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Some advice about MSc. in UK Universities


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#1 pslayer89   Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 06:29 PM

So I have completed my Bachelors of Engineering in IT and I am planning to pursue a MSc program in Games Development in UK. I have to choose between Newcastle University and City University of London. I am also waiting for results from Teesside, Hull, Staffordshire and University of East Anglia and I hope to get their invites very soon. I have gone through various similar topics regarding admission in UK and I inferred that Hull and Staffordshire have very good programs in this field. So can anybody advice me whether the program in Newcastle or City University is as good as Staffordshire or Hull because I checked on multiple places and both these universities have better rankings than Staffordshire and Hull. Thanks in advance.

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#2 TehOwn   Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 08:13 PM

I've heard really good things about this course at Abertay from the kind people who work at Creative Assembly in Horsham.
http://www.abertay.ac.uk/studying/find/pg/cgt/

#3 pslayer89   Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 09:56 AM

I read in some other similar topics that the course at Abertay is not that good, so I decided not to apply there. :(

#4 TehOwn   Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 11:29 AM

I read in some other similar topics that the course at Abertay is not that good, so I decided not to apply there. Posted Image

It's always a tricky choice. The lack of faith I had in Universities is why I skipped out on a degree altogether and taught myself.

I trusted Creative Assembly's information as they were my closest game studio and a likely place for me to apply to. But it still wasn't enough to convince me to gamble my money on such a risky investment as education.

That being said, I think degrees and masters are fantastic for anyone who benefits from that kind of discipline and is always a benefit for the opportunity to meet like-minded, talented people.

Your success in the industry really revolves around your ability to keep yourself motivated and driven. You'll constantly have to learn and your education will never be complete, so you'll have to enjoy learning new things. If you lack these two traits, I'd save your money and get a job in the business sector of programming. If you have those two traits, do you really need a masters?

I always felt that the best way to become a games programmer is to start programming games.

Just my two cents.

#5 Telios   Members   -  Reputation: 398

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 12:01 PM

I am just about to finish a BSc at City University, and I know the staff who run the Games MSc. If you have any questions, feel free to ask or PM me :)

#6 pslayer89   Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 12:41 PM

Hmm Thanks a lot for your opinion :)

But if there would be someone from newcastle university here who could give their opinion about the course, then it would be awesome.

#7 NightCreature83   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3034

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 01:15 PM

Hull is generally marked as second for their MSc in Games Programming in the UK, overal markings of a university mean nothing when you want to do a specific field. I did the Hull Games Programming MSc. 3 and a half years ago. I didn't find their course extreemly dificult but I went in with some knowledge of 3D graphics and C/C++. The first semester is generally dedicated to teach you the basics of Graphics and indepth C++. The C++ course is extremely good, I have had compliments about my knowledge of C++ as a junior coder and that is all based on what they thought me at Hull. After that they will teach you basic physics, real time graphics and AI and a group project, this kinda reflects your day to day job in a real company where you have to balance your time against several tasks.

I wouldnt have my current job if I hadn't done this MSc to be honest.
Worked on titles: CMR:DiRT2, DiRT 3, DiRT: Showdown, GRID 2, Mad Max

#8 return0   Members   -  Reputation: 444

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 04:14 PM

Do CS instead.

#9 pslayer89   Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 05:15 PM

Oh thanks a lot! I guess now I'll wait for my offer from the university of Hull also.

@return0 - As I mentioned I have already done cs in my bachelors. And here in India it's a 4 year course which is quite thorough.

#10 Pash   Members   -  Reputation: 246

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 02:06 AM

I can't really help you much as I am self taught and still learning, from a heavy IT infrastructure background. Do you have a blog or a website where I could follow your progress at all? Always keen to find out more about this type of studying and the creatives that do it.

Cheers,

Pash
Please Add Rep if I helped // Working on untitled 2D platformer (more to come soon)
Twitter - @MarkPashby

#11 MathewS   Members   -  Reputation: 294

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 04:51 AM

I did the MEng, which is the three year BSc plus an additional year involving the MSc, at Hull University and loved it.
The course is very involved, the first semester involves a graphics orientated project, with the second semester handling physics and parallel processing project. Also while I was there there was a project which involved creating a game in a group, then porting that game to various platforms, at the time it was gamecube and psp but I know that they have recently gotten hold of three PS3 devkits which will most likely be used as well.

With the MSc also there is the third semester project which involves picking a project from a select list.
----------------------www.westernwars.comwww.ebgaming.com

#12 freakchild   Members   -  Reputation: 557

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 01:27 PM

I would also consider not doing an MSc that is game specific.

Why? Many employers don’t consider these courses to be any good. Many actually aren’t any good to be honest. I would doubt that even a poorer one would lack any personal development value, but the real problem however, is that potential employers can and will (rightly or wrongly) lump the good ones in with the bad ones and consider any employment application on the basis of ‘all games courses are crap’. In these cases, your MSc in games will work against you.

There is a clear advantage to any games specific course in that if it actually is good it will be quite beneficial to you personally AND there are employers out there who recognize these. Often these courses do have strongly links with these employers too…but the good also has to be weighed against the potential for bad.

Thus, I would put some thought into just doing a relevant MSc, one that isn’t games related. University of Sheffield, for example has always had excellent graphics courses. Over the years, they have tied these quite closely to game development without actually making them a games course (although I do believe they offer more targeted courses too). You will not lose points for having a strong and relevant MSc which is also NOT a games course.

Thus nobody will judge you badly, for having a relevant MSc that is not games related and it won’t come with the potential negativity that a games specific program may have.

I would also give consideration to not doing any MSc at all. There is no formal qualification for games development, although informally it is very difficult to get a foot in the door without a BSc nowadays. If I am reading the thread correctly, you already have that...thus, you are qualified. With a qualification, the real challenge in getting a foot in the door of course is to set yourself aside from other candidates.

Extra qualifications (the right ones) can help that…but so can demonstrated aptitude too. Beyond the entry qualification, this can actually (arguably) be more important (and cheaper to attain) than extra qualifications.

The bottom line…when the times comes, if you really want to set yourself aside from the other candidates then you need to demonstrate that you have an enthusiasm and talent for developing games. The only way you will show that, is by developing games. This relegates any degree to being nothing more than a bare minimum to stop your resume/CV from being filtered out and in terms of getting your foot in the door and having some experience - even if it is at the hobbyist and enthusiast level will take your current BSc much further, at least in terms of actually being employed than any MSc qualification.

Thus, I would actually summarize any advice I can offer as follows:
  • If you go with a BSc alone, boost it by at least hobbyist/enthusiast activities, ideally developing some games in your spare time.
  • If you go with an MSc, boost it by at least hobbyist/enthusiast activities, ideally by developing some games in your spare time.
  • If you go with a games MSc, be aware that you may be judged for that, but boost it by at least hobbyist/enthusiast activities, ideally by developing some games in your spare time.
  • Bear in mind you can focus on the first of these bullet points, and not really be any worse off for it.
  • Also bear in mind that you can pull it off either way too.
Demonstrating hobbyist/enthusiast level activities, not only gives you something to show which will set you aside from other players, but it also makes you a proven entity in many ways. Any degree doesn’t make you proven, it means you attended class. You need to show that you can not only develop games, but more importantly that you were interested enough to do so and were willing to put the effort in in order to do exactly that. This is very important in game development – the extra mile makes a big difference. If you can also show some quality via your activities, you also show that you get certain things that are very important to employers – showing even a polished subset of a game for example shows that ‘you get it’ as far as being a good game developer goes.

Good luck, either way.

#13 pslayer89   Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:46 AM

Oh thanks. That was of great help.

Edit: Can anybody give me some info on these courses

University of Sussex - MSc Computing in Media Systems

&

University College of London - MSc. in Computer Graphics, Vision & Imaging.

#14 Freedoman   Members   -  Reputation: 135

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 07:07 AM

Hi Piyush,

I did my Masters in Games programming from Hull. I had the same dilemma when I was coming to UK to do my Masters. and I was wondering whether to go to Newcastle or not. The course at Newcastle university is fairly new (2009 was the year they started, I think) , so I'm not sure how good it would be. Hull university is amongst the best universities to go for Games Programming. Abertay Dundee and Teesside are also good I've heard. Let me know if you want to know more specifics about the course details and other stuff regarding Hull uni. You can also check by Skillset Accreditations website. The universities having this accreditations are generally good.

#15 pslayer89   Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 05:19 PM

Thanks a lot Freedoman. I have applied in the university of hull but the result is still awaited. I also applied at Teesside but they told me that they do not run the computer games programming course anymore so I chucked it from my list. Basically I am waiting for the results from all the universities including then only I'll be able to make a decision. :(

#16 Bigdeadbug   Members   -  Reputation: 173

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 07:10 AM

May be a bit late to be useful but I have had some personal experience with Staffordshire University and their Masters courses. Although I only have experience in the game design course I also have a good idea of their modeling course and from what I know a can be roughly applied to most of the courses there.

To be honest the game design course as some flaws in it and while interesting it really isn't worth the cost. There are a lot of egos between the lectures and they are often overworked to the detriment of the students. They are also unprofessional to a degree that can be enjoyable but also infuriating.

The modeling course is brutal and from what I have heard it is close to impossible to get a first in your thesis (you simply can't do the type of topics that would warrant it). It seems a lot better designed than the game design course, but I can't stress how harsh it is.

In both cases (and I assume all the game design masters courses) they claim it is a one year course. IT IS NOT. They will allow you to do it over a year (sept-sept) that only allows 3/4 months during the summer for you to complete your thesis, not bad you may say, but that is when most (if not all) lecturers are on holiday so the support you get for that period is horrendous. The course will take roughly two years to complete if you go full time and then part time for the thesis. So the course is realistically 2 years in length.

In general there are a lot of issues with Staffordshire University, which may well extend to UK higher education in general. From my experiences there and those who were there with me I would not advise you to start a Masters course with the University the way it is at the moment.

#17 pslayer89   Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 05:36 PM

Woah! That was a real eye opener! Maybe I am replying a bit late too, but thanks a lot for the information. I'll keep that in mind about Staffordshire university, while making my decision. Currently I am holding an offer from Warwick also for the CS degree and I am considering that too.




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