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XG08Zero

College Major Question...

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I know this is kinda off topic maybe, but I'm kind concerned about my preferred college. I'm a junior in high school right now... Anyway, there are alot of reasons, many from my parents, that it would be perfect for me to go to the University of Texas at Austin. One big reason is that my dad is the head of a BIOS Team for AMD Technologies (:D) and he works at the Austin headquarters, and has a condo there as well. It really would be good if I go there, but... Under majors, all I found was "Computer/Information Sciences - General B". I was aiming to take Computer Science as my major for my game development career, as a major in "Game Development" doesn't seem that useful or appealing. (From what I've seen, such majors are offered at really low level colleges) I could be wrong, but taking Computer Science as a major would be a good decision right? Well, what's the difference with "Computer/Information Sciences" in comparision? Will I have to look for a different college? :( UT at Austin - Majors List

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Just make sure they teach some classes in C or at least C++ and not just Java if you want to do game design.

Unfortunately, most schools are moving to Java only... and the language is too inefficient to work for 3D gaming.

I say C, because it really is the founding language of these others... COBOL is another fairly good one (but wouldn't help so much with gaming). Just remember that a CS Major is more math focused then game design focused at traditional universities :)

You will learn... but most of the game development (especially if you want to try and write a 3D engine) is going to have to be done independently regardless of what school you go to.

If you want to work for another company, try for a good school. Don't let tuition costs bother you, you can always take student loans... just make sure you fly right in high school and you may even get some good scholarships.

I'd say either go to become a mathematician or a computer scientist; if you do the former, just make sure to take plenty of CSC classes.

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I did a degree in Information Technology and got a job as a games programmer for PC/PS2/Xbox before I even graduated (im now finishing my degree part-time while i work).

My g/f did a degree in Computer Science (Majoring in Games Technology) and she got a job as a mathematician for a slot machine company after doing a short internship as a games programmer.


It doesnt matter if you dont have the most prestigious degree, just as long as you're willing to teach yourself, and learn new concepts without other people forcing you to. Initiative, dedication, and willpower alone can make you a games developer.

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Quote:
Original post by PhilMorton
I did a degree in Information Technology and got a job as a games programmer for PC/PS2/Xbox before I even graduated (im now finishing my degree part-time while i work).

My g/f did a degree in Computer Science (Majoring in Games Technology) and she got a job as a mathematician for a slot machine company after doing a short internship as a games programmer.


It doesnt matter if you dont have the most prestigious degree, just as long as you're willing to teach yourself, and learn new concepts without other people forcing you to. Initiative, dedication, and willpower alone can make you a games developer.


Yep, thats the key... the school really just hands you a piece of paper and probably 1/8th the information you will use. There are some nice classes... like Operating Systems has been my favorite, in fact, its the only one I've never missed. But there are others that will be just completely irrelevant (speech?) and some that are just mildly boring (I took scuba diving for my PE requisite, I mean come on I'm a geek not a Spartan).

But to really do game programming you will have to teach yourself :) I can give you a perfect example, my engine programmer... Graduated with a 3.78 GPA at PaCE in New York. But he's a damn genious when it comes to C++/hardware/OS integration. Why didn't get the 4.0? Honestly, it was because he was _bored_ most of the time he was in school. Anyways, thats going aside... he taught himself physics, 3D mathematics, and I think his personal library went from about 2 books on "game programming in C++" to about 30 in shaders, DirectX 9 library standards, etc...

I'm studying more into artificial intelligence, so alot of my focus is more in designing algorithms but it requires a whole different set of use... I mean he deals with matrices and vectors, I deal with self designed fuzzy conditions and finite state machines! of course my operations are probably simpler for the average user to understand.

Though... I would say I have wrote one program where you basically have 6 wolves try to grow simultaneously, and each one has three variables... hunger, fatigue, and injury. They will fight with each other at random intervals over food (if they cross a coordinate with each other on an 36x36 grid, which each wolf has a 6 block grid) which causes injury. They fatigue every time they move which eventually puts them to sleep when they reach 20% and if their injured severely another wolf may come and eat them.

It's had interesting results because only once out of running it probably 30 times have I ever seen the same wolf win... and it wasn't even the same way.

Anyways... hell go to school for philosophy ;) You'll learn more teaching yourself these languages anyways I think :)

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Last I checked UT:A was ranked pretty high as far as computer science goes (above Rice university anyway) So I'd say go with that, Baylor's is ok, and Texas Tech's isn't much to write home about (it is cheap however). If all you want to do is program you might consider going to TSTC, but keep in mind that an associates degree is next to useless (as far as getting a job goes, it's great for hands on experience). Your best bet right now is just to study hard and get good grades, that way you have options on which school to go to.

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Hm, on a note of Chacko's (Java being too inefficient to do 3D stuff) I'll respectfully disagree.

I think learning Java as a first language for many people is a -good- thing. They're indoctrinated into how a managed language should look after its client programmers -- as speedy and lightweight as C is, it takes far too long to become really proficient at it -- we all know of a program that we've written that had some sort of odd bug due to pointer logic ;)

That said, I advocate not starting learning a language at all but instead the problem solving skills (generic ones...) that you use in programming all the time.
I've found people with backgrounds in logic and formal reasoning (axiomatic reasoning myself :D) tend to have an easier time of programming.

Still, none of this really helps the OP:
I say, decide what kind of game dev you want to do -- if you're a great artist -- why do comp sci? Artists are in high demand, and I expect they'll start earning better money soon too.
If you like problem solving and coding (try before you buy, I recommend),then definitely go for a comp sci degree -- I'm polishing one off now and the beauty is that if you decide eventually that you -don't- want to do gamedev (programming or analysis of some kind, on whatever level), then you can always get a job elsewhere in the sector doing easier work for (possibly) better money ;)


~Shiny

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Quote:
Original post by Shiny
Hm, on a note of Chacko's (Java being too inefficient to do 3D stuff) I'll respectfully disagree.

I think learning Java as a first language for many people is a -good- thing. They're indoctrinated into how a managed language should look after its client programmers -- as speedy and lightweight as C is, it takes far too long to become really proficient at it -- we all know of a program that we've written that had some sort of odd bug due to pointer logic ;)

That said, I advocate not starting learning a language at all but instead the problem solving skills (generic ones...) that you use in programming all the time.
I've found people with backgrounds in logic and formal reasoning (axiomatic reasoning myself :D) tend to have an easier time of programming.

Still, none of this really helps the OP:
I say, decide what kind of game dev you want to do -- if you're a great artist -- why do comp sci? Artists are in high demand, and I expect they'll start earning better money soon too.
If you like problem solving and coding (try before you buy, I recommend),then definitely go for a comp sci degree -- I'm polishing one off now and the beauty is that if you decide eventually that you -don't- want to do gamedev (programming or analysis of some kind, on whatever level), then you can always get a job elsewhere in the sector doing easier work for (possibly) better money ;)


~Shiny


I don't think I'll EVER be an artist for games. I don't see how people can make all those skins and textures for mods and such with just photoshop. I know that's probably not a good comparision, but it just doesn't exactly make me want to work more as much as it makes me want to give up :P I'm in Computer Science in high school- only Java. It definitely is a better language to learn first, and using the basic graphics with Java is helpful. I'm extremely close to finishing Pong (just a few errors to fix), and I had more fun (though there was frustration) figuring out the logic to everything like how the ball moves and such...

I'm looking to do alot of 3D Games, like those big ones out today (FEAR, Oblivion, etc) I KNOW I sound like a 12 year old saying that, but I DO know the challenges, and I'm aware out how much work they take, but that just interests me alot more than what Java has to offer. (I know it's a strong language too, but not my taste on where I'm looking to go) Thanks for the help guys :P

A side note- what game should I look to program next? I'm pretty much done with Pong, so maybe Tetris? I'm looking to code some decent complex games in Java before doing anything advanced with a real graphics library and maybe with C/C++. (I haven't done any large C/C++ programming yet, but I've read tons)

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I am currently a sophomore at Texas State University which is in san marcos about 20 min from austin. I heard that while UT does have a nice CS program, it is more hardware based than software. So as far as you wanting to do Game Development, this may not be the place for you. I would of course look into it much more and actually go to UT and talk to the department before I made a choice though.

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Quote:
Original post by Chacko
Unfortunately, most schools are moving to Java only... and the language is too inefficient to work for 3D gaming.


Quote:
Original post by Shiny
Hm, on a note of Chacko's (Java being too inefficient to do 3D stuff) I'll respectfully disagree.


It would be a bad idea to start another flame war on this subject again.

Whether one find Java inneficient for game programming or not is of no interest from a learning point of view. The whole point of learning programming in a university/college is actually to learn how to program. To do this in an efficient way, the teacher has to chose a language in which you'll be able to express most of what you need - and Java is a good candidate for this. Understand me: there is no point in learning all the dirty 3D tricks while doing your cursus - such knowledge can be aquired later if you have the proper background and the will to learn it.

Now, you might also consider learning other programming paradigms (I have the feeling that functional programming is going to grow in the coming years).

That said, the language syntax is not important - you must learn how to program good softwares, not a language syntax.

XG08Zero, I suppose you don't have a single Intel PC at home, right? [smile]

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