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Member Since 16 Jun 2005
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 09:57 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Not Getting A Degree...

09 June 2015 - 05:08 PM



Yes, the degree will likely be considered "worth more," all other things being equal. This industry is filled with excellent developers who don't have a degree, but that doesn't mean that it's easy to get a job without one. Especially in the current job climate.

Josh is 100% right about this.

Without a degree if you want to get into programming you will have a hard time finding anyone who will give you a interview without a stellar portfolio and glowing recommendations or work experience. The Degree is pretty much just a stamp on your resume saying I went to school for this and I should know my stuff, this gets you to the interview.

If you plan on going into game design, this is an extremely rare and hard position to get without any experience in the games industry, if you have a CS degree then you will already have a huge advantage over anyone who doesn't. A designer who knows how to code and script and understands programming limitations can be a huge help over someone who has no idea.



I have heard from others that a degree really just shows that you can stick with something and finish it. I was just thinking to myself that I could spend 2 or maybe 4 years getting a degree in a computer science that would teach me programming, and level design etc, or I could just straight learn programming and level design etc. The latter seems more efficient, less costly, and less time consuming. I mean if I wanted to be a nurse and the college required me to take classes in Greek myth, English comp, calculus I wouldn't see how that would correlate to my wanting to study nursing.    



A degree in Computer Science will open up other jobs than just in the game industry. A lot of companies will not even look at software engineers/programmers who do not have a Computer Science/related degree (you would not even be granted an interview).


For game development having a wide variety of courses really does help. I could see how Greek Mythology, English Composition, and Calculus for example could ALL benefit game development.



Here are some examples of the subjects you would study while enrolled in a game design major:

  • Algebra
  • Trigonometry
  • Geometry
  • Calculus
  • Algorithms
  • Programming Languages (Java, C++)
  • Computer Interface
  • Game Design
  • Computer Graphics
  • Operating Systems
  • Art Appreciation and History
  • Writing Composition
  • Mythology
  • Sociology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Physics (motion, aerodynamics)
  • Computer Networks
  • 3D Animation
  • Software Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Drawing
  • Modeling and Sculpture





In Topic: Not Getting A Degree...

09 June 2015 - 04:37 PM

I agree with Josh. A degree is more than just the classes that you take. It takes a certain level of motivation to earn a degree and it shows right away that the person who earned the degree had the ability to complete something that they started.


Also taking a variety of classes expands your thinking and makes you a more well rounded person. For example I believe that classes such as technical writing and courses on computer ethics/law/and security are important classes to take.


I would personally view a job candidate that did not have a degree and only had taken classes that interest them as someone who might not stick through the game creation process. There are parts of making a game that are really fun, but there are other parts that take a lot of determination and motivation to get through. Some parts of making a game require a determination to struggle through difficult, boring, or tedious tasks.

In Topic: An engine to use with teens with no programming knowledge

09 April 2015 - 10:27 PM

Let me start by saying that I am speaking from a position of experience in this field. I have written technical training for summer camps, taught for three years a summer camp teaching game design/programming using Game Maker, and currently mentor high school students in using Game Maker to design and build computer games.


I am not sure where other people have been getting two days from since it appears you mentioned that the camp will last for two weeks. Two weeks is a reasonable amount of time for a summer camp program.


There are a number of factors to consider when picking technology for a summer camp project. The most obvious question is what sort of computer resources are available? School computer labs are usually fairly substandard. Also IT typically has computer lab computers locked down pretty tightly and fighting the administrations to get the correct software installed can prove difficult. If you are going to use a 3D engine and especially a modern 3D engine then you will need to ensure the computers have modern video cards (on board graphics for something like Unreal Engine 4 probably won't cut it).


I originally tried C#/XNA with my middle school students but that proved very difficult. The hardest part was the typing speeds of the students. I was not only trying to teach how to program and how to make a game, but in some cases I was having to teach basic computer skills and typing.


Game Maker is a nice choice because you can start the students off with the visual scripting and then move on to the more advanced GML scripting. It allows the students to be productive fast and that keeps them from becoming bored or frustrated.


I have avoided trying to have students make a 3D game because of the complexities introduced with regards to the math and the graphics. 2D art assets are far easier to draw and the programming is simpler. I think it might be hard to explain things like quaternions, rotational matrices, and shaders to that age group.


I know you said you must make a 3D game but this is just my thoughts on the matter. My main advice is just to make sure you know what the system specs on the machines you will be using are and to test any candidate software on the computer to ensure that it will work.

In Topic: wanting feedback on two design ideas

29 March 2015 - 08:59 PM

My general advice is to start with programming small games and creating small projects.


You need to learn how to program first, but you can learn programming while making small, simple games.


I recommend making the following games in roughly this order (although this is just a suggestion).


1. A guess the random number game.

2. Pong

3. Breakout

4. Asteroids

5. Tetris

6. Pacman

7. A 2d side scroller like Mario


Guess the number teaches random number generation and if statements.


Pong teaches collision detection, drawing graphics to the screen, making objects move and how to make objects collide with one another. It also teaches basic "AI".


Breakout teaches managing collections of objects in addition to using all of the same concepts from Pong. Breakout also teaches how to have multiple levels (potentially).


Asteroids teaches how to make projectiles, how to randomly generate levels, how to handle the ship leaving the outside of the window, and how to generate asteroids and/or play animations.


Tetris teaches how to use arrays, how to code game logic, and how to increase difficulty level.


Pacman teaches how to construct levels, 2d collision detection, and a reasonable amount about game AI.


Mario teaches scrolling, defining complex levels, and managing game states.


After making these games you will have a pretty solid background from which to start designing and creating your own games.


This is just my recommendation.


Also I will agree with ByteTroll: You will not gain proficiency in programming by reading books. The only way to get good at programming is to program. You must write lots and lots of programs and to really learn things well will take time. It will very likely take you years of working with languages to really get a solid grasp on what you are doing and why.

In Topic: wanting feedback on two design ideas

29 March 2015 - 08:44 PM

Here is my feedback:


Mogul 1 - high school hustler:


This game design would really benefit from some sketches. Sketch out what the map looks like and use pictures to convey ideas rather than words.


Also know your audience and make sure that the ideas that you come up with and that the game ideas that you develop are ideas that you are comfortable bearing your name forever. What I mean by that is you have mixed high school students with illicit drugs and porn magazines and it is personally not an idea I would probably want my name on forever.


A flow chart would help make the game play logic clearer here.


Generally people don't like games where they can't win, but this is obviously up to you.


It needs more details and it seems to be a bit poorly organized. Try grouping things together. For example your "Play Process" should be broken into sections. One sections could be "Loss conditions" and describe all the was that the player can die. This helps make it easier to find information.


Seven Endure an Epic Quest:


This phrase:


"Two of the most interesting features in this game, inspired in part by classic RPGs and also by Limbo is 1) the player's ability to really interact with his/her environment. And 2) the literally hundreds of secret items which enhance and enable certain powers/skills and combine with various facets of the character to evolve this character into a unique person, designed for the most part by the player."


This game just from that one paragraph describes years of work for a large team of people. Every item has to be made, every environment interaction defined. You can not simply say there will be hundreds of items, you have to actually MAKE hundreds of items! That means drawing them, animating them, programming them, balancing them, and testing them!


Using tables for the character attributes would improve readability. The numbers are really going to change during the play testing phase.


You need several hundred more pages to describe each and every piece of the environment, and each and every item and their interactions and effects. You also need diagrams of the game play logic and graphics (sketches) for each and every item. You probably want to have diagrams for each potential environmental interaction.


brick dropp and stabb:


Once again sketches and mockups would really help convey the ideas. Words take time to process and it is difficult from your words to really get a solid idea of how the game will work.


For example:

"the environment is similar to a platform game like Super Mario Brothers or Sonic: the Hedgehog. The third robot, Trisha, takes the mechanics of a tetris game and makes it physical."


I have absolutely no idea what this means at a glance. You do mention the different modes, but it is really difficult to follow what you are talking about.


"And the environment gets progressively more difficult to walk through."



"The more the puppet walks, the more difficult the scenery becomes and the more difficult it becomes for the player to keep the puppet from falling. If the puppet falls the play is over, the puppet returns to sitting position and the toy turns off."

How does the scenery become more difficult? What elements are introduced to increase the difficulty? For that matter what scenery is there?


"Instead of traditional animatronics where the strings are on the inside, tiny motors are attached to cables that work the puppet from above, externally."

I am not sure what information this is really telling me. So it is just a puppet?


"The controller, Jensen steps onto the balance board and the laser emits the backdrop."

I have no clue what the laser emits the backdrop means.


You need to add more details, use images to explain concepts, and to fully explain all aspects of the game.