I think what Tom was suggesting was that you go to a regular college for a standard CS degree. There is some debate as to what is better in the eyes of an employer. Some like the Game degree stuff, but a lot prefer the CS degrees.
Don't discount in state for this, colleges like to hike the costs for people who would be moving from another state to attend.

Also, good grades and a bit of hunting for scholarships at a regular college can greatly reduce your costs (i manged to only need to pay for food/housing, with everything else covered).
You likely want to get a job or better yet, and internship somewhere during school, and that will reduce your overall payments.
Even then, what is a few years of debt for getting to work a job you enjoy for the rest of your life? If "debt" is holding you back, you aren't driven enough and may want to consider what you are getting into.

If you pick a reasonable college, you'll get a usable education. School isn't going to teach you everything anyway. Many of the game's degree people didn't take any of the OS, databases, compilers, parallel processing, or digital electronics classes that teach you how everything works. Many of the CS people didn't take any of the fancy graphics courses, design courses, or even build working game demos in class. If you go either route, you're going to have to take initiative on your own to figure out all the missing peaces to fill out your own portfolio.


I think I'll look more into these options after the insight provided by you and Tom. Thank you both.


Quote:
Original post by StephenTC
I went to Full Sail for my undergraduate and am attending a public University for my masters so I think I'll chip in here.

Quote:
I'm sure the first suggestion by a passerby would be Full Sail, but I've read up on them a lot, and they seem to be waaaay too greedy to care about their students.


Ahhh, they are private and it's fair to say they are a business. However, I'm attending a public university (Clemson University) and while there are a lot more student friendly components (assistantships, continued professor-student interaction), the reality is that regular schools are businesses too.

Also, there were a lot of supportive people at Full Sail. Even though the career team won't get you a job, if you keep on top of things they can get you an opportunity you wouldn't otherwise have. In the end, I got my first job on my own footwork.

I also learned a lot more there in a short amount of time than I know I could have elsewhere.

Quote:
I was hoping to just jump right into the classes I want.


I completely understand what you mean there. High-school drudgery really demotivated me towards general education. Ironically, it was my desire for more general education that drove me back towards a Master degree. So, take from that what you will.

Quote:
I'm hoping to go through all three aspects of game design to figure out what I truly want to do


Well there is Digipen which is long term and more traditional (It's 4 years).

The biggest downside on technically specific schools like Full Sail and Digipen are the limitations you put on yourself. They will help you get a game job but transferring fields later takes an extra bit of work.

A traditional computer science degree offers you time to do what you want and enjoy time with friends. I'd only use community college as a very short term solution. BTW, I think UCF offers some programs similar to what you want. Look into them.

ALL THAT SAID:

I would never take my time at Full Sail back. It was a unique experience and has helped me. I've found that it's more about the person though. At Full Sail there were people who slacked and people who were superstars. At Clemson University it's the same way.

In the end your choice will be more affected by your own dedication.


I still don't think I'll be putting Full Sail on my list of considerations, mainly due to the tuition. I understand debt is repayable, but my family isn't doing that well right now financially, and we are in a recession after all. I just want to play it a little safer than throwing out a huge wad of cash in the hopes that I can prove all of those negative reviews wrong. Glad to hear the experience was positive for you though!

#8 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10157

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 03:14 AM

Quote:
Original post by Madman340
I just don't want to waste my time with information that is not necessary

1. Don't waste time and energy fretting over what you don't want.
2. So you can put this little factor into your decision grid.
3. Any degree will include information (classes) that you think is (are) "not necessary." You need to let go of this one.

-- 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 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 10363

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 03:35 AM

Quote:
Original post by Madman340
I just don't want to waste my time with information that is not necessary, and in the end will only put me further away from my goal.
Don't underestimate the value of peripheral topics. When I arrived in University to pursue a CS degree, little did I know that philosophy, history and literature classes would have a huge impact on the way that I approach designing software and writing code.

As you wish to head into game design, I would imagine that a diverse range of knowledge and skills is even more essential.

Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#10 Josh Petrie   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3836

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 04:20 AM

Quote:

1. I'm not looking for instant gratification, I just don't want to waste my time with information that is not necessary, and in the end will only put me further away from my goal. I had a feeling I'd get a saleck-esque remark for that statement lol.

Because you're already an expert in the field, right? So you already know what subjects are and are not relevant -- and you've also seen the future, so you know which ancillary subjects unrelated to your actual focus of study will come in handy for you in the real world. Gotcha.

This is actually a common misunderstanding among up-and-coming game developers (or people seeking to enter any profession, really): that only the subjects that look superficially similar to the thing they want to study are worthwhile, and everything else is "cruft." Some people believe that "cruft" is thrown in there to get more money from you, other that it's added by pompous academics who have no practical experience and think it will be relevant, et cetera. Whatever the reason, such views are almost universally incorrect.

Could you get by and have a career without some of the general education or elective subjects most schools require you to take? Sure. But having them makes you more well-rounded and more interesting, it gives you extra depth and background, all of which makes you massively more attractive to an employer. Don't discount the things you don't want to do on the basis of hubris.

Josh Petrie | Game Developer, Undead Labs


#11 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10157

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 04:36 AM

Quote:
Original post by Madman340
I want to dip into the education for all three cornerstones of game design

You appear to be using the term "game design" rather loosely. To us, it means a very specific thing.
http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson28.html#G

-- 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 Rycross   Members   -  Reputation: 576

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 06:04 AM

Quote:
Original post by Madman340
1. I'm not looking for instant gratification, I just don't want to waste my time with information that is not necessary, and in the end will only put me further away from my goal.


To depart from the "You don't know that its not necessary," advice (which is solid advice, BTW), I'd like to add that carrying around this mentality is going to prevent you from getting the most out of college (and subsequently, life). College is not just about job preparation, although that's the way its often billed. I look back on my education, and the biggest regret I have is that I didn't diversify more earlier. Do focus in a subject, but take some unrelated courses for no other reason than that they interest you.

I took some Japanese culture and language classes to fulfill some "bullshit requirements," and here I am 5 years later married to a Japanese woman and visiting the in-laws. Its not all about the career. You're only young once, so don't forget to live your life and have interesting experiences too.

Edit:
And always remember, people hate working with robots. When it comes to employment, its not just about being able to accomplish the requirements of the job, but also being able to get along with your coworkers. If you're a dull guy, then that's going to hurt your prospects. Even if you get your dream job, you're going to find it hard to advance. Speaking from personal experience here. Had this realization several years ago, when I was in my "Its all about programming and games, and if you don't agree then eff you," mindset.




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