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RadioactiveMicrobe

Member Since 05 Nov 2011
Offline Last Active Apr 13 2015 06:23 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Game development - Software Engineering or CS?

13 April 2015 - 10:22 AM

The main reasoning behind his suggestion was that the SE program here kind of fast-tracks you through the language and such, and then throws you into the security and database courses early on. Once that's done, it's mainly focus on developing larger systems and management software for corporations. Right now I'm in a course where we spend the semester working on an air-travel agency program, developing databases of airports and flights, managing them and parsing them, all while using an agile development method. He said that since there's such a focus on those aspects, it's not particularly good for game development, since the program actually discourages students from taking the courses for graphics, openGL, etc. I've attached the three curriculums (CS has a CT and CIS emphasis) What I'm really worried about is the whole senior project taking up so much time, and not being a game. I mean as of now, I'm usually going to class at 9, and working until 10pm every night. So fitting in time for my own game dev stuff is near impossible.


In Topic: Digipen: The best college for programming?

11 November 2012 - 04:18 PM

Well, after some searching around, I found out that among software engineering schools, UW Platteville ranks among the top 10? That certainly surprised me, and it's quite a bit cheaper than Digipen or U of W.

Anyone know anymore with Platteville?

In Topic: Digipen: The best college for programming?

24 October 2012 - 03:22 PM

What did Digipen say when you asked them this question?

Well, you got me. I haven't really talked to any colleges. I really have no idea what I'm doing with that. My high school hasn't really told me anything about that, so I've been just kind of winging it.

2. By "mainstream market," you mean casual/social games, I take it?

Not necessarily social/casual. What I mean is that right around that time is when the game industry itself became more mainstream in the eyes of the public. Like, nowadays, games have become a lot more acceptable media of entertainment than about 8-9 years ago. So naturally the industry changed a lot and evolved, which lead to the influx of the casual/social games we see today.

In Topic: Digipen: The best college for programming?

24 October 2012 - 12:36 PM

As a Digipen grad myself (now several years ago), I will say that there are both pros and cons to going the Digipen route.

But first, a detour.

Just like there are little-c colleges (e.g. University of Middle-of-Nowhere) and there are big-C Colleges (MIT, et all), so too are there game schools and Game Schools. little-g game schools are places like Devry, as-seen-on-TV schools, and other such degree-mills. Big-G Game Schools are a category occupied by, IMHO, Digipen and games/multimedia-focused programs at Universities such as the Guildhall at SMU. Then there's FullSail, which occupies a weird sort of middle-ground, not poor enough to be called a degree-mill, but not up to the level of a University or Digipen, either.

End detour.

Pros:

  • Structured, hands-on environment (4+ game projects of increasing scale/complexity).
  • Surround yourself with passionate, like-minded individuals.
  • Focus on C++ (Don't limit your world-view to C++, but many programs offer no hands-on C++ at all)
  • Deep dive into stuff relevant to game development.
  • Some really great instructors.
  • Engaging coursework.
Cons:
  • The degree is less portable, most hiring managers have no clue what to make of it if they're outside games or entertainment.
  • Somewhat shallow coverage of some traditional CS coursework (Operating Systems, Compiler theory, etc)
  • Little exposure to topics well outside of game development methodology (e.g. Functional programming)
  • Limited interaction with people outside the gamer mentality (If you attend Digipen, I suggest making friends at nearby University of Washington)
  • Less opportunity to study or pursue other interests (few non-technical courses, no theater, sports, or practical skills courses, for example)
  • Male-female ratio of about 30:1 (better in the art programs, worse in the technical programs)
  • Some pretty poor instructors.
Overall, I'm satisfied with my degree (though, at the time I got mine it was about 35% less expensive than now) and, despite being only an Associate's Degree, which they used to offer mostly as a means to those who had already graduated from a CS degree (I hadn't, but I had programming experience) it's served me well enough. There's a slight misconception that Digipen is completely devoid of teaching any theoretical underpinnings of computer science, and while its true that some of the more-ancillary aspects are given a shallower treatment than they might be in a good, traditional CS program, they still do introduce a fair breadth of topics and teachings. You're not going to write an operating system (well, the computer engineers probably do, actually), and you're not going to write a compiler (but you will perform optimizations on abstract syntax trees), but you will design logic and breadboard simple designs, study data structures and big-O analysis, learn how computer networks operate at low-levels, and lots of other things that you probably don't get at any of those little-g game schools.

In the end, its really a question of location, expense, the teaching and peer environment you prefer, whether you're the kind of person who would prefer to cobble together games while at University, or to flesh out your CS theory while at Digipen, and whether the added portability and "safety" of a University degree is important to you.

Thank you so much for the information!

Male-female ratio of about 30:1 (better in the art programs, worse in the technical programs)

Had to chuckle at that a bit.

But really, thank you for some first-hand advice on the matter. It really helps in getting an idea on what to expect for the programming aspect of the school.

So it comes down to;

A) Getting a strong game development background at the expense of shallow coverage of the traditional CS work and experience. (The benefit being the exposure to the game industry, making it easier to get yourself known.)

B) Getting a strong software engineering background, then translating it to game development. (The benefit being that it has a bigger "safety net.")

From what I've read on here, it seems that many agree that it's more effective to take option B. Am I right in thinking this?

In Topic: Digipen: The best college for programming?

24 October 2012 - 11:51 AM

The forum FAQ's entries on game schools still seems very applicable. What about them do you feel is outdated?

I just look at the post dates of those articles, and they were written in 1999-2004. Even in the articles themselves, they mention that the industry is rapidly changing, and how instructors constantly have to adapt the curriculum to suit the changing industry. Since these were written right around the very start of the explosion of games into the mainstream market, I assumed many of these points may be have been moot.


I thought the general advice was helpful, but I wondered if the specifics about Digipen, and the quality of programs in other schools, were outdated.


So generally, Digipen may not be the most... prestigious school for software engineering, and as long as whatever school I choose has a stronger background in Software engineering, I should be okay? If anything, maybe I can consider Digipen for my Master's, since Washington is somewhere I'd love to be.

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