# Ok...before I get too far along in college and have no useful classes...

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2 things...

first, allow me to give you the insight to my recent computer science diploma i earned. one thing people definately dont realize is that computer science programs usually dont teach you how to 'program' in the sense of real world programming. they are teaching you to be 'computer scientists'. they are loading your face down with theory that you will never probably touch again unless you go into grad school. but they are training you in hopes that you will come up with the algorithm that sorts faster than log(n/2). they arent teaching you that you need to find out what the customer needs, put in a good design, or anything like that. i only did 1 GUI program all throughout my 4 years there. the rest was coding algorithms and solving problems.

second, if you want to use your college to make your game design dreams come closer to a reality, start learning some opengl/sdl/directx/whatever you want to do something small. while you are doing that, go find a club on campus that does game design, programming, graphics (in the sense of opengl/directx/cg coding) or whatever. become friends with them because they already know people. from this, you will be able to learn a lot more and a lot quicker than if you just relied on your CS courses. hope this helps.

and dont go to a tech school. you miss out on the fun parts of college :).

*EDIT*
and btw, i make more money at my programming job doing webapps than my friend working at EA :P

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Quick note on the utility of college - right now at my job I spend all my time writing scripts that parse huge reams of data and distill it all down to something that a human can understand. There's lots of scaling issues and performance is very much a concern. No, there's no GUI to speak of (mostly we just generate text files or send data directly to other programs), but honestly relatively few programs in the world have GUIs. The ones that do just happen to be the ones that people see, because, y'know, they're graphical. Games tend to be graphical as well, so if you want to do game development, you'll need to learn to do graphics. However, graphics are not especially relevant to most computer science jobs.

Design is relevant, though, regardless of what kind of program you're writing. Learn how to design software. Well-designed software makes the difference between a program that runs efficiently and gets the job done and a program that segfaults as soon as you start it and you have no idea why. A small community college may not have classes on software design; likely you'll need to go to a larger or more technical school for that. Don't underestimate the importance of design, though; you need it if you're going to write any significant amount of code at all.

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 Original post by DerakonQuick note on the utility of college - right now at my job I spend all my time writing scripts that parse huge reams of data and distill it all down to something that a human can understand. There's lots of scaling issues and performance is very much a concern. No, there's no GUI to speak of (mostly we just generate text files or send data directly to other programs), but honestly relatively few programs in the world have GUIs. The ones that do just happen to be the ones that people see, because, y'know, they're graphical. Games tend to be graphical as well, so if you want to do game development, you'll need to learn to do graphics. However, graphics are not especially relevant to most computer science jobs. Design is relevant, though, regardless of what kind of program you're writing. Learn how to design software. Well-designed software makes the difference between a program that runs efficiently and gets the job done and a program that segfaults as soon as you start it and you have no idea why. A small community college may not have classes on software design; likely you'll need to go to a larger or more technical school for that. Don't underestimate the importance of design, though; you need it if you're going to write any significant amount of code at all.

You probably meant it, but just to be sure, I'd like to point out that even if most programs aren't graphical, many of the techniques are the same or easily adapted to graphical applications.

Example: Neighbor lists are important in simulations (which is what I do), but they're not so very different from many of the spacial partition structures used in graphics. Why? Because they serve roughly the same purpose. We use neighbor lists because we only want to perform calculations on other particles within a sphere; graphics programmers only want to perform calculations on triangles within a cone.

Then again, I'm also a believer that your major doesn't matter as much as the degree itself and that the degree is useful only in so far as it helps to show you have the ability to learn/think.

Example: I have a friend who was a theater major. She recently added a geology major. She had little trouble picking up geology. She had to hit the books a little harder to start to catch up on the background information, but that's it. She'd already gained the appropriate analytical skills in other ways.

Of course, take it all with a grain of salt. I just jumped from one ivory tower to the next after I finished my undergrad. However, from my friends who entered the work force after graduation, I hear it is true that you only use 5% of what you learned (as far as "facts" are concerned, the skills are, of course, well used).

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 Original post by tontand btw, i make more money at my programming job doing webapps than my friend working at EA :P

Aye, whenever anyone says "I'll never sell out" (meaning they'll only program games they enjoy instead of getting a job programming webapps, they'll only paint works of art instead of getting a job in graphics design, etc.) I point out that those "living the dream" tend to also be those "living in an efficiency" and those "living off ramen noodles".

Of course, money isn't everything. If it were, I wouldn't be in grad school (you're usually better off, money wise, spending those years working up the chain).

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I guess programming classes are a must no matter where you go in the gaming industry, to a certain degree.

Like a previous poster said, software design is important, actually, VITAL to game development. Current games take software design and everything taught in that discipline to the extreme. It makes for shorter more efficient life cycles, easier debugging and higher reusability and expandability. Gone are the days where hacking out code is all you need to be able to do. Even as a software programmer, you have to also learn team skills. So, apart from taking classes, take initiatives and join or create group projects with friends. Sometimes doing something wrong and failing or struggling is the best way to realize how valuable and relevant topics in text books are.

Personal drive is also an issue. When it comes to being a good programmer, habit is a big part of it. Standardize coding methods and documentation methods and get into the habit of doing it because you'll do it alot in any industry related to software. Also, remember, you only get as much out of a class as you are willing to put in. If you only listen to lectures and take tests, you'll only learn so much. Push what you learn into actual hands-on practices and don't be afraid to ask your professor for help, that's what they're being paid to do. Don't just take what you learn at face value, always try to incorporate and put things together. Like my advisor constantly says, knowing is the first step. The hard part is understanding. Only after you understand will you gain wisdom.

Sorry, I digress.

Here's a helpful hint though. EA just started an accredited graduate program with the university of central florida in game development. The program only accepts applicants who have bachelor's degrees from accreditted 4 year university, to be sure that the students are of a certain quality. You will also need to submit a portfolio, and you will be able to choose to study to be a designer, programmer or artist. Its a intensive training program taught by industry insiders, which will almost guarantee you a job in the industry, if not EA, if you do well. It seems very possible to finish the program and directly jump to the position of designer. So, that may be a route to pursue. Would save you a few years working up the chains, but will take alot more hard work in the short term.

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 Original post by WeirdoFuHere's a helpful hint though. EA just started an accredited graduate program with the university of central florida in game development. The program only accepts applicants who have bachelor's degrees from accreditted 4 year university, to be sure that the students are of a certain quality. You will also need to submit a portfolio, and you will be able to choose to study to be a designer, programmer or artist. Its a intensive training program taught by industry insiders, which will almost guarantee you a job in the industry, if not EA, if you do well. It seems very possible to finish the program and directly jump to the position of designer. So, that may be a route to pursue. Would save you a few years working up the chains, but will take alot more hard work in the short term.

this is true(i actually got my degree from UCF hehe), and its probably the best way to get your foot in the door to the game industry. apparently you will be getting your own cube and everything. but the program is going to be extremely expensive. but UCF itself has a very well respected computer science program, along with many useful clubs on campus that can help you get along you gaming needs :).

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