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I don't think game school is for me, now what?

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After hard thinking, 2 canceled appointments with school adviser, I think I want to build from the ground up and take the advice from some who advised I discipline myself and learn game art design on my own. I perhaps will try to find some related courses at community colleges. Reason being you ask, I've run into a few folks -some of which I met here, via my last post- who encouraged me to teach myself this the science. I'll be staying clear of the programming side of things unless necessary. I'm considering looking into the text books used in the various schools or the ones referred by you all. For right now, I've concluded that I have a great idea for a game; I know how to draw -I recently brought some art supplies to begin work- plus I'm willing and I believe competent to learn the artistic side of game design. However, Ladies and gents,I honestly don't know exactly where to begin. But I figure if I'm gonna invest anything it will be into books, software, and Community college/Technical school classes. I don't have the time, energy, motivation, or funding to return to school to work towards another 4 year degree in this pathetic economy that's getting worse by the minute. I respect all honest opinions so please feel free to share thanks

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While games are currently very successful and don't seem to be slowing down due to the bad economy, that doesn't mean it will always be the case. You don't want to pigeonhole yourself into games just in case you ever need to make a career adjustment. Besides, down the road you may find that you don't enjoy games enough to do them for the rest of your life.

If I were you I would rethink going to school. I'm not talking about game school, but a college or university. The nice thing about school is that even if you don't get to take classes that are 100% directly applicable to games, the portion that is not directly applicable is often indirectly applicable, or at least prepares you for possible other opportunities in the future. For me personally (I was a CS major), classes didn't teach me a whole lot of practical skills that I didn't already know. What they did do, however, was stretch my brain and expose me to deeper underlying concepts which have done nothing but pay dividends since I graduated. Going to school will help you "know where to start" because it will teach you enough to feel comfortable forging off on your own path.

Additionally, a degree is valuable because it shows potential employers that you are dedicated, hard working, and able to make sacrifices to succeed. If (or when, depending on how you look at it) the economy continues to weaken, an actual degree can always make the difference between you getting the job instead of some other guy. If nothing else, it definitely does not hurt.

So, my advice--strive to get as much education as you can!

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Sonny, whoever advised you against art school was NOT doing you a favor. If you can go to art school, you should. Community college as a starting point is just great. Go to school!

BTW, I got into a heated discussion about schools at igda.org this week. Go to http://www.igda.org/Forums/, the Breaking In forum - thread titled "tsloper, re: USC"

(Note: I said go to "art school," not "game school," but Community College is even better as your starting point, I know I just repeated myself.)

EDIT: Oh wait, did you say "another 4 year degree"? You already have a degree? Then you don't need another full degree, necessarily - but like the other guy said, the more education the better. See the manifesto I posted on igda.org today. Game school is fine for you, if you can afford it.

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Yeah, I already hold a BA in philosophy/Religion and began graduate work in theology. I want to take all my knowledge in the field and fuse it into games. Now I'm open to online schools that are feasible but haven't really found a school yet. I was looking at the Game Institute advertised here but don't know enough yet. Guidance, please.

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Your existing qualifications are a good basis, but I'm not clear on exactly what it is you want to go into. Do you want to be an artist - responsible for the way a game looks, or moves, but nothing more - or do you want to be a designer - responsible for the way a game plays and behaves?

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I have to agree that anyone who tells you not to go to school seriously has no idea what they are talking about. Really they don't. You will have a hard time getting a game programming/design job without a degree.

It took me 3 colleges and 6 years until I found the college I like (love?) so that I can get my degree and get the job I want. Learning on your own is a good thing to do but if you go to a good school the professor there will give you great amounts of knowledge that a book just doesn't give you. Not to mention you see what others are doing and get to work in groups. Not to mention every company I worked for has looked at degrees as a sign that you can stick with something long enough to complete it and that you have had some training in the area you are applying for. I always have gotten hired because I was currently in school for the type of job I was applying for and employers liked that.

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Original post by Chrono1081
I have to agree that anyone who tells you not to go to school seriously has no idea what they are talking about. Really they don't. You will have a hard time getting a game programming/design job without a degree.


I heard this from certain persons online and couple of guys I met at various Game Stop stores. One person went so far as to suggest that, although school is beneficial most of what game designing entails could be self-taught. To the poster inquiring about what it is exactly I want to do, well here it is. I want to start my own video game company. By that I mean start a business; hire would-be talents out of school, and produce games. Perhaps not distribute games but produce them. I see myself as the visionary behind a whole new genre of games. I considered school because I want to have a hands on approach to daily operations. Another words, as much as I am behind the marketing, campaigning, so forth, I am an artist, so I can see and design what I want. The programming I prefer to leave that to the experts I find willing to join the team. How is this at all possible, I really don't know yet. But having talked with a few folks, the ideas of have for games are novel, daring, compelling, and unique. That gives me an impetus to pursue this dream. I was strongly considering school but to be quite honest, I have two toddlers and a wife to feed and fend for, the focus, creativity and passion would be stifled at school. Case and point it might be a waste of money I'll be left having to pay. Finding community colleges that offer individual courses in related areas: photoshop, 3D modeling, Intro to Video game design are few and far apart. Thus, I come here to get some ideas as to where I should start. My heart hasn't ruled out college but logic is telling me, don't accrue more debt, especially if you're not interested in working for a game company. Perhaps, I'm being unrealistic -considering the industry standard- and if so please wake me up to reality.

Thanks again
------------------------------------------------

The unexamined life is not worth living.
-Socrates

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Original post by sonnyb
I want to start my own video game company. By that I mean start a business;

Then you do want more schooling - you should get an MBA. And stop listening to free bad advice in GameStop. (~_^)

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Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
Quote:
Original post by sonnyb
I want to start my own video game company. By that I mean start a business;

Then you do want more schooling - you should get an MBA. And stop listening to free bad advice in GameStop. (~_^)


but i think he doesn't certainly need a managing degree. he wants to start a new company, so he will be the owner, but he can hire a manager as well. all he needs is money. though they won't be making a lot money enough to give salary to team members at the beginning.

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since we're on the subject of my goals, here's another route I'm also considering: I wondering about just writing the stories, creating characters and testing my chances of selling my game idea to various publishing companies. what do you guys think.

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Original post by sonnyb
I wondering about just {1} writing the stories, creating characters and testing {2} my chances of selling my game idea to various publishing companies. what do you guys think.


{1} Read http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson32.htm

{2} Read http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson11.htm


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Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
Quote:
Original post by sonnyb
I want to start my own video game company. By that I mean start a business;

Then you do want more schooling - you should get an MBA. And stop listening to free bad advice in GameStop. (~_^)


I agree with the MBA. Without one and a good business plan you may not be able to get the business loan you need/outside funding to start your project.

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Quote:
Original post by sonnyb
since we're on the subject of my goals, here's another route I'm also considering: I wondering about just writing the stories, creating characters and testing my chances of selling my game idea to various publishing companies. what do you guys think.


are there brilliant modeling experience in your resume? if your modeling is good,may be you can show your work in a fair and interest some investors.
Habib Zargarpour is senior art director at EA, his jump began with modeling a sport car which was shown in siggraph, it goes further upto designing the need for speed cars.
I mean if you know modeling you must shine, if you are an expert in any area you may either be able to work for someone or attract other experts.

if you want to hire university students, it would be better to ask for some experts participation as well. you may pay for the his job for teaching other members so the students will ask for less salary till they're learning. note that i don't mean students who want to begin from scratch but those who have done some gaming before.

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Having a degree is a great advantage in general (government jobs here in Australia list a requirement for employment is "a degree", doesn't matter which, although these are non-specialised positions). The best step you could take now is getting your MBA while teaching yourself your part in making games (in your case the artistic side).

MBA will give you the understanding of business and how it should be run, and I suggest getting as many good books on the subject as you can (especially on employee management if you want to hire fresh out of uni students who generally aren't use to managing themselves in a open enviroment). Most efficient method of finding such books is asking people who specialize in the area (I know of many from my Management Professor which also make me realise how badly my current employer is at it hehe).

Teaching yourself the artistic side will give you something interesting to do with your time, and if you can prove yourself in the Freeware/Mod/Open Source area people will take more interest in you then those who just make a portfolio (you have little proof of working in a team, to standards and dealing with deadlines). However, the more you can show off the better (although quality over quantity). Investing in the books and photoshop/3d modeling packages is always to your advantage, they don't have to be the ultimate in the market place but do the job you need.

The fun part is also keeping yourself and your family fed while doing this will prove interesting. I personally am working as a Service Station Opterator (Gas station for the Americans), while studying a Degree in IT, majoring in Software Development. In my spare time I am teaching myself C++ and game design methods, so I spend most my time reading and learning while studying and working... Fun!

When I finish my degree I'll be looking for fulltime employment and starting my MBA, as I wish to go similar lines that you do. Of course, this is my opinion on how to go about it all =) You may find other methods suit you best.

Hope what I've said has helped some, and gives you some idea. Although I am still learning and working toward an end goal. However, this is just from myself asking those who have success in their various fields and plenty of reading (Tom Sloper's site is good). Just remember their is no one way to do it.

Back to the programming, yays!

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Original post by sonnyb
since we're on the subject of my goals, here's another route I'm also considering: I wondering about just writing the stories, creating characters and testing my chances of selling my game idea to various publishing companies. what do you guys think.


Not likely to happen.

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Original post by LightAssassin
MBA will give you the understanding of business and how it should be run, and I suggest getting as many good books on the subject as you can (especially on employee management if you want to hire fresh out of uni students who generally aren't use to managing themselves in a open enviroment).

Teaching yourself the artistic side will give you something interesting to do with your time, and if you can prove yourself in the Freeware/Mod/Open Source area people will take more interest in you then those who just make a portfolio (you have little proof of working in a team, to standards and dealing with deadlines). However, the more you can show off the better (although quality over quantity). Investing in the books and photoshop/3d modeling packages is always to your advantage, they don't have to be the ultimate in the market place but do the job you need.


Funny, I'm actually a site manager for an after school program here in Miami. I supervise a staff of 5 and student base of 50 kids. But a MBA wouldn't hurt I guess. News flash though, I was in contact with the art institute of Pittsburgh. they offer the BA in game art and design online. So as I stated earlier I haven't dropped the idea. BTW to the poster, Tom sloper, your links are invaluable, you all haven't heard from me cuz I've been spending time going through his site and reading about basically every question I've had. And to everyone else, thanks a millions. You guys are really clearing up a lot for me. Presently, I'm going to begin work on transferring the story into a game doc. So please help out if you guys can.

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