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Which Degree to choose?

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Hi, I''m in my final year of Secondary School in the 6th form, and soon to take my A2 levels. Now i got something tricky on my hands. What do i want to do with my life? I''ve always been interested in computer games, and often attempted, but not always succesful in modding my games and making scripts andso forth. And it hit me, i would really like to know and understand how these fantastic games i play work, and how they are made, and some day create own. So after doing some course searches on www.ucas.com I found computer game courses avaliable, much to my delight. There are so many courses, all with slight differences. Nearly all of them do not require any specific Alevels. I am currently studying Physics, Geography and Philosophy, of which i have lead to believe physics is only one which might have any revelance. And so i have got a questions which i would greatly appreciate if someone answer for me. When looking for a course what sort of things am i looking for? Do i neccessary have to do a degree which has something to games, aslong as it envolves everything i need? Also by strictly doing computer games degree do you specialise yourself too much? Would you be able to design other pieces of software on just a computer games degree? If not would it be wiser to go for a broader degree, say programming in general? Also do i need any experience on any tpe of C/C++ or other type of programming tobe accepted by a university? Would it be beneficial to take a year out and go for deferred entry and maybe study C/C++ programming at a college, then go to university? Do i need to even go to university to learn how to program games, and other softwares? Thanks in advance n3w

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Basically to get a Games programming position, you usually need at least a numerate degree (physics, maths, CS etc.) or some sort of programming experience. If you have your heart set on Games programming... then maybe a games programming degree would be for you, however this could be limiting your options, as a good "general" programming related degree could be much more widely accepted. A knowledge of C++ is almost not required before you start, though I take the view point that the earlier you start, the better you will be in the end... so I would suggest you get learning. It is also worth noting that you can usually take a number of external modules as part of your degree (as a maths graduate, I can say we had a lot of physacists in some of out 3rd/4th year lectures). This option can let you learn some more specialist info about other topics, without havign to dedicate to that degree (though I strongly recommend trying to talk to people who have done that external module before, to asses what level it is aimed at, and speak to the deparment head/lecturer in person to make a proper decision). So in short I would suggest doing a general programming related degree (in case games programmign doesn''t work out for you), and keep in mind the possibility of taking external modules as part of your course (maths/physics spring to mind). Hope this helps :D.

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I was looking at some courses on www.ucas.com, and wondering which coursed would be revelant to programming in general and in games.

I haven''t had a chance of looking at theindividual courses in depth, so could someone tell whcih ones are most revelant to programming:

Software engineering
Computer engineering
Computer science
Computing
Applied Computing

Also are there any other courses that i should look out for?

What sort of things shoudl i look for in a degree; Java? C/C++, or anything else?

Thanks
n3w

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Computer Science is a good way to go. I recently graduated from UCF a few months back, and the program itself took me through multiple programming languages, in depth OOP, OS design, etc etc. It was a great building block for programming in general and you also get to learn a lot about Computer Architecture as well.. (not nearly as much as Computer Engineering, but you get more of the programming side as a Comp Sci Major then they do.) At least, this is how it was at my school.

If you just want to program games one day, go with Comp Sci.. It has fairly high level math and physics classes as pre-reqs so you get a good base from those, and the programming aspects teach you the basics of what you need to know.

Just FYI, don''t think by getting this degree, you will graduate and instantly get a great game programming job. My Comp Sci didn''t teach any API''s or the like, so now with the background I gained, I have to start learning OpenGL DirectX and all the other ''extras'' that are involved in game programming. Wish I would have found this website sooner, so I knew what I should have been focusing my free time on instead of beer and women =)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Get a degree in management, preferably with some finance. Don''t work for the man, BE the man!

You can pick up the computer stuff on your own.

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I''d recommend computer science. As was said, this gives you the most flexability because getting a job as a game programmer isn''t always easy, but getting a job as a business application programmer, which will keep you from starving while you wait for a game programming position, shouldn''t be that difficult. Also, a lot of the game programming degree paths that I know of are either poor quality/too short (not even a full degree plan but a set of classes, or only an associates degree) or very expensive.

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OK, i done some extensive searching in computer science, software engineering and other related courses, and guess what?
well i found a great university, Harrow School Of Computer Science, which
1.Specialises in computer science and other computing degrees, hence the name
2.Its less than a 30minute drive from my house.
3.I will definitely get enough points with my Alevels to go there.

Now before i get too excited i have ordered alot of information on all the courses from there and planning on going to the next open day.

Thanks for all your help guys.

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OK, i done some extensive searching in computer science, software engineering and other related courses, and guess what?
well i found a great university, Harrow School Of Computer Science, which
1.Specialises in computer science and other computing degrees, hence the name
2.Its less than a 30minute drive from my house.
3.I will definitely get enough points with my Alevels to go there.

Now before i get too excited i have ordered alot of information on all the courses from there and planning on going to the next open day.

Thanks for all your help guys.

Oops sorry for the double post, my internet cut out just as soon i as i submitted it.



[edited by - n3w on October 17, 2003 5:12:22 PM]

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I''ve just sent off my UCAS form, so I know a bit about this.

One thing nobody has mentioned: there are a few actual ''computer games technology'' courses. I recently came back from Abertay University''s open day (1st October); they run a BSc and a master''s in ''Computer Games Technology,'' which is more or less what it sounds like. The first year is math and programming; then you move onto topics including DirectX/OpenGL, console programming (they have PS2, GC, and GBA devkits), Flash/ActionScript, and more. They also have IC-CAVE - the International Center for Computer And Video Entertainment - which you can get a job at over the summer, working on professional-type projects.

(I''m probably not going to go there, sadly, because the course is aimed at people who''ve had no previous development experience, and I''ve been coding for 11 years. So, uhm, I might be a bit bored for the first year at least ).

There was also Hull, Teeside, Bolton, and City of London that all ran their own games courses.

You don''t *need* to go to university to know how to program games (just look at many of the members of this site) but it can certainly help. Particularly if you take Computer Science. Some of the best innovations in game technology have come from people applying the non-game parts of comp sci to games - BSP technology, for example.

Richard "Superpig" Fine
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.
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