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Game Institute?

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Hello GameDev community, I am currently pursuing my Computer Science Degree and will be finishing my first year in the next month. I am interested in taking some courses at GameInstitute during the summer months when school is out. I am mainly wanting to get input from those who have taken the courses, as to whether they are worth the money or not. I know how to program in C++, but some of the more advanced concepts I do not know(Inheritence, Polymorphism, Advanced Classes), and I know I will need for my future Computer Science studies. My windows programming knowledge is little, which has limited my ability to learn DX to just typing in and following online tutorials. I am wanting to learn these subjects like DirectX, as they are not offered in my formal education. So I wonder if it is more worthwhile than buying a bunch of books. I would say that I would learn better from a lecture style and more structured/disciplined style of online courses than scrambling around for free tutorials. And also, with the math and physics modules, do you think these would help compliment my college studies for later years if I take these modules to help keep things fresh inside my head? Thanks for any help! (Also note, I have read Galiden's chain of posts on the forum regarding others questions, but my post is more referring to complimenting my studies, than substituting. Any opinions are welcome, even if you're affiliated with GI, just let me know you are and offer your opinion). :)

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Original post by Basic
{1}... whether they are worth the money or not.
{2}I wonder if it is more worthwhile than buying a bunch of books.
{3}And also, with the math and physics modules, do you think these would help compliment my college studies for later years if I take these modules to help keep things fresh inside my head?

1. "Worth" is extremely subjective. You're likely to get 20 different opinions (if you get 20 replies), so lotsa luck getting a useful answer to this.
2. Probably.
3. Sure.

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Decent books will probably be of more use, both immediate and long-term, than "classes". (Are those accredited/can you get credit at your school for them? If not, I'd doubt their usefulness over good books you can go back and review later. Even if so...meh.)

For C++, I'd consult Thinking in C++ by Bruce Eckel (teaches theory, which is far more important than the nitty-gritty details of a single language). I have a hardcopy, but it's free to download as well.

More importantly, I would not go near DirectX and the like until you have C++ down reasonably cold. There's a progression to these things, and you'll get more mileage out of knowing your language and the theory behind the language before then learning ancillary libraries like DirectX. It's probably not what you want to hear, and it's not instant gratification, but I would argue that it's a good way to become a programmer, and then you can go learn to drive a library.

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The GI courses are outstanding, and far surpass available books on the market that I have acquired. (Speaking from a DirectX course standpoint, I did not do the C++ classes ) Greater than the hours of lecture, slides, thousands of pages of material, and, sample programs, is the staff. I don't believe there has ever been a question I have asked that has not been answered, and most often the answer being a 1-2 page essay, with a full demo program demostrating the answer attached to the post. Its a worth while investment.

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Original post by EdR
Decent books will probably be of more use, both immediate and long-term, than "classes". (Are those accredited/can you get credit at your school for them? If not, I'd doubt their usefulness over good books you can go back and review later. Even if so...meh.)

you can check the knowledge base in the help section to learn more about accreditation, which GI does offer for almost all courses. Also, the course texts are several hundred pages and more than equal to a retail book and remain acessible to you after your coursework is complete

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Original post by Gaiiden
Quote:
Original post by EdR
Decent books will probably be of more use, both immediate and long-term, than "classes". (Are those accredited/can you get credit at your school for them? If not, I'd doubt their usefulness over good books you can go back and review later. Even if so...meh.)

you can check the knowledge base in the help section to learn more about accreditation, which GI does offer for almost all courses. Also, the course texts are several hundred pages and more than equal to a retail book and remain acessible to you after your coursework is complete
Will all universities accept it? More specifically, will the original poster's university accept it? That's a pretty big thing to consider, especially when contemplating paying a high price for what amounts to introductory language training ($200 is high when you look at the exceptional free materials available).

I just sat down and watched the sample lesson from the GI's "C++ Programming for Game Developers - Module I" course. I'm not terribly impressed at the cost/value I'm seeing, from the lesson itself (granted, there's only so much you can do with a code primer) or from the textbook; assuming the sample chapter is a decent example of the quality of the text, it is not "more than equal to a retail book" for a novice programmer. Learning the theory behind the code is more important--semantics before syntax--and this chapter at least reads more like an in-depth C++ For Dummies than it does an Thinking in C++ or (thanks to Oluseyi for pointing me to this book, it is awesome) How to Think Like a Computer Scientist. Where's the benefit for spending this kind of money when you have other resources available (GDNet or other programming fora for questions, a quality book for reference and guidance)? I'm not seeing why you'd want to do this for something as simple as learning a language.

The graphics stuff does look a lot more useful, but I'm not anywhere near knowledgeable enough on the topic to say anything more than that.

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From what I've read and watched, I think I am leaning towards buying the two graphics modules for DirectX for the summer and getting by with the free online books posted in this thread. I appreciate everyone's feedback, and am interested in hearing more about some of the other modules(specifically, the game console development one).

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