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Guildhall, Digipen, Carnegie Mellon?

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Hi guys! This July I'll be going to U.S in order to visit some universities that offer masters degrees on game development (or have a focus on that). For now, I have Digipen with their MSc in Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon with their MET and the Guildhall at SMU. Could you give me some guidelines on what I should expect from them, which one you think is better, and so on? From what I researched till now: Digipen Advantages: cheaper, takes shorter time to finish (apparently), nearby many famous studios where I could look for a job after finishing the degree, like Valve, Nintendo, and so on. Disadvantages: Redmond has very cold weather >.< Guildhall Advantages: I like the idea of interdisciplinary studies and working with people from other areas, since I already do that with my gamedev group at my university (University of Campinas, Brazil). Seems pretty focused on preparing for the market. Disadvantages: Texas has tornados (hey, I'm a brazilian and here the weather is hot and we don't have stuff like this lol). Carnegie Mellon Advantages: seems very focused on making creative and artistic projects, the campus I'd study on (at Silicon Valley) is obviously on a great place and has nicer weather than the 2 above. Disadvantages: takes longer to complete (which means it is more expensive). As for my background, I'm a Computer Engineering undergrad student, currently on my 4th (out of 5) year. I already work on a small game porting company, make indie games using XNA with a gamedev group at my university (but we are now moving to Ogre3D) and will start a Computer Graphics specialization next semester. Even so, I still have huge interest for game design, and would rather study on a place where I'm not limited to programming duties, though I know on the market you do have to stick to only one kind of work... Any help would be appreciated, thanks! Carol

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In Brazil we don't have any snow (in fact, winter here is like 12, 13 Celsius degrees), so I really don't have parameters on what "very cold" is like for U.S people o.O

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Hey, I don't know much about the other two programs, but SMU's Guildhall is nearby where I live, and I've only heard good things about it. About the tornadoes, you really don't need to worry about that, lol, I've lived here for 18 years and never been through one, and I'm only 30 minutes away from SMU, they tend to stay farther north, so don't use that as a reason not to come ;). Like I said, I've heard only good things about the SMU program, so you should at least check it out!

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Thanks for the replies, guys!
I´d like to know more about cost of living in the Redmond, Dallas and Pittsburgh areas. Where could I get this info? Or if anyone lives around, do you know how much would a small apartment rent cost and so on?

Thanks again!

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I wouldn't trust Digipen for an MS. They seem fairly good at turning non-coders into coders in their undergrad program, but I don't have any anecdotal information to suggest that the masters program is significantly useful for people who already have undergraduate CS degrees and have done some graphics work.

I don't know enough about SMU to make an informed judgment.

I know more successful game developers from Carnegie Mellon than from all other game-specific programs put together.

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Quote:

Except Digipen isn't game specific. It is for people that have an undergrad CS that don't want to be taught the same thing over again. Digipen is a very difficult school/course, and it has a 99% job acceptance rate.

Yes it is, and MSc programs in general do not 'teach the same information over again.' Although they may cover some of the same topics, they are generally covered in more depth. Furthermore the focus is generally more research-oriented than an undergraduate program.

Quote:

http://digipen.edu/main/Graduate_History#Where_have_our_grads_gone_after_DigiPen.3F

This provides no proof of the 99% placement rate claim you make. Such claims are marketing fluff anyway, and don't really prove much of use. There are more important factors such as how many were outgoing versus incoming, how long the placed students remain and what kind of work they're doing. I know quite a few graduates who are doing QA testing, for example, which is distinctly not what the program ostensibly prepares you for. Those graduates are still listed as being placed at Major Game Company Here.

Placement rate as a metric is relatively useless.

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Is there any choice there? Why would you not choose Carnegie Mellon? It's a world renowned school for tech/engineering. Your network will be amazing, the school resources are amazing, it's a "real" school.

IMHO you're asking: "which is better Devry or Harvard"

Also, college loans are the closest you can come to free money. Your earning potential with a Carnegie Mellon degree will all but guarantee that you will have no problem paying back those loans trivially.

I'll also suggest that you don't need a masters to be a game developer. There are actually very few people percentage-wise in gamedev that have higher degrees than a batchelors...

But if you want a masters: Carnegie.

-me

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I'm not sure what is meant by "a real school", but Southern Methodist University is a SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) accredited university which was founded in 1911 in Dallas, TX, and is nonsectarian in its teaching and committed to freedom of inquiry. Just as Carnegie Mellon is a regionally accredited university, SMU is also.

The Guildhall at SMU is a unique game development education program offered in Dallas by the Hart eCenter at SMU. The Guildhall’s 17-month master's degree program responds to the industry’s need for professionals who are immediately productive upon graduation and whose education prepares them to become gaming innovators of the future. Students work in teams to create three completed games for their portfolios. Game development luminaries came to SMU and the Hart eCenter with a vision for this new kind of program and have been closely involved with The Guildhall's concept and design. These experts and others remain involved with the program as instructors, tutors and mentors. More information about the Guildhall at SMU and how to apply for admission is at http://guildhall.smu.edu.

We have three different specializations with-in the program: level design, art creation and software development. When you apply for The Guildhall, you will apply for one of the three specializations. I guess your main job is to figure out which one excites you the most. Level design is all about storytelling. You will develop the levels of the game with-in a team that comprises programmers and artists (our other two specializations). As a level designer, your main goal is to evoke emotion from the player of the game. Tell the story, set the pace and flow of the game, be the creative driving force with-in your team. As an art creation student, you will draw all day long, creating environments and characters for the games in which you are creating. As a software development student, you are in charge of writing the code (primarily C++) that will bring the characters and environments to life.

Our graduates work at over 80 game studios across the United States and Canada, you can find out more by clicking here:

http://guildhall.smu.edu/Placement.6.0.html.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to email me at rarchamb@smu.edu. I look forward to further communication.

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