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Avont29

game programming career

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Rhummer: Exactly. The only "acceptable" degrees in the game industry are real University/College Computer Science degrees, Digipen, and Fullsail. Probably the best route, for those that can afford, is to attain a standard University degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering, plus a degree from Digipen or Fullsail. Then I'd say University only, one with a good game program if available (ie- The guildhall at SMU, or the program at USC), only after that would be digipen or fullsail. I'd probably give the edge there to Digipen simply because they offer Masters degrees and a full 4 year bachelor program.

Digipen and Fullsail are very different from what I hear, however. Perhaps you can shed some more light on this... But my understanding is that Digipen spends more time on the accademic Computer Science background and there are team-based project classes from semester 1 while Fullsail spends less time with the accademic emphesis, and more on current practices/tools. Basically Digipen gives more emphesis to solid foundation and Fullsail gives more emphesis to stuff that will allow their students to hit the ground running, so to speak (and which is not to say the Fullsailers don't have addequate background.) Alot of Digipeners study things like DirectX/OpenGL in their own time so that they come out of school with a current, applyable skillset. Different companies will prefur either approach depending on the corporate culture there.

I'd really like to see an arcticle that compared and contrasted the University/Digipen/Fullsail experiences.


Also, I'd like to say that the salaries in the gamasutra article don't reflect any sort of entry-level salary. The vast majority of people I know in the industy start on "probation" salary in the low-mid 30k range. After this 6 month period it goes up to around 40-45k. By the end of their first 2 years they're probably making low-mid 50s, but I really don't think the gamasutra article accurately reflects an "average" salary in the "< 2 years" catagory, though its probably due to the fact that fresh hires are under-represented, or the fact that some new hires may be contract or pay-by-the-hour employees before they move to a salaried position, making their initial salaries higher because they've already paid their dues.

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Yeah you are correct. Though it seems slowly these degrees are becoming more accepted, Here at Raven we have 5 Full Sail grads, 2-3 Guild Hall grads, and one DigiPen grad. Full Sail give you alot of information. They teach to allow the students to hit the ground running, by giving the students abit of everything. There are dedicated OpenGL/DX classes, but with those classes you are not going to be a master like Carmack or Sweeney, for example. You will have enough knowlegde to understand things and expand on what you gained if you so feel to. Though Full Sail does heavily emphsies the team aspect of the industry, there are several courses dealing with some group project. Mainly the final class, a five month process to develop a game in a small team.

Full Sail generated pretty well rounded people, but they also tend to find their 'niche' by taking the courses. For example, I my self figured I wanted to go down the technogoly end during my time, but once I started the bachelors program and hit the newly added Tools class, I found thats what I was really interested in and went down that path.

I agree some article showing the pros/cons/differences of the two, since those two seem to be the big two colleges for Gaming Degrees.

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Original post by Ravyne
Rhummer: Exactly. The only "acceptable" degrees in the game industry are real University/College Computer Science degrees, Digipen, and Fullsail. Probably the best route, for those that can afford, is to attain a standard University degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering, plus a degree from Digipen or Fullsail. Then I'd say University only, one with a good game program if available (ie- The guildhall at SMU, or the program at USC), only after that would be digipen or fullsail. I'd probably give the edge there to Digipen simply because they offer Masters degrees and a full 4 year bachelor program.

Digipen and Fullsail are very different from what I hear, however. Perhaps you can shed some more light on this... But my understanding is that Digipen spends more time on the accademic Computer Science background and there are team-based project classes from semester 1 while Fullsail spends less time with the accademic emphesis, and more on current practices/tools. Basically Digipen gives more emphesis to solid foundation and Fullsail gives more emphesis to stuff that will allow their students to hit the ground running, so to speak (and which is not to say the Fullsailers don't have addequate background.) Alot of Digipeners study things like DirectX/OpenGL in their own time so that they come out of school with a current, applyable skillset. Different companies will prefur either approach depending on the corporate culture there.

I'd really like to see an arcticle that compared and contrasted the University/Digipen/Fullsail experiences.


Also, I'd like to say that the salaries in the gamasutra article don't reflect any sort of entry-level salary. The vast majority of people I know in the industy start on "probation" salary in the low-mid 30k range. After this 6 month period it goes up to around 40-45k. By the end of their first 2 years they're probably making low-mid 50s, but I really don't think the gamasutra article accurately reflects an "average" salary in the "< 2 years" catagory, though its probably due to the fact that fresh hires are under-represented, or the fact that some new hires may be contract or pay-by-the-hour employees before they move to a salaried position, making their initial salaries higher because they've already paid their dues.


I was considering DigiPen first, because i saw their advertisement first, but then i heard about fullsail and the school was within 3 hours of where i lived :D

Fullsail definently skimps on the acedemics portions, but i like that. Basically, you start in a Game Design class and get taught about documenting a game and designing one, then you move on to coding in C++. Then you move on to data structures, windows and directX. You get a small game project for a month than continue on into opengl, tools, engine development, ai, software architecutre, networking and before you know it you have 5 months to write a game engine and make a game :p

Like mentioned previously, Fullsail pretty much brushes you in many areas, they let you taste everything and teach you the basics behind it all. You are then expected to pull all of that together for your final project. Instead of spending your free time learning DirectX or OpenGL, you spend it researching vertex/pixel shaders, different animation systems, bump mapping or whatever you want to focus your attention in.

Over the past couple months, they have been getting a lot more strict with their class requirements. Just recently, i heard if you fail more than once in the basic programming course you are not allowed to continue in the degree for a year! The school has been getting more and more people. My starting class had 40 which dropped to 20 or so within a couple months :P, the very next class had 80! Most of the people who come in don't always know what they are getting into. Most people figure out whether they really want to stay after the first couple basic programming months. Your basically expected to know and understand the C++ syntax all the way up to the STL libraries within 3 months. I think they introduced pointers the.. third or fourth day into the first programming class :p

Personally, i'd recommend the school. If your serious and you make it through full sail, you will definently have a good grasp of programming and game programming. It is still a new degree and there are things that need work, (Their software architecture class) but overall i think the school is solid.

It's funny, because the further along i got in the degree, the harder and harder game programming looked, then i hit a point where it all started to come together and seemed a lot more feasable than before but still a ton of work. The best part is, if you really work and make a badass final project game, thats something you have on your portfolio to show employers, that and the tools you create and the projects you work on. In engine development, you are supposed to be researching something on your own and you demonstrate it at the end of the class. People do things like bump mapping, cloth simulation, water caustics vertex/fragment shaders, learn another language, heightmapping or whatever you want really.

I know i derailed the thread, but i would like to know a little more about digipen, since i almost appd for that school :P

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Also, they'll look at your GameDev rating... it's on a par with your degree in importance to employers.

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Ok, Full Sail sounds really good. I've looked on the website, but i can't find where it is. What states is Full Sail in. I don't have college money so it will be a scholarship.+

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Original post by Avont29
Ok, Full Sail sounds really good. I've looked on the website, but i can't find where it is. What states is Full Sail in. I don't have college money so it will be a scholarship.+


orlando, florida on university blvd :P

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Guest Anonymous Poster
If you're serious about game programming, pick up Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus 1 & 2, and then test yourself if professional game programming is still for you.

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Ok, i've looked into Full Sail. It looks promising. I don't have college money, and i doubt that i can get a scholarship. What is financial aid? I really need to get into college, i'll be the first in my family to go. Game programming is what i really want to do.

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Financial aid is student loans, the school will help you with getting the paper work and finding ways to get financial aid.

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