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Game developement schools

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It may be a little early to ask this now, i'm currently going my first of three years in the upper secondary school (not sure how you call it where you live), but I like to plan far ahead, so i've been thinking of going to a school abroad after this education. I want to be a gameprogrammer and I don't know any schools or which schools that are good and which are the most suited for me, but i'm sure some of them focus on designing and other stuff which is not for me. I'm prepared to spend a lot of money on this education if necessary. Which schools are the most common/popular schools and which is considered the best? What are the requirements to begin the education? Right now i'm going to a 3 year secondary school, it's more like a continuation on normal school, but more specialized. It's mostly basic computer science with hardware, webdesign and electricity courses. The next year we will be choosing what we want to do for the next two years, for example programming, networking or highschool preparation. Highschool preparation is mostly physics and more advanced math. Where I live that's a requirement to start high school here. I don't know how much that is worth when i'm going to start a school abroad. How much is a degree from a gamedevelopement school which is about 3-4 years, worth when searching jobs later on?

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I haven't attended one.But from the time i have spent on these forums , the heavy weights are :

Digipen :www.digipen.edu
Full Sail:www.fullsail.com
UAT :www.uat.edu

The fees depend on the college you are planning to attend, I'm pretty sure you can find info at the respective websites.

Good luck!

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My advice to you would be not to attend some specialised games programming course. Instead, go for something more traditional such as Software Engineering or even Mathematics. A combination of those two would be great (e.g. software engineering with a few electives in trigonometry/algebra). After all, game programming is just another sub-category of software engineering.

Also, don't be fooled into thinking that these game programming schools will transform you into a game programming guru. You are what you make of yourself. You might even get bored because the 3-month OpenGL 1on1 course drags endlessly on and you find yourself reviewing a single OpenGL function per hourly lesson!

P.S.: Have you talked this over with your parents? Your tutors at school? Seek their opinion too.

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Visited UAT's homepage and that school really got my interest, didn't look into the other websites so much but I will do that later.

About reading software engineering, it seems all the schools that was posted here was software engineering. I wonder if the schools has some requirement for previous knowledge or if they teach from basics, if that's the case, things could get hard :)

I didn't think these schools will turn me into a game programming guru, or actually I thought that, but if you want to become a gameprogrammer the best choice is to go to a school where they teach that right?

Haven't talked it over with the tutors at school because I don't think they can come with any advices on this matter, my parents only ask what school I was thinking about which I didn't know.

Anyways, thanks for your replies, now I have something to think about. I will post again if I have any more questions.

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Adding to Fluffy-Bunny's remarks , you must check out this topic, it helped me reach a conclusion for better. link

Cheers!

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I am currently in my fifth month of school at Full Sail for game development. I personally love the school, but, it is very tough. About 75% of my original class has already either failed 2 or more classes or failed all the way out of school. It's a bachelor's degree in 21 months so it is very very accelerated. I'm at a bit of an advantage as I already have a few years experience, but either way, I love it.

But, if you really want to do it, and are willing to spend most of your free time programming, I can vouch for Full Sail. One thing I will say, is that the math is pretty weak. If you wanna really learn some complex math, try a traditional school. I'm personally gonna have to do some personal study to up my math knowledge.

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5th month, and you're at 25%? So it's like having a 2.5-month half-life? After 21 months, you should be working your way into the last 1/256th? Ouch.

Digipen is an excellent place to go if you want to do a lot of math and game programming. You're required to take at least 7 semesters of calculus+others, and there are at least 20 math classes listed. Take a look at the catalog sometime.

If you're thinking of taking trigonometry/algebra, you're in the wrong field. You should be taking quaternions and linear algebra. If you're taking trig at 'college' then you're also not at the right place.

Digipen educates rather than trains. You don't learn OpenGL in massive detail, it's assumed that you can figure that out for yourself. You're taught how to build a 3-d engine itself, rather than how to use someone else's.

Digipen is like a 6 year-degree crammed into 4. You make more games than 'game degrees' (5 full games over 4 years), you learn more math/physics than a CS degree and more pain than almost every degree.

It's not for everyone, but graduates (and many before they graduate) get jobs writing code at big-name game companies. There are never guarantees, but you should speak with some grads from Digipen if you're serious.

RM

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Some people are afraid of the attrition rate that Full Sail has. However a lot of people (myself included) realize that this points to the challenge that the degree consists of.

Digipen is indeed a fantastic school, everyone I've met from there is very well versed in the black magic that is game programming. Don't be mistaken though, I've never seen anything come from there that I haven't seen at Full Sail. We too are required to create a full featured 3D engine for our final project. It's a 5 month course in which you have to create a complete game from scratch, including design documentation, technical documentation, and all of the code. You are allowed to use one 3rd party API (FMOD is by far the most popular choice).

Both schools will give you a good education and will certainly teach you how to make games. But as the linked article above makes abundantly clear, be 100% sure that this is what you want to do. If you don't you will be part of that 75% that fails classes or drops out in the first few months at Full Sail. I started with 43 in my class and ended with 13. But those 13 are some damn good programmers.

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Morpheus--

How much of it is education vs. selection? I mean, that Dirty (baker's) Dozen that made it out were probably pretty impressive going in. If, on day one of FullSail, you had looked around and tagged the guys that weren't going to make it, could you have saved them $60k and a load of pain? If so, then FullSail just needs to work on their admissions proceedures.

How many of your 13 were already effective computer programmers when you started?

Should it be called a graduate program more than anything else? What do you think the chances of a high-school grad making it through the program are?

RM

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Hey guys is westwood college cool, or good? It's like, 5 miles away from me.

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Quote:
Original post by blanky
Hey guys is westwood college cool, or good? It's like, 5 miles away from me.

It's actually the most brutal piece of crap ever conceived and you'd be laughed at with that on your resume. You would actually look better not having any education listed than that school.

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Rabid -

I would definitely attribute the level of attrition to the courses that are at the school. They are very compact which means you have to be able to pick up a very large amount of information in a small amount of time. The school does a good job of putting you into an environment that mimics the atmosphere of a studio in the industry. There's a lot of work to do in a very tight schedule which I believe helps prepare the students for positions in the industry where the constraints are often very similar.

I don't really think I could have picked the people who would have made it or not at the beginning of the program. Everyone who comes to Full Sail does so because they have a deep love for games. Unfortunately it's not an easy path to take, and some people can't handle it, especially not at the high doses Full Sail dishes out. Like I said its attrition rate really helps pick the people who are really driven and want this more then anything.

Of the 13 I only know of one who had any prior programming experience. The school does a very good job of teaching you how to program from the ground up. My first programming class taught us the basics of OOP and C++ by making us create an ASCII based rpg game. It was very challenging and a lot of people couldn't keep up, but those of us who did are very appreciative of the difficulty this course allowed for.

It's not actually a graduate program, it's an undergrad Bachelors degree with a focus on Comp Sci. As far as the chances of a high school grad making it through, I believe everyone who comes here has graduated high school :) just kidding. Honestly the chance of anyone getting through this school can be measured much more succinctly by the dedication and determination of the individual and not so much by their backgrounds. My class actually has 3 people who are graduating with us on May 5th that came directly after graduating high school.

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The schools you mentioned seems very hard if only a few people graduate and so much people can't handle it. I'm sure all people who starts these schools have experience in programming from before too. Well, I don't really care about that so much, I have the will to make games and to make career on game programming, so that won't hinder me.

I actually found a school in my own country which looked really promising and it was only about 5 miles from where I live too. That's perfect for me because I don't need to live so far away from my home and no need to travel so far.

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Sad to say, but I would attribute a good deal of failures to World of Warcraft... it sounds a little silly... but I've seen it. Whatever school you go to, go in with lots of determination, and you'll succeed.

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Quote:
Original post by Morpheus011
It's not actually a graduate program, it's an undergrad Bachelors degree with a focus on Comp Sci.

Please. It barely teaches you much of anything a first year comp science student wouldn't know.

You have six days scheduled for data structures. Really the class only spends about five days learning different types of data structures. This does not even come close to compare the two years you'd spend learning about algorithms and data structures at a traditional school.

The AI class, spends a great deal on path finding and touches on other topics of AI without thourougly delving into each. Luckily there is 12 classes for this and you learn a bit more, but once again it doesn't compare to how much you'd learn at a traditional college.

In the engine architecture class you get to play with tree's again but does not go into anything deeper then a non-balanced binary tree.

The math you learn is not much more then you should have learned comming out of highschool with good grades. You learn basic calculus, linear algebra and basic newtonian physics.

The worst part is the 3d programming techniques the students learn are showed to them with very little mathematical basis. This causes them to spit out formula's without having an understanding of why it works that way.

It has very little focus on comp science and I wouldn't compare it to any formidable comp science school.



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If it is powerhouse you are thinking about, i can recomend it. Im attending my final year there now. Some say its a bad school, i disagree. The school is what you make of it. As someone said, if you like world of warcraft alot, maybe gamedev isn't for you. Unless you are really talanted/gifted, you don't have time to spend 4-5hours per day playing a game. You will need to spend that time writing code.

Anyhow, powerhouse in kramfors dosn't require any pre-programming skills at all, it starts with basic c++.

Iv done well at powerhouse, i know alot haven't. But on the other hand, they were maybe just not programmer materail, these educations attract alot of "gamers". Who misstake themselfes for wanting to make games, since they like playing them. Don't do that misstake.

Try to code before you apply, do you have an intrerest? Do you want to spend 8h per day working with doing just that in the future? Can you be happy doing that?


Awnser those questions first. Then apply to powerhouse. =)


Hope this helps

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Quote:
Original post by peter_b
If it is powerhouse you are thinking about, i can recomend it. Im attending my final year there now. Some say its a bad school, i disagree. The school is what you make of it. As someone said, if you like world of warcraft alot, maybe gamedev isn't for you. Unless you are really talanted/gifted, you don't have time to spend 4-5hours per day playing a game. You will need to spend that time writing code.

Anyhow, powerhouse in kramfors dosn't require any pre-programming skills at all, it starts with basic c++.

Iv done well at powerhouse, i know alot haven't. But on the other hand, they were maybe just not programmer materail, these educations attract alot of "gamers". Who misstake themselfes for wanting to make games, since they like playing them. Don't do that misstake.

Try to code before you apply, do you have an intrerest? Do you want to spend 8h per day working with doing just that in the future? Can you be happy doing that?


Awnser those questions first. Then apply to powerhouse. =)


Hope this helps


Yes, it's powerhouse I found, good to hear that it is a good school. Fortunately, I don't play wow or any game like that right now, I actually quit playing games a while ago to get more time to code because it took up so much time. I'm only playing some hours a week now. I like to play games but it's much funnier to make them.

I'm prepared to spend 8 hours and more per day working with just gameprogramming, I have some programming experience from before so don't worry about that :), have been coding vb about 2-3 years ago, have been coding c++ slowly but surely since last year and been a webdesigner who specializes in coding for 4-6 years, it have been varying but my interest is at top right now.

I will take care of the math and physics the last two years in my current school.

Is powerhouse an hard school in your option? Do they learn at a fast pace?

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Yes powerhouse is pretty fast paced. If you can program a simple game (ie tetris, arkanoid, whatever) using some 2d api (win32,ddraw) when you start at ph, then you will be at about the level you should be to and be able to do very well. The first few courses (basic c++, win32, and later ddraw) will then be easy for you, so try to be atleast at that level. (if you have 2 years left, its no problem.).


Taking good care of your physics and math classes is a very VERY good idea. I wish i had done that. You will need it. Unless you specialize in physics engines the "gymnasie" physics covers almost exactly what you will use. Forget that you wont use it, you will use ALL of it. :) The first time you try animate something that looks a little realistic you will realise that these formuals about acceleration/velocity/gravity/springs/forces etc was exactly the shit your teacher was talking about back then. =)

If you are doing courses math A,B,C,D. You are lucky and will cover matrix math, which will help alot when the 3d classes later start.

Edit:
A tip is, buy books about coding! Internet resources can't compare, not by far. Spend alot of money.

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