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BECOMING A GAME DESIGNER!??

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Ok, im 16, 11th grade highshcool. I know alot about video games and i think this would be a awsome career path for me because of the creative and hands on making video games people love and play.. I have alot of imagination, ok all thats GREAT, but now education.. Im thinking about going to fullsail in florida (Game programing/design) program there, i hear its really good.. OR Go to a 4 year college and get a major in something that intrest me.. THEN go to fullsail. What would be better? Would i waste vital time going to a 4 year schools while the fresh game people are coming from fullsail? Any adivce one what path to follow, or if you have a diffrent one would be great.. AND: What could i be doing right now, to help me in my career in the game industry.. I tried programing books but i get lost fast, ty P.S ( I have no programing experince, or any of the technical side of gaming.. just drawing/stories, etc...))

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Although I've never looked deeply into it, people tend to say that starting people starting game design should get experience. For example, try making mods for your favorite games.

You could also try and hook up with a team in the help wanted forum to get some experience with volunteer projects. I've got a project running right now which you might be interested in. If so you can just email me, prgmer101@gmail.com, for more info.

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This just seems like common sense to me, but I wouldn't go to a 4 year school if you major in History or Philosophy. If game making is your thing, and you like it, I would definitely go to school for it, or something related.

I really have no clue, but based on a guess, going for a 4 year in Computer Science, Physics, or Math will give you a good background that if you ever wanted to start programming, you could.

Anyway, use the search. You will find endless information :)

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Quote:
Original post by i2obi
Would i waste vital time going to a 4 year schools while the fresh game people are coming from fullsail?

The fresh game people aren't coming from Full Sail. Don't believe the school's brochure. Sure, some Full Sail grads are getting jobs in the game industry, but by no means the majority.

Quote:
Original post by JBS103
This just seems like common sense to me, but I wouldn't go to a 4 year school if you major in History or Philosophy. If game making is your thing, and you like it, I would definitely go to school for it, or something related.

Games are related to history, philosophy, psychology, ergonomics, literature, art and technology, among other disciplines.

Quote:
I really have no clue, but based on a guess, going for a 4 year in Computer Science, Physics, or Math will give you a good background that if you ever wanted to start programming, you could.

Game design isn't programming, though, so those are sub-optimal college options.

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Original post by i2obi
I know alot about video games...

You know a lot less than you think, but that doesn't really matter. What is important is that you are interested in knowing what the elements of a game are, how they work, and how they interact to affect the structure and quality of the game.
Quote:
Original post by i2obi
Im thinking about going to fullsail in florida (Game programing/design) program there, i hear its really good..
OR
Go to a 4 year college and get a major in something that intrest me.. THEN go to fullsail.
What would be better?

Full Sail after college would probably be better.
Quote:
Original post by i2obi
Would i waste vital time going to a 4 year schools while the fresh game people are coming from fullsail?

What's your hurry? It's not like the video game industry is going away in 4 years.

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I also am 16 years old(11th grade) and thinking about college. I also am interested in getting into the game/movie animation industry. I define tally am going to go to the normal 4 year college, and then we'll see where I go from there. I think, and from the little I've heard, that it is important to have a general knowledge of programming even in that industry.


Currently I am just learning on my own, making programs(mainly screensavers so far, but I recently started working on a cool game idea)and sticking them on my website. I think up an idea, and then I have to learn how to implement it. If I find I really can't, then I leave it alone for a while, learn something a little easier. But I usually come back to the cooler ideas I couldn't do before, and it's great to find I can do them after learning some more. I figure by the time two years go by, I'll have a lot of stuff to show what I can do, and then college will help me expand even more.

The main thing with me though is that I also swim and I just can't imagine not swimming in college. While I know academics come first, swimming is definatally big, and a good computer science school with good swimming is harder to find.

Programmer101: Would it be alright if I emailed you for more info too?

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Quote:
Original post by JBS103
This just seems like common sense to me, but I wouldn't go to a 4 year school if you major in History or Philosophy. If game making is your thing, and you like it, I would definitely go to school for it, or something related.
What do you think game designers study?

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Theres really no direct path into being a game designer. Mostly that is either promoting programmers or artists, or hiring game designers with much experience.

Forget about full sail, you will most likely regret getting an education that is so narrow. Getting a BS in CS or the like is a MUCH better option. In 10 years, you might not want to be in games at all, and then that game design degree won't be looking so hot. My point is, give your future self options.

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I agree with the majority here!

Start with a open and wide eduction to serve as a base, then specialize yourself in the desired direction. This is globally accepted, even here in the Netherlands where we still wear wooden-shoes, harvest tulps and make cheese all day long (nah just kiddin', we don't harvest tulps anymore...).

Point is you are still incredibly young and not bound to anything yet.
The average game-designer at a company is about 40 years old and that is not by coïncidence...

Think about it and consult your teachers about your ideas.

Regards,

Xeile

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Hi,

I noticed you are in Maryland, and wondered if you have taken a look at the University Of Maryland.

They do Game Programming courses, which might suit you, unless you just want to get to Florida for the sun [wink]

It's a personal choice I guess, but whats more important?
Finding what your looking for (right on your door step) or is that the other place is a better University and has bikini-clad Florida girls everywhere ...


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Hey there, I am currently attending Full Sail's Game Development course, been here since November 2005 and I am about to enter Final Project. I can definitely tell you that this school is very unique. I love it here, and I am glad that I came, but there are a few things you should know before you do the same. First off, there is a reason that they changed the name of the course from Game Design and Development to Game Development. If you don't like to program, you may be wasting your time here. There are a few design oriented classes, but the vast majority of people who come here to be designers get rocked very quickly in Programming 1, 2, 3. The programming teachers here are awesome and helpful. The programming 3 teacher, Arthur Johnson, is an absolute genius...and what a character he is. But these classes really kill a lot of people, as they are extremely fast paced, and paired with Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Physics on that wonderful schedule of 5 pm to 1 am one day, followed by 9 am to 5pm the next day...all in your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th months here. After that it keeps coming, and by the time you get out of SGP and have to make your group 2D game over 2 weeks of design, 2 weeks of tools programming, 3 weeks of game coding, and 1 week of bug fixes, you will have mastered the art of not sleeping.

The course is really intense, and programming-centric. For me this is awesome, as I don't really care to be a designer, I just love to code. But I have seen many people fail into my class, then go on the next month and see them fail again. Most people who take this program fail at least 1 class I think it is safe to say. I haven't failed anything, but coding is what I love, and many people come here to find out that it is definitely not what they are good at or what they want to do. But this is not due to the lack of talent on behalf of the instructors. I am in awe the knowledge around me at any one time in the game development buildings.

So just weigh your aptitudes and interests against that 65k tuition before you decide to go to Full Sail.

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Quote:
Original post by Sneftel
Quote:
Original post by JBS103
This just seems like common sense to me, but I wouldn't go to a 4 year school if you major in History or Philosophy. If game making is your thing, and you like it, I would definitely go to school for it, or something related.
What do you think game designers study?

Excuse my ignorance. I didn't mean to sound arrogant.

It just seemed to me that after getting a B.A. in Philosophy or something of the like (and no offense, if I've managed to say something offensive, to those who major in these fields), game design wouldn't be the top career on the list (at least for me. I'm probably completely wrong. What do I know?).

I completely understand that those subjects are an integral part of the entire process. But using my logic (and maybe my logic is completely skewed), if I wanted to be a game designer, and I was set on that, I personally would look into the arts (theory, traditional, animation, etc.), design in all mediums, marketing/advertisement, and things along those lines. However, that doesn't mean I would exclude the courses that study history and thought, as yes, they could be just as important.

I apologize if what I said came off the wrong way and I apologize if I misspoke in any way. Only trying to offer incite, not start any huge arguments.

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no one else picked up on it, but you mentioned that you have some talent in drawing. So go for the art path. Games nowadays require more artists than programmers anyway. You need to learn 3d modeling as well as get good at photoshop and plain old drawing on paper. My friend got an associate's from Digipen. Try to go there if you can. People who graduate from there get jobs. He got offered a job at Nintendo but he missed home and moved home to open up an elite carpentry shop with his brother. If you can't get into Digipen try going to some college for art.

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Mourners lament said it well. I too am attending Full Sail, and he hit it on the head; It is a unique program, but it really works if you have the dedication. I can't stress this enough. I got my degree in networking while I was in the Air Force, and I have put myself through a lot, and have yet to ever experience anything close to the dedication you need to have for this program. With that being said, I love it.

As Mourners said, you have to love programming but I came here after only taking a semester of C++ at our local college. I am currently in my 7th month here at Full Sail, and from what I understand, I have sorta passed the weeding out portion. They teach you the basics, but it definately would have helped had I had prior experience. I have seen so many of my friends drop out because, one they thought there was more design and just didn't have a love for programming, or they thought this was going to be a regular school where you can relax and party. Then there are those few that have the dedication, but just can't seem to grasp programming well enough.

I would highly recommend as some others have stated, to try programming out in C++ and see if you like it. I would highly recommend getting this book:

http://www.gamedev.net/columns/books/bookdetails.asp?productid=379

and going through it. You need a love for math, physics, and coding. We got into some design courses, and I must say I did learn quite a bit about character development, hero cycles, etc., but the core elements you will master are the three stated above.

You are the only one that knows your dedication, and no one here can tell you what to do. You need to make that decision for yourself. However, if you are dedicated to your studies, and you enjoy coding, Full Sail is a great option. I can't speak on behalf of the other schools, but if I had to choose to do it again, I would again choose this place. I love the fast pace, and when I have to go through the English courses, and writing intensive classes I know that I only have to deal with a month of this stuff. I finally have gotten past a lot of that stuff and going to be moving into Windows programming 2 next week.

Don't really expect to have the time to work. It is mostly because of the hours you go to school. They also change your schedule up on you from month to month. 2 Months ago I was getting done with Programming at 1 in the morning and had to be at class by 8:30 that same morning for Physics. You learn to live on caffine and get in tight with your classmates here. But as stated I would do it all again.

I wish you the best in whatever route you take, and you will find that this forum is one of the best resources out there. The knowledge here is amazing. With that being said, I have to go finish my Star Wars Pong Game. =) Good luck in your future endeavors.

X

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Quote:
Original post by Foot Soldier
Theres really no direct path into being a game designer. Mostly that is either promoting programmers or artists, or hiring game designers with much experience.


For the lead game designer that is probably the case, but lower level design tasks, like level design (ie. creating challanges, placing AI's, scripting the level logic) can perfectly be done as an entry level job.

Quote:

Forget about full sail, you will most likely regret getting an education that is so narrow. Getting a BS in CS or the like is a MUCH better option. In 10 years, you might not want to be in games at all, and then that game design degree won't be looking so hot. My point is, give your future self options.


If you think you can handle it, and you know that it's the actual process of making games that you like, then I don't think it's a bad idea to go to Fullsail. And if you can't manage to find a job in the games industry, then you can still do CS after that. With the programming experience from Fullsail, this probably won't take much longer than 2 years anyway.

Also, 10 years of professional experience in any CS related business (game development in this case) is worth much more than a CS degree you earned 10 years ago, when applying for pretty much any IT related job. A degree is nice to get started, but a significant amount of actual working experience is worth a lot more.

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FullSail may well be a good school. But here's the catch and the thing to remember! No school can guarantee you a job in the gaming industry. The only way you are going to get a job in the industry is through hard work, having some talent in the area(s) you want to get into, and no small amount of luck. It also helps to know people in the industry.

That said, a non-gaming degree will serve you well because you will have something to fall back on if things don't work out... or, if the industry isn't what you expected and you don't like it.

Yes, I know I said something that you can't imagine is true. But the fact is, the biggest misconception about the industry is that its all fun and games. And the commercials for these gaming schools don't help. They are badly misleading. The gaming industry is an... INDUSTRY. Its a business. And its a job (yes, it is a job. you are expected to WORK for your paycheck). Its not always fun, sometimes it sucks rocks, and it can be a whole ton of extra hours. You have to love what you are doing, not because you think it will be great to play games (that is one of the misonceptions), but because you want to truly do something creative every day and feel good about it when you go home.

What are things that being a game designer requires? Well, there is a HUGE variety of game designers. Some focus on art, some on programming, some on writing, some a mixture. Find your niche, find your skill-set, and try to go after that. You need to be willing to work from the bottom up, sometimes work for sub-standard pay, and work for long hours sometimes.

What are good ways into the industry? QA is a good one. Customer service is another path that is commonly taken. Having a 4 year degree opens up more paths. But know this... When you apply for a job, you are one of thousands of applicants. And you are likely going up against people who have experience in the industry, though maybe not that much. So you have to do something that makes your portfolio/resume stand out, makes them take notice of you. This is where knowing someone comes in very handy. A good percentage of people in the industry get their jobs because someone already at a company put in a good work for them or pushed their resume direct to the person doing the hiring.

Anyway, thats my twenty-five cents on the matter. Good luck in whatever you do. Just make sure you think it all through before you make a decision, weigh the pros and cons, try to talk to some people who have been in the industry (not just independents either), and have a back-up plan.

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