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rs131

Unity Game Schools

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Hi, I'm 17 years old, and i'm deciding what college I should apply to for computer programming/design. I have the skill and passion to learn the programming aspects of game engines but also I want to learn more 3d modeling/animation/design & scripting because i'm very creative and love art too. What I figure is, i'll focus more on which one I like the most, I also want to learn the most about game development as I can. I found two schools which I've been looking towards the most, I just wanted to know what others think about them towards game development and my interests. I've been in programming classes in HS for a year now, and i've been working with HTML since I was 9 and php since i was 13, I know these do not really pertain to programming, but I'm quick with learning and it's a start. Since being in programming, i'm now in the A level of computer science AB. The class I find is extremely boring, my teacher does not really teach it very well and I find myself learning out of the book and online information by myself. I feel like I need to take something more of game development since I find it more interesting than basic computer software development like a typical computer science class, but I will take what is needed ofcourse, but it's more of a 2nd choice, since I also want to learn the art side too. http://msacs.kennesaw.edu/overview.html <-- this is a community college in kennesaw,ga it's a traditional computer science course. i've been considering the art institute of atlanta the most though in their visual & game programming course, but I was wondering how much programming is involved, since i'd also like to learn how to program the engines. http://www.aia.aii.edu/programdegrees.asp?extraid=2231&pid=67&dtid=6 I've also been checking out ITT Tech and Devry's Game Dev. courses, which are both offered my in my area. What does everyone recommend? Thanks.

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rs131,

Congratulations on being one of the few who've identified their interests before finishing college, err...high school. =)

I'll answer your question in two ways. First, the discussion between game development programs and 4-year Computer Science programs is still a heated debate for some people. I myself attended a 4-year Undergrad program at the University of Missouri - Rolla and at the same time managed to pick up a B.S. in Psychology as well. In my personal experience as a professional game programmer I have found that people who took the path of a 4-year comp sci program often have a more profound understanding of computer science and are much more capable of handling the diverse problems that can occur in game development. As well, they often have much more establish math and problem solving skills.

With that being said, there are more and more game development schools becoming available and game companies DO look at those as viable options for junior programmers. So if you're positive game development is for you, and have the motivation to learn the things in your own time which you might not learn in a condensed game development program, then perhaps that's the best path for you.

Secondly, I was in a hiring position for nearly a year and I can tell you that there are primarily two schools which employers look at seriously for game development. Full Sail and DigiPen. Both have relatively solid programs and good repuations. I can, however, tell you from my past experience in grading programming tests, etc...that by and large DigiPen students faired better than Full Sail applicants. So if you want my personal advice, go to DigiPen before considering Full Sail. But if you want to stay close to home, Full Sail is in Florida, while DigiPen is in Washington.

Cheers!

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As what Jwalsh said, have a kind of Computer Science background is a definate plus but not always a must. It also depends what size of company you want to work for later, a big one probably tend to value education above knowledge gained from hobbying. Smaller companies tend to value skill above solid education. You can sell yourself by showing what you are capable of.

I'm 20 years old, doing 3th year of my education. Two weeks ago I got hired by a small company where I worked for my stage. They were impressed by my skills with C\C++ and proposed to finish the project I started on (believe me, when they tell you this it will give you a ego-bump). I know I hardly master any skill yet, but I'm getting in the direction atleast.

This would most likely not have happened when I would have been working for big company. They tend to have some specialist employed already and you wouldn't possibly get into the spotlight.

If you take a good look at the employees of 'leading' gamedeveloping companies, hardly any of them have a game related education (I'm talking about the programmers and gamedesigners), most of them are just geeks who are extremely good at what they do. If you have some very good skills and you can show them, then do this, I can serve as a base.

Here in the Netherlands, companies are just getting to hire new engineers and other IT'ers (there has been a big dip in economy here in this branch, which lead to a lost of thousands of jobs).

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Ubisoft has recently opened the "Ubisoft Campus". You can find their website here. It's in Montreal, though.

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My advice is to not go to a game programming/design school. The major reason is that you will be limiting yourself. Video games are interesting to you now, but you might discover something even more interesting in the next couple years that has nothing to do with video games.

Get a 4-year degree (or more) from a well-known university. Get the best education you can afford.

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Quote:

I was in a hiring position for nearly a year and I can tell you that there are primarily two schools which employers look at seriously for game development. Full Sail and DigiPen. Both have relatively solid programs and good repuations. I can, however, tell you from my past experience in grading programming tests, etc...that by and large DigiPen students faired better than Full Sail applicants.

Very good! I was recently accepted to attend DigiPen for it's four-year bacchelor's degree program in "Real-Time Interactive Simulations". I had heard it was *quite* the hard course, however. Do you know how well students who have attended that course have faired?

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I'm going to UAT starting this next fall they have a pretty cool program ther that includes a couple console programming classes and a handheld programming class both where the final project is to complete a game. You are limited to Nintendo Game Cube and Nintento Game Boy but still. They have a pretty cool program you can customise it to your liking taking classes for game design or game programming or both. They also have a MS in Game Design that extends beyond the BS in eithe Game Programming or Game Design. So its pretty cool.

DarcMagik

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Quote:
Original post by DragonGeo2
Quote:

I was in a hiring position for nearly a year and I can tell you that there are primarily two schools which employers look at seriously for game development. Full Sail and DigiPen. Both have relatively solid programs and good repuations. I can, however, tell you from my past experience in grading programming tests, etc...that by and large DigiPen students faired better than Full Sail applicants.

Very good! I was recently accepted to attend DigiPen for it's four-year bacchelor's degree program in "Real-Time Interactive Simulations". I had heard it was *quite* the hard course, however. Do you know how well students who have attended that course have faired?


Congrats in getting into DigiPen! It's a tough nut to crack, depending on whom you ask. I'm a recent alumnus from the DP Masters class. The Bachelor's program is tough in the sense that they push a very full course load on you from the start (averaging around 20 creds a semester), expect you to acclimate quickly, and do much of the learning / team building *outside* of class. If you're not a self-pacer, it can be very easy to get left behind. Nevertheless, it's a reputable school for a reason and I found the seniors to be very knowledgable and able to create some fun stuff. (Gooo Rumble Box!)

As for the "traditional vs. game college" point, I went traditional and I know a lot of friends that went straight into game school from high school. The main difference I found was fundamentals over specialization. My DigiPen colleagues could code realtime graphics backwards and forwards, leaving me in the dust, whereas basic data structures and algorithmic analysis tripped them up where I excelled. Because of this, DigiPen seniors hit the ground running as they're able to make games right out of school. But without a good grounding in the basics of software engineering, that'll only get you a few years before you burn out, or worse, become obsolete.(!)

Since you can compensate for either education by doing a little overtime studying (which you should be doing anyway), I say go for game school. That way, learning about the industry and developing your portfolio will be a lot easier. Not to mention that being there puts you in touch with a lot of contacts, which are very useful in getting your foot in that door. While there, use that precious little free time to bone up on applying data structures and algorithmic analysis to your code so that 5 years down the line, you're in a better position knowledge-wise to outpace your peers for that senior developer position.

Neither way's perfect, but game school gets you the industry knowledge you need, without leaving you with a bunch of "helpful" UNIX / Java projects on B+ trees as your "demo reel" for game companies. Not that I would know anything about that...[lol]

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Nicely put Socrates.

You fleshed out very well what I was trying to say above but didnt have the means to put it into words. I think you illustrated very well the differences between 4yr vs. game schools...and should help the OP make an independant decision.

Rating+++ for Socrates. Nice response!

Cheers!
Jeromy Walsh

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I wouldn't go to a game programming school because you are only going to meet game programmers there. You won't meet spanish majors or engineers or anthropologists or people that are only in school because it was the next step. Going to college is about learning, but being 19 is about becoming a person, and you have to make sure that you'll be able to address all of your needs wherever you go.

I did not go to a game programming school and so am completely unqualified to make the assertion that I just made. I'm not saying that people that go to game programming school are somehow boring or 2D people, but I feel pretty sure that I would have had a much harder time becoming who I wanted to become at a game school (despite how much I wanted to go to one when I was a senior ;))

To further qualify my already disclaimed opinion:

I am not one of the artsy snobs that thinks math is fake and computers are soulless. I have a degree in comp sci and mathematics, I programmed for Microsoft, I'm the biggest dork in the world. It's still SO important to me to get in on other perspectives and values. I'm really just very wary that they would be found lacking at a school dedicated to game programming (or any overly specialized school). I went to a public school (University of Maryland) and I have a resume better than most recent graduates. I don't feel disadvantaged (in terms of hireability) because I didn't go to Digipen (although MAN I wanted to in 12th grade ;))

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