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shanytopper

I want to study game design seriously

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Where is considerd the best place in the world to study game design from an academic point of view? So far, the best place I've read about is UAT, but I dont know how good is this place considerd the best in the world. Money is NOT an issue. Place is NOT an issue. Only the quality of the studies. So, what do you pepole say?

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I'll start by saying I know nothing about schools that specialize in game design and that I'm an "outsider" with no true experience in the "industry". I checked out UAT, and it worries me. The list of their classes is very narrow, with just gaming. Of the listed faculty there, only three of them have a college degree listed as credentials (and notice they have Bachelors degrees from Universities, not Gaming Desing Schools), only one of them has said he worked at a game studio, and one of them listed that he's worked at a gaming STORE as a credential. In high school, I was a cashier at Caldor; it doesn't make me an expert in retail sales.

I can tell you that going to an actual University, a real, accredited one, the type that needs SAT scores and admission applications, and getting a degree at one, will be just as good, and most likely better than a Game Design Bachelors Degree. This isn't to say UAT isn't good. But please do very thorough research on the place. Go to their Tempe campus and see how classes are set up. How good do the faculty seem to be?

Now, if money is no object, you could go to a normal University and get a degree there (which will be more well-rounded) and also do UAT's online courses at the same time. Then you'd have the best of both worlds. It would mean a lot of work and not so many beer parties, but would be a good stepping stone for any ambitious young person.

Now, all of that said, there's no best place to study, IMO. Your mindset and willingness to learn and to work hard at it are the best place. My degree is a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and when I went to college, there weren't really any computers to learn on. The computer science majors worked at dumb terminals on a mainframe that took up an entire story of a building. Despite this, however, I am doing fine with computerized game design, because I had a well rounded degree. Because I went to a University, I had classes in creative writing (great for writing game story), expository writing (game design document), psychology (how the player thinks and approaches a challenge), drawing (how things move, shapes, composition), filmmaking (motion, movement, sound, composition) and sculpture (how things exist in a 3 dimensional world).

Who are your game design "heroes"? Check out what education they have and where they got it. How did the people who are where you want to be get where they are?

Definitely do some research before going to a Game School.

I wish I could offer more, and I wish you the best luck. :)

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I would seriously make at least a couple small 2d games by yourself before making a final decision. Making games is very hard work...get ready to spend 16hrs a day for the first year or so if you are even lucky enough to get an entry level position.


The only way your going to know if you are even capable of doing it or even like doing it is to make a few small games yourself.

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If you're really keen on the Game Design aspect of things, you might want to look at Full Sail or Digipen? Wherever you're going, I'd make sure they're giving you a good Bachelor or Masters Degree. If your grades are up to it, some of the Ivy league unis have some amazing Game Development Degrees and Post Grads (Carnegie Mellon, MIT, etc). USC also has a very interesting degree and post-grad program, headed up by Tracy Fullerton.

Whatever you do, look at
- Who's teaching?
- What are they teaching (Syllabus should be online)?
- Do a quick google; what kind of projects did past grads do? Where are they now?

Allan

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DigiPen is not a design school. As far as I know, niether is Full Sail, but I didn't attend there so I can't say for sure. DigiPen, however, is a highly technical program and its not where you want to go if you want to be a game designer.

"Design" is not a science and you won't find very many places offering to teach it to you. Those that do probably aren't going to be very good. There are also very few, if any, job openings for "guys with game design degrees" out there. If you want to be a designer, chances are you are going to have to get your foot in the door as an artist, programmer, or maybe -- maybe -- a scenario/level designer or writer.

To that end, a liberal arts or humanities degree might benefit you. Consider courses in architechure or philosophy. Stuff that makes you well-rounded so you have a broad base of knowledge to draw upon.

Good luck.

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Quote:
Original post by shanytopper
Where is considerd the best place in the world to study game design...?

Money is NOT an issue.
Place is NOT an issue.

Only the quality of the studies.


shany,
Read articles 3, 25, 34, and 44 on my site. You don't need a "game design" school. You need a top-notch education. Since you're rich and can study anywhere, I recommend Oxford, Harvard, Princeton, Yale... Find out where the most brilliant writers go to school (since you want to study game design, not programming or graphics).
Good luck


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Quote:
Original post by shanytopper
Where is considerd the best place in the world to study game design...?

Money is NOT an issue.
Place is NOT an issue.


It does not matter what "the best place in the world to study" is. Only one factor is important: How much work are you (the student) going to work for your education?

If you are that rich then go to MIT, Princeton, or some other nice school. That does not mean you will learn anything. At those schools, you better be putting in enough effort that you don't get kicked out, and you must be able to show your skills.


Story time

I know two people who went to Princeton in technology degrees. They were second- and third- generation rich. The second-generation rich was one of the first CS graduates at the school, worked hard, and has done incredible things over his life. He now owns and runs several technology companies, including the place I work.

The third-generation rich (their child) slacked off in school and has never been able to hold down a job for long. He never learned how to work and assumed that Daddy's money would bail him out of all problems. Well after college he continues to live in the basement, even with the Princeton degree.

I also know many people who struggled and worked their way through local junior colleges, went to no-name state colleges, and were then moderately to very successful in their careers. These people learn to work hard, are generally both more frugal and more generous (if you know the type you understand), and can quickly gain enormous power within organizations to accomplish great things.

Looking at some famous people in games: John Carmack dropped out of college because he thought it was a waste of his time -- instead he learned things on his own and did an enormous amount of work. Chris Sawyer didn't go to a big name school, but worked hard in his career. Will Wright went to a state college and dropped out after five years. Many founders and important people in today's studios have similarly bland educational backgrounds. The key factor is not the school, but that they constantly learn and also know how to work.

The moral of the story

It really does not matter what school you go to. The main factors are what you learn and what you produce using that knowledge.

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> ... the best place in the world to study game
> design from an academic point of view

Do you have an idea of what a game designer's day looks like? Sounds like you never talked to a veteran game designer. Might be a good idea to talk to one. Here are 2 contacts you can easily find in many games development book: Patrice Desilets (pdesilets@ubisoft.qc.ca), and Francois-Dominic Laramee (francoislaramee@videotron.ca). If I were millions rich, I'd fly to San Jose next week for the Game Developers Conference and take them to dinner. Alternatively, the book "Game Design Perspectives" (from Charles River Media) might give you some extra information and industry contacts for your endeavor.

As a game designer, you need a general culture background. You should be well-versed in arts, litterature, project management, cinema, psychology, history, architecture, etc. Schools tend to spread "current" knowledge so you can be up to speed with the industry; unfortunately, the last thing the market needs is yet another "Lord of the Rings" look-alike. Anything else that would let you stand out of the mold and expand your creativity would be good.

> If you are that rich then go to MIT, Princeton,
> or some other nice school.

Just one word of caution about those schools. They have the reputation of encouraging an elitist behaviour; it's easy to get tagged with the "Havard MBA" syndrome afterwards. Employers can smell Prima Donnas from miles away, and this makes it difficult to get your first impression right on your job interviews.

-cb

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Odin - thank's dude, been real helpfull

The rest of you guys - I didn't wrote that I'm intrested in learning game designing "just to get a job", so places like Harvard which aren't teaching game designing are just not helpfull for me.

What I am looking for, is a place where I can learn it in order to be the best game designer I can. (ofcourse, I know it have alot to do with originality and hard work which can't be teached, but just like there are schools for screen writers, that are ment to make them better, I'm sure there are schools for game designers)

So far, the best place I read about was indeed USC that Odin talked about. (they call the degree "interactive media", but it's basicly game desiging)

anyone can recommand somewhere else?

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I'm going to go out on a limb here. You didn't read what we wrote. I'll put it in spaces, so you can see it.



There is no best place to learn game design.



Was that enough space? If not, I can edit to add more. Go to a good school, if you can get in and money is no object. What are good schools? Your High School guidance counselor will know. Personally, I had to put myself through school, and I went to Rutgers University. That turned out to be fine, since I have a hard work ethic and good study habits. I will enclose the next point everyone made, that you ignored, in space.



A school is only as good as the effort you, the student, will put into it.




Your High School guidance counselor will have a lot of resources for what schools offer what, and they will have lists of the good ones currenly. I can't help you with current education, since I only know what schools were considered good when I was 18, which is a couple decades ago.

To study game /design/, you only really need to play games, dissect them in your mind (what makes them fun, how do they work), buy a bunch of books on game design or even check them out from a library, and then you design and you learn from mistakes. That's it. No school can teach you what to make. The Game Design School might even be worse, since they could possibly be teaching you that "Game Design is X." Game Design is like writing. There's no single way to learn it, no single way to do it, and no school can make you into a great writer if it isn't in you to begin with.

Again, good luck. Everything I wrote to you was not about how to "just get a job". It was about how to learn. I can't guarantee that if you go to Game Design School, you will get Game Design Job. I can't guarantee that if you went to Harvard Law School that you will pass the bar exam. Now for more space.




If you were looking to "study game design seriously", you don't even need a school to do it.

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Nope.

You didn't read what I wrote.
I was NOT asking how to get a job.
I was NOT asking how to be a game designer.

What I did ask was: Where is the best place to study THAT SUBJECT?
Schools that teach other things (but not game design), are just not intresting to me, and are not what I'm looking for.

True, "just like writing", game desgining is more about talent and hard work then about studying. But, "just like writing", studying it will make you better at it (and that's why writing schools exisit all over the world).

Also, as I wrote in my first message I want to study it from an academic POV. The reasons for that are rather too many to count here.


Hope you understand me better now
Shany Topper

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I do understand you, now.

Don't bother going to a school. Save your money, or your parent's money. The best place to study "that subject" is right here, on the internet, and by buying (or library) books on Game Design. That's my opinion and I stick to it. Especially if you don't want to go to "Schools that teach other things (but not game design), are just not intresting to me, and are not what I'm looking for."

From an academic point of view, all there has to be is you, your brain, and reading material.

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Currently I am attending Full Sail. It is a really good school. It teaches all aspects of making games from the actual Design to the programming. It is a really good school to goto if you really want to learn to make video games. www.fullsail.com

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Quote:
Original post by ellis1138
I do understand you, now.

Don't bother going to a school. Save your money, or your parent's money. The best place to study "that subject" is right here, on the internet, and by buying (or library) books on Game Design. That's my opinion and I stick to it. Especially if you don't want to go to "Schools that teach other things (but not game design), are just not intresting to me, and are not what I'm looking for."

From an academic point of view, all there has to be is you, your brain, and reading material.


I agree with this 100%. If you are going to school to learn how to do a specific thing, and you seem to already have a certain set of criteria as to what makes them good, which means you already seem to know what a good design cirriculum is and what its not, then truly you are enlightened and determined enough to study this elusive topic of Game Design by yourself, this 'official degree' that none of the top game designers today have.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Here's what you need to make playable video games yourself among other things, lot's of math (calc. sequence, linear algebra, abstract algebra, trig., etc.), understanding of physics (probably calc. based), c/c++, a few ideas, creative & artistic ability, and tons of time. Or you can join a team of people and substitue tons of time with a lot of time! Going to a game design school will teach you nothing more than how to use editors- if you are looking for a career this is not advisable because most anyone can use an editor. Really what you need is to preently be a math whiz w/o schooling, or you need to go to school and become a math whiz. Without a solid foundation in math your attempts at programming will be dismel at best. I hope this helps.

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Game Design as a job:

Everyone wants to "design games", but actually to get a position as a designer requires years of experience and dedication; nobody ever gets an "entry level designer position". Designer positions are few and sought after, and so fall to seasoned veterans who have meanwhile developed skills in other game industry career paths. If design is your eventual dream, you'll need to start in one of the 3 main career paths (programmer, artist, producer) and work your way up. You should also nurture excellent writing and communication skills as well as broad general knowledge of subject areas you'd like to work with and learn everything you can about how games are put together.

http://bighugegames.com/jobs/industryjobtips.html

Can't remember where, but there was another company that stated: "We don't hire 'game designers' because everyone contributes to our games".

You cant really go and get a game design job. And if you do, it's usually not full time. Once you design a game you don't get paid to just sit and do nothing until the games done, so I guess get a good degree, get a job, and then see what happens.

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Quote:
Original post by shanytopper
I was NOT asking how to get a job.
I was NOT asking how to be a game designer.

What I did ask was: Where is the best place to study THAT SUBJECT?


The best place huh? Where a succesful game designer is. Money is no object, so I'm sure you could hunt one down and bribe them to quit their job and teach you. You're not asking how to get a job, so you won't need a degree. You're not asking to be a game designer, so you want need practical experience. So I don't see any problems with just paying the best designer you can find what they think fit to teach you.

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Why does everyone jump down someones throat when they ask questions on these forums? "Do you know what a game designers day is like?" Come on. You ask a simple question and you always get people who want to be jerks.

My only suggestion might be to intern at a game developing company because hands on is always better. Even then, it isn't answering your question. :) I'm not sure about a specific school.

Goodluck with your endeavor.

rj

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Quote:
Original post by ellis1138
I'm going to go out on a limb here. You didn't read what we wrote. I'll put it in spaces, so you can see it.



There is no best place to learn game design.



Was that enough space? If not, I can edit to add more. Go to a good school, if you can get in and money is no object. What are good schools? Your High School guidance counselor will know. Personally, I had to put myself through school, and I went to Rutgers University. That turned out to be fine, since I have a hard work ethic and good study habits. I will enclose the next point everyone made, that you ignored, in space.



A school is only as good as the effort you, the student, will put into it.





Your High School guidance counselor will have a lot of resources for what schools offer what, and they will have lists of the good ones currenly. I can't help you with current education, since I only know what schools were considered good when I was 18, which is a couple decades ago.

To study game /design/, you only really need to play games, dissect them in your mind (what makes them fun, how do they work), buy a bunch of books on game design or even check them out from a library, and then you design and you learn from mistakes. That's it. No school can teach you what to make. The Game Design School might even be worse, since they could possibly be teaching you that "Game Design is X." Game Design is like writing. There's no single way to learn it, no single way to do it, and no school can make you into a great writer if it isn't in you to begin with.

Again, good luck. Everything I wrote to you was not about how to "just get a job". It was about how to learn. I can't guarantee that if you go to Game Design School, you will get Game Design Job. I can't guarantee that if you went to Harvard Law School that you will pass the bar exam. Now for more space.




If you were looking to "study game design seriously", you don't even need a school to do it.


What called for this ass to get all pissy like you were a 2 year old or something

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I would do this:

  • Spend a few weeks (or the whole course) at e.g. Fullsail which will walk you through the basics
  • Go to some uni and learn about and practice the subjects that are important: e.g. cognitive psychology, user interfaces, design of all sorts, writing, filming, lighting etc. etc.
  • Design my awesome (or maybe not-so) video game
  • Pull together some large heaps of $$$ and have some kick-ass team produce the game [smile]
  • Enjoy!

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    Quote:
    Original post by rjuniqueWhat called for this ass to get all pissy like you were a 2 year old or something


    The fact that the OP was not listening to what was being said. I used to be a teacher, long ago. In the same class, you could teach the same thing and watch as some students will go on and succeed and others will fail. I do my best to make things clear. On a forum, it's more difficult to do so, hence the spacing I used. I didn't think I was being pissy; I am honestly trying to help the OP see that the best place to academically study something when you don't intend to get a job in it and when you don't want to learn anything _but_ that subject, is right at home with books and a brain.

    Learning is inside you.

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    So it looks like the consensus is that is better to go by yourself, play a lot of games, try to dissect them on your mind about their design, get access (buy or borrow from library) a lot of books on game design and then try to design your own game.

    But what after? Obviously one person, learning, with no contacts in the field will not be able to produce such game and as long as I understand (by doing the steps above myself) a game is NOT designed by a single person.

    Another detail is that game develping companies are NOT in all states. Matter of fact they're in a very selected group of states. For someone like me, in Florida, I have absolutely no real chance of begging or trying to get an internship in a desingning co. Also as long as I know, all companies are sucking their interns from the new game design schools that are crazy spawing all arround the country. Would I, self learner, with no credentials or even a student's portfolio, have a chance on getting such internship?

    And even if I had, how would I move to another state and support myself while working for free, or close to it, as an intern?

    Sorry guys, but it's hard to believe that the tips given here come from real game designers who learned it all by themselves. Do not mean to say anybody is lying, just that the tips ate not at all connected to the real person's world.

    And here I Am once more, a guy who craves to be a game designer, who lives in Florida and went to college for Business, still having no clue on how to solve the puzzle of becoming a game designer without paying 60K + on anothe bachelor's that most say is useless.

    Any light?

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    "Renato" wrote:

    >So it looks like the consensus is that is better to go by yourself, play a lot of games, try to dissect them on your mind about their design, get access (buy or borrow from library) a lot of books on game design and then try to design your own game.

    The consensus is that you need to do that to supplement a 4-year degree (minimum) from pretty much any reasonable institution of higher learning. (Don't ignore the need for a college education.)

    >But what after? Obviously one person, learning, with no contacts in the field will not be able to produce such game and as long as I understand (by doing the steps above myself) a game is NOT designed by a single person.

    So, after having learned a skill, the next step is to find a way to apply it. You're right, it's a fool's errand to try to do it alone. So find other people to team up with.

    >Another detail is that game develping companies are NOT in all states. Matter of fact they're in a very selected group of states. For someone like me, in Florida, I have absolutely no real chance of begging or trying to get an internship in a desingning co.

    Firstly, there is such a thing as "moving to another state." Secondly, there is no such thing as "a desingning co." There are publishers and there are developers.

    >Also as long as I know, all companies are sucking their interns from the new game design schools that are crazy spawing all arround the country.

    Companies aren't particularly clamoring to have interns. And no, they don't all come from those game schools.

    >Would I, self learner, with no credentials or even a student's portfolio, have a chance on getting such internship?

    Unlikely. The question you asked above ("But what after?") indicated that you seemed reluctant to make a portfolio because you didn't see the point. But now, perhaps, you can see that portfolios are good things.

    >And even if I had, how would I move to another state and support myself while working for free, or close to it, as an intern?

    I'm going to answer a different question, as follows:

    >And even if I had, how would I move to another state and support myself

    This is a problem for YOU to figure out. Here are two ideas:
    1. Don't move until you have saved up enough money (which you earn by working at any kind of job you can get).
    2. Move, but be willing to take any kind of job (not only a game job).
    3. (I lied.) Read the FAQs on my site about how to get a game job.

    >Sorry guys, but it's hard to believe that the tips given here come from real game designers who learned it all by themselves.

    So you believe we're real game designers. But you don't believe we learned it all by ourselves. Personally, I have game design credentials, but perhaps not everyone else who's responded to the OP in this thread does. Not everybody in the game industry is a "game designer." Read the FAQs.
    http://www.sloperama.com/advice.html


    >And here I Am once more, a guy who craves to be a game designer, who lives in Florida and went to college for Business, still having no clue on how to solve the puzzle of becoming a game designer without paying 60K + on anothe bachelor's that most say is useless.

    You don't need no more degrees. You have a business degree? Get into the industry that way, and work to switch over into game design once your foot is in the door. Sheesh already! To coin a phrase: It's hard to believe that the questions given here come from somebody who was smart enough to get a degree in business.

    My problem is that I start writing responses to a question before I read it all the way through to the end. And then I'm too lazy to go back through it and revise everything in light of the big revelation later on.

    Read the FAQs, THEN ask stuff. It's much more effective than just asking stuff first.

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    Quote:
    Original post by Renato
    And here I Am once more, a guy who craves to be a game designer, who lives in Florida and went to college for Business, still having no clue on how to solve the puzzle of becoming a game designer without paying 60K + on anothe bachelor's that most say is useless.


    You have a degree in business? For crying out loud, try to use THAT to get a job with a game publisher or developer! Game companies, especially publishers, do need people to deal with marketing, PR, investor relations, outside contractors, strategic planning, and other business tasks. Even if you're not designing a game (which almost nobody does in their first position), you're still getting into the industry, learning the culture, cultivating relationships, building your resume, and you also have your ear close to the ground to listen for other opportunities.

    If you really want to be in the game industry and the jobs aren't near you, be ready to move. Most of my work (game companies are just one part of my client base) requires me to be in certain centers of the industry. In the last ten years I've moved from the U.S. Midwest to New York and then to California. That's just a fact of life in some industries.

    For now, start making phonecalls and sending out resumes. You're not going to find your job on this board. Meet people, shake some hands, get interviews, and find out what's available to you right now. (You might need to plan a trip to another city for some of this.) If the game industry is where you want to be and you already have a degree, take the best job your current skills can get you and grow from there. You may be pleasantly surprised with where that road can lead.

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