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Lokolo

Games Programming Degrees

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Lokolo    122
I've just done my AS and got BBCCD (stopping the D and one of the C's) and I should be able to get ABB in my A Levels (1% off in one of the B's!!). However, I have been looking at Computer Games Programming courses and their universities and I am a bit worried that it might be a bit of a 'breeze' for me. Most require CCC and this is not near to what I am expecting. So not sure if it is a good course or not. First Choice: Staffordshire Uni Second Choice: Portsmouth Uni Has anyone had an experience doing a Computer Games Programming course? Or are at the universities above in Computing Departments? Thanks, Lokolo p.s. sorry if its a bit of a drag to read!

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Hi

I'm on the BSc(Hons)Computer Games Software Engineering course at Northumbria University. The grades to get onto to this course was higher than required for the standard IT degrees, which is good because the level of work they expect from you is higher too.

I think what you can get out of a game degree is like any other degree, depends on the Uni and the individual degree. At Northumbria we get access to Gamecube Development kits, a games library, some pretty cool lecturers and links to a number of game studios. We also have a placement year, which I think should be a requirement for any games degree! Degree + Placement = much better chance of a job after :D

My advice is to look carefully. Choose the best degree for you, this could be a plain Computer Science degree or a games degree. And do as much as you can on the degree and perhaps more importantly on your own!

Good Luck.

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Lokolo    122
Hehe thanks. I was actually going to try software enginering but I thought I didn't want to end up making programs I find dead boring and then not enjoy the job.

And yes, I am going to do a placement I assure you. Looked at some job adverts and they all require it!

And thanks again,

Lokolo

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treeway    108
I just graduated with a BSc(Hons) Computer Games Programming from the University of Huddersfield, my entry requirement was only 260 UCAS points but I can tell you that the course was far from a 'breeze'. Obviously I can’t talk for Staffordshire or Portsmouth but at my university, the entry requirements seemed to allow many people in who were not qualified to pass. We started the course with approximately 60 people and ended (3 years on) with 11. Many people find that the course is "not for them" which in many cases was a euphemism for too difficult. So don’t worry about the entry requirements, many universities want as many people to join as possible in the first year - remember that’s how they make their money - instead focus on finding a course with a syllabus that meets your needs and will provide a challenge. Be wary of courses that offer a "jack of all trades" approach to teaching how to make games, try to find one that specialises in the area you are interested in - i.e. Game Design, Game programming, or Art not all of the above. If you want to spend three-to-four years becoming a good programmer (for example) you wont have time to be doing assignments that merit your 3dsMax skills.


good luck with your A-Levels.

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bonus    122
I graduated from the University Of Abertay's Games Tech BSc last year and there is a mixed bag of hard and easy stuff in there.

The thing with degrees is that you get out of them what you put in.

It isn't overly difficult to fulfil the minimum requirements of assesments etc. and get steadily plod along at the level needed to get a 2:1 (which is what I got) but if I wanted to aim for that first then I would have had to do a lot of work on my own and achieve much more than what was laid out in front of me as far as course requirements go.

So, uni will be as hard or as easy as you make it for yourself, on any course.

Don't expect it to be like school where someone holds your hand. You'll be given lectures and tutorials but you'll need to do a fair bit of work on your own if you want to test yourself and push yourself.

Either way, a 2:1 in Games Programming degree is good enough to get a job if you live in an area where there are a few companies who are all interested in taking people on. The biggest thing you have to overcome is that everyone else in your class and graduating from other unis will have a decent degree, most people in my class got a 2:1 or better. That's where the extra effort you put in and demos you make help you stand out from the crowd.

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Kazade    1019
I graduated from Portsmouth University last year with a BSc (Hons) Degree in Multimedia Programming. I dont think they do this course any more however there are some good facilities at Portsmouth.

Firstly they have a brand new virtual reality room which you are allowed to use.

Secondly they have hundreds of PS2 linux development kits which you are allowed to take home. They also have 1 gamecube development kit (you cant take that tho)

Thirdly they have close ties with Climax (which is round the corner from the computing buildings) and Climax sponsor technology prizes (I won Best Interactive Technology project [wink]) which looks good on your CV if you can get one.

Now the down-sides. The guy that was in charge of our course was an idiot, even tho he was in the games industry I think he only got there by claiming responsibility for others work. There are some lecturers that DO know what they are doing however.

Portsmouth earns a lot of money from their AI research and the head guy there knows his stuff. There is another lecturer (if you want his name PM me) who know's his computer graphics. But i'll be honest with you, unless they have employed more lecturers (which they probably have coz the games technology department is new) knowledgable ones are thin on the ground.

I would recommend Portsmouth if you really want to enjoy uni, the union is brand new and cost millions to build, Portsmouth guildhall is the best place to go out! Also the new development at Gunwharf Quays (with the spinnaker tower) is good for days out, Portsmouth is on the coast and its half an hour to the sandy beaches on the Isle of Wight!

If you do pick Portsmouth, just remember that the people that know their stuff are the ones doing research behind the scenes, keep an eye out for them and make friends with them. Also aim for a Climax or Sony prize, and a 1st. You'll CV will be snapped up :)

Luke.

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dmail    116
I am currently studying at Liverpool John Moores, BSC(Hon) Computer Games Technology and I had to laugh at your "breeze comment". I think about five hundred people started the course and dramatically dropped to about 100 at the end of the first year!
As for your entry requirements I can not comment on this as I am a muture student and therefore the requirments were different for me.

I would have to agree with bonus' comment
Quote:
Don't expect it to be like school where someone holds your hand. You'll be given lectures and tutorials but you'll need to do a fair bit of work on your own if you want to test yourself and push yourself.

This is something alot of people just don't get, after all you are going there for a purpose which is not to get drunk like an idiot and forget your name :) I have done more reading of books and papers in my time of study then the rest of my life! Let me put it like this, University tutors give you a basic understanding and then it's up to you to go and do the research.

Good luck.

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Kazade    1019
Quote:

This is something alot of people just don't get, after all you are going there for a purpose which is not to get drunk like an idiot and forget your name :)


Oh.... really? [smile]

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Shiny    456
Heh, I'd like to think people went to my uni purely for self-improvement but it is never the case. There are plenty of people doing the Computer Science degree that I'm doing that should never have been allowed entrance -- they hang around for two or three years failing courses and repeating them -- then finally the faculty tells them to take a hike. That said, I have observed that those people with -some- social life (e.g., take time out to have beers with mates etc) tend to cope better with the workload and stress -- but maybe that is just me seeing what I expect to see ;)

~Shiny, working on a BSc(Comp Sci) + Masters of CS.

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Lokolo    122
well thanks for all the comments so far. I have been to look around John Moore's, and Abertay (and I live near London - what treks eh!).

Abertay I didn't think the accomndation was satisfactory (2 miles away with no net access) even though I loved the people there and the course looked quite good.

John Moore's.. didn't particualrly like Liverpool, the guy who took us around was really happy etc. and seemed really nice - just didn't like the city!

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dmail    116
Quote:
Original post by Lokolo
John Moore's.. didn't particualrly like Liverpool, the guy who took us around was really happy etc. and seemed really nice - just didn't like the city!


Lol that is ok, everybody is entitled to an opinion.
Maybe you will change your mind if you come to this years game conference

[Edited by - dmail on August 18, 2006 9:06:28 AM]

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Kazade    1019
Quote:

If offered, do not under any circumstances accept a job in High Wycombe - if you do so without taking appropriate precautions you are likely to find yourself falling under the Curse of Wycombe, which will prevent you ever leaving again.


Phew, I was offered a job in High Wycombe last year! Lucky escape! [wink]

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JasonL220    132
hi, could some give me some advice, coz i can't discide weather to do EE or CS and was considering doing a joint degree, do you think it would be more benifical to pick one and do a single or to do a joint.

thanks

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Virtual X    100
Lokolo:

have you considered working for 1 year? I'm not sure what your financial situation is, but it may be beneficial to save up some money also you could spend the year learning what you will be studying on the degree course, perhaps giving you an advantage when you go to university because you would have studied alot during the year.

you could always spend the year studying a few courses from Game Institute ;D

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Lokolo    122
My mum has told me I am not allowed to have a gapyear, she says if I get a job etc. ill end up getting tied to the money and then not go :-/

don't ask.

but the game institute.... its American. I'm anti-american (no offence) so it's not for me...

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yaustar    1021
If you can get a gap year placement at a games company (especially programming), that gap year will be worth as much as your whole degree put together. Experience counts a lot in getting your foot in the industry.

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