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10 Newbie questions: programming, design, and audio

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Hello everyone, I'm interested in joining the professional game development community but I've ran into a snag in my hours of research, leaving me with questions that go unanswered or questions that are answered but contradicted by somebody else’s answer. So here are my questions by category marked in bold if you don't want to read it all. Programming and Design: I live in Ohio, and from what I understand there are no gaming colleges nearby Columbus, and I aspire to go to school for either game design, game programming or game audio (possibly a combination). My known options are: go to school online for game development, get a Computer Science degree, or find a game college nearby Columbus. (no luck so far) 1***Will an employer look down on my resume if he/she reads that I attended an online school? 2***According to several veteran game makers, a Computer Science Degree or some kind of Programming Degree can get me into the industry the same as a Gaming Degree can. Is that true? I asked that last question because it would seem that Game Design Colleges are on the rise. I'm worried that if I get a CS degree, I may not find a job because I think employers may not consider a CS grad, when there are so many Game College grads out there. But a CS degree would be easier to obtain due to locality. 3***Where do the pros learn? People who have attended college and are making games now, where did they attend college at? 4***Where did you attend college and how are you applying your education to your career? 5***How long are typical work days for people in these gaming fields: Design, Audio, Programming, testing. 6***How long are your work days? I'm horrible at remembering things (for example I dropped a College Anatomy class because I couldn't remember depression names in bones) but I've always been good at everything to do with computers and remembering how it was done. I was using DOS to play Doom 2 when i was 10 and networking it on a modem connection. Might not be impressive to anyone around here, but I don't know anybody else that was doing that at my age other then myself and a friend. 7***How difficult is memorizing the required computer languages C/C+,C# , is it fun to learn or painstakingly boring? 8***What level of math perquisite do I need before taking programming courses. I stopped at Algebra in high school and don't remember much of it. Audio 9***Any idea where I can go to college and learn Audio Programming, and possibly Game Programming at the same time? Online if necessary but only if it's a good school and from the reviews I've read about Full Sail and Westwood people swear that they are rip-offs. 10***Any Advice about a Game Audio career? There's not much of it out there. So anyway, up to this point here are my plans: Attend College in Ohio for Computer Science or Online for game development. (Unless I can find a school in Ohio) Then transfer to a school in California (or any other gaming state). After that start an internship in my 3rd or 4th year. I appreciate any and all advice but please keep it to what your experienced at. Maybe tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do like I asked before, that will definitely help with my weighing of options. Thanks in advance for your time and answering my questions. [Edited by - sick2sick on August 13, 2008 9:07:59 PM]

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1. maybe every single person doing the hiring at different companies is different. Typically online only degrees are looked down upon.
2. According to the guys at EA a traditional 4 year CS degree is better than a game programming degree.
3. Most have 4 year CS degrees or are self taught.
4. UT arlington, I work as a defense contractor.
5 I work your typical 40 hr work week.
6 It really depends on you. I find it fun other wise I wouldn't do it. My wife finds it extremely boring.
7 None before you start taking classes, but logic is involved in programming so you will have to pick it up to get good.
8 Purdue is near Ohio and is a really good school. In ohio OSU, OU, wright state.
9 Not really just get out there and give it a shot.

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Some sicko wrote:
>leaving me with questions that ... are answered but contradicted by somebody else’s answer.

Well, duh. If you want answers that don't get contradicted, just ask one person, and then don't ask another. When you do a "mini-poll" on a forum like this, you're just going to get more of the same - more contradictory answers. As for your 10 questions (which you should have numbered):

1. Read the September 2007 column at http://www.igda.org/columns/gamesgame/gamesgame_archive.php - this is one of the most frequently asked questions there.

2. No. It's BETTER.

3. At regular universities/colleges.

4. You don't wanna know.

5. Read the FAQs on this site. Go to IGDA.org and read the QOL (Quality Of Life) stuff there.

6. Not applicable.

7. It's all difficult. Read FAQ 26 at http://www.sloperama.com/advice.html

8. Calculus.

9. No. Do your research. If you're in high school, talk to the guidance counselor for help.

10. Yes.

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1. maybe every single person doing the hiring at different companies is different. Typically online only degrees are looked down upon.

-That's what I was thinking.

2. According to the guys at EA a traditional 4 year CS degree is better than a game programming degree.

-Good to know, did you learn that from somone on these boards?

4. UT arlington, I work as a defense contractor.

-Defense Contractor? So you program on the side?.

8 Purdue is near Ohio and is a really good school. In ohio OSU, OU, wright state.

-I will look into those schools and ask them about thier audio courses and what kind of work I can get besides game development just in case.

9 Not really just get out there and give it a shot.

heh, I'm 24 and seriously I don't think I've heard that enough. I Appreciate your comment.

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Quote:
Original post by sick2sick
1. maybe every single person doing the hiring at different companies is different. Typically online only degrees are looked down upon.

-That's what I was thinking.

That's great that you got one opinion that agreed with what you'd been thinking.
But you also got a contradictory opinion...

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Some sicko wrote:
>leaving me with questions that ... are answered but contradicted by somebody else’s answer.

Well, duh. If you want answers that don't get contradicted, just ask one person, and then don't ask another. When you do a "mini-poll" on a forum like this, you're just going to get more of the same - more contradictory answers. As for your 10 questions (which you should have numbered):


I expected it, but not this much. Nobody can agree on what I feel should be basic shared information. I don't want to argue my views on this point but IMO it's a billion dollar industry, there should be more information and it should be easier to obtain.

Anyway, I probably pointed out the contradictions in frustration. I've spent hours digging for information and I still have questions remaining. Not to mention even before this post I already read almost every topic on your page. Lot's of interesting and informative stuff there btw.

But the point is, the more opinions from professionals I get, the more confident my final decision will be. I appreciate your answers but if you plan to disect and critique my typing style please don't respond to any more of my questions. I tryed making this letter readable and professional as possible but I am far from perfect. And I'm sure my responses will be even further from perfection because I'm going to spend less time on them then I did initiatlly on the thread. Remember, I don't do this everyday, so just please try to answer my questions for what they are.

2. No. It's BETTER.
What year did you finish your latest video game and what was it?

4. You don't wanna know.
Sure I do. If it pays the bills for the longterm...

5. Read the FAQs on this site. Go to IGDA.org and read the QOL (Quality Of Life) stuff there.

Will do


10. Yes.
Thanks

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Quote:
Original post by sick2sick
-Defense Contractor? So you program on the side?.


Both, I program as a defense contractor and make games as a hobby.

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1.
I can't imagine wouldn't be a plus, you would definitely need demo's or projects to show that you knew your stuff.

2.
Very true, this is how people got in before game degrees, and many still consider it a better option (count me among those as of right now). Computer Science puts you on the track for being a programmer, but if you realized you didn't like it and went a different track the knowledge will still be useful (many designers will still need to code a bit). However, before you get hired you will want be able to put game demo's, or projects on your portfolio so companies know you have experience in that area as well. I hear a lot of people work on them during summer, or if they can fit it into their schedule in the school year.

3
Everywhere, I've heard many stories about people who didn't even have a related degree that got in. Of course you wouldn't want to rely on luck, so attending your local college in Computer Science would get you on the track for that.

4
I haven't attended yet. I will be applying to the following.
University of Washington (local)
Georgia Tech
Carnegie Mellon
University of Oregon
Rochester Institute of Technology
Digipen (as a safety school)

7.
I have never actively memorized anything while programming, I just look things up every time I use them until they stick. I hate memorizing, understanding is superior, but I love programming.

8.
Well, that may be a problem. You don't really need math to program, just the problem solving techniques. To program games you will need to understand trig, algebra, and if you go graphics, linear algebra.

9.
You should be able to study either while going through a normal CS curriculum, ask colleges you apply to if they would be lenient towards that. I've heard ok things about Full Sail, but I don't trust it. Westwood is horrible, don't go there.

10.
Nope... I've read a couple articles about reflecting sound waves, but have never done it.

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2.
Very true, this is how people got in before game degrees, and many still consider it a better option (count me among those as of right now).


What resources have you heard that from other then EA and Tom Slopers page?



4
I haven't attended yet. I will be applying to the following.
University of Washington (local)
Georgia Tech
Carnegie Mellon
University of Oregon
Rochester Institute of Technology
Digipen (as a safety school)


Good luck! :)



Full Sail, but I don't trust it. Westwood is horrible, don't go there.

I checked into those 2 schools and it's amazing that people don't bother to research them. There's just as much dirt on Full Sail as there is Westwood.

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it's pretty well documented that a CS degree is better than a game degree, but frankly a CS degree isn't mandatory. the vast majority of game programmers have CS degrees.

I've read plenty of game developer profiles that mention CS, Comp Engineering, Math(a very popular one),bio,chem,physics. You'll have more attention paid to a Demo and/or in-interview testing than what field your degree is in. That being said, if you don't have a degree in SOMETHING, don't be suprised if you don't get a call back

btw: try not to come across as arrogant, esspecially when asking such pedestrian questions

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