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RB26DETT

are game degrees really that important...

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RB26DETT    122
are game degrees really that important ? will they land u in a job ? Is Digipen really that good ... and is it worth the huge sum u pay ?( Particularly the MS degree ) I agree that job experience is really important. But what about people who cant get a job due to lack of availability, country of living etc. what can they do to get into the industry. Please help guys, Iam confused...

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Drazgal    368
Well Im doing one in Britian and its got me contract games programming work over the summer so it can be useful for that sort of thing. Over all though Id say they are a complete waste of time. Do computer science, buy lots of books, make a cool demo in your own time and get a job that way. Atleast then people might respect your degree once you have it and its a bit more transferable to other computing areas if you want to go that way later.

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RB26DETT    122
Quote:
Original post by Drazgal
Well Im doing one in Britian and its got me contract games programming work over the summer so it can be useful for that sort of thing. Over all though Id say they are a complete waste of time. Do computer science, buy lots of books, make a cool demo in your own time and get a job that way. Atleast then people might respect your degree once you have it and its a bit more transferable to other computing areas if you want to go that way later.


thank you for ur advice.
BTW wat are the chances of foreign developers being employed.

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Promit    13246
I'm inclined to think that game degrees are not only not that useful, they're completely useless resume padder.


In any case, as long as you can speak English and generally communicate, getting a job in the US or England is not much of a problem. This depends a lot of where you were educated.. My parents, for example, were educated in catholic schools, so their English is styled more after Brits and generally with much less of an accent. I don't know if you're going to a catholic school or just a private school or even a public school.



Probably the best way of getting a foot in the door is through post doctoral work (that's how my family came). It'll get you a visa much more easily, as well as getting you some experience and such. Only thing is, you should be aware that life as a postdoc is not too great. It's ok for a single guy...but don't plan on getting married.

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Etnu    880
No. Get a degree in something more worthwhile. Want to write game scenerios / stories? Get a degree in English. Want to do modelling? Digital Art. Programming? Computer Science / Software Engineering / Computer IS.

It goes on.

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meh    375
I'd disagree, having just completed the third year of I suspect the same degree as Drazgal I'm currently working on a game prototype as part of a competition open to uni students and recent graduates. Getting paid a wage to do what you do for fun rocks. One thing I have noticed is that the teams comprised of students from gaming courses are streets ahead in terms of understanding the processes involved than the ordinary computer science students. In terms of interest I'd be bored to death doing ordinary CS.

In my time in Uni I have created numerous demos as part of the course all gaining me good grades academically and I feel also increasing my knowledge and employability. Really Uni is what you make of it, work hard and you can achieve a lot. Having a degree isn't the be all and end all being able to do the job is. A good degree shows you are capable of working off your own back and really only gives you a foot in the door of your first job. From then on its experience that counts.

Saying that I wouldn't be being paid to make a game now unless I had chosen to do this degree.

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SumDude    163
I think a game degree is worthless because most of them say things like (Game Design Degree) when game designer is one of the more harder positions to acquire. Its not like after you get your degree your gunna become a game designer for Bethesda or Rock Star.

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RB26DETT    122
thanks a lot for your advice dudes.
Iam currently doing my BS in computer science, so i guess Iam on the right track ;)

One thing I've noticed in "requirements for programmers" shown by almost all game development companies is that 2/3+ years experience in the game industry is a must.
If everyone keeps lookin for experience, whos gonna hire a newbie in the first place ??

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Promit    13246
Quote:
Original post by RB26DETT
If everyone keeps lookin for experience, whos gonna hire a newbie in the first place ??


Experience comes from internships and post docs. You're looking at job listings...search for internships first.

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meh    375
Quote:
Original post by SumDude
I think a game degree is worthless because most of them say things like (Game Design Degree) when game designer is one of the more harder positions to acquire. Its not like after you get your degree your gunna become a game designer for Bethesda or Rock Star.


My degree specifically is Computer Game Technology which is basically fancy words for a Programming and Maths related course of study. The whole thing is taught from the ground up in C and C++ (whereas the majority of CS degrees in the UK use Java) so far we have covered everything from the basics of DirectX and OpenGL through to more advanced techniques and some down right horrible maths. A degree isn't there to automatically give you skill sets like a school education its all about what you do by yourself within a directed study. We have access to a lab of Net Yaroze (okay horrid API, but if you can program on it you're pretty much good for most consoles) and a lab of PS2s all with linux kits. Compare this to an ordinary CS degree over here and you just don't get access to the same staff or resources.

Granted there are some degrees that are a pile of rubbish but then its all about choosing the right course. ;)

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Ravyne    14300
If you want to do a game specific program Digipen is the way to go. From what I have heard, Fullsail tends to be even more game-centric. Digipen, IMO, gives you more traditional courses, in addition to the games program. It may not be the way to go for you, and yes, it is quite expensive. You can expect to spend 25k per year in attendance (tuition + living). A traditional CS degree is plenty if you take initiative to build a portfolio during your education. In particular I've heard that Software Engeneering degrees are desirable. Games are getting larger and larger and need to have a solid technical design, this is something that SEs have been educated in. If you felt, after a CS education, that you wanted more game-specific education, you could attend a year or 2 at digipen and even pick up the masters degree. It would save you money. I honestly would not recomend that anyone attend digipen 6-7 years to get a masters. Whatever you do, DO NOT take a course in "Game writing and design" These jobs account for probably 1% in an already small industry. You either have design skills or you don't, they can't be taught.

Here is a list of things that would be good to study, but it is by no means complete.

Algorithms and Data Structures.
Computer Graphics (software rendering)
Learn an API (DirectX or OpenGL/FMOD/etc.)
Computer architecture

In addition, build a portfolio of small games. If you can, try to do at least 1-2 with a 2 or more people. The ability to work with others is SUPER important. If you have the opporitunity for an internship take it, even if its not a game-related one.

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Etnu    880
Indie developers, self-publishers, and, well, KNOWING SOMEONE (networking is the key, always).

The other thing to keep in mind, in your particular case, is that you'll have a much harder time getting into most studios, being as (to the best of my knowledge) there aren't any major studios with operations in India (well, at least not for anything interesting...maybe Infosys has some contract projects going on?), so you'd most likely be looking for employment in the US, canada, or Europe. It's kind of difficult to get a work visa for the U.S. unless you can 'prove' that your job is a highly skilled one -- no easy task with game development, since government regulators are stupid.

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Palidine    1315
Quote:
Original post by Etnu
no easy task with game development, since government regulators are stupid.


a bunch of AAA game publishers hire foreign workers all the time. it's not hard to get a visa working for a big development company, the difficulty is in getting them to hire you. once you're hired they get your visa for you. coming from another country really just makes that process of job finding harder and more expensive ( you'd have to pay your own way to the interview ).

the best way to get a job is and always will be to network your way in, either through friends who are already in the industry, by making friends who are in the industry or by taking internships and making friends & earning the respect of people in the industry. without contacts it is certainly possible to get a job, it'll just take more time and a lot of frustration sending out resumes and hearing nothing back.

-me

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RdF    100
If you want it bad enough getting a job in the industry isn't that hard. Being willing to relocate, work crazy hours, learn a lot on the job and at home all help. A games oriented course is probably a good thing but it still won't supply on the job experience, also while its admirable theres a great difference between PS2 & linux kits to using T10/15Ks (though in theory its only harder, with less low level access).

I'd still be tempted by a CS course over a games one, unless the games course had industry ties as i believe the one at Abertay does. It leaves your options open and theres a lot to be said for someone who's spent the time teaching themselves (as long as they do it right).

Finally i guess it depends which area your targeting, rendering, physics, networking, AI, frontend and core sections all require different disciplines. Then again maybe that should only be a consideration once you have your taste of them all.

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meh    375
Quote:
Original post by RdF
If you want it bad enough getting a job in the industry isn't that hard. Being willing to relocate, work crazy hours, learn a lot on the job and at home all help. A games oriented course is probably a good thing but it still won't supply on the job experience, also while its admirable theres a great difference between PS2 & linux kits to using T10/15Ks (though in theory its only harder, with less low level access).

I'd still be tempted by a CS course over a games one, unless the games course had industry ties as i believe the one at Abertay does. It leaves your options open and theres a lot to be said for someone who's spent the time teaching themselves (as long as they do it right).

Finally i guess it depends which area your targeting, rendering, physics, networking, AI, frontend and core sections all require different disciplines. Then again maybe that should only be a consideration once you have your taste of them all.


Yeah, Abertay does have pretty good industry ties. As for the PS2s I believe they were supplied by SCEE who must see some value in potential games programmers learning their hardware. ;)

Post Doc study and on the job experience are the place for specialisation to my mind. To extent so is the honours year of degree. Without an understanding of how other areas of a game are approached how can you tailor your own work to fit?

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
it is good to get a degree because many big companies might not even look at you if you dont have at least a degree in computer science. plus with a degree you could get a job in something else and work your way up to what you want.many companies pay you more to for having a degree too.most big companies dont care how good you are, if you dont have a degree they wont accept you. that is why i think it is worth it to get a degree

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by meh
Yeah, Abertay does have pretty good industry ties. As for the PS2s I believe they were supplied by SCEE who must see some value in potential games programmers learning their hardware. ;)

Post Doc study and on the job experience are the place for specialisation to my mind. To extent so is the honours year of degree. Without an understanding of how other areas of a game are approached how can you tailor your own work to fit?


Aye, any sort of PS2 development is going to be a big plus point, though you don't need a linux kit to do it, there are memory card hacks out there that work just as well or so i'm told. In any case my comment was probably a bit out of order (i've had a hard day/week/6 weeks battering my head against some PS2 stuff). Really if its an impressive demo done on a homebrew kit it'll probably only impress more given the lack of debug tools at your disposal, though from what i hear the VU has some nice tools available

Funny thing about specialistation, thinking about it now nearly everyone i know started out looking at graphics then moved into what they wanted to do or were good at. I guess its because of first impression, if it looks shiney then it impresses.

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meh    375
Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Aye, any sort of PS2 development is going to be a big plus point, though you don't need a linux kit to do it, there are memory card hacks out there that work just as well or so i'm told. In any case my comment was probably a bit out of order (i've had a hard day/week/6 weeks battering my head against some PS2 stuff). Really if its an impressive demo done on a homebrew kit it'll probably only impress more given the lack of debug tools at your disposal, though from what i hear the VU has some nice tools available

Funny thing about specialistation, thinking about it now nearly everyone i know started out looking at graphics then moved into what they wanted to do or were good at. I guess its because of first impression, if it looks shiney then it impresses.


Plus its really bloody difficult to do anything without seeing the results. Mind you I have just got back into graphics after being given hardware capable of some nice shader stuff. To me one of the biggest stumbling blocks anyone has regardless of a degree is the understanding of the process behind the entire thing. We are lucky enough to have some pretty high speed mentors giving us guidance which has really opened my eyes regards the ongoing design process.

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Hamster    247
I'm going to back meh up here. At first I considered games degrees, but decided on a traditionally sensible path and started out doing a reasonably high powered( or is that jumped-up ) computer science course at another university. I hated it. Years of programming alone on my own projects and amusing my own interests had spoiled me, and I found that instead of being pushed to work hard and fascinated by all I was being taught I became very, very bored and demoralized. This wasn't away-from-home blues or anything. I had lots of friends and family staying in the city I was previously studying in. The problem was that the oppressively businesslike, leaden-paced course was basically killing my love of the subject, which was worrying, as without computing I had no idea what other field I could go into.

So I gave up, transferred to the Abertay course and haven't missed it since. I've just finished my first year, and found it to be a vast improvement on the previous degree. I don't know yet if it will land me a job, but it has certainly helped with my understanding and I'm happier there than the previous course could have made me. I think the idea is just to constantly clamour and grab at every opportunity that comes your way, and if you've got the skills and a demo to back it up eventually (hopefully) something small might come your way... Although admittedly I'm working in an offlicence at the minute, but first years don't normally get/apply for placements, as far as I'm aware. As has been mentioned the industry links are good too, occasionally companies send emails or faxes for vacancies to the Uni itself and these are posted on the noticeboards, so this can't be a bad sign. The environment of being surrounded by game obsessed fellow students isn't bad either. I've always enjoyed games as a pasttime for a quiet hour, but left to my own devices can go for months without considering buying a game, and probably wouldn't play more than once a week. In the current course though, games are constantly played, discussed, compared and dismissed (or very occasionally revered). Students share and swap, and generally I've rediscovered that bankcrupting love of games from when I was 13.

Didn't mean to write so much, but as another poster said any course is worth what you are willing to put into it. If I coast for the next three years I'll probably end up with a reasonably worthless, specific degree and nowhere to go, but if I work my sizeable ass off I may yet end up getting a job. It's not unheard of, and you'll probably be a lot better placed to put that kind of effort in if you're doing something that really interests you.

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red_sodium    216
I'm from Glasgow, would you say Abertay is the best place in Scotland (or even Britain) to get a degree in Games Technology? How about CS?

I'm just worried that I'll want to switch around what I do in my job a lot and cover different fields, so it may be a little too specific for me. How well would the degree get you into other, related fields (such as robotics, or the MoD computers)?

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meh    375
The answer to that is that Abertay doesn't do a CS degree just something they call Computing. In terms of old school CS the Games Tech degree is much closer to it and all the skills learnt are directly transferable to other fields. There is a fair bit of complex maths and 'dry' subjects such as encryption, networking, operating systems and architecture that you'd find on a CS course but not on the modern 'Computing' courses.

I'm not saying this goes for all games degrees but it certainly should!

Switching jobs which is something I'm pretty sure most of us will be doing several times in our lives these days. Having a degree in anything shows your capable of working by yourself and not much more. Once you get passed your first job companies will be more interested in what you did there then your degree. As an example my Dad got a degree in Agriculture, worked for ADAS for time, then became a manager in a software house, got made redundant, became the manager of a health centre and finally now works for the NHS and has just completed an MSc.

Apart from his first job with ADAS his degree was of little relevance to any of his later jobs.

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RdF    100
An interesting point is that job applications usually (or used to) look for 2:1 degrees and above OR 1 years industry experience, once your in the field a degree doesn't really matter anymore its really only a springboard into your first job.

Hamster makes a good point, its an enviroment far more conductive to learning when surrounded by like minded individuals who are all pursuing the same goal as yourself and hopefully with as much enthusiasm.

Lastly; it is worth the effort. Its taken me a long time to get where i am but i'm now working for a big developer (with just over 2 years XP), in as stable a position as you can hope for when in games development and even though i've just been through a hellish crunch time the end result makes it all worthwhile.

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