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Young Life Crisis


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#1 Savalric   Members   -  Reputation: 157

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 11:12 AM

So, I know there are a lot of sites on this but my research has been rather varied in results. I just finished my first year of college and I'm wondering if I should even continue. My end goal is to Design games. I was thinking that I should learn programming and use that as an in-route into designing, but I recently found out that it's not necessary. So I was thinking of getting a degree in Game design and studying programming on my own time to known the limitations. But tbh, I'm rather confused on what the best avenue would be. Like I said, the end goal is design. I know that potential employers look at your experience (mods, games, etc...), but I don't want to invest myself needlessly. As in, I don't want to waste 4 years of my life for a CS or Game Design degree (or certificate if employers would accept that), not to mention about 100 grand, when I could simply learn on my own in a year, and arrive at the same place.

 

I guess what I'm asking is: Do I need a degree to validate my knowledge? Should I just focus on creating work, mods, and games (flash/java games) and learning programming languages? If I write a few GDDs, would that be adequate enough to get me a junior designer gig? (and I mean like some really great GDDs because, like all gamers, I have some really good ideas lol).



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#2 Bacterius   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 8532

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 03:24 PM

Have you read all of Tom Sloper's FAQ's? He has insight on precisely these questions and lately I've been finding myself reading them more in detail. Here:

http://www.sloperama.com/advice.html

Hope that helps smile.png

PS: this might fit better in the "Breaking into the Industry" subforum (don't repost though, a mod will move it if deemed necessary)

Edited by Bacterius, 23 May 2013 - 03:27 PM.

The slowsort algorithm is a perfect illustration of the multiply and surrender paradigm, which is perhaps the single most important paradigm in the development of reluctant algorithms. The basic multiply and surrender strategy consists in replacing the problem at hand by two or more subproblems, each slightly simpler than the original, and continue multiplying subproblems and subsubproblems recursively in this fashion as long as possible. At some point the subproblems will all become so simple that their solution can no longer be postponed, and we will have to surrender. Experience shows that, in most cases, by the time this point is reached the total work will be substantially higher than what could have been wasted by a more direct approach.

 

- Pessimal Algorithms and Simplexity Analysis


#3 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 20302

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 03:42 PM

I second the idea of reading Tom's advice.  It is good stuff.

 

 

"Game Designer" is not a career path with an entry level position.  Most game designers are hired from the ranks of existing game developers. Tom has much to say on schools that claim to help you get started in a career as a designer.

 
 

I don't recall reading it in his FAQs, but there is something important to know:

 

 

The only positions that you can rely on for jobs are for programmer and art positions.  

 

Strong career paths can include gameplay programmer, tools programmer, network programmer, and so on.  For art, they can include concept artist, 3D Modeler and texture artist, animator, pixel artist and so on.  These jobs are reliable to get in you in to the game industry.  People are hired at all levels, including entry level.

 

Other jobs, such as designers and producers and such, those jobs are extremely rare, are frequently hired from the ranks of the other jobs, and are more like the lottery than a career path.


Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#4 Katie   Members   -  Reputation: 1313

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 12:27 AM

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Finish the degree. If you don't, you'll spend the entire rest of your life explaining to potential employers why you think you didn't need to get a CS degree when they think you did.

 

Seriously; it's an easy filter for them to apply to the incoming CV flood. They just go "2.1 or higher from a good uni" and that's half the pile binned.

 

Also, uni is fun. I went back to mine last weekend actually. I was invited to a free psychology conference just because I graduated a couple of decades ago. I'm still friends with people I graduated with -- I met my husband on campus. You miss out on all these sorts of things.

 

And worse, if you started a degree and don't finish, the next question is "why" and you better have a good story. And when you're applying to 'real' software companies[1] a story of 'I wanted to make games' isn't going to cut it.

 

Also, the interesting courses on graphics and stuff aren't in the first year... they come later.

 

 

 

[1] By which I mean the boring ones which can pay the salaries which support a family and which won't go bust in six months when their AAAAAAAAA title turns out not to even be A.



#5 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9554

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 08:14 AM

1. I just finished my first year of college and I'm wondering if I should even continue. My end goal is to Design games
2. I know that potential employers look at your experience (mods, games, etc...), but I don't want to invest myself needlessly.
3. I don't want to waste 4 years of my life for a CS or Game Design degree (or certificate if employers would accept that), not to mention about 100 grand,
4. when I could simply learn on my own in a year, and arrive at the same place.
5. Do I need a degree to validate my knowledge?
6. If I write a few GDDs, would that be adequate enough to get me a junior designer gig?

1. You absolutely do need to continue. Read FAQs 3 & 4, and read http://web.archive.org/web/20091116093803/http://advancedu.org/CAREER_NEWS.htm
2. That sounds like you're saying you don't really have a passion for game creation, and you're kind of lazy, too.
3. Those 4 years are absolutely not a waste. Read FAQ 51.  But you really should not spend more than you can afford. Choose wisely. Read "The High Cost of College" and "The Cost of Education" - there are links in the forum FAQs - http://www.gamedev.net/page/reference/faq.php/_/breaking-into-the-industry-r16
4. No way could you teach yourself everything in 1/4 of the time.  You're not a teacher, and you don't know what you have to teach yourself.  It'll take you at least 4 years, probably longer.  Don't delude yourself.
5. Aside from how much value there is in the learning, the degree also helps you avoid being filtered out (as Katie said). Read "Get Through the HR Resume Filters" in the forum FAQs.
6. Nothing is "adequate enough."  Read FAQ 49. And those rare junior designer gigs are not open to industry outsiders.  You'll need industry experience before you'll qualify.


-- 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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