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BTownTKD

bummed about school.

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Hey all, I'm a student at the University of Michigan. I recently realized, in going for a Computer Science degree at the LS&A college that I'm looking at a 5-year college experience just for a bachelors. This is my 3rd year right now. I'm kind of bummed that it's going to take so long, and that there's going to be so many extra courses that don't really seem necessary for game programming (i.e. STATS and CALC II/III, and Physics II). On the other hand, a friend of mine is just about to start college in the spring at some game development school in Florida. He will theoretically have a bachelor's in game programming in 2 years. 5 years vs. 2 years? Am I wasting my time here, or is this a worthwhile educational pathway? I mean, I'll have a degree from the U of M, which is pretty impressive, and a degree in computer science, which is a little more versatile than a degree in game programming, but on the other hand, U of M only has ONE game design-related class... will this put me at a disadvantage when trying to find a job in game programming? And is this Florida school for real? That seems like a too-good-to-be-true gimmick, somehow... I guess I'm just looking for either some kind of support or reassurance that continuing with U of M will be beneficial, or some kind of warning like "get out quick and follow your friend to Florida." Also, some reasoning behind the response would be nice, lol ;-)

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I have no industry experience, but I would certainly look negatively on "a bachelors in game programming" from "some game development school", especially when compared to a CS degree from an acknowledged university. With a CS grad at least you know what you get, but what do the companies who are hiring know about the quality of the graduates from this game development school? (I don't know.) Also, 3rd year is a bit late to start worrying, right? You're gonna be done by the same time as your friend, even if you were to transfer right now.

You may not think the courses you are taking are relevant, but they are actually directly applicable - physics, calculus, and probably even statistics can be applied to certain areas of game development. Use your imagination and you'll come up with some areas where they can be of use easily.

Your CS degree, apart from probably being more thorough and prestigious, is also less restrictive than the 2 year one. Are you sure you'll still want to go into the game industry 2 or 3 years from now? No reason to lock yourself into one path when you can have a whole bunch of different options.

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I solely agree with lightbringer. A CS degree will give you ALOT more alternatives if you chose not to do Game Programming. And, correct me if i'm wrong, some studios and companies require you to have a CS degree.

So go and take that CS degree. You'll have alot more choices. And i'm sure alot of people here at the boards agree with me and lightbringer.

Hope this helps!

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Adding onto other's posts, having advanced knowledge of calculus and physics will also be an enormous bonus. Games need to use physics for loads of stuff such as gravity, collision detection etc.

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Sweet. Thanks.

I feel a bit better now :-)

Now my next question:
Like I said before, the U of M only offers 1 course in game programming (...i think). Does anyone have suggestions as to where I could get some formal training in game design? I could read some books on it (and I have been reading a number of books from premiere press), but I can't really put "avid game-design bookreader" on a resume ;-)! Like are there some kind of classes or online courses: something that would look good on a resume when it comes time to start looking for a job? Yeah, a CS degree is great -- im finally convinced -- but I'd also like to have something that is specific to game development too, to supplement the CS degree.

(of course, if I get some free time EVER, then I will try to finish these books too, and create a demo or two so that I can start to compile a reasonable portfolio).

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Game design doesn't really have much to do with programming. You won't be knocked down from a programming position because you have no design experience, and having it won't help much either.

If you really want to learn about game design then read a couple of books or some of the articles in the GDNet articles section (some of them are really great). You could perhaps work on an indie project as a designer and put that on your resume so that the employer can see that you have experience is games design.

If you'd like you can contact me about anything specific at: arron@arronbailiss.co.uk (E-mail and MSN address).

Good luck!

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Look into the courses at GameInsitute.com. They have a lot of really well structured online courses. I'm taking their DirectX Graphics Programming I course, and I love it. I've learned so much more from that course than I did from any of the books I bought.

Also, concerning schooling... You have to look at it this way: if your friend graduates from FullSail (which is, I'm assuming, the school in Florida he's attending), and *doesn't* get into the game industry, then he'll have wasted massive amounts of money, and will have no other training, aside from game development. Since you've taken a formal Comp. Sci. degree, you have a much wider area you can find employment in. You're not limited to the game development field. So, in the end, you come out on top of *any* game development course. Just stick in there.

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Quote:
Original post by BTownTKD
I'm a student at the University of Michigan. I recently realized, in going for a Computer Science degree at the LS&A college that I'm looking at a 5-year college experience just for a bachelors. This is my 3rd year right now. I'm kind of bummed that it's going to take so long, and that there's going to be so many extra courses that don't really seem necessary for game programming (i.e. STATS and CALC II/III, and Physics II).

You're making a lot of implicit assumptions in that paragraph:

1.) You want to stay in game programming the rest of your life.
2.) Given your skill set and the job opportunities available, game programming will result in a salary and living conditions that satisfy your needs.
3.) Courses not related to game programming are useless, or at least not as useful as those directly related to game programming.

I have to strenuously disagree with your position on (3); any graphics programmer knows the virtues of multivariable calculus. We live in a three-dimensonal world, and plain old functions of one variable just don't cut it. Statistics are required for random techniques, smoothing, or any kind of distributed information. It's also tremendously useful in AI.

As for (1), if you're an American, then by the time you're 40 it's entirely probable that you'll change career paths at least once (39%).

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Thanks guys -- I feel much better about the direction I am heading now.

I think I was having some kind of mid college-life crisis lol. I just saw all this work ahead of me, and thought "what if I waste all my money, time, and effort only to find out that I was schooled in the entirely wrong field?"

Thanks though. Time to get back to homework (fun times with doubly-linked lists).

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Quote:
Original post by BTownTKD
Time to get back to homework (fun times with doubly-linked lists).


Oooh! Those are always fun!

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