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BPalmer

Looking for opinions of those who've attended Digipen

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Hi, I''m a sophomore in college currently enrolled in a CS program at a small state school in Utah, and I''m thinking of transferring to Digipen. The only problem is, it''s quite expensive and I''d have to take out some very large student loans, so I want to make sure it''s worth it. I just don''t feel like my current school is helping me any in my goal to become a game programmer. Therefore, I''m looking for the opinions of those who''ve actually attended Digipen or who have hired/worked with those who have. I want to know their thoughts on the school, how much it''s helped them break into the industry, and whether it''s worth the extra money. Any thoughts are appreciated, just please make sure they''re informed opinions and not rants. Thanks a bundle. Brian Palmer Lead Programmer Pocket Innovations (www.pocket-innovations.com)

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You shouldn''t worry about digipen unless you''ve had strait a''s in all your classes since middle school. It is very hard to get into, and like you said very expensive. Don''t fret you can get into the industry with just regular college''s classes. Just take 3d math, algorithm design, c++, c, physics, and graphic art classes. Thats bout it gotta go. Bye

Cory Fisher

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You don't need to be a genius to get in, however it is harder to get into than Full Sail. Granted not too many people who apply actually get accepted at Digipen, but that's also because a lot of the people who apply here are below average students. As long as you are at least a slightly above average student, and more importantly, are determined to work hard and forget about having a social life, you might want to apply

The school is great, the classes are fast paced, and my favorite thing about the school is who teaches. Two of my CS professors right now are Claude Comair (Head of Nintendo Software Technologies), Prasanna Gahli (a programmer at NST), and Scott Berfield (producer at M$) for Game Programming/Design. Other professors here include Xin Li (software engineer at NST), and many other people who have experience in making games that you've probably played at some point your life.

This year, there are only 2 freshman girls in RTIS out of 143. It's not exactly a party school. People who come here are here to work, and if not, they end up leaving by the end of the first or second year (in fact, I just lost one of my roommates last week and it's barely halfway through the 1st semester).

If you transfer here, there are a lot of things you have to worry about, mainly finding an apartment (though there are many in close proximity, I'm at Ravenswood which is about a 5 minute walk from the school). You also have to understand that you will be working a lot if you want to stand out from the rest. While there are 143 freshman, trends from previous graduating classes show that less than half of them will ever graduate.

As a programmer, it's heaven. This sememster I have 3 Computer Science classes, 1 Game Programming/Design class, math, art, and english. Those are the classes that are required. It's a hefty 154 credit major loaded with programming, math and physics. You have to be sure that's what you love. I know quite a few people here who say "I just want to be a game designer. I don'treally like programming. I'm coming here just to break into the business." Those are the types of people who aren't back 2nd year. Don't come if that's the kind of attitude you have.

It's location is great. The building is actually connected to Nintendo Software Technologies (yes, it's that small), and it's right next to microsoft not to mention lots of game developers. As a student you feel like you're already a part of the industry. Just last week I met Mr. Iwata, president of Nintendo. DigiPen is also where the Washington chapter of the IGDA meets.

If you want to know from someone who has actually graduated from here, you might want to contact Eric Smith at Valvesoftware who was valedictorian out of the 2000 graduating class (out of the 5 who graduated). He's the only person I remember off of the top of my head that you might be able to contact online. If you come here and work hard, you'll get an education that no other place can provide.

[edited by - Matt Calabrese on October 19, 2002 7:24:48 PM]

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While you learn a lot there, you don''t really learn any practical real world knowledge. I didn''t attend digipen but I know of several people who have. They all got fired from their jobs because they didn''t know how to work. They were booksmart but they couldn''t adapt to the real world. You''re better off getting your degree in CS. Lets face it, the games industry is really tough to break into and you''ll have a hard time finding a job outside the games industry with only a degree from digipen.

I would suggest getting some good game experience in an online course or something like that in addition to your CS degree.

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A Degree in mathematics would probably be the most beneficial.

[edited by - Xanth on October 20, 2002 2:57:28 AM]

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quote:
Original post by beoch
While you learn a lot there, you don''t really learn any practical real world knowledge. I didn''t attend digipen but I know of several people who have. They all got fired from their jobs because they didn''t know how to work. They were booksmart but they couldn''t adapt to the real world. You''re better off getting your degree in CS. Lets face it, the games industry is really tough to break into and you''ll have a hard time finding a job outside the games industry with only a degree from digipen.

I would suggest getting some good game experience in an online course or something like that in addition to your CS degree.


I''m afraid I have to highly disagree with that. Concerning CS courses, Digipen teaches everything that a regular college does except lots more. "Book smarts" is not all that DigiPen offers. Here, you are taught not only how to program, but how to program extremely efficiently and how to work as a team. Each semester you have a game project where you apply everything you know. It forces you to code well and create code that''s readable enough that everyone in your group knows what''s going on. That''s much more "real world" than most colleges provide.

The fact is that DigiPen has a 94% placement rate into the industry directly after graduation. Many students even get plucked out of the school to work in the industry before they even graduate. When you come out of digipen, you have over eight games that you can put on your resume, you have a full understanding of C and C++, you know how to adapt to working with unfamiliar APIs, and perhaps most importantly you how to write efficient, readable code that can easily be pulled into a team environment.

The whole concept of DigiPen is that you don''t just have book smarts. Parallel to all of the CS classes are game classes for application.

Anyone who claims that you can''t get a job outside of the game industry with a degree from DigiPen most likely does not know the curriculum. Nothing taught here is "Game Specific." In fact, all of the CS classes are taught in a completely general approach just like any other course. Only one class per semester is oriented towards game development, and even that is more focused towards application than "making a game." Pretty much everything you learn from making a game is applicable to any application and often times is much more than that. The name of the major, "Real-Time Interactive Simulation," pretty much explains it the best. You don''t come here to make games, you come here learn to program user-responsive realtime applications that need to be as efficient as possible. Games just happen to be one of the best applications of that. You don''t learn "how to use DirectX" or "how to use OpenGL" here, that''s all done on your own time. Use of APIs are highly discouraged until your 3rd or 4th year and even then they are not directly taught as a part of the curriculum. If you come here you are guaranteed to get an incredible education that you can apply to the real world. I recommend you get a course booklet if you haven''t already. It''ll give you a better view of the curriculum than i can go into here. I probably sound like a walking advertisement for DigiPen right now, but that''s with good reason. I love the school, I love the way they teach, I love the environment, and I love the people here. Every friday you can come and check the school out, which I recommend you do. Anyways, I have to get back to coding Bye.

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i can t go to digipen i am in germany and they are in USA right?

but on the other hands why would you visit such a school you can teach most of it yourself

and you need to practise of course

but what you need most is a reference (little game you have coded, lots of good looking maps , just some work you have done)

the best school is worthless without talent

even if you have visited digipen youll notice that theres still a lot of stuff you don t know but youll learn it once you got a job your employer will teach you what you need but as a requirement you need have a basic->advanced knowledge to figure out the rest

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Thanks for the replies. From what I''ve read here, the main concern is that Digipen might not teach you everything you need to know in a real job, but I''ve always thought that NO school could teach you that. Knowing how to work is not a problem, I''ve already got an over-developed work ethic, and I''ve published two small video games in my spare time while going to school.

So from what I can understand, if you''re dead sure that you want to make video games, and you love programming, Digipen is for you. Well, then, Digipen is for me. If I can get in. My main concern is the lack of girls, which I suppose is to be expected. Good thing Seattle''s close by.

If anyone else has an opinion, please let me know.

Brian Palmer
Lead Programmer
Pocket Innovations (www.pocket-innovations.com)

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There''s not a COMPLETE lack. In the RTIS major there are only 2 freshman girls, but there is the 3D Animation major (the only other major), which has considerably more girls.

In a way, it''s a better thing -- less distractions

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