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Question for Full Sail students in the Game Developing program

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This is a question for Full Sail students in the Game Developing program. I'm interested into going to Full Sail, but I have a few concerns and questions regarding the actual programming. I'm aware the course takes you through programming, Direct X, OpenGL, and more. My concern is the Direct X part and the fact you use the .NET stuff. I've specifically avoided DirectX and .NET for I enjoy cross-platform game making. Did some of you feel this way? Was/Is it difficult? Also, what are you limited to when it comes to the game programming? For instance, I'm working on a game engine that might be finished to a great releasing point this year. Will I be able to use it? What if I'm told to make a game engine over the things I've learned and the game engine includes all of that and more? Will I be able to turn that in or will I be forced to make another limited to what I have learned? If you need more information or if I'm unclear, please tell me so I may express myself transparently. All replies are welcomed and thank you so much for your help. ~Maverick

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I'm not attending nor have I previously attended Full Sail, so I can't say anything specific to that, but whats wrong with learning new technology? Even if you don't ever plan on using DirectX and/or .NET, its always good to have that knowledge under your belt. Worst case scenario you'll just not get anything out from learning it. More realistically, it'll teach you new concepts and/or old concepts in a new perspective. I usually find that learning one language often helps me with languages I have learned prior.

Just in case you didn't know, there's quite a lot of threads on this site about Full Sail and the experience people have had with the classes and life after. They might be worth checking out if you have not already since selecting which uni you want to attend is a big decision*. :)

*Not saying there is anything wrong will Full Sail, just want to make sure its right for you.

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Quote:
Original post by PCN

I'm aware the course takes you through programming, Direct X, OpenGL, and more. My concern is the Direct X part and the fact you use the .NET stuff. I've specifically avoided DirectX and .NET for I enjoy cross-platform game making. Did some of you feel this way? Was/Is it difficult?

Also, what are you limited to when it comes to the game programming? For instance, I'm working on a game engine that might be finished to a great releasing point this year. Will I be able to use it? What if I'm told to make a game engine over the things I've learned and the game engine includes all of that and more? Will I be able to turn that in or will I be forced to make another limited to what I have learned? If you need more information or if I'm unclear, please tell me so I may express myself transparently.


Why are you going to school? To learn new things, or to show off what you like doing in spare time?

Do you even need school? If you know as much as you think you do, looking at curriculum should make it very easy to find out if there's even anything left to learn.

What you enjoy with regard to APIs and languages is mostly a moot point. Your employer will tell you what you'll be working with. So make sure you get comfortable with dealing with new technologies, especially since most of the ones you'll encounter are proprietary.

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I attended Full Sail and graduated October 2007.

As far as the DirectX and .NET aspect goes, yes, you will learn those. And like the previous poster said, its good to know new things. And like you already know, they teach OpenGL there as well, which is multi platform. DirectX is a widely used graphics API in the gaming industry, so it would be a great thing for you to have experience with anyway.

And also, I'll stress what the other previous poster said. You VERY likely will not have any say in what APIs you develop with.

From what I've gotten out of the world so far, heres the difference between Full Sail and most other traditional colleges.

Most Colleges:
-Teach you other things besides just programming games (like English and 1600s Spanish History and Biology) and Full Sail has VERY LITTLE of that.
-Won't give you as much hands on programming as Full Sail
-Are slower at earning your degree
-Are less expensive
-Are closer to home
-Probably gives you a broader range of possible careers.
-You can take electives and minor in some other degree

Full Sail:
-Teaches you how to actually program, not the theory behind programming.
-Wont teach you as much theory as other colleges.
-Is fast as hell.
-Will push you pretty hard, there is no time for other things. Theres four options when your at Full Sail: Go to Class, Do Work, Go to sleep, and Have a Life but you can only pick three. =)
-Above average cost
-Only in FL, better get used to warm weather.
-You ARE a real time simulation (games/sims) developer... though you could probably do a million different programming jobs... thats all you are and likely all you will be seen as. Meaning that you won't be as readily accepted at some places.

Sorry to be so long winded about some of this, but if you want to know more just contact me.

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First, a bit of a disclaimer -- I have not attended Fullsail, but I have attended Digipen, from which I graduated in 2005.

Having participated in many "Game school vs. College", "Digipen vs. Fullsail" or numerous other similar threads here on GD.net, the thing that concerns me about Fullsail is the curriculum itself.

The foremost problem, in my mind, is that the mathematics are seriously lacking. Last I looked, I recall Fullsail requiring only half the amount of mathematics that Digipen requires, which itself is a couple mathematics classes shy of a quality university CS program. Digipen students can get by with additional electives or self-study, but Fullsailers have an awful lot of catching up to do in the math department it would seem.

Next up is the OpenGL and DirectX courses... Why the hell teach two APIs for the same domain? If you teach the concept of 3D graphics well, you don't need to teach any API at all, and teaching two is downright wasteful in my (and many others') opinion. Teaching one is fine, many Universities teach 3D graphics concepts alongside OpenGL; no problem there. Digipen and many universities teach 2D and 3D graphics from the floor up having the students develop their own software rasterization and transformation pipelines. Mine went from 2D pixels and primitives, through a complete 3D tranform pipeline, color combiners, perspective-correct texture mapping, and the final project for my last 200-level graphics course had me casting the shadow of a complex 3D model onto a plane from a dynamic point-light.

I think the underlying problem with Fullsail is that it is a "3 year accelerated Bachelor" program -- examining the curriculum, its quite obvious that they've cut down the curriculum, rather than sped it up.


It's my oppinion, and again I remind you of my disclaimer and possible bias, that the fullsail curriculum is inferior to Digipen (though certainly fullsail is better than ITT or any of those other "game schools" that advertise late-night and during Jerry Springer...) Then there are several Universities with gaming or "interactive media" specialization tracks such as the Guildhall at SMU, or traditional CS majors from any number of highly-regarded schools, any of which is just as likely or, some say, more-so, to get you into the gaming industry with a little work on your part studying and developing a portfolio of game-related work.

In the end, you have to pick what's right for you, but I'd advise that you'd do well to cast a suspicious eye towards Fullsail.

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It was either Digipen or Full Sail. I chose Full Sail because recently, my mother divorced my dad. Not only that but they both have an extremely low budget and were forced to use my college money they had been saving up for the years they were together... woo-hoo. Not only is Full Sail extremely close to where I live, but a majority of my friends were looking at it too for the film and movie making courses they offer. So it seems like the more logical and supportive approach. I know the Game Development program is quite new to Full Sail, but it seems like the only road I can take with the money I'm trying to make on my own, friend support, and a logical approach.

I'll send you a PM oscarsweatman, thanks! I read all of your posts and I agree with all of you and see your point of view. I wasn't saying "Direct X is bad because it's on a Windows and OpenGL is better." but doesn't the Xbox360 support OpenGL? And Vista? It made more sense to program games that I can put on any operating system and run smoothly, than on one machine.

I'd still like to hear from any other game developing graduates or Full Sail students! Thank you all!

~Maverick

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Having stated my initial piece already, I was ready to consider my duty served, however after reading 5 pages of reviews from the link that moonshoe provided I cannot implore you strongly enough: For your own sake, read those reviews! Do temper what you absorb knowing that it's human nature to complain, and people taking time out of their day to do so is much more common than people taking time out of their day to post more favorable reviews... That said, there's a lot of specific information there, and it looks like 90% or more of the reviews are unfavorable -- which is very high, even in consideration of the above.

Your choices are not limited to Digipen and Fullsail -- there *must* be a university with a respectable CS program nearby. If you can afford Digipen or Fullsail, you can afford a quality University education (and probably save some cash at the same time) -- You'll also have a sane workload and a stable schedule, allowing you to work part-time if needed. Reading those reviews, it seems that working part time while attending Fullsail is nigh impossible due to long hours and an erratic schedule that changes monthly.

It would be a terrible waste of time and money (3 years and $65,000 + living expenses) if Fullsail is indeed not all it's cracked up to be. $65k, frankly, affords you a good, 4 year University education last I looked into it. Furthermore, Fullsail is not a guaranteed "in" to the games industry and, in fact, most people will say that a good CS education and a portfolio of game-related work is *more likely* to land you a job in games.

I'll say again that you would do well to cast a suspicious eye towards Fullsail, and to open your mind to the possibility of a traditional CS education.

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Just to add to Ravyne's comments, see if there are any community colleges in your area. They're usually a lot cheaper than a 4-year university and provide just as good of an education. You can get most of your basic courses out of the way, get an associates degree, and transfer your credits from most of your classes to just about any university. Even if you decide to transfer to a specialty school such as Full Sail or Digipen, you can still probably get at least your credits from math courses transferred. But, make sure you ask admissions about credit transferablity, depending on where you go and what community college you decide to go to.

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I have to disagree somewhat with the last sentiment. There may be some decent community colleges out there, but I have yet to see one first-hand that was much more than a glorified high school -- In fact, I've seen one or two that approximate your average, stereotypical, inner-city high school too.

Fullsail won't let you transfer credits because they want your money. Digipen won't (likely) let you transfer credits from a community college straight across because most community college curriculum don't cover enough material to enough depth (when I was attending Digipen, it took 2 or 3 math classes from the local community college -- which was pretty good as community colleges go -- for equivalency of a single class in one instance. Only the general ed classes could be transfered 1:1) Most Universites only accept transfers from affiliated junior and community colleges as is, otherwise you'll usually have to pass an equivalency exam in addition to proving that you've studied the material elsewhere with satisfactory marks.

As you said, you need to check in on your schools transfer requirements and, specifically, you need to speak to someone who can tell you whether the outside courses you intend to take will meet those requirements, what marks are expected for transfer, etc. In general, its much more difficult than "Go to the local community college and work out the details later."

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