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HeWhoDarez

Skillset / Kitemarks : Where to learn what?

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Hi guys, Having dabled in c++ and c# using different API's. Having also gained a general level of skill in 3D modelling to add to my quite competant skills in 2d Digital Art, I am a rather incomplete all rounder. I have decided that I will persue a professional qualification in game production but I saw from this article: http://www.skillset.org/games/qualifications/article_4336_1.asp That only 4 courses in the UK were awarded skillset industry recommendations. * BA (Honours) Computer Arts, University of Abertay Dundee * BSc (Honours) Computer Games Technology, University of Abertay Dundee * BSc (Honours) Computer Games Technology, University of Paisley * BA in Computer Animation, Glamorgan Centre for Art & Design Technology I read in PC Gamer that a "kitemark" was going to be published this year highlighting the recommended places to study for computer game production. Would this be the "Kitemark" they were referring to or is this an equivalent organisation unrelated to "Kitemark"? Most importantly.. ..I was wondering if any of you would take this accreditation seriously if/when choosing a place to study? ..and why? Cheers

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Q. What happens if you decide in a year that you would rather be a computer network systems admin? Or a plumber? Or an architect? Or a musician? Or a teacher? Or ...

You have "dabbled in" programming. Do you really have enough real life experience to definitavely state that game programming is your career path? This choice will impact the next 60 years or so of your existance. Don't take it lightly.

If I were way back in my late teens again, I think my life would be much worse if I picked a degree that said "games" rather than "computer science". There are many more options available.


Q. What if you get into the games business and discover you don't find it satisfying?
Q. What if you can't get into the games business right away, but you want programming experience in the more traditional industries?
Q. What if you decide halfway through school that you really don't like the work of developing games?
Q. What if you discover that you'd really rather do things like medical imaging, voice/handwriting/facial/other recognition, any scientific field, or basically any field other than "computer games"?
Q. What will you do after the industry chews you up and spits you out when you are 35?

A degree that says "games" anywhere in the title is going to cause more harm than good if you aren't specifically in the industry. Whereas a traditional Computer Science degree (or even better, dual CS & Math) is good everywhere.


Q. What if the reputation changes while you are there?
Q. What if the school drops to the bottom of the rankings before you finish the program?
Q. What if the school changes focus too much on game specifics and doesn't teach fundamentals that you are expected to know?
Q. What if the ranking it has today has a dilution effect, reducing the quality of the education you get because so many rich+stupid students flock to the school?

The schools and programs they listed will get a boost with more big-name people visiting the schools, but is that really what you want? Very little development is "hot new flashy algorithm" but instead is "write this piece of infrastructure code, manipulate pointers, and validate inputs". The rankings will entice a whole lot of rich kids who won't learn and cause problems to join the program. That dilutes the quality of the program Are you prepared to do the work needed to compensate for that?


Just some things to think about.

Quite often the best advice is to go to a less expensive traditional school and get a traditional pretty good education, and go on to a reasonably traditional life. It's a tried and tested path. Almost every game developer out there today has followed that path. The whole "game school" is a very new and risky concept.

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Hi HeWhoDarez, I'm a student at Abertay on the Bs/C Comp Games Tech degree. I can tell you first hand that it is a highly acredited degree as far as games programming is concerned. We've featured quite often in magazines like Edge and many students have went on to work for big companies like Sega or Rare or even set up companies of their own.

I believe the award you are talking about is the industry hallmark that was mentioned, certainly a few of our lecturers mentioned it to us. Though to be honest the fact that Paisley university got one makes me somewhat sceptical of its integrity (i'm led to believe that the paisley degree is just a copy and paste of the abertay degree, but watered down a bit).

frob has raised a good point in that a games orientated degree is quite specific. However it is worth noting that the abertay degree does boast substantial amounts of mathmatics and physics, so your skills are (hopefully) not completley niche. i think you learn enough about mathmatics for other avenues of programming such as simulations to be a potential course for you should you find you dont like games programming.

If you have any questions about the degree, post in the thread or pm me :)

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Thanks guys gonna have to think a bit harder about this.

One more thing?

A software Engineering degree would prolly have more respect (outside gams) but probably is less complex than a game dev one - right?

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A software Engineering degree would prolly have more respect (outside gams) but probably is less complex than a game dev one - right?


Define 'less complex'. It will depend upon the course anyway, as the content of software engineering and game development courses will vary quite a bit depending on where you go.

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A degree that says "games" anywhere in the title is going to cause more harm than good if you aren't specifically in the industry. Whereas a traditional Computer Science degree (or even better, dual CS & Math) is good everywhere.

On the other hand, if you want to work in the games industry, a traditional Comp Sci degree alone isn't enough to get you there. Virtually all games industry employers require to see portfolios before they will hire you. A games technology degree will give you that portfolio. With a CompSci degree, you'd need to learn how to write games (which is difficult!), and create a portfolio in your spare time.

A "traditional Computer Science degree" is NOT good everywhere!

Moreover, a good computer games technology degree will give you a solid foundation in computer programming & software engineering (at least as much as a Comp Sci degree) and will give you the option of work outide of the games industry.

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... get a traditional pretty good education.... It's a tried and tested path. Almost every game developer out there today has followed that path.

True, but only because these courses are relatively new. The industry is changing.

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On the other hand, if you want to work in the games industry, a traditional Comp Sci degree alone isn't enough to get you there. Virtually all games industry employers require to see portfolios before they will hire you. A games technology degree will give you that portfolio. With a CompSci degree, you'd need to learn how to write games (which is difficult!), and create a portfolio in your spare time.


Writing software is difficult and a degree alone won't get you a job. Period, end of story, it doesn't matter whether the degree is a "traditional" degree or a "game" degree or if the software is Quake 5 or Excel 2009 (though of course, both are difficult in their own respective ways).

You'll need to put in work in your spare time regardless of your program of study if you want to be stellar. In the end, it is the breadth and quality of education you'll recieve and the effort you put into it that matters.

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In fairness, I think that on a computer games / graphics course they would teach you all of the syntax of whatever language you are using, and it is much easier to learn that + basic windows stuff than 3D graphics.

So, if you want to be a games developer, take that course as its something you will find very, very hard to get into without formal education

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Well look into Teesside Uni, very well respected and established, no professors teaching the courses, its run by industry pros who basically know what they're doing. Theres also Staffordshire, Rare have recently moved thier motion-cap studios there.

I think if this is what you want to do now go for it. It's what I've signed up to do if it goes wrong so what just gaining a good degree specifically a BSc opens up so many more job opportunities and the ability to go and do a Masters in something related but not necessarily the same.

I'd like to point out that getting a degree now doesn't set you for that related job for life. You can always retrain, my dad was a mechanic for 25 years until he had to seel his business and go to Uni to retrain he got a First class honours in Computer Science, and ironically know what he's doing now? Obviously not I hope :D. He's teaching kids motor vehicle repairs at the local college all because he got a First class well and of course his 25 years knowledge of the vehicle repair industry.

Do something in life you are going to enjoy, after all you only live once better doing something you enjoy and love than something you hate.

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Well look into Teesside Uni, very well respected and established, no professors teaching the courses

Not true! What about Prof Marc Cavazza? Not that I'm saying it's a bad thing to have seasoned academics delivering a games course! It can be a good thing to have active researchers, so long as the main focus remains on the needs of the industry.

I'm not writing Teeside off, but you've got to ask why they weren't accredited by skillset? What are Abertay, Paisley and Glamorgan doing that Teeside aren't?

Quote:
Having dabled in c++ and c# using different API's. Having also gained a general level of skill in 3D modelling to add to my quite competant skills in 2d Digital Art, I am a rather incomplete all rounder.


Choose carefully whether you want to study art or programming. These are two distinct roles in the games industry, and there is very little overlap. Don't go for a half-and-half course: there is no demand in the industry for graduates who can do a bit of art and a bit of programming, but aren't particularly good at either. Also, don't consider a "game design" course. Designers tend to be time-served artists or programmers. Nobody gets hired as a graduate game designer!

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