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X_GRAYWOLF_X

Full Sail or Digipen?

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I am thinking about looking deeper into Full Sail because the program looks good and its in my favorite state (Florida). But then again there is digipen which is in Washington (currently living in Alaska). I am looking into both of them and I am sort of leaning to Full Sail. Anyone disagree? Anyone attending one of these schools? Comments?

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I'm currently in my second year at DigiPen. I, like you, also considered Full Sail as a potential school to attend, but when I got accepted at DP I decided to come here, and I'm quite happy with my decision. DigiPen has some problems (a few lousy teachers, a fair amount of disorganization), but in my (somewhat biased) opinion, if you're willing to work for it you'll get a much better education here than at Full Sail or any other "game school". I don't have any first hand experience with the Full Sail curriculum, but looking through the course catalog and comparing it to the sequence of courses we take here at DigiPen, Full Sail simply seems to be a much less rigorous program. For example, Full Sail appears to offer only one course in Physics. DigiPen offers five undergraduate courses (only two of which are strictly required for graduation). Full Sail teaches Calculus, Trigonometry, and basic Linear Algebra, while DigiPen offers numerous higher-level mathematics courses such as Graph Theory, Abstract Algebra, and Curves & Surfaces. Full Sail will teach you specific APIs such as DirectX and OpenGL, while DigiPen will teach you the underlying concepts involved, such as how to implement the 3D graphics pipeline in software. Basically, Full Sail will equip you with the tools you need while DigiPen will equip you with a deeper understanding of those tools and the ability to build them yourself if necessary.

As I see it, the major advantage to Full Sail is the amazingly short time in which you can earn your degree. I believe the Bachelor's program (assuming you fail no courses) takes about a year and a half to complete, which means that you can take those extra 2.5 years and put them towards learning on the job (not to mention earning real money while the rest of us are piling up student loans to pay rent). I think the decision basically comes down to the importance you place on getting into the industry as soon as possible ass opposed to getting the best game development education you can. If you want the latter, I would definitely go with DP.

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Ok leaning toward DP now. Because I don't want to go to school to go to a school that dosen't offer much of a chalange. I would like to ask what kind of perequisites (classes in High School) I should have. Also maybe the grades i should be getting too. I already get decient grades( A's and B's). I am currently a Junior in High School and I only need 2.5 credits next year because I worked for extra high school credits in 8th grade. So I can take just about any class I want. I even have the option of taking a computer science class at a tech center for the first 3 periods of my day instead of other classes in school. Should I take that??

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FluxCapacitor's analysis is pretty much on point. Additionaly DigiPen is a fully accredited institution where as full sail is not. What I meen by this is you could transfer DP credits to a 'standard' university, where as transfering from FS is limited. When your paying big $$$ this counts if you find you don't like CS.

I am currently in my third year of a CS degree at a state university. When I complete my CS degree I am looking to attend DP for my masters in CS. This is a good path if you are tight on money. Otherwize I would recommend DP from the start.

Keep in mind that you can not cram physics, calculus, linear algebra, graphics programming etc... in 20 months or whatever FS does. Always be suspicious of accelerated programs.

This is my opinion. I have a friend who went to FS for Audio Engineering and Multimedia ???. He is doing very well for himself.

Have a good time in your studies.

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Quote:
Original post by X_GRAYWOLF_X
currently a Junior in High School and I only need 2.5 credits next year because I worked for extra high school credits in 8th grade. So I can take just about any class I want.


You might consider going to your community college (if one is available) and start taking calculus, physics etc. You could have calculus under your belt before you even graduate high school. Very nice!


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Quote:

Additionaly DigiPen is a fully accredited institution where as full sail is not. What I meen by this is you could transfer DP credits to a 'standard' university


DigiPen is accredited. However, it is worth noting that the accreditation they have is federal and not regional. The latter is the kind of accreditation that most colleges and universities (Brown, NYU, CMU, Drexel, Stanford, et cetera, et cetera) have. The former is the same kind of accreditation that technical trade schools and beauty schools have.

Furthermore, accreditation (or lack thereof) does not guarantee transferability of credits -- that is a matter that the school you would be trying to transfer to them to has to decide.

To the OP: I would encourage you to examine other, so-called "regular" schools for computer science or software engineering degrees. There is no advantage to going to a school like DigiPen or Full Sail over any other school in terms of getting in to the game development industry; there's no reason to limit your options. DigiPen offers you some interesting educational opportunities (in particular, their graphics curriculum is equivalent to most graduate-level graphics programs in other schools), but in return you also lose of lot of traditional computer science theory, which may hurt you in the long run or require you to learn it on your own -- I've found that generally, when faced with the task of learning either the "game related" material or the "traditional material" on their own, students will prefer -- and do better with -- the "game related" material since it's obviously more interesting to them. The "traditional" material is often viewed as boring and unneccessary, which is of course not true.

It is thus that, despite having completed my undergraduate degree at DigiPen, I tend not to recommend it as strongly as one would expect. I would expect I could make the same assertion about Full Sail, but I've never attended so I can't say for sure. Don't limit your options.

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Quote:
Original post by jpetrie
Quote:

Additionaly DigiPen is a fully accredited institution where as full sail is not. What I meen by this is you could transfer DP credits to a 'standard' university


DigiPen is accredited. However, it is worth noting that the accreditation they have is federal and not regional. The latter is the kind of accreditation that most colleges and universities (Brown, NYU, CMU, Drexel, Stanford, et cetera, et cetera) have. The former is the same kind of accreditation that technical trade schools and beauty schools have.


I knew they were accredited, I was just not sure what board they went through. I should have checked before I posted.

Quote:

Furthermore, accreditation (or lack thereof) does not guarantee transferability of credits -- that is a matter that the school you would be trying to transfer to them to has to decide.


True. I had the same issue transfering community college credits to a university. It does look like DigiPen's undergrad classes are molded around a university structure more so then FS.

Quote:

their graphics curriculum is equivalent to most graduate-level graphics programs in other schools),


At first I thought you were kidding. I need to get my head out of the books (and some where else) at start looking. Just a quick google away...

USC

Thanks jpetrie

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Thanks jpetrie! I think that I do still want to go to DP or FL. DP is what I am looking at now because you guys highly recommended it and I went to the website and it looks much more promising than Full Sail. I don't want to go to community because if I decide not to go with the dream of becoming a game programmer, then I will be in the Airforce. As long as I get my degree I can go to OTS and go into the Air Force as an officer. It would be a great experience for me to go to DP or FL because they teach stuff that I also love to do. I think I will get the best experience out of going to DP instad of community.

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As a dP graduate I am very happy with the school. The downside is that it focuses so squarely on game development that it doesn't prepare you at all for non-game jobs. The upside is that after graduation you will know everything it takes to hit the ground running in the game industry, and if you are any good you will have 2-4 good portfolio pieces to use with your resume.

Full Sail is a perfectly good school, though a bit less thorough than DigiPen. But the FS graduates that I have spoken to have often told me that it was their second choice, that they would have rather gone to DigiPen. Not sure if this is indicative of anything, or even if it is a very widespread feeling... just repeating what I've been told :)

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You are only in HS at the moment. I think you should goto a regular college or university first to make sure game development is absolutely what you want you get into. You may finish a degree in digipen or whatever and find out that game development is not for you or you could realize that you can make more money working in another computer industry and be stuck with something you do not like.

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I, too, would recommend a standard university or college, starting out. As someone else mentioned, Full Sail and Digipen are considered by many to be "trade schools" of sorts... much like plumbing school or electrician school. While I am in no way suggesting that a degree from a game design school isn't a completely valid and respectable title (MUCH more-so than plumber or electrician), I will admit that university degrees are probably given more merit.

On another point, the competition for game design jobs is FIERCE. The demand for good computer science majors, however, is phenomenal. Don't limit yourself to one job market with a low demand and a high supply...

With a computer science degree from a more universally-recognized school, not only are you usually given extra consideration over people with a degree in just "game programming," you also have a solid set of skills that will offer you the type of job security you'll need, should the game industry just not have room for more employees. (plus, those other fall-back jobs usually pay WAY better, with possibly looser deadlines, if that makes any difference ;-)).

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An overly focused education is a double edged sword. Sure it gets you into the workforce with the skills you need in that area, but you lack skills to work easily in others.

You also lack extended arts classes, and other 'non-related' courses that you are usually required for a standard degree. You might not think you'll have use for that philosophy class, or greek history but after you take them, you will most likely be happy having done so.


If you are looking for a minor, I strongly suggest a minor in writing! I haven't finished my degree yet, but I still get out talking with potential employers, and when they hear that I'm taking comp.sci AND a minor in writing they start to get excited. Apparently communication skills are often lacking in the new guys.

Oh, and if your school offers co-op, take it! Sure it usually adds an extra year to your degree, but you get more than a year experince, and screwups are more easily shrugged off by your boss because you are after all just a student.

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