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Haruko311

Career question - Need honost opinions

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Hey everybody! I''m a college student in my 2nd semester taking crap classes to get them out of the way. I really want to major in "Digital Entertainment and Game Design" but I''m not sure of what I can do with it. I''m afraid that if I follow through with this I''ll be stuck without a job. So what I''m really asking here is if anyone can just reply and tell me what they''re doing for jobs, how its been with the job, and if its something you really wanted to do. Even just a couple of sentances would be helpful. Thanks!

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I know a few friends in a Digital Media program at my university.. which leads mainly to art-type degrees that are very useful for animation, sound, and music for gaming. If you want to be a programmer your best bet is to major in Computer Science or Software Engineering.

(silencer)

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I''m still in high school, but the best advice I can give you is not to specialize too much. Sure, Game Design may sound cool, but you know it''s a really competitive field. Do something more general like Computer Science or Software Engineering or something so your resume won''t be limited to just game development - I doubt that that database admin or IT position really needs a lot of game theory to go with it. If you truly enjoy game development, do it as a hobby - CS or SE will help bolster that knowledge. Play games because that''s what the best game designers do. At its core, it''s really about taking what you think is cool and what you''d like to have and make a game out of it. Get a good demo or game under your belt and show it off to the studios and maybe you''ll get lucky and they''ll hire you. Never count on everything going your way though, which is why I think CS or SE or whatever is a good fallback - sure, maybe you might not get that dream job at Blizzard, but at least that CS degree will still get you a job pounding out code somewhere else.

Just my two cents.

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What does the program consist of?

It's going to be hard for anyone to comment without knowing what kind of classes you'll be required to take. Sure, a title like "Digital Entertainment and Game Design" sounds suggestive, but without a breakdown of the courses it's impossible to guess what you'll be qualified to do with the degree.

What kind of job do you want in the game industry? This should guide your course of study. I took the programming route, which means going for a computer science degree (just computer science, nothing specially game related ;) which landed me an internship in the industry that led to a full-time job.

I'm suspicious of Gamey sounding degrees that don't give a specific skill used by the game industry. I have the sense there is a growing trend for social science departments to jump on the bandwagon with "holistic" curriculums that will let people get out with "Game" in their degree title while avoiding all that nasty, hard, technical stuff you need to know to actually build software.

My university actually rejected a proposal for a game design minor that would have, to quote Wired, "encompassed human computer interface issues, sound designs, human movements and the impact of games on society." Not that that those issues are irrelevant to the game industry, and it's not that game development isn't interdisciplinary (of course it is!) but the people involved in development are highly skilled professionals, and they're not paid to write papers. I want to know that when we're discussing HID, it's not just a round table on how we all "feel" about things, but a serious look at how to make better software. I read through the proposed curriculum, and it just sounded like fluff to me. To many topics covered in too little depth, and no underlying depth of skill that could be put to use if a demon surprised you and said "Make the best game in the world, or I'll swallow your soul." I found it very interesting that I could not find any hint of game industry experience in the resume of the professor who was proposing the program.

Another thing to keep in mind if being a game designer is your goal, there is really no such thing as an entry level game design position. Designers work their way up by starting out at the bottom, in a specialized role, and proving themselves over time.

Something that I have always found interesting as a programmer, is that so many of the Giants of game design are programmers. Warren Spector, Peter Molyneux, Steve Barcia, Sid Meyer, and Will Wright come to mind. The crew at Id is another example, but I'm still not sure if they make games or tech demos.

You might want to check out http://www.sloperama.com . Tom Sloper has been in the game industry for years and has lots of guides and information on how to get into the game industry and what the various positions are and what they entail.

[Edited by - The_Incubator on July 13, 2006 11:11:02 PM]

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actually i disagree, im going into my 4th semester of college, 3rd full time semester really, and i would say specialize in the area you are shooting for. The "game design" course is more suited towards designers and artists, if you want to do design, go for it! for programming, a degree in CIS: Software Engineering is the way you should go. dont think a degree alone will get you the job though, think of the degree program as a tool to hone your skills, and make sure you get some independent experiance while you are taking classes. Dont think you can get right into a job like being the designer though, ideas are a dime a dozen, you would most likely have to start out in a job such as QA then work your way up the company.

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