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Full Sail opinions

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I'm considering applying at Full Sail, and am interested in any opinions, thoughts, complements, or warnings anyone might have. I'm serious about this and do have the funds for tuition, but it would mean moving my family a long way so I'm hesitant. Specifically, how good is it? How respected is it in the industry? Will it REALLY increase my chances of getting into the industry? Thanks in advance everyone. [edited by - SpaceRogue on June 2, 2003 6:04:54 PM]

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I''m about half way through my Game Design degree at FullSail, and I wrote a pretty big segment about it a few months ago, if you care to read it, you can find it at

http://www.gametutorials.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5553&SearchTerms=Full,Sail

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I have an online friend who goes there. He really encouraged me to go too. He told me that in the game industry its no secret, full sail comes first. Is it true? =P

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quote:
Original post by jmoses
I''m about half way through my Game Design degree at FullSail, and I wrote a pretty big segment about it a few months ago...


I read it, thanks. So, has your opinion changed any in the intervening time?

Do you have any idea how good their assistance is at finding jobs for graduates? Their site seems to really promote this aspect of the college as being quite strong, but I''d like to hear from someone a little less potentially biased than the college itself.

I''ve requested more information from Full Sail, but I''m impatient.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
From what I''ve heard, it''s not possible.

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I got the package they send you when you request info. It''s pretty flashy and is full of bragging rights (they have an interview with the man who programmed Yoda''s cape, who happened to graduate from FullSail), but it really doesn''t give you much information at all about the classes and what you''ll be learning. It seems like a good program, especially after seeing some of the demos made by the students. But I don''t know; there''s something fishy about a school in California that teaches "game design" in two years...

Btw, there is going to be $4,000 increase in tuition in a short while, so if you''re gonna apply, do so soon.

Also, there is a site offering FREE game programming classes over the internet. It''s a really interesting concept: you sign up, download material to read every week or so, take regularly schedualed tests, and then pass an exam at the end of the semester. I can''t understand why anyone would do this for free, but I would reccomend googling for it and trying this before you spend tuition and move to California; who knows, you may change your mind about this whole programming thing, or you may actually learn something.

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Ok I read over the thread you posted and this section really caught my eye.

quote:
Originally posted by Jmoses

Oh yeah and one other big turn off for the school is that it hasd a population of 95% males!!! We call the school Full-Male cause the only way you'll get a chick is somewhere else, even the ugly chicks in our school are booked, heh. Can't wait to go home for spring break ;-)



All I can say is omfg! Please tell me he's joking. I had considered attending a school like FullSail and I don't mind having to endure all the hardships that Jmoses mentioned (like working 24/7, difficult C++ classes, etc.) but this has got to be the biggest discouraging factor out of them all. Sounds worse then the military... All I can say is that would be a sad life to lead (assuming your not already married that is )

[edited by - Greatwolf on June 2, 2003 11:23:10 PM]

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quote:
Original post by Greatwolf
All I can say is that would be a sad life to lead (assuming your not already married that is )



Well I''m married, so that''s not a concern for me.

Still I have to be skeptical as to how committed someone is to learning and excelling in a field if they''re worrying about how many girls they can meet in class. Go to a park, bar, library, etc. for crying out loud. Girls DO exist outside college. Strange but true.

I''m more concerned about how effective their job placement is for game designers. I''ve read about the final projects students do where they make a complete game, but no one has said if they do this individually or in teams. Does anyone know?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I spoke with Full Sail about a year or so. I already have a BS in Computer Science and wanted to specialize. They seemed unorganized at the time. I was trying to get information about testing out of classes so I could just skip the basics.

Basically they told me that they would not be able to determine this until I applied and got accepted to the school. I thought that was crap. The representative gave me the idea that they wouldn''t even look into the possibility until I was already enrolled. On top of that, I believe the rep also mentioned that it didn''t matter if I tested out of classes I would still have to pay full tuition.

They really need to develop a program for people already with CS degrees looking to specialize.

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The University of Washington is a top 10 CS school and has a series of game development courses taught my people from Microsoft, Sierra, and a couple of other companies. I''m going to Purdue right now, but I might wind up transfering over there.

---------------------------------------------------
laziness is the foundation of efficiency
retrospiral.net | llamas! | megatokyo | FreeBSD | gamedev.net | google

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You think the situation is sad at Full Sail? I go to University of Missouri - Rolla. Friggen UMR, it''s about 1 girl to very 4 guys there. Sure, the ratio is worse at Full Sail but at least you get out in much less than 5 years!

But about Full Sail''s reputation in the industry...uh, I''ve never heard any say anything nice about Full Sail unless they were working for them or enrolled there. Seems to me that your best bet is to get a real CS degree.

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I was considering pursuing a degree after my BS at Full Sail as well. Unfortunately I quickly got the impression that they are most interested in the bottom line -- cash. Their job placement rates were not impressive to say the least. I would suggest going for a standard 4 year degree plan.

Since you obviously have lots of obligations already, you can take a fairly large number of your classes via correspondence. At the University of Texas: Austin. The CS degree is 130 hours long. Though you only are REQUIRED to take 30 hours in residence (in the classroom). If you''re self motivated you could easily study and test out of a fairly large number of those 100 hours. The rest could be taken via correspondence. The remaining could likely be finished in one year if you took an extremely large course load.

Difficult but definately possible, and also very affordable if you are able to avoid taking many of the 100 hours in residence.

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Thanks haro.

That''s really the first bit of really good advice I''ve heard in some time. I wasn''t aware you could pursue a degree in that manner. Yes, I have lots of obligations which seem to prevent most of the common methods of entering the game industry.

I haven''t the luxury of being able to forego a decent paying job while I attend classes or get an entry level job "in the industry". Frankly it gets a bit discouraging with people continually responding with things like "Just get a 4 year CS degree." Yeah, that''s a piece of cake while suppporting a wife and three kids, paying a mortgage, AND having to keep up with technology in your current job - when you''d rather be trying to learn to program in your "spare" time (ha, as if such a thing existed).

If only a job existed where you could start out with network configuration/administration and move into a game programming role over time. I could fit that bill...Oh well.

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Understand that unlike most colleges, Full Sail is run as if it were a business. This is mainly because it often leases out some of its facilities to recording artists and places like Disney who would like to use the video editing facilities. So often they come off as "pushy" though this is really just the "marketing team" that they pawn off as your area''s representative. The "Unorganized" feeling you got is probably due to the way the classes are run. You''ll be in class 5 days a week and you''ll get 2 days off but they may not be back to back days off (I.E. you''ll have class monday-thursday get friday off have class on sat then get sunday off) And every month your days off will change. This leaves both teachers and students on edge because they really don''t know what the schedule will look like until the week before it starts. However the actual game development degree staff is very informative, very organized, and extremely knowledgeable.

As for Full Sail themselves, just like any school you get out what you put in. The other thing you need to understand is that going to Full Sail doesn''t guarantee you an industry job either. I went to Full Sail and a number of my fellow classmates do not have industry jobs all for varying reasons. I was one of the lucky few who landed an industry job after graduation and I can honestly say I wouldn''t have if I had not gone to Full Sail. As for "respected" it''s earning a good reputation however it''s still hasn''t had the game design degree program long enough to be come as commonly known as digipen yet.

Full Sail can help you become a game programmer, it will not however get you a job, so if your hedging your families future on the fact that you will positively get a job then perhaps you would be better off taking the long term route and taking some night school classes at your local community college for Computer Science or Software engineering. But to put this into perspective about 5 years ago I had left college and I was working in a dead end job making enough money to keep me fairly content. Then I heard about Full Sail saved up some cash and took off to Florida and took the game design degree program. I worked my butt off, made some contacts in the industry, wrote some articles for gamedev.net, and went to the GDC while there. When I was graduating a Game company went to full sails staff and asked for a list of people whom they could interview for a possible job. I was one of the 5 people on the list, and after a few interviews I got hired. I''ve been working here about 2 years now and am very happy with the knowledge I got from Full Sail. But yet again I''ll tell you straight up that my story is not that common, there are a number of grads who are working in the industry now but there are also a number of grads who are not.

Just things to keep in mind.

Full Sail Grad Nov ''99


Joseph Fernald
Software Engineer
Red Storm Entertainment.
------------------------
The opinions expressed are that of the person posting
and not that of Red Storm Entertainment.

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I would say you are better off just getting a CS degree and starting (or joining) your school''s game development club.

That''s what I did.

-- Steve --

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Correction: That''s what I am currently doing, but I do have an internship with a video game company right now which is extremely sweet. That path worked out perfectly for me.

-- Steve --

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Its a good place. They offer some of the best courses anywhere. They use actual professionals to teach lessons rather than just teach on theory. However, it moves rather fast. Read this article first:
Here
If it doesn't work, its called Lessons from a Full Sail Failure

Scott Simontis
Game Programmer in Training
Have a nice day!
Current Project: Learn DirectX

[edited by - Village Specialton on June 3, 2003 12:00:08 PM]

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evaclear,

Thanks for the information. I think Full Sail would be good for me except for the fact I can''t go without work for that long. I know I could make the most of it. I work hard and learn fast. Self-teaching myself game programming is tortuously slow when I can only manage it in my (very rare) spare time. I wouldn''t be betting my familiy''s future on it as I can always fall back on my current career if a job failed to materialize. I make good money and I''m not looking to get rich in game development. In fact I am certain I''d make less money in game development than I currently do (unless I became very good, or very lucky). I just want to make games. The only reason I want to do it professionally rather than as a side job or hobby is that I want to concentrate on games, and not be distracted having to keep up with a completely different career. I want to be as good as possible at it.

spg,

I think I mentioned that getting a CS degree the conventional way isn''t really practical for me, since that would involve an even bigger expenditure of time than Full Sail. haro had some interesting ideas however.

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I recently just graduated from Full Sail under the new program, and I would be happy to answer anyone's questions about my experience while attending. Aim me at "slackertheory" with any specific questions about the courses or email me thru my profile.


[edited by - mryellow on June 3, 2003 5:40:29 PM]

[edited by - mryellow on June 3, 2003 5:41:47 PM]

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during the time at full sail you will be assigned to several small group work, but there are 2 major group projects that makes you develop a game with your classmates. The first one happens half way thru the degree where you are placed in a group of about 4 to 5 classmates and have about a month to work on a game. Then you have your final project assignment where you work in a group of 4 or more classmates in your last 3 months of the degree. You spend about a month of preproduction and the other 2 months working on code. They also just added an intern program where they recruit other students from the other degrees at full sail to help produce assets for your final project. Our team was lucky enough to get talented audio interns, animators, 2D artists, and 3D modelers to make all our assets for our game.

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