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Getting into a non-bullshit game programming school?


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#1 jonaakey   Members   -  Reputation: 111

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 11:25 AM

So, I've watched this video:
 

 
...& it seems that a lot of the game design schools out there aren't exactly of the best quality.
 
Naturally, as I want to study game programming, I would want to go to a school that actually makes sense to go to.
 
The problem is, I'm afraid my grades won't be enough for them.
 
I'm already done with high school & I have a 2.95 GPA.  On the SATs, (which I did not study for,) I got a 1630, although I'm trying to take the SATs again while actually studying this time around.
 
Is it even in the slightest way possible for me to go to a good school for this?  I'm trying to teach myself C# with MonoGame if that helps.  Just please don't tell me I have to go to Community College first...

Edited by jonaakey, 07 October 2013 - 11:26 AM.


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#2 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1103

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 11:29 AM

All colleges have terrible ratings online, they are all the negative connotation you used it seems.

I am enrolled in the University of Advancing Technology for game art & animation. They have online and campus school, and also teach Game Programming and computer science. They only require a 2.0 GPA minimum in college to graduate.

#3 Ravyne   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6765

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 12:39 PM

There's three approaches I would recommend:

  1. The shotgun approach: pick at least 5 of the schools you consider to be not bullshit (I'd recommend off the top of my head The guildhall at SMU, UCLA, University of Washington, University of Austin, and Digipen as some good candidates) and apply to them all. The worst that can happen is they say no. You don't go onto a permanent black-list if you're turned down this year.
  2. Start your education at the best in-state (or neighboring-state, if your state has an in-state tuition exchange with them) CS program you can. And try to transfer to one of your preferred schools after you complete your first two years. Use this time to improve your GPA/test scores, and working habits if needed.
  3. Consider a 'normal' CS program with a good reputation, and make it a point to study game development on your own time. Worst-case scenario, the internet is a wellspring of information on game development, and a healthy community in its own right; even better, you'll likely be able to find at least a handful of others in the CS program who are interested in game development, and you can probably all actively learn from each other, or collaborate on projects.

I know option 2 and 3 may not be what you had in mind, and 'normal' schools may seem like a diversion from your desired path, but its really not like that. I graduated from Digipen, myself, and I was glad I went, and happy with the education I received. But there are always trade-offs--you get a lot of experience with game development, and you get good exposure to a breadth of topics, but not always the depth of a traditional CS program. In a traditional program, you get more of those details, but little or no practical experience with games. If you attend the first, you would be wise to study those details more to make yourself a more-rounded engineer, if you attend the latter you'll need to spend your own time studying game development--in either case you're spending your own time to further your own education, so its not all that different in the end. In my experience at Digipen (which started over 10 years ago, now) the two things that were fundamentally different was the number of game projects students worked together to create, and the focus solely on C and C++ (almost to a fault) whereas most university programs today nearly ignore C and C++ (also to a fault).

 

And even still, to this day, I've never worked professionally on a game -- I've worked around the fringes of the games industry the entire time since, but its never been a game that's paid my bills, and I'm rather enjoying the job stability, regular free time, and compensation here that 75% of those in the games industry simply don't have.


Edited by Ravyne, 07 October 2013 - 12:40 PM.


#4 Promit   Moderators   -  Reputation: 6096

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 01:46 PM

Personally I would recommend taking two years at a state school or community college or whatever. Take that time to learn computer science fundamentals and get requirements out of the way, and then take stock of where you are. You don't want to hear it but you need to hear it: you're going to get rejected by these programs with your academic record. Go ahead and apply, it doesn't hurt you, but a 2.95 and a 1630 are miserable numbers. Go somewhere for two years to atone for the high school fuck up, and build an academic record that will give you the opportunity to go where you actually want to go.



#5 Ravyne   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6765

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 03:31 PM

A 2.95 isn't great--certainly doesn't guarantee admittance--but I don't think it alone would doom the OP (although college entrance is very competitive, especially nowadays). The 1630 is the bigger black mark, I think. It might be possible to re-test and raise that without the time or expense of paying penance at a community college or local university. Doing that isn't a bad idea anyways, as I also suggested, but it'll be a wasted opportunity if all the OP intends to get out of that time is to fix his scores. If OP ends up spending time to raise his numbers, he should make the most of the experience -- who knows, he might even find that he likes the school just fine. It needs to be treated as an important opportunity in its own right, not just a step stool to be kicked aside when he's done with it.


Edited by Ravyne, 07 October 2013 - 03:35 PM.


#6 emcconnell   Members   -  Reputation: 803

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 11:01 PM

Get a pure CS degree from any 4 year school you can get into. Make games during college. Everything about how to make games is online, a game programming school won't teach you anything special. Learning CS fundamentals is more important.



#7 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1103

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 02:26 AM

Get a pure CS degree from any 4 year school you can get into. Make games during college. Everything about how to make games is online, a game programming school won't teach you anything special. Learning CS fundamentals is more important.


I might agree with your point about getting a CS degree but I kind of disagree with your reasoning and explanation - there is much to game development not easily learned online. I am enrolled in the University of Advancing Technology game development (and more) college and finding that out. I am learning Project Management which, although online, cannot easily be gotten an education on without practice and schooling.

#8 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4680

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 03:49 AM


but a 2.95 and a 1630 are miserable numbers.

 

I understand the 2.95 GPA but a 1630 on the SAT is miserable???

 

 

Edit: I didn't realize that the SAT max score was 2400 now. It seems 1500 is considered average.


Edited by Alpha_ProgDes, 08 October 2013 - 03:52 AM.

Beginner in Game Development? Read here.
 
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