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What Type of School To Attend (Beginning Game Design)


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#1 theblurch   Members   -  Reputation: 97

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 01:47 PM

Hey guys,

I'm coming to you for advice. I'm currently 30 years old, full-time government employee, and I'm looking for a career change. I'm interested in going into computer science/game design, and I have a couple of choices as far as education goes.

I'm in the Dallas area, and SMU has a program that offers a Bachelor's in Computer Science with an emphasis in Game Design, and there's also a community college that offers an Associate's Degree in Game design.

Which option is better, obviously the community college would be cheaper and shorter, but would I be able to find work with a game company with that kind of education?

Let me know what you think. If you need more information about the programs, I can post it.

Thanks

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#2 theblurch   Members   -  Reputation: 97

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 02:21 PM

Here's the link to the SMU program.

Here's the link to the community college program.

#3 gfxgangsta   Members   -  Reputation: 624

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 02:36 PM

The best option depends on what *you* want to do. You mentioned a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science with an emphasis in Game Design. Do you want to go to college for 4+ years and get a Computer Science degree? Do you want to be a software engineer / programmer in the game industry? You also mentioned an Associate's Degree in Game Design. In that case, it doesn't sound like you would learn Computer Science. Do you want to be a Game Designer then? Or a little bit of both maybe? If you want to stick with programming, a Computer Science degree is probably the best option... and you pick from many universities in the area (I hear UNT has some game programming courses). And you can also learn *game programming* by writing games on the side to add that to your CS knowledge. If you want to stick with game design, you could go for the Associate's Degree, or you can also practice by yourself by studying games and creating your own using existing tools (Unity, UDK, GameMaker, etc).

What I've learned so far is that there are multiple ways to educate yourself in game development, and there are multiple ways to enter the industry. To answer your question, it's hard to tell whether you will be able to find work at a game company... both with or without a specialized degree... but having a good portfolio will make you stand out.

Another thing you could do is to try and enter the industry with a QA job. Maybe a game company that is local to you is hiring for their QA department. If you make it in, you could try that for a while to see if you want to be part of the game industry.

#4 theblurch   Members   -  Reputation: 97

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 02:56 PM

I guess my next question would be, what is the difference between a game designer and a programmer? Is one more in demand than another, and is the pay very different across the industry for each of the options?

I guess I had planned more on the programmer side, just because it seems like there'd be more job security, and I could always use the CS degree for something else if game programming didn't pan out. Then again, I don't know that I fully understand the difference between game design and game programming.

Thanks

#5 gfxgangsta   Members   -  Reputation: 624

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 05:01 PM

Do a google search of "game programmer vs game designer"... after reading a couple links, you'll start to understand the differences.


This seems like a good start (and the website is pretty good overall):

http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/1057/how_to_break_into_the_industry_.php

#6 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10160

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 05:39 PM

theblurch, your post has been moved to the Breaking In forum. Please read this forum's FAQs as your next step. (Back out to the Breaking In forum page and look at upper right.)
-- 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.




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