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infernosnow

Is it best to go to college for making games?

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Is it best to go to college to be a designer? Is it best to go to college to be a programmer? (DX9/C++) Is it best to go to college to be a 3D modeler? Is it best to go to college to be a 3D texturist? Is it best to go to college to be an audio composer? Is it best to go to college to be a CG cinematic animator? Is it best to go to college to be an animator for in-game animations? From what I've learned in the past four years of studying this field, I'd say no, except for the job of being a designer and programmer. I would like to know the opinions of others however with whether or not it's best to go to college. Sure, it's good if you go to college, any extra experience is great, but is it really WORTH it? That's what I'm wanting to know. I have taught myself how to do all of the above except programming which I am getting ready to master in the next few months. Even though I did say you should probably go to college to be a designer or programmer, I have decided to drop out of college so I can teach myself how to program on my own. I seem to have taught myself everything else, so I don't see why I can't teach myself programming as well. Now some people say that going to college is good because it makes you a better rounded person. I however, do not see how this is greatly beneficial to my job, however. I am a likable person, social, kind, smart in many areas of study, have lots of experience with different things in this field, etc. From what I've experienced of the college I was in, they teach you very little and I have not been impressed at all. I was expecting to really get into the nitty-gritty of what it takes to make a game, but I have lost all confidence in the college's ability to do this for a number of reasons I won't go into. One main reason however, is that many (most) of the courses required are irrelevant to becoming a better game designer or programmer. Another thing I've learned in the past four years is that game companies don't seem to really care much about what degree you have. It's all about the PORTFOLIO. If you don't have anything to show, you're worthless. You're not hired. You're out on the streets with no job. I would RATHER spend the next few years perfecting my talents and making a fantastic portfolio then waste my time at a college to become more well rounded and have a crappy portfolio. Now my major is (was technically) programming and I was enrolled at the Art Institute of Atlanta, but their courses were crap to me. Although I will spend time learning DirectX and C++ I might take individual courses targeting trigonometry, physics, and calculus so I know I will have a firm grasp on such things. Full time college for a degree however, seems out of the question. So, mainly, I'm wondering what your opinion is about going to college for the different job types that make up a game team. Is it seriously worth the time? Have I missed something? Thanks.

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yes.
yes.
yes.
yes.
yes.
yes.
yes.

Or rather, let me clarify, it is best to go to a university where you live on [or slightly off] campus.

Sure, you can learn everything you need for a job outside of school. That's rather missing the point though. While you may spend the majority of your waking hours at your place of employment, it is not your life. And most of the lessens learned at college are not learned in the lecture hall...

The chances of you [or anyone else that matter] of doing a job they truly enjoy are slim to none. Even in the gaming industry, there's quite a bit of work involved in the work. Further, you can easily screw up your life outside of your work. University is a place designed to allow people to learn those vital life skills while in a semi-protected environment.

This ignores other advantages such as [personal] networking, being around hot college chicks [and/or dudes], learning things useful for game making such as physics/engineering/math/arts/legal/business stuff, and generally being more employable than if you just went to a trade school, or other 'job' focused secondary education establishment.

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I'll be done with my bachelors in Computer Science soon in computer programming and I recommend going to college. Sure, the game companies want to see a portfolio or demo. but some game companies will not hire you if you don't have a degree. Also, a lot of people don't just immediately get into the games industry and have to have other jobs first before they can make it in. I know that I'll be working at a regular programming job by day and working on my friends and I's game at night. IMO, it is great to have a degree as it's a big accomplishment and could increase your chances of getting in the industry.

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Also remember that a lot of people leave the game industry after a few years (for a variety of different reasons). A college degree can help provide flexibility in what kinds of jobs you apply for, and definitely makes you a more marketable to employers in the non-game developing world.

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Go to college. Get a degree. Get the best education that you can afford.

Your thinking is short-sighted. Going to college has long term benefits. Ten years from now, (depending on what you do) you will either be so glad that you went or feel like a total idiot for dropping out.

Consider these:
  • Getting into the game industry is difficult, even with a degree. If you can't get a job making video games and you don't have a degree, you will be stuck flipping burgers or working at Walmart for the rest of your life.
  • At least explore your opportunities before focusing on video games. In college, you might discover something much more interesting than making video games.
  • Did you know that most people work in the video game industry for less than 5 years (though they initially expect to stay much longer)? Where do you see yourself in 5 years, sick of making games and with no degree?

Quote:
Now my major is (was technically) programming and I was enrolled at the Art Institute of Atlanta"
Huh? A programming major at Art Institute? That makes no sense at all. If you want to learn programming and computer science, check out Georgia Tech.

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Speaking as someone who thought exactly as you did 6 years ago, and DID drop out to do EXACTLY what you want to do: Do NOT drop out. If you have the capacity to graduate, even if it has zero relation to anything you will ever do for the rest of your life, the investment is very much worth it.

Teaching yourself to program is an excellent choice--I taught myself DirectX, C++ and C# without any formal education in the area, and feel that I am much more adaptable to any given code situation than your standard college trainee. I quickly learned, however, that this means jack and sh__ when trying to get a job. Your resume will be carefully filed in the wastebasket 9 out of 10 times when all they see is a HS diploma.

It isn't fair, but in the modern work world, not having a college degree tells others that you're either a)too stupid, b)too lazy, or c)not able to dedicate yourself to something long enough to finish.

So.. take it from the 26 year old who is working his ass off now to finish his CIS bachelors while his friends are getting masters and PhDs, or making lots of money in well-established jobs. Just bite the bullet and finish college now so you can dedicate yourself to programming later without having to worry about things like where your next meal is coming from.

There's no harm in programming and going to school at the same time, either. Just do each in moderation.

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Quote:
Original post by cyric74
It isn't fair, but in the modern work world, not having a college degree tells others that you're either a)too stupid, b)too lazy, or c)not able to dedicate yourself to something long enough to finish.

I disagree. I don't think not having a college degree says those things about you, but that having one helps back up your claim that: a) you're smart enough, b) are able to dedicate yourself to something long enough to finish, c) can handle a demanding workload, d) can work with and through deadlines. Having only a diploma is not a bad image per se, it's just that in many cases it's not enough. Companies need proof of what you're capable of, and a college degree provides alot of that proof. A good portfolio also helps in developing a good employable image.

Otherwise, I agree and well said.

:stylin:

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Go to college (preferably university) and study Maths or Computer Science, then read books on how to make games and you will understand it a lot better, plus if games get boring youve got a proper degree.

(dont anyone tell me a computer-games-designing degree is a degree)

Yratelev

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