Jump to content

  • Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account

We're offering banner ads on our site from just $5!

1. Details HERE. 2. GDNet+ Subscriptions HERE. 3. Ad upload HERE.


RadioactiveMicrobe

Member Since 05 Nov 2011
Offline Last Active Nov 11 2012 04:15 PM

Posts I've Made

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.

In Topic: Am I on the "Fast-track" for development?

06 November 2011 - 08:29 PM

Permit me to throw out an analogy and see if it helps explain our replies a little better.

Take a long rope and tie it around a pole stuck in the ground. Your goal is to stretch the rope from that pole over to a tree a little ways away. Now, imagine that your rope is not just tied to the pole, but also wrapped around the pole. Is the rope pointing in the right direction to get to the tree?


You're still young. You have a little bit of education and some starter practice, which is good. But you're still coiled around that starting pole. You have to unwrap and start pulling on the rope to figure out if it's going the right way; right now, you can almost think of it as if it were pointing everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

Now, this shows that you're at least thinking about what direction to take, which is a good thing! But you haven't really moved all that far towards the destination. It will take a lot of time, experience, and life discipline to get there - a lot of pulling on the rope. I hope this doesn't sound discouraging; frankly most people your age aren't nearly as self-aware with regards to their futures, and that alone gives you a small advantage. But you're also up against some serious competition.


Just as an example: there are people in the industry who, at your age, had already been programming for over a decade and published several of their own games, often for profit. It is not uncommon to hear of the upper-percentile game developers leaving college with more development experience than most people will have in their chosen careers by their mid 30s. And a lot of those people still find the competition in the industry to be fierce, and have to continue working for opportunities and advancements.

As Telastyn noted, there's nothing wrong with the plan you've described - but it's the same general approach that thousands of other people are taking, and it doesn't really set you apart from them. To get noticed - and to have a reasonably secure chance of landing a job in the business - you need to exceed even that standard. Yes, by comparison with most 17 year olds, you're ahead of the game - but on an absolute scale, there's a long road ahead.


Personally, I get the feeling you can succeed if you really put your mind to it; so I hope this is more of a challenge to you to push yourself even harder, rather than a sign to give up :-)


Well, and I don't know if this is a blassing or a curse, nothing ever seems to work out, or go easily. (And I mean on EVERYTHING)



Now yes, that kind of sucks, since it'd be nice to get a break on something for once, but it's also taught me to just deal with it, and get to work.



What you've told me is what will get me to buckle down. I'll probably start looking at specifically game languages tomorrow, and get started on learning some basics, and advance from there.



It'll me along, tough road, I know. But that is what life is, after all.


Thanks for the replies, I'll get started by reading some stuff on here.

PARTNERS